I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

Started May 16, 2018 | Discussions
HeyItsJoel
HeyItsJoel Senior Member • Posts: 1,206
I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

I'm sure it's accurate and everything but the display isn't very bright at all.

I went through the process and it instructed me to lower the brightness level to match the target level (according to what the puck measured) so I did.  I'm doing this at night so the only ambient light source is a desk lamp to the left of the screen.

I did this calibration so I can start printing images I took (sending it to a lab online).  But is the cost of printing images a lower brightness level that I have to live with?  Am I stuck with this dimness when I'm photoshopping stuff?  I guess if I brighten my screen a little I won't be getting an accurate representation of the final print product, right?

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ricky65 Junior Member • Posts: 44
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

I had the same issue....screen was very dull after calibration and no way could I work with that!   I increased the screen brightness, and to compensate, increased the photo brightness in Photoshop to about the same level.....did a test print, and it was pretty much spot on.     The screen brightness only affects how you see it.....not the brightness of the actual photo.....does that make sense?     like shining a torch on something...it looks very bright, but take the torchlight away, and its still the same.   adjust both at the same intensity and it should be ok......   it worked for me anyway!

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bmoag Senior Member • Posts: 2,900
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!
1

There is much misunderstanding of this issue particularly as it relates to laptops.

I have never calibrated my MacbookPro yet I find when I transfer raw files processed on it they are pretty accurate when opened on a highly calibrated two monitor desktop system. However by experience I know what even the MBP retina screen can not reveal about midtones and highlights that my desktop monitors convey--so I would rarely print directly from a laptop anyway if only because printer ink is expensive so you want to get it right the first time.

Most of us who print on our own calibrate desktop monitors to what seems dim because it facilitates print evaluation but it really is not necessary to dim monitors to the commonly recommended levels and less so if you do not do your own printing and send jpegs to be printed. Even though we know better we all tend to pull a fresh print from the printer and hold it up to the monitor--that never works in the print's favor and worse if the monitor is too bright.

This may seem like heresy but unless you are having consistent problems with the prints you are getting from wherever you get them you may not need to calibrate your laptop at all let alone to the usual dim levels favored by do it yourself printers. You can calibrate an external monitor more easily and accurately if you want to go that route and the larger screen facilitates complex image processing.

If you are having problems with the prints you are getting they can range from the way you convert a raw file to a jpeg to the fact that the printing service itself does a lousy job and everything in between. If your print service delivers a good print of an out of camera untouched jpeg then you might have a problem in your workflow for which calibration alone may not be the solution.

A contributor to these forums maintains digitaldog.net that has excellent explanatory videos about these admittedly complex topics.

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M Colyer Regular Member • Posts: 469
I used Spyder 3.
1

I calibrated my 27"5K iMac some time ago using a Spyder 3 gadget but had to reduce the daylight level in the room by half drawing the curtains. Even then I had to reduce the screen brightness as per the photo. Since then I have used the Mac calibrate by eye method - System Preferences > Displays > Colour

The Mac method seems to give very similar colours to the Spyder3 method to my eye. No doubt someone will say this is nonsense! Have sent images off for printing and am happy with the colours and overall brightness.

Used to do my own printing with an Epson printer but results were all over the place so gave up and outsource any printing now.

That is just my experience.

Zeee Forum Pro • Posts: 22,429
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!
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CameraCarl Veteran Member • Posts: 7,687
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!
1

Why not adjust the screen to a brightness level that pleases you, process a print and send it to your lab and see what the outcome is?  You can try a small print so the cost is minimal.  Maybe even try processing a second image using the Spyder pro recommended brightness level and sending it out for printing at the same time and see what the resulting difference is.

Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,257
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!
1

HeyItsJoel wrote:

I'm sure it's accurate and everything but the display isn't very bright at all.

I went through the process and it instructed me to lower the brightness level to match the target level (according to what the puck measured) so I did. I'm doing this at night so the only ambient light source is a desk lamp to the left of the screen.

I did this calibration so I can start printing images I took (sending it to a lab online). But is the cost of printing images a lower brightness level that I have to live with? Am I stuck with this dimness when I'm photoshopping stuff? I guess if I brighten my screen a little I won't be getting an accurate representation of the final print product, right?

What does brightness level did you set the calibration for? 
Also Datacolor Spyders have a dicey reputation. When they are good they are very good, but people do get bad ones. Xrite's i1 Display Pro colimeters are much more consistent unit  to unit in my experience.

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HeyItsJoel
OP HeyItsJoel Senior Member • Posts: 1,206
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!
1

Ellis Vener wrote:

HeyItsJoel wrote:

I'm sure it's accurate and everything but the display isn't very bright at all.

I went through the process and it instructed me to lower the brightness level to match the target level (according to what the puck measured) so I did. I'm doing this at night so the only ambient light source is a desk lamp to the left of the screen.

I did this calibration so I can start printing images I took (sending it to a lab online). But is the cost of printing images a lower brightness level that I have to live with? Am I stuck with this dimness when I'm photoshopping stuff? I guess if I brighten my screen a little I won't be getting an accurate representation of the final print product, right?

What does brightness level did you set the calibration for?

