• A friendly and periodic reminder of the rules we use for fostering high SNR and quality conversation and interaction at Stormtrack: Forum rules

    P.S. - Nothing specific happened to prompt this message! No one is in trouble, there are no flame wars in effect, nor any inappropriate conversation ongoing. This is being posted sitewide as a casual refresher.

Monitor Color Calibration: Do you do it, and if so what do you use?

Monitor calibration has been discussed in passing in a few threads, but I'd like to address it directly in this one.

I'd like to know who has done monitor calibration, what improvements they noticed to their workflow or output. And then I'd like to know what tool you used to do your calibration.

There is monitor calibration and then (if you are printing to your own printer) there is also printer profiling. If you are having an outside lab do your printing for you, I'm wondering how printer profiling is handled (or is it even necessary?)

There is a fairly new product called ColorMunki that is getting good (though not universally good) reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/ColorMunki-Photo-Monitor-Projector-Profiler/dp/B00169N0BK/

http://www.shootsmarter.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=259&acat=16

I'm also curious if anybody on ST has experience with that product specifically.


Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
 
With my CRTs, I always did visual calibration using Adobe's calibration tool. Worked pretty well, although not perfect, and was free. I've never actually used a calibration tool like you reference. I now have a higher end LCD samsung monitor, and I find the colors to be very accurate. In my opinion, one of the best ways to calibrate your monitor is to order a calibration print from whatever lab you are using to print your pictures. This print you can use to compare and adjust your colors by displaying the print on your monitor, and then comparing to the actual print. Again, it's not perfect, but works pretty well.

I'm not sure how much calibration really needs to be done for landscape photographers and modern day lcd screens. If I was doing weddings, or portrait type work, then I would think being accurately calibrated would be very important.
 
I use Spyder 3 Pro to calibrate by LCD monitor and it is a very good application, but my monitor was already pretty accurate right out of the box, so the color correction was very minor (but there was some correction). I recalibrate every couple of months to keep everything in line, and I would recommend the Spyder software.
 
I will FINALLY be purchasing an Eizo ColorEdge LCD display today. I will also be buying the Colormunki calibration system. I am very anal about color with my work and a high-color gamut display is essential. Eizo ColorEdge displays are professional line, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you have at least 1300 to spend or more and are really serious about accurate color. I want to make sure it's calibrated as accurate as possible, hence going with Colormunki. The reviews are pretty darn good. I'll give a report when I receive my new display in a week or so.
 
Monitor calibration has been discussed in passing in a few threads, but I'd like to address it directly in this one.

I'd like to know who has done monitor calibration, what improvements they noticed to their workflow or output. And then I'd like to know what tool you used to do your calibration.

There is monitor calibration and then (if you are printing to your own printer) there is also printer profiling. If you are having an outside lab do your printing for you, I'm wondering how printer profiling is handled (or is it even necessary?)

Not to hijack the thread, but I have a couple closely-related questions, since I use outside labs exclusively. Is monitor calibration really going to make much difference for me, since I assume I have no means of printer profiling? More so than color per se, the thing I notice most is that when I get my prints, there are sometimes differences in the brightness and contrast from what I have on my screen. I know there are adjustments that can be made on printers for this, but using outside labs, I have no way of doing that - right?

I have always heard that you can get better prints for less money with outside labs than using your own printer, unless you go to very expensive, high-end printers. Is this still the case?
 
John,
I'm no expert, so hopefully some voices with more experience will chime in here, but as I understand it, most labs can provide you with their printer's color profile (this includes Walmart or Sam's Club, who mostly use Fuji Frontier printers, I think). If you use the printer's color profile and have your monitor calibrated then
you must instruct the lab not to apply any automatic corrections. (There may be a box to deselect on their website, such as "Auto Correct".) If there's a comment box, write "Please send to printer as-is, without corrections."

What you are doing is taking full control of the process yourself. Now this is not required. Just like some photographers used to simply send their film to the lab and were happy with what they got back, you can use the auto corrections (or trust the lab tech's judgment) today. But if you want to fully control the process, you can do so - even if you don't have a printer "in house".

Even if you don't want to mess with printer profiles, it still makes a lot of sense (IMHO) to calibrate your monitor, so you can judge changes in color temperature or shadow detail properly, when doing post-processing corrections. It is key.

More info on color management, including Printer Profiles here.

(Most of this applies only to photographers that shoot RAW and do their own post-processing. If a photog shoots JPEGs, they probably aren't going to find this worth the expense or bother.)

PS... congrats Mike on the Eizo monitor purchase. (And thanks for the ShootSmarter.com link in an earlier thread. That's a great resource and well worth the free registration.) :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

The biggest part is getting the brightness/contrast right and that is done visually as far as I've seen. Perhaps some higher end calibrators adjust that on their own, but neither spyder I've had does. It has you do the brightness and contrast visually. That link above has some good charts to do that part with. Biggest part is getting this as right/evenly seperated as possible.... http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/contrast.php

The spyder then will read colors and fix any off colors. Once the white point is set to 6500k, it seems the color shift on the before and after calibration images is very very minimal. I'm with James here, from what I've seen not having a spyder do the colors doesn't appear to be the end of the world on storm images.

I print through WHCC now and have never bothered getting their printer profiles and soft proofing. I think it is again going to be a splitting hairs deal to mess with. Right off the bat they matched my monitor, one just has to expect to have prints in a well lit room. Some will get a light box deal to test their prints in.

It is important though to attach the color space to the file you have printed, at least if it's not sRGB in most cases as seems most printers use that anyway. I print in adobeRGB and have to remember to attach the color profile to the jpg that gets uploaded.

I now sort of believe wide gamut is overkill. The colors you get to see are really sort of far out there red and green, like street light or neon. It just seems not a ton of images will have these colors. Glad I can see them now I guess. But it's not the end of the world either if I couldn't see them. I guess fall colors stand out better on this monitor. And fireworks lol. Most scenes though, eh.

And fwiw, I'd never try and use an lcd that changes lightness/contrast depending on the angle you look at the thing. Get one with an IPS based panel, or a couple other types, that don't have that shift vertically across the screen. Biggest thing I like about the new monitor is 1920x1200 res. Such a big difference. And I think anything past 24inch is too much. Seemed like it would be more of a pain having that much screen space to constantly have to navigate around. Going from 17 to 24 I was like, damn, things are so far apart now.

Rambling.
 
I hope this question is on the same track/subect - I believe it is.
Have any seen a major change in their work? Everybody is going to have a different opinion I'm sure - but has it been worth the additional expense/trouble?

IMO - I've seen some FANTASTIC photos this year - as far as the workmanship is concerned. This is becoming a pretty tough league!
 
On the above note about Quality / cost once you are happy with your monitor and it compares with your print i would reccomend getting a continious ink feed for your printer if one is available for your model, they can be a bit messy to set up but the cost of ink becomes nearly nothing and the cost is mainly in thr paper and if this is bought in bulk you can print several comparason prints for little cost.
 
There is monitor calibration and then (if you are printing to your own printer) there is also printer profiling. If you are having an outside lab do your printing for you, I'm wondering how printer profiling is handled (or is it even necessary?)

If you rely less on your own printing device and have an outside lab do your printing, then I would stick with a colorimeter, which the ColorMunki is not. Rather, it is a spectrometer which allows it to tackle both monitor and print sides of the equation (and does both fairly well), but the result is that you lose a little on the monitor side. ColorMunki is an exciting product built to perform multiple tasks, but some pros complain that the ColorMunki software is too simplistic.
 
Back
Top