Color Management Solution for Photographers and Designers

Review by Steve Baczewski

The X-Rite i1Studio is a comprehensive solution for color management. It covers all the bases, building profiles for cameras, displays, scanners, printers, projectors, and mobile devices. The centerpiece is its spectrophotometer, which looks like a large 50′ measuring tape, and it comes with a shirt-pocket-sized 24-patch color checker for profiling cameras.

The spectrophotometer’s protective case includes a counter­weight to maintain the spectrophotometer’s position when it’s hung on the display being calibrated. The calibration modes on the spectrophotometer are selected using a rotary dial; however, the spectrophotometer’s annoyingly snug casing covers up the essential calibration mode markers. X-Rite needs to design a new casing!

The software, which is well thought out and borrows heavily from X-Rite’s high-end Studio Pro, guides the user, and includes explanations and a help section for each step when measuring and profiling each of your devices. The interactive software provides feedback, alerting you if it’s necessary to backtrack and redo a step, and it also gives best practice tips on how to move the spectrophotometer over targets.

The i1 Studio did an excellent job profiling my display. The software gives the user options to calibrate displays automatically or manually, where the user adjusts the display’s brightness and contrast controls to reach a preset target. A flare control feature compensates for reflections common on glossy screens, and another feature measures and includes the ambient light as a factor in building the display profile.

You can build color or B&W paper profiles, and the display profile is saved to your computer’s graphic card. The process is simplified using two 50-color patch targets and letting the spectrophotometer glide over and read 10 patches at a time instead of having to stop and read each patch individually. The software then builds, names, and saves the ICC paper profile to the appropriate system folder on your computer. The profiles were excellent, and subsequent prints matched the monitor profile I built.

The X-Rite i1Studio works well; however, if you mostly profile only your display, this might be overkill. ■