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X-Rite i1Studio review


Review of the X-Rite i1 Studio - Photo printer calibration kit

Published on August 10, 2018   |   Updated on January 09, 2021


The i1 Studio calibration kit has just taken over from the Colormunki Photo released in 2008. Since you don't change a winning team, it uses the same excellent spectrophotometer but X-Rite has totally updated the software and started not from a blank page but from its famous i1Profiler software that it adapted. In theory, this is a good sign! This kit therefore always allows you to calibrate your monitor, projector, APN and printer in color but also and this is an expected new feature, in black and white. This new software also allows you to calibrate your scanner (with an optional test chart).

Important note!  The brand new i1 Studio kit (released in October 2017), uses the same spectrophotometer as in the Colormunki Photo kit. And it is possible to download the new software free of charge to benefit from the new features. On the other hand, you will of course have to buy the ColorChecker 24 patch test chart sold in the i1 Studio kit if you want to calibrate your APN. In any case, this is a pretty rare attention and therefore deserves to be highlighted!

Thus, for less than 500 dollars if you buy the i1 Studio kit, you have the possibility to completely calibrate your graphic chain. With the recognized qualities of Colormunki Photo, this new software provides calibration of the printer in black and white as well as that of a scanner. It is time to see what this new software improves in terms of print profile quality...

About this test This tutorial is only about calibrating the printer with i1Studio in color mode and with the new Black & White module.


In a few words...


X-Rite i1 Studio


I really liked the old ColorMunki Photo that I used to use to calibrate my printer and I love this new i1. Black and white calibration in particular has nothing to do with it anymore! - Read my conclusion

  More offers...  
CDN$ 668.32



Introduction to the X-Rite i1 Studio

This i1 Studio kit finally replaces the Colormunki Photo that was released in 2008! An eternity in computer science. Finally, not quite because its excellent spectrophotometer is back in service but controlled by a brand new software: i1 Studio. Well, not quite either because it's an iteration of the excellent i1Profiler! So everything is new but nothing is really new... And that's great because the Colormunki Photo was still, at the end of 2017, an excellent product that I strongly recommended. It's time to see what has evolved and what has been improved for a barely increased price, especially since you can use this new software for free with your old Colormunki Photo.

Reading color patches with the i1Studio

The calibration kit and its box

Thanks to many design tips, the i1 Studio kit is very compact and fits in a small box. We will see that this is not at the expense of quality. You will find in the box only:

  • A calibration sensor that is a real spectrophotometer (the famous ColorMunki Photo under a new cover) and not a " ordinary " spectrocolorimeter!
  • A USB cable (2.0), a neoprene protective shell and weighted for screen calibration,
  • Two CDs ( setup and advice),
  • and a mini ColorChecker 24 patch chart, for camera calibration.
  The i1Studio and its weighted case

My opinion! No frills in this box and you will see that it is because this product is very well designed. The spectrophotometer is thus a true and excellent spectrophotometer well known nowadays. If it does not compete with higher-end suitcases, it is only through software restrictions to limit its possibilities and the level of precision achieved, which could not satisfy very specific scientific or photographic requirements (museums, for example). But for an advanced amateur user, passionate or for a professional who works without RIP, so in what is called an RGB flow, it is perfect in my opinion.
It is not specifically "amateur" equipment but of professional quality accessible to amateurs. This kit does not allow you to do many things like with the very pro i1 Photo Pro 2 but what it does it does perfectly. A word to the wise!

Main characteristics of the i1Studio :

  • Professional measuring instrument: real spectrophotometer!
  • User-friendly software that is a simplified version of i1Profiler with the modes:
    calibration "screens" and "projectors", "color printing", "black and white printing" and finally "scanner";
  • Printer calibration in RGB or CMYK flow;
  • Printer calibration in Black and White mode - New!
  • Intelligent iterative profiling: an adaptive technology that measures and analyzes the color capabilities of each unique display for increased accuracy of profile;
  • Ambient light smart control: measurement, compensation and ongoing monitoring of ambient lighting conditions;
  • Automatic Display Control (ADC) adjusts your display's hardware to speed up process and eliminate manual adjustments;
  • Video projector calibration;
  • Calibrate and characterize multiple screens within a workgroup.
  Technical specifications
  i1 Studio Average price: $489.00
Spectrophotometer (that of Colormunki Photo)
i1 Studio - New
  Monitor calibration Yes
  Printer calibration RGB, B&W and CMJN
  video projector calibration Yes
Scanner calibration
  Warranty 1 year X-Rite

Download the latest version of i1 Studio

The i1 Studio software (PC and MAC), sold with the i1Display pro is also available for free download if you have another compatible colorimeter - Download i1 Studio v1.1.1 (August 2018)   (i1 Studio v1.1.1 is Mac OS Mojave compatible.)




