Gamma and monitor calibration

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by KevinDks, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. KevinDks

    KevinDks TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Burley, Hampshire
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    So, I bought a dSLR and the results have looked very good on my screen, but browsing through the galleries here I came across this:

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=88060

    The picture in that thread looks dark to me and to a number of people who have replied. The original poster says that his monitor is calibrated, and that to him it looks exactly the way he wants. I've Googled 'gamma' and realised that there is a whole new world of complexity that I didn't know existed, much less understand...

    I use a new Compaq laptop with Windows Vista, and I have an Iiyama LCD monitor that I can use to extend my desktop. The graphics settings on the PC look like this:

    [​IMG]

    These are the default settings and everything looks fine - good contrast, bright colours. If I change the gamma to 1.8 (Google tells me that is the Mac setting, presumably what the OP is using in that thread) the picture looks much brighter, but everything else on the site appears too light and washed out. If I set it to 2.2 the effect is much the same.

    I'd quite like to share some photos here, but I'm more concerned about printing. The service I want to use has Fuji Frontier printers, and as far as I can work out I need to calibrate my monitor so that what I see on screen matches the final print. Is it normal to use one monitor setting for viewing on the web and another for editing files for printing? Do people create two versions of photos they want to print and show on a website?

    Kevin
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    My monitor is calibrated reasonably well. Not professionally but my prints match the screen almost perfectly when viewing proofs. The whole topic of colour management is very sensitive. The picture in that thread is just plain too dark for my tastes. Maybe that's what he wanted when he said it's the way he liked it, but there's no doubt about it he has sacrificed much foreground detail in favour of the sky which looks just fine.

    The gamma you are adjusting is a relative setting not absolute numbers which you are talking about. The mac gamma level will be part of the monitor profile in the mac. What you need is a colour chart like http://www.graphics.cornell.edu/~westin/gamma/gamma.html this one and fine-tune your gamma setting to match the gamma in your colour profile (2.2 for windows, 1.8 for macs but it may be different depending on the screen).

    Now when you go to print there's a whole new can of worms since printed black is lighter than the black glass on the monitor, and whites are darker than the backlit monitor. This involves setting up proof colour profiles in your editing application. http://www.graphics.cornell.edu/~westin/gamma/gamma.html <- Photoshop's version.
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    I don't ;)
    I calibrate my monitor, scanner and printer and then I calibrate my camera.
    The process can be seen as being akin to calibrating everything according to the Zone system when using film.
    And like film you have to realise that varying viewing conditions will afect the look of the final image. With the Internet and everyone viewing on different computers with different graphics capabilities there will be a wide range of variations. All you can do is set your system up on your monitor so it looks right to you.
    Changing a PC gamma to Mac standard does tend to wash other images out because they are done on PC's with a different gamma. Strangely, they all look fine on my Macs.
    Try looking at this:

    [​IMG]

    If you can see all the steps, particularly distinctions between 17, 18 and 19, with white being white and black being black, then your monitor should be OK.
    On my monitor I can see a distinction between every step.

    *Edit* Silly me. Just remembered that I've adjusted it to look right on a Mac, not a PC :lol:
    With that in mind I would recommend getting a Kodak step wedge and using it to calibrate camera and screen. Then at least you images will look OK to you.

    As an aside, I use digital pretty much like I used to use film. I decide what highlights and shadows are important to the image and aim to just hold detail in them. Sometimes I make darker (or lighter) areas that some might think should be lighter (or darker). In that shot the sky and the path were important and I wanted the woods somewhat darker. But both they and the foreground heath still hold detail. But if I had lightened them up then attention would have been focused on those areas and that was not what I wanted people to look at.
    My argument is always that it is my image and I get it to look how I want it. If others find that a problem then I'm afraid it is their problem.
     
  4. oCyrus55

    oCyrus55 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You can also get an Eye-One Match or other product. That's what I use, and my prints match my screen exactly
     
  5. KevinDks

    KevinDks TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Burley, Hampshire
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for the replies! I have looked at the chart on the Cornell site, but I'm finding it difficult to match the tones to see what my current gamma is. I assume it is 2.2, because this is a PC, but that wouldn't make a lot of sense because the control would then only allow me to increase it from there. I'll need to spend some more time with it.

    I also spent some time looking at the Kodak chart and playing with the controls. With my default settings I can see a difference between all of the darker steps, depending on the angle I view the screen from. This is always going to be an issue with LCD monitors I suppose.

    What I think I'll do is send some photos for printing, including some shots of a Jessops colour chart and grey card that I've got, and see if I can use that as a reference. It is tempting to get one of those calibration devices, which don't appear to be very expensive given that they take away a lot of guesswork. The printing service gives the option not to optimise the print (which is good from a creative point of view), but they don't offer profiles for their hardware, so I would have thought that using a hardware device to get to the industry standard might save a lot of trial an error. I feel very out of my depth!

    Thanks again,

    Kevin
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

+print monitor calibration gamma

,

1.8 gamma step wedge

,

display calibration photo gamma

,

extend my desktop calibrations

,

fuji scanner stopwedge

,

gamma number for pc laptop

,

laptop lcd gamma 1.8

,

laptop screen gamma

,

monitor view picture too dark gamma

,

pcgamma.com