Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

Started Feb 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!
Feb 11, 2013

Hello everyone in ! First of all, I would like to say that I'm new in the forums, so please bare with me while you read my first post!

I have already read quite a few threads regarding the subject of my thread, prints that end up darker than on monitor. I have an Epson R2000 and I must say I am extremely satisfied and impressed overall by its quality, especially for an amateur as myself. My only complaint is that my prints end up a tad darker than my monitor (about 2/3 stops - ok, maybe it's more than a tad!)

My display is a new LG IPS237L-bn, with an AH-IPS panel. It came calibrated from the factory and even though more tinkering is required, I was nicely impressed by the color accuracy, especially for a mainstream ips monitor. No strange tints and colors are nearly spot-on, or at least as close to my printed pictures' colors as I am happy with. The only problem is that it is quite bright. Even at 0 brightness it's still a tad brighter than it seems correct for printing - pictures and details look very good on the monitor though, no crushed highlights or shadows. My room is purposely not very lit, with only a sweet desk lamp bouncing up the ceiling and creating a nice dim environment.

The thing is, if I lower my brightness even more through my graphic card's menu (an ati 6870) to about -40, the prints come out exactly as they are in my monitor, including brightness and generally luminance! Colors remain pretty much the same, and both prints and monitor match almost perfectly!

Where is the problem then? Well obviously, lowering the brightness so much ends up crushing shadow details in a picture that was showing up perfectly fine before on the monitor but wouldn't match print. After lowering the brightness, it needs to be edited to lighten the shadows but it prints perfectly fine. The problem is that I am influenced by online monitor tests like that are a simple general-crude guide for a display. For example, in the above tests I can see all squares very well (while maintaining good black) when I don't lower the brightness from Catalyst, but I lose the 4 first ones as soon as I lower it for printing! The general result is that, while my monitor passes all tests without lowering brightness through Catalyst, it doesn't do so well in a couple of them (but prints accurately!) when I lower it.

I must say that I don't own a calibrator, but I intend to some time in the feature. In the meantime, is there anything else I am missing here? I mean, I don't expect the performance of a $1000+ photo editing monitor (it wasn't bought with only that in mind anyway), but it seems as I am missing something. I don't have any problems with color accuracy - in fact I'm pretty impressed by it. It's just that prints end up a little darker. Should I just ignore those online tests and keep my -40 brightness setting for printing until I get a calibrator or is it bad practice?

I'm sorry for the long post but I would love some advice regarding this. Does anyone else resort to reducing brightness through the graphics driver and be happy with the results? Is there anything else that I can do?

Thank you very much in advance!

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