Monitor vs Calibration tool - Lets talk specifics for photography/print output.

JBrown

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I have been in the market for a new monitor as my 7 year old 24 inch is lacking to say the least. I realized this once I got a few images printed out and they were way off. I tried to do some basic calibration (free software) but I didn't feel that got me anywhere. I decided I would upgrade the monitor to get better color reproduction. Obviously monitor recommendations come and go, but I read the reviews on these Dell's which come pre calibrated and thought that would be the way to go.

Dell Monitors: Both are IPS Displays just varying levels of color gamut.

Dell Ultrasharp 2413 - $599 List price
Color Depth: 1.074B colors
Color Gamut (typical): Adobe RGB 99%, sRGB 100% and 120% (CIE 1976)
Comes with SRGB and Adobe RGB calibrated settings

Dell Ultrasharp 2412M - $389 List Price
Color Depth: 16.78M colorsColor Gamut 82% (CIE 1976)
SRGB and Adobe RGB not listed. Independent testing puts the SRGB in the 90% range.

Those are MSRP list prices and deals come and go. The question remains and based off the MSRP would you have better color reproduction buying the cheaper monitor with the calibration tool or the better monitor without one. Of course ideally you would have both. There is also the issue of the net result as most persons who would view the photos would see them is SRGB on their lesser monitors anyways and most labs take the photos in the SRGB colorspace anyways.

So I guess the final question is if everything done from a consumer level is in the sRGB colorspace is there any reason to get a monitor with higher ADOBE RGB support?
 

KmH

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Computer displays drift and age and have to be routinely re-calibrated.
Pros re-calibrate their editing display(s) every 3 to 4 weeks, or whenever the ambient light falling on the display changes.

I would recommend getting the display that delivers the broadest color gamut.

Many, but not all online labs support Adobe RGB files for printing.

At any rate, to get the most accurate prints possible you need the print device's ICC profile so you can load the ICC profile into your image editing applications soft-proofing function.
Tutorials on Color Management & Printing
 

Buckster

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If it were me, I'd get a calibration tool before I spend on a new monitor.

Anyone who wants to work with accurate color and contrast needs a calibration tool, new monitor or not, so I'd start with that. The old monitor might be able to be brought back into calibration and a new monitor may then be unnecessary. If not, the new monitor can be kept calibrated.
 

Garbz

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The question on colour spaces is a good one and I personally would say no it's not worth the hassle. If all your work is intended for the web and you don't do any magical prints using some weirdo chemical process on metalic paper or some other wonderfully expensive project then you end up with no benefit of the wide gamut screen. One thing to remember is that you can't fake the gamut without crippling the monitor's output. A wide gamut screen is a wide gamut screen and attempting to use it for sRGB stuff without programs which are colour aware will quickly disappoint you. Also you're not missing much. Look at all those wonderfully coloured images on the net and you'll see that you can capture quite a wide range of colours without hitting the limits of your screen. Actually unless you shoot sunsets, lasers, or cyan coloured crystal clear water you likely won't notice any difference at all.

Wide gamut screens will force you down a colour management route. There's no other way around it. You WILL have to use Firefox to browse the web as there's no other browser with native colour management, you WILL have to understand that as you move images between programs their colours may change depending on how the program handle colour (i.e. copy an image and paste it into an email and it'll look different then how it did in photoshop). You WILL have to do colour space re-assignment every time you take a screenshot on your computer etc.

On the other hand you do get used to those things quite quickly. I have a wide gamut monitor and I love it, but man it can be a pain at times.
 
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JBrown

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Thanks for all the responses.

Going beyond mere color reproduction, can anyone comment on their experience with accurate brightness levels? This is the main issue ive personally seen as I have probably five different screens I use and I am never sure which one is correct. For example my main editing computer is the one I was thinking of getting the monitor for. I produce one picture and then show someone it on my Galaxy S3 phone which supposedly has incredible color rendition and it appears very dark. On my laptop and tablet its closer, but still not exact as far as brightness.
 

Buckster

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Thanks for all the responses.

Going beyond mere color reproduction, can anyone comment on their experience with accurate brightness levels? This is the main issue ive personally seen as I have probably five different screens I use and I am never sure which one is correct. For example my main editing computer is the one I was thinking of getting the monitor for. I produce one picture and then show someone it on my Galaxy S3 phone which supposedly has incredible color rendition and it appears very dark. On my laptop and tablet its closer, but still not exact as far as brightness.
Color calibration tools deal with that, including adjusting brightness when the light in the room changes. Get one. This works great on my monitors: Amazon.com: Xrite CMUNDIS ColorMunki Display: Camera & Photo
 

kathyt

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I calibrate once a week with an Xrite device, or if I am editing at an unusual time of day that I normally don't. Even if you have an excellent monitor, I would still calibrate. I wanted to add that calibrating a screen takes 2 minutes, and is sooo easy. Just do it! :)
 

Garbz

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I produce one picture and then show someone it on my Galaxy S3 phone which supposedly has incredible color rendition and it appears very dark. On my laptop and tablet its closer, but still not exact as far as brightness.

Right there you've set unrealistic expectations. Colour management takes care of correctly displaying the colours on the target device. Colour calibration ensures the target device is correct. Not having control over the target you end up with neither calibration nor management. You have zero way of ensuring someone else sees something correctly other than sitting him down infront of a calibrated screen and using software that understands colour management.

Also the Galaxy S3 has an OLED screen. Amazingly saturated colours. It can display colours *no* computer screen is currently capable of, at least until AMOLED panels get larger than a few inches. However Android has no colour management. Not a single picture will look correct on a Galaxy S series phone. They will all look incredibly oversaturated.
 

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