Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Counterpoint: Extreme Profiling or ImagePrint?


Photo Courtesy of B&H Photo
ColorChecker Targets Sold Separately

If you read my review of the i1XTreme Color Management Solution then you know that while I loved the results from the product, I really wasn’t a happy camper three hours into scanning 32 rows of patches and only being on row 21. In fact, during that time I started thinking – why the hell am I doing this?


ImagePrint Profiles are easily accessed over the web via Profile Manager
and if they don’t have the profile you need they’ll make it for you!

Well the reason for creating your own profile is so you can have a more accurate profile than you are using today so that you can create a print that makes the most of what your printer is capable of doing. With this in mind, if ColorByte ImagePrint bypasses the driver and controls the printer directly using the profiles it created with a $10k spectrophotometer and thousands of patches, then that theoretically should be the best results you can get right? In my opinion, and many others, the answer is yes!

While ImagePrint user interface leaves a lot to be desired, you can’t argue with the print results I got on the LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic paper. I’ve been unable to generate my own profile that can surpass what ImagePrint can do, so that begs the question – why spend several thousand dollars getting a great calibration system and software and still have to spend days building the perfect profiles, when I can spend a fraction of that and get better results?

I’m as cheap as the next guy so $800+ and up for ImagePrint seemed outrageously expensive to me at first. Now that I can see how much a proper color management system and software costs, I’d say leave profile generation to those who really need it and get ImagePrint instead.

Conclusion

If you still need to calibrate your scanner or camera LCD, then i1Basic seems like a more cost effective option along with ImagePrint and you’ll still end up over a thousand ahead of the game!

Don’t get me wrong that the i1XTreme is the way to go if you are going to go nuts doing paper profiles, but I think it’s probably time to leave those tools to the experts who make or sell those profiles to us rather than being the person who tries to generate them in the first place.

If all of this is too much for you, then you aren’t alone. I’d advise that you just check out my color management article and go with the ColorMunki until you are in a position to consider more advanced options. The ColorMunki is a great product with great simplicity, so I keep mine around so I can always do a quick and headache free calibration.

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