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Kodak Pro Color management check-up kit

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Kodak Pro Color management check-up kit

A useful aid to knowing your colour is right



Let’s say you have calibrated and profiled your monitor, got good profiles for your printer, and are working in a colour managed workflow…

…how do you reassure yourself that everything is -really- set up correctly?.

colour check kit

Some tools aimed at increasing your confidence that your colour management is correct

The CD and test prints

The kit consist of a CD and seven test prints.

The prints are from images (on the CD) in the sRGB colour space.

One image is specifically produced as a printer evaluation target and the others all have content that will show up particular problems in your printed output.

High resolution drum scans of the original transparencies are also provided, along with a copy of the scanner profile (it is embedded in the high res tiff files).

The test prints were printed on a Kodak digital printer on Kodak professional Supra Endura paper.

The evaluation target also has a RHEM strip to check the lighting that you are using (more on this later).

There is also a collection of ICC profiles for Kodak Media with several high quality printers.

  Kodak Digital III Professional Paper Kodak Duraclear II Display Material Kodak Duraflex Plus Display Material Kodak Duratrans II Display Material Kodak ENDURA Clear Digital Display Material v2 Kodak ENDURA DAY NIGHT Material
Durst Epsilon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Durst Lambda

x

x

x

x

x

x

Durst Theta

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuji Frontier

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kodak Digital Multiprinter II

x

 

 

 

 

 

Kodak LED II

x

 

 

 

 

 

Kodak RP30

x

 

 

 

 

 

Kodak RP50

x

 

 

 

 

 

Noritsu MP1600

x

 

 

 

 

 

Noritsu QSS31 Pro

x

 

 

 

 

 

Oce Lightjet

 

 

 

 

x

x

Polieletronica

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sienna Mileca

 

 

 

 

 

 

The profiles are normal ICC printer profiles.

  Kodak ENDURA Transparency Digital Display Material v4 Kodak ENDURA Metallic Paper Kodak PORTRA ENDURA Paper Kodak SUPRA ENDURA Paper Kodak ULTRA ENDURA Paper
Durst Epsilon

 

x

x

x

x

Durst Lambda

x

x

x

x

x

Durst Theta

 

 

 

 

x

Fuji Frontier

 

 

x

x

x

Kodak Digital Multiprinter II

 

x

x

x

x

Kodak LED II

 

x

x

x

x

Kodak RP30

 

x

x

x

x

Kodak RP50

 

x

x

x

x

Noritsu MP1600

 

 

 

 

 

Noritsu QSS31 Pro

 

 

 

 

 

Oce Lightjet

x

x

x

x

x

Polieletronica

 

 

x

x

x

Sienna Mileca

 

 

 

x

x

There are also input profiles for the Kodak HR500 scanner used for the scans:

  • Color Negative
  • E6 Transparency
  • Kodachrome Transparency

There is also an installer for Kodak ‘Pro’ colour spaces, however it tried to start up the classic (MacOS 9) on my OSX Mac, so was not terribly useful (there is a windows version as well).

Lastly, there is a 64 page PDF guide, covering colour management issues for photographers. It covers the applications and benefits of colour management from image capture through to final prints, whether you produce them yourself or via a processing lab.

This file is also available from the Colour Confidence web site (registration required).

How do you use it?

To check your monitor?

Simply compare the prints with your monitor displaying the sRGB versions of the files.

Well, if only it were so easy :-)

The comparison depends on a whole lot of factors. It certainly helps to have your monitor and image viewing application set up correctly, with correct colour management settings.

In this respect, don’t just open up the sRGB file in any old image viewer – use something that supports proper colour management (Photoshop or Photoshop Elements for example).

Secondly there is the whole question of how to view the test print.

Ideally you should use a consistent light source which should match you monitor in colour temperature and brightness. The test print has a RHEM strip on it (A small sticky label -see box below) which will show if your lighting is not good enough. This is an important distinction that people often forget.

The stripes on the strip are there to show the unsuitability of lighting, not its suitability. For example, I have an energy saving light bulb in my hallway, the colour rendition is awful, but it does not show up stripes on a RHEM strip.

