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imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Everything Prints too Dark

Craigd104
Contributor

Something I've noticed about printing with this printer is that everything seems to come out too dark on paper. I also thought things had a red shift (no matter what paper), but I no longer think so. It’s just too dark, so oranges look red.

So, what I’ve done is I created a Macbeth® Color Checker file in Photoshop.  I found the RGB color numbers for Adobe RGB here: RGB coordinates of the Macbeth ColorChecker (babelcolor.com). I made a file with all 24 color swatches, printed it on Canon Pro Luster paper at highest quality and compared against my physical Macbeth chart. Everything was too dark, just as with my photos. Then I added a brightness adjustment layer and printed again at +10, +20 and +30. I found that at +30, the colors match the best (by eye) between the print and the physical Macbeth chart. I don’t know why this is necessary. It should not be. But it’s persistent across all media I’ve tested.  And since I’m comparing a print against a known, physical reference, it cannot be related to my monitor calibration.

So, does anyone know why this would be? What could be wrong with my color workflow that could cause this? Adding the brightness layer in PS is not a big deal, but it should not be necessary.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

I worked backwards when I was first setting my printer up. I used the test print and printed it from Lightroom without making any adjustments or caring how it looked on my monitor. 

I brought it up to my living room in daylight, which is where I would be displaying my prints. The print looked exactly how I would want it to look. Colors looked good. I could discern all 11 graystep boxes. Skin tones correct. If I felt that it was too dark or too light I would have adjusted in the printer driver and saved it as a preset. What is good about the test image is that it has "memory images". You know what strawberries should look like. Similarly, the aspens and red rock country scene. So it's easy to tell if something is off.

Screenshot 2023-03-03 053616.jpg

Then I went back to my workstation and compared how the print looked compared to the monitor display. Didn't matter if the workstation lighting might have been darker (or brighter) because I wasn't viewing, just comparing two supposedly identical images. (My work area is darker than upstairs.) They will never be exact because of the transmitted/reflected light issues, but they can be close. I ran several calibrations at different brightness settings and found that the 80 cd/m2 was closest. 

I also rely on histogram when editing and use Lightroom shift- double click to set black point and white point, but I know that if it looks good on the monitor it will be a good print for other tuning.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

View solution in original post

9 REPLIES 9

nickbatz
Contributor

Are you using ICC profiles for the paper you use? That makes a gigantic difference.

Yes, I am using ICC profiles. The colors aren't even close without them. The printer is calibrated, and my monitor is calibrated for a white point of D50 at 120 cd/m2. This intensity I've found to be recommended for printing. Still puzzled.

That's really weird. Wish I could help!

In the US, Canon's phone support is exceptional, if you can contact them.

jrhoffman75
Legend
Legend

Every thing you’ve done sounds correct. I calibrate my Pro-100 to 5800K and 80 cd/m^2. Gives me good correlation to prints in my home. 

Download and print this test image and see how it prints. Make no adjustments before printing. 

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ApNpngg2Z6dbhIYE7t2R7z6PJPAblw

 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

Thanks for that. I downloaded your image and looked at it (I recognize that image, or parts of it) but I haven't printed it yet. I'm not sure how to evaluate whether it is "correct" or not. I'm sure it will look fine, but how will I know if it's too dark?

I noticed that you calibrate your white luminance to only 80 cd/m^2. That seems very dim to me, but if it works for you, then it's right. I'm guessing your office is fairly dim lighting then?  Mine is fairly dim. So maybe my monitor is just still too bright for print. Unfortunately, my calibrator tool does not have any ability to measure ambient light. One problem I have with that theory is that my image editing is not purely subjective. I'm also looking at the histogram. Although I suppose primarily it's the mid and dark portions of an image where I would notice that it's "too dark", and if my monitor were darker, I would feel compelled to bring those values up a bit so I can see them.  Does my reasoning seem correct?

Craig

I worked backwards when I was first setting my printer up. I used the test print and printed it from Lightroom without making any adjustments or caring how it looked on my monitor. 

I brought it up to my living room in daylight, which is where I would be displaying my prints. The print looked exactly how I would want it to look. Colors looked good. I could discern all 11 graystep boxes. Skin tones correct. If I felt that it was too dark or too light I would have adjusted in the printer driver and saved it as a preset. What is good about the test image is that it has "memory images". You know what strawberries should look like. Similarly, the aspens and red rock country scene. So it's easy to tell if something is off.

Screenshot 2023-03-03 053616.jpg

Then I went back to my workstation and compared how the print looked compared to the monitor display. Didn't matter if the workstation lighting might have been darker (or brighter) because I wasn't viewing, just comparing two supposedly identical images. (My work area is darker than upstairs.) They will never be exact because of the transmitted/reflected light issues, but they can be close. I ran several calibrations at different brightness settings and found that the 80 cd/m2 was closest. 

I also rely on histogram when editing and use Lightroom shift- double click to set black point and white point, but I know that if it looks good on the monitor it will be a good print for other tuning.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

Well, your evaluation image prints fine. In the center, can see white plus all 11 shades of gray. The skin tones look right. Everything looks good. So that pretty much confirms that my images are just too dark the way I've been developing them. And since they appear darker than the screen (even when well lit), I re-calibrated my monitor down to 100, so I'll see how things compare with a darker screen.  Thanks for all your info. It's nice to have some confirmation about what's going on.  I'll check back and mark as resolved after I do some testing to confirm.

Be curious to hear any outcomes on this issue.

The problem (for me anyway) was indeed monitor too bright. jrhoffman75 was correct, and his post is essentially the solution. I calibrated my monitor to 100, where his is 80, and that seems to work for me. Remember that "too dark" meant that the print appeared noticeably darker than the monitor.  If you feel that your prints are too dark, regardless of how they compare to your monitor, then there is most likely something else going on.

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