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Author Topic: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?  (Read 45060 times)

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2012, 06:26:06 pm »

Zorane, I understand your frustration with our attempts at guessing what is going on, but we do not have much to work with in the first place. There are too many factors in play, and the only way to deal with them is 1. standardize them 2. eliminate them one by one. One factor of standardization is profiled monitor. I understand that you either have it profiled or you do not want to discuss the monitor impact. Fair enough. The next variable is your shot of your room. Without us being in the room there is no way we can know if the shot was exposed correctly (as per Johnny Boy's comments). One way to standardize it is to take the shot of the room with an 18 % gray card in it (where the card itself would be used for metering, not the whole scene). Or, instead of the 18 % gray card, use a hand-held incident exposure meter (instead of the one built in the camera). Then we can compare the print to the scene.

Damir

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2012, 06:36:35 pm »

Hmm

I don't see anybody mention computer, OS, printing software, profiles ...

There are so many places something can go wrong.

Do you print directly from your camera??

What about your experinces with other type of printers and printing processes?? You have problem only with this particulare printer or also with others??
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2012, 06:38:30 pm »

... Do we or don't we agree that if I take a correctly exposed shot of objects against wall...

We need to define the "correctly" part. So far you are telling us that you judge that by 1. monitor and 2. histogram, and I argued that neither method is good enough.

The closest to the correct method is either an 18 % gray card or an incident light meter. I say the "closest" because either method's accuracy still depends on the angle at which you hold the card or the meter, but it should be pretty close.

But, since you insist on us thinking "outside the box" (or "outside your room" ;)), how about mismatch between the printer profile and operating system. Since I am thinking outside the box here, i.e., outside my own zone of comfort (or knowledge), consider this just a brain-storming: I remember at some point there was some incompatibility between Epson drivers and Mac OS.

Schewe

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2012, 06:50:13 pm »

Do we or don't we agree that if I take a correctly exposed shot of objects against wall, immediately print that shot without any post processing on reasonably white/reflective paper (whatever is the right term, I hope you understand what I am trying to illustrate) and immediately put that print next to those same objects on same wall under same light I should expect that that print look close enough in brightness level to scene instead of being _significantly_ darker?

No, you shouldn't...the problem is evaluating the exposure relies upon some sort of display (either the camera LCD or the computer display). Unless you have a calibrated and profiled display and are looking at the image in a color managed application, no, it doesn't surprise me at all the print looks dark.
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Johnny_Boy

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #44 on: March 07, 2012, 06:53:18 pm »

Let's try to stick to the topic. Instead of continuing to make up scenarios that suit the answer ("shot is underexposed") let's take my word that shot is correctly exposed and find out why printer is printing it darker than it should be. Almost everybody is quick to say to me that it must be because I don't know what I am doing, very few try to help.

[Yes, I know a lot of people here are telling you how to fix the monitor and print mismatch, and you are saying you don't want to hear about that, because you are trying to match the reality to the print. I get that. My response is relevant to that point]

Zoran, you did not understand what I am trying to say. It is important that you understand how the camera metering works, so please read it again. It is relevant to the topic. Your shot is correctly exposed to the fact that it matches the tonality of 18% neutral gray card. Your room is too bright, so your camera is under exposing it to make it look "neutral". Yes, your camera is underexposing it.

What I am trying to tell you is that the camera is not made to capture the scene AS IS. It adjust the metering, so you will have perfectly looking exposure curve, but that just means you are making whites to look gray and blacks to look gray. You print that, and it will come out gray!! Then you are asking, my room is white (or black), but the print came out gray, why is my print not matching reality when I didn't do anything, and the camera captured it perfectly at 0EV?

This is WRONG assumption.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 06:57:51 pm by Johnny_Boy »
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AFairley

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #45 on: March 07, 2012, 06:59:10 pm »

No, you shouldn't...the problem is evaluating the exposure relies upon some sort of display (either the camera LCD or the computer display). Unless you have a calibrated and profiled display and are looking at the image in a color managed application, no, it doesn't surprise me at all the print looks dark.

+1
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ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2012, 07:04:23 pm »

Zorane, I understand your frustration with our attempts at guessing what is going on, but we do not have much to work with in the first place. There are too many factors in play, and the only way to deal with them is 1. standardize them 2. eliminate them one by one. One factor of standardization is profiled monitor. I understand that you either have it profiled or you do not want to discuss the monitor impact. Fair enough. The next variable is your shot of your room. Without us being in the room there is no way we can know if the shot was exposed correctly (as per Johnny Boy's comments). One way to standardize it is to take the shot of the room with an 18 % gray card in it (where the card itself would be used for metering, not the whole scene). Or, instead of the 18 % gray card, use a hand-held incident exposure meter (instead of the one built in the camera). Then we can compare the print to the scene.

