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I’m trying to implement monitor/print color management, but it’s not quite working. In short, to get a monitor-to-print match with a D50 white point for my monitor, I need to use a 6500K (vs. 5000K) lamp for viewing my prints. This is okay, I guess, but I’d be happier if I understood what might be wrong with my system (or my approach). (My understanding is that the viewing lamp's temperature setting should "match" the monitor's white point. As in D50 monitor <-> 5000K viewing lamp.)

My “system”:

  • Monitor: Dell U3011 (purchased in 2012)
  • Printer: Epson 3880 (purchased in 2015)
  • ColorMunki Photo (new)
  • Viewing lamp: Filex V70 LED (new). It’s a lamp, and not a booth. But it’s switchable among 3000K, 4000K, 5000K, and 6500K. And dimable. Positioned next to my monitor.
  • Two monitor profiles: one at D50 (my preference to use), and one at D65. Both with the white luminance set to 80 cdm, based on ColorMunki’s reading of ambient light conditions (with the Filex lamp on, but other lights fairly dim, and no close-by windows).
  • Lightroom CC soft proofing. Both with a paper-specific Hahnemuhle icc profile, and alternatively with one that I created (for the Hahnemuhle paper) with the ColorMunki. For my test image, there are no out-of-gamut colors for the paper I’m using.

The issue:

With the D50 monitor profile, my prints best match my monitor (soft proof view in LR) when I have the Filex lamp set to 6500K. If I put the Filex to 5000K, the prints are significantly less blue (in sky/clouds) than the monitor. With the Filex set to 6500K, it’s a decent match. (If I select the D65 monitor profile instead of the D50 profile, the monitor is of course even bluer, which makes the monitor-to-print discrepancy even more pronounced.)

I was expecting the best match to be with the lamp at 5000K, vs. 6500K, given that I’ve set my monitor’s white point to D50.

And this monitor-is-bluer-then-the-print condition occurs with both the Hahnemuhle printer profile, and for the one I made with the ColorMunki.

My question:

I’ll stick with using my D50 monitor profile and 6500K setting on my lamp, which seems to “work.” But if anyone has ideas what might be “wrong” with my system or approach, I’d appreciate the insights.

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Check your monitor hardware colour temperature settings. You might be using the D50 monitor profile with the monitor itself set to D65. Remember that a profile only applies to the hardware setup at the time it was made, so if you've changed the hardware settings since, that will throw things off.

Also, check your colour management settings to make sure they think you're running at the same white point and are not trying to helpfully remap it for you.

  • Thanks, @JerryTheC! Before I created monitor profiles with my ColorMunki, I did a "factory reset / reset all settings." Would that (theoretically) prevent the potential mismatch you note? And regarding color management settings, Settings > Display just shows that I'm using the ColorMunki-generated .icm profile (and allows switching among profiles). In Control Panel > Color Management > Devices, I see a similar list, with the current ColorMunki profile listed as the default. On the Advanced tab, everything is set to the "system default." And I don't see anything about color temperatures. – Steve S Aug 29 '17 at 15:14
  • I do notice on the Advanced tab (Control Panel > Color Management > Advanced) that my "Device Profile" is currently "System default (sRGB IEC 61966-2.1)." But that the drop-down includes my ColorMunki-generated profiles as well. Should I switch this setting as well? (Or would that end up applying the profile's "corrections" twice?) This is a bit confusing! – Steve S Aug 29 '17 at 16:27
  • The factory reset on the monitor is likely to reset it to D65 or similar; D50 usually looks too yellow for normal lighting conditions.Check the monitor hardware menu (i.e. buttons on the monitor) rather than the computer settings. There should be something for color temperature, even if it just says warm or cool. Try setting it to the D50 or warm setting and see if that helps (try remaking your D50 monitor profile afterwards). you may need to adjust brightness / contrast as well when creating a profile - though the creation should walk you through that if needed. – JerryTheC Aug 29 '17 at 23:29
  • !: I set the monitor to the "Custom" color setting (which I believe is just native, until you play with its individual sub-settings, which I didn't touch), and profiled with my ColorMunki. Then to "Warm," and profiled. The two seem to match (which is what I would hope/expect). I also profiled my MacBook Pro. It pretty much matches my Dell monitor -- except the Mac has slight magenta cast in bluish-gray clouds that the Dell monitor doesn't have. This all seems to validate that the ColorMunki is doing a good job, and is not impacted by any monitor presets. Many thanks for your input! – Steve S Aug 31 '17 at 19:51
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@JerryTheC! helped me to verify that my ColorMunki Photo is working fine with my Dell U3011 Monitor. After lots of experiments, I finally realized that the reason that I needed to bump my Filex V70 LED lamp to 6500K even with my monitor profiled to D50 is because of all the other lights in the room, which are quite warm. (The Filex has a 3000K setting, which seems to me to be close to the ambient light temp in the room.) When I turn all the room lights off, then I get a decent match between LR's softproof view (both on my Dell monitor and on my MacBook Pro) and the Filex V70 set to 5000K. Once I turn the room lights back on (even at rather dim levels), I need to bump the Filex to 6500K to get a good match.

This all just reinforces what I've certainly heard (but hadn't really tested): ambient lighting matters!

Because I don't want to do my editing or print-to-monitor checks in a dark room (or with only the Filex), I'll likely keep my Filex at 6500K (vs. 5000K). With its light combining with the ambient lighting to illuminate my prints to ~5000K. With, then, a good match to my D50-calibrated monitor softproofs.

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