I'm operating with a pretty standard HP desktop setup on XP. I print via an Epson RX500 3 in 1. I use good quality 3rd party ink and paper. Having tried visual methods of calibrating the monitor I can get somewhere close but realise that the time has come to use a hardware calibration device.
So to my question. I see Spyder2, Spyder2 Plus, Spyder2 Pro, Eye-one at various levels and Monaco at various levels. I'm on a modest budget so I don't want to buy for the sake of it. Are the upgraded packages (they seem to be additional software) worth it or am I buying something I don't really need with them. Then, which is best, Spyder2, Eye-one or Monaco? your advice,experiences and opinions will be gratefully received
Monaco OPTIX XR is usually rated at the top with, GretagMacbeth close behind. Color Vision Spyder suffers from less accuracy. The colorimeter (monitor sensor) that comes with the Monaco package is excellent and the software is easy to use. For around $200 it is well worth it.
Now, once you get your monitor profiled I would strongly recommend thatyou use paper/printer profiles when printing your pics.
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I've heard complaints about the Spyder2 Plus (which I own), but the last studio I worked for used a GretagMacbeth Eye-One. Honestly, I hated it. That's why I bought the Spyder. I love it. Very easy to use. When I send my files off to the lab, I always have them print with no color correction and my prints are perfect in color, and my clients are thrilled with the results.
If you insist on printing on an ink-jet (I still haven't seen a print from an ink-jet that looks as good as a wet print, and I've seen tons), use the same paper that is the printer manufacturer, i.e. Epson printer, Epson paper. A friend of mine worked in the offset printeing business for a while, and he told me this same thing. I did a test on numerous papers (all high-end) and the Epson paper (I use an Epson printer) blew away all the other papers. So now, I won't buy any specialty paper unless it's the Epson. I know, I was surprised too.
Be careful which Monaco product you are pricing Kev. It may indeed be that much, I don't know, but in addition to Optix XR, Monaco also sells Optix XR Pro, as well as a bundle of Optix XR and EZ Color. Many folks here in the US have mistakenly bought the bundle without realizing they didn't need EZ Color but only Optix.
Just another user report here... I decided on Monaco Optix XR based on the feedback here at Nikonians and elsewhere. I didn't enjoy paying what it costs... which seems like a lot, if you've never done color management before. But the calibration was relatively painless (after I figured out what color temp calibration worked best in my room), and I'm getting very predictable results when printing.
Like BJ said, if you go with Monaco, make sure you don't buy more than you need. Many of these companies have a multi-tiered product line that reaches up into pro graphic arts business stuff, that a lot of us don't really need.
Hello and thankyou, that's exactly the kind of info I need. What looked like £304 turns out to be £158. That's what I call good advice. Many tyanks it looks like I can go with the Monaco device with some peace of mind.
If you rely heavily on your scanner, EZ color may be worth it, but don't buy it for the printer profiling capabilities -- there are better (and cheaper) options by far. You can buy a custom profile for your printer and paper from a place like Cathy\'s Profiles for $40. Optix XR is well worth it, but most people don't need EZ color.
Scanner profiles are somewhat optional actually. So long as you get the image looking right on your profiled monitor, you can print or do what ever you want with that image, confident in knowing it really does look the way you think it does. A scanner profle may help, but it is not required.