Calibrating computer monitors?

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hemp0matic Regular Member • Posts: 187
Calibrating computer monitors?

A couple of questions.

Why?  Are computer monitors that far off?  I have a Macbook Pro, and it sure looks correct to me. 
What do you calibrate it TOO?  And since your calibrating on your computer, how do you know when it's correct? 
Other than pros that require perfection for magazines like National Geographic editing using 5K monitors, who needs to have their monitor calibrated?

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I take pictures like I play guitar. I will never be mistaken for Ansel Adams or Eric Clapton.

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Ken Sky Regular Member • Posts: 330
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?
2

Do you print? If you do, you want to manage colour so that what you get in the print matches the colour on the monitor. Monitor calibration matches your monitor to a known target. Your eyes adapt too easily to colour shifts. But if your files stay in your computer or e-mail, no need.

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The Ryantist Contributing Member • Posts: 805
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?

hemp0matic wrote:

A couple of questions.

Why? Are computer monitors that far off? I have a Macbook Pro, and it sure looks correct to me.
What do you calibrate it TOO? And since your calibrating on your computer, how do you know when it's correct?
Other than pros that require perfection for magazines like National Geographic editing using 5K monitors, who needs to have their monitor calibrated?

I use an Xrite ColorMunki. They say when it's correct. It just gives me peace of mind since I tend to overanalyze things. After getting the calibrator, I don't notice a huge difference in the hues output by my monitor. But I do notice a huge difference (namely a reduction) in contrast and saturation. Most consumer monitors default to high contrast and vivid colors. You get used to that and then your prints come out flat looking. The calibration helps my prints come out a lot closer to what I see on the screen.

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Stflbn Veteran Member • Posts: 3,491
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?

The cheap, low-tech way...

Have a few of your photos professionally printed,   then adjust your laptop screen to match those prints.  That gets you close enough for most things.     The problem is that you'll probably think the laptop screen seems dark once adjusted and any change to lighter effects your editing going forward.

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JimKasson
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 21,198
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?
3

hemp0matic wrote:

A couple of questions.

Why? Are computer monitors that far off? I have a Macbook Pro, and it sure looks correct to me.

Welcome to color constancy .

What do you calibrate it [TO]?

I suggest D65. If you're a purist and print a lot, maybe D50.

If you mean what do you calibrate it with, I suggest a spectrophotometer.

And since your calibrating on your computer, how do you know when it's correct?

The software that comes with the spectro will usually tell you how close it was able to come.

Other than pros that require perfection for magazines like National Geographic editing using 5K monitors, who needs to have their monitor calibrated?

Anybody who prints and doesn't want to waste paper. Anybody who has two or more computer systems. Anybody who shares images with others.

I take pictures like I play guitar. I will never be mistaken for Ansel Adams or Eric Clapton.

The correlation between musical and photographic ability is well-known.

Jim

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Lightshow
Lightshow Veteran Member • Posts: 6,576
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?

hemp0matic wrote:

A couple of questions.

Why? Are computer monitors that far off? I have a Macbook Pro, and it sure looks correct to me.

That's the amazing thing about our brains, they can take wildly different performing monitors, and after using them for a while, you will see what seems normal looking images from them, but place them side by side, and it will be obvious they are very different, this alone is reason enough to calibrate them.

What do you calibrate it TOO? And since your calibrating on your computer, how do you know when it's correct?
Other than pros that require perfection for magazines like National Geographic editing using 5K monitors, who needs to have their monitor calibrated?

If you care at all about your pictures, and how others see them, then calibration removes any guesswork.

For example, if your monitor has a green tint, and you adjust skin tones to look normal, everyone else sees a very different result then you intended, or the lush green trees you seen are meh to everyone else.

I started editing on a laptop, and depending on the angle the screen was at, the brightness and tonal balance shifted, it was impossible to edit consistently, it drove me nuts, so when I moved to a desktop system, I found it much more consistent, but I knew enough about how far off TV's can be, so for some piece of mind, I decided to invest in a calibration tool, an i1 Display, the picture looked flat and lifeless for about 10 minutes after I calibrated it, this is because the colours were so far off, but within a day everything looked just as vivid as before, I could now see that the relationships between colours were much more natural and lifelike, I'll never go without calibrating again.

