Yesterday I picked up a Spyder 3 Studio SR calibration kit for both my monitor and printer. I was unhappy with the quality of what I was seeing on the screen and what I was printing out. There was a great discrepancy between the two and I had no trust that either were correctly reproducing colours.
I know there will never be a complete parity between screen and printer due to the different methods of displaying colour and the limited gamuts, but the printer was not producing the contrasts I was expecting.
I figured that if I was serious about printing my photos I would need to calibrate both to get the best outputs and the Spyder 3 Studio SR looked like a good choice. I got it for $659 which seemed a good price.
The monitor calibration was simple and effective. When comparing the before and after I could see I had my screen way too bright (apparently a common user error) and there was a horrible green cast that I hadn't noticed before. So, the monitor calibration was a big tick.
The printer calibration has not gone so good. My first attempts last night were a disaster. After about 2 hours of playing around with printing review sheets (on expensive photo paper) and then scanning them a number of times, the results were abysmal. It was so bad I knew I must be doing something wrong.
I tried again this morning and took note of a couple of things that improved the situation somewhat:
1. I plugged the scanner into the computer USB port rather than a USB hub;
2. I downloaded and installed that latest version of the software - 4.1.1;
3. I took care in making sure the confirmation tones from the software started on the first colour and finished on the last;
4. I only used the colour version of the review sheets, not the colour and grey shades.
The results were much better than last night but were actually worse than the standard printer driver. I am definitely lacking contrast and vibrancy.
At this stage I feel I have wasted $400 for the printing component but will persevere because I'm pretty sure I'm not doing something right.
If there is anyone out there who has used this hardware/software to calibrate their printer, I would love to hear from you and get some tips. For example, do I have to be in a brightly lit area (which I wasn't as I thought the scanner would produce it's own light to scan by)? Stuff like that. Thanks a lot.