Tuesday, October 18, 2005

DTP70 and Monaco Profiler Review

I've been organizing review material for the fall. The first new item which has come in is Xrite's DTP70 and Monaco Profiler Platinum, together with a DTP92 screen calibrator. I expect it'll take a while for me to form an opinion about this profiling system, so information will get added here dribble by dribble. It will then be collated and summarized on Publish.com.

The DTP70 is Xrite's star product, an automatic chart reader that can gobble up whole A4 pages. Monaco Profiler Platinum is Xrite's high-end profiling software, and it can profile monitors, scanners, digital cameras, and RGB and CMYK printers. It also includes a profile editor.

What amazed me about the DTP70 package is how quickly it can all be set up. I had my first inkjet profile cooked one hour after opening the package, and it looks pretty good! The device is fuss-free, the documentation is not quite up to date but clearly written and seriously useful. And the software itself is truly user-friendly.

In fact, the remarkable thing about the whole product is that you don't get lost while using it. The software presents exactly the right amount of information and choices to allow you to advance through the profiling process, and also allows you to review and change your earlier choices if you want to backtrack. Did I say it's user-friendly ?

If you don't understand something while advancing through the software screens- I was wondering why I was being offered a choice of rendering intents when I thought all would be generated automagically — then the manual will supply the necessary information -apparently there is an indication in the profile of which rendering intent should be considered the default option.

I printed out a synthetic colorchecker on my Epson 2100 inkjet, and compared it with the real one, cutting up strips of the paper chart to superpose them on the paint squares. Viewed by tungsten lighting, the results was very nice color-wise, with just two squares slightly off - the perennially difficult red, and the "light skin analogue". Moreover, the gray square density of the print matched the original squares much better than in any profile I ever got from my Eyeone system.

Tomorrow I will go back and check the Colorchecker itself - I'll use the EyeOne to measure the squares, edit the values into the print file, and do another print and compare. The chart image and square values I used today were averages obtained from Danny Pascale's site, www.babelcolor.com

Some of you may wonder why I don't have a measured Colorchecker already, seeing the amount I write about CMS. Well, I do have data that adequately represented my old chart, but I've mislaid my old cardboard-backed chart. So I had to go out and purchase a new plasticky one. And, truth be said, the red square on the new one doesn't agree with my memory of the previous one !

I'm going to do some more user-testing of this system in the coming weeks and months. However, I beg the reader's indulgence, I am a journalist, and a color-management user as a photographer. I am not a color-scientist.

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