Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by impressme, Dec 28, 2008.
How do you do it?
Its generally done with a moniter calibration tool - Spyder Moniter Calibraters are a popular and good choice. The device reads the light coming off your screen and then creates a colour profile for your moniter which you then use. The software is simplistic to use - just install, plug in and follow the onscreen instructions;
2 things though:
1) LCD screens (flatscreens) unless they are the top makes are poor moniters to calibrate since you get differing views depending on your angle of view - which will thus affect editing of photos. Thus screen calibration will not be able to give you perfect results - its still very usable though and I highly recomend using one (every little helps).
2) Moniters will drift over time so the calibration equipment is best bought than borrowed/rented since it has to be performed every few weeks to keep the colours right - spyders will use a built in timer to give you notice when you should apply the calibration. Calibration itself is quite quick so its not much of a problem every few weeks
Also note on LCDs that many have a brightness command in the screen settings - this is not a brightness command but rather a backlight adjustment. This is important as with screen calibration tools there is a difference between the two.
Cool, thanks overread! I'll look into the tool.
You can also use your editor for basic adjustments and set your monitor to use that color profile. It's not bad for a free alternative.
Most of the free alternatives don't work all that well, mainly because they require subjective judgments. You will get the best results with a calibrator that measures your screen output as Overread mentions above. I use the Spyder 3 Pro, costs about $150, its easy to use and works well for me on my computers, which all have LCD screens.
agreed - your eyes (or rather mind) will condition themselves to your computer screen very well, you won't notice any colour casts yourself on the screen - this means when you try a "free" calibration alternative you won't be able to remove these casts. Also if your working with LCD then you really will find yourself reprinting shots over and over again to get the brightness of your screen right (many LCDs run far far brighter than is good for photo editing).
The machine removes the human error aspect - it can see the colour casts.
Just curious, but you are saying that something like the Spyder works on more than one computer? For some reason, I was under the impression that they (and others, like the Huey) were for one computer use only...
I hope I'm wrong as that is the main reason (other than budget, of course) that I've never got one....
Yes, you can calibrate as many computers/monitors as you have. I have a desktop that I use infrequently, a personal laptop that I use daily and my work laptop that I also use daily, but not much for photography stuff. I have calibrated these three with the software/hardware combo. There's no restriction that I've seen regarding using it on multiple computers. After all, you are only one user and you can only use the software on one computer at a time. Of course, loaning it out to others would not be legit.
edit - well there is a better and clearer answer than mine
I thought this... The screen we use at the fire station is a Dell, and it blows the hell out of greens only for some reason..
Would you consider my flat panel a qualilty monitor-the ViewSonic VA902b, and therefore worth calibrating?
Great, thanks!! I take it you folks recommend the Spyder Pro 3?
I really don't know LCD models at all - however I know that mine is nothing special (originaly it was only a new flatscreen for the computer which was used for word - internet and gaming) and that even so calibration did make a noticable difference.
Importantly its not only the colours but the brightness of the screen that are adjusted - removing a colour cast will still work on a low end LCD and adjusting the brightness is key to getting prints that are not too dark (at thus having to work by trial and error) the only downside is that you have to watch your angle of view on the screen so that your not looking up or down at it too much and you should not have any problems
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