Slobodane, there is one very simple reason why I don't want to discuss monitor impact: None of shots I used for test prints were postprocessed so it is not the monitor that is misleading me.

Reason why I don't believe it is metering either: I have repeatedly said all of these test prints have been taken with various cameras over the years, it is highly unlikely every single one of them was severely underexposed. If they were severely underexposed (by at least a stop) I would be able to push them stop+ to the right without blowing higlights. If I did that I guarantee you all of them would be blowing highlights all over the place.
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ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #47 on: March 07, 2012, 07:06:06 pm »

Hmm

I don't see anybody mention computer, OS, printing software, profiles ...

There are so many places something can go wrong.

Do you print directly from your camera??

What about your experinces with other type of printers and printing processes?? You have problem only with this particulare printer or also with others??

This is first time I own the printer. Previously prints were made by others and they looked fine.
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Schewe

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #48 on: March 07, 2012, 07:13:38 pm »

This is first time I own the printer. Previously prints were made by others and they looked fine.

So...you're just learning how to print.

And something is broken.

Unless you outline the EXACT STEPS you are taking to make the prints, we can't help you...it would be useful to know what printer, what apps and what OS. Also wether the images are raw images or jpegs or scans from film. There are a lot of places where something might lead to your problems. But you've spent most of your posts complaining about what you do or don't want to hear and very little giving us the info we need to help you.
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ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #49 on: March 07, 2012, 07:15:12 pm »

Zoran, you did not understand what I am trying to say. It is important that you understand how the camera metering works, so please read it again. It is relevant to the topic. Your shot is correctly exposed to the fact that it matches the tonality of 18% neutral gray card. Your room is too bright, so your camera is under exposing it to make it look "neutral". Yes, your camera is underexposing it.

OK. For the sake of discussion let's say OK and let's say I will get 18% neutral gray card and/or incident light meter and make sure it is not metering that's causing it (it will be good to have these two anyway so that won't be money and time wasted). In the meantime can I be pointed in direction of some properly exposed printer test files to see how they turn out? Thank you!
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ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #50 on: March 07, 2012, 07:21:11 pm »

So...you're just learning how to print.

And something is broken.

Unless you outline the EXACT STEPS you are taking to make the prints, we can't help you...it would be useful to know what printer, what apps and what OS. Also wether the images are raw images or jpegs or scans from film. There are a lot of places where something might lead to your problems. But you've spent most of your posts complaining about what you do or don't want to hear and very little giving us the info we need to help you.

schew, my repeated feeling that you are not paying attention and are thus not helping but the opposite is coming from fact that you repeatedly ask me questions about things I already said. You say it would be useful to know what printer when in my very first post I said it's Epson 3880. You still imply I didn't say what apps when I did say it is number of apps, including Photoshop Elements, QPrint and QuickView. You say I didn't say are images from RAW or JPG or scans from film when I more than once said they are JPG straight out of camera.

You don't see what you are doing as something that is throwing wrenches in effort to get help and would be frustrating anybody?
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 07:26:50 pm by ZoranC »
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #51 on: March 07, 2012, 07:45:36 pm »

... In the meantime can I be pointed in direction of some properly exposed printer test files to see how they turn out? Thank you!

If you google "printer test files" and then go to Images, you will see in the first two rows several standard test files.

However, not sure that is going to be of much help, as you will be comparing printouts from those files with their image on the monitor, thus bringing monitor calibration into equation again.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #52 on: March 07, 2012, 07:47:44 pm »

Slobodane, there is one very simple reason why I don't want to discuss monitor impact: None of shots I used for test prints were postprocessed so it is not the monitor that is misleading me...

Sorry to be a pest, but the logic here is wrong: whether files were post-processed or not has nothing to do with monitor calibration and thus one can not say with any certainty that the monitor is not misleading you. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but we can not be certain based on the above logic alone.

ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #53 on: March 07, 2012, 07:55:55 pm »

However, not sure that is going to be of much help, as you will be comparing printouts from those files with their image on the monitor, thus bringing monitor calibration into equation again.

I am aware that I should not be assuming monitor is good reference point so I will not be assuming it. I think looking just at print itself should give me an idea is printer OK because I doubt any print test file would be intentionally created excessively dark.
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JeffKohn

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #54 on: March 07, 2012, 08:02:38 pm »

I just skimmed the 3 pages of this thread, but I didn't see much discussion of what lighting you're viewing the print in. If your office is anything like mine, the light levels are too low to critically evaluate a print unless you have a light booth to view it in. Don't rely on ambient light in a room where the lighting levels are set to allow for comfortably viewing a computer display. You need to make sure you have sufficient light to judge the prints.  If you don't have viewing booth, try direct daylight from north-facing window.

