Make Your “Colorblind” Computer See As You Do; Datacolor’s Spyder3Elite/Pro And Print Profiling Products Page 2
The one serious detraction I found in using the new software is the use of a black background for the screen design. Although I understand the rationale for this--accurate screen measurement because the black limits lateral light bleeding--I see no reason a black surround could not be popped up only for the reading function, allowing a more neutral medium gray for the other screens. This would make text reading clearer and easier to follow by most users, and would not provide the false exaggeration of color brilliance in the final before and after evaluation of SpyderProof. The black just reminds me of so many early, badly designed, stereotypically clichéd websites of the early Internet years.
Spyder3Print developed as a complement to display calibration and profiling with the company's PrintFIX PRO. The Spyder3 iteration of PrintFIX PRO now includes an easier handling measuring device, including a physical guide that makes reading test print color patches both faster and more accurate. For many photographers the latest development in Spyder3Print will result in a far more refined neutral gray profile performance. This more refined gray neutrality, besides assuring cleaner color, free of minor color cast, makes reproducing a gray scale file converted to RGB more accurate. With printers like the Epson R2400 and Canon PIXMA Pro9500, adding Extended Gray calibration to a profile provides more refined print tone control. It also makes printing black and white with a neutral gray without a color cast possible with photo-quality inkjet printers that have no specific support for black and white printing, using all colors of ink.
The bottom line is that photographers using Datacolor's Spyder3 for
both display and print profiling can now enjoy consistent, reliable color performance
with accurately refined profiles at both ends of the process, from display to
final print output. But, you say, I have printer profiles supplied by the printer
manufacturer! Unfortunately, canned printer profiles will only get you in the
ballpark, not to home plate. Printers are mass-produced devices and each one
has its own character and personality. It's like renting a car. You choose
a make and model because it's the same as the car you own, and get in
and drive away to find it feels and drives nothing like what you are used to
with your own car.
At the end of the day, color management with a Spyder3 for your display and Spyder3Print can pay for itself, especially as you make more and more prints. It reduces or even eliminates unexpected print results that would otherwise require you to throw a print in the round file, and virtually eliminates printing by trial and error.
Evaluation & Recommendation
From the many e-mails I receive from readers, the most frequent problem I am asked to respond to is why a photographer's print output is not the quality they hoped for and expected, usually in terms of what they see displayed on screen. Many of the messages are accompanied by language that indicates the photographer is fairly new to digital photography and is somewhat disappointed their computer doesn't produce perfect images automatically. Sadly, they have probably seen too many movies where computers seem to be human-like and able to read the user's mind to produce perfect results, as if by magic. Frankly, a computer is a dumb machine that needs instructions, in detail, for everything it is asked to do. That's especially true when it comes to color management.
In terms of the satisfaction of getting print output that is predictably matched
to what I expect from what I see on screen, the Spyder3Elite/Pro display and
the Spyder3Print are more than worthwhile investments. They are also much less
demanding of time and learning than many things in digital photography. And
if you make very many prints, especially larger ones, the system will pay for
itself in ink and paper saved by not having to make prints over to get them
For more information, contact Digital Color Solutions, 5 Princess Rd., Lawrenceville, NJ 08648; (800) 554-8688; www.datacolor.com.
David Brooks can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.