If you have an iMac, it's one bar to the left of midpoint.

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M Colyer Regular Member • Posts: 469
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

HeyItsJoel wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

HeyItsJoel wrote:

I'm sure it's accurate and everything but the display isn't very bright at all.

I went through the process and it instructed me to lower the brightness level to match the target level (according to what the puck measured) so I did. I'm doing this at night so the only ambient light source is a desk lamp to the left of the screen.

I did this calibration so I can start printing images I took (sending it to a lab online). But is the cost of printing images a lower brightness level that I have to live with? Am I stuck with this dimness when I'm photoshopping stuff? I guess if I brighten my screen a little I won't be getting an accurate representation of the final print product, right?

What does brightness level did you set the calibration for?

If you have an iMac, it's one bar to the left of midpoint.

With my screen brightness set at just left of midpoint, I find the room brightness doesn't make much difference to the final image. But usually the room is in "shadow" for RAW adjustment. For general Internet viewing this setting is also fine.

Adjusting RAW at a lower screen brightness level does not mean that it will print dark. It just means that you will probably get the shadow areas properly adjusted etc.

Running at lower screen brightness might also benefit the longevity of the screen display!

Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,257
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

HeyItsJoel wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

What does brightness level did you set the calibration for?

If you have an iMac, it's one bar to the left of midpoint.

Not what I mean.

What most people mean when they say they have "calibrated" their moniitor or display is actually a two step process: Calibration and Profiling.

In the Calibration step you first set the numbers you want to use for the display,  primarily the brightness (luminance) and gamma ( contrast curve). The Luminance setting is the brightness value I am asking about. For general internet use 120 cd/m(2) is standard but if you are printing the current thinking is 160 cd/m(2) is better.
Once you have told the software the settings you want to calibrate for, the colorimeter reads the patches and the software compares the digital values of the signals sent to the display/monitor for each patch to  how the video + display transforms those values into a color. 
Profiling, builds a matrix or  with some systems , a LUT (Look Up Table) set of calculations so that each patch either matches (which is the ideal) or comes as close as the  computer's hardware (video/graphics processor + display) allows.  The final difference for each patch is the delta (Difference) value. Ideally it is less than 1 and as close to zero as possible.

Ellis Vener
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RHWeber
RHWeber Contributing Member • Posts: 702
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

I calibrate my monitor to a brightness level that works with my printer, 90cdm. It make the screen a little dark for all my other other use of the computer. So... I use the brightness key on the key board and increase the brightness two clicks for general work and decrease it 2 clicks for photo processing when I plan to print the image.

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 15,257
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!
1

RHWeber wrote:

I calibrate my monitor to a brightness level that works with my printer, 90cdm. It make the screen a little dark for all my other other use of the computer. So... I use the brightness key on the key board and increase the brightness two clicks for general work and decrease it 2 clicks for photo processing when I plan to print the image.

Do you know that you can create different profiles for different purposes and switch between them as needed?

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RHWeber
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Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

Yes. My method is very easy and it works for me.

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 13,768
Color management and print matching
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HeyItsJoel wrote:

I'm sure it's accurate and everything but the display isn't very bright at all.

I went through the process and it instructed me to lower the brightness level to match the target level (according to what the puck measured) so I did. I'm doing this at night so the only ambient light source is a desk lamp to the left of the screen.

I did this calibration so I can start printing images I took (sending it to a lab online). But is the cost of printing images a lower brightness level that I have to live with? Am I stuck with this dimness when I'm photoshopping stuff? I guess if I brighten my screen a little I won't be getting an accurate representation of the final print product, right?

If you want a good preview of how a print will look, you need to calibrate your display to a brightness level roughly equal to the brightness of the light under which the print will be displayed. I find that 100-120cd/2 generally works well, as the light levels in most homes and galleries is not very high.

If your screen is too bright, you will tend to tone down the images, and then when you print them they will look dim and muddy unless you view them under really bright light.

One aspect of a color-managed workflow is controlling the ambient light in your editing environment. If you've got bright sunlight flooding into your workspace, your display calibrated to 100-120cd/m2 will look dim. That's why I have neutral-gray blackout blinds on my office windows and subdued high-CRI 5000K lighting in my office. I also painted my office walls neutral gray to prevent any nearby colors from throwing off my color judgement when I'm looking at my display. Needless to say, I don't wear white or brightly colored clothing when I'm processing images, as reflections on the screen can skew perception. These are all measures commonly used in professional prepress shops.

If you're just playing games or watching movies, a bright screen is nice. But, for print matching, not so much.

I'm not a color management pro, but I'm a professional photographer who sells prints, and this is all based on information I've gleaned from various sources over the years.

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PerTulip Senior Member • Posts: 1,445
Re: I just calibrated my iMac with the Spyder5Pro. This sucks!

RHWeber wrote:

I calibrate my monitor to a brightness level that works with my printer, 90cdm. It make the screen a little dark for all my other other use of the computer. So... I use the brightness key on the key board and increase the brightness two clicks for general work and decrease it 2 clicks for photo processing when I plan to print the image.

I automated the process of setting a precise level of brightness (exactly the same as calibrated/profiled) when opening LR, PS and other imaging tools. Posted it here: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4275485

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