How do you tell if what looks black on the screen is black?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by gl600, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. gl600

    gl600 TPF Noob!

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    I was working on a photo a little while back and I was trying to get the outer edges of the photo to be pure black. After working for about 5-10 minutes I stood up from my computer and as the angel of view changed from a perpendicular viewpoint to what ended up being about a 45 degree angle the shades of black switched and I noticed that some of the areas were not pure black. (In case you are wondering I have a Samsung SyncMaster 245bw 24inch).
    How do you make sure that the blacks, and whites for that matter, are truly black/white?
    I don't want to get up every time. The only other way that I can think of is to use the eyedropper and click around the area's and see what comes up.
    Does anyone else have this issue and if so how do you deal with it?
    Thanks!
     
  2. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    Buy a very expensive monitor, calibrate it very carefully and oh, board up all your windows and paint your walls a neutral gray. Then hope the viewer has something equal to view it on.

    I'm sorry to sound like such a smart a** but as every monitor is different plus every printer is different so much of the final output is dependent on factors that are often out of your control. A lot of it does depend on how much money you can put into it. It seems also that 90% of the cost goes to achieving the last 10% if the quality. I think I know the monitor you have and if I'm correct it's not bad. So unless you want to spend a lot more, a little won't really do anything, changing your angle of view may be the best answer.

    At shootsmarter.com they rate some different monitors, you might find it interesting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Or take it a step further and use ISO 12646 (Viewing Conditions -- for Graphic Technology and Photography) to set up your viewing/working area. ;)
     
  4. gl600

    gl600 TPF Noob!

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    I don't even know what that means :)
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have the same monitor. Its a generic use monitor.. at a good price point with a good response time. The viewing angle from left to right is wider than the horizontal axis which is why you noticed it when you stood up. Its actually worse when you have the monitor mounted in portrait (like i Do). I use it to read web pages and such. I don't use it for photowork but more as an extension to my primary displays.

    As the previous poster mentioned... you'll need to buy a better quality monitor with some sort of calibration device.
     
  6. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Yes, you sound like a smart a*s but you are also absolutely right.

    There is only one problem with your answer: you forget to mention that photography was never meant to be viewed on a monitor! The end result of photography was supposed to be a paper print and that was how we would compare/judge photos.

    Today's reality has changed that somewhat. Especially in the retail photography market and, well, that is unfortunate because, as you point out, every monitor is different and we have no idea if the customer's monitor is even color balanced :lmao:

    Another thing for today's photog to figure out how to deal with... :grumpy:
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Erm, you are after finding out an absolute value that is so near to another value that it won't matter. To think of it this way, at an extreme angle the contrast ratio of the monitor goes to hell. So you think you were black but looking at this extreme angle you're now a light grey? Well when you print it I say you'll be very hard pressed telling the black shade from the grey shade.

    If you are really pedantic why NOT use the eye dropper tool? Afterall that is exactly what it was designed for. Or another option would be to add a levels layer and bring the white point down right next to the black so you can separate them without looking like a dork adjusting a photo while staring at the screen from the top down :), make the adjustments on the layers below, and then delete the adjustment layer at the top. But again this sounds like such a waste of effort for something that nearly all people won't even notice.
     
  8. gl600

    gl600 TPF Noob!

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    BTW, this is the photo that I was talking about:
    It's all worth it on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    If you go to "all sizes", "Original" and look at the right hand where the wrist curves in... that's where it is not pure black.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You're splitting hairs. I would never have noticed if you hadn't told me. Even after you told me I couldn't find it at all on the small pictures, and it took me quite a while to find it on the large ones, and I have a calibrated IPS screen.

    I suggest you apply the mum test in the future. Show the picture to your mother and tell her there's something wrong with it but don't mention what, if she can't see it then move on.
     
  10. goodoneian

    goodoneian TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I wouldn't have noticed either, it looks fine to me. Pretty simple fix i would assume is just paint the gray area black to match the rest of the background? I've run into similar situations but with white/ light gray and that's what I've done
     

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