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I take pictures like I play guitar. I will never be mistaken for Ansel Adams or Eric Clapton.

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A Manual Focus Junky...
One photographers junk lens is an artists favorite tool.
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####Where's my FF NEX-7 ?????
Firmware request:
-A button map for toggling the EVF & LCD
-Still waiting for the minimum shutter speed with auto ISO for my NEX-7 and A7r. I know it will never happen.
-Customize the display screen layout, I'd love to have both Histogram and level at the same time.
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Lightshow
Lightshow Veteran Member • Posts: 6,576
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?
1

Stflbn wrote:

The cheap, low-tech way...

Have a few of your photos professionally printed, then adjust your laptop screen to match those prints. That gets you close enough for most things. The problem is that you'll probably think the laptop screen seems dark once adjusted and any change to lighter effects your editing going forward.

Or even cheaper and much more accurate:

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

Some Info: https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/monitor-calibration.htm

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A Manual Focus Junky...
One photographers junk lens is an artists favorite tool.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightshow-photography/
####Where's my FF NEX-7 ?????
Firmware request:
-A button map for toggling the EVF & LCD
-Still waiting for the minimum shutter speed with auto ISO for my NEX-7 and A7r. I know it will never happen.
-Customize the display screen layout, I'd love to have both Histogram and level at the same time.
-More peaking options.
-An RGB overlay on the histogram https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/602/20236258313_c604dd9522_n.jpg
-An option to return the focus assist zoom to one button press
-An option to return to how the NEX-7 handled playback, ie. center button to zoom, then you could use the control dial to zoom in and out, then center button to exit the zoom mode.

 Lightshow's gear list:Lightshow's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony a7R Leica Elmarit-M 24mm f/2.8 ASPH Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH Voigtlander 15mm F4.5 Super Wide Heliar +20 more
lattesweden
lattesweden Senior Member • Posts: 2,183
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?

The Ryantist wrote:

I use an Xrite ColorMunki.

I have one too. On my old Dell I3 machine running Windows 10, but being from the days when Windows Vista was around (the sticker on it says Vista) the ColorMunki did fix the screen and it looks much better with calibration.

I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to a new machine with 4K monitor and there it just went crazy and made a profile that looked like the colors where totally broken.

I am using the latest Xrite software so it must be something else that doesn't work correctly. I haven't had the energy to email Xrite yet and ask about it. But I will.

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/Anders
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OP hemp0matic Regular Member • Posts: 187
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?

THANK you for the responses.  Just for the heck of it, I calibrated my laptop using the Mac calibration in my settings.  I know, probably not ideal, but I was curious.  The results are not what I expected. The change wasn't what I'd call dramatic, but was somewhat obvious.  Mostly, the whites are brighter and there is less contrast.  The actual colors seem to be pretty much the same, greens blues, yellows, reds, but possibly ever so slightly less vibrant.  No idea which is correct, but I assume unless I by a remote device that actually reads color differences, I'll never know. 
I don't do any printing, so that isn't really an issue.  The pictures I take I share with friends or family, none of whom are particularly critical.  
Thanks again for the always well thought out and articulate responses.  Who knows what will happen as my skills progress and I become more critical of my pictures.

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Ron Poelman
Ron Poelman Veteran Member • Posts: 6,736
That's depressing.

JimKasson wrote:

The correlation between musical and photographic ability is well-known.

Jim

I even get thrown out of Karaoke bars,
doesn't give the piccies much of a future.  

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Ron.
Volunteer, what could possibly go wrong ?

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aknyc Regular Member • Posts: 278
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?

hemp0matic wrote:

A couple of questions.

Why? Are computer monitors that far off? I have a Macbook Pro, and it sure looks correct to me.
What do you calibrate it TOO? And since your calibrating on your computer, how do you know when it's correct?
Other than pros that require perfection for magazines like National Geographic editing using 5K monitors, who needs to have their monitor calibrated?

For a professional it is important to deliver images that are correct in brightness and color.

