• Home
  • ColorNews
  • CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #67 - Instrument Spotlight: Techkon SpectroDens

ColorNews Issue #67

Instrument Spotlight: Techkon SpectroDens

  CHROMiX ColorNews
   Issue # 67 - March 26th, 2019

This Month's Contents

  1. CHROMiX News
  2. Latest blog entries in ColoRants (and Raves)
  3. Shows and Events
  4. Color Industry News
  5. Forum Topics, Random Bits, etc.
  6. Article - Instrument Spotlight - SpectroDens from Techkon
  7. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
  8. ColorNews Admin (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

For the very freshest color updates, check out our blog Colorants (and raves).

Respond & Discuss
Don't forget, you can discuss this month's article and anything else from this newsletter in ColorForums.com

Find full details about subscriptions, etc at the end of this newsletter.

CHROMiX News What the heck have we been up to?

Maxwell Gains Epson SpectroProofer / EFI XF Support

Maxwell Client 5.6.3 now directly controls and automates measurement collection from an Epson Pro series inline SpectroProofer when using either EFI Fiery XF v6 or v7 proofing workflows.

Imagine having all proofs measured, recorded, evaluated, and with a Pass/Fail report supplied or receiving a failure notification. With Maxwell ProofWatch, this can happen automatically and without operator intervention.

For many years, Maxwell ProofWatch has helped customers verify proofs and provided essential, consistent monitoring of quality and performance. Add the new automated measuring of 5.6.3, Maxwell's diagnostic capabilities, and long-term Trend Analysis, and you've got a powerful solution for any Epson + SpectroProofer.

Questions? Give us a call and we'll get you started with Maxwell ProofWatch.

CHROMiX Upcoming Sightings

SGIA Boot Camp is in Seattle April 2-4, 2019. If interested, check out the event listed below or follow this web link for more details and to register.

Steve Upton will be giving a free webinar called 'G7 using Curve4 and the Techkon SpectroDens'. For more details, see event listed April 9th below.

Steve Upton will be attending the regular council meeting of the Print Properties and Colorimetric Council (PPC), Print and Packaging Media, from April 29th to May 1st. The meeting is in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

CHROMiX LinkedIn page

Check out the latest with our newly updated LinkedIn page. We consistently update this with fun and useful stuff.


CHROMiX Blog Here are some of the recent posts to our blog: Colorants (and raves)

Shows and Events Color-relevant gatherings to plan for

April 2nd - 4th, 2019 - SGIA Color Management Boot Camp in Seattle in 2 weeks, hosted by CHROMiX

SGIA, famous for their successful Boot Camp series nationally, will conduct a 2.5-day fee-based training event that ultimately certifies attendees for color management skills. Attendees will be trained by an SGIA Digital Color Professional Certified Instructor. After testing, successful attendees will acquire the coveted SGIA Digital Color Professional Certificate (included in the fee).
This training event is hosted at DCG One in Seattle. Our partners: Color Management Group, GMG and JVH are also sponsoring. Take advantage of this opportunity. Follow this web link for more information or to register.

April 9th, 2019, 2:00 PM EST - Curve4 and the SpectroDens: Streamlined G7 Verification and Calibration

A FREE webinar, co-sponsored/hosted with Techkon and presented by Steve Upton. See both Curve4 and the SpectroDens in action. Steve will be presenting this educational 1 hour webinar covering Curve4's interaction with the SpectroDens in both Verifications and Calibration. For registration and more details, click link above.

April 11th - 13th, 2019 - Graphics Canada 2019, Toronto International Centre, Toronto, CN.

May 6th - 7th, 2019 - INFOFLEX 2019, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA.

June 20th - 26th, 2019 - ITMA, Barcelona Spain. Everything about textile and garment printing.

September 24th - 27th, 2019 - LabelExpo Europe, Brussels. Largest label expo in the world.

October 3rd - 5th, 2019 - Print 2019, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.

October 23rd - 25th, 2019 - Print United (formerly SGIA), Dallas, TX. An expansive and comprehensive display of printing technologies and supplies, education, programming and services.

October 24th - 26th, 2019 - PhotoPlus Expo 2019, for professional photographers, photography enthusiasts, videographers, students and educators.

Events Calendar: For all current and future events, bookmark this calendar.

Color Industry News What's going on in the world of color

CrossXColor releases updates to CoPrA and ZePrA

ColorLogic CoPrA 5.0.1 profiling tool, and ZePrA 7.0.3 are both new and available for download.

For CoPrA 5.0.1 the the main highlights are profile quality improvements in calculating the gray balance of printer profiles, an even better printable black point, and enhancements for industrial applications such as ceramic printing with multicolor. For a complete CoPrA 5.0.1 update list click here.

For ZePrA 7.0.3 this update fixes issues with serialized profiles on virtual machines running under Windows. For a complete ZePrA 7.0.3 update explanation click here.

