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D50 Print viewing box?

John A. Stovall , Jul 01, 2006; 06:23 p.m.

Is any one using a D50 print veiwing station or at least a Solux light for evaluationg their final prints? I'm thing a need to have one for the final evaluation of my prints. After all what's the point in calibrating ones work flow if you then don't look at the final product under the light standard it's all geared to?


Marc Rochkind , Jul 02, 2006; 12:40 a.m.

I use an Ott-Lite, which sits on the table and has a fold-out piece that holds the bulbs. It's not in any sort of box... I just hold the print under the light, or prop it up so I can compare it to the screen.

I agree with you that such a light is essential for evaluating the print. On the other hand, it's probably the last time the print will be viewed that way, unless it's going to be hung in a gallery. Still, one needs a standard, and something close to D50 makes as much sense as anything.


Jim Simmons , Jul 02, 2006; 03:26 a.m.

I put a Solux bulb in a $30 desk lamp I got from Office Depot. Works great. My monitor is calibrated with Monaco EZcolor. When I put up a white image on my monitor and one of my standard printing papers on an easel under the solux bulb, the fact that the solux bulb is about 4700 degrees Kelvin and my monitor is corrected to 6500 degrees becomes noticeable. So I've slipped a piece of 1/4 color correction blue light filtering gel (for studio lighting applications) under the bottom of the lamp. This corrects the light just enough so that the paper and my monitor are the same color. If the brightness of the paper is brighter than the monitor (and it is), then I add a bit of diffusion material under the lamp until the brightness matches too. Sounds a bit anal, I know, but when the prints under the light match the monitor, it makes working much more pleasant.

Then, as others have mentioned, the instant you put the print under a flourescent light or a halogen light or anywhere else, the colors shift, but to have the workflow standardized gives you a proper starting point.

Andrew Rodney , Jul 03, 2006; 05:52 p.m.

There should be no need to apply a colored filter to the Solux. Yes, its correlated color temperature is 4700K but that's not an issue when you consider that using color temperature to define a color provides a range of colors, not an exact color of white. The reason the Solux is CCT 4700K is that it correlates with daylight pretty well and unlike any Fluorescent light, it's a true full spectrum light source. Don't worry about the numbers.

Jim Simmons , Jul 04, 2006; 12:00 a.m.

I hear you, Rodney, but I'm not really thinking about the Kelvin numbers so much as I'm looking at the white on my calibrated monitor and the white of my printing paper under the Solux light. The paper is definitly "yellower" than the monitor. Just a touch of blue filter puts the two "in sync" with each other. Isn't that the goal?

Kirk Thompson , Jul 08, 2006; 03:15 p.m.

Andrew is right: in focusing mainly on the whites, you're probably not looking in the best place. Whites vary with the paper base, all the way from strong OBs to a shade of yellow (as on USFA). Setting your soft proof for paper white doesn't compensate very accurately for this. Your best bet is probably to leave paper-white unchecked, use Solux bulbs, & then print a grayscale & Photodisc to see if colors are accurate & grays are neutral when held against a color checker & a WhiBal or an 18% gray card. Accurate colors & consistently neutral grays in prints are more important color-management indicators than the appearance of paper-white on your monitor.

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