Musings on color management, CHROMiX products and services and other relevant topics.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Epson 4900 gets 98% Pantone gamut

Recently announced at Photokina in Germany, the Epson Stylus Pro 4900 has just been launched in the United Kingdom. Apparently it uses 11 UltraChrome HDR inks to provide a gamut that encompases 98% of the Pantone colors. This is pretty impressive. Designers are often wondering why the printer can't match the color they are looking for, and the answer is that it is hard to do! Pantone presses will run up to 16 different inks on press in order to produce all the colors in the Pantone books - that's how wide a gamut these colors encompass. To get this kind of gamut in a single printer would be impressive indeed.

Also announced are the new Stylus Pro 7890 and 9890:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Monitor reviews NEC PA241W & PA271W

I have just completed extensive reviews of two new displays from NEC: the PA241W and PA271W. Link to these reviews here:
PA241W review
PA271W review
While there are many places to get monitor reviews on the internet, these are mainly aimed toward the "gaming" crowd. At CHROMiX, most of our customers are professional & semi-professional photographers and other high end color specialists with a unique set of requirements for displays. Our reviews include:
  • analysis of size and shape of color gamut,
  • how consistent the color is across the screen,
  • calibration options,
  • analysis of the display when calibrated to the requirements of a photographer (which is usually much lower in brightness than other purposes.)
We write up reviews which are intended to answer the questions our customers will have, so I hope you will find them useful. Browse the ColorWiki for other reviews as well. We have articles that range from products to technology to techniques, and we add more whenever we come across something new. Look for the "Tools" section.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

X-Rite standard for Graphic Arts

X-Rite announces a new graphic arts standard called "XRGA".

Since the merger between GretagMacBeth and X-Rite, the company has maintained the original products in the product lines pretty much as they were. For the pressroom, X-Rite continued producing the X-Rite 530, 938, 939 and the GretagMacbeth SpectroEye, and the i1Pro, etc.

However, each of these two camps of instruments was designed with slightly different calibration standards, and there were enough differences between the two types of instruments that there would be discrepancies when trying to compare the same colors measured using different instruments. To solve this, X-Rite has come up with a matrix of transformation calculations that can be used so that the output from these different instruments will be much more in alignment with each other and provide inter-model agreement. This new standard is called "XRGA".

They are rolling this out in new instruments starting in September 2010. For customers using existing instruments, X-Rite will make available firmware and software updates free of charge to allow your instrument to output the new XRGA standard measurements. This applies to currently-sold instruments only - they will not support instruments that have been discontinued.

In addition, there will be a new version of Colorport (version 2.0) available in or after October, 2010, which will allow you to save data from any of these instruments in either the XRGA standard or the original measurement response.

I have to note also, that the discrepancies we're talking about here are (depending on your perspective) not too large. We're talking about delta E differences of between .6 ∆E to 1.6 ∆E (dE76) or so.

This provides a needed correction for anyone using multiple spectro's. It is unfortunate that X-Rite's testing and the XRGA standard does not cover the iSis chart reader. Since the release of Rev E of the iSis, customers have reported a significant change in the calibration white point of this new rev of the instrument and it would have been good to have a means of making legacy versions of the iSis consistent with the new Rev E version.

We hope to see more from X-Rite on this in the future.

For more information on XRGA see the X-Rite webpage:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Color on the Web

Brian Lawler's excellent Blognosticator blog has a great entry about color management in web browsers.

For a good browser test you should also check out this page at the ICC's site which also tests for ICC v4 compliance. (a new version of the ICC profile format that is slow in being supported)

Color management in web browsers is actually quite a complicated thing. Web browsers are not just image viewers but are much more like InDesign and Quark. They are image and content aggregators (not to mention application platforms). So even though an image may contain a profile and the browser may display it properly, many or all of the other elements on the page may not display properly. In many layouts and designs, incomplete color management is worse than none.

We will continue to research, report and supply solutions to color in the digital display realm, so stay tuned.