Monitor calibration for print output

Started Jan 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
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soloryb Senior Member • Posts: 2,315
Monitor calibration for print output

I just got an Epson 3880 printer to replace my HP B9180. I used Xrite ColorMunki Photo to calibrate the new printer and found that the print colors didn't match the monitor's. This is after calibration of the monitor and using the correct printer/paper profile (both the Epson stock ICC and a ColorMunki-created .icm). I spent hours on the phone with Epson support in an attempt to get even a close color match, but nothing seemed to fix the problem. Specifically, there was a strong color shift in the orange that really created havoc with print flesh tones and browns. I posted the problem on this forum and got several good suggestions, but nothing seemed to work. I was about to return the printer but first decided to do some Web research to see if anyone else had experienced this problem. It turns out the issue is quite ubiquitous among folks who output their work mostly in prints.

Then, I came across this article in Scientific American written by Jim Perkins and it not only fixed my problem but completely explained just why such color matching problems occur so frequently.

My solution: (This to be done within the calibration software. In my case, ColorMunki.)

Set the monitor gamma to 1.8 (Yes, even on a non-Apple product) and the target white point temperature to D50 or 5000 deg K (yes, this is way lower than the default monitor setting of D65 or 6500 deg K). You could also try D55; just set it lower than that bluish D65 value so that the monitor color temperature appears warmer.

[My insert: Lower the target luminescence to as close as you can get to 90 to reduce the likelihood of 'dark prints.']

When you're finished calibrating, your monitor should look really changed. Mine appears darker and has a much warmer (lower Kelvin temperature) appearance. It ain't as pretty and bright as it was at D65, but that's not the point. If your output is prints, like mine is, then this allows you to see and edit images that more closely match what prints in the real world look like.

I am now able to view and edit in LR and PS and the soft-proofs actually look a lot like the final prints. The colors aren't perfectly matched of course, but they're closer than I've ever been able to get them to be before. The monitor image luminescence is still greater than the print, but even this difference is lessened now.

Be aware that the above monitor calibration settings are great for print output. It almost certainly is not good for Web publication or viewing on any back-lighted display device. A simple solution is to make two different monitor calibrations, one for printing/editing and one for general use and Web publication. Then you can go to Control Panel > Color Management and switch monitor profiles as your needs dictate.

I really hope this helps someone out. Oh, and I now get to keep this nifty new Epson 3880.

 soloryb's gear list:soloryb's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D +9 more
Nikon D50
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