Calibrating the printer with i1 Studio step by step

Let's start by installing the software and the colorimeter, the easiest way in the world!


Reminder: a new paper = a new calibration = a new ICC profile!

Reading the i1Studio's colorful patchesWhen we talk about the calibration of a printer we should rather talk about the calibration of a set:

 a given paper,
 inks of a given brand,
 a given printer.

Each time a parameter is changed, a new ICC profile must be created. However, if you replace an ink cartridge from the same manufacturer as your printer, it is not necessary. I am more cautious about the consistency of ink quality of "generic" or no name manufacturers. 


Setting up the i1 Studio software

It couldn't be more classic except after the update to Mac OS High Sierra 10.13.2 I had to restart an installation of the software. (v1.1 July 2018). Nothing particular to say, so! When you click on the application icon, the language detection will now be done automatically and the software will ask you to activate it. To do this, simply connect the colorimeter and that's it! Registration is not necessary.

The main menu of the software opens directly on six possibilities:

  • monitor calibration: "Display (therefore monitors)" or "Projector",
  • printer calibration: "Color printing", "Black and white printing" and "Optimize profile" which we will not discuss here.
  • scanner calibration: "Scanner".


This is done in a very nice orange / dark grey interface. I appreciate it!

i1Studio Software Home
Several calibration and characterization options: screen / projector / scanner and especially printer (color or Black and white).

Click on the "Color print" button

1 - "Printing of the characterization test chart"

When you click on "Color Print" on the home page, a new window opens where you will choose to launch a new paper calibration:

i1 Studio test pattern printing options

  • 1 - Select the printer to calibrate (characterize): note that the software detects if your printer works "as" an RGB or CMYK device because obviously all printers print in CMYK.
  • 2 - Select the paper size: from A5 format to A2 format via the default A4.
  • 3 - Choose the paper unit : leave in inches.
  • 4 - Paper description: enter the name of your paper.


Click on the "Print" button

Print the first test pattern with i1Studio

2 - Choose the right printing options

You will therefore start by printing a first page of 50 test charts which will be the same regardless of the profile created. The second page in color mode and the two pages in black and white mode will be different and will depend on each printer/paper pair.

Very important note! The "correct" setting of the print configuration options is fundamental to the success of a quality calibration so the following is very important.

Your printer driver opens. Here is an example with an EPSON 7800 printer:

You do not need to use Adobe Color Utility Printer software to print the test pattern page without color management because i1 Studio software bypasses any "forced" color management and disables your printer's color management. To check this, go to the drop-down menu under the "Color Match" option as shown in the illustration below:

A - "Printer settings" options : 

  • 1 - You have chosen the printer to be calibrated,
  • 2 - Medium: you will choose not the paper you are going to calibrate strictly speaking but rather the type of paper (Glossy, glossy, baryta, matt, Canvas, etc...) because according to this, the inking rate will be different and will therefore influence the ICC profile. However, if you use paper from the same manufacturer as your printer, it is very simple because often the paper type has the same name as your paper (Glossy Photo Premium Epson for example); if you use paper from another brand, then you should follow the instructions of that manufacturer. Don't worry, all manufacturers sell the same types of paper: Glossy, Semi-Gloss or semi-gloss, matt, Canvas, etc.

Very important!  Each profile has been created by selecting a paper type from this menu. This choice affects the ink rate, so a matte paper will require more ink. If you use a glossy substrate with this type of "matt" substrate then your print will drool because it will have received too much ink in addition to completely distorting the ICC profile. NOTE or SAVE the "SUPPORT" for each PROFILE

Epson print driver
  • 3 - Color settings: This will confirm that your printer's color management is disabled.
    It is essential to check that "Off (No printer calibration)" is selected otherwise it is useless!

  • 4 - Although I didn't notice any difference in profile quality depending on the quality option (the precision with which the ink droplets are deposited) it is possible to choose it on some photo printers.

My recommendation! This has nothing to do with what concerns us here but I prefer to print at 2880 dpi because I find the gradients in the skies even more beautiful because they are more shaped! For the finesse of the details, I don't see the difference.

