I've been getting used to my NEC 3090WQXi monitor with SpectraViewII and the iOne Display 2 colorimeter. Yesterday I got my GTI PDV3e/D dimmable print viewer. Since this is the first time in my 10 years of digital photography I have a controlled viewing situation, I am completely blown away by the difference! While the cost of the print viewer totally trashed the piggy bank through at least 2 generations, it was the best investment I could have made at this time. I compare the thrill of seeing my print and the softproof match so well to the first time I tasted a canoli, or shrimp tempura!
I will embark on a test of the system at higher light intensities (the 3090 is currently profiled and calibrated at 135cd/m2), but right now I can't believe I can actually adjust the softproof and have evidence that what I am seeing on screen is just about what I will get in the print!
I also find that dealing with D65 in the monitor and 5000K in the viewer is so easy to adapt to. I have both on my desk, equidistant from my seat and separated by my ridiculously large Dell XPS 730 desktop computer, which is sufficient to keep light from the viewer from spilling into the monitor area, and vice versa. It is not the ideal setup, but there is nowhere else in my tiny room that would work better.
Now, some of my inevitable questions:
1) Adjusting the light intensity of the viewer: I tried by bringing up a white file on the computer, softproofed as if it were a photograph, using the paper profile with which my recent prints were made. I put a sheet of the photo paper in the viewer. It was very difficult to equalize the monitor and the viewer. What I did do was to put an actual print in the viewer and bring up the file from which it was made, and by trial and error I found the best match. I then tried several other images and prints and located what seems to be the best average setting of the viewer's light level. Is this sufficient?
2) My desktop is about 3 inches too high for this viewer, and I am limited in how high I can raise my seat and still get the keyboard/mouse drawer out and fit my legs under it. The result is that the top 1/4th of the print in the viewer was reflecting the glare from the fluorescent tubes and interfering badly with the function of the viewer. Since I had no way to raise my seat or lower the viewer, what I did was angle the top panel with the lights upward, putting a wedge made from a piece of matboard folded over on itself a few times in the joint where the lighting panel meets the back of the viewer. I had to tape another piece of matboard on the front to keep me from seeing the fluorescent tubes. I had then to increase the light intensity to make up for the greater distance of the tubes to the print. Is there a better way to have done this, to get away from the reflections?
My thanks to Andrew Rodney for pointing me in this direction, and to Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe for their great Camera to Print videos.
To anyone who is doubtful about the D65 monitor vs the 5000K print viewer, all I can say is find a way to try it yourself. I can honestly say here that seeing is believing, and that being able to totally trust that all of your work on an image, and tweaking the softproof, can actually predict how the print will look.
Sorry for the excessive verbiage, but I am really excited about this!