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Archive 2013 · Need advice on calibrating contrast, brightness, gamma
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need advice on calibrating contrast, brightness, gamma

Hi there. I've been pp on my uncalibrated laptop for a while now, which have game me nothing but headaches. I'm temporarily using a Dell XPS One 27" All-In-One, which is a huge change, but again has it's different challenges. I was planning on purchasing a calibration tool like a colormunki, but wasn't planning on to until I get my permanent setup (Likely a Dell 2410 or 2412m IPS monitor).

I don't currently do my own printing, but have been entertaining the idea since I got a decent printer in a camera bundle I just purchased.

My main frustration currently has been the accuracy of my contrast/brightness/gamma on the XPS One. Now when I edit anything on the XPS One it looks fine on that monitor, but way more washed out, lower contrast, less saturated when I view it on my laptop. My ipad looks about midway or so. I know for sure my laptop is off, but not sure if the XPS One is a little too strong.

Anyway, do you guys have any tips on checking/adjusting contrast, brightness, gamma without a calibration sotware/hardware? or should I just purchase one now and hopefully it will be enough to fix it and I guess calibrate everything else in the process?

I have an entire wedding to process, but I just want to make sure the final product is pretty accurate before I begin.

Appreciate any help guys.I guess it's time to really take color management seriously if I want to take my photography more seriously as well.

Sep 03, 2013 at 07:31 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need advice on calibrating contrast, brightness, gamma

boingyman wrote:
I have an entire wedding to process, but I just want to make sure the final product is pretty accurate before I begin.

There's your answer.

I use a Spyder, works fine and for only a couple $$$, you're in business ... which btw is business.

Others will advocate for brand XYZ, which imo is fine, but the real issue is that you have no clue what you are looking at right now, and even if one is right, you still don't know which one it is.

RUN ... do not walk ... RUN and get calibrated.
(Why wait, where's the value in that ... you'll still be able to use it for future monitors as well.)
Do you want your reputation "wedding to process" put out there based on "not sure"

RUN ... NOW !!!

Now, ask me what I really think.

GL ... HTH

Sep 03, 2013 at 07:39 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Need advice on calibrating contrast, brightness, gamma


just get a calibrator now and save yourself huge hassles later.

Sep 03, 2013 at 08:01 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Need advice on calibrating contrast, brightness, gamma

Yeah that's the plan. Thanks guys.

Sep 03, 2013 at 10:36 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Need advice on calibrating contrast, brightness, gamma

Calibration and profiling is a hassle in itself but well worth the effort. There's a lot more to it than just getting a calibrator so your plan will need to be something like this...

1. get the calibrator
2. calibrate both the external monitor and the laptop.

This means decide on a suitable brightness level, a gamma of 2.2, a white point D65, native colour space. The brightness level will have an influence on how good the image looks on screen (probably needing about 120 Cd/m2 and lots of contrast) and also on how well it matches a print (probably needing about 90 Cd/m2 and lower contrast).

Record any settings that you decide on and any switch positions or control levels that you apply. This is what calibration is about - identifying and applying a repeatable physical state. Some of the settings cannot be applied until you are using the calibrator and its software, unless you get a very up-market monitor.

3. profile both the external monitor and the laptop - twice each just for good measure to possibly improve the accuracy of the profiles by giving the software more time to measure and assess the displayed colours. If the second one is different and looks better then you will know that it was necessary but you won't always have to do it twice - just the first time you use a different calibration.

4. Repeat 2 and 3 for different situations - e.g. you may want a low brightness low contrast set for editing with a view to making fine matte prints under specific lighting conditions, and another different set for general editing that sort of matches reality in which bright scenes really are bright but not quite to the extent that you need to wear sunglasses.

Be aware that the profiling software may not (probably won't) change the screen brightness without sacrificing a great many valid colour levels, and it will want you to adjust the monitor brightness physically. Clever monitors can be controlled directly by clever software but they cost a lot more. This means that you may never get a good representation of what a print will look like even when you do print preview profiling if you have a totally inappropriate screen setting. In such cases it pays to edit a separate copy of the image after making the necessary calibration and profile changes so the edit environment is then the print preview. However, everything else will look a bit drab.

5. make sure you understand the limitations of each screen - especially for the laptop. Non-IPS screens tend to vary in brightness as you vary the angle of view and that is especially evident when you are looking upwards to the top of the screen and downwards to the bottom of the screen and more so when you change the tilt of the screen. As well as general brightness changes you will find different colours and tones are affected differently. So the position of something on the screen will affect its appearance and that makes it hard to edit correctly and match with another screen. Colour gamut is another problem - some screen just cannot show you all of the colours and tones that you expect to see whether or not they are profiled and calibrated.

My Apple macbook 17"screen loses dark blues at the top but not at the bottom, due to the different angle of view. It loses details in bright red scenes/objects due to gamut restrictions (unless I reduce image brightness and pump up the screen brightness so far that I can't use the screen for other work or other scenes). I need an IPS mbp but they don't yet come in anti-glare.

You won't want to be making unreasonable changes to an image file just because your calibration and profile was inappropriate. To some extent you will edit by the numbers.

- Alan

Sep 07, 2013 at 10:57 AM

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