What is a Spectrophotometer & Why You Need One for Printing

What is a spectrophotometer and why do you need one? Good question! Stick around and find out.

In this video, you will see several types of Spectrophotometers displayed in front of Bob. He will go into a brief overview of each one, but first let’s talk about why spectrophotometers exist and specifically why you need one in your shop!

In the simplest of terms, our perception of color is based on 3 things. An object, an observer, and light.

A spectrophotometer is designed to control 2 variables, that of the observer and light.

Have you ever painted a room? Perhaps you’ve had that moment where you look at the paint swatch in the store and think you’ve found the perfect color. Only when you get home, the swatch doesn’t quite look the same under the house lights. This is a good example of why you need a spectrophotometer.

A spectrophotometer shines a controlled light onto a surface (an object) and then uses a sensor (observer) to retrieve the data and determine a precise color value.

This is important, because as humans, each one of us perceives color slightly different based on the capabilities of our eyes. Age, genetics, etc. all play a role in how we see color. This is why it is so important to have a reliable and independent source of information that we can trust.

Spectrophotometers give us empirical data that lets the user know exactly what color they are viewing. Often this color is defined by LAB*. This LAB color space represents colors that a typical eye can visually perceive. The data gives us a verbal way to communicate color that people can use to aid in production across multiple printers and even achieve consistent results in different locations anywhere in the world.

The units in front of Bob start around $600 and go up from there. Each unit has a specific capability and purpose. Some measure color swatches against known color targets and others scan color charts to help printers accurately reproduce color. As we start here on Bob’s left, we have units designed to measure ink on paper. As we move to the right, these units can measure hard substrates, fabrics, and even clear acrylic.

We have other videos that go into more detail on these units. We strongly encourage you to check them out.

Still have questions regarding spectrophotometers? Call 1-800-771-9665 and ask to talk to one of our color specialists or visit our website https://www.itsupplies.com.

IT Supplies is your single source solution for everything relating to the perfect print. We represent some of the top manufacturers in the industry. Our full lineup includes Eco Solvent, Latex, Flat Bed, and Aqueous printers by EPSON, HP, and Canon. We also carry a large selection of Dye-Sublimation and DTG Printers by both EPSON and HP. Visit us at www.itsupplies.com

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