Is there some place I can rent or borrow a color calibration device?
December 22, 2016 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I would like to color calibrate my MacBook Pro, to improve the results I get from printing photos at whcc. However, I'm not a professional and I don't want to spend upwards of $125 on a colorimeter. Is there some place in the Boston area (preferably Brookline) where I can borrow or rent a colorimeter for one-time use?

Related questions:
    Will calibration change what I see on my screen to match what will come out of the printer or will it create a profile of my screen so that the printer can match what I see? The latter seems more convenient, but my discussion with a rep from WHCC seemed to indicate the former: it would change my screen to match what will eventually come out of the printer.
    Is calibrating my screen once sufficient, or do I need to calibrate it every time I put together a print job? My computer is a 2013 MacBook Pro with a Retina display.
Thanks in advance for any help.
posted by Winnie the Proust to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd find an art school, or even a community college with a graphic design or photography program, and ask if they can have a student do it for practice. They have that kind of equipment in their equipment cage. I guarantee that if someone called me (in our college's admissions office) I'd ask my faculty friends in that department for a favor to a member of the community, out of goodwill, etc. Maybe even offer to pay the student a nominal fee or something.
posted by Caxton1476 at 2:29 PM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


You will be calibrating the screen to match what will come out of the printer. If it's your printer, you will also need to calibrate that as well. If it's somebody else printer, they may have a color profile they can provide to you and they calibrate their pinter to match that. Screen calibration is effected by the light where you are working, so taking it someplace to calibrate it and then moving to another location to work will give you less than optimal results. The LCD is likely to dim overtime, and your location is likely to change with such a portable device, so it would need to be calibrated for each use if you were serious about it or less frequently if you care a little, but not a a lot.
posted by willnot at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is there some place in the Boston area (preferably Brookline) where I can borrow or rent a colorimeter for one-time use?

I know that it's possible to rent the very expensive colorimeters (e.g. $1000+), but I've never heard of it for the cheaper ones. Borrowing one, as Caxton1476 suggests, is more likely.

Is calibrating my screen once sufficient, or do I need to calibrate it every time I put together a print job?

Based on my experience in animation studios, the answer to this question is different for every monitor. Some of them keep their calibration for months; some of them can't be calibrated at all, or lose their calibration over the course of a couple of hours or a few days. The only reliable way to find out whether you've got a reasonably colour-stable monitor is to check your calibration a few times. Maybe do it for your first three or four print jobs; if it stays calibrated, you're in luck.
posted by clawsoon at 2:58 PM on December 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is calibrating my screen once sufficient, or do I need to calibrate it every time I put together a print job?

It will drift over time and reportedly some OS X updates will reset your calibration. It may not be worth the hassle of trying to borrow one repeatedly.

One advantage of owning your own is that many of them include the ability to adapt to the ambient light that you're working in, so if you get one and leave it hooked up while you're editing, you'll get similar results when you're working at night by artificial light as you will during a bright sunny day.
posted by Candleman at 3:51 PM on December 22, 2016


Well, this all makes sense though they aren't the answers I wanted. Thank you all, for the fast responses.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 5:52 PM on December 22, 2016


FWIW, I used to work in a downtown Boston service bureau (called Spire), and I watched my boss spend like a year figuring out how to manage color from our scanners through to our printing presses.

You need a reference image, and then you make profiles for every atep of the process: camera, scanner, proof printer, all displays, final output device, and anything else. Luckily, some systems come with standard profiles now, which can save some of the work.

If you are serious you should maybe hire a professional -- doing it For Real is a big undertaking that also requires maintenance.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:36 PM on December 22, 2016


if nothing else, lensrentals.com can help you out... https://www.lensrentals.com/rent/photo/accessories/other/calibration
posted by kenbennedy at 9:26 AM on December 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


« Older Large-format flatbed photo scanner in Toronto or...   |   How to take photographs of Christmas trees and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.