X-Rite ColorMunki Photo Review

Accessory Reviews Color Management Featured Uncategorized

X-Rite’s ColorMunki line was announced at PMA this spring. A novel design, combined screen and printer calibration, and an affordable $500 price point is plenty to get attention with. I’ve used spectrophotometers to calibrate my computer monitor before and I personally found them to be boring, though essential devices. Sure, I want the photo on my screen to match what I print and save me time, paper, and printer ink. But if only the calibration process wasn’t so tedious! So I was excited to find out that the ColorMunki Photo offers more – the color accuracy that photographers need as well as creative tools for sampling and experimenting with color in new ways. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have a Photoshop Eyedropper Tool for the real world, read on.

ColorMunki PhotoKey Functions

  • Calibrates your LCD monitor or LCD projector
  • Calibrates your printer
  • Scans in colors and creates palettes for use in Adobe and Quark software

MSRP: $499

Color management is especially important in photography as even a slight color cast can change the mood of a photo. My Phoxle review was about white balance filters for your digital camera that ensure your photos start with accurate color. But the original digital photo is only a third of the color challenge. What happens to that balanced photo when you post-process it on your computer? How about when you print it?

Are any of these situations familiar?

  • You spend hours processing photos only to discover they look too yellow when a friend or client opens them on another computer.
  • You waste half your photo paper doing test prints.
  • You need to compare your photos on multiple monitors to see if the color is right.

If they are, you’re wasting both time and money trying to get accurate color. All these problems can be solved with a spectrophotometer to calibrate your screen and printer. I own one of the competition’s spectrophotometers, but it mostly gathers dust on the shelf. It’s not because it doesn’t work: calibration is boring. It’s like the set of exercises your doctor sends you home with: useful, but you’d rather go out and take photos.

So what’s so exciting about the X-Rite ColorMunki Photo? As the new spectrophotometer on the block, it calibrates faster and has received rave press for it’s “user-friendliess.” But faster, easier-to-use calibration is still just calibration – necessary, but not fun. I was excited about the ColorMunki Photo because it does more than just calibrate: it can actually sample real-world colors from the physical environment and bring them into your digital world.

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