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Tim Olive wrote: > Is anyone using the Colortron for calibrating monitor/printers? Are its > results satisfactory for the needs of inkjet printing? > > Or is the X-Rite DTP92 with Optical software (both for monitor calibration) > and, say, Monaco EZ Color for output calibration a better way to go? > > I used the Colortron two years ago in a limited manner, before ICC was a > standard. The Colortron (now owned by X-Rite) is a good and useful instrument. It can be used for both monitor optmizing and patch reading, and last time I checked, the price was around $850, give or take. To do the same job with the higher-end X-Rite instruments, you'd need the DTP-92 (for monitor optimizing) and something like the X-Rite Digital Swatchbook (for reading single patches at a time). The combined price of those two instruments is something like $2000 (monitor puck about $650, Swatchbook about $1350). The difference between the two systems lies in the precision level at which you wish to work; the Colortron has a precision of Delta 3, the DTP-92 and Digital Swatchbook each work within Delta 1 (where a Delta 1 is the theoretical minimum difference in color density that a human eye can detect, which means that the lower number reflects significantly higher precision). In my personal opinion, the DTP-92 does a better job of getting multiple monitors to look the same, for example. For a picky photographer at Tim's level, I'd guess that he'd notice the difference between the Colortron and the other units. Others won't. If you're just starting out with color management, it might be a great idea to pick up the Colortron first, and then, if you start getting picky, get the more precise instruments. The Colortron doesn't go to waste by any means. You can actually disconnect the Colortron from its electronic tether and run it on batteries to record colors and then reconnect and feed the results back into the computer, something you can't do with the higher-precision instruments. If you get serious about calibration, you're going to want to recalibrate fairly often -- both on a regular basis as things wear and change, and as you get new batches of ink and substrate. And if you use more than one ink/substrate combination, you'll just multiply the number of calibrations you'll do by the number of combinations. If you're going to produce many ICC profiles, you'll not want to take the time to read individual patches, but will want to go with something like the DTP-41 Patch Strip Reader (about $2500) instead of the Digital Swatchbook. With that little goody, you simply feed strips of patches through the machine, and when you're doing up to 800 patches (recommended by the better applications) to produce an ICC profile, that can save LOTS of time. The next step up after that is to one of the Macbeth-Gertrag Spectralinos ($10K?), which simply requires that you put the patch printout on the device's table and let the magic arm do the walking among the patches. I haven't used Monaco EZ Color to produce ICC profiles, but I have used several higher end bits of software to do so, including Linocolor's PrintOpen ICC and ColorBlind, and you should be aware that there are definite differences between the applications in the profiles they produce. I'm not sure why that should be so, or that it's a good thing -- it would seem that accuracy and calibration would mandate repeatable results between applications. I would definitely consider what the differences are between the high-end calibration applications and the low-end, like EZ Color. david - Please do not include an entire message in your response. Delete the excess. http://www.leben.com/lists for list instructions.
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