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Thursday, 04 March 2010

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As a workaround, you can get ColorMunki to generate V2 ICC profiles:
http://www.xrite.co.uk/ph_product_overview.aspx?ID=1115&Action=Support&SupportID=5083

Hope that helps,
A.

Ctein,

I don't know whether this is the same problem, but you may want to review these articles:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/woes.shtml

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/solving.shtml

Best regards,
Adam

hi,

just wondering if you are aware that you can configure your ColorMunki software to output with V2 profile. May be that will help.

s.h.

Sometimes the cost of living on the bleeding edge is miniscule; other times, not so much.

I had a couple colleague laugh when I bought a gently used PowerMac G5 shortly before the release of Snow Leopard. They told me I wouldn't be able to take advantage of all the new features, etc.

Well, guess what? My G5, with its "antiquated" operating system (Tiger), is allowing me to continue working with my Epson 7800 without issue. I can print targets, create profiles, and make prints all day long.

I'm not sure when (if) I will upgrade to an Intel-based Mac running Snow Leopard. I might wait until the next big cat arrives, maybe not. But until the used market for older PowerPC-based Macs dries up, I'll stick to what works and leave the bleeding edge for those with more patience and fewer print jobs in their queue.

Thanks for the useful article, digged the blog for any updates, thanks a lot!

I've been running Lightroom2 under Snow Leopard for a while now, printing to an Epson R2400, mostly using Permajet paper and permajet's profiles, with perfectly acceptable results. I'm not an expert, and don't make my own printer profiles, so I guess the profiles I'm using are old enough to be OK!

I so remember thinking that $29 for the snow upgrade was a steal. Such an enticing price. Almost to good to be true. But I decided to wait two weeks to see if there were problems and the Epson Hell got reported quickly. I am stunned it hasn't been fixed yet! Perhaps your well written rant will keep things moving along. Thank you very much!

This is a truth that if you cannot control something and rely only upon a document (standard), you always have trouble. That is an issue facing platform owner like Microsoft or Apple.

The issue with Vista is that they have a new driver model and hence everything broke. (Not to mention one of the key player i.e. Intel is not playing eyeball with Microsoft for so long that there is some breakdown in sync of technology deployment e.g. their entry level motherboard is not able to support Vista!). This will fix in time (when all the old motherboard is gone or low end netbook use Windows XP instead for a long time). Only recently we have now emerging a new blessed "hardware" state ( and a "fixed only release i.e. Windows 7) start to emerge.

Mac OS X 10.6 is a major shift internally (to 64bit) and no longer support even PowerPC. Apple has less problem as it has very stable core under its control. But 3rd party driver is still driver and hence it is expected for this to breakdown. Look at the Luminous site you can find a strange example of "good" driver support of such a breakdown incident.

In general, you do not upgrade for critical job and if a shift in major architecture is done, you cannot even rely upon X.1 release to save you. (It is mandatory for WIndows 7 license to have an option to downgrade to Windows XP for it to have any chance to be acquired in major corporation. Not sure about Mac OS X licensing model.)

If you have only one machine, I suppose at least what you do is to use your time machine to do a backup (two time machine drives in fact is minimal). I think you can then fall back to old version after totally re-install 10.5 instead. (More technical and better, you can install the 10.5 into a drive before it becomes a time machine drive e.g by restore into it ... and then use this a time machine drive -- but do not totally fill it up and at least have, say, 10Gb left otherwise it can be big trouble. Too technical ... but if you can do it you can always have a backup to boot up a an old release without total restore). Both the time machine and boot from external USB drive (since 10.5) is a blessing.

If you have more than one Mac, do one test everything for at least 6 months before you move another one. I have 5 and only in last month I have migrate 4 out of 5 to that OS. I still keep one for the next 2 year at the minimum even I have my time machine os backup.

You just always have some vendor who cannot upgrade or do not want to or take time e.g. Microsoft Office, Adobe software etc. E.g. if you have a printer (e.g. R1800), you may find that the default printer drive cannot support it and the only way to do is to go to Epson US and download their software in there.

Unless you do iPad development, I do not think that you are forced to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.6.

Oly EP-1 + Power Mac G5 / 1.8GHz + 4 GB RAM + OS 10.4.11 + CS3 + RawDeveloper 1.8.7 + Epson PRO 7800 / 2200 + a to-hell-with-anymore-upgrades attitude = carefree very HQ picture/print making.

IMO, and at this point, "upgrades" just gild the lily at the stomach-churning expense of annoying the hell out of me.

I feel your pain!. I too had issues printing on my R2400 from my iMac (both CS4 and LR)after upgrading to 10.6, this was just before Christmas and I had presents to get done before the big day. Everything looked like c**p, very stressful. After a lot if Googeling I came upon a recipe in on of the forums on DPReview. Quite simple: unplug the printer, delete the current printer object and anything else you can find that is related to the driver software, reinstall the latest drivers downloaded from Epson and then plug the R2400 in again. Presto perfect prints again. Not sure if its of any help, but it worked for me. Good luck!
Carl

I purchased an iMac to replace my XP machine about a year ago. I installed BootCamp as a short-term method of running my Windows versions of PS CS4 and Lightroom until I was ready to do the switch to OS-X versions. Needless to say I'm not making the switch anytime soon due to the printing issues. It looks like Adobe will release CS5 and Lightroom 3 before Apple fixes this problem.

