Company: Colour Confidence
Pros: Cheap. Fast, easy set-up. Includes both monitor and printer calibration.
Cons: Still a little pricey. Can’t cope with poor-quality paper.
While most professional creatives now own a monitor calibrator, few have invested in one for their printer. The problem has always been the price.
While you can get a decent monitor system for as little as £85, printer calibrators start at around £700 – rising to £1,000 if you want accurate profiles of both RGB printers (such as photo and large-format inkjets) and CMYK models (such as laser printers). And it’s laser printers that are most in need of calibration, as their colours are generally less accurate than those produced by inkjets.
The Colour Confidence Profiler is the first system to offer profiling of both inkjet and laser printers for around £500. It combines the Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer, a plastic-&-cardboard tray system, and three software applications – EFI’s Monitor Profiler, Colour Confidence’s own Print Profiler, and EFI’s Colour Verifier.
Using the system is straightforward. First you calibrate your monitor using the Eye-One Pro hardware and its included Monitor Profiler software. Next you print a test sheet of 300-600 coloured swatches using the Print Profiler software, place this between the plastic sheets and scan them by running the Eye-One hardware over them. The whole process takes no more than 20 minutes, though add an extra 5-10 minutes for each different paper type you use.
The system is essentially an upgraded version of the X-rite Pulse ColorElite system which we’ve used to test both inkjet and laser printer in reviews in the past, and we’re likely to move over to the Colour Confidence Profiler in the future – which is high praise in itself.
The only problem we found was in calibrating prints on mediocre-quality, everyday laser printer paper. According to Colour Confidence, these prints don’t contain enough colour for the spectrophotometer to read properly, and stress that high-quality paper should always be used for proofing. Fair enough, but it would still be handy to have a generally accurate profile for everyday output such as editorial proofs.
Assuming that £500 isn’t still too expensive, and that you don’t use a printer such as HP’s Designjet Z3100 with its built-in calibrator, then the Colour Confidence is an excellent way to improve the quality and accuracy of your proofs.