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Archive 2013 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?
  
 
leighton w
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


I know monitor calibration is necessary if you do your own printing. But is it necessary if all you ever do is post images on line? Are others seeing faulty colors on their computers because your monitor isn't calibrated?


May 05, 2013 at 09:51 AM
howardm4
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


of course they are. if you're busy adjusting image colors to a 'false' standard (ie. whatever your monitor is set to), you're going to be mis-adjusting it. That said, viewing on-screen can be messy due to the way various browsers handle color management etc. Always best off saving your final image to sRGB and embedding the profile in the image.


May 05, 2013 at 10:46 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


Calibration gives consistency. It ensures that your image looks the same everywhere it is viewed. So if both you and i have properly calibrated screens, it means that when i view your image i am seeing it exactly how you want it to be seen, subject to variations in lighting at our respective residences. Also, if you have a dual screen setup it means that both screens look the same. Same if you have two computers (i.e. desktop and laptop). Calibration can also get rid of annoying colour casts for general viewing purposes. The Dell screens that are ubiquitous at my work tend to have a blue cast that bugs me. Calibration fixes this.

If you don't really care about these things, then calibration probably isn't necessary.



May 05, 2013 at 11:09 AM
leighton w
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


Thanks guys, this has been helpful.


May 05, 2013 at 11:53 AM
CoreyM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


I would think if you are posting pictures online for others to view then you would not need to calibrate the monitor. The statement about consistency will only apply if the person viewing the pictures have a calibrated monitor. So if your posting online to a photo forum then yes calibrate. If you are posting on Facebook, or a online photo sharing site that is not going to be viewed by persons with a calibrated monitor then it will not make a difference. Even if you calibrate your monitor, if the other person does not what difference will it make. they are still not going to see the image as you intended.


May 06, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Alan321
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


Corey, you should allow for the possibility that your viewers may have calibrated and profiled their monitors and that they are using a colour managed browser (e.g. Firefox or Safari). It costs you no extra and may be appreciated by the viewers. If there are viewers who don't care then that's up to them but that's not an excuse to punish those who do care.

- Alan



May 06, 2013 at 03:36 AM
kezeka
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


Think about it this way - you have invested many thousands of hard earned dollars in gear, plentiful amounts of time into taking the photo, and years of expertise in editing it - why throw it all away at the last step to save $200 on a colorimeter for your monitor? If nothing else, I can rest easy knowing that should someone decide to purchase and print one of my photos that was not for a paid event, then they can order it knowing that the print will look good (even if it doesn't on their monitor).

To each their own, but I think it is worth putting money into making sure you get the best results in the end - particularly since the overall cost of a colorimeter isn't much and it'll last you for years to come.



May 06, 2013 at 03:44 AM
dgdg
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


You should try to get your image close to correct with colors and brightness. Otherwise they could be even worse on an uncalibrated monitor. I think kezeka says it well.


May 06, 2013 at 01:44 PM
jforkner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


This is a question that has puzzled me for some time. It seems to me the objective is to display an image as the photographer sees it, be it as a print or on a screen. To that end, as long as the printed output looks like what is seen on the screen, what does it matter if the monitor is calibrated? If I adjust an image to my liking on an uncalibrated monitor and my print matches the screen image, isnít that what counts?

Similarly, if I post the same image on the Internet, what assurances do I have that a person viewing it has their monitor calibrated (or not) the same as mine. I donít. I understand that if I calibrate my monitor to a given standard and your monitor is calibrated to the same standard, the image should look the same. But given the variables like different monitors, different room lighting, different calibration tools, different browsers, I donít see how I can assure standardization.

While I would agree that calibration is a step toward standardization, I donít see it as a guarantee. As I stated above, it seems like getting printed output to look like the on-screen image is more important than simply calibrating a monitor. If calibrating the monitor leads to that, fine. But if the monitor is calibrated and the print doesnít match, what have you achieved?

In the past, Iíve had a calibrated monitor (used a colorimeter & everything), sent images to several reputable print labs, and ended up with prints that varied from the screen image. They were close, but not exact. And in fairness, they were probably closer that had I not calibrated. But they didnít match. In that scenario, my choices were to set my monitor to match the output so next time the two looked the same. Or try to find a lab whose output matched my monitor.

And sorry, but I donít get some of the above arguments for calibrating. For instance:

ďIt ensures that your image looks the same everywhere it is viewed.Ē How can this be? Since everyone does not have a calibrated monitor; and for those that do, how do ensure they have it calibrated the same as you? And assuming every browser handles color differently, how do you ensure everyone uses the same browser?

