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To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration que...
  
 
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #1 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Hello,

I am aware of the shortcomings of my 30" Apple Cinema Display. It has non-uniformities across the screen in both colour and brightness. When I work on an image on the left side of the screen and drag it to the right side the color changes are very obvious.

Still - as a part time pro photographer - I have to make choices when acquiring gear. This year, a decent studio lighting setup (all Elinchrom) and a high quality printer (Epson 3880) have my priorities. There is no budget at this time for another display. In 2014 I wish to get a 5DmkIII or 1DmkIV so the earliest time to get a new display will be 2015 or 2016.

Because I do know that my 30" Apple Cinema Display is too warm no matter which quadrant I work on, I need to calibrate it in order to get consistent prints from my 3880, which I will use for selling my studio prints. Setting up my PP software to always work on the same area on my screen will do for now.

My question:
Some internet sources mention that the 30" Apple Cinema Display in particular is hard to calibrate. I am looking for photographers who own (or have owned) this display and who are willing to share how you managed colour accuracy. Did you use colorimeters and what results did you have?

Main question really: did you manage to turn this monitor into a usable working device?

If so, a colorimeter will do the trick. After browsing many articles, my choice is a i1Display Pro. I would appreciate any feedback on this combination.

Thanks!

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 04, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Sal Baker
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p.1 #2 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


I have the aluminum 30" inch Cinema Display if that's what you're asking about. Mine has exceptionally flat tonal and color uniformity across the screen. Maybe yours was a bad batch?

I use a Colormunki Photo to calibrate the display and it works very well. I am able to get brightness down to 80 and color now matches my 3880 output.

I was also surprised to see that the ICC profiles I made for various Epson and Canson papers were better than the factory profiles that are already very good. The Colormunki profiles gave a good size extension to darker tones towards black and particularly magentas and blues in the gamut.

The display profiling procedure directs you to place the puck in the center of the screen. In your case it might be better to place the puck over the area of most consistency on your screen and use that area for later color evaluation.

Sal



Sep 04, 2013 at 03:39 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #3 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Hi Sal,
That is great news. And yes it's the aluminium 30" ACD that I have. Hearing that your sample responds well to the Colormunki is quite reassuring and I will now order the i1 Display Pro with confidence.

For my Epson 3880 the canned profiles are quite satisfactory, so I'll only need a colorimeter for the display, not a print calibration solution.

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 04, 2013 at 04:16 PM
taran
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p.1 #4 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


The problem with the Apple 30 is the matte front will yellow unevenly over time. Meaning that calibration will get confused, no matter what.

Having experienced this first hand, I can say that I wanted to keep that display forever, but the plastics/lamination simply failed.

If you happen to acquire a good one cheaply and it performs within you expectations and has fairly uniform color, I say go for it.

I like my apple 27" more.

Also, it should be noted Apple will be introducing 4k displays (and probably curved glass) with Mac Pro n the fall, so you might want to hold off a little if you want the absolute best.



Sep 05, 2013 at 06:31 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #5 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Hi Taran,
I must have been unclear in my posts. I have owned this particular monitor (30" Apple Cinema Display) for six years now. This topic is not on deciding on buying the monitor or not, it's about deciding whether or not to buy a calibration tool to work with this monitor.

Because if it were pointless to calibrate this monitor then I would probably stretch for a NEC PA 27" or a medium class Eizo which may come bundled with a calibration tool so I would wind up with two of those tools.

Based on the responses above I decided to order the i1 Display Pro.

Thanks!

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 05, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Sal Baker
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p.1 #6 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


taran wrote:
The problem with the Apple 30 is the matte front will yellow unevenly over time. Meaning that calibration will get confused, no matter what.

Having experienced this first hand, I can say that I wanted to keep that display forever, but the plastics/lamination simply failed.

If you happen to acquire a good one cheaply and it performs within you expectations and has fairly uniform color, I say go for it.

I like my apple 27" more.

Also, it should be noted Apple will be introducing 4k displays (and probably curved glass) with Mac Pro n the fall, so you might want to hold
...Show more
How old was your display when that happened? Mine is 5 years old and I see no problems, and the display calibrates properly.

Sal




Sep 06, 2013 at 02:52 AM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #7 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


My display shows a similar pattern. However, it is not bad enough for me to get another display, at least not yet.

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 06, 2013 at 09:07 AM
John_T
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p.1 #8 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


My Eizos are guaranteed for 5 years and just replaced my last pair after six. Not so much that the old ones were bad, but that the new ones are so good with all the advances in technology 'n such.