Talk about joy: the big HP Z3200 that has just arrived to replace my dead Epson 4800 has its own calibration and profiling system built-in. The first profile I made, yesterday, seemed to be fine. I just used the ColorSync Utility to go find that new profile and, wonder of wonders, it's V2. No problem running on my new iMac with Snow Leopard.

Whew!!!

Has anyone had this problem when using dedicated RIP software such as Image Print by Colorbyte? I haven't noticed a problem but I don't print very often on my Epson 4800...

I would suggest that they have made scanning more difficult as well, Vuescan still works but you have to purchase it. I applaud Apple for attempting to standardize printing across a wide range of manufacturers, there can be a nice feeling in knowing that what ever printer you get the interface will be the same. However they need to get everything right before they put it out there, Why all software developers think that it is fine for us to have to wait a year or more to get things fixed, is acceptable, I will never know. Also it is perhaps going to be the same as your digital camera, before buying a new printer you will first have to wait for the OS update before you can use it. At least we have software such as lightroom that may update there raw file compatibility quicker. Maybe now we will need a program that handles all the printing tasks.

I've been using an HP PhotoSmart Pro B9180 as my photo printer for over 2 years with 2 different Macs, starting with Leopard and now Snow Leopard. No problems with proper color renditions in my prints, and I do use a calibrated monitor with the supplier-provided paper profiles. In fact, Snow Leopard, along with HP, has made printing less error-prone than before, as it's now not possible to apple color management twice (the driver doesn't allow it if managed color is set in an app like Lightroom or Photoshop).

Sounds like the print driver authors weren't listening because they were running Deaf Leopard. Oh! Thank you, thank you! I'll be here all week!

I ran into the same problem when I purchased my 7900 a couple months ago. Using the canned profile made by the paper company, my prints would have a grey background filling the paper around the photograph. After some exploring, I discovered it was because the profile was v4.

Luckily, I created my own profiles using Spyder3Print, which still uses v2, and was able to get around this problem.

Other than this, I have found that Snow Leopard has fixed some long standing problems in the print interface. For example, saved settings now work correctly, where in the past, you could never trust if they actually loaded in all of the settings.

It's great to see this issue getting the publicity it deserves. I've got a partial work around using an old copy of CS3 that I kept on my Mac, but I bitterly regret ever upgrading from Tiger to Leopard, and my confidence in Apple/Adobe/Epson has taken quite a beating.

Ctein:

I'm not sure if this article is referenced in the comments above but it may help your problem. It discusses how to get accurate profiles using Snow Leopard, Photoshop, and Snow Leopard.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/solving.shtml

Have you tried just letting the printer manage the color instead of using ICC profiles and having Photoshop manage the color?

I am using Creative Suite 3, an Epson 4800 without a RIP, and 10.6x on a Mac Pro. I found that by decreasing the ink density in the printer driver (I believe by around 50%) I can print very successfully with any of my existing profiles from Photoshop, but only Photoshop. InDesign, Acrobat, Preview, and Illustrator all print way too light, and I have yet to find a workaround for that one. I can't increase the density nearly enough.

Apple is mute. Adobe insists there is nothing wrong with their software (I hear otherwise from other sources regarding Mac CS3) but that upgrading to CS4 will solve all the world's ills. And Epson insists their software is just dandy—but wants me to buy a new printer.

I'm not buying anything else from any of them until this is resolved. In the mean time I am looking for solid alternatives.

Does the issue described have any bearing on dark prints? I have the impression that since I upgraded to Snow Leopard my prints are darker. I print on an HP printer and my screen luminance is 92cd/m2 (much dimmer than most screens).

I haven't seen anyone mention the possible impact of the well documented strained relations between Apple and Adobe on the resolution of this situation. (But I'm a poor reader, so maybe I missed it.)

That being said, I was one of those who upgraded to Snow Leopard the day it was released, on my primary Mac. I expected a variety of problems, but I was impressed with how quickly vendors fixed the software problems I encountered, and the performance improvements were dramatic.

I've had essentially no problems with printing to an Epson 3800 from CS 4. Except - I could never successfully generate a profile for a new paper I wanted to use. The vendor supplied profile works fine, thank heaven. And the profiles I generated prior to upgrading to Snow Leopard for other papers seem to work fine, too.

Ctein's article makes clear why, I think. Profile version, I'm guessing.

And I was trying again (and failing) to generate a profile last night...

Thanks, Ctein.

Compared to all this stuff, sourcing black-and-whie papers is a snap.

You cannot "go back" to 10.5 on a Mac that shipped
with 10.6. Tried it many ways. My problem is that the driver for Snow Leopard on our 9800 and 9880 printers do not have any of the paper options etc. It is a generic driver.

I can do Spyder profiles but what a pain on large format printers since I cannot gang the 9 pages up on a wide roll unless we go thru Photoshop and we are back to that problem.

