X-Rite DTP70 Spectrophotometer

I am interested in your experience with basICColor dropRGB. My DTP70 is still in transit and dropRGB seemed like a possible option. i1Publish is listed at B&H for $1299 outright and $859 as an upgrade. Grateful for comments on dropRGB. I expect that Walker’s advice is right that the i1Publish route will give the best results. Although i1Publish is expensive, so are good quality profiles. My aim was to have options on using different papers and inks so, over a couple of years, this should be a good investment.

My DTP70 arrived a few days ago and seems to be in good condition. I thought I would send an interim report. I used ColorPort to produce a simple 343 patch target and scanning using ColorPort is straightforward and simple. I saved the file in the 3 formats available.

I don’t have access to the i1Publish software so I downloaded a copy of basICColor drop and it produced a profile in less than a minute using the CGATS format output from ColorPort/DTP70. So far I have only printed one colour image and one B&W image. The colour image turned out to be a bit light but that was because I had applied a curve to lighten the output from a profile I had developed using a ColorMunki (it was muddy in the dark areas and the curve was intended to compensate for that). I need to reprint this image “uncurved”. The best part was the B&W image. It had a wide range of greys from very dark to very light and they seemed to come out well. Importantly, the print was absolutely neutral in all the shades.

I will do some more print testing but the next step is to try ArgyllCMS. Its command line presents challenges to me because I have no experience in the Apple operating system with setting up environment variables and other arcane stuff that needs to be attended to before using Argyll.

I have heard very high praise for Argyll and a bit of learning pain might offset the significant cost difference between it and basICColor.

More info to come when I make some progress.



Thanks for confirming that dropRGB will produce profiles from the DTP70 output. Do you have a comment on the quality of the results from using the dropRGB profile?

My journey in profiling started with a SpyderPRINT kit a few years ago. It included a Spyder4 Elite for screen profiling and a separate reader for printer calibration. I used it for profiles for my Epson 3880 but was never really happy with the results (muddy shadows but OK mid tones). I also found it difficult to use because the spectrophotometer didn’t slide well while trying to read strips of colour so I mostly used it in single patch mode (tedious and slow but solved by abrading the sticky plastic surface of the scanning guide).

It lead me to trying a ColorMunki which was easier to use and, even though it used fewer colour patches in the target I liked the iterative approach of reading a target then creating another target to fine tune the initial read. However, there was no improvement in the quality of the profile. Again, the shadows are too muddy for my liking.

I should have my DTP70 by the end of next week (shipping from USA to Australia can be a slow process) so I will be able to use the trial version of dropRGB and compare it to the results I have generated from the ColorMunki and the SpyderPrint.

This profiling episode was set off by, like you, resurrecting a dead large format printer. In my case an Epson 7880. I had been putting up with not quite right profiles for the 3880 but, with the bigger format I didn’t want to continue printing stuff that wasn’t doing justice to the printer.

It has quickly become obvious that you could spend a whole lifetime becoming expert in the technology and art of producing profiles and it seems that quite a few have done that. Fortunately, many are generous in sharing their knowledge with others wanting to learn. For that I am grateful.



Thanks for the update.

With a bit more experience using the DTP70 with both Argyll and basICColor dropRGB, my profiles are still producing mud in the shadows. Initially, I have been using the relatively cheap Kirkland Gloss from COSTCO. The problem seems to be that the targets that I print without colour management are too saturated and too dark. To test this out I have printed a series of 21 step strip charts from Print Tool using the Epson 7880 print driver set to Premium Glossy and 2880 dots per inch. After each chart print I reduced the Color Density by 10% to examine the effect. On the first print I could distinguish black from a lighter shade between 80% and 85%. Subsequent prints, made with reduced ink moved the distinguishing point closer to the 90% mark. By the time I had reduced the Color Density setting to -40% the density of black was noticeably lighter and not usable. The basICColor help desk recommended using better quality paper, including Ilford Gallerie. I repeated the test using Ilford Gallerie Smooth Gloss 290g, with virtually the same results.

The instructions for cheaper printer profilers like ColorMunki and Spyder print suggest trying different paper settings such as Premium Semigloss, Premium Lustre, Premium Semi Matte etc., but, to me, this has seemed to be random and the results have not provided noticeable differences.

It seems to me that the ability of my measuring devices is irrelevant if I can’t print a target that distinguishes between black and almost black. If there is no difference in the stepped image from 85% to 100% then the profile generated from the scan won’t be able to make that distinction either.

Grateful for any suggestions.

Rob W

ArgyllCMS is exposing a profound lack of knowledge on my part relating to setting up the environment variables and associated geek stuff needed to make Argyll do its thing.

Thanks for update.

Try a known good paper for target prints, and create new profile for that paper.

Print test prints on this good paper from both new profile and the default one supplied by manufacturer and see if you get an improvement.

Always good to start with known and good paper when testing.

Thanks. Good advice. I have printed a 21-step wedge using 8 of the epson 7880 print driver paper choices to find the one with the most detail in the darkest steps. The best I can get is to see a really subtle difference at the 85% mark in bright daylight on all tests except for the Premium Semigloss (170) which blocks out to 80%. I have tracked down an Epson Utility for the 7800/7880 called “adjwiz2.exe”. It is described in the Epson Service Manual for the 7880 (amongst a lot of others). One of the things it adjusts is Colormetric Calibration. The process is very similar to creating an ICC profile and includes printing and reading a target and writing the results back into the printer. It needs an i1Pro for reading the printed target. Fortunately, I have access to an early model through a local camera club.

If anyone has done this I would be interested to hear about the experience.

I realise that this is getting a bit off topic, but my aim is to be able to produce targets that my DTP70 can use, preferably without having to build a -30% (or similar) Color Density setting into my No Color Management Printer Preset.

i1Profiler really is the best in my opinion.


Hi, dug my dtp70 out of storage where i had been since tree fell on house and garage, ran first linerize 51 patch through it and saw one patch had a red outline around it?

Is this something to worry about?


I am new to doing my own profiling, so will be interested to see what you thinks gets the best results from the DTP70, keep us posted on your testing.

The problem is you have to measure and export in a “Ti3” format. That means you need to divide all the RGB numbers in your normal cgats measurement file by 2.55 and save this file as .ti3.

Then you need to do something like this to make the profile:

colprof -d pc -R -v -Zbr -D"name of the profile" -qm -cmt -dpp “path to the profile”


ArgyllCMS would have to produce significantly better results if have to go through all this!