Printing Consistency

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,110
299
Hi All,
I have a Canon Pro-10.
Even though I print quite a bit I'm not very expert on printing.
I'm not great at calibrating my screen (I know I should - I just find it annoying doing it regularly).
The output to screen on a different PC / Phone etc is quite consistent and as expected.
Its in printing that I find inconsistencies.
Sometimes its like the printer has a good day or a bad day.

A question to someone who does alot of printing.
Are the printers very consistent?
ie: If I had an identical set up in settings and paper would the printer consistently print the same or does a printer sometimes go off a bit.

Last night when I was printing I was getting very poor colour reproduction. The photographs were dull and lacking colour. It was consistently poor. A number of inks were running low but not running out. I replaced all the near empty tanks with new ink and the next print was perfect in terms of colour reproduction.
It's all Canon Original Ink I was using and Canon paper.
I was printing using Lightroom.

I couldn't explain it myself why it was so far off, it was certainly lacking proper red colours in the picture but all colours looked a bit undercooked. I don't think it was the lack of a current calibration - I'd agree if you want your photograph perfect its important but not in a run of the mill photo that you want reasonably okay. it was almost like the colour balance was wrong (ie if you took a photo and put the incorrect colour balance on it).
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,593
164
Hector1970 said:
I'm not great at calibrating my screen (I know I should - I just find it annoying doing it regularly).
Well, it's mostly an automated process... and modern monitors shouldn't age quickly enough to cause differences between two prints <G>. Even monitor warm up should not be a big issue.

Hector1970 said:
Are the printers very consistent?
Usually modern printers are. How old your inks were? How often do you print? Was the paper inserted correctly? Was the paper profile the same? If you new inks fixed the issue - and you didn't changed any settings between prints - it looks like it was something head/inks related. I would have printed a nozzle test before attempting a new print.
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,110
299
I print alot actually. It could also be the printer is starting to wear out but it still appears to work.
Paper was in right and it was the same paper profile.

Yes maybe a nozzle test should be looked at.

Would be curious to hear other experienced printers on consistency. Is that what they experience when the don't change anything in their printer. Does it ever go weird?

I'm just about to print lots of large prints so I want to print them in large batches and let it print without having to check each one.
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,110
299
tolusina said:
Soft proof in Lightroom using a printer/ink/paper profile.

You can create your own ,icc/.icm profiles for each printer/paper/ink combination with X-Rite or DataColor tools.
OR, as you're using a Canon printer, you can download ready made profiles from Canon that are pretty darn close.
https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/products/groups/3rd-party-papers
Could you explain what Soft Proof in Lightroom does exactly?
The pictures look absolutely perfect when I tick the soft proof box but I'm not exactly sure what it is supposed to tell me.
 

hne

Gear limits your creativity
Jan 8, 2016
304
23
Hector1970 said:
Hi All,
I have a Canon Pro-10.
Even though I print quite a bit I'm not very expert on printing.
I'm not great at calibrating my screen (I know I should - I just find it annoying doing it regularly).
The output to screen on a different PC / Phone etc is quite consistent and as expected.
Its in printing that I find inconsistencies.
Sometimes its like the printer has a good day or a bad day.

A question to someone who does alot of printing.
Are the printers very consistent?
ie: If I had an identical set up in settings and paper would the printer consistently print the same or does a printer sometimes go off a bit.

Last night when I was printing I was getting very poor colour reproduction. The photographs were dull and lacking colour. It was consistently poor. A number of inks were running low but not running out. I replaced all the near empty tanks with new ink and the next print was perfect in terms of colour reproduction.
It's all Canon Original Ink I was using and Canon paper.
I was printing using Lightroom.

I couldn't explain it myself why it was so far off, it was certainly lacking proper red colours in the picture but all colours looked a bit undercooked. I don't think it was the lack of a current calibration - I'd agree if you want your photograph perfect its important but not in a run of the mill photo that you want reasonably okay. it was almost like the colour balance was wrong (ie if you took a photo and put the incorrect colour balance on it).
Sounds like you had a few blocked nozzles. In case of printers with lots of ink, this might look mostly good, with just a few colours off in some photos. I've had pictures come out just slightly weird after getting a third of the orange nozzles blocked (and no other nozzles, weird enough). Definitely do a nozzle check. Regularly.

