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Interaction Between Monitor and Printer

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#1
My monitor and printer are calibrated using the XRite ColorMunki Photo. Photo editing and printing is performed using LR6. Photo printing is performed by the Canon Pro-10. What I am trying to comprehend is how edits and what is seen on the monitor affects what is printed? For example, assume that the photo as viewed on the monitor appears correct in terms of exposure and color. However, the printed photo is darker than what is viewed on the monitor. Does adjusting exposure on the monitor affect what is printed? From what I have read thus far, there is not a direct link between monitor and printer other than by the print settings in LR6. The driver in the printer is turned off.

The current settings between LR6 and the Pro-10 currently produce very good results. That is, the current settings do not result in photos darker than what is viewed on the monitor. My question is more broad in terms of gaining a more thorough understanding of how edits to a photo in LR6 are translated to the printer.
 

Tony Jay

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#2
The hypothetical situation described is actually very common.
The "dark print" phenomenon is caused by a monitor being too bright for the editing environment.
As a consequence images are edited that look good on the monitor yet print too dark.
The solution is to reduce the luminance of the monitor - sometimes dramatically.

Unfortunately, there is no "magic bullet" luminance setting to solve the problem because the optimum setting is intimately linked to how much light is present in the editing environment. The more light that is present in the editing environment the higher the luminance setting needs to be and the lower the light levels the lower the luminance setting needs to be.
Another issue that can afflict consumer-level monitors is that they are designed and marketed for how bright they are and they often cannot have luminance levels reduced to levels low enough appropriate for image editing.
This is one (of many) reasons why monitors designed specifically for high-end image and video editing are so much more expensive than their consumer-level counterparts.

Another related issue is the environment in which a printed image is viewed. Almost any print can look too dark when viewed in a dark environment, since, because a print is a reflective medium that relies completely on ambient light, unlike a monitor which is an example of a transmissive medium where what one sees is not so dependent on environmental light conditions.

Tony Jay
 
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#3
Changing the exposure (or brightness) on a monitor always effects the look of a print - roughly speaking, the brighter the monitor, the darker the printNot sure of course how deep you've gone into calibrating your printer, but printer calibration is specific to the ink-set and the paper, so for instance, I have four papers I use (and one printer) and each was calibrated separately. I find that printing calibration is very stable; however, screens change much more often, so that if I have critical work to be printed (or even delivered electronically), I'll calibrate my monitor on the spot - that will also address the correct brightness of the monitor. While the ColorMunki is a good, overall unit, what I hear from my professional color-management pals is that it's not necessarily as accurate as their higher-end units, such as the i1Profiler, so that might have an impact.

Also, as Tony Jay states above, the light in the room can have a big impact, including the temperature of the bulb. I once asked R Mac Holbert, who quite literally helped invent fine-art digital printing, what temperature he likes to view prints under, and he told me his bulbs were 4700K, and when I asked why he said that it was a middle-ground light temperature because while I might have controlled lighting to view prints, other people almost certainly will not, even in a gallery, and that in the real world you're often experiencing multiple light-sources (and temperatures) hitting the print.
 
Last edited:

PhilBurton

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#4
Another issue that can afflict consumer-level monitors is that they are designed and marketed for how bright they are and they often cannot have luminance levels reduced to levels low enough appropriate for image editing.
This is one (of many) reasons why monitors designed specifically for high-end image and video editing are so much more expensive than their consumer-level counterparts.

Tony Jay
Tony,

Offhand, do you know which "consumer-level" monitors are less able to adjust to low light levels? Brands that I see mentioned a lot for low-cost photo editing include Dell, ASUS, and BenQ, based on having IPS technology for the display panel. Would you know of any websites that properly test monitors for photo editing?

And yes, a EIZO monitor can be shockingly expensive.

Phil Burton
 
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#5
I have a BenQ monitor, which was recommended to me by my color-management guy, who is, like the best of that profession, a fanatic gear-head, super concerned with quality. It is a SW2700, 27", virtually full Adobe RGB display, which cost about $600 direct from BenQ, and it is great. Since BenQ came on the scene, my not-very-scientific perception is that the other companies have dropped their prices. But even before, you could get good NEC monitors for just over $1K. BenQ has since come out with other monitors, more directed toward video, with more resolution and P3.
 

