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12-17-2013, 11:36 AM   #1
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Seeking Fast & Simple Answer: Budget Calibrating

On the one hand, I've spent quite a ton of dineros already on camera gear and whatnot, so why scrimp and save when it comes to insuring good final output? But my first inclination towards something I may very likely have to do only once or twice is to keep expenses as minimal as possible.


So the topic of screen and printer calibration came up in another thread, and I want to ask, "What is the cheapest munki gizmo set-up out there?"


Is the Windows built-in calibration really so awful?


On a side note, as far as 8x10 prints and smaller, is my all-in-one inkjet really terribly deficient compared to those high-end multi-well printers?


Doesn't paper weight and the level of glossy sheen finish have a lot to do with the look of the prints?


If someone says go out and get this and that and yes and no for just $72 from Acme or whatever, or download this amazingly free software or whatever, I'll be real happy!


Not trying to be commercial grade, but do want print colors to match!


When I start wading through all the info and instructions on good and decent printing it starts to seem like being a print-meister should be a whole separate profession, with advanced degrees from Yakima State or whatever!


Thanks Friends!

12-17-2013, 11:54 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
"What is the cheapest munki gizmo set-up out there?"
I use Spyder4 but there are others that get good reviews. Pricing is less than $100 if you don't go with the "elite" package. All I calibrate is the monitors, not the printer
QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
Is the Windows built-in calibration really so awful?
Yes
QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
is my all-in-one inkjet really terribly deficient compared to those high-end multi-well printers?
Probably, but only you can really say. Get an 8x10 professionally printed at a good print shop and then print the same image on your printer. Which looks better?
I print casual shots on a Canon i9900 but for anything I sell it goes out to a pro printer.
QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
Doesn't paper weight and the level of glossy sheen finish have a lot to do with the look of the prints?
Yes, and each paper/ink/printer combination will be different and require adjustments or profiles to match
QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
If someone says go out and get this and that and yes and no for just $72 from Acme or whatever, or download this amazingly free software or whatever, I'll be real happy!
I am sure you would. So would a lot of people.
QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
When I start wading through all the info and instructions on good and decent printing it starts to seem like being a print-meister should be a whole separate profession, with advanced degrees from Yakima State or whatever!
Printing is a different aspect and that's why I let professionals do mine. I do know photographers that sell fine art and do their own printing, some like it some have been grumbling that after ink/paper/printer costs it would be cheaper to just have it done at the printer. I don't do enough prints to justify a good printer so I just let the shop do it. I batch as many prints as I can and that saves me money on both shipping and printing costs.
12-17-2013, 12:01 PM   #3
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My simple answer:
Get a Color Munki Display (or any brand in the same range of price)
Try to find a paper for whom an ICC profile exist for your printer (useful if you have a software and/or printer that let you choose one) . I personnaly go the Ilford website, check for avalaible profil, find one that match my printer.

With this, my prints are WAY better than before.

The screen calibration is the "minimum requirement" for anybody taking photos.
12-17-2013, 05:02 PM   #4
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I use a Spyder 4 Elite to calibrate my CRT. I've held off getting a good high-end printer because I haven't printed enough to make it cost effective. Currently it's cheaper for me to send a print to Bay Photo or general stuff to Costco and get decent to great results than it is to have a dedicated $1,500 - $2,000 printer gathering dust on my desk.

But still, if you're going to print then you must have a calibrated monitor. Your only other option is to go to a camera shop that allows you use their equipment for editing. A local Mike's camera offers this as did Ritz/Wolf Camera but they're down to just 9 stores nation wide.

12-17-2013, 05:15 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I found a used Huey Pro that looked (and was packaged) like it was new. I paid somewhere around US$100 delivered. For what it is worth, the biggest difference between the Pro and non-Pro unit is the Pro software works with multiple monitors. The hardware sensor is the same regardless which version you purchase.

A software-only monitor calibration is better than nothing, but just barely. Software-only depends on your brain, and frankly, your brain lies to you about levels and white balance. Your brain has the equivalent of automatic gain control and AWB with no easy way to turn it off.

