Spectrophotometer vs Colorimeter for profiling printer

Robert Graham

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I am trying to determine what the differences is between the two devices that would produce the better quality printer profiles. Specifically, I have two products to choose between. One has a good spectrophotometer but very limiting software (Colormunki Photo) and a colorimeter with software that has good profiling features (SpyderPrint). I do understand there is an open source app for the Colormunki that akso has good profiling features albeit cryptic UI.

So do I choose good hardware over very limited software, not demonstrating the potential of the measuring device, or a package with a colorimeter of undetermined quality but with very well-featured software? I will be using the printer profiling package to profile papers for the Canon PIXMA Pro-10, both for factory supplied paper and other popular brands like Ilford, Red River, and other papers.
 

Emulator

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All very much open to discussion. My personal progress was Spyder 3 and Spyder 3 Print SR and then to ColorMunki Photo which I felt gave a definite improvement in the profiling. I then started using the ColorMunki with Argyll CMS for a wider range of options in profiling, augmented with DispcalGUI for excellent display calibration.
 

3dogs

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I just love this kind of question. You open with a request to get an explanation of the difference between the two systems then state that you already have a choice to make based on inferior Munki software.
So on that basis you are already decided are you not?
Both measurement "devices" have their strengths, and both have weakness.
My suggestion is to go with the Spyder and experience junk for yourself, so down the road when you want better, the weakness of the Munki software will be a revalation and will be not such a bitter pill to swallow having spent double to get to the outcome us wot went Munki first up paid!
On a serious note, for all its obvious shortcomings Munki does a great job @Emulator gets great results by using complimentary software. If I was starting again I would gladly pay the ×3 price for a pro unit as it will pay for itself quicktime in saved paper, ink and gastric juices!!!.....you may wonder what gastric juices have to do with it......simple! For me learning Argyll would involve the generation of decidedly acidic gastric juices in volumes detramental to my overall wellbeing.
Good luck.
Cheers
Andrew
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Well, I think there may be some confusion about profiling software. The profiling process takes some steps - creating a RGB value table, printing those colors, measuring those colors, and creating a correction table so that the same RGB values create the same color with different inks, on different media. Up to here there is not much for the user to adjust in the creation of such profile/correction table. But such profile does not give in all cases a percptually pleasant printout, so in an additional step software gives more or less options to 'tune' the profile for particular viewing conditions e.g. a very light or pretty dark viewing environment, or taking the color temp into account at which the printout is viewed - daylight , flourescent light, incandescant light etc, and that's the area where profiling software varies. Such printout tuning actually is not the prime job of a color profile to create a colorimetrically correct output, but fits quite well into the workflow of lots of people, they typically don't do such adjustments in Photoshop prior to printing, and let the profile do such job, since most are not even aware of the necessity of such adjustments to get a good printout. So considering this you might choose a software with more or less of such feature options. When it comes to the sensor you may argue that the eye is like a 3 stimulus RGB sensor so a colorimeter with 3 color channels should suffice. The problem is that the eye/the visual system can see the same color for lots of different spectral combinations, and would see a different color with a different color balance. A spectrophotometer measures the spectral contents of a given color, and can calculate from there the percieved color. There are situations where both types of instruments would measure about the same - typically with continuous spectra, but as soon as the spectra become discrete, with gaps, very uneven etc then only the spectrophotometer can give correct results, that can be from flourescent light , optical brighteners in the paper, slightly flourescent inks , so for the sensors I very much would prefer a spectrophotometer over a colorimeter
 

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Geezz @Ink stained Fingers you just took all of the fun out of being one eyed about my Munki. Great explanation-thanks
Now i am a well informed-one eyed- spectrophotometer snob.....with attitude.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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oh well, the Spyder is now at version 5, I started off with a Spyder 2, at that time without any stripe mode, I switched over to a print profiler package from color confidence with an i1iO, that made a difference in profile quality although there was about nothing to adjust in that software eccept some D50 or D65 settings. But the real fun starts with an i1Pro robot arm, that lets you use some more target fields without the hazzle reading them all manually. It's like with cameras - which lenses do you think you need and you are willing to pay for
 

Robert Graham

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Well, I think there may be some confusion about profiling software. The profiling process takes some steps - creating a RGB value table, printing those colors, measuring those colors, and creating a correction table so that the same RGB values create the same color with different inks, on different media. Up to here there is not much for the user to adjust in the creation of such profile/correction table. But such profile does not give in all cases a percptually pleasant printout, so in an additional step software gives more or less options to 'tune' the profile for particular viewing conditions e.g. a very light or pretty dark viewing environment, or taking the color temp into account at which the printout is viewed - daylight , flourescent light, incandescant light etc, and that's the area where profiling software varies. Such printout tuning actually is not the prime job of a color profile to create a colorimetrically correct output, but fits quite well into the workflow of lots of people, they typically don't do such adjustments in Photoshop prior to printing, and let the profile do such job, since most are not even aware of the necessity of such adjustments to get a good printout. So considering this you might choose a software with more or less of such feature options. When it comes to the sensor you may argue that the eye is like a 3 stimulus RGB sensor so a colorimeter with 3 color channels should suffice. The problem is that the eye/the visual system can see the same color for lots of different spectral combinations, and would see a different color with a different color balance. A spectrophotometer measures the spectral contents of a given color, and can calculate from there the percieved color. There are situations where both types of instruments would measure about the same - typically with continuous spectra, but as soon as the spectra become discrete, with gaps, very uneven etc then only the spectrophotometer can give correct results, that can be from flourescent light , optical brighteners in the paper, slightly flourescent inks , so for the sensors I very much would prefer a spectrophotometer over a colorimeter
I have an idea. How about the Colormunki together with the purchase of a good profile editor? What do you guys think? I can always use the same profile editor for future, more expensive spectrophotometer purchases.

Any suggestions on the profile editor? Maybe it will also allow me to generate more specific profile targets to measure?
 

RogerB

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I have an idea. How about the Colormunki together with the purchase of a good profile editor? What do you guys think? I can always use the same profile editor for future, more expensive spectrophotometer purchases.

Any suggestions on the profile editor? Maybe it will also allow me to generate more specific profile targets to measure?
I think all the experts agree that editing output profiles is a bad idea..........

The ColorMunki with its native software will give you pretty good profiles. If you want to be more "involved" in the process then the suggestion by @The Hat will get you there.
 

palombian

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I think all the experts agree that editing output profiles is a bad idea..........

The ColorMunki with its native software will give you pretty good profiles. If you want to be more "involved" in the process then the suggestion by @The Hat will get you there.
My 2nd hand ColorMunki allowed me to print with any paper/ink/printer available and paid itself back.
It does not produce exactly the same prints on every combination, but it gives a good starting point.
When I compare the generated profiles with the official ones from printer or paper manufacturers, they are very close, IMO the "very limiting" software is not so bad.

If ever I feel the need, I always can choose to enter the Argyll (under)world :confused:.
 
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