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Loxley vs DS Colour Labs

Discussion in 'Digital Image Editing & Printing' started by EightBitTony, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    With Photoshop it's easy to see the conversion has been done. You simply open the file (as I did with the file I saved from LR). If you've set the RGB Color Management Properties to "Preserve Embedded Profiles" Photoshop will open the file and set the working space to that of the embedded profile. If the data hasn't been converted properly, it will be obvious!

    If the file has been converted with no embedded profile it will load as untagged and be loaded in your default working space (e.g. sRGB). It will look wrong. If you know what the profile is you can then assign that profile to the image, changing your working space to that profile.

    You can see the differences in the profiles by assigning between sRGB and DS profiles. You can also use layers with difference blend mode, to highlight the colour differences between the profiles.

    Another way to verify the conversion has been done is look at the pixel values. They will change.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Clever stuff Photoshop! Without photoshop the only way I know of telling the difference [to sRGB] is via a non-colour managed application.
  3. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    Yes, I think without Photoshop it would have been very hard to deduce what was going on here. It was hard enough with! Without playing around with Photoshop I doubt I'd have ever grasped colour management, so respect to those who can do it all in their heads.
  4. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    If you use "export" in LR, I'm pretty sure it defaults to perceptual (except for RGB working spaces as discussed). This seemed verified by a rudimentary experiment I conducted the other day - the exported image appeared to match the perceptual soft proof no matter which choice was highlighted in soft proofing. I've read the same on the Adobe forums.

    The only way you can export a printer-profile image in relative colorimetric AFAIK is through the print module as a JPEG. Soft proofing is possible in GIMP (free) for anyone that wants to skip LR or doesn't use it or Photoshop. Can't vouch for its quality or usability.
  5. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    A useful reference for soft proofing technique is this PDF from Jeff Schewe. Not all of it is pertinent to this thread, but if you read it through you'll get a good grip on the subject. A lot of it is far easier to execute than it is to write or read about.
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Thank you Glenn. I've long meant to buy his "the digital print" which I was reading online via Safari bookshelf until my subscription ran out. However, in that book, I didn't find the softproofing from Lightroom section all that clear, it was if a section was missing.
  7. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    I just tried it, and you're right. It does appear to be perceptual. Seen side-by-side I often prefer relative conversion with the DS profiles, but shadows can come out a bit too dark.

    We're still left with original problem of not able to get correct standard C-type prints from DS via the web uploader, unless we leave off an embedded profile. And this is something you don't seem to be able to do from LR export. The only option at the moment is uploading via the java Kiosk.
  8. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    I thought I'd update this thread, having got some test prints back from Loxley and Sim Lab.

    I have to say, the prints from Loxley are my favourite. However, I don't find them that different from DSCL, provided you supply them pre-profiled and upload via the Kiosk. Loxley accept sRGB and this actually works!

    The main difference appears to be in the way they control out of gamut saturated colours. I'm undecided whether I prefer Loxley or DSCL here. However, this is something you can control yourself at your end, by proofing and making adjustments before sending

    I prefer the tonal balance of the Loxley prints, which seem a bit less contrasty than DSCL.

    On the other hand, Sim lab are a disappointment. They seem to be doing the same thing as DSCL with their web uploader. I think they're taking sRGB profiled files and entering them into a print process that expects files to be pre-profiled to the paper profile (you can simulate the appearance in Photoshop by taking an sRGB image and assigning it the lustre profile). It means colours come back wrong, especially yellows moved towards orange.

    My understanding is all three companies print on the same Fuji paper using similar Fuji machines. They all use LiveLink for web uploading. So any differences must come down to local colour management? You’d have thought they could get this right. It’s their business! I don't see why DSCL and SIm Lab can't be as good as Loxley, but they're not.

    Loxley are obviously clued up to colour management, and don't you pay for it. £5.39 (inc VAT) for 16"x12". I guess they do discounts.

    In summary, I'll probably stick with DSCL (using the workaround) for my personal prints as I find it hard to justify paying 5x as much for a little increase in quality. However, if I had a fee paying client, I'd use Loxley.
    dangie likes this.
  9. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the update.

    If I want a decent print to hang on my wall, I go for Loxley. I have tried DSCL, they are generally fine but not as good and the last batch was disappointing. I get very few prints, so the additional cost of Loxley I justify by comparing it to the cost of the camera equipment.

    I thought DCSL were supposed to be updating their upload software to resolve the problem.
  10. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    Yes, tucked away on their site is something about a new upload method which is handled by fujifilmimagine.co.uk I've not tried it and I'm wary of throwing money at it unless I'm given assurances it works correctly. My initial impression was it looked rather complicated, but most things do first time you look at them!