If you are a new to the ColorLogic products, click here for the CHROMiX ColorGear online Store, or contact a knowledgeable sales pro at (206)985-6836 ext 1, sales(at)chromix.com

Idealliance Introduces Step-by-Step: How To Video Library

The Video Library is a free and included benefit with Idealliance membership. Topics include: Adobe CC Suite Color Settings, Passing G7 Colorspace, Easy GRACoL Colorspace Verification, Easy PDF/X4 Print Ready Files, How To Pass GRACoL 2013 with EFI Colorsuite, Using The TC1617 Color Characterization Chart, Why G7 And Gray Balance Matters, and many others. For more, go here. Members will need their login, or sign up for new access.

X-Rite Trade-In Promo for eXact, i1Pro2 and more

X-Rite is offering a competitive Trade-in value of your old device to acquire an i1Pro2, an eXact or other new X-Rite devices. Purchases expire 6/30/19 and you have until 9/27/19 to file your application. It's a great way to get value back on an old (qualified) device and move yourself towards new and better technology. The Terms & Conditions link has a plethora of good information, so be sure to follow the link below. For program information, Go Here, or contact CHROMiX Sales.

X-Rite Offering Free Camera Profiles?

This great promo is continuing - If you're willing to help X-Rite beta test their new software, you're a Capture One pro user and you use ColorChecker Camera Calibration software, Click here. The process is pretty simple, and you can get an ICC profile made based on your specific camera and lens combination. Please let CHROMiX know how this works for you.

Forum Topics and other bits  Popular topics from ColorForums.com and other things we've found along the way.

The most colorful places in the world:   From the Blue Lagoon to the Northern Lights, Conde Nast Traveler provides pics of the most colorful and vibrant destinations on Earth. Take a break from the science of color for a moment. These are stunning.

Netflix HDR Content Delivery:   Netflix takes their output quality seriously and has been working on delivering High Dynamic Range images and video. This is an interesting write-up about just what's involved with delivering HDR content alongside Standard Dynamic Range imagery. The transition to the future is going to be challenging.

Understanding the Software Feature Request:   Fascinating article, especially if you provide technical feedback or support for software. So, in that spirit, our Pat Herold would politely ask Curve, Maxwell and ColorThink users to follow this advice when submitting Feature Requests to CHROMiX. Let us know what you think-

Instrument Spotlight - SpectroDens from Techkon by Pat Herold

This month's instrument focus is the Techkon SpectroDens pressroom spectrophotometer.

The Techkon SpectroDens has been a staple instrument around the pressroom for years. Always a well regarded instrument, its reputation for accuracy and durability has made it a preferred instrument for many consultants. It is now in its fourth iteration; the current model, which came out in April 2017, is the SpectroDens 4.

Techkon describes the SpectroDens as a "densitometer", but most people in the industry would refer to it as a spectrodensitometer, an instrument that measures spectral wavelengths to return density values. Using a spectrodensitometer to get density readings is sort of like using a vise to crack nuts - it is capable of so much more! Spectral readings view all the light that the human eye can see, so there are many applications for human perception. Additionally, the device can return colorimetric data such as Lab values as well as full spectral data, as I have written about in this newsletter.

A spectrodensitometer returning colorimetric and spectral data is functionally the same as a "spectrophotometer" - which ColorNews readers might be more familiar with.

A display on the top of the unit provides access to all the internal controls and shows the results of individual patch readings and built-in tests.

SpectroDens screen

The SpectroDens comes in 3 different versions, depending on specific functions:

  • SpectroDens Basic - provides density results

  • SpectroDens Advanced - provides Colorimetric / Lab results and many additional checks and libraries

  • SpectroDens Premium - provides extensive evaluation tests. The Premium version is required in order to use the scanning function.

Ease of Use
Using the SpectroDens is a convenient and largely frustration-free process. These folks must have some kind of patent on the idea of an aperture tube that is formed into the edge of the instrument. The user can always see the patch that is being measured, whether in spot mode or scanning an entire row of colors. It's hard to describe how simple and intuitive this is. There is no need to fold down a part of the instrument to engage the measurement or use an aiming aperture when you're covering the patches with the instrument - you literally just point and click. Another great feature of the SpectroDens is its ability to communicate to a computer over Wifi; it's rather convenient to be able to be several feet away from the computer when scanning charts. This also enables making spot measurements right on the press, since the device is wireless.

The battery life of the SpectroDens is much longer than one might expect; in our use, we almost never need to set the device aside to charge. It automatically goes to sleep when not in use, and readily wakes up when you click the measurement button. If you are plugging it into a computer with the USB plug to export measurements, the unit will also charge while being plugged into your computer. Finally, the SpectroDens' small size and portability make it easy to handle and manipulate.