Tony Jay

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#6
Offhand, no - it is a while since I have needed to research the market in any detail...

However Eizo is NOT the only brand of dedicated image and video editing monitors available.
NEC is arguably better (and much cheaper) and Dell, and others have also entered the market.
Even Eizo makes consumer-level monitors so the brand name itself is not a good guide.

I would go to B&H website and look at what monitors they are selling as well as Image Science (an Australian company that sells high-end printers, monitors, and photographic equipment) - their website is a revelation for anybody wanting to get into printing and needing to learn about colour management!

DPReview and other websites like them also carry reviews on monitors that will, at least, give one an idea.

Key attributes for a monitor would be ability to drop the luminance well below 100 cd/m2 without the loss of colour fidelity, edge-to-edge and corner-to-corner consistency in colour and tone (not so much an issue anymore now CRT have bitten the dust) and an ability to display a colour gamut that approaches (or maybe even exceeds) the AdobeRGB colourspace. Hardware calibration (as opposed to calibrating the video card) is also helpful....
Note I have not mentioned high resolution - IMHO a 2K or 4K monitor is a pain in the a___ for this application.

Tony Jay
 

happycranker

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#7
A good source of monitor reviews is Photo Life Photography Life they have quite a few, plus problems with items from Dell and others when used for photo work. I have both NEC and Eizo, but here in Australia NEC are not guaranteeing pixel checking before shipping any more!
 

sty2586

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#8
On the site www.prad.de (german only!?) you can find specs and info vor approx. 13.000 monitors, with filters for tens of parameters and much more.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find an English version of this site.
Greetings from Vienna
Franz
 
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#9
Thanks for all the information about monitors. Interesting but not needed and off-point. By the way, I use a BenQ Sw2700PT monitor set to RGB. I am also aware of ambient conditions when making a comparison between what is printed and what is viewed on a monitor. I suppose the original question was just too confusing.
 

happycranker

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#10
I thought Tony's answer was absolutely perfect, as to your very common problem, which is caused by too high monitor brightness ?
 

Tony Jay

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#11
I thought Tony's answer was absolutely perfect, as to your very common problem, which is caused by too high monitor brightness ?
On re-reading the OP the question he is asking is really in the very last sentence...
Unfortunately, he camouflaged it brilliantly with the wholly irrelevant data (considering the question that he really wanted an answer to) comprising the rest of the post!

So, technically the OP is correct, but he just set us up to fail...
However, it may be useful for the OP to consider his question and to repost it if he really still wants to pursue it - particularly whether he wants to know how the print pipeline works (a topic that is really outside the realm of Lightroom since it is an OS issue) or merely whether he wants to know how Lightroom prepares image data to be sent down the pipeline (more relevant for a Lightroom user)...
 
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#12
The intent was not to confuse or deceive anyone with my question. However, it is surprising that what seemed to be a straight forward question was so misunderstood. It was clearly stated that the example of a photo that was darker as compared to how it is seen on a monitor was merely that. An example. It was not the issue seeking an answer. In fact, it was clearly stated that my photos are a near match for what is seen on the monitor, taking into account for the difference between viewing a photo on a illuminated surface as compared to a light reflected surface. It appears that Tony is correct. The answer to my question probably should be addressed elsewhere. In any event
 
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My previous reply was interrupted. Here is the completed sentence to the one that was interrupted.

In any event, thanks to all that responded to the question.
 
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#14
I believe that I have found the answer to my question at photo.stackexchange.com/questions, under "What is the use of printer profiles?"
 

Dan Marchant

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Does adjusting exposure on the monitor affect what is printed? From what I have read thus far, there is not a direct link between monitor and printer other than by the print settings in LR6. The driver in the printer is turned off.
No, adjusting exposure/brightness on the monitor has no affect on what is printed.... or rather it has no direct affect. If you print an image from Lightroom then adjust the brightness of your monitor and print another copy they will be (to all intents and purposes) identical. The brightness of the print will only change if you adjust the exposure in Lightroom.

However the brightness of your monitor can have an indirect affect on your prints. If the monitor is too bright you are likely to compensate for this by reducing the exposure in Lightroom. This LR change will cause the resulting print to be darker. Conversely, if the monitor is too dark you may compensate by increasing exposure in LR so the image looks correct, but in so doing you make the resulting print brighter.
 
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