Monitor Calibration

Started 1 month ago | Questions thread
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 21,041
Down and dirty brightness calibration

lambertj wrote:

If your prints are too dark then that is a clear sign your monitor brightness is too high.

I'm also assuming you are using the correct printer profile for the ink/paper/printer combo you are using.

I also use Datacolor's Spyder for screen calibration and profiling and it helps immensely in getting my prints to look how I want.

With the Spyder, and I would think with any reputable hardware screen calibration device, you will be given the option to set the target screen brightness you want to calibrate to. I set mine to 80 cd/m2.

I think of it like this. If my screen is way too bright then during editing I need to dial back the lightness of the image in my editor to get a nice looking image. But the printer has no idea what the settings were on the screen that was used to create the image so it will print the darker tones in the rgb values that resulted when you dialled back the image lightness during editing.

Setting and calibrating to a lower screen brightness should help a lot to fix your "My prints are too dark" issue.

I agree with all of this. Almost everyone sets their monitor brightness much too high. Years ago I worked out a "down and dirty" method of roughly calibrating a monitor to a more reasonable level:

In a dim room, open up a pure white target on the screen. I simply use a blank white "reply" area right here on DPreview. Your screen contrast will probably need to be cranked all the way up.

Set your camera to ISO 100, f/11, 1/4 sec. Focus your lens at infinity and gently press it against the white DPreview target on your screen. (I like to use an 85mm or 50mm just for ease of handling.) Turn your screen brightness down until the exposure matches. This will roughly be the correct brightness calibration.

Color is another aspect. I still use my trusty old Spyder 3 Express. I'm a photojournalist for newspapers, magazines, wire and PR and I've never had a single complaint about the calibration from any client.

Good luck!

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