…to think these things are funny?

I just couldn’t help myself…

so here it is…

So here’s the discussion… Klaus came to me the other day and asked if I knew anything about Quato monitors. To be honest, I’d never heard of them. They are a German outfit who apparently specialise in high end monitors for graphics / photography / video applications. Now there was something about his question that rang true with me. For years now, everyone in the photographic community would shout Eizo when asked what the best monitor for retouching was for photographers. So could there be another competitor out there who could compete – or better the Eizo ColorEdge range of displays?

There has always been hot competition between users of the NEC spectraview series, some LaCie offerings and the Eizo stalwarts. I have for years complained about the Apple monitors both the stand alone and the all-in-one screens with the iMacs, which is a shame as using the iMac i7 as your main ‘shooting’ machine is currently the fastest solution for both shooting in the studio or on location – so long as you have access to the mains. I like how portable they are and the fact that there is only one ‘bit’ to cart around.

I guess that stand alone monitors only really have a place in the lives of retouchers or photographers who are working in exceptionally stringent colour environments. For me it is not so much about incredibly accurate colour, but more to do with the uniformity of the screen – no blotching and no hue changes across the display.

With that in mind, Klaus’ question took me back to the early days of when I was retailing Eizo monitors. They were still hard to get hold of and everyone wanted to see one to see what all the fuss was about – and that was the old CG-21.

So here we are again, a new kid on the block and I want to see it. So I guess I have to wait for Klaus to invite me over to gaze at it’s beauty. In the meantime I do have these early reports to dwell on –

By the way I’ve received my new Quato monitor and the first impressions are very, very good. The software iColorDisplay is a lot more professional than eyeone match or color navigator and you can actually calibrate all kinds of devices. Most calibrators are supported so my old Gretag iOne Display 2 works well with it.

I think in general the Quato has a slight edge over the Eizo range which you can also see on the prices. A very stunning monitor with a lovely german note to it. It’s a very slick piece of techology.

Only downside in my purchase is that I didn’t do enough research on the net. Instead of buying from the only UK supplier I should have ordered it directly from Europe in Euros as it would have been quite a bit cheaper.

It’s too late now and at least I get good support from native digital where I bought it from.

Well that’s a start. Then he sent this –

with this proviso –

I haven’t had an awful time to spend more time profiling and testing different software but that’s a kind of first result that’s even clearer than expected.

to be fair though, my CG211 definitely is coming to and end of it’s life. It’s been running for years now!

The grey graph is the new quato

So this is getting interesting now. I’ll be reporting back on the Quato as soon as I’ve seen it in the flesh, but it sure looks like an interesting contender.

So how about pooling our knowledge and test the true transfer rates to our connected Hard Disks?

Using Xbench is easy and FREE! Download it, Install it, and test the speed of your drives!

Take the poll…

OOPS! Xbench results MUST BE WHOLE NUMBERS – This is an issue with SurveyMonkey…

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

I was recently questioned about my opinion that the Canon ix9000 and ix9500 were difficult to profile and might not produce as accurate colour as some of the Epson printers. This led me to thinking about why it was that my gut instinct felt that these Canon printers were not as capable. I have for some time questioned the lack of functionality of the Canon drivers, but if the printers are capable of good prints, why would the functionality of the driver matter?

I know for a fact that a couple of years ago I had significant problems profiling a Canon ix9500 for a client. It left me with a bitter memory, but didn’t stop me using or recommending the Canon printers to others since. Then, earlier this year, I recommended the ix9000 to someone and after buying it was told that they were never happy with the colour that it produced. I guess this just compounded my previous experiences.

So this week, I set out to look at the issue from a scientific point of view.

I chose to use an application called PatchTool by BabelColor.

I used the following method for checking the ability of each of the various printer/paper/ink combinations and here are the results.

Epson 7900 (12 colour printer) using Kodak Lustre-E semi gloss paper.

