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Author Topic: to profile or not to profile (printer)  (Read 2186 times)

mjflaherty

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to profile or not to profile (printer)
« on: November 14, 2010, 08:06:18 PM »

Got into digital awhile ago by concentrating my spending on the capture end, and am not just getting around to buying a nicer computer that will run LR and PS.  I'm getting a Sony laptop (F137), desktop replacement style, with an HD display.  While at home, instead of buying a larger monitor, I was thinking of just plugging in to my HDTV (which I would also like to calibrate so it's display is as close as possible to my laptop, of course).

My question as a color-mgt newbie is:  Can I just as well get by with a colorimeter (ala xrite i1, Spyder Elite3) and profile/calibrate the new monitor, as opposed to getting something like the Color Munki Photo and do the basic printer profiling too.  I'd like to save the $, and the monitor is most important at this point.

I should say I'm using a PixmaPro 9000, and like doing my own prints.  And when I guess right using my little netbook screen (and letting LR handle the driving), I'm getting nice prints using Canon's Chromalife and their paper, with the correct driver.  (Don't even ask me about the B&W prints though - ugh!.) 

I assume profiling my printer is most useful say if I want to use 3rd party paper with the Canon ink, or some other mismatch; correct me if I'm wrong.

Will Munki give me better results with the monitor calibration, or is it's main advantage the added functionality?  A projector purchase is in my future, but not the near future. 

Will profiling my printer potentially make it easier to get cleaner B&Ws w/o the color cast?  Might it make it worse than going with the paper/printer-specific Canon drivers?  Indeed, will simply using a colorimeter make me not hate my B&W prints so much. 

In short, is Munki worth it, or is it just as easy to wait and maybe add printer profiling later?
Thanks so much, I'm new to this forum.  Shoot, any photo forum.
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digitaldog

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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 09:41:32 PM »

My question as a color-mgt newbie is:  Can I just as well get by with a colorimeter (ala xrite i1, Spyder Elite3) and profile/calibrate the new monitor, as opposed to getting something like the Color Munki Photo and do the basic printer profiling too.  I'd like to save the $, and the monitor is most important at this point.

If the canned profiles work well for you then yes, you’d be fine with just a good Colorimeter.
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Andrew Rodney
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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2010, 02:11:48 AM »

While at home, instead of buying a larger monitor, I was thinking of just plugging in to my HDTV (which I would also like to calibrate so it's display is as close as possible to my laptop, of course).
A TV set is a very poor substitute for a decent monitor.
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I assume profiling my printer is most useful say if I want to use 3rd party paper with the Canon ink, or some other mismatch; correct me if I'm wrong.
Generally correct, but you're not getting decent monochrome results from your printer, a Custom printer profile is likely to be helpful.

Getting the balance of expenditure correct is important if you have any budgetary constraints. There's no point in spending lots on profiling solutions if you don't have a decent monitor in the first place to assess and processes the images on. If you're generally happy with your printer and paper, but need more accurate results, invest in getting a custom profile made for it (they cost very little now) and spend the rest on a good monitor and calibrator.
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mjflaherty

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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 02:54:53 AM »

So the "canned profiles" are those that come out of colorimeters like the i1 display?  If I'm trying to decide between one of those and a spectrophotometer then how am I to know if the canned profiles would work for me without getting a colorimeter?

Re. the HDTV, why wouldn't a big 1080p display like that, if it was displaying colors and shades accurately (ie, properly calibrated) be the equal of a decent monitor?  Maybe that's an involved question I haven't thought about researching yet.

I'm sorta getting the impression there aren't many pros out there who think even a top-line laptop display is worth doing any photo editing on.  True?  I'm gone so much that's going to be what I will be working on mostly, so it's what I will be buying either the i1 display 2, Spyder Elite3, or ColorMunki Photo to calibrate/profile.  Any other advice on whether the ColorMunki is worth paying over double for?
Thanks again.
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NikoJorj

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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 07:04:05 AM »

So the "canned profiles" are those that come out of colorimeters like the i1 display? 
No, you already got them : they come embedded with the printer when you install it. Point is, if they're good enough, no need to re-do them.

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I'm sorta getting the impression there aren't many pros out there who think even a top-line laptop display is worth doing any photo editing on.  True? 
I'm afraid it might be also true for amateurs. I'd feel a low-end IPS display costing a few hundred $ will be much more fit to the task.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 01:59:57 PM »

Got into digital awhile ago by concentrating my spending on the capture end, and am not just getting around to buying a nicer computer that will run LR and PS.  I'm getting a Sony laptop (F137), desktop replacement style, with an HD display.  While at home, instead of buying a larger monitor, I was thinking of just plugging in to my HDTV (which I would also like to calibrate so it's display is as close as possible to my laptop, of course).

Two issues.

1) The Sony display is not suitable for color critical work. All laptops use TN panels which are incapable of displaying accurate color and gamma off axis. They actually can't even do it on axis. Whether or not it's accurate enough for your needs is a different question. Not everyone requires the same level of precision.

2) The HDTV is likely to be worse than the laptop screen. I've attempted to accurately profile my plasmas numerous times with various colorimeters as well as a spectrophotometer (Eye One Pro) using several different software packages. The end result without exception was totally disastrous every time. Datacolor has a specific upgrade package for the Spyder 3 for profiling televisions. I have not used the software so I'm not sure what it does differently. Regardless though, televisions are designed to be pretty, not accurate. There's a HUGE difference there.

