Printing with NX2 verses Photoshop

Started Jan 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Tenstorms
New MemberPosts: 16Gear list
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Re: I use PS and NX2
In reply to mokeiko, Jun 12, 2013

Oke, I felt I needed to reply here and I hope this is of use to somebody.

After buying an Epson 3800 this week I found out a bug still exists when printing directly from NX2 (latest 3 versions have this problem). I have been on this for two nights and approached every angle to find a solution, up to diving in the color profiles themselves.

Here is what I found.

What happens is when one choses the color management option in the print menu of NX2 and clicking the print button we go to the Epson/Apple print menu. Here the 'colorsync/epson color managed' option is not greyed out. This basically means a double color managed process...This would not be so bad if the prints where correct but I cannot get it spot on.

Photoshop (CS5 and 6) set to managing color in its print menu show the 'colorsync/epson managed' greyed out in the Epson/Apple pinter menu and gives me spot on prints.
How ever the photoshop soft proof preview does little for me. Only if I choose the 'show paper white' option I get some sort of a change which is always darker than my print. Useless sadly (tips welcome). Also to print from PS I need to save from NX2 to Tiff, open in PS, throw away the Tiff afterwards, etc. I really want to skip this extra step. For now it is the only solution (besides printing from other software, haven't tried but it would be the same principle) to get the best prints. Read on.

The Method of not letting NX2 color manage and choosing the 'use source profile' option does work as described in this thread but the prints I get are off in color, it is all a bit bland. Hence this is with the standard Epson paper profiles.

Back to the NX2 'color manage' path... When selecting this you are inclined to choose the paper profile for the output/printer profile and that is where the catch is... Any Epson paper profile (name starting with Pro38...) is bugged. As soon as you press print you will see some washed out preview in the Epson/Apple print menu and it will be printed this way whatever settings you make in the print menu... Either the profile is bugged or Apple does some conversion at opening the following print menu. (I can not confirm this to happen with other Epson printer types since I have only one printer and didn't bother to install other profiles, please do mention if you find out).
BUT... when choosing any other profile as output/printer profile in the NX2 print menu and clicking print will bring you to the Epson/Apple print menu with a proper preview. At this point I thought I had it fixed. And I came close... Basically when selecting the image profile as output I get a print exactly when using 'source profile' method in NX2 menu, missing a bit of color, just bland. However one profile gave me a very close result, the Epson profile: 'Pro3800 3800C 3850 Standard.icc' For my test image it came 95%+ of the Photoshop print, a tat darker and a tiny bit less color in some places. For a lot of people this will do, I am sure.
I think the difference comes from the double color managed flow: First NX2 converts from image profile (in my case Nikon Adobe RGB 4...) to Epson 'Pro3800 3800C 3850 Standard.icc' and next the Epson/Apple print menu converts that to the paper profile I chose in the 'print settings' part.

So I figured if I could get the 'Pro3800 3800C 3850 Standard.icc' to somehow point to the specific paper profile the last conversion would not take place and I'd be set. The Apple ColorSync tool let's you do this. However the print I got was the same close one and still did not match the perfect Photoshop print. I then tried messing with the profile filename and some other profile content (on copies) but to no avail.

I am afraid my quest is over, I read somewhere this issue still exist in Mac OS 10.8 (I have 10.7) so I will not try that.

My resources for information about this:

The thing is, I think, the NX2 print menu does not have the option/code to override the Epson/Apple colorsync functioning. My guess is NX2 needs that tiny bit of code that let's Photoshop do that. If you read the Luminous landscape source you see that Photoshop had this problem for a while but fixed it and this was years ago! The sad thing is it seems to work just fine on windows machines.. Is the Apple era of trustworthy colors finally over?

For those wanting to print as close to perfection as possible from NX2 on an Epson use these settings:

  • NX2 menu: set 'color management' and printer profile to 'Pro3800 3800C 3850 Standard.icc' or the equivalent for your printer type and the intent setting either to perceptual or relative colorimetric and click black point compensation (too be honest I did not see these choices make a difference with my test image).
  • Epson/Apple print menu: color matching menu chose ColorSync, Printer settings menu chose your paper, click 16bit, color and color settings are greyed out.
  • Print.

I am going to go the Photoshop path. Happy I do not print much on a daily bases. I did found out the soft proof in NX2 is very good, I like it a lot and it could save me a lot of wasted prints if only color managing would really function from the print menu... on some images there is a huge difference when choosing perceptual vs relative colorimetric and even not choosing the black point compensation gives the better result (preview) sometimes. I guess I need to soft-proof in NX2 and use that outcome in the PS color match print settings.. ah the hassle..

If I do find out more I will be back.

GL

 Tenstorms's gear list:Tenstorms's gear list
Canon ELPH 300 HS Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II +14 more
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