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Thread: Custom profiles: Who's best?

  1. #1
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    Custom profiles: Who's best?

    I finally broke down and got a decent inkjet printer a couple of weeks ago--Epson R2400--and I think I may have to eat some previous words about inkjet prints. I'm not completely happy with the results yet, but I think that's mostly due to using canned paper profiles and having to reprint too much to get close to what I want--wasting a ton of very expensive paper in the process.

    Anyway, I need custom profiles made for about 3 paper/ink combinations, but not sure who makes good ones, so I'd like to hear others' experiences. I'd also like to hear if customer support is adequate. Will I be better off just buying profiling software and doing this myself?

    I use Gretag-Macbeth Eye-One to calibrate my monitor, so that part is covered. I'm still not getting a close enough match from monitor to print, though.

  2. #2
    J Michael Sullivan MJSfoto1956's Avatar
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    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    What profiles are you using?
    Epson's stock ones? (or worse, none? or "Epson Naural Color"?)
    How are you previewing in Photoshop?
    Mac or PC?
    Do you intend on proofing small on your 2400 then sending out for "big" prints?
    If so, then to whom will you be sending?
    Would they be using an inkjet as well? Or something like Fuji Crystal Archive?
    More info please....

    J Michael Sullivan

  3. #3
    Doug Dolde
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    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    I have an R2400 and have found the Epson profiles to be quite good. Just got some Crane Museo Silver Rag and the Crane profile looks good too.

    You might not want to hear this but....if I had it to do over I'd never buy an R2400 and would go for at least a 4800. Why? The obvious larger print size capability for one. But mainly the fact that the tiny R2400 ink carts are always on empty.

    I read somewhere that the price of an R2400 plus enough ink to equal what comes with the 4800 will buy a 4800 outright.

  4. #4

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    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    Before I got an Eye One and Profilemaker, I used profiles from Dry Creek. On the whole these were good, but they were taking weeks to get. I've seen some good results from Cathy's Profiles and if I hadn't got Profilemaker, that's who I would have turned to. I can't recommend the PrintFix Pro, which I tried before Profilemaker. Those profiles were no better than the Epson ones, worse in some cases.

    Best,
    Helen
    PS I use a CIS with ink removed from 4800 carts. That cuts ink costs in half.
    PPS If anyone wants my PrintFix Pro, they can have it for $300.
    Last edited by Helen Bach; 8-Jul-2006 at 12:19.

  5. #5

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    Unhappy Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    The Epson profiles have worked well for me, particularly the Velvet Fine Art. Have you downloaded the most recent driver and profiles from their site? Also, keep in mind that some of the profiles have multiple versions. According to Epson's tech help, you should use the "best photo" profiles for photographs. Not only does the profile have to be selected, but "Best Photo" must also be selected in the Epson GUI.

    I was not as pleased with Crane's profiles. They are OK, but you can achieve much better results with profiles that you make yourself. I reviewed ColorVision's PrintFIX PRO suite for the Alaska Apple User's Group. I was quite pleased with the results I obtained. You can read the review at http://www.akappleug.org/reviews/. If you already have a monitor calibration capability, you would only have to purchase PrintFIX PRO.

    I have to agree with Doug about going for the 4800 in terms of ink usage. I've been very frustrated with how quickly I burn through cartridges. However, I do not have room in my workspace for a printer of the size and weight of the 4800. But I may still sell the R2400 and make the jump.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited by Bruce M. Herman; 8-Jul-2006 at 12:14.

  6. #6
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    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    Since no one is actually answering your question, I'll toss out two that I've had recommended to me, these being Andrew Rodney and Chromix. I've never used either. Since I print mostly B&W with PiezoTone inks, I just never got around to custom ICC profiles. But I have tried canned profiles from various sources for the same printer, paper, and ink, and can definitely tell the difference.

    Be forwarned though that nothing you can do will give you an exact match between monitor and paper. It's just impossible to match a transmission source and a reflection source like that. But you should be able to get close, especially with color matching. The ends of the scale, mostly shadow detail, are what I find most difficult to deal with. And no matter what I do, I can't escape having to make a work print or two.
    Last edited by Bruce Watson; 8-Jul-2006 at 12:20.

    Bruce Watson

  7. #7
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    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    The Epson profiles have improved dramatically, and are "almost" perfect. Even so, it's still best to have a real profile made for yourself. I had one done by Chromix for $99, and it was worth every penny. InkjetArt now charges $25.00 a pop, and frankly, that's cheaper than the cost of a package of paper, and thus is money well spent. Of course, you need a monitor calibration setup also, or you're shooting in the dark, as it were.

    When evaluating a profile, be sure to print out one of the well-known targets, such as the Kodak photo-disc, and view it in the appropriate lighting conditions. Once you become familiar with the target image, you will be able to tell right away whether the profile is good or not.

  8. #8
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    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    By the way, one of the best things about Photoshop is that it will allow you to simulate the look of your image, within the colorspace defined by your printer profile. Thus, you can create a set of adjustment layers that are tailored to the limitations of your ink/paper combination. As Bruce has so rightly stated, nothing will work perfectly, but it's darned close, and will save you lots of time, paper, ink and... exasperation.
    Last edited by Ken Lee; 8-Jul-2006 at 12:29.

  9. #9
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    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    Everything basically looks darker on the print than what I see on screen. I have calibrated the monitor and that doesn't seem to be the issue. Perhaps calibrating it to a different standard? I'm using recommended color temp value of 6500K, luminance of "100", & gamma=2.2. I evaluate prints mostly in daylight near a north-facing window (EV6 metered from a grey card).

    > What profiles are you using?
    Stock profiles from the paper manufacturers, latest Epson profiles to feed the print driver.

    > How are you previewing in Photoshop?
    Just looking at the screen, mostly. I have tried the proof thing, but that doesn't seem to help much.

    > Mac or PC?
    PC.

    >Do you intend on proofing small on your 2400 then sending out for "big" prints?
    For now I will only be printing from the 2400.

  10. #10

    Re: Custom profiles: Who's best?

    Tom,
    How about your Photoshop settings?

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