I would at minimum recommend an S, H, or P IPS panel that can be calibrated down to 80 cd/m^2 (with the target being 110 cd/m^2 +/-15 cd/m^2.... you don't want the bottom to be what you're operating at as there are usually some technical issues when operating at a monitor's extreme limits)... that's if you are after a higher degree of accuracy. Again, you may be able to attain results that you're happy with without spending more but generally, the ability to achieve an accurate result means having a tool that is capable of actually displaying an accurate result.

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My question as a color-mgt newbie is:  Can I just as well get by with a colorimeter (ala xrite i1, Spyder Elite3) and profile/calibrate the new monitor, as opposed to getting something like the Color Munki Photo and do the basic printer profiling too.  I'd like to save the $, and the monitor is most important at this point.

Your money would be MUCH better spend on a decent monitor and a colorimeter instead of on a spectrophotometer. If you're not happy with your printer's canned profiles then hire someone with more advanced tools, and more importantly, the experience to build a proper profile for you. It only costs $50 to $100 a pop. The profile you get from a prop will be far better than anything you can do yourself unless you're willing to invest a serious amount of time into practicing (not to mention hundreds and easily thousands of dollars on paper to experiment on in order to attain some experience) and a serious amount of money into the proper tools (the really good stuff for software alone clocks in around $1500 to $2000).

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I assume profiling my printer is most useful say if I want to use 3rd party paper with the Canon ink, or some other mismatch; correct me if I'm wrong.

It's only useful if you're not happy with the results that you're getting. Most 3rd party paper manufacturers provide profiles for lots of different printers. 3rd party ink is a different issue though.

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Will Munki give me better results with the monitor calibration, or is it's main advantage the added functionality?  A projector purchase is in my future, but not the near future. 

Spectrophotometers are typically more accurate in terms of objective numbers like say, 6500ºK. Most colorimeters I have used have dramatically different ideas of what 6500ºK is but that's not so important because relative to themselves, colorimeters tend to be accurate.  The downside of spectrophotometers is due to the way they work, they tend to produce more noise in the shadows. One of my spectros is a Rev D Eye One Display Pro and it doesn't seem to have as much of a problem with this. I've not used the ColorMunki so I don't really have an opinion on it other than to say, most folks seem to be quite happy with it.

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Will profiling my printer potentially make it easier to get cleaner B&Ws w/o the color cast?  Might it make it worse than going with the paper/printer-specific Canon drivers?  Indeed, will simply using a colorimeter make me not hate my B&W prints so much. 

Yes....

and  no!  ;D ;D ;D

There's a number of reasons why your B+Ws may not be neutral. It could be as simple as the light you are viewing them in. Incandescent and fluorescent lighting can easily impart a color cast on a print since they have lots of peaks and dips in their spectrum.

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In short, is Munki worth it, or is it just as easy to wait and maybe add printer profiling later?
Thanks so much, I'm new to this forum.  Shoot, any photo forum.

My advice...

Laptops tend to be more expensive than desktops. If you don't need the portability, get a desktop machine and spend some money on a decent monitor. The HP LP2475 will work nicely and is under $600 bucks.

Colorimeter vs. spectro - The Munki seems to offer quite a bit of value for its price. That said my advice would be to use the canned profiles. If you're not happy with them then hire someone to build you a custom profile. I don't know if Andrew (digitaldog) or Scott Martin (onsight) do custom profiles but I'd certainly ask. Chromix builds custom profiles as does Dry Creek Photo (Ethan Hansen). All of these folks lurk around, and participate in these forums.

Finally if you want some more information on color management, perhaps pick up a copy of Andrew's book.

Cheers, Joe
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mjflaherty

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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 03:33:00 PM »

Whoa!  That was a lot of info....Joe.  Thanks a bunch.  Unfortunately I need the portability, and needed a machine that would speed through (for e.g. LR) tasks when I'm on the road.  Was hoping the Sony's high-res display would also give me the gamut/accuracy, but alas, I didn't look into it.  I'm glad to hear all Laptops are crud for color work; almost spent $1100 more for a macbook pro thinking it would be better for that.   Guess I'll have to budget more for a monitor and do color fine-tuning at home.  If insurance comes through for the $15,000 of camera gear I recently got stolen, I should have plenty of dough.

I like the canned profiles for my color prints, and the cast on my monochrome prints is there under our nice flat cloudy daylight in Oregon, so I may try one of those custom profiles.  Again, thanks a huge amount for the advice.  Now where on this forum to go for more fun stuff related to..um, I don't know..luminous landscapes?
Mike

 
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ChasP505

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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 04:12:45 PM »

Mike, besides the rest of the sound advice already given, a comment on the B&W performance of the Pixma Pro 9000.  A general web search will turn up plenty of reviews and forum threads discussing the poor B&W output of this printer.  It only has one black ink cartridge, so it's common to hear reports of color casts when printing B&W.

There are a couple solutions....  The first, a custom profile for B&W, has already been mentioned.  Second, you can print your B&W images through the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Pro plug-in for Photoshop included with the printer.  Letting this software handle your B&W printing is reported to produce the best, most neutral results.
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Chas P.

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Re: to profile or not to profile (printer)
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 06:36:38 PM »

I'm glad to hear all Laptops are crud for color work; almost spent $1100 more for a macbook pro thinking it would be better for that.

I'm looking at a 17" MBP Pro screen (with the matte option) right now... There are other reasons to buy an MBP, the quality of the screen is NOT one of them. I connect it to an external monitor when I need to do color critical work on it but usually I do that work on a different machine altogether with an NEC 2690.

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   Guess I'll have to budget more for a monitor and do color fine-tuning at home.  If insurance comes through for the $15,000 of camera gear I recently got stolen, I should have plenty of dough.

Ouch!!! Sorry to hear about that. That sucks. I hope it all works out.

Cheers, Joe
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