ď...I can rest easy knowing that should someone decide to purchase and print one of my photos that was not for a paid event, then they can order it knowing that the print will look good (even if it doesn't on their monitor).Ē I donít understand this statement, though perhaps Iím misinterpreting it. If I decide to purchase a photo based on what I see on my monitor, I want the print to look like the image I saw, not what someone else (even the photographer) thinks it should look like.

What am I missing here?


Jack



May 06, 2013 at 02:55 PM
howardm4
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


they are NEVER going to match 100%. Different technologies ala reflective vs. transmissive and other things conspire to make that so. But you can get VERY close.


May 06, 2013 at 03:24 PM
 

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rffffffff
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


The idea is to have things match as much as possible. When you calibrate your monitor (correctly, and have good results) the colors shown in the image on screen are close to 'correct.'

When you print, however, there is no guarantee that the printer can reproduce the colors you have on screen, they might be out of gamut, and the printer might be not calibrated perfectly...

In order to match prints to the screen, then, you need to download printer profiles from the lab, and then soft proof in photoshop, basically looking at the image through the profile of the printers capability and accuracy.

Assuming that the printer has less gamut than your monitor, you should see an accurate representation of what the printer will print.

Then, once you get print home, it should match the screen when viewed through the printer profile..

however... big however... take that print outside and look at the color, then look at it under incandescent light. Or look at it in a room painted red. It won't match under varied conditions... so then you need a device that has a calibrated (usually 6500k) light to view the pictures under... if you place that little booth next to the calibrated monitor and view the picture through the printer profile and you haven't exceeded monitor gamut anywhere, it should be really, really close. Nirvana.

And then you give that print to a client and they hang it in a blue room and it looks all screwed up.

That's a brief rundown of my experience trying to match prints to the monitor. I can get them really close when viewed under calibrated light, but it doesn't matter much.

All of that being said, I still view calibrating a monitor as a must because I can't get ANYWHERE near as close manually tweaking things. To me, an uncalibrated monitor, even tweaked like crazy, is too far outside of the norm to be useful. That's the point in the post that I really wanted to quote... 'As long as the printed output [matches]...' is really hard to achieve without calibration depending on your color eye and how nuts you are.

Calibration is mandatory when you are shooting commercial stuff, dealing with color crazy artists and art directors, photographing paintings and things that need to be accurate in color... for amateurs showing pics on the web it's less important, but you need to be close enough so that you can see when whites are pure white or blacks still have detail, which is hard, but not impossible without calibration. As with anything, it's a value judgement... as a hobby, can you commit the resources to buy a good screen and a puck or is it not worth it to you? As a professional, I think I owe it to my clients to have accurate color for what I shoot, but that's the way I judge my business needs, and other people might be different.

For people that are not getting paid to shoot, close enough may be just fine...









jforkner wrote:
This is a question that has puzzled me for some time. It seems to me the objective is to display an image as the photographer sees it, be it as a print or on a screen. To that end, as long as the printed output looks like what is seen on the screen, what does it matter if the monitor is calibrated? If I adjust an image to my liking on an uncalibrated monitor and my print matches the screen image, isnít that what counts?

Similarly, if I post the same image on the Internet, what assurances do I have that
...Show more



May 06, 2013 at 03:33 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


jforkner wrote:
This is a question that has puzzled me for some time. It seems to me the objective is to display an image as the photographer sees it, be it as a print or on a screen. To that end, as long as the printed output looks like what is seen on the screen, what does it matter if the monitor is calibrated? If I adjust an image to my liking on an uncalibrated monitor and my print matches the screen image, isnít that what counts?


Calibrating your monitor is just one step in the color management process, and IMO the most critical one. Setting your monitor to a measurable standard ensures that the image you see on the screen is consistent with the data present in the image, that the changes you make to the image are rendered as accurately as possible on the screen, and that the image when viewed on other displays and print media (that have been calibrated and profiled) accurately reproduces the intent of its creator. Without color management the process becomes one of guesswork, as what you see with your eyes on your monitor may be widely different from the actual data present in the image, with resulting inconsistencies when you try to share the image with others electronically or via printed media.

Similarly, if I post the same image on the Internet, what assurances do I have that a person viewing it has their monitor calibrated (or not) the same as mine. I donít. I understand that if I calibrate my monitor to a given standard and your monitor is calibrated to the same standard, the image should look the same. But given the variables like different monitors, different room lighting, different calibration tools, different browsers, I donít see how I can assure standardization.

You cannot control what others do, you can only do the best job you can to assure yourself that your work meets the standards you set for yourself.

While I would agree that calibration is a step toward standardization, I donít see it as a guarantee.

