Confused film photographer, wanting to start on digital, needs CMYK advice

Linux and Gimp are my intended route to digital processing of Canon EOS 5D MkII DSLR images and 5X4 film negatives, with the latter intended to be scanned on an Epson Perfection V 850 Pro. Printing on an Epson SC P-700 is intended.

From net enquiries, Gimp is compatible with Linux and RAW files can be exported from Canon to Gimp with the aid of RawTherapee. A SANE driver is available to make the V 850 compatible with Linux and thus to Gimp. A TurboPrint Studio driver, with CMYK print mode, is available to make the SC P-700 compatible with Linux

But Gimp doesn’t appear to be compatible with CMYK devices. And although there are many videos on YouTube showing how to convert RGB files to CMYK, most come with a warning about how “washed out” the colours will look (presumably on the monitor) in comparison.

I remember being told that it was unrealistic to expect the vibrant colours and brightness range of a projected slide to be matched by a photographic print, but that didn’t stop some pretty impressive prints from being made! The same seems to be true about the differences between self luminous monitors and ink jet colour prints viewed by reflected light.

Am I just experiencing beginner’s hesitancy and trepidation here? Do I just go ahead and convert to CMYK, print and be damned? Or is there something rather vital and essential that I’m missing here?

Hi and welcome!

You don’t need CMYK for the Epson printer, just feed it a standard RGB tiff or jpeg. In fact you don’t need CMYK for much of anything, save really high end offset printing.

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Moreover, if you convert your RGB photo to one of the standard CMYK profiles like U.S. SWOP, Fogra or ISO Coated, you’ll clip many bright colors.

That Epson has certainly more inks and wider gamut than CMYK press to which standard profiles refer to.

Feed it with you RGB photo as @paperdigits said and let the Colour Management do its magic, i.e. translate the colours from your image to the abilities of your printer.

Hi @Befuddled and welcome!

Also of importance: the paper quality you pick.
Ref Having fun (?) with printing profiles -- paper/gamut comparisons...

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

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In case you planned to handle the negatives in Gimp (sorry if I misunderstood, and I’m stating the obvious): both RawTherapee and darktable have tools to handle negatives.

You’ll find tutorials on YouTube. For darktable, the developer of the module published his technical video 2 years ago, when the module was still in development:

There are other tutorials available, of course, for both tools.

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Dear paperdigits, Leniwiec, Claes and kofa

Thank you all so much for your kind responses. In addition to relieving me of a great deal of confusion, it is extremely rewarding to know that there is a community of such generous people out there willing to share their knowledge and expertise with beginners like me. I feel much better equipped now to take on the challenge of transitioning to a digital environment and it’s all due to you. Thank you so very much!

Kind regards, Befuddled


Good luck! Seems like you have a lot of scanning ahead of you :slight_smile: