Custom printer profiling- worth it?

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I need to get a new monitor calibration system- my xrite is not supported on win7, and drivers will not load- at lease in my system- even manually.
I was looking at the spyder3 system.
I see they also have a studio system, spyder3 studioSR, which for about $250 gives me the addition of printer profiles, making custom profiles.
My main question is I print on an epson 3880, and print only on epson and red river papers, and use their profiles. I have, for the most part, been happy with the print output-(are we ever really happy with prints?)
Does anyone have experience with this, will the custom paper/printer profiles be significantly better than the profiles I get from the epson/redriver themselves?
Thanks
Gary
 
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I haven't used the studio system, but I have a much older Monaco system that I've used to profile my Epson R1800 with different papers. When the profiling is done right, the end results have given me a really close match and better than the profiles I've had from Epson. This Monaco system uses Kodak test targets and a scanner to check the matching (there's a lot of room for errors but it always seems to work). I'd think the Spyder Studio system would be a little more controlled.

I don't know if it's worth you getting the extra equipment for your situation (especially since you're using pretty consistent materials to begin with), but making my own profiles here has made printing a lot easier and more consistent on my older R1800.
 
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The Spyder 3 Studio SR system is pretty good from what I have heard or check out the ColorMunki which again seems to have good reports.

Obviously you will benefit from calibrating your monitor but as to making your own profiles I wonder if this is really necessary. I would suggest that the canned profiles from Epson for their own paper should be first rate. If you decide to go with another paper most manufacturers will probably have their own profile for a popular printer like the 3880 with the assumption that you will be using the manufacturers ink. Always worth checking before buying that a particular paper has profiles for your printer.

On the other hand if you are going to be trying other inks and papers not supported then either your own profile or custom would seem to be the way to go.

I was going to suggest getting a profile made as a test perhaps from someone with the proper experience like Andrew Rodney http://digitaldog.net/services.html. Then I saw the cost $100!! - couple of these will buy you your Spyder studio.
I am sure you can find cheaper but you need to check that it is from someone who knows what they are doing vs the guy who buys a system then decides to offer a cheap service which may not be all you hoped for
 
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I am not looking to experiment with new papers, inks, etc. That was really my question, would custom profiles done with a $400 package beat the profiles provided by the big guns?
You said for the most part you have been happy with your paper profiles, so the assumption must be that you are getting prints that match your screen in the soft proof window of PS or similar.

If you are not happy then IMO it is possible to get professional results with these packages with some time and effort on your part. The answer to the question 'will they beat the profiles from the big guns' (assuming you mean indepenent profilers) can only be answered by testing the services offered. One advantage is that they may offer to reprofile should you be unhappy with the service provided.

Review Spyder package Here
 
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I use the XRite Color Munki with Epson and Red River Satin Pro and Arctic Luster.
The Color Munki profiles are better than the paper manufacturer profiles.
I'm printing on an Epson 3800.
 
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I have the old X-Rite Pulse ColorElite which does both monitor and printer profiles. With my Epson R1800 the printer profiles were a must in order to get results I was happy with. Now I have the new R3000 and have not found a need to use anything other than the Epson profiles.
 
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I ordered the spyder3 elite, but without the printer profile capablities.
I will see how it goes, I use epson papers almost exclusively- and have been ok with them in the past. I will let you know how it goes.
thanks for the input
Gary
 
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If you print with manufacturer provided settings and / or profiles and the results are good, then you are just plain lucky. Either that or you are not very critical of the results.
In my book printer profiling is a must. You can either have it done (one profile for each ink / paper combination!) or DIY.
For my printer I always use original manufacturer ink, so that takes care of that. But for each paper that I use, I have made a custom profile (I make my own).
The result being that I print with confidence and the results are a consistent reflection of what I see on my (calibrated) monitor.
 
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I used to order profiles from someone who made them for about $25 each. You print the target on her web site, one for each paper you use, send her the prints, and you get profiles emailed to you.

I haven't bothered since I got a new printer.
 
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If you print with manufacturer provided settings and / or profiles and the results are good, then you are just plain lucky. Either that or you are not very critical of the results.
In my book printer profiling is a must. You can either have it done (one profile for each ink / paper combination!) or DIY.
For my printer I always use original manufacturer ink, so that takes care of that. But for each paper that I use, I have made a custom profile (I make my own).
The result being that I print with confidence and the results are a consistent reflection of what I see on my (calibrated) monitor.
Interesting viewpoint and as a generalisation I would agree. However, according to professionals such as Martin Evening and Tim Grey Quote: "the canned profiles that ship with the latest Epson printers tend to be of very high quality and all you really need for professional print results"
I do not own the Epson so can only accept that these views are probably correct for most users with the better printers.

Advantage of a custom profile over the canned variety should be that it has been created for your specific printer - some variation between printers of the same model probably exist so it may make it worthwhile to use custom or create your own.

Did come across one rec. (from Tim Grey) Cathys profiles http://www.cathysprofiles.com/ single profile $35 - might be worth it for your most common paper.
 
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If you print with manufacturer provided settings and / or profiles and the results are good, then you are just plain lucky. Either that or you are not very critical of the results.

Most certainly true in the past, but I do not agree that it is true with the R3000 profiles Epson has available for its premium papers. These profiles are not on the printer installation disk. I had to wait a couple of weeks after receiving the printer before they were available for download. I'm very picky (some might say anal) about color. That is why I invested in the tools needed to create my own printer profiles, which were most definitely an improvement over the Epson ones available for my R1800. The R3000 is a very different story. As picky as I am I still haven't found a need to create a custom profile. YMMV.
 
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