  11. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Just been onto DSCL website and can not see Kiosk anywhere. Does anyone know if its gone?
    I can see Fuji Online which requires Flash Player.
    Anyone got any information about this?
  12. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    It's hidden. You need to Google for it. This might work.


    Apparently it's very flaky these days and not really supported. If it drops out ‘Preparing Order’, start again and select ‘No’ to ‘Optimize images for faster uploads?’

    DSCL, SimLab and LiveLink really need to sit down together and sort out the issue with the web uploader. It can't be that difficult. It just needs someone who actually understands the problem.
  13. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Perhaps you should offer your services?

    Do you think that most of their customers do not notice any issues and hence not a priority for these cos?
  14. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    I'm sure you're right, especially as most of the colour come out roughly right(ish). It's the yellows (which get skewed to orange) and orange (that get skewed to red) that really show it up. Even then, I wondered if it was a calibration thing at my end. Only when I went for a reprint of something I'd had done 4 years ago did I realise there must be something wrong.

    Sim Lab deny any problem, yet they're chucking sRGB files at printers that expects them to be profiled to their papers. They blag about being "a chemical based product as it is a mini-lab so there will of course be a slight difference in the results that they produce", but the differences in the yellows are far from "minor". In addition, I believe the tone response curve to be wrong. I think the paper profiles expect a gamma of 2.2. sRGB is not a pure 2.2 gamma curve, it's linear followed by a curve of about 2.4. That may sound like geeky stuff but it means shadows are far too dark. This then makes the print look too contrasty. Some may think this makes the prints look more 'punchy', but it's a pain if you want to retain shadow detail. Loxley simply get it right.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  15. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Had a bit of a run through last night with the new Fuji Imagine. Bit of a faff but probably ok once you get used to it.
    Will upload some images over the weekend for real and see how it goes. Fingers crossed.
  16. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    Sorry, I think I was wrong. It seems the Fuji Imagine entry has been around for some time. I don't know how well it works and if DS receive your files with the correct profiles. As you say, looks a bit of a faff.
  17. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    I can Google 'DSCL Kiosk' and get to it, but nowhere on the current DSCL website can I find any reference to Kiosk.
    Are DSCL getting rid of it?
  18. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    I think they are phasing it out through lack of software support. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, it is quite flaky these days. I've found it can it can drop out during ‘Preparing Order' if I've selected ‘No’ to ‘Optimize images for faster uploads?’ I think it may be related to file size. I then have to close down the Kiosk and re-start the upload (without selecting the fast upload). You then need to be careful with payment at the end, to ensure you don't double order.

    The other way is to place your order via the web uploader. You will need to convert your files in Photoshop to their paper profile but leave the ICC box unticked when you save the file (this ensures it doesn't contain an embedded profile and prevents the upload software from converting the profile to sRGB). Unfortunately, with Lightroom there doesn't seem to be a way of saving without embedding the profile.

    Having said all this, most customers are obviously happy enough with the results they get back sending sRGB files to DS and Sim Lab and don't seem to notice or care that they're not colour managed to the printer's profile. Perhaps they would if they saw what they should look like.

    I can see why Loxley customers are bemused by the steps we cheapskates have to take in order to save a few quid!
  19. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Further to my earlier post (above) I decided to go straight to the horses mouth and email DSCL. I sent my email late last night and received a reply at 6.40am this morning. Brilliant.

    They confirm that Kiosk is no longer available as it is outdated software. They will be releasing a new version maybe in the New Year.

    They also say:
    "The best way to order with us now is using the ordering online system as you have done before and this still works with the paper profiles. The information that somebody gave you saying this isn’t compatible with the profiles is incorrect."

    "The Fuji online system is not a replacement for the kiosk and again you will be best with the ordering online."

    Please don't take this as I'm disagreeing with what others have written on this thread. I'm simply quoting the advice from DSCL.
  20. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    I originally chipped into this thread to try to explain why the original poster might have got different colours back from DS to that they'd been getting from Loxley. I think it's probably because Loxley accept files to sRGB and DS expect files to be profiled to their papers (for standard prints).

    I'm not exactly saying that their online system is incompatible with the paper profiles. In my experience it will work, but not so well if you embed the profile in the file because it then converts it to sRGB, which is not what you want. It's possible the uploader has been tweaked since I last used it, so perhaps it no longer matters if you embed the profile.

    For the money, DS offer a pretty good service. If you're happy with the look of the prints you get back, that all that matters really.

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