As long as all nozzles fire, you would probably have less of a drift in the printer than your monitor over time.
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,110
299
Thanks I'll definitely try a nozzle clean.
This printer takes so much time to start up after changing cartridges etc I didn't think that would be an issue but I'll do that
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,593
164
Hector1970 said:
Could you explain what Soft Proof in Lightroom does exactly?
The pictures look absolutely perfect when I tick the soft proof box but I'm not exactly sure what it is supposed to tell me.
It tries to emulate how the print will look on paper - as far as the different media (monitor/paper) allow. It uses the selected paper/printer profile and use it to simulate its look on the screen, including the paper white point. Selecting "Simulate paper & ink", LR will also attempt to simulate the paper white point and the inks colors, especially the blacks. Note that some printers have colors spaces easily exceeding sRGB, and sometimes AdobeRGB too, thereby the on-screen preview depends a lot on the quality of the monitor.

It is useful to have an idea of how brightness/contrast/colors/etc. may be affected when printed, assess the different effects of the intent (perceptual or relative), which clippings may occur, - and lets you apply any required changes, if any, to a virtual copy which can be used as the print source. You can display the original and the soft-proofed copy side-by-side.

AFAIK, if Adobe didn't changed it in recent releases, soft-proofing is available only in the Develop module. The image displayed in the print module isn't color managed using the paper/printer profile, thus it's only useful for image placement.
 

BeenThere

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 4, 2012
866
195
Hector1970 said:
Thanks I'll definitely try a nozzle clean.
This printer takes so much time to start up after changing cartridges etc I didn't think that would be an issue but I'll do that
Your printer settings in the menu might not match the paper you are using (e.g. glossy vs mat). Or, you may have a color profile selected either at the printer or in the print software that is incorrect. Pays to check all settings before printing.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,595
808
Based on your explanations, a dirty printer head might be a issue. The baffles in the head get accumulations of ink, they have very fine screens that can clog too.

If it does not resolve, bet a good head cleaner and a set of empty cartridges and purge all the ink in the printer and let the cleaner work on the internals of the print head.

Some high quality flush solution, not the cheap stuff sold on Amazon.

https://shop.inkjetmall.com/Shop-By-Ink/PiezoFlush-Desktop/PiezoFlush-Solution-220ml.html
 

tolusina

EOS 7D MK II
Mar 1, 2012
788
2
Keith Cooper of Northlight Images, a CR member, has written extensively on the topic.

Start with this page to find and select topics;
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/commercial-photography/training/colour-management/

At the bottom of the first page is this;
http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/calibration-and-profiling-not-the-same-thing/

And a google search;
https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&source=hp&ei=dYi5WtqbAY2KtQWMj4fgAg&q=printer+and+monitor+gamut&oq=gamut+printer+vs+&gs_l=psy-ab.3.1.0i22i30k1j0i22i10i30k1.2608.18641.0.21650.18.17.0.0.0.0.136.2000.1j16.17.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..1.17.1992.0..0j0i131k1j0i10k1.0.uRUXRVkg-sk
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,293
311
Davidson, NC
I've used Canon scanners and of course cameras for many, many years. But somehow I've always used HP laser printers and Epson inkjets. So I'll post just a quick word about my printing experiences, realizing the limited relevance. I used to try various methods of color management, and often managed to mess things up, failing to check or uncheck some box that applied profiles twice or not at all or unrelated ones, or something I couldn't explain.

About five years ago I bought an Epson R3000. After making whatever test print they recommended, I printed out four pictures on 13" x 19" paper. I printed from Photoshop and chose "Let printer manage colors," and set it for the paper I was using. The first try on all four were good enough that I took them to be framed, and they hang in the little gallery I have along my hallway. I had the frames made where I can change the photos, and only recently have decided to replace two of them with prints from my trip to Britain last year. I've also done some murals on roll paper for the family room, and am thinking of doing a couple prints to hang in the guest room.

