A Simple, Accurate Print Viewing System Using GrafiLite Lights

15th September 2015 Colour Management & Lighting


Colour management really works best when all stages of the process are controlled.

This means:

  • Colour control at the capture end - e.g. calibrating your scanner with an IT8 target or your camera with a ColorChecker Passport.
  • Calibrate your monitor - ideally with the benchmark i1Display Pro monitor calibrator.
  • Calibrate your printer using custom profiles.
  • Use a proper print viewing light source so that your print perception is not skewed by your lighting.

SoLux bulbs are exquisite and generally regarded as the best print viewing lights made, but they are not very practical in Australia as there are no easy to use lamps available for MR16 globes. They are great for a larger dedicated task area, such as using track lighting, or for room lighting when using your existing downlight fixtures.

When you require lighting for smaller typical task areas, the GrafiLite lamps are a perfect colour accurate option. There are two models available - one illuminates an area a bit over A4 in size - the original Grafilite, the other an area around A3+ - the Grafilite Mode, which is much more stylish as well. This is a really simple system with a great quality light source.

In practise there is little noticeable difference between using the Grafilites and SoLux. I use a couple of the Mode models to light a print table in my office for print review - this system is used mainly for art reproduction work which requires very high accuracy.

The Grafilites are standard 240V lamps complete with Grafilite colour accurate tubes. Just plug in, switch on, and be assured that you're evaluating your prints in very good quality light. For many, this is often the last link in their colour accurate chain - the moment the last piece falls into place.

Your calibrated screen, will be very close to the output of your custom profiled printer and by using a consistent lamp, you will remove the variability of changing light from your colour evaluation.