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Thread: Light for print assessment

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Light for print assessment

    Can someone recommend a cost effective solution to illuminating prints for critical assessment? I'm open to different forms/mounts.

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    Quote Originally Posted by danielmoore View Post
    Can someone recommend a cost effective solution to illuminating prints for critical assessment? I'm open to different forms/mounts.
    A Solux task lamp and a light booth are the best. I wish I had space for them!

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    Interesting website on Solux issues here: http://www.fullspectrumsolutions.com...FQIBbAodfx2VoQ

    The Solux Task lamp has been discontinued at B&H. Solux website also lists it "Out of Stock". Makes me wonder if there is some truth to the above link.

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Light for print assessment

    I saw that Solux trouncing too, they seem to make sound arguments. Then again, they're not exactly a neutral party.

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    Cost effective I guess is a subjective thing.
    I bought one of the GTI viewers and think it is just wonderful to work with http://gtilite.com/pdv-e-professiona...r-viewers.html
    Be sure you select a model with full dimming since full-on can be a bit bright.
    the one I purchased is here http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...er_PDV_3E.html
    -bob

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Light for print assessment

    I see a DIY project in the near future using GTI's bulbs. A fair percentage of that cost of the PDV-2ED is in the dimmable regulated power supply. I think starting with a couple 20 Watt, 24" T12 lamps and use ND gels to fine tune if necessary will be light years better than what I'm using, window and time of day.

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    I don't have a color temperature meter, but I did just shoot a Macbeth chart and pull it into C1. Gray balancing on the bottom row gives me readings that are just over 4600K. The light is advertised as 4700K. This bulb is probably a few years old. This works fine for most of what I do. Plus; How often are you going to view your prints in 5500K daylight? Probably never. The Solux is probably better in the real world than something that might be numerically more accurate. You also got our human eyes' capacity for rather instant white/gray adaptation. I've only used the 4700K clip-on lights for at least the last ten years and they have been really quite nice. The comparison example on the above referenced web page looks to me like one where the Solux version was shot purposefully at the wrong color temperature in order to magnify the supposed shortcomings of the Solux.

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Light for print assessment

    "How often are you going to view your prints in 5500K daylight? Probably never."

    I couldn't agree more. The problem though is that paper profiles are established under certain standards and to judge their output critically should therefore be viewed under their intended color temps. Metamerism is driving me batty so I really need some peace of mind knowing I've removed that part of the equation, at least to the extent my wallet will afford me.

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    I've generated profiles in ProfileMaker with a variety of different color temp or light source aim points, and there is just not a lot of difference between them. You'd expect to see a fairly big difference between a profile built for 5500K and one built for 3200K, but there's only a very minor shift. Under what conditions and with which printer and papers are you experiencing metameric mismatches?

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Light for print assessment

    I'm shooting a lot of kitchens which are painted white and getting complaints for a couple clients (the only two who still require prints from me) that the colors are way off. I use a 2200 with Imageprint RIP and have to settle on some color temp so use daylight and advise viewing under same, but still, the 2200 is a metamerism posterchild. Now however it's become more important as I'm thinking about a new printer and using stock profiles and it's these I want to inspect for myself to judge their quality, and I'm in no position to judge given my illuminant sources on hand.

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    Daniel,

    It's been five years or more since I had a working 2200. I moved to a 9800 and added a 9900 two years ago. The 9900 is leagues ahead of the 2200 in every aspect of image quality - from bronzing to gamut to metameric mismatches, not to mention print speed and ink cost. I was using the same profiling tools back then as I am today, and the print difference borders on startling.

    I have an interior designer client that requires I shoot kitchens (and other rooms as well) and I do have to make prints for her portfolios. I have more problems with her looking at files on her non calibrated monitor and complaining that the images look somehow "off" than I have with print color or perception. I also tend to make the prints a touch warmer than what is real. It seems to be how everyone wants to remember the room.

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Light for print assessment

    I think we have the same client : )
    I've printed so little in the time I've had the 2200 that it's served me well enough. Now however I'm beginning to print more of my work and plan to nail down the systems better (some). It's been so long that I only remember how inferior the canned profiles were for the 2200 compared to Imageprint. If I can make accurate color assessments with a new printer without shelling out for Imageprint again I'd prefer to.
    I've compared the gamuts of few of the profiles for the 9900 and have 'seen' the improvements, even over the brand new crop of 13" printers for the same papers, it's a whole different world.

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    Even the new smaller printers like the 2880 are MUCH better out of the box with canned factory profiles than the 2200 could ever hope to be. It's hard to quantify the difference you see in actual prints, but they just jump off the paper much more than ever before - and not from being overly saturated - but from having more neutral neutrals, blacker blacks and actually being sharper with more physical detail being printed on papers that can hold it. You can probably get by without ImagePrint with the new printers unless there is another reason you might need it for.

    I was a little nervous about moving to a 44 inch wide printer, but they have both paid for themselves many times over. In the last couple of months alone I've made over $10K worth of prints for three separate offices of one of my clients. Most of the images were one I took but not all. But it keeps them coming back for more than just shooting or retouching and lets me have final control over the quality of the final prints. It doesn't hurt that the framing is done three doors away and all I have to do is walk them down.

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    Re: Light for print assessment

    Quote Originally Posted by apocolibri View Post
    Interesting website on Solux issues here: http://www.fullspectrumsolutions.com...FQIBbAodfx2VoQ

    The Solux Task lamp has been discontinued at B&H. Solux website also lists it "Out of Stock". Makes me wonder if there is some truth to the above link.
    Do not believe the FUD regarding Solux lamps. I have measured the output of a ten lamp array (aka the Big Boy) using an Ocean Optics HRS-4000 fiber optic spectrometer. The spectrum throughout the visible wavelengths (400-700nm) matches midday sun to a very convincing degree.

    The other criticisms/marketing bumf:
    Solux reflector task lamps do not match daylight color and can cause eye strain and could easily damage your eyes
    Yes, the light is intense; rather like the sun. The sun ejects searing coronae millions of miles into space. A solux lamp will warm the room slightly. :-)

    Solux lamps use 8 times more energy to operate than low temperature Ultralux lamps and only last 30% as long.
    True, halogen is an energy-hungry bulb. Good thing it will not take all day just to color check your images.

    Halogen source lights like Solux are dangerous because they cause fires and operate at unsafe temperatures.
    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision [sic] has issued warnings to consumers about the dangers of using halogen lights.
    If you are not careful, you can burn yourself in a jiffy on a solux housing. They do get hot!! The CPSC assumes you are a drooling consumer, not a professional content creator.

    I think Bob has the right idea. It is unlikely that you need the form factor or continuous-spectrum associated with a Solux lamp or array. Go for a professional viewing station with dimmable output.

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