Choose the i1DisplayPro package for display calibration only, or the i1PublishPro2 package with RGB and CMYK printer profiling as well. I encourage all my clients to get a package and do their own display calibration as needed.

Alternatively,  the Onsight remote profiling service is a great, cost effective way to get excellent printer profiles for those that simply need a few printer profiles every now and then. Email me to find out more about the remote profiling service (for clients only).

For those that are wanting an energy efficient bulb for print exhibition, the Philips Par20 Classic Glass Flood LED Bulbs stand out as an excellent option for screw-in E26 fixtures. Like an incandescent flood light, it has a narrow focus that puts a nice warm hot spot on your print on the wall, but does so at a fraction of the energy usage. 3000K, 500 lumens, 7 watts (50-60 watt equivalent). This six pack works out to $6.33 each. Also available in larger sizes…

The recently re-introduced 2019 LG UltraFine 5K display is the high end 5K display that, IMO, makes sense for most demanding users with a video card capable of supporting 5K. Multicoated, anti-reflective glossy surface, 5120×2880 pixel native resolution, ~$999. I own two of these myself that I use with a MacBookPro.

The Acer G257HU 25-Inch WQHD Monitor has a slim metal enclosure, 2560×1440 pixel native resolution, matte surface, DVI and HDMI input. A sweet deal for ~$229.

OWC’s ThunderBay RAID products are the best bang-for-the-buck RAID enclosures these days.  The $479 4 bay enclosure and $649 6 bay enclosure come without drives. Purchasing drives serpately and installing them yourself is easy and usually more cost effective than purchasing with preinstalled drives. Both of these drive enclosures come with two Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports and are preconfigured for RAID5 and include SoftRAID v5 software. See my 2019 RAID review for real world performance results and comparisons to other systems. And if you don’t need a RAID enclosure, here’s a great a single drive USB-C 3.1 gen2 enclosure.

Seagate IronWolf Internal Hard Drives for NAS/RAID are a great value right now. Available in capacities from 1 to 16 TB each, they are a great value at ~$0.026 per gigabyte. As someone who is sensitive to noise, I can tell you these drives are not only a good value, they are also super quiet.

If you’re looking for a stand alone single hard drive, the $40 Vantec NexStar Gx Enclosure is excellent because it has an aluminum case, USB-C ports and supports USB 3.1 gen2 data speeds (as opposed to the more common and slower USB 3.0). The Vantec currently supports drives up to 12TB.  Seagate EXOS hard drives are great for single drive enclosures like this because they are affordable, fast and have low failure rates.

OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter, when used with CAT 6a (or CAT 7) cabling and a 10GbE switch, allows for much faster networking than standard Ethernet ports allow for. 10Gb Ethernet is worth considering for small workgroups looking for a relatively inexpensive way to speed up their network.

On a related note, I’ve always found that sharing a directly attached drive (DAS) to a network from an old computer performs better than a network attached drive (NAS) like those from Synology, Drobo and others. So an old computer (like a mac mini) with a fast RAID drive shared over a 10GbE network is a pretty decent, low-cost collusion for small workgroups. xSAN would be the high end solution for those with the budget to match.

Please note, this is just one of many 10 GbE adapters. If your computer doesn’t have Thunderbolt3, choose the appropriate adapter for the port options it has.

Epson Proofing Paper White Semimatte is the proofing paper I recommend the most often. It’s available in rolls from 13″ to 60″ wide and in 13×19″ sheets. Setting up in-house proofing systems in design agencies and relying less on print vendor proofs is the growing trend. Email me if you’d like to setup SWOP and/or GRACoL certifiable proofing systems in your environment.

Breathing Color’s Dye Sub Transfer Paper is the high end transfer paper my demanding clients use. In comparison to Epson’s popular paper, BC’s is thicker, handles better and doesn’t warp with high ink loads. Most importantly, it’s resolves fine detail better and allows for greater smoothness in areas of solid color. It’s available in rolls from 24″ to 60″ wide.  Email me if you’d like to calibrate your dyesub system utilizing the ChromaMax method.

Water-resistant and fade-resistant. Dries quickly. Acid-free and non-toxic. Ditch your Sharpies (which are not archival) and start using one of these. I’m particularly fond of the Micron 005 Ink Pen, Black for signing prints – it works great on microporous inkjet surfaces that pencils don’t work on.

ImageNest is fantastic nesting and layout software now priced at $200 for all printer sizes. If you are a nesting or a volume printing geek – this is your application! MacOS  only.

Imatest will allow you to measure the performance of cameras, lenses, scanners, and printers. Imatest scientifically quantifies things like lens and camera sharpness, chromatic aberration, color response, noise, dynamic range, etc. Windows only.

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