HP Z-3100 using HP Premium Plus Satin Photo Paper Q5491A (thanks to Rene van der Hulst who supplied the Z3100 data)

Canon IP9000mkII with Ilford Galerie Smooth Lustre Duo (Data provided by Ilford UK website)

Canon IP9500mkII with Ilford Galerie Smooth Lustre Duo (Data provided by Ilford UK website)

Conclusion
In respect of the colour accuracy the printers all perform very competently.

However, if you are looking for a printer to cope with saturated colours, or indeed a printer to produce fine art reproduction prints the order of preference would be:

EPSON 7900 – best overall

Canon IP9500mkII – 2nd best overall but suffers in the dark areas

HP Z3100 – 3rd best overall but suffers delivering detailed colour information in the dark areas (similar to the Canon IP9000mkII)

Canon IP9000mkII – best at Blues, suffers significantly in delivering detailed colour information in the dark areas

Profiled monitors are good right?

Think again.

Sure we all need a profiled monitor to do colour critical work, but how often is that. First thing in the morning when you turn on your computer to check your emails – does it need to be profiled? Not really. How about last thing at night? Got a DVD to watch, pop it into the computer and off you go… Does that need to be profiled?

At this time of year as you walk home in the dark, look up at the flats and the buildings around you. Remember that harsh blue glare you get oozing out of some of the windows. TV, yes? Who’s to say that we all need to watch our DVD’s on a D65 calibrated screen?

Just as ambient lighting can be a concern in your working environment when doing colour critical work, what’s to say that we shouldn’t match our screens to our environment for the ease of our eyes?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for profiling monitors for our colour critical workflow, but when was the last time you went to see a printer and the daylight balanced fluorescent strips just end up giving you a headache after 10 minutes? In fact headaches are a real concern for the majority of people working at computer screens nowadays. More so if you work at a D65 colour balanced high resolution monitor.

So this idea of allowing your screen to wonder in colour to suit your environment, or more specifically the time of day, was a paradigm change for the way I considered my working environment. That was when I heard about f.lux

You set your geographical location and the ambient lighting you use at night and hey presto, f.lux tailors your screen to reflect your ambient environment during the day. Sure you can switch it off in the drop-down control bar menu for all your colour critical needs, but if like me you end up waking up at 4am and fancy a bit of night surfing, you’ll no longer be blinded by your screen as it wakes up and lets the whole road know that you can’t sleep!

I’ve been trying it for a couple of weeks and all I can say is it takes the edge off a colour managed screen when you’re using it for general use. Oh, and no headaches. Oh, and it’s totally free. Thanks to Jeff Ngan who brought this gem to my attention.

so everyone has an opinion… here’s his…

Another clever idea from the guys at Red Giant Software.

Plastic Bullet 1.2

We have been using Reg Giant Software for a number of moving image workflow issues – I love their Magic Bullet Grinder which converts H264 from the Canon 5D-mk2 into ProRes 422 quicker than any other application I have found (and that includes Apple’s Compressor!). Another bonus is that it will simultaneously create a ProRes 422 AND a ProRes Proxy with timecode!

Plastic Bullet brings all of those nice grading tricks to your iPhone and allows you to create random picture effects of your images and save them back to your iPhone albums in Hi-Res. It’s got to be worth the £1.19 any day, but it is fun. They were also running monthly competitions for people to upload their images to their site. Come on, live a little!

Someone popped into the studio the other day and showed me this.

What the Fuck should I eat for dinner?

Genius. That’s all I can say.

…having said that, I’m not an advocate of the site that it links to… but it’s got me out of a lot of trouble when deciding what to cook in the evening. Now if only it would take the contents of my fridge and tailor the suggestions to fit… ahhhhh.

Got a Canon 5D-mk2? Using it for filming? Got your picture styles set to Faithful? Using HTP (Highlight Tone Priority)?

DON’T

So we all know that the Canon has ISO safe speeds for stills and filming, but should you use HTP?

Here’s why you shouldn’t… an interesting discussion from the Cinema5D.com forum.

I’m not one for getting lost in YouTube, but this is one of those clips that makes you realise how mad the world we live in has become.

Someone get me my horse. I’m off home now.