That said, I think generally 5-6 years is the expected life of a monitor where you begin to run into things as you have, and you finally can't get them in line with calibration anymore. The time is counted in the hours the monitor has been actually on, not so much the calendar time, so in that sense, not all five year old monitors have been used the same, so will be at different stages of decay by the end of five years. Sounds like the back light is going in yours.

I think you are doing the best thing in the circumstances, and having used the 1Display Pro for some years, I think you are making the right choice. What I would do when you get it is to run a bunch of calibrations to get the hang of what is going on with your monitor and what will work best for you.



Sep 06, 2013 at 11:29 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #9 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Hi John,
Thank you for your message. I hope calibration will still work satisfactorily because otherwise I'll wind up with both an unusable monitor and a superfluous calibration tool. I'll probably take delivery today so by tomorrow we'll know more.

As for what is happening with the screen it can be either the backlight or the matte front lamination failure like taran suggested. I would guess it's the latter as with my sample there is a yellow color shift as well in some areas of the screen. If the backlight were failing I would not expect colour shifts. But then I am not a monitor technician by far.

My monitor does not see intense use. It certainly is not used daily. My best guess is that it runs for 10 - 15 hours a week. This is because I try to keep my PP work to a minimum - I like to focus on shooting as in my opinion it's most of the fun.

I'll be reporting back as soon as I have my first calibration results.

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 07, 2013 at 06:51 AM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #10 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Hi John,
Thank you for your message. I hope calibration will still work satisfactorily because otherwise I'll wind up with both an unusable monitor and a superfluous calibration tool. I'll probably take delivery today so by tomorrow we'll know more.

As for what is happening with the screen it can be either the backlight or the matte front lamination failure like taran suggested. I would guess it's the latter as with my sample there is a yellow color shift as well in some areas of the screen. If the backlight were failing I would not expect colour shifts. But then I am not a monitor technician by far.

My monitor does not see intense use. It certainly is not used daily. My best guess is that it runs for 10 - 15 hours a week. This is because I try to keep my PP work to a minimum - I like to focus on shooting as in my opinion it's most of the fun.

I'll be reporting back as soon as I have my first calibration results.

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 07, 2013 at 06:51 AM
 

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OntheRez
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p.1 #11 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


I've been running a 30" Cinema display for least 6 years (intensively) and have not observed the color irregularities note by some here. I've also been printing to an Epson 3880 for at least 3 (maybe 4?) years. I've done a bit of work with color profiles on the printer side and would say in general there is a good match between screen and print (though this hasn't been scientifically validated). While color representation has generally been good, I do sometimes encounter a print darker than the screen output. Not exactly sure why though it does seem to correlate to the high dynamic range of the original image. I haven't purchased any sort of calibration tool so can't comment on what might help. In general I haven't seen the value in such tools.

Now to make it clear, I'm not printing with archival inks on extraordinary papers that run upwards from $10 a sheet. It's possible that I'm not "color attuned" enough to see what bothers others. Don't have an answer there. I can say that I've never had a customer complaint about the quality of prints.

Having said all that and as much as I love my 30" aluminum Cinema Display, I do know that everything wears out. I'm am wondering what to replace this with probably in the next year or two.

Robert



Sep 08, 2013 at 04:34 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #12 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Hi Robert,

Thank you for your report! I feel that my color inconsistencies are not severe and therefore aren't a huge problem, as long as the overall colour itself is close to neutral.

If I would feel the inconsistencies were unacceptable I would have bought another screen for sure. However, I am very much bothered by the warmth of the colour setting. If - for instance - I work on an image until I like it and then export the image and view it on another monitor (like my Macbook), it's usually quite cold. So I must have a color calibration for this monitor or I will mess up my prints for sure. All I did so far was use the Apple built-in color check procedure, but it's not good enough.

As you say you are interested in a new monitor: I have been looking around, so I'll just say what I found in the topics from the 30" Apple Alu Cinema Display pov:

I found that if I'd want a good 30" LCD I'm with Eizo in the 3000+ figures (but is very very good). 27" has more economic suggestions like NEC PA series or two different qualities in Eizo. Between 1200 and 2200. Of course I haven't tried all of these so you may need to do your own research on that.

Interestingly enough, lots and lots of photographers tend to use a dual 24" setup. There might be all sorts of advantages, like having all of the controls/sliders on one screen and the image on the other (although I don't fancy it), being able to use one monitor in portrait mode and such.