Come on Apple, Adobe and Epson. Fix it now!

funny I recently bought a gently used dual G5 like Timothy Gray....I bumped up the RAM to 6.5 gigs, added another hard drive, loaded all my stuff and I have been a happy camper since this last summer.....got the computer, keyboard, mouse, and a 20" cinema display for $600.00......and all I was really shopping for was an LCD display to hook to my PC laptop! Leopard and CS4 run fine on a dual G5.....

There is a very similar wi fi / Snow Leopard hell which I won't bang on about here. Suffice it to say since upgrading to SL I have been one unhappy bunny.

I guess I'll have to load a couple extra holders for you. Power ON Dude!

(1) Preview + V4 profiles + Snow Leopard print fine.
(2) Photoshop + V2 profiles + Snow Leopard work fine
(3) V 1.1.1 of ColorMunki has an option to create V2 profiles

Hello Ctein,

I really, really feel your pain. I've been with Mac and OS X since some dot release of 10.0 and every time Apple releases a new version of the OS the printing sub-system suffers miserably! Why does it need to change so drastically with each release of the OS? I'm sure that...somewhere...in someone's mind...there's a really good reason! :)

Unlike Dave reported above with his HP B9180, my ability to use this printer vanished when I upgraded to 10.5! I can no longer tell the HP printer driver that PS is managing the color!! I've reported it to anyone who'll listen and, to date, no driver update. Thanks, HP, Apple, or whoever! How I wish that I could return my beloved Mac G5 (PPC thank you) to Tiger.

Good luck...

Ctein,

I know nothing too much about digital printing -- however what happens if you share the printer across your network?

In theory you should be able to set up the MBP as a server, ssh over to it, and print it out with all the 10.5 driver goodness. Or, in the opposite case, plug your old printers into your iMac print from your MBP over the network using the old 10.5 drivers.

You're lucky the 10.5 box is the MBP. In this case, you should set up the iMac as the print server. If this works then you can also setup remote desktop if you just want to sit at one computer all the time...

In theory. :)

Pak

Thanks for this post. I thought that I was the only one having problems with OSX 10.6.2 and the new Epson drivers from Apple. I did find one work around for my Epson R800 and that is to install both the Apple provided driver for the R800 and the Epson driver for the R800. The Epson driver remains the best, but it is too dark but it is consistently too dark so I can adjust for that. The Apple driver works better but the colours are washed out. I tend to only use the Ilford Smooth Pearl paper and icc profiles from ilford. Surprisingly, I have not found major problems with my Epson 4800. Let's hope Apple and Epson are listening to these posts and fix the problems in OSX 10.6.3.

"That hardly describes anyone except...oh...maybe most of the serious graphics professionals out there."

Serious graphics professionals evaluate new software before putting it into production. With Apple and Adobe dropping the ball (clearly their sights are on a different demographic to graphics professionals) you can't afford to do otherwise. I'm still on CS3 and 10.5. Works like a treat.

Why doesn't some color guru write a utility to downgrade the color profiles to V2? It can't be that difficult, can it?

Dear Alan and Sheu,

Thanks, I didn't know about that ability to configure ColorMunki. I'll run an experiment and see if the version 2 profiles it generates perform exactly the same way as version 4 profiles (on my fully functional MacBook Pro). If they do, that will completely solve my Snow Leopard problems... knock on wood.

Even if they're not identical, if they're good I will use them as a temporary fix should I need to do noncritical printing from the iMac.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Dennis,

I'm entirely in agreement with your philosophy. Unfortunately, one can only hang back so long. In the Mac universe, many software vendors do not support more than one previous generation of OS. For instance, now that Snow Leopard is out, there are new versions of two programs that I use that will not run under OS 10.4, but require at least OS 10.5. So, sooner or later, I am going to have to migrate the laptop out of OS 10.4 .11.

Running multiple operating systems on Macs is much easier than it is under Windows, so if I were really being FORCED to upgrade, I could have both 10.4.x and 10.6.x available on the laptop. That would require rebooting into 10.4, though, whenever I needed to print out a high-quality photograph. Not a desirable solution, to say the least!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear JonA,

I believe that's spelled "Def Leppard." [ hugely pedantic grin ]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Daniel,

Yes, a gray background is the most common manifestation of the profile problem, but it's not actually the one I've run into; I've just gotten really butt-ugly results-- prints that are way, way too dark, like the profile isn't being used at all, or really wonky colors, like there is double profiling going on.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
======================================

Dear James, Mark, and A.Diaz,

There are lots and lots of things that can make prints slightly darker or lighter (simply the difference between Photoshop CS3 and CS4 using QuickDraw and Quarks respectively is sufficient), but if they're coming out much, much darker that's almost always an indication that something is wrong with the color management. Indeed, that's what I saw with the Epson R800, prints that were so dark and saturated that it looked like color management had been turned off entirely.

Nonstandard workflows and other kludges may provide you with a temporary solution, if you're desperate to get printing done, but in the long run they will not be a good idea. The print quality is going to be less than optimal, and the kluge will certainly break as the circumstances that created the problem change.