The process of color management cannot be perfect because of the variations you just mentioned. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do the best we can to get close to the standard, especially when the most significant part of the process (the monitor calibration) can be achieved with the expenditure of about $200 and 15 mins of your time each month. Just because we can't be perfect doesn't mean we shouldn't care about being as good as we can be, in my opinion. Your priorities may be different.


As I stated above, it seems like getting printed output to look like the on-screen image is more important than simply calibrating a monitor. If calibrating the monitor leads to that, fine. But if the monitor is calibrated and the print doesnít match, what have you achieved?

Even with a fully color managed workflow the print will never exactly match what you see on your monitor because
(a) the color gamut of the 2 devices, the monitor and the printer, may be significantly different, and the printer may not be able to faithfully reproduce all colors that are viewable on your monitor, and
(b) small variabilities in the measurement (calibration) process mean that your monitor and the printer cannot be profiled to a state of perfection.
(c) your monitor may not replicate the lighting conditions under the product (print) will be viewed.

However, with a color managed workflow using a caibrated and profiled monitor and printer, the variations will be predictable and consistent, and will take a majority of the guess work out of the process.

And sorry, but I donít get some of the above arguments for calibrating. For instance:

ďIt ensures that your image looks the same everywhere it is viewed.Ē How can this be? Since everyone does not have a calibrated monitor; and for those that do, how do ensure they have it calibrated the same as you? And assuming every browser handles color differently, how do you ensure everyone uses the same browser?


Most people who are serious about photography use a color managed process and use browsers like Firefox that are color managed. Again, you can't control what other people do, only what you can do.

What am I missing here?

If you don't use a calibrated and profiled monitor then you can't trust what you see with your eyes. That is the bottom line.




May 06, 2013 at 05:42 PM
jforkner
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


Thanks all who've tried to set me straight. At the risk of appearing stubborn or pig-headed, I'm still not convinced. My goal is to see on my monitor, calibrated or not, what I saw when I snapped the shot. My next goal is to produce an output that matches what I end up following any post-processing I do. I'm just not convinced calibrating a monitor guarantees either of those.

I guess I'll have to agree to disagree. Nevertheless, thanks.


Jack





May 06, 2013 at 08:43 PM
rffffffff
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


No disagreement! Calibrating a monitor doesn't guarantee squat, but if you are really interested in matching prints to the monitor in general nothing else will get you close without massive amounts of effort.

If you aren't going to look at the prints in a calibrated light, or in daylight at the very least, you are fighting a losing battle anyway, and might as well just go with whatever you like best.

jforkner wrote:
Thanks all who've tried to set me straight. At the risk of appearing stubborn or pig-headed, I'm still not convinced. My goal is to see on my monitor, calibrated or not, what I saw when I snapped the shot. My next goal is to produce an output that matches what I end up following any post-processing I do. I'm just not convinced calibrating a monitor guarantees either of those.

I guess I'll have to agree to disagree. Nevertheless, thanks.

Jack





May 06, 2013 at 09:02 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


leighton w wrote:
I know monitor calibration is necessary if you do your own printing. But is it necessary if all you ever do is post images on line? Are others seeing faulty colors on their computers because your monitor isn't calibrated?


Probably and even worse when you upgrade to a new monitor someday then likely so will you too.



May 06, 2013 at 09:59 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


CoreyM wrote:
I would think if you are posting pictures online for others to view then you would not need to calibrate the monitor. The statement about consistency will only apply if the person viewing the pictures have a calibrated monitor. So if your posting online to a photo forum then yes calibrate. If you are posting on Facebook, or a online photo sharing site that is not going to be viewed by persons with a calibrated monitor then it will not make a difference. Even if you calibrate your monitor, if the other person does not what difference will it make.
...Show more

It could because what if his monitor is wayyyyyy over this way and the average uncalibrated monitor is more off the other way. Then stuff he posts will look particularly far off for most people (including likely for himself as soon as he needs to get a new screen).



May 06, 2013 at 10:00 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


jforkner wrote:
Thanks all who've tried to set me straight. At the risk of appearing stubborn or pig-headed, I'm still not convinced. My goal is to see on my monitor, calibrated or not, what I saw when I snapped the shot. My next goal is to produce an output that matches what I end up following any post-processing I do. I'm just not convinced calibrating a monitor guarantees either of those.

I guess I'll have to agree to disagree. Nevertheless, thanks.

Jack



You might when you buy a new printer and a new monitor in a few years and everything you go to print or view looks a mess and you needs to spend untold hours re-processing every single photo....

And it certainly makes it hard to receive any criticism and suggestions on post processing or shooting when you toss up stuff that might look weird to everyone.

Calibration certainly makes it vastly easier to be able to get prints to match your screen too.



