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…