Calibration of Mac Monitor and Printer


macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
I need some help...
I had heard in webinars, read in books and online that you really should calibrate your monitor. I have a 27” 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 iMac that I wanted to calibrate. As I also read that printers should be calibrated too, I purchased the Xrite Colormunki Photo package just days before I learned about their recent upgrade to i1Photo.
After finding out about a software update that made things better for Snow Leopard, I set out to calibrate my monitor and printer, an Epson Photo RX620. I am presently using Lion but emails from Xrite say the software is fully compatible with this new OS.

I have to say, I really do not notice much difference in my monitor. Maybe I am missing something. Also, having done what is needed to calibrate this printer, I then printed the same picture using the profile created for me by the Colormunki and software and then again using the settings Epson provides. When the Colormunki profile was used, Photoshop handled color management and it was turned off in the Epson. In the case where Epson handled the color management, I just chose the best paper match provided, in my case a high gloss photo paper.

Looking at the two pictures, I cannot honestly see much if any difference. Epson seems to do every bit as good a job as the Colormunki profile. Have I spent over $500 and not seen any real difference? At this time I’d have to say YES. Tell me, have I done anything wrong?

Also, should I consider a separate monitor for my iMac for when I use it for work with photos and the Lightroom/Photoshop combination I use? If so, could you please suggest a suitable monitor? As this is my only hobby, I could see spending between $500-1000 if the upper end really would make a difference. Oh, and fairly soon, I see that Epson printer being replaced with the Epson R3000 unless there is something better I should be considering.

FWTW: I got this reply from an expert in the field, I gather the iMac monitor is not the best choice for photography...

"The ColorMunki will not adjust the iMac screen to lower brightness to match paper white, so calibrating and profiling is a waste of time. And I would not suggest trying to use the iMac screen for digital photography. It is just sRGB *color range and white LED backlight is a dubious source to color manage. That's not my opinion it is the result of research done for the Cinema industry by a color scientist.

Quite a few of my readers who have iMacs have added a pro-graphics LCD display, and that works pretty well. The only other option is to trade what you have in and start over."

If this is true, what is the best monitor to purchase for photography and the Mac?



macrumors 65816
Jun 9, 2009
There is quite a lot of misinformation here. And your "expert in the field" seems to have gotten quite a few things wrong (or at least is using old information).

The old 24" iMacs did have an issue where you could not turn the brightness far enough down to appropriate levels. On the newer LED iMAcs, however, this is not really an issue. For print work, you should set your monitor brightness to around 80-90 cd/m^2. On the old iMacs, turning the brightness slider all the way down still wouldn't get the brightness that low- but the LED models don't have problems with this (at least that I have heard).

Yes, the iMac display only covers the sRGB colorspace, but this is not a huge dealbreaker. Many people still use sRGB displays to do photo editing. Is a wide gamut display better? Sure, but this is not the source of your problem. One advantage that a pro-graphics LCD display would give might be the matte finish. Some people really don't like the glare from the iMac screens and if your lighting setup is not perfect, glare/reflection could be interfering with what you see on the screen.

Previous versions of colorimeters had trouble with calibrating LED backlit displays. The more recent colorimeters have been designed with LED and wide-gamut display support though. The reason was the color filters in the colorimeters was optimized for CCFL/CRT displays and the LED emission spectrum was a little different. Your Colormunki Photo is a spectrophotometer though and doesn't really suffer from this issue as it does not use filters. AFAIK all spectrophotometers work with LED backlit displays as well as wide gamut.

I've never really dabbled in making my own paper profiles but from what I have heard, if you're using Epson printers and Epson paper, their factory-supplied profiles are pretty good. Good enough that some people don't bother with profiling their paper anymore because there is not that much difference.

Re: not seeing much difference- well it could be that your display was pretty close beforehand. Maybe you just don't have the critical eye (yet). Did you waste your money? I don't think so. You have a good spectrophotometer which you can use to calibrate your display (it will need periodic recalibration) and also has the ability to calibrate new inks/papers if you ever change your setup. The other main thing about calibration is not so much that it makes it "better" but rather it makes it more consistent and repeatable. So you can print with confidence and not end up throwing prints out because they came out wrong from the printer. This is where calibration really kicks in.



macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2008
I think you are correct. I watched a webinar today and the new products did not do the printer, something the Colormunki Photo does.
I asked someone who wrote a review of the ColorMunki Photo
the following question:

Would you say that the "Colormunki Photo" is still better than
the new "i1Display Pro" ?

Here's his answer:

"It is a higher end spectrophotometer and not just a cheap colorimeter. It's like comparing a $49 scanner to a Epson V750M.

In addition with the spectro you can do paper profiles, but with a colorimeter you can not."


macrumors member
May 20, 2009
> I see that Epson printer being replaced with the Epson R3000 unless there is something better I should be considering.

Try either R2000 or R3000. Both are good printers but depends on your usage.
R2000 has discount now, so nice to give it a shot.

On top of that, I am about to grab a continuous ink system for my new baby R2000.
they have R3000 too

indeed, it is very good for a long time printing. the economic on ink is fantastic too.

I just updated to Lion, and now many of my old printer drivers would not work... time to move to R2000 and Inkrepublic's bulk CIS inks system!

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