Monitor Calibration question

Started Jul 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
NewsyL Veteran Member • Posts: 5,701
Re: monitor

digitalshooter wrote:

How will increasing the ambient help?

Viewsonic VP950B

re: Viewsonic VP950B

I was hoping it would be something more recent with test results from a review site that documents the back light brightness.

What I do know is that it uses a 19" "TN" tft LCD panel which offers a simulated 8bit color depth - it's actually a 6bit panel that uses an older version of Frame Rate Control (FRC) to simulate a color depth in excess of 16.2 million colors. The stated maximum brightness is 280 cd/m2 which is far far too bright for image work so like most monitors you need to adjust this into an area most appropriate in balance against the ambient lighting of the room you edit in.

A number of recently tested budget class monitors were shown to be unable to adjust their brightness below 130 cd/m2 of white luminance which is still too high for most home office dens/offices where people edit in the evening (i.e. no sunlight streaming in through windows) using one or two 800 lumen bulbs to light a room. Typically, most people will want a level between 100 and 120 cd/m2 though for a very dark room, maybe as low as 80 cd/m2.

The room you edit images in should have controlled lighting - i.e. no open windows that allow random light in from outside. Blinds are essential so that the ambient light in the room remains about the same as per when you calibrate your monitor.

You can use extra lamps to bring the ambient light level up to help prevent dark prints because what you are doing is addressing a perceptual weakness of the human eye/brain.

re: raising ambient lighting

You're likely aware of how the human eye can be fooled into thinking that certain shades of color or gray are different even though they are the same, depending on the shade placed alongside the swatch that you're examining. So it is with the brightness of your monitor in relation to the room around it.

Think of your back lit monitor as being something like a 19" diagonal spotlight shining in your eyes. If the room around the monitor is very dark, the monitor will appear brighter to your eye and any images on it will be perceived to be too bright so that they require that their levels be adjusted lower - hence when printed, you get dark prints.

If you raise the ambient light level, it will seem that the monitor is not as bright as before even though you have not touched the monitor's controls. If you raise the ambient room lighting too much, the monitor will appear dark in relation to the room lighting and you may actually be tempted to raise the levels of the image. If printed these images would appear too light.

I know with the Spyder 4 Pro that it reports the white luminance of the monitor at one point in the "advanced" mode of calibration. I can't recall if this is also shown in the Spyder 3 Pro's software.

What you can do is the following as a rough estimate of what the "balanced" ambient light level is for your monitor.

Eyeball Technique

A rough method of setting brightness is to grab a sheaf of white printer paper (several pages thick) and hold it up next to your monitor while it is displaying a white screen (full screen Notepad works well) and while the room has its' typical lighting used while you edit. If the paper looks brighter than your monitor, then your monitor is too dark. If the paper is darker, then the monitor is too bright or perhaps you need to increase the ambient lighting of the room. Imho, it is less than ideal to edit in a near pitch black room.

Most LCD monitors have a native color temperature somewhere near 6500K in order to have whites appear like they would in natural sunlight. Most people still use incandescent or CFL bulbs with a color temperature near 2800K for their room lighting.

Under this traditional lighting the reflected room light off the paper will, in comparison to the monitor screen, appear more yellow (warmer) and this may make you think it is a little darker. You may want to buy some 6000 to 6500K compact fluorescent bulbs, of equal lumen output, for the lighting in your room and use them while attempting this paper method. If these are too blue (cool) for day to day use in your editing room, 5000K bulbs may be a workable compromise.

Try this and let us know what your initial results are.

PS... dark prints can also be the result of a mismatch with printer ICC profiles and paper and/or how the printer is set up to use these - we sometimes see the term "double profiling" use in reference to this.


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