Going 10 bit

Coming from Amiga HAM 4096 colors 8 bit color with 16 million colors seemed like all I needed.

I was wrong. There is no end to perfection.

Enter NEC PA241 monitor. It can display billions of colors for those extra smooth gradients. There is the catch – you also need a gfx card that supports 10 bit, my choice is nvidia Quadro FX 4800.

After years of stagnation I feel fresh again!


Go Big or Go Home – Epson 11880

Printer in its shipping box outside the studio - it is bigger than my car!

Printer in its shipping box outside the studio – it is bigger than my car!

Printer inside the studio
Printer inside the studio

Nothing makes an impact like a large print. There has  been a pent up demand to print big, I mean really BIG, and now the capability is back again. In the past we used Epson 9500 that could print up to 44″ wide with great success. As time passed circumstances made it so that I had to part with my beloved 9500, and there was an empty void for a while. Well, not anymore! We are home to an Epson 11880, biggest and baddest Epson aqueous printer.

Inside the studio, printer looks equally big and impressive, and is built for high use. Lots of metal and it feels like a  precision instrument. I already have several orders for large prints, with more to come soon. And this bad boy delivers!

I can handle prints up to 64″ wide, so now you know where to go for those large prints!


BYOP – Bring Your Own Paper printing services!

We had many customers request prints made on their paper, and we are more than glad to try! However, there are extra steps (and costs) involved, but if you want to use that special paper you have, read on!

To print successfully on a new type of paper we need to make a custom profile for it. That does take time and manpower and normally costs at least $40, but if you are making 3 or more prints, we will waive the fee. For example, 3 prints on “Oh So Wonderful Fine Art Rag Paper” at 8×10″ would cost you $100, but by waiving $40 profiling fee they are only $20 each. So by supplying your own paper you are saving money on a custom profile and getting to use the paper you want. Also, having your own paper reduces the wait for the papers not in stock. So if you are in a hurry, it is a good way to go!

Printing Epson Exhibition Fiber sheets on Epson Stylus 4900

I had a job where customer chose Epson Exhibition Fiber paper. I used both 17×22″ and 8.5×11″ sheets.

I do like the look of this paper. I have printed both B&W and color images, and the biggest issue I ran in were head strikes on paper. Sometimes the heads would catch the edge of paper and turn the print a little to skew the image. Not acceptable!

Head strikes with auto setting

Head strikes on paper with “auto” setting

Solution was to manually change the platen gap settings in advance media controls to “wide”. That completely eliminated the problem.

Hope that helps to you too!

Paper ICC Profiling Challenge


So I got a good thing going on with paper profiling. I have used i1Match from Gretag Macbeth that came with i1Pro spectrophotometer, and although it got me closer, I was never “right on the money”. Color casts frustrated the heck out of me, but I just did not have to spend 5 thousand dollars on Gretag Macbeth ProfileMaker at the time.

But this is my lucky year. Actually, last year has started the ball rolling. First I found a used Spectroscan and Spectrolino duo with ProfileMaker software, so that just got me straight to the next level. Profiles were so much better than what i1Match software could produce! But was that it? Nah, I needed to keep on going! So I evaluated basICColor Print package, and my profiles went another level up! But this package is not cheap, so I kept on looking for the same quality for less money.

Enter ArgyllCMS. It is free, and the profiles I am getting from it are great. Yeah, they are that good. But it took me a while to figure out what worked and what did not. So it is not for the computer phobic folk. To start, it has command line interface. Linux geeks will feel right at home, but if you are Mac user, you will be venturing into a foreign territory. Fortunately, after months of experimentation the results have reached the level of basICColor Print quality and the price is right – free.

I also tested out i1Publish package with i1Pro, and concluded that either basICColor or ArgyllCMS produce more pleasing (at least to me) profiles. Maybe it is the spectrophotometer, maybe it is the software. For the money it should have been the bomb, but I was left disappointed. If I had to buy the easiest solution with solid profiles, I would use basICColor Print. If I put all my money into hardware (spectrolino & spectroscan) – then I would put in the effort to figure out ArgyllCMS and live on happy. If you do have money and could buy a fancy i1isis XL or Barbieri LFP spectros, I would buy Barbieri and use basICColor (via basICColor Catch 4) with it. With i1isis I would still use basICColor solution.

Why I canceled Sony A7r camera order

When Sony announced their new A7r, I got excited and placed an order. I was going to use it with my Leica M lens collection.

But a week later I realized that what new camera is not really that much more than my old one (I use Ricoh GXR with M module). Tech is the same, I decided to wait out for something Revolutionary, not just evolutionary.

So the camera order got canceled, and the money will be saved for something more useful.

What I would like to see from Apple

All these years I have been trying to justify owning an iPad.

Sure, they are cool, but I could do most of things  on my iPhone.

I thought I could use an iPad when iPhoto came out as my mobile processing station, but, alas, iPhoto for iPad just did not have enough functionality to replace my laptop with Aperture. And iOS 7 still does not have color management built in, so editing photos on unmanaged device is like playing catch in the dark – you might get lucky once in a while, but there will be no consistency.

So this is what I would like to see: a color managed iOS device that would be supported by X-Rite colorimeters  (via USB), mobile Aperture, SD card slot for accessing raw files to be edited.

If iPad can not do it, I would wish for – a 11-12″ retina Macbook Air. But seriously, I need a productivity tool, not a gaming platform. For games I still prefer dedicated game pads and high quality games of Nintendo 3DS.

So there, I am still waiting for that killer photo app for iPad. C’mon Apple, you can do it, and free us from looming Adobe Opressive Cloud.

How many patches do you need to get a good profile?


Depends on the printer – I had better luck with Epson Photo Stylus printers with 900-1300 patches while with Canon Pixma Pro-1 would need twice as many more patches to get even close to Epson.

Also depends on profiling software. My gold standard is Gretag Profile Maker. To get a good profile with an Epson I would use custom 1302 patch target. I have tried Gretag supplied TC9.18 target, but it is not the optimal solution – sometimes it would get a good profile, sometimes it won’t. Custom 1302 patch target would get a job done. I also create profiles with 2604 patch target, and I see it is pretty much identical to 1302, so why bother? Well, on Canon printers you have to as 1302 is just not enough.

Using Argyll, I was able to make some good profiles too (around 1600 patches), but I still like Gretag PM profiles more. So for now I am sticking with PM and 1302 patch target.

I have i1Publish coming and I’ll evaluate it against ProfileMaker in quality of profiles it produces. Will it dethrone PM? We’ll see…

Profiling Metallic Papers

I have purchased a pack of Arista II Metallic Glossy paper. Metallic paper has a beautiful, high tech feel to it, and it is quite suitable for high key prints.

Folks behind Arista brand (Freestyle army led by Eric Joseph) suggest you use your printers “glossy” setting for it, but I know that “canned” profile is usually less than ideal.

There seems some rumors that you can not profile metallic paper. That is not true. I was able to build beautiful profiles with Gretag Spectrolino and Profilemaker4 software. I experimented with “no filtration”, “polarizing” and “d56” filters, and no filtration produced the best results.

So I don’t see any reason why i1 or color munki could not profile metallic papers either.