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X-Rite ColorMunki Color Calibration System Reviewed

Oh, how I love, love, love my X-Rite ColorMunki color calibrator!


What makes me especially partial to the ColorMunki Design model I use is that it not only color calibrates my  computer’s display, but it also calibrates my printer to match my display, making perfect home prints possible on the first try, every try. 

ColorMunki Design can also be used to color calibrate LCD projectors, though I’ve not yet used mine for this, but it’s great to know I can. As the name implies, the device also has excellent design applications, since it allows you to sample colors from color libraries or by grabbing colors from anywhere by scanning any surface. These capabilities allow you to create custom color palettes and more. While I didn’t have any of this in mind when I bought the product, as I’ve evolved into projects like designing my own website and other new projects which involve design, I’m happy these are options available to me.

If you don’t ever plan to print your own photos (really, are you absolutely sure?!?!?) then the ColorMunki Display would be enough for you, but if you want the ability to ever venture into printing your own, which is super fun, get the ColorMunki Design model.

X-Rite has newer calibration tools out, but I am perfectly happy with my ColorMunki. Since there are newer models, you might be able to snatch up great buy on a used ColorMunki from someone who’s decided to upgrade. The newer i1 PhotoPro System looks amazing, but frankly it’s more than I need; I’m completely satisfied with the results I’m getting with the ColorMunki and I haven’t even tapped into all its capacities yet.  While I’m excited about its full range of capabilities, thus far, my primary uses are calibrating my display and my printer.

You know you need to color calibrate when any or all of these are true:

1. Your display is nice and bright (which means your prints will be certain to come out too dark).

2. The colors on your display look “perfect and normal” (which means they’ll totally suck in your prints)!

3. Your display is lacking a slightly yellowish greenish cast, a color cast which doesn’t look normal but trust me it is good; this odd color cast saves you tons of printing pain and suffering!

4. You can’t remember when you calibrated last.

[I hate those system tray calibration reminders which are annoying and also keep the device software running in the background at all times, taxing system resources a bit. But for sure, I gotta remember to use regular calendar reminders].

5.  You have never calibrated even though you’ve heard it’s important.

6.  You have no idea what I even mean by all of this talk of color calibration…

7. Your first home print (or two, or three, or…) of any given photo is too dark and the colors are off from what you saw on your display.

8. The print you sent to the lab looks dark and the colors are off from how you saw it on your display at home.

Now there is more than color calibration involved in getting accurate prints from a lab; namely making sure you’re saving your photos in the same color space your lab uses: RGB, sRGB, ProPhotoRGB, or embedding the lab’s custom profile. But for certain, none of that will help you if you aren’t post processing your photos on a properly color calibrated display in the first place.

I slack more about color calibration at times I’m not printing or sending out prints. However, even if your images are only being processed for online display on your website, on social media sites, or saved for possible later printing, the accuracy of your post processing can be radically affected by color calibration (or lack thereof). For this reason, it’s important to use a quality professional color calibration tool such as the X-Rite ColorMunki to calibrate your display regularly.

If you print at home, be sure to make calibrating your printer to match your display part of your regular calibration regimen. You will create separate printer profiles for each type of photo paper you use; all your printer/paper profiles will be matched to the color calibration of your display.

The investment in a quality professional color calibration device will pay for itself in saving wasted paper, ink, and money, and it will save you a world of hurt in disappointment with your prints.  Even if you don’t ever print your own photos, a calibrated display is a bare minimum.

COLOR CALIBRATE AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH!  Learn it, live it, love it!

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3 Responses

  1. Ken

    Ah, I’ve had the ColorMunki Photo in my Amazon cart for weeks, hesitant to drop $450. As I now feed another sheet of Epson Cold Press Natural into my Epson 3880 printer (at $2 a sheet) because my first print was low contrast and dark, I’m thinking that it may be time to suck it up and get calibrated!

    April 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    • Yep, suck it up and get calibrated! It will pay for itself in saved ink, paper, and tons of frustration. I never, ever have to print twice since I got the ColorMunki.

      April 24, 2012 at 9:41 am

  2. Pingback: Create Wedding Album Blurb Book Using Lightroom Book Module | As Seen by Janine's Photo Blog by Janine Fugere

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"As Seen by Janine: Eyes of the World Images Photo Blog"  by Janine Fugere. 

Come take a look at the world "As Seen by Janine." 

My cameras and lenses are my "Eyes of the World."  Please enjoy the view! 

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