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Some benefits of Colour Management

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Some benefits of Colour Management

Datacolor posts some numbers

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Colour Management is a ‘good thing’.

It’s taken as a given in all our work and in all the articles on this web site.

However, Keith still comes across people who think it’s a bit of a waste of money, or just some fad to sell equipment and software.

Datacolor have teamed up with ‘The Leica Forum’ to conduct a survey looking into how people see colour management contributing to their work.

All our free colour management reviews and articles have their own index page. Colour management can be part of our teaching and training services. You can also search via the more specific categories listed at the right.

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55% of photographers find colour management has a lasting impression on monitors and printouts

Datacolor team up with The Leica Forum to understand how colour management improves workflow for photographers.

Zurich, Switzerland – 24 January 2018 –

Datacolor, a global leader in colour management solutions has teamed up with The Leica Forum to demonstrate the benefits of colour management.

The survey was conducted by Andreas Jürgensen and received responses from 750 members of the Leica, System Camera and Fuji X forums.

The survey captures a snapshot of the photography community and details insights into how colour management is incorporated into their workflow and their opinions of the improvements it has on the quality of their work.

The survey reveals the following insights:

  • 23% of participants have a calibrated workflow, 21% do not use colour management at all
  • Of those who do, 75% use a monitor to calibrate their devices
  • 77% of participants edit their pictures in RAW on a desktop computer
  • 42% who have printed via service provider have been disappointed by the colour reproduction
  • 55% found colour management provides better quality of printouts and a lasting image impression on monitors and printouts
  • 36% had less waste on printing and 14% had a faster workflow

To read the full report, visit the Leica forum

If you’ve been disappointed when you view your images on another monitor or received your prints from the lab, chances are your monitor is not accurately calibrated. Datacolor offer a range of solutions to allow photographers to achieve the most accurate colour calibration.

The press release goes on to mention the Datacolor range of products. I’ve written detailed reviews of all of them for many years, so I’ll just link to the Datacolor categories for our articles and reviews

Some personal thoughts from Keith

I’ve worked in the past in usability research, meaning I’m always potentially skeptical of any survey used in marketing materials ;-)

So, I had a bit more of an in-depth browse of the results. How would they compare to the feedback I get when I do talks about colour management and printing for local UK camera clubs.

Ok, first up, Leica users are simply not typical of the sort of people I meet in photography either at amateur or professional level. I note though that other forums were involved, but we don’t get a split of the numbers. There is no indication of the proportion of respondents and demographics.

The basic headline figures do fit in with my experiences talking about the subject to groups of photographers.


My take away is that some 21% don’t bother with colour management at all

Of the remaining people devices are calibrated/profiled thusly:

  • 75% the monitor
  • 27% the printer
  • 22% the camera
  • 29% the printing service provider

Perhaps it’s a by-product of Leica users (and those who frequent forums are a distinct subset) but 22% calibrating cameras, seems very high. It’s something that’s probably irrelevant to many photographers, unless you want to expand it to including white balance.

The good thing is that those who do use some aspect of colour management, seem to benefit from it. I’d say that those who don’t probably should give it a bit more consideration…

That 21%

OK, that 21% has got me interested.

Perhaps they only shoot B&W?  Well, if you’re editing your images on a monitor, then it’s worth noting that calibrating your monitor sets up the linearity of the display too. Are those crunched shadows and blown highlights because of your monitor, or your camera settings?

Maybe they believe it looks ‘alright to their eyes’? Not a lot I can say – if you are happy with your results and can’t see a problem then why bother? Of course once you start printing or even sending off for your prints, then problems can arise. Perhaps they get good enough results. If so then they are truly the lucky ones ;-)

It’s too expensive?  Really?  This was on a Leica forum…
Perhaps if Leica produced their own range of profiling kit we might see if the magic name and cost changed opinions? (harsh, but IMHO fair ;-)

Anyway … if you’re in that category of people wondering if colour management is worthwhile, feel free to have a look at my different reviews. Or pleas just ask. We don’t sell colour management kit at all and I just try and give relevant advice.

Remember – colour management is an integral part of my business – I don’t make that effort just for fun.

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