If you really want your prints to look correct in dim light, you either need to build that compensation into your profile, or else make the adjustment to the image before printing.
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Jeff Kohn
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #55 on: March 07, 2012, 08:04:14 pm »

schew, my repeated feeling that you are not paying attention and are thus not helping but the opposite is coming from fact that you repeatedly ask me questions about things I already said. You say it would be useful to know what printer when in my very first post I said it's Epson 3880. You still imply I didn't say what apps when I did say it is number of apps, including Photoshop Elements, QPrint and QuickView. You say I didn't say are images from RAW or JPG or scans from film when I more than once said they are JPG straight out of camera.

You don't see what you are doing as something that is throwing wrenches in effort to get help and would be frustrating anybody?

Jeff Schewe (sic] is the foremost expert on printing on this forum (or else), and I would not dismiss his attempts to help as "throwing wrenches" so easily.

What Jeff is saying when asking for EXACT STEPS is, sorry for the pun, exactly that: you need to describe a single chain of events, from capture to print. Throwing everything in the equation at the same time, e.g., various cameras, various applications, etc. is raising the number of possible combinations to an unacceptable level. This thread already has close to 60 posts, so forgive us for not searching through every post to find what you said. So, give us one single chain of events to work with: camera brand X, jpeg settings Y, color space in camera Z, application A, setting in printer driver B (even better, a screen shot of it), computer C, operating system D, OS version E, etc., etc. I might have missed some, or included something superfluous, but you get the point.

ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #56 on: March 07, 2012, 08:06:29 pm »

Sorry to be a pest, but the logic here is wrong: whether files were post-processed or not has nothing to do with monitor calibration and thus one can not say with any certainty that the monitor is not misleading you. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but we can not be certain based on the above logic alone.

What I am trying to say is that I didn't introduce variable of monitor's accuracy during postprocessing into equation of judging. Those files were not touched once uploaded so if there is any reason why prints are looking darker than they should be when compared to scene itself it is either due to exposure or due to printing process but not monitor, that result will not change whether I had best or worst or no monitor at all.
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Johnny_Boy

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #57 on: March 07, 2012, 08:09:18 pm »

In the meantime can I be pointed in direction of some properly exposed printer test files to see how they turn out? Thank you!
Try this file. Print it and tell us what you see.
http://webtransformer.com/calibrate/Calibration-Composite-ICC-sRGB-Full.jpg

My guess is that it will still print too dark. But then again, you don't have the babies and bikini model in front of you, so how would you know whether the reality is matching the print?
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 08:11:48 pm by Johnny_Boy »
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ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #58 on: March 07, 2012, 08:10:01 pm »

I just skimmed the 3 pages of this thread, but I didn't see much discussion of what lighting you're viewing the print in. If your office is anything like mine, the light levels are too low to critically evaluate a print unless you have a light booth to view it in. Don't rely on ambient light in a room where the lighting levels are set to allow for comfortably viewing a computer display. You need to make sure you have sufficient light to judge the prints.  If you don't have viewing booth, try direct daylight from north-facing window.

If you really want your prints to look correct in dim light, you either need to build that compensation into your profile, or else make the adjustment to the image before printing.

Thank you for bringing that topic up. I have judged print by first putting it next to objects shot was of (same light conditions as that was just minutes after I took shot) and then by examining it under direct daylight.
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ZoranC

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Re: Prints darker than reality / what my eyes are seeing?
« Reply #59 on: March 07, 2012, 08:14:39 pm »

Jeff Schewe (sic] is the foremost expert on printing on this forum (or else), and I would not dismiss his attempts to help as "throwing wrenches" so easily.

What Jeff is saying when asking for EXACT STEPS is, sorry for the pun, exactly that: you need to describe a single chain of events, from capture to print. Throwing everything in the equation at the same time, e.g., various cameras, various applications, etc. is raising the number of possible combinations to an unacceptable level. This thread already has close to 60 posts, so forgive us for not searching through every post to find what you said. So, give us one single chain of events to work with: camera brand X, jpeg settings Y, color space in camera Z, application A, setting in printer driver B (even better, a screen shot of it), computer C, operating system D, OS version E, etc., etc. I might have missed some, or included something superfluous, but you get the point.

I was not commenting on Jeff's technical competency. What I was pointing out is why I feel that I am being spun in circles.

BTW, I do not see why camera and JPG settings would matter when result is consistently same across all of them regardless of what they are.
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