If I had only one computer, I might be forced into that. Fortunately I don't, and I can't recommend hacks to people who need really high quality output.

Differences in apparent brightness between the screen display and the print don't mean anything unless they're pretty large. They definitely don't mean anything if you haven't profiled your monitor as well as your printer (and, no, the display adjustment control panel built into MacOS is not a monitor profiler).


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
=====================================

Dear Clay,

You should be able to get this to work fine (at least for the 9800, since I don't have a 9880 I can't tell you what will happen with that). The generic driver that is built into Snow Leopard (Gutenprint) is not a suitable driver for our purposes. You need the real deal from Epson.

The first thing to do is uninstall the 9800 printer in the Print & Fax control panel. Select the printer, click on the minus sign, and make it go away entirely. Go to the Epson website and download the most current software package for the 9800 printer. Run the Epson installer and just do what it says. (I believe you will need to have Rosetta installed under MacOS 10.6 to run the Epson installer.)

Reboot the machine, go into Print & Fax, click on the + to add a printer, and add your Epson 9800 back in. In its preferences panel, there should be some "driver" assingment choices; the auto-install option should grab the Epson driver in preference to Gutenprint.

Once it does, the usual print command should bring up all your usual choices of paper and print quality for the 9800. If you see those, you know the computer grabbed the right driver software.

Now you want some good profiles. The best out there are Bill Atkinson's, and they are version 2.4, huzzah! You can find them here:

http://homepage.mac.com/billatkinson/FileSharing1.html

Install the profiles, launch Photoshop, pull up a test print, and try printing it out. It should look perfect.

If all that works for you, run through the same routine with a 9880.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
=====================================

Robert: Oh, it's even worse than that:

"There's a lot written how people don't print anymore; they only show pictures on screens."

Q1: When people SHOW pictures on screens, how are they actually showing them?

A: By posting them to Flickr or some other picture-hosting service. Or by posting them on their personal/professional website.

Q2: When the intended audience VIEWS pictures on screens, how are they actually viewing them?

A: By using a browser to visit the relevant website.

Q3: What is the number 1 internet browser worldwide?

A: Internet Explorer.

Q4: Is Internet Explorer color managed?

A: No. Nor are most other browsers.

So the odds of the person viewing your picture viewing a picture that actually looks like how you wanted it to look are very low. And the odds of them having a calibrated monitor are just about zero, anyway. So the result is that we are now all running around showing our pictures on the Internet with little idea how they turn up on the other side.

I can't even get images to look similar on my computer at home, my office computer, and my laptop, much less on the millions and millions of other computers out there (not that there are millions and millions of people trying to look at my pictures, mind you).

At least with a print, no matter how bad it may be, at least you have an idea of what your audience is looking at. Showing pictures on screens is probably the WORST way to show your work (quite apart from all the other deficiencies screens have). But it sure it convenient. And most of the time I have no idea what I'm missing, so it doesn't bother me. I'd rather look at pictures than fret about color-management.

Sigh.

To address Robert Roaldi's "features comment"....The banks and automobile companies are still in business, but barely as they are on the brink of bankrupcy or bailed out by the government for their incompetence and dis-regard for their clients best interest. Printer companies don't make their money on the machine, they make it on the ink, especially on the ink used for all those test runs.

Well, Ctein,

I guess you answered your earlier question "What Can't Digital Do For Me?"

Couldn't resist.

:-)

Does ColorMunki actually work? I bought one a couple of years ago and sent it back, as I had ZERO success with it.

In truth, I've never found a way of making my prints look like my screen, and have thus really given up on color printing entirely. But boy did I try for a while. I'd love to find a solution.

I have an iMac 24",Snow Leopard, Colormunki, Epson 3880, CS4 = terrible prints.
I changed over to Bootcamp (on the same computer.)Windows XP, used the Colormunki as per Mac, Epson 3880 and CS4= perfect prints. You do the maths.

I've been dealing with some of my own wireless random gremlins, and so feel your pain. It's at times like this that I like to watch this hilarious (but not office safe) video from The Onion. http://www.theonion.com/content/video/sony_releases_new_stupid_piece_of

Q3: What is the number 1 internet browser worldwide?
A: Internet Explorer.

No, it isn't anymore. (Say hallelujah!) It's Firefox. About 45% against something like 35% for IE 6, 7 and 8 together. But it's no big joy, cause you're right. Firefox brings its own problems.

Anyway, it depends a lot on a particular site. For some reason, my site this month has Opera second with 27% while Explorer is down to 10%. I don't know how and why.

To Robert's rant, I'll just add that mess is quite a common thing with software. They upgrade and the program suddenly doesn't work with another that it coexisted peacefully with for years. They upgrade and they lose a feature that's been helpful to you. They upgrade and suddenly they introduce a bu^H^Hfeature that annoys the hell out of you and everybody else.

And of course, you have to buy yet another version to get rid of the problems.

Dear David,

Chuckle.