GATF RHEM strip showing stripes GATF RHEM strip not showing stripes
Stripes visible – the lighting is not good enough for reference viewing Stripes not visible – the lighting may be good enough for viewing

The RHEM strips make use of the fact that inks that may look the same in one light do not in another. This is Metamerism, and also explains why your prints may look fine in daylight, but wrong in artificial light.

Buying the kit

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the info on our site of help, please consider buying the kit, or any other items at all, via our link with Amazon.
Amazon UK link / Amazon Fr / Amazon De
Amazon USA link / Amazon Canada link

It won’t cost any more (nor less we’re afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.

It’s also why Keith asks our print customers where they are going to hang prints — you can allow for the changes with appropriate profiles.

Note that the RHEM strips are designed to viewed by human eyes, not scanners, film or digital cameras (which may ‘see’ lines where none are visible to an observer or vice versa)

Don’t expect an exact match, but with a bit of practice you will be able to spot the differences quite easily. If you want to see what difference your monitor profile makes, then select a generic one, or turn off colour management all together and make the comparison. On slight drawback you will have as your colour sense gets better, is to find yourself surrounded by other peoples’ poorly set up monitors and dreadful quality prints :-)

To check your Printer

Print out the sRGB files on your printer and compare them. Remember lighting and allow for the fact that different inks and papers will never look identical.

If you make prints from the files in the original scanner colour space you will be able to see the difference between the larger scanner space and the relatively small sRGB space. This is most noticeable with saturated cyans and oranges/yellows. You can also try this with your monitor — open one of the very saturated images and use the embedded (scanner) profile. Then go to convert to sRGB. The Photoshop dialogue box for this has a preview button and if you toggle this on/off rapidly you will see slight changes in the saturation of some colours (if your monitor is good enough :-)

How well does it work?

It pretty much does what it says on the tin … the test images are a harsh test of the accuracy of your colour management and quality of your printer. Remember that the prints are made from sRGB and allow accordingly.

Color Management book

I often get asked for suggestions about learning more about the nuts and bolts of Colour Management.

My usual suggestion is Bruce Fraser's Real World Colour Management. My own copy is well thumbed. It's my first port of call if I'm asked a question and I feel I don't quite understand an issue well enough to be absolutely sure of an answer.

Check latest price/availability from Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk 

RWCM  1st Edition RWCM  RWCM  2nd Edition RWCM Other Amazon sites Amazon France / Amazon Germany / Amazon Canada

See some other books Keith has on the shelf, on our Books Page

The printer test print (there is a high res 10″x8″ version of the file) with its greyscale images will also show up deficiencies in your black and white printing setup (I have a downloadable greyscale test ramp image for B/W available on this site).

Whilst you can get colour test images quite easily (see the one on my PrintFIX review) you can only compare them with what’s on your screen — having two physical prints to compare really helps.

There is an example of its use in my Eye One Design review where I used it to do a quick check of the accuracy of printer profiles.

Summary

Simple and it works. The information included will help you make the best use of the images, and will help you get your colour management set up correctly.

The colour management guidance PDF is useful, although I would recommend a book like Real World Colour Management by Fraser et al. (it includes a GATF RHEM strip in the back)

Is the kit worth £40? — How much paper and ink would you waste getting things right? or, if you use a lab for your prints (such as many busy wedding photographers do) do you trust them to get your prints right?

It’s a matter of what that extra bit of accuracy and security is worth to you.

There are a number of other such test prints available, but this collection is a real boon to working photographers.

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Enjoyed this article?

More colour management and printing related information

For information about printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main printers and printing page, or use the search box at the top of any page.
All colour management articles and reviews are indexed on the main Colour Management page - please do let Keith know if you've any questions, either via the comments or just email us?

Some specific articles that may be of interest:  

  • Why don't my prints match my screen? A short article showing why there is more to getting your prints to match your screen, than just calibrating your monitor. It's the vital first step, but you do need to consider some other factors for best results.
  • Why are my prints too dark - some basic suggestions to this common problem.

Articles below by Keith (Google's picks for matching this page)


Buying anything from Amazon (not just what's listed) via any of the links below helps Keith and Karen keep the site going - thanks if you do! [Amazon UK]