Most screens are to bright for print, the result is the images come out darker on paper.

If the Monitor displays colors shifted to magenta, all you correction will shift to green to neutralize the cast, when you view on other screen they may look to green.

Apple calibration are not bad, but they are only 90% to what they can be.

Since you are not playing guitar like Eric, I would not worry to much. Only other photographers will have the calibrated screen, so most other people will see funky colors anyway.

The Calibration Software will create an ICC profile that the monitor in combination with photo editing software will use to display your colors.

Photoshop will use your ICC profile to edit your photos.

The monitor will change over time, so more calibrations are need it.

You can try just going to system preferences on your mac and flip true the different profiles, and you will see how drastic the change can be

If you decide to step up to a calibrated screen I recommend this, since it can be used in photo, video and other monitors

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/798930-REG/X_Rite_EODIS3_i1Display_Pro.html

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Magnar W
Magnar W Senior Member • Posts: 3,404
Calibrate - just do it!
1

hemp0matic wrote:

Why? Are computer monitors that far off? I have a Macbook Pro, and it sure looks correct to me.

Your monitor might look great, but it can be off compared to a calibrated monitor. You simply don't know before you have done a calibration.

What do you calibrate it TOO? And since your calibrating on your computer, how do you know when it's correct?

You simply make the monitor neutral (D65 and gamma 2.2 is widely used), so that pictures look the same on any calibrated monitor. If yopu are going to print your pictures, the prints should look pretty much the same as you see tone and color on your calibrated monitor.

What is a calibrated or neutral monitor:

  • Neutral grey is neutral, not warm (yelowish) or cold (bluish)
  • No magenta or green tint
  • Middle grey is not too bright or too dark
  • Correct white point, so that you can separate white from almost white
  • Correct black point, so that you can separate black from almost black

Other than pros that require perfection for magazines like National Geographic editing using 5K monitors, who needs to have their monitor calibrated?

Calibration is the simplest way to ensure that your pictures look like you intend when others with calibrated monitors are viewing them. You never know how the pictures will look like for those who do not calibrate their monitors but everything is OK at your end! Thta's why you should calibrate your monitir when dealing with pictures.

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a7sastro Regular Member • Posts: 473
Re: Calibrating computer monitors?

hemp0matic wrote:

A couple of questions.

Why? Are computer monitors that far off? I have a Macbook Pro, and it sure looks correct to me.
What do you calibrate it TOO? And since your calibrating on your computer, how do you know when it's correct?
Other than pros that require perfection for magazines like National Geographic editing using 5K monitors, who needs to have their monitor calibrated?

FWIW,

Color is a complex issue.

consider:

  • Part is the settings of the camera.
  • Part is the software environment and container of an image. (google adobeRGB v sRGB).
  • Part is the accuracy of the hardware/wires,etc....
  • Part is the display/monitor.
  • Part is the lighting of your environment.
  • Part is the subject of the image.
  • Part is the eyes of the viewer (kids can see more color than older folks).

When you play guitar, how important is having every string in tune?

Professional colorists (for video as video is a bunch of images and having images look different from shot to shot is very noticeable in video) edit in a studio where the ambient light is carefully controlled, among all other efforts (calibration, etc).....Hollywood movies usually have different people and even different firms helping to edit various parts of a film. Having a standard of look is critical. Just like having everyone in tune in an orchestra.

Again, maybe for you, it may not seem critical. Of course different display have different ranges of performance, so your Kmart brand guitar might not sound as nice (even if tuned) than a good brand.

It would be interesting to construct a series of test images [to just demonstrate usefulness of having good colors] with text that would be only seen if certain parts of the monitor were calibrated well (such is probably somewhat the process you did in the settings).

*also important to note is some Apple products have a default software setting that adjust depending on time of day, etc. changes display settings. I've seen complaints that it isn't well implemented. Some might want to be alert on this issue.

Also I've seen people that didn't think they cared about color much, but did spend a bit of time editing their photos. After their display died and they purchased another, they noticed the time spent on images to make the colors look nice on the old one might not have been the best in consideration of what their new display showed.

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