Techkon thinks highly of their scanning speed on this instrument. And I have found that it's rarely the speed of the instrument that is a limiting factor in how quickly you can measure. The speed of measurement largely depends on how fast you slide the instrument along the row without making human errors. Most handheld scanning instruments like this will have some natural limits to how fast you can scan without sliding off the row, or stopping on the wrong patch. We found the scanning speed to be comparable to or better than other hand-held instruments. For perspective, I scanned a single page of 960 patches in about five minutes.

Techkon has a long history of making quality instruments. The published specs reports an astonishingly small .03 difference using dE*a*b for inter-instrument agreement and a .30 dE*a*b for repeatability with the same instrument. (Delta E*a*b is a fancy way of saying dE76.) In our own in-house tests, we have seen our unit put out an average dE00 of .31 with a max dE00 of .70. Your results may vary according to how adept you are with sliding the unit, how big the patches are, how consistent your printing, etc.

The SpectroDens generally comes with a 3 mm aperture, which is suitable for most modern printing applications. One can also choose to purchase a unit with a smaller 1.5 mm aperture at an additional cost. These smaller aperture sizes would not be suitable for coarse printing systems with lower dpi settings or some loose fabrics. In those cases, you would want an instrument that measures a larger area so as to get a more accurate representative sample of the color.

All versions of the SpectroDens can measure using all four measurement modes: M0, M1, M2 and M3. Like the eXact, it's a treat to have an instrument that can offer polarized measurements in a handheld scanning package. Note that the Techkon measures in 10 nm increments from 400nm to 700nm. Other chart readers have a wider spectral range (see this article for more details), but in practical use, one would be hard-pressed to come up with a convincing argument to say that the wider range of spectral bands is needed.

For its essential purpose (getting Lab readings from individual patch measurements), a chart isn't needed. You don't need a chart since you can simply just choose and measure a small number of patches, one by one, and read measurement results off the back of the device. When it comes to using the SpectroDens for scanning large charts for profiling and the like, software solutions are not common. Techkon does supply their own software that can do this, but it is only available for Windows, and there is quite a learning curve to figure out how to make it all work.

The easiest way is to use the measuring module in Curve4 or the Maxwell Client, and then export the measurement to profile-making software. The CHROMiX measuring module allows for many different target definition references to be used. You can use targets that are made for your particular profile-creation software (for example: i1Profiler, CoPrA, Barbieri) and, in most cases, the SpectroDens will read these charts without any problem.

Techkon provides a free SpectroConnect software, which is regrettably only available for Windows computers. The software allows the unit's measurement data to be transferred to a computer for a variety of uses, including measuring a media wedge. For those who are used to a wizard-like program that will walk you through the steps of measuring a profiling target, this is not the easiest software to understand or use, although it can serve as a connection module, firmware updater, and set of measurement tools.

Also available is Techkon's ExPresso 4 software. This is a printing workflow coordinator, where a printer can keep track of their print jobs, what press and color bar were used, as well as measuring conditions. This software is only available for the Premium version and costs several thousand dollars.

Of course, no Instrument Spotlight would be complete without us mentioning that we support this instrument in our Maxwell Client and Curve4 software packages.

Cross-Platform issues
As noted above, the Techkon software is only available on the Windows platform. Also, both wired and wireless connections on a Window machine require a "TD Service" program to be installed and connected to, in order to talk to the instrument. It's not the simple USB plug-and-play that we have become familiar with in recent years. Fortunately, Techkon has provided some developers a more conventional USB driver connection for the Mac, which makes wired connection much more simple for Mac users.

Our Curve4 and Maxwell apps are available for Mac or Windows, but have the same restrictions in Windows as described above.

This is a great instrument. If you are fortunate enough to have one, then you will be pleased with your purchase for years to come. The one thing that prevents more people from owning a SpectroDens is the price; this is one of the better hand-held devices in the world today, and the price tag reflects that - the SpectroDens 4 Premium version is $7267 at CHROMiX.com. I've never known anyone who owned a SpectroDens and didn't love it. Once a company or a purchasing manager makes the decision to make the purchase, it becomes a dependable workhorse in the company for a long time.

Thanks for reading,

Patrick Herold

   To read this article with images in ColorWiki, click here

ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

FEEDBACK and FAQs - ColorNews (this publication) has its own forum on ColorForums.com. Each issue of this newsletter tends to prompt responses from our readers and we often don't have enough time to respond to everyone (sorry!). So we created a discussion area on ColorForums.com so anyone can ask questions, make suggestions, take issue with our prognostications or whatever. Come on by and have a chat!

SUBSCRIPTIONS - To unsubscribe from CHROMiX ColorNews, reply to this message with "unsubscribe" in the subject title. To subscribe, simply reply with "subscribe" in the subject title.

For previous ColorNews articles head to our ColorNews Archives

Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2019 CHROMiX, Inc. CHROMiX, Maxwell, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts, ColorGear, ColorForums, DisplayWatch and ProfileCentral.com are trademarks of CHROMiX Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX customers and business associates. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. You may not copy or reuse any content from this newsletter without written permission from CHROMiX, Inc.