Color Management for Photographers – Part Two

 

One of the questions I hear quite a bit is lately is: “how do chromogenic prints (like the Fuji) compare to modern inkjet printers? aren’t they cheaper and just as good?”

Well, there’s two parts to this answer: on some images, you may see little difference; on others, quite a bit.

The ColorSync utility that is provided with the Mac OS will draw a color map, or chart, of the available range of colors produced by a printer/paper/ink combination. I’ve used this to map out the color gamut of the Fuji on Fuji satin paper, the Epson 9880 (w/ Vivid Magenta) on satin media, and the HP Z3200 on satin media. The results are interesting:

Left to right: Fuji, HP, Epson, Fuji vs. HP

Left to right: Fuji, HP, Epson, Fuji vs. HP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to note that these are unidirectional, basic 2-D views of a 3-D color map. Having said that, all views are identical, and are the default setting for ColorSync utility.

In my view, the Fuji is in third place compared to the other two. That’s not to say that you can’t make pleasing prints using this technology – you can, within limits. By the way, the last frame on the right shows an overlay of the Fuji on the Z3200 plot.

In my personal opinion, the Z3200 has the greatest potential to deliver prints with the widest possible color gamut. Again, not to say that the Epson can’t make prints that please the eye, just that in this particular test it appears to me that there are significant differences.

So, I’d say you do get what you pay for. Prices on chromogenic prints like the Fuji are coming down, but if I were printing my exhibition or fine art edition, the Z3200 is still my printer of choice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s