B - Save or note the settings of your printer driver as they will always have to be reused to use CE profile so this printer and paper CE.

Before printing, make sure you have placed an A4 sheet in your printer!

Start printing and click on "Next" when printing is finished and not before!


Printing a calibration chart with the i1Studio

3 - "Allow the chart to dry out"

You end up with a brightly colored chart that you will let dry well as indicated below, i.e. at least ten minutes... It is possible to skip this step by starting reading the patches directly...



My tip!  Maybe ten minutes is a little light. The specialists all agree on at least 45 minutes / one hour. Indeed, even if the ink is dry to the touch, it is not yet stable and a spectrophotometer sees these differences. Since a profile is not created every two minutes, take the time to let it dry well.

4 - "Measure" - device calibration

he spectrophotometer must now be set correctly. For this purpose, and as always with a precision measuring instrument, it must be calibrated. Among the very practical new features introduced on the Colormunki Photo and obviously included on the i1 Studio, there is among others, the internal calibration. To do this, the colorimeter needs to measure a reference blank that it performs on a white ceramic square inside the colorimeter and not on an external support. This is ingenious in two ways: the reference white is protected from dust but also from parasitic light.


Calibrate the i1Studio


Turn the device handle as shown and click on the "Calibrate" button. When calibration is complete, return the joystick back to the playback position.



5 - Start reading the 50 colored patches on the first page

Two recommandations to start with!  As Hervé Petit advised me, place two sheets of the same paper under the printed sheet before you start reading the patches. This avoids uncontrolled reflections due to your table, especially if it is colored. Then, start by positioning the reading area of your sensor (where the light is emitted) on the white part of the sheet and be careful not to pass the edge of the sheet at the top this time.

When your sensor is properly positioned and ready, press with your thumb on the side of the sensor to turn on the sensor light and start reading by sliding the sensor along the first row of patches. They are large on purpose to facilitate this measurement without guide.

Note!  A short video shows you how to do it, especially on the speed to adopt because you shouldn't go too fast but don't move like a snail either!

Reading a test pattern in i1Studio

Measuring the first target in i1Studio

Click on the "Next..." button The software calculates the color ranges of the second test page....

6 - "Create the second test chart" 

To save ink and paper (another ingenious idea from the Colormunki Photo on the i1 Studio), you will be asked to print a second set of patches to refine the correction of the main defects in your printer detected in the first range. For a few seconds and taking into account the reading of the patches he has just made, he generates this second page based on flesh tones, some complicated greens to reproduce and finally the famous blue sky. As if by chance!

Remark! The second range is not only a marketing argument because it is really different for all printers and is really calculated from the reading of the first range. Tester's faith!

7 - "Print the second test chart"

Warning!  Be sure to print this second set of patches with the same settings in the print driver.

Printing the second test pattern in i1Studio

Allow to dry again for at least 10 minutes (ideally 45 minutes) on glossy paper and one hour on matt paper.

8 - "Measure the second test chart"

Simply repeat the same operation as before...

Measuring the second target in i1Studio

9 - "Save the ICC profile"

The software provides you with a profile name that can be modified. Click on "Save Profile" and be as complete as possible to identify it later.


Nommer et enregistrer profil ICC dans i1Studio


When the profile is created, click on the "Home" button. You have made your first ICC color printing profile with the i1Studio!


The ICC profile has just been created with i1Studio


Note! The profile is stored in the folder containing all the profiles on your computer. Finally, I invite you to read my page on printing with Photoshop (or Lightroom) because this software has many practical features to print correctly with hard ICC profiles. Everything is explained in detail in a step-by-step process. You can also read my page on calibrating a printer with a calibration kit



Special case: Black and white calibration - New!

As you can imagine, it is basically the same thing except that you will have to print not one but two pages when optimizing the profile (what was called printing the second page during a color calibration seen in the previous paragraph).

i1Studio Home Page

Second i1Studio print pattern

The software will print more grayscale colored areas with very slight color drifts in order to perfectly "understand" the defects of your printer. We will see in the next paragraph if it is effective...




Checking the ICC profile and Questions/ Answers

Before answering some of the questions I receive most often about printing profiles, I will make a 3D comparison of several profiles of the same paper/printer pair made with the i1 Studio and the old Colormunki Photo which therefore uses the same spectrophotometer. Then I will talk about the famous new Black and White calibration.

