I've read on another thread Mr. Schewe saying that EPSON paper profiles are very very good and that a beginner should think twice about making their own. How about Canon profiles? Are these very good too?
Yes, the default Canon profiles are pretty good on their OEM papers.
I'll be using less than five paper types once I decide on them.
Should I go with a spectrophotometer, or keep it simple and just colorimeter and use canned profiles, or hire someone else to make them for me. Budget is a concern.
The sums should easily sway you. For the price of a decent spectrophotometer and profiling software, you could get a
(oops decimal point error there should be a hundred) custom printer profiles made for you and still have enough left over for a monitor calibrator (based on UK prices).
Consumer Dell Monitor (thinking about getting a graphics monitor)
A more balanced approach would be to get a good monitor and hardware profiling solution, then you'll at least have a benchmark to edit and judge your output from.
Without a good monitor, and the expertise to understand what it's showing you, you're just guessing at how things ought to look.
Making the big investment in spectrophotometers and associated software is really something you only need to consider if you've got a good imaging chain and are still having issues with colour matching.