by Mike McNamee Published 01/11/2005
After profiling, matters improved greatly - the flesh tones were brought to the correct hue with about 50% improvement in the saturation error, bringing the average error, over the sweep of flesh tones, to 3.0 ÄE Lab. The average error over the whole Macbeth Chart was reduced to 4.5 ÄE Lab/2.8 ÄE2000.
The greens were dramatically cleaned up and the saturation was improved over the whole gamut. The greys were improved in their density error but the already accurate hue and saturation were little changed. The gamut volume of the bespoke profile was 714,200 Lab3 points. This lies between the values obtained for ink-jet gamuts on gloss media and fine art media.
With only three colours to work with, the dye-sub is always likely to lose out, even though the solid colours are very even, with no dot pattern to contend with. Comparing the gamut maps showed more depth in the shadows of the Kodak than ink-jet. The maximum black Dmax was 2.09 and the metamerism was vey low at 1.2 ÄE Lab (D65 to Tungsten).
Rendering of Detail Dye-sub does not do typing very well at all, and is worse if white text is reversed out of black or a solid colour. However, the 1400 is an out and out photographic printer and not really intended for the reproduction of print or mixed graphic media.
The performance eliminates any ideas that the printer could be used for press proofing but it would be OK in a business or medical environment providing text was at least 6 point and low in word-count. As with all dye-sub printers, there is some residual fringing around the junctions between solid colour and their surroundings. This makes the quality seem poor on test targets but does not really trouble real photographs of real subjects!
Above The 1400 needed to burnin for a couple of prints so don't panic if the first print looks like the top one
The Kodak 1400, at £339.95 (ex VAT, on the street) provides a simple, high-speed solution to many professional printing needs, especially if you are on the move. If 75 seconds will meet your speed demands it will do nicely for events photography (although, at the price, you could always buy two to get more productivity).
The per print cost is around £1.28 per A4 (using costs from the web); one of the features of dye-sub is that you know exactly how much your print cost is and it does not vary between a single word on the page and a full colour image. Print colour accuracy is moderately good out of the box, excellent after profiling. Either way the neutrality of the greys also ensures that your flesh tones are pleasing.
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