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Author Topic: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...  (Read 6522 times)

Offline Sarasocke

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to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« on: March 30, 2010, 11:26:41 AM »
the question  ::)

So, bought a new printer, the Epson P50. So far so good. Photos are clear and bright.

But it had to happen .... the colours are not the same as on my monitor. I had no problems with the Canon Pixma and never actually felt the need to calibrate my monitor.

There are all sorts of settings when printing, and I've tried so many combinations, that I'm almost out of ink. The main problems are with skin tones. On my monitor the subjects look healthy, printed they have a grey/yellow/red tinge.

If I get a calibrator (Spyder?), would I normally be able to easily set up the printer to print the same tones as I have saved in Photoshop or wherever? Or do I still have to mess about with different printer settings? The Epson help sites don't really help. Maybe you Epson users can  :-[



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Offline Simple

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 03:55:55 PM »
Carol, before you decide to spend money on calibration software, try some different paper manufacturers. Also, ensure you let printer handle the colour management etc.
I get the best results when I use the supplied Epson Easyprint program to print out my pictures.

Offline Sarasocke

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 05:44:09 PM »
Thanks Simon.

Just tried with the EasyPrint and it's almost right. It prints a little darker than the monitor photo, but that's probably my monitor.

My problem with EasyPrint is that I don't have the selection of paper sizes I have when I print with PSE. Or is there a way to print A5 and A6 ? Also my A5 and A6 are greetings cards and postcards, and they certainly aren't Epson paper. It doesn't say which setting to use on the printer, on my old pixma I just set it to "glossy" or "matt"
It must be possible to get it right through PSE....  :(

Do you guys all use the original inks?
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Offline Eileen

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 07:36:46 PM »
Hi Carol,

personally I have found that the only way to get really consistent colour management is to calibrate the monitor AND use printer profiles for each paper. I've tried every other variation known to man over some years but this is the only option which consistently works for me. Calibrating my screen alone wasn't enough. I found that it helped with many pictures but there were always some that just wouldn't come right.

Some paper suppliers offer free downloadable profiles which are worth trying in the first instance. Others will make bespoke profiles for your printer and their paper for free. Mostly you have to pay or buy something that'll calibrate the paper for you. If you use the same paper regularly it may be worth while paying a small sum for a bespoke profile. As you've noted, you can waste an awful lot of paper and ink otherwise.

I always use manufacturer's inks.

Eileen

Offline Simple

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 11:01:09 PM »
Carol,
Easyprint changes with every printer, and some updates are not as good as the older versions. My version has definitely A6 on it. I find you can adjust the size by moving the percentage slider. If I print postcards, I use photoshop and stick 4x A6 on an A4, save it as a jpg and print the A4 sheet with Easyprint. That way I get 4 postcards from an A4. Since I am a tight git, I also use compatible inks like these
http://www.inkredible.co.uk/Default.aspx?View=Offers&OffersView=OffersListView&CategoryID=2653
The Paper I use is cheap paper from Lidl. 280gsm. End result is very good and although not exactly like the screen, it is very close. (For big professional jobs I use internet labs.)
BTW If you click on Image Enhance you get several options. I always use Photoenhance and sometimes use Vivid and Clear (not with skintones!) You can also up the brightness slider a bit if the pics are too dark.
It works for me...

Offline Hinfrance

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2010, 07:28:55 AM »
Hi Carol.

I will not say it . . .

This is exactly what I went through with the Epsons I bought. In the case of the first allegedly 'high quality' one I used two sets of ink before I gave up. I tried five different brands of paper including two Epson ones, but everything came out with a cast no matter what I did. And that included downloading specific ICC profiles. Sunsets came out varying shades of purple, reds were absolutely hopelessly dull, colours generally all over the place. And my monitor is calibrated. 

Their high end units may indeed be very good but your tale just reinforces my negative view of their consumer products.

I use the Lidl paper for snapshots too, and I do find that the printer requires a little tweaking to bring the prints more alive. With the Epson (yes Epson) matte paper that I use for framed prints, the results are accurate just with the usual Canon built in matte paper profile.

I hope you can suss this out before the printer gets chucked through the window.
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Offline ABERS

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2010, 08:58:52 AM »
It took a while for me to arrive at my current method of printing, which I find works extremely well and produces prints that I'm well pleased with.

Some of the things I'm about to say may be total balderdash to to those technocrats out there, as you will have gathered I don't have a technical bent, but what I do works for me.

Calibration of the screen has no effect on the quality of print, although I calibrate it about twice a month with a Huey. It's the relationship between the printer and the paper that allows you to get what you want.

I print using lightroom and the profiles that are supplied by the paper manufacturer, which is currently Permajet.
In the lightroom print module where it says manage by printer that's where I alter it from that to the paper profile. After satisfying myself every thing is as It should be, I then press 'Print'. When the print panel appears press properties, I go thought the size, type of paper panels and then press advanced. If it is a colour print I then press 'best photo', tick ICM, input properties Adobe RGB (1998) then print.

The print is as close to the screen as possible.

For B+W prints I follow the exact same procedure except in the advanced box I tick best B+W and then choose either cold, neutral or warm as required. The warm tones can be altered to suit.

I would never use any other than manufacturers inks. Since I only print for entries for exhibitions or the occasional sale I only use what I regard as quality paper.

P.S. Toned B+W are printed as colour.

Offline SimonW

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2010, 09:07:40 AM »
I've never found anything to complain about with my Epson printer. But (as you obviously can't post examples to illustrate this problem) I wonder how subtle or obvious your problems are?