But seriously... did you know that you can color manage a wet darkroom? And doing it is sheer hell. The results are impressive, but I'd be surprised if there were ever even 100 labs on the planet which tried it, and very few who pulled it off. It was an arduous process involving making lots of color reflection and transmission densitometer measurements, doing 3 x 3 matrix calculations to figure out masking coefficients, and calibrating the mask films so that they could physically simulate what the matrix calculations had told you needed to be done. It was not fun.

On the other hand... I understand how to color manage a darkroom, even if I never want to do it. I can't say that I understand digital color management. So on the rocket science scale, digital color management is definitely worse than darkroom in color management.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear G,

Sorry to hear the ColorMunki didn't work out for you. I got a review unit in to test several years back and I was sufficiently impressed with it that I decided to buy it (which, even with a reviewer's discount, is something I very rarely do).

It calibrated both monitors and printers of all sorts quite well, out of the box, but what really made it shine was the ability to do iterative improvements to printer profiles. Once it calculated a basic profile from its two standard test charts, you could hand it photographs of your own, tell it to analyze them, and it would look for important colors in those photographs that could use further error reduction in the profiles. You could repeat the process as many times as you want it, but I found running just two additional photographs of mine:

http://ctein.com/Scotland_Plate_01.htm

http://ctein.com/contributor/Grasses_in_Liquid_Sky.jpg

got me profiles that were as good or better than anything I had ever gotten professionally.The second photograph was especially important, because it included sky blues that were out of printer gamut. Those are the kinds of colors that never reproduce correctly. ColorMunki couldn't make them perfect, out of gamut being out of gamut no matter what you do, but it produced in-gamut mappings that were a closer match to what was in the file and on the display than anything else.

~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
=====================================

Ah, yes, sRGB. The AM system of color spaces, designed by Microsoft to approximate a cheap CRT. Gamma, me boys, gamma, something that LCDs don't have, but we're still stuck with.

Ouch! That's awful. And Apple's been pretty good about color in Mac OS X up to now. How did this slip through testing?

On the other hand, Vista and Windows 7 have color management features. However, IE7 requires the user to turn CM on--don't know about IE8.

BTW, In my opinion the big problem, now, with amateur screen display of color images is the appalling color response of cheap LCDs at low intensity levels. I doubt it can even really be completely calibrated out; some of the curves I have seen are frightening.

BTW, Firefox and Safari support color management.

Linux color management, on the other hand, is still poor.

Maybe we need to standardize on logLuv TIFF files. (Only joking. I think.)

"A printshop in every neighbourhood"!

We have those here in Ireland they're in supermarkets etc. For exhibitions I am fussier so I use on line photo printers.

There are no line services who will print on a variety of stocks including metallic paper. If something is wrong I send it back, I reckon online is cheaper than printing at home especially if you are using brand name inks.

I use a photosmart Hp printer and it nails the colours to at least 95%. I only produce small glossy prints.

Just to say "ditto" for David's post: This is the response to Ctein (which I highly respect) own asking: "What can't digital for me?"

Happiness

I piled up cameras, lenses, software, printer and on and on. Well over US$ 10000 investment. And I wasn't happy. Well,I sold almost everything.

Now I shoot a Panny G1, with the fantastic 20mm. I also shoot two Olympus that I never parted off: OM-1n and OM-2n, Kodak Ektar 100 and BW400CN. My 50mm 1.8 and 100mm 2.8 Olympus OM lenses, give me 100mm and 200mm fast, high definition lenses via Olympus adapter in the G1. If I need latitude, or a really wide angle, I have FILM! A 17mm 3.5 Tokina or a 24mm 2.8 Zuiko in the OM's do the trick.
I carry around 5 pounds of equipment, including one Olympus F36R flash AND a very light Kata T-214, sling, ultra-confortable bag.

I don't have a supercomputer anymore. Neither a superprinter. I don't use Photoshop, add-ons, etc. I do very simple adjustments using Corel Paint Shop.

All my investment, including my laptop, is under US$ 2500.

I use my precious time to photograph, and trying to make it right, not to count pixels, or fight with softwares or computers. I develop, scan and print at a very good lab. The quality of my photos continue more or less the same as before, perhaps actually improved in definition and composition,thanks to a all-prime lenses set-up, but, but, specially, my happiness index is well up!

Why can't we keep it simple?

My experience with printers is limited to a basic "deskjet" with an interior compartment that looks like an ink cartridge exploded. My color inks have been empty for years. I let my local photo store do my printing - they do a better job than I ever could. Plus there's a bowl of Tootsie Rolls at the cash register.

I totally agree with Robert Roaldi's comment. Digital photography is a Frankenstein monster. Try to find even a proper monitor for digital photography. Did anyone give any thought to how the components of digital photography would work together. Of course not. Why is there such a thing as 8 1/2" X 11" photo paper? The worst thing about colour management is the implementation errors that occur, software bugs being the worst form of these errors. Colour management requires some effort but is understandable. But when you throw in bugs and errors, then it becomes a nightmare. It's certainly not the only area of software where misinformation and bugs occur.
I was thinking of buying a new Epson R1900, and even though I'm still using OS X 10.5 and Photoshop CS3 (with no plans to upgrade), maybe I'll think better of that idea. Even go back to sRGB, and take my images to a local lab instead. Who needs the hassle. My photos look great on my new LCD TV - maybe that's a better alternative.