May 06, 2013 at 10:03 PM
jforkner
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


rffffffff wrote:
...but if you are really interested in matching prints to the monitor in general nothing else will get you close without massive amounts of effort.


skibum5 wrote:
Calibration certainly makes it vastly easier to be able to get prints to match your screen too.


Okay, now you have my attention. Would you please explain how calibrating my monitor will aid me in getting my printed output to match my screen. FWIW, I have an iMac and an HP Photosmart 3210 printer. Also, which $200 calibration tool do you recommend?


Jack



May 07, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


In order for color management to work, you need a source profile and a destination profile. For monitors, that profile, the monitor profile describes to Photoshop and any other application that can use it, the exact state of THAT monitor. Photoshop then uses that monitor profile in conjunction with your working space profile to display correctly. For screen viewing, your working color space, i.e. sRGB, Adobe RGB etc. is the source and your monitor profile is the destination.

When you're going to print, you need a profile for the printer/paper/ink combo your are using. When you print, your working space is the source and your printer profile is the destination (with a side trip through the monitor profile so you can see accurately on screen).

The accuracy of the monitor calibration and how well that subsequent monitor profile describes YOUR monitor will determine half of the color management equation. The other half - the printer profile determines how well the printer prints. When you've done everything at a high level of accuracy and you're using good profiles, the match between what you see on screen and in print can be almost uncanny. Let's not talk about print viewing quite yet. Too much too soon.

The best monitor calibrator for the money is hands down the X-Rite Display Pro for around $200, more or less. There are others in the same price range, but this is the best one out there shy of the $1300 Discus, which you don't need.

Most desktop printers come with built in profiles for the manufacturers most popular papers, but those profiles are often only mediocre in quality and custom profiles are what you really need if you expect to have something close to WSIWYG.

This is a big deep topic that some of us have spent close to twenty years dealing with. My advice is to take on step at a time. Start with the X-Rite and get your screen in order. Then slowly move on to printer issues.

I started using output profiles in 1993 or early '94 and was using hardware monitor calibration in '95 with my first Radius PressView. We've come a long way since then, but the principles are not changed. Start out with a great screen calibration. Learn to use what you see on that screen backed up by what the Info Palette numbers in Ps read, and after a few (or a few hundred) prints, it will all fall into place and you'll discover that with three simple chords you can play a thousand songs.



May 07, 2013 at 01:50 AM
skibum5
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Monitor Calibration...necessary?


jforkner wrote:
Okay, now you have my attention. Would you please explain how calibrating my monitor will aid me in getting my printed output to match my screen. FWIW, I have an iMac and an HP Photosmart 3210 printer. Also, which $200 calibration tool do you recommend?

Jack



It makes it easier because it is hard to know what the print will do unless you use a printer/paper profile.

Now you could mess around for a long time and get it to decently but it can be a real pain and it probably still won't be quite right. And each time you get a new printer and a new monitor (or even just use a different type of printer paper) you would have to go through the whole mess all over again. (EDIT: I believe there are some printers that come with a pre-calibrated sRGB and occasionally even AdobeRGB input setting, if you had that, it's not perfect, but it might work reasonably well for a few papers that it supports without doing that whole mess).

So let us assume you use a printer paper/profile. It will now, to a reasonable extent (some profiles are higher quality than others and printer profiles are a tricky thing to create, printers have weird color gamuts and multiple primaries) put out something pretty close to whatever shades get input to it as the same defined shade.

But if your monitor is not profiled then say you have some sky that you want to look light blue well maybe the color triplet that stands for say light purple blue in an ProPhotoRGB file is what looks like light blue on your monitor so now you go and print it and it comes out light purple blue instead of light blue, or whatever the case may be. ANd maybe you monitor is set at something vaguely like gamma 1.8 and the programs assume it is sRGB TRC or gamma 2.2 and then what looks good on yoru monitor would print out with the shadow detail crushed.

You'd have to mess with the printer profile to match to what you see on your screen and each new screen adn printer you buy you'd have to spend hours fiddling to get something close.

With printer and monitor profiled, boom you are ready to go with any printer/paper combo you have a profile for and for any monitor your get. And you edit stuff once and it looks as much the same as it can on anything in the future without needing to be reworked or printer settings messed with.

The i1Display Pro 3 is a very good probe without going into crazy $$$. I haven't used their software too much though so I don't know how good or bad the software that comes with it is at this point. I had coloreyes and my nec has it's own software to internally calibrate with it.

http://www.amazon.com/X-Rite-EODIS3-i1Display-Pro/dp/B0055MBQOW



May 07, 2013 at 05:31 AM
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