Hope this helps a bit and thanks again for tuning in!

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 08, 2013 at 07:39 PM
John_T
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p.1 #13 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


...if it is of any help, as recommended by Eizo, I have three calibration profiles and switch when appropriate:

Photography : Brightness 100 cd/m2, white point 5500K, gamma 2.20
Printing : Brightness 80 cd/m2, whitepoint 5000K, gamma 2.20
Web design: Brightness 80 cd/m2, white point 6500K, gamma 2.20

This is for a pair of Eizo CG276s using the Eizo ColorNavigator software and the built-in calibration hardware. Generally I use the Photography profile for everything, though I may switch to Printing if something is critical for printing.



Sep 09, 2013 at 08:56 AM
taran
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p.1 #14 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Sal Baker wrote:
How old was your display when that happened? Mine is 5 years old and I see no problems, and the display calibrates properly.

Sal



I would say 4 years in I started noticing delamination in the corners. I had one of the first 30" that were delivered to Apple stores in 2005 (I think). There was also burn in from the dock being in the same place for years, lol.

Paid the full $3299.



Sep 09, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Sal Baker
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p.1 #15 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


taran wrote:
I would say 4 years in I started noticing delamination in the corners. I had one of the first 30" that were delivered to Apple stores in 2005 (I think). There was also burn in from the dock being in the same place for years, lol.

Paid the full $3299.

Ok, that makes sense. RIght before I bought mine Apple had made one of their "quiet" updates to the 30" display and gave it a new panel and some updated electronics (2008 or 2009?) That might explain why mine hasn't had any issues yet.

Sal



Sep 09, 2013 at 07:46 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #16 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Bought mine in the Netherlands in july 2007. I have never witnessed any burn in or lamination problems. At least not in any corners. All I see is some color inconsistency. Yesterday I took a photo of the screen while it was showing a full screen unicolor image in PS (180,180,180). It had lots of moire butI used the color pipet with its largest sample size setting and there was no identifiable color shift going all over the screen. Maybe it only shows when the screen is warm? Tomorrow I have an entire day of PP work so we'll see. I'll spend the morning calibrating the display with my new tool.

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 09, 2013 at 07:51 PM
John_T
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p.1 #17 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


High brightness will also speed up the monitor aging process. That's why calibrating under 120 cd/m2 is a good idea.


Sep 09, 2013 at 09:56 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #18 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Good suggestion, thank you. I will certainly save my current profile to compare against the new i1 profile. Current brightness can't be way off, because prints that I send to the lab are not too dark.

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 10, 2013 at 02:24 AM
OntheRez
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p.1 #19 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


rabbitmountain wrote:
Hi Robert,

Thank you for your report! I feel that my color inconsistencies are not severe and therefore aren't a huge problem, as long as the overall colour itself is close to neutral.

If I would feel the inconsistencies were unacceptable I would have bought another screen for sure. However, I am very much bothered by the warmth of the colour setting. If - for instance - I work on an image until I like it and then export the image and view it on another monitor (like my Macbook), it's usually quite cold. So I must have a color calibration
...Show more

Ralph,

Good info. Thanks. I've also noted quite a difference in "warmth" for want of a better term between my Mac Air and the 30" Cinema Display on my Mac Pro. I only use the Air as a repository when on extended shoots so I don't have everything on fragile cards. I then transfer to the workstation when I return home.

Since a significant amount of my work is desert landscape "cold" really doesn't make it but in general this doesn't seem to be a problem.

Thanks for the recommendations. The Enzio sounds a dream, but at $3K - wow! That's probably a "bridge too far." I've run with dual screens though I don't seem to adapt to it well. Don't know why I can't seem to school myself to know what is on which screen. Back in the day when I was a graveyard sys admin I used a 4-screen rig. Believe me when I stumbled out into the dawn, I was rather twisted brain. Still a pair of good 24" offers a lot of real estate. I have seen quite positive statements on the NEC 27" but while its "only" a 3" difference that works out to quite a bit of area.

Good food for thought.

Robert



Sep 11, 2013 at 05:41 PM
rabbitmountain
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p.1 #20 · To 30" Apple Cinema Display users: a calibration question


Hi Robert,
Good luck with your decision. Hope you will share your purchase, whenever it will take place, and how you like it. Take care!

Stay good,
Ralph



Sep 11, 2013 at 06:27 PM
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