Printer calibration is either free or costs a tidy sum of money depending on your viewpoint. Printers need to be calibrated for the specific inks used and the exact paper used. Custom calibration isn't exactly cheap. The tools to do it yourself are rarely worth the cost, and the companies that do it for you aren't afraid to charge for it. But there is a free way to have a properly calibrated printer - sort of. Use ONLY the manufacturer's inks and paper. The manufacturers actually spend a chunk of money to build the proper values into their drivers to match their inks and papers. The 'sort of' aspect is of course that the manufacturers' supplies generally cost a lot more than generic supplies.

Okay, you don't want to spend the money right now on either hardware-based monitor calibration or printer calibration? Buy Photoshop Elements, shoot RAW (DNG) and use the included Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) tool for automatically setting white balance based on something in the image with equal values for all three color channels (I personally like to use flags with white in them that are lighted by the same light as my main subject). One-click and you are done. Now, no matter WHAT the white balance looks like on your monitor, DON'T change it. You can adjust exposure, contrast, etc., but NOT white balance. You have to trust the software. And do all your printing using an outside service. Doing this will give you a pretty good chance of decent prints.

Bottom line is the old saw about "Pay me now or pay me later".
12-17-2013, 05:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for that info! I will have to read it a few times, but I think I get it sort of to start with!
12-17-2013, 06:10 PM   #7
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Here's a link to a YouTube channel that has great tutorials on camera calibration, monitor calibration and printer calibration: MAC-On- Campus - YouTube
12-17-2013, 06:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrankC Quote
Here's a link to a YouTube channel that has great tutorials on camera calibration, monitor calibration and printer calibration: MAC-On- Campus - YouTube

Thanks. I bookmarked it. Will definitely ck it out!

12-17-2013, 10:11 PM   #9
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I use the Spyder 2 express. Spyder4 express is only 79.00 at B&H(express can be used for single monitor only). Monitor calibration with a sensor is the minimum you should do if you want to edit and print at home.

Also, I bought a Canon Pixma Pro-100 for around 70.00 dollars after rebate. There are still rebates available at Amazon. Buy the printer for 365.00 and paper for 47.00 and receive a 300.00 American Express gift card. I got my rebate in less than 2 weeks. Offer good till 12/31/13. Rebate Form:http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html/ref=amb_link_384991702_3?location=htt...d_i=1001423381

It is an 8 color (5 colors and three gray/blacks) printer that does 13x19 inch prints. It is excellent. Another thing I do is buy my paper from Red River paper. The have icc profiles available for just about any paper/printer combination. I use Lightroom to print with the profile and can say my prints come out very close to what's on screen. Rarely need to print twice.
12-17-2013, 10:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mdave13 Quote
I use the Spyder 2 express. Spyder4 express is only 79.00 at B&H(express can be used for single monitor only). Monitor calibration with a sensor is the minimum you should do if you want to edit and print at home.

Also, I bought a Canon Pixma Pro-100 for around 70.00 dollars after rebate. There are still rebates available at Amazon. Buy the printer for 365.00 and paper for 47.00 and receive a 300.00 American Express gift card. I got my rebate in less than 2 weeks. Offer good till 12/31/13. Rebate Form:http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html/ref=amb_link_384991702_3?location=htt...d_i=1001423381

It is an 8 color (5 colors and three gray/blacks) printer that does 13x19 inch prints. It is excellent. Another thing I do is buy my paper from Red River paper. The have icc profiles available for just about any paper/printer combination. I use Lightroom to print with the profile and can say my prints come out very close to what's on screen. Rarely need to print twice.

Thanks to all it looks like it will cost about $100 minimum to get her done. I guess that's okay...
12-18-2013, 04:49 AM   #11
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I do not see the reluctance to spend a few hundred on a calibration tool. If you are printing more than 8.5x11 or A4 (depending on where you live) your ink costs are quite high. I have both an all in one (which has a 5 color ink system plus black) and a dedicated photo printer that has 13x19 inch paper capacity which has a more complicated 5 colours plus 3 different black and grey inks

I have spent much more over the life of the printers than the cost of a calibration tool. I print for myself and occasionally for my family in one or two shots a month. For simple snaps, I go out to costco and just batch process (those I don't care about color accuracy to any great extent)

Like others here, I use a known white object in the shot to set white balance. I use PSP for this, and it works well, but you generally need to change the overall color temperature as it tends to be on the cool side and I prefer a slightly warmer tone bur....
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