I used to print Cibachrome/Ilfochrome in my home darkroom until the paper became too expensive and the chemicals included a hazardous surcharge for shipping. I had no sophisticated analysis equipment, but could get a nice print in a few tries. Digital is basically the same for me, I had a spyder calibrator which gave me prints no better than the basic OSX monitor calibration procedure, using either a LaCie eBlue CRT or my MacBook Pro. Either way, analog or digital, it takes me a few prints to get a good result. Just to add gas to the fire, digital is no way less expensive, for equipment or paper & ink, than analog printing used to be (before the scarcity of materials drove up Ilfochrome prices!) And, to me, even with all of the run arounds to control its contrast, nothing new matches the beauty of a well done Ilfochrome print. (Yes, I know there is lightjet, I'm talking home darkroom/digital.) I recently purchased the basic (least expensive) Dell IPS lcd monitor, so we'll see if that improves my output. I'm also thinking of a switch from CS4 to Aperture 3. CS4 is overkill for me and I wonder if Aperture, (since I'm using snow leopard on a macbook pro with an epson R1800 and the Dell monitor) might simplify the process ?

Well, I waited before upgrading to Snow Leopard to let the early adopters find the initial bugs and get some work around at the very least, and I still have a second computer running Leopard, and a third ancient one running tiger. I figured I had the bases covered. And I waited for the "untagged color target" printing situation to get sorted with the null transform technique set forth by others. And since I'm on CS3 not CS4 and wasn't hearing any horror stories about CS3 printing with Snow Leopard, i figure I had it knocked. Anyway, recently I bought a new Ilford paper for use with my Epson R1800 and decided to create a custom profile for it. And I double checked to see if Epson had a Snow leopard compatible driver for this older printer. Yup, I was in luck, and surprisingly the version Epson "blessed" for Snow Leopard also runs under Leopard. So I was in luck! I could load the same exact Epson driver on my OS10.5 machine, print the untagged target from CS3 through the Epson driver, then repeat the exact same exercise on OS10.6. All potential variables including driver differences were thus eliminated in this experiment, or so I thought. And if worse came to worse, I could do the OS10.6 work around everyone says fixes the color target printing bug, namely to assign a working space profile to the target then print to the printer with that profile invoked ( the so-called null transform). Well, the results of my experiment was that the untagged targets from both OS's both looked plausibles, and the null transform method of printing didn't alter the outcome one wit. However, all that said, the targets don't print the same, and while they aren't wildly off or really out of whack, the simple fact is that there is a significant difference between the results when printing the target on the two different systems though all software, driver version, and driver settings were identical. Yes, I could create a working profile on either system, but this result means that means any profile I build for one of my Macs printing to this printer isn't going to work as a profile to print to same said printer/ink/paper combo from the other computer. Now, that's true color management hell! I must be the poster child for color management.

Oh, this is so sweet. Let me say that again, Oh this is so sweet!

As a lifelong Windows/Microsoft user, it is So Sweet to see all you previously disdainful Apple guys running around in circles doing the Windows dance. Welcome to the Party!!

LOL, oh my god this post was So Sweet! Thanks a huge bunch Ctein, you made my day! Lots of love to all of you! :)

PS did I say this was really sweet? OMG.... :)

Dear folks,

To summarize a bunch of issues...

1) None of this matters if what you're interested in is "drugstore quality" prints. First, you can get those quickly and easily from your local drugstore chain, supermarket, or innumerable online services. Nothings broken there and nothing is more difficult than it was with film. In fact, it's probably easier.

If you want to make such prints at home, you can buy small (and usually portable) inexpensive printers that will turn out 4 x 6 glossies from your memory card (or plugging your camera in directly) with even some degree of onboard tone and color control, for about the same price as drugstore prints.

If you're interested in 8x10s or 11x14s of decent but not extraordinary quality, what the drugstore chains used to call "custom" prints, just letting the printer control color will get you satisfactory results. You don't have to mess with color management or anything else. None of the stuff I'm talking about here will bother you. If all you need is "good enough", digital printing is not a hassle.

In other words, for most of you, it IS simple!

The problems arise when you want to create highest level quality stuff, the kind of work you'd get out of a top end custom lab. That's where all hell breaks loose.

2) Understand that none of this involves being a "pioneer." The ICC problem didn't appear until the second "service pack" for Snow Leopard. We're not talking about a problem that happened to people who jumped on the SL bandwagon the day it was released. Similarly, the problems aren't unique to the latest version of Photoshop. That's a confusion.

It's been like blind veterinarians trying to diagnose an elephant:

"Obviously the snake has colic.

"No no, you fool! Can't you tell the rope is fraying badly?"

Now it turns out that the elephant has been mutating without our knowledge like some bad 50's monster movie monster.

3) It is all well and good if you can stick with much older gear and software. If it isn't broken for you, don't fix it. That is ALWAYS a smart advice when it comes to computers!

