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zig-123 Aug 16, 2008 2:50 PM

Hi All,

I recently was the highbidder on EBayfor a used Epson Stylus 2200 photo printer. As far as quality goes, i'm pretty pleased, thus far, with the output of the printer. It really prints beautiful 13" x 19" prints. There is one caveat, however, the colors are simply not matching the colors of the photo when viewed on my monitor.

I've started reading about monitor calibration software and wonder if any of you have any recommendations. In the past, I've used the monitor calibration process found in Windows. Which is the process I used to calibrate my existing monitor. I've read that this is really primitive and not very accurate. There are a myriad of software packages that deal with calibration and was hoping to get some suggestions that were realistically priced i.e. not more than 100bucks.

Yoursuggestions would be much appreciated and if you think my 100dollar limit is unrealistic, please do tell me that.


tkurkowski Aug 16, 2008 3:23 PM

Hi, Zig

I have some experience (not a lot) and calibrating a monitor can't really be done with software only. You need a package that also has a photometer, which basically is a light meter that rests flat on your monitor (you tilt the monitor back and it hangs down from the top). The software then displays a series of colors at a specific place on your monitor (you've properly positioned the photometer beforehand) and reads the monitor's output. It then produces a calibration for your monitor that essentiallyreplaces the original monitor/video board's calibration file.

I bought the first one that came out for around $100 many years ago - the Pantone ColorVision ColorPlus. I don't think that one is around anymore but I believe there are othersavailable for around $100, at least for PCs. (The last time I looked for one for a friend's Mac, the Mac-compatible oneswere more expensive, in the sense that only the more expensive packages alsoincluded Mac software.)

All the above does is set your monitor to what the manufacturer of the calibration package believes is proper color. Things get way more complicated if you want to get the monitor and a printer output to match. Those packages get pretty expensive (the last time I looked a couple of years ago) because then you need a calorimeter to read the colors on the paper as printed byyour printer as well as your monitor colors, and get them to match. I don't think you can do that for under several hundred dollars. But you should try the monitor calibration first. I've calibrated many, and not one has been worth squatbefore the calibration. So it may be that calibrating your monitor will get you closer to the printer's output.


[Subsequent addition:]

I should also note that the reason I haven't invested in one of the more expensive monitor/printer calibration packages is becauseI don't have a good photo-quality color printer sinceI don't personally print my photos at home. (I use a good HP color laser at home but it's not intended to be a photo-quality printer.) Now, I assume that the monitor/printer calibration packages get the monitor to match the printer rather than the other way around. So unless you have a good photo-quality printer, you'll be jacking your monitor's colors around in a way you may not like and they may not end up being accurate colors.

zig-123 Aug 17, 2008 5:23 AM

Hi Ted,

Thanks for your insight and advice.

I've neverrealized how sophisticated this calibration process can be. Simply because I really didn't have a lab qualityphoto printer. So, there was no need. With the purchase of the Epson printer, I've started thinking about printing and framing some of the photos I've taken which it seems is like opening up a "new can of worms".

I think I'll start by recalibrating my monitor and see where it takes me.

Thanks again,


Mikefellh Aug 17, 2008 5:29 AM

tkurkowski wrote:

has a photometer, which basically is a light meter that rests flat on your monitor
Actually it's a colorimeter, a device that measures colour, not just light.

For the record I have the Spyder 2PRO (over $300 at the time), since I use it mostly for calibrating digital projectors but I also use it for the CRTs we use. In the case of CRTs it is actually stuck to the monitor, but you DON'T do that with LCDs as it can damage the LCD surface.

tkurkowski Aug 17, 2008 6:20 AM

zig-123 wrote:

I've neverrealized how sophisticated this calibration process can be.
Yeah, and I didn't even mention the whole issue of the photo print colors being different depending on the color of the lighting being used to view it (daylight, incandescent, halogen, compact flourescent, etc).


OCD Aug 18, 2008 3:32 AM

You do need a Spyder or something similar to calibrate the monitor, but that only means you are seeing the true colours on the monitor, it makes no difference to the printer. So you need to go the next step and create a printer profile. You can do this by trial and error, or use a similar device to the Spyder, but this time a scanning colorimeter that you run over a standard test print. Eventually this will give you a profile so what you see on the monitor is translated into what you get out of the printer. So you needmakeprofiles fortwo things or it won't work in a professional way.

All the kit can be expensive, and so it may be worth checking locally if anybody offers a service to come around with the equipment and can do the calibrations for you, for a price. Otherwise the monitor part is the easiest, so expect to use up some paper and ink creating a printer profile 'by hand'.


zig-123 Aug 18, 2008 6:47 AM


thanks for your insights. Clearly, there is a lot more to this than I ever realized. Steve,I like your suggestion. I'm going to investigate the possibility of someonewho provides that type of service.



Steven R Aug 18, 2008 9:58 PM

Hey zig: Also check your printer software setting. Some printers (not all) have an option for the printer to "manage colors" or some similar wording. Usually its just a toggle check mark within the print software. Make sure that it's set to "off", or the printer will try to overrideyour setting and apply it's owncolor curve.

Good luck,

Steve R.

zig-123 Aug 19, 2008 5:32 AM

Hi Steven,

Thanks for the suggestion. The Epson 2200 does indeed have color management. I'm actually using it rather than having Photoshop Elements 6 manage the colors. I got frustrated with Elements 6.0 managing colors because regardless of what I tried, the photos came out either having too much of a red or green cast to them.

With the printer managing the colors, the prints are a lot closer to the original image. now it is a matter of tweaking as some of the prints come out great and others are a mixed bag.


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