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New Research Monograph Released: Evaluating the Impact of the Variability of D50 Light Booths on the Appearance of Reproductions of Monochrome Photographs (PICRM-2012-05)

March 5, 2012, 9:00 am
Printing Industry Center research findings reproduction quality image quality photography light source

Final monograph in 2011-2012 research agenda is released to the public

A newly released research monograph from the Printing Industry Center at RIT studies the sensitivity of the quality of reproductions of monochrome photographs to different viewing illuminations. Titled “Evaluating the Impact of the Variability of D50 Light Booths on the Appearance of Reproductions of Monochrome Photographs” (PICRM-2012-05), the monograph is authored by Susan Farnand, staff scientist, Carlson Center for Imaging Science; Brian Gamm, graduate student, Munsell Color Science Laboratory; Franziska Frey, Ph.D., McGhee Distinguished Professor, School of Print Media; Simon Muehlemann, graduate student, School of Print Media; and Ishtar Laguna-Monroy, graduate student, School of Print Media.

This experimental study further explored a result from a recently completed project sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which revealed that reproductions of a monochrome photograph suffered from visual differences in reproduction quality depending on the light source they were viewed under. This initial experiment was repeated with a variety of monochrome photographs similar to, and including, the platinum print used in the Mellon study. The photographs, selected from IPI’s collection, were imaged by three cultural heritage institutions, printed on a variety of equipment at RIT, and visually assessed under two D50 lighting set ups. A survey of D50 light booths used throughout the print production workflow was also conducted as part of this study.

Key findings include:

The full report is available for download as a PDF from

About the Printing Industry Center at RIT
The Printing Industry Center is a joint program of the RIT School of Print Media in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences and RIT's E. Philip Saunders College of Business, and was established in 2001 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as one of the Sloan Industry Centers. The Center is dedicated to the study of major business environment influences in the printing industry brought on by new technologies and societal changes, creating a forum for printing companies and associations worldwide to access a neutral platform for the dissemination of knowledge, to share ideas, and to build the partnerships needed to sustain growth and profitability in a rapidly changing market. For more information, please visit


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Ashley Walker 
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Printing Industry Center at RIT