But please demonstrate some understanding and awareness of the fact that this is not an option for many of us. For one thing, buying a new Mac means getting the newest version of the OS, and there's no going back. For another, there is the software version creep that I previously mentioned, which will force you into an upgrade sooner or later. Especially if you want or need to use the new capabilities.

Buying an older machine simply is not an option for many of us. For example, I can't do my work on a PowerPC-equipped Mac. It would not only be horribly, painfully, uneconomically slow, some of the file and print sizes I need to work with would crash the system. I'm happy for all of you who don't have such problems, but that's a circumstance of your lesser needs, not your superior cleverness.

So, please, a bit less gloating and a bit more sympathy. Being fortunate doesn't have to make you smug.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
======================================

Every time I tried to use my R1800 is always a pain. One can fight as well as MHMG or just step back as Eudoro. Being an IT guy, I know I can understand and do these but it is not my job and "only" my hobby.

May I say the last decade up to now is the golden era of used film camera for the serious hobbyist but not as digital one. Spent so many $ to upgrade camera/printer/computer and any improvement in the skill for the last decade? I thought there is much improvement in my knowledge in the film department for much less $. Also the equipment is getting cheaper and cheaper so much that with 1/3 of D700, I have my Hassey with 4 lens.

Anyway, my E6 chemicals just arrived after my order of them six months ago. Now have 12 boxes of 5L one-use E6. My f-stop timer plus darkroom meter also arrived on the same day for my black and white printing. For some reasons still puzzle me, there is a minilab in every street I walked passed in this city everyday for C41 development and printing. (In fact I just asked and being told that I can have my R8 photos in 10 minutes and costs only US$2.5.) My Nikon F4 and Fuji 645zi is in the airport depot. It is seems this is a heaven for using film as of this is moment here and now. It is 1990s without the costs. (I tried at one time of being serious on photography in 1990s. Cannot even afford Nikon. Really do not want to have a mu one or mu zoom.)

It would not last for long (as the E6 order showed). The snail using shell from another extinct snail species knew that. I held a used F6 last Wednesday and remember there is not many new "shell" for anyone to inherit say 10 years later. We are using shells from an extinct species. Better make haste while the sun shines.

I really think that one shall wait a bit further for digital to mature for serious hobbyist (and learn more from advance from pros like Ctein). If you are not here for the job but for the fun (and the arts, small letter one not the grand one), I am not sure why you want to do digital.

In the mean time, I can continue learn from the "outdated" master like Ansel, Galen Rowell and waiting for the second edition of beyond monochrome. I love to take photos with my 8x10 and Hassey and it may be "outdated" but it is just fun. My D300 is rusty and my M8 is just for snapshot to find good places for moving my 8x10 there.

It is a golden era to be a "prosumer" film photographer.


From all the comments here, I wonder if I just don't know enough to tell if my prints are good or not. All I know is that I'm happy with them...

Ctein - thanks for the input about the ColorMunki. I am tempted to have another go; maybe it depends on the alignment of the stars, which will have changed since I last tried to get color management to work.

I concur with the featured-comment-writer that the process of getting color prints out of your printer should not be so difficult. I spent insane amounts of my free time trying to get a decent-looking color print, along with nutty $$$ on a couple of printers, reams of expensive paper, and several gallons of pigment dyes. I've read books (entire books!) and watched videos. And in the end, I decided that I'm actually just a black-and-white guy.

Of course, I just upgraded to Snow Leopard and use an Epson 2880, so I will probably have further joy to look forward to.

Hi Ctein,
I am also one of them who uses Windows XP Instead of Windows Vista because when i had installed Vista OS on my laptop my computer got freeze many times and also there were many problems like driver support graphic support etc..So i decided to move on XP and now my laptop working fine then the earlier..

Dear Mr Ctein
I never use drug store photo shops but I do use on line photo printers who are mass market.

Some background. I moved into professional portraiture at the same time as I went digital. The amount of time I spent listening to experts was ridiculous. I worked out the cost per print of a home print versus the low cost alternatives. I then sent the same print to all my nearest 'drug store' shops and the variety was as appalling as the quality. I then tried a few 'professional' photo printers and they were inept. I visited a local one and they were using the printer profile for their monitor, I kid you not.

I also tried various other professionals. I always sent a B/W and a child portrait (very delicate skin tones). Often they messed about with the file i.e. seemed incapable of printing the file without altering it (the excuse was that most professionals leave that bit to them, which was probably true as so many I met had no idea about colour profiling).
Invariably I asked for their printers colour profile so that I could soft proof before sending to them. Their response was NO or we will send you a print and you adjust your monitor until it looks like our print. I explained that I had colour profiled my monitor properly and moved on.

I ended up at an on line service which was cheap but which promised that they profiled their machines and i would get back an unaltered print.

Guess what. It worked and it was cheap (this is not a bad word) and I was getting 24 hour turn round.

The prints won in local national and International awards and I was often asked who printed my photos the national judges were so impressed with the quality. I usually in clude a colour chart etc as part of the print so that i can easily identify colour casts if they are present.

So I am a pain about quality (the most colour critical thing I know is human skin, skies, foliage etc cause me no loss of sleep) but I get it without the pain of printer profiling nor the cost of equipment, ink, wasted materials and lots of time.

The bad bit is I use gloss (95%) or lustre 5%. So I'm not using rag content paper etc. However when I want to I have a company who do that beautifully and they're on line too.

It was a painful learning curve but it works for me. I appreciate it is inappropriate for you but for the majority of people maybe my experiences are helpful.

Dear Louis,

You're entirely right.

Nothing has changed from the days dominated by film photography. There's a reason the majority of great photographers in the past didn't do their own printing, and it still applies. Most professional photographers should not be doing their own printing, because it's not a good use of their time, nor a cost-effective one. Further, most of them simply are not very good at printing.

A minority of really good photographers are also really good printers. Most aren't. Ansel Adams commented that he considered the negative the score and the print the performance? Well, you can be a great composer without being a great pianist. To put it another way, there is a very large handful of great singer-songwriters, but most great singers don't write songs, and most great songwriters don't try to perform, for which we thank them.

Specialty labs have always varied widely in quality. Just because someone hangs out a sign saying they're a "custom" lab doesn't guarantee they'll be any good, any more than opening a restaurant insures a four (or even one) fork Michelin rating.

Some photographers are just born to be printers. Most photographers, I recommend they get a good professional lab to do their printing for them.

(That's not in the service of self; I'm not looking for new clients and 99% of the photographers in the world couldn't afford me if I were. It's only the plain and simple truth that most photographers should stay away from printing.)


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
======================================

Dear Ctein

Thanks. Digital photographers are ALL printers, not all are good.

I think I'm a good printer maybe even better than that, maybe just deluded.

The point is that because I'm working digitally the fact that it isn't ME clicking on a button to get the final print is irrelevant. At that stage all I ask is a service which will print MY image as close to 100% as they can get. I only need them to have a colour profile controlled printer after that a child of any age who can control a mouse can do the actual click. As the printer I will then judge the print and if needs be reject it again and again until I am satisfied.

In my estimation I AM the printer and photoshop is my darkroom.

We could discuss the aesthetics of a print but I am not wholly convinced that a print which is 90 or 95% of what I want is poor. A photo is rarely judged 100% by the print quality alone.

It is most often governed by the subject matter. Some photographs(either contemporary or vintage) are bad prints but the image transcends the print quality.

At the other extreme are for example images of still lifes whose beauty is mostly in the tonality of the image (and is a result of the skill/eye of the photographer and the printer).

"Oh, this is so sweet. Let me say that again, Oh this is so sweet!

As a lifelong Windows/Microsoft user, it is So Sweet to see all you previously disdainful Apple guys running around in circles doing the Windows dance. Welcome to the Party!!

LOL, oh my god this post was So Sweet! Thanks a huge bunch Ctein, you made my day! Lots of love to all of you! :)

PS did I say this was really sweet? OMG.... :)"

^^ Self esteem issues ^^

And for some real fun, buy a 5D Mk II and a couple of L zooms. I have never seen so much chromatic aberration in my life (I'm 60, been doing this since about 15). After a couple of trips back to Canon the lenses are sharp (they were not when new), but still full of CA, and not fully correctable in software—unless you want to use Canon's clunky and limited DPP for raw conversions.

Regarding the original subject, I know adjusting the ink levels is a temporary workaround (Jeez, I sure hope it is temporary!). I am getting excellent quality prints with this workaround. My system is fully calibrated and profiled and I have full spectrum viewing conditions... I do CM professionally.

But Epson is not supporting the 4800 any more (no new driver), and Adobe is not addressing the CS3 on 10.6x color issues (buy CS4). I am so sick of having these companies hands in my pocket that I really am looking for alternatives. But I am afraid that any alternative is likely to be just as bad. Buy one of the new Canon printers after my experience with the 5D2? Upgrade to CS4 or 5 with the pissing match between Apple and Adobe still going on? Is there an alternative to Photoshop that will work with my archive of layered files? Not that I am aware of.

I upgraded to Aperture 3 recently to redo my web site galleries, and it is as buggy as can be! I just can't win it seems. If I wasn't compelled to do this I would give it a rest for a year or two until things settle a bit.

My PC crashed a month ago so I bought a Snow Leopard last week. Now I'm in on the printing problems and am extremely angry. I think I'll return the Mac and buy a new PC. I don't have the money to replace my 9800 epson just so I can use Snow Leopard. Is there any other option that ACTUALLY works?

So, my Epson r2400 has been a paper weight for the past 6 months since I last tried tackling this issue. I thought after this long things would have been resolved. I'm running my r2400 thru CS3 on my MacBook Pro. I don't have a calibration device like a ColorMunki, but I'd still like to make some good looking prints, which I was able to do before Snow Leopard. Does anyone have a good link with good info on printing on the r2400 using CS3?

Well, 10.6.3 is now out...I wonder if we'll see an update to this article? I hope the problems have been fixed!

Did OS X 10.6.3 fix problems with ICC V4?

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