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imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Image file vs Image file for printing vs Printed paper image


Hi guys,

I have a PRO-1000, but my question applies to any printing situation. I print museum quality images.

When I am finished printing a specific image, I end up with 3 images: 1. The original Image file on my screen, 2. the adjusted for printing image file on my screen and, 3. the printed image on that expensive, matte, museum grade paper. 

The part that unsettles me is that none of these look anything like either of the other 2. Is that how it is; something I'd better get used to?





Are you working in a color managed workflow with monitor calibrated?

What computer operating system and photo software?

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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

I work with a Macbook that is as calibrated as it can be. I use Lightroom for image and color management, and daylight for looking at the printed image. It's not optimal, but that's what I have. It works fine, so long as I accept this disparity in the way the images look compared to one another.

Mind you, the prints end up looking stunning, as they are intended for galleries. I have no choice here.

Do you make museum quality prints?

when you say that your Macbook is as calibrated as it can be, do you mean you have a spectrometer and calibrate your monitor? Or are you counting on the Mac itself just to be color calibrated since it's a Mac? 

If you want color accuracy, you need to create monitor profiles using a monitor profile creation SW and HW, like Color Monkey or other Xrite i1 spectrometer. 

If you're printing on expensive cotton rag papers, then the prints will not look like what you see on screen because those papers aren't capable of the deep deep blacks you see on a monitor, especially an Apple monitor which tends to be a little over saturated. That doesn't mean the prints won't look good, but for sue, you won't get the same deep dark blacks.

Do you use the manufacturer's paper profile when printing? Or a more generic ICC profile?

I do professional printing for a living, and I find that with color proofing before print, even under the best conditions, you need to tweak the print and dial it in. 

Thank you bellevuefineart. I am very happy to hear you are a professional printer. 

I calibrated the Mac as far as it allows, which is not much. I have Epson paper leftover from my Stylus Pro days, Ultra Premium Presentation paper for tests and Hot Press Natural for final prints. I test on both in 8.5x11" then move to 17x29".  I had to have profiles done for my new Canon PRO-1000  printer because Epson and Canon ... uh .. won't oblige one another. I also have to buy a new Macbook because this one is from mid-2012 and can't update to the latest LR versions. 

So what I hear you say is that without a spectrometer I am just kidding myself and wasting a lot of paper and ink. Right? Of course, I can't wait to save on time, paper and ink. I am not very technology oriented but super demanding visually regarding a) white balance and, b) subtlety in middletones and shadows. Which spectrometer seems right to investigate? I like simplicity and accuracy (doesn't everybody?). Thank you for your time.


If you're not calibrating your monitor then you're really not in a color managed environment. I'm not sure what else to say. Usually Macs are pretty good about color without it, but it's hard to say. 

Certainly the Hot press natural will give you different color than Ultra Premium presentation paper as they have a completely different dmax. So from that alone I wouldn't be surprised that the ultra premium presentation paper and hotpress natural give different results. 

The paper type you choose when printing will also greatly effect the color, such as matte photo paper, or heavy weight fine art paper, and extra heavy fine art paper, high density fine art paper etc. Those settings determine the ink density.

As for paper profiles, Epson is not making profiles for the Canon printers for sure, so for any Epson paper you would need to make your own profiles. I've certainly made a lot of them for the Canon Pro-1000, including Epson Premium Semi-matte and Epson Enhanced Matte which I use for proofing on both Canon and Epson printers. 

This is my reply to John on this topic: "I printed the test image on both Epson papers with no adjustments and ... they came out pretty **bleep** good! They both could use a hair more Black - by either using a bit of Texture, Shadow, Sharpness or ... ahem ... even .. Black. My screen brightness was on Max (it's a mid 2012 Mac). So it seems my only problem is ... my own eyes. I can't see that a calibrator would contribute anything. What do you think?"

You are right about every paper bringing its own characteristics in terms of color, contrast and what not. But I can bridge the gap visually between these 2 and using Ultra Premuim instead of Hot press for testing brings the cost way, way down.

Now that I can print Epson successfully on Canon, I have no reason to stop. Unless there is a Canon equivalent to Epson's Hot Press Natural at a better price. Is there? How can I find out? Canon people, I am sure, would have no clue since they know Canon papers and not Epson's. Right?

The goal is to have the printed image reflect what you see on the monitor and have the printed image look correct - sounds like you are there. The test image does two things - it lets you compare your display to the printed out and also gives you a way to evaluate the accuracy of the printed output. Since you are achieving both I don't see a real befit to calibrating. I am surprised at the max brightness setting, but it depends on your display and room settings. All that really matters is your satisfaction.

I wouldn't waste effort trying to find a Canon paper equivalent to what you are happy with in the Epson line unless you no longer can get the Epson paper you like.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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

Thank you John.

I won't claim victory quite yet; I'll test my assumption over the next 7 images I need to print and monitor what goes on. But I hope that I'm already there, as you say.

Thanks a lot for your continued support. means a lot to me 🙂


I print for personal use and camera club print competitions. Not sure what your definition of "museum quality" is. I use mostly non-OBA paper and ensure that my printed output reflects my display.  (as close as possible - there will always be some deviation since the display is a transmitted image and the print is a reflected image). 

You should be able to calibrate your MacBook display using an xRite(Calibrite) or Spyder tool. I calibrate my MacBook Air.

The following link: PrinterEvaluationImage_V002_ProPhoto.tif is to a standardized test image.

If you want to try it open the file in LrC (don't make any adjustments, regardless of how it looks on screen) and print it using the appropriate  printer settings. I let LrC manage color for all my printing and manually select the appropriate ICC profile (even if I am using Canon paper.)

Examine the print. It has skin tones and a number of "memory color" images that will tell you if the color is off or not. If the print doesn't look good you need to work on printer issues. If the print looks the way you want then how does the display look? If the display is off - too bright, too dark, color off - you need to adjust the display settings.

Your display should be calibrated to the color temperature that your images will be viewed under. Your Canon printer manual will probably recommend 5000K color temperature. That's probably close to what a gallery lighting might be. Most general printers recommend 6500K. There is a trend to use 5600K; they feel it more closely represents the paper white of many photo papers.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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