Board index Equipment Printers Help needed getting prints right with profiles


Help needed getting prints right with profiles

Posts: 1

Help needed getting prints right with profiles

Post Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:34 pm

Hi all, I'm wondering if anybody can help me with a problem which i have found very frustrating for a long time now...and I know it's my own fault for not understanding the complexities of color management. I've tried finding answers online, but not understanding enough in the first place makes life difficult. Please bear with me if anything I say seems dumb to you. Here goes...

I really enjoy my photography with a new D80(upgrade from a D50), but for a long time, both with the new and old camera, I have not been able to reproduce what I see on my monitor with what is printed by my Canon Pixma MP800. I have calibrated the monitor with GretagMacBeth Display Calibrator, which seems to have made a good improvement to what I see on the screen. And I now use Capture NX on RAW files, again with very satisfactory results...

But I don't understand how to link my printer profiles to my ouput and the monitor calibration, indeed, I am confused as to what should match with what for the best results. In the printer properties, I made the printer profile the same as the monitor profile. In Capture, when printing, and on the Color Management tab,should I be using this same profile(which doesn't appear to be available on the list), or a profile for the type of paper I am using, or the default of Adobe RGB? I have never been able to find any profiles for this printer, by the way, so assumed that it was the quality of paper that mattered, e.g. PR1, PR2, SP2 etc. Whichever combination I try(and I can't afford to keep wasting quality paper), I get prints which are darker and/or more subdued, with less saturation. I have had to make copies of images that have been brightened for the purpose, which is not good and still doesn't duplicate what I intended. I had the same problem when printing through Photoshop Elements.

The nearest I have got so far, just this week, is to select 'Use source profile' instead of 'Use colour management', but it is still not the same - the reds, especially, are more muted and don't have the saturation or brightness I wanted.

I hope somebody has had the patience to read through and try and understand all this, I am just desperate for a clear, concise explanation of what profiles and other settings I should use to get the prints that I want. It seems a shame to spend so much time and money on my hobby when I can't produce good hard copies as well as view my efforts on the computer.

Ray Walters
Cheltenham, UK

Posts: 2

Re: Help needed getting prints right with profiles

Post Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:00 am

I don't know whether I'm going to be helpful as I have no equipment or software in common with yours!! I do use a Canon printer though.

In my experience the first problem is getting the monitor calibration right, and you've done that. If the monitor's OK and you're happy with what you see on the screen then you can be reasonably confident about what is in the picture file.

The second problem is deciding whether you want to let the printer driver software handle the picture file translation to ink droplet, or whether you want to let your photo software (photoshop Elements, or whatever) do the translation.

If you choose the former, you need simply to ensure that the photo software does no colour management at all. If it does, you'll get two additive or competing effects with (at best) unpredictable outcomes. The clever people will say don't do it that way because of variabilities in printer manufacture etc etc. IMHO they do not a bad job and if you have no idea at all what the correct profile for your printer-paper combo is you don't have a choice anyway! BTW this will work only if you use Canon paper or something guaranteed to be exactly the same.

To let the photo software handle the translation, you have to know the correct profile for the printer/paper combination. In this case you need to tell the print output routine in the photo software what profile to use, and you need to tell the printer driver to do no colour management.

As it turns out, I think you will find that Canon's drivers do have profiles for at least some of their papers, built in. And they are, as you surmised, suffixed with SP1 (that's for Canon's 'Glossy Paper') PR1 (for 'Photo Paper Pro') etc. Once again, the clever people will say you should get your printer/paper combination uniquely profiled - that will add marginal improvements only IMHO - the icing on the cake if you're using Canon papers. If you use another paper you have no choice but to have your particular combination on paper and printer uniquely profiled.

It's not necessary to try to match monitor profiles and printer profiles. The monitor and the printer don't talk to each other. The common thread is the photo file. As long as the devices are each well profiled they will interpret the file as near as possibly*, the same way.

Some people have found the Canon ICC Profile Guide helpful. (I don't know how to attach a file here, but if you do a Google search it pops up as a pdf)

I know this leaves you with the issue of how to deal with the menus on the software, but I hope it helps with the concept.



*PS there are inevitably slight differences because the two devices are incapable of showing precisely the same range of colours - look up 'colour gamut' if you're fascinated by that stuff!!!

Posts: 14

Re: Help needed getting prints right with profiles

Post Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:20 pm


A printer profile is defferent from a monitor profile. Printer profiles are specific to the type of paper used in a particular printer. I am assuming that you are using Canon ink, not third party ink. If you are going to set the printer profile in the printer driver, it should be set to the profile that matches up with the paper you are using. The profiles you need should be on the CD with the printer software. I know that when I installed my i9900 a few years back, the profiles were automacially copied to "C:/windows/system32/spool/drivers/color". This is the location on a Windows PC where the system looks to find ICC profiles for all the color managed devices like printers and monitors.

Here's a link to an explanation on using ICC printer profiles from Canon in reference to an MP970:

Here's a link to a flow chart from Canon that explains the options of color management in the printer or in software:

Hope this helps,

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