If you wish to ensure that the colour in images from a digital camera or scanner will be displayed correctly on your computer monitor and output correctly to your printer then you need accurate colour profiles for these devices to allow translation between the "working space" (such as sRGB or AdobeRGB) of the image data and the actual colour space of the device. Monitors and printers usually come with standard profiles developed by the manufacturer, but these are just a starting point: the colour produced by monitors can vary significantly unit to unit, will drift with time, and the controls allow for radical alteration of their behaviour; printers are less variable, but differences between batches of ink and paper can lead to inconsistencies. In addition you may wish to use third party papers in your printer, a situation that can leave you trying to find the best match among the standard profiles supplied by the manufacturer.
|The GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer|
One good answer to these issues is to have the ability to profile devices yourself, since this allows you to regularly recalibrate your monitor to compensate for any drift and to generate profiles for the exact combination of inks and papers that you use in your printer. There are an increasing number of colour management products on the market from a variety of manufacturers that provide facilities ranging from simple, automated calibration of CRT monitors through to highly accurate profiling of professional quality printers, complete with the ability to manually adjust the resulting profiles – something that requires an in-depth understanding of the principles involved.
GretagMacbeth is a well established company in the area of colour management, offering a wide range of hardware and software solutions. The company has recently revised their line of Eye-One products, offering a series of new packages at highly competitive prices. One of these packages, and the subject of this review, is the Eye-One Photo. This system is aimed specifically at photographers, providing the ability to profile CRT or LCD monitors and RGB printers, together with subsidiary abilities such as the direct measurement of colour or ambient light, and optional upgrades to allow profiling of scanners, digital projectors and CMYK printers.
One of the main attractions of the Eye-One Photo package is that it’s based on GretagMacbeth's Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer. This instrument has the ability to measure emitted or reflected output so it can be used to profile both monitors and printers. When used to measure printed output it features the added advantage of a "scanning mode": rather than having to manually position the device over each of the 288 (or 918, depending on your choice of target) colour patches on a test target, you simply run the Eye-One along each row in turn, making the profiling process far quicker and much less laborious.
There are two versions of the Eye-One Photo available: the standard version costs approximately $1500 / €1430 / £1170 (inc. VAT); the UV cut version is approximately $250 / €220 / £155 more. The only difference between the two is in the Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer itself: the UV cut version incorporates a UV filter to prevent problems when measuring pigments that fluoresce under UV light or papers that incorporate artificial whiteners that do the same. You need to make the choice of which version you require at the time of purchase since you can’t retro-fit the UV filter to a standard Eye-One Pro.
More articles that might interest you