For example, on page 55 of the latest "Amateur Photographer" a photo has been converted to monochrome and then toned. At first sight I thought they were identical, but after reading the text I could see the difference - the "monochrome" one looks green to me! So - perhaps commercial printers don't always get it right either, or more likely it's my own eyes that need calibrating!

Simon Warren
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Offline Mick

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2010, 09:50:13 AM »
Try turning off the "Photo Enhance" setting in the epson driver.  I think this is turned on by default, and always made my prints darker.
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Offline Sarasocke

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2010, 09:52:46 AM »
A lot of messing about for sure. The printer hasn't reached the "chuck out of the window" stage yet.

What I've decided is to go for a calibrator - I shall try to get one second hand. Then I can be sure that what I see on the screen is in fact what is saved in PS or whatever. I guess that should be the first step.

The best photo so far has been using the EasyPrint, maybe once I've calibrated the screen, I will find that it IS in fact printing what's in the computer  :)

The A5/A6 business was one of the reasons I opted for the Epson. The Pixma didn't work with these sizes and I have used the trick with A4 in the past, like Simon suggests. Strange that that these sizes are an option when printing the PSE but not when using EasyPrint.

I don't as yet have any "big" professional jobs, just little ones. I think I mentioned it already in another thread - I gave someone a CD with their photos a couple of months ago, and they had them printed by a cheap online company. The results were horrendous! Obviously I can't stop people doing this, but I want to be able to guarantee, that if I print a photo myself, then the results are as they should be. Using a high-end printing service myself wouldn't be so useful, as I often only need one or two prints and they are sometimes need immediately - like last week I did some photos for a young chap who needed them for job applications, four photos on a 10x15 and that printed 2-3 times was enough. He went away happy.

Anyway, I'll let you know how I get on after calibration :)
If there are any more tips, I'm all ears (or rather eyes ;) )
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Offline Forseti

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2010, 11:06:33 AM »
What Alan says about the calibration of the screen having no effect on the quality of the print is only correct up to a point because in order to compare the quality of the final output i.e. print it can only be achieved when the basis for that comparison i.e. the monitor is correct to start off with otherwise it's a hit and miss situation - sometimes you can be lucky whilst at other times there is a considerable difference. I myself use 3 different applications for printing - Qimage, Lightroom and of course the printers (Canon MP620) own software.

My experience has shown that the resultant prints are pretty much the same when either outputted from QImage or the printers own software. However, in both these applications I have the printer manage the colour - in other words ICM is checked during the printer setup. In this way there is no conflict between applications - the printer is managing the colours only.

The difference comes when printing from an image editing application such as Photoshop or Lightroom (it would be the same with Elements) as here there is a possibility of a conflict occuring. Here the choice comes down to either having the application (Photoshop/Elements/Lightroom) managing the colour or the printer managing it - you can't have both. If you opt for the application to manage the colour i.e. output then it is imperative that ICM is unchecked in setting up the printer otherwise there is the possibility of a conflict with both the application plus the printer competing for colour management often with disastrous and unpredictable results and it this unpredictability that first and foremost nobody wants and for which a solution is easily found - either the application manages the colours OR the printer manages the colours but NOT both.

Only by having a calibrated monitor can one be sure that the mixture of colours being displayed (the RGB channels) are correct in addition to Luminance (120) and Gamma 2.2 for a PC. A calibrated monitor, which is the first impression that you get of your image, must be displaying correctly otherwise any following edits may well result in corrections being made e.g. to saturation which in reality are not needed - it is only your  non calibrated  monitor showing too much saturation.  When the image is being correctly displayed then the application (Photoshop/Elements/Lightroom) usually is successful in sending the correct information to the printer with the user only having to ensure that the correct driver settings are chosen i.e. paper and to ensure that ICM is unchecked so that only the application is managing the colours/output.  Of course it should go without saying that the driver settings chosen e.g. Canon PR-101 or Photo Paper plus are based on the assumption that you are also using the paper manufacturers own inks. If not, and one uses third party inks, then it's in the lap of the Gods - sometimes lucky and other times not.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2010, 11:08:17 AM by Forseti »
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Offline Sarasocke

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2010, 12:51:00 PM »
Huey or Spyder ?

Is there a big difference between Spyder 3 Express, Pro and Elite ?

Would Spyder 2 be OK? I may be able to get this second hand.

Thanks !
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Offline Forseti

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2010, 03:35:11 PM »
Huey or Spyder ?



Or how about an i1Display2? If you are using say a Canon printer, using Canon paper and Canon inks then there is really nothing to be gained by purchasing a calibration device capable of producing printer profiles - you've already go them. If on the other hand you are using paper and inks for which the manufacturer does not provide a profile then there may be some benefit but it should be remembered that you need to calibrate a printer profile for every different paper in addition to every batch of ink you purchase. This is usually achieved by first scanning in a print and often more hassle than it's worth.
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Offline Sarasocke

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2010, 04:05:30 PM »
Prices given by Amazon

i1Display2 : 198 euros
Spyder3 Express : 95,03 euros
Spyder3 Pro : 134 euros
Spyder 3 Elite : 178 euros
Huey : 103 euros

That's why I was wondering if the Spyder Express would be sufficient and what the difference to Huey or Spyder2 would be.

Sorry if I'm being a bit dim here, but I'd really just like to be able to say that the colours I'm seeing on the monitor are real  :-\
I'm spending so much money at the moment, I really have to watch it or I'll have to get a "proper" job. Not easy at my age  ::)
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Offline Sarasocke

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Re: to calibrate or not to calibrate, that is ...
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2010, 04:18:46 PM »
Me again ...

I have the possiblity of a 2nd hand Spyder2 Express for 60 euros, a Spyder2 Pro for 70 or a Huey for 59.

I'm tending towards the Spyder 2 Express ....
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