So oddly, the simplest method works best for me. The printer manages colors a lot better than I do.
 

Talys

Canon 6DII
Feb 16, 2017
2,058
329
Vancouver, BC
stevelee said:
I've used Canon scanners and of course cameras for many, many years. But somehow I've always used HP laser printers and Epson inkjets. So I'll post just a quick word about my printing experiences, realizing the limited relevance. I used to try various methods of color management, and often managed to mess things up, failing to check or uncheck some box that applied profiles twice or not at all or unrelated ones, or something I couldn't explain.

About five years ago I bought an Epson R3000. After making whatever test print they recommended, I printed out four pictures on 13" x 19" paper. I printed from Photoshop and chose "Let printer manage colors," and set it for the paper I was using. The first try on all four were good enough that I took them to be framed, and they hang in the little gallery I have along my hallway. I had the frames made where I can change the photos, and only recently have decided to replace two of them with prints from my trip to Britain last year. I've also done some murals on roll paper for the family room, and am thinking of doing a couple prints to hang in the guest room.

So oddly, the simplest method works best for me. The printer manages colors a lot better than I do.
I used Epson printers forever. Really, until I bought a Pixma Pro 100, which doesn't seem so long ago.

The colors on the Canon are more faithful, in my opinion, and I prefer Canon papers -- but this could also be simply a generational thing (my Epson printers were much older). They served me well!

With my Pixma Pro, I simply let Lightroom and the printer do all the work. But in truth, for photographs, getting the colors right is less important than having the print look pleasing, and both Canon and Epson have done a great job of that.

For more technical reproductions, where faithful color is important, it's a whole lot trickier, but I won't get into that, because it doesn't seem the topic of this post.
 

LDS

EOR R
Sep 14, 2012
1,593
164
stevelee said:
chose "Let printer manage colors," and set it for the paper I was using.
In AdobeSpeak, it means "use the OS color management system instead of Adobe own ACE". That's mean using ColorySync (is still named as such) on Apple, and Windows color management on Windows, with the printer part usually implemented by the printer driver - which is where you need to select paper profiles, and other settings.

Otherwise Adobe product bypass the OS color management system and use their own - so settings are fully controlled by the software, which could implement specific features. In this case the printer must be set to avoid any color management.

Adobe ACE is it's the same on Windows and macOS, and it doesn't depend on printer drivers quality. On the other ends, good printer drivers can deliver excellent results.

Use what is simpler for you, and deliver the results you like.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,293
311
Davidson, NC
Talys said:
The colors on the Canon are more faithful, in my opinion, and I prefer Canon papers -- but this could also be simply a generational thing (my Epson printers were much older). They served me well!

With my Pixma Pro, I simply let Lightroom and the printer do all the work. But in truth, for photographs, getting the colors right is less important than having the print look pleasing, and both Canon and Epson have done a great job of that.

For more technical reproductions, where faithful color is important, it's a whole lot trickier, but I won't get into that, because it doesn't seem the topic of this post.
I took some of the links posted earlier in the thread. From one of the pages I took a link to a review of a big Epson printer. It uses 11 inks, and in setup you choose between light-light-black and purple for one of them. The LLK is for making prints that look good. The purple is for proofing in professional printing. So clearly the needs are different.

The newer printer inks give more tonal range and greater print longevity. I made decent looking prints with whatever Epson I had in the '90s, but nothing like what modern ones will do. Ink clogging is much less of a problem. I had the Epson R1900, I think it was, before this one, and it was much better than my earlier inkjet. The addition of light black and light-light black on the R3000 means it can make stunning black-and-white prints, unlike the R1900, besides of the subtleties of tone available in color, aided by light vivid magenta and light cyan. To manage 8 to 11 different inks at a time has to involve really sophisticated software in the printer/driver whatever color management one uses.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
1,293
311
Davidson, NC
LDS said:
stevelee said:
chose "Let printer manage colors," and set it for the paper I was using.
In AdobeSpeak, it means "use the OS color management system instead of Adobe own ACE".
. . . .
Use what is simpler for you, and deliver the results you like.
Thanks for the explanation.