3D comparison of ICC profiles made with Colormunki Photo vs i1 Studio

Here is the ICC profile of the calibration of my Epson 7800 printer with Epson Traditional paper. As you can see below, the ICC profile created with the Colormunki Photo is, in volume and therefore in gamut, very similar to the one created with the new i1 Studio. The differences are minor. The use of the same measuring device but a slightly different software probably explains their similarities.


Comparison of ICC profiles made with ColorMunki Photo and i1Studio

Quality of the color profile?

Frankly, I didn't notice any difference with the old Colormunki Photo. So it's just as good!

Cunlhat village in Livradois-Forez, Auvergne, France
Original file from a RAW file developed in Photoshop CC Camera Raw.
Color printing after calibrating a printer with i1Studio

Color print done after calibration with the i1Studio (Epson 7800 printer + Permajet paper sold at MMF-PRO)

And what about the quality of black and white prints with the new i1 Studio?

Well, those who often print in black and white have no choice: they must either buy this new i1 Studio or download the software as soon as possible, which will work with their Colormunki Photo! The neutralisation of the greys is now perfect. Remarkable in a kit for less than 400 pounds.

Black and white printing after calibrating a printer with i1Studio

Note about black and white prints! The print I took a picture of was nevertheless significantly illuminated with being printed because, by default, the prints are really very dark. I made the file clearer at 1.25 in Photoshop which is not insignificant. That's the only flaw in this new mode.

Now your most frequently asked questions: 

Q - Do I have to redo my printing profile often?

Canon printerA :  That all depends! If you use ink from the manufacturer of your printer (Epson, Canon, HP), there is no need to do so because the ink quality monitoring is extremely accurate and I have never noticed, even after one year, so after several ink cartridge changes, that this is necessary. Under these conditions, I do it every year as a way of....
If you use "generic" ink, I advise you to redo your printing profile more often...

Q - Do I have to redo my printer profiles (and screens) if I change computers?

A : Not at all! You only redo them if you change the printer, paper or ink quality. The computer only manages the colors. He doesn't transform anything by himself. You recover them well (backup) and simply reinstall them on the new computer.

Q - What is the difference between manufacturers' inks and "generic" inks?

A : Especially in brands renowned for the quality of their "Photo" printers such as Canon, Epson or HP, quality control is rigorous since they work with colour professionals (photographers but also shooters, graphic designers, etc.). Consistency in the color quality of their ink is therefore fundamental. "Generic" ink manufacturers do not have this requirement because their potential customers are on the side of large accounts that print Excel tables all day long. The color constant of the pie charts is less "fundamental"!




  X-Rite i1 Studio  
Color ICC profiles 9,0/10
B&W ICC profiles 9,5/10
Options 9,0/10
Manufacturing quality 8,5/10
Quality / Price ratio 10/10


  I like it very much...  
  • Possibility to reuse your Colormunki Photo but with a new software: free upgrade!
  • Excellent printed colors for the naked eye (and compared to an Eizo CS2420),
  • Black and white prints finally neutral!
  • Wide gamut,
  • Shadows correctly exposed in color
  • Real spectrophotometer,
  • Quick and easy to use,
  • Possibility to calibrate its entire graphic chain,
  • Unbeatable price/quality ratio!
  I regret...  
  • Black and white prints a little too dense by default (on my Epson 7800). Sometimes it is necessary to lighten a little bit your image before printing it.
  My overall rating...  
  9.75 / 10, My Favorite !  
  My conclusion...  
With the recognized qualities of Colormunki Photo, the i1 Studio offers many advantages and not the least: it allows you to "recycle" your Colormunki Photo by simply downloading this new software for free and thus benefit from its very interesting innovations such as an excellent grey neutralisation for black and white prints that are finally neutral.
That said, it is still as easy to use and complete as ever, especially if you buy it new, so with your camera's calibration test chart. His price still places him in the "amateur" category but the pros would be wrong to ignore him... A favorite product that I now use for my personal use!
X-Rite i1Studio Spectrophotometer


CDN$ 668.32
Here is my complete test of the calibration kit for photo printers or monitors: the X-Rite i1 Studio
- Full review of the X-Rite i1 Studio
  1 - Introduction to the i1 Studio
2 - Calibrate your printer with the i1 Studio
3 - My rating and conclusion

- My 3 photo printers reviews!
- How to choose your photo monitor?
- How to calibrate your photo printer?


Calibrate your monitor with the best
colorimeter: X-Rite i1Display Pro !

Read my full review...


Calibrate your photo printer with the
best value for money: X-Rite i1 Studio !

Read my full review...  










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