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Colour Calibration - Is it worth it?

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das7
das7  133 forum posts
12 Sep 2013 - 2:51 PM

Hi,

Is it worth it for an amateur to buy one of these monitor colour calibrators for home computer use?

Has anyone on here got one? Has anyone used one and what difference did it make?

In one image - DPI shown at the club, on my monitor it was dark and moody, just as I wanted it.
Projected - it was a lot lighter and lost impact.

My gut feeling is I don't need one - but - would it be worth it?

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12 Sep 2013 - 2:51 PM

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psiman
psiman  10551 forum posts Wales
12 Sep 2013 - 3:38 PM

Hmm, sound of proverbial worm can being opened!

Along with probably a lot of other EPZ and camera club members I do calibrate my monitor. I do it principally because my wife and I are both info photography and share an A3 printer and we got sick of the arguments about whether the image was right on my monitor or hers. When it comes to projected your images there are a whole host of other factors at work along with whether your monitor is calibrated including whether the club's PC/Projector combination has been calibrated. What do other club member's think about the quality of the projection?

Personally I'd say that calibrating your monitor is sensible move and if you're a member of a camera club either they may have a calibrator they loan out to members or one of the other members may be able to help you calibrate your monitor.

However I found the whole colour managed workflow palaver can be a right royal PITB and if you're happy with what you're doing at the moment I'd remember the old adage of "if it ain't broke don't fix it!".

Just my tuppence worth.

Simon

Last Modified By psiman at 12 Sep 2013 - 3:39 PM
Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315479 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 3:38 PM

Monitor calibration or camera calibration ?

I use both, each to there own I guess.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315479 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 3:52 PM


Quote: However I found the whole colour managed workflow palaver can be a right royal PITB and if you're happy with what you're doing at the moment I'd remember the old adage of "if it ain't broke don't fix it!".

Get yourself a colour checker passport Simon, I got one a few years ago in the EPZ Christmas draw and didn`t really start using it until this year, its a really hand bit of kit, especially if your using a mixture of different camera`s and sharing monitors and printers.




thewilliam
12 Sep 2013 - 4:02 PM

The important bit is whether you're getting the colours that you expect. If so, don't fix what ain't broke.

If you were a vulgar professional who supplies digital files to commercial clients, colour fidelity is a must and only possible with a calibrated workflow, unless you're very, very lucky.

thebobbyshaw
12 Sep 2013 - 4:54 PM

I only calibrate my screen as I do get my pics printed to sell on - before I calibrated the pics were always dark, now they are spot on - if you're not into printing images then why bother...

mikehit
mikehit  56536 forum posts United Kingdom10 Constructive Critique Points
12 Sep 2013 - 4:55 PM

If your screen is relatively new and a decent quality, then the chances are it is pretty well calibrated anyway and if it is out, not by much.

However even if you calibrate your screen, is the laptop used at the club calibrated the same way, and what about the projector itself? In our club, my images look good on my screen (obviously) and more than acceptable on the club laptop screen, but when projected the reds blow something terrible to the extent there is virtually no detail. Yet the guy who owns the projector says he spent hours calibrating both laptop and projector so we can't work out where the problem is (if my image has a lot of reds I make sure I print those).
Added to this is that many calibrators (especially up until a few short years ago) will calibrate colour but not luminosity of the screen, so the colours may be right but the brightness can be way out (a traditional problem when comparing home prints with the screen)
And yet again you have the difference between the two images: the projected image is being spread over a far wider area so will often 'lighten up'.

So to go back to your point: is it worth it? I think so, but then I do my own printing as well. But be aware of limitations.

Gundog
Gundog  1624 forum posts Scotland
12 Sep 2013 - 5:03 PM

I used to use a ColorMunki to produce printer profiles which would ensure that my printer (an Epson R1900 at that time) produced prints that matched what I saw on my screen.

Since upgrading to an Epson R3000, I have found that (with all the papers I use) the standard Epson printer management software does a superb job without any fannying about.

So now I just use a Spyder4Pro to be sure that my screens are correctly calibrated. For me, as a keen amateur, it is important that I know that my digital image files, submitted for projection in either club competitions or salons, are displayed correctly (always assuming, of course, that the judges' screens and the projectors are also correctly calibrated).

Dave_Canon
13 Sep 2013 - 10:03 AM

To really benefit from calibration your entire process must be calibrated and that includes the equipment used at your club.

Projection of digital images is still a challenge but using an LCos projector as we do at our club gives good results if correctly set up and calibrated. LCos projectors are expensive so I suspect most smaller Clubs do not have them. Most of my Club members use monitor calibration and thus majority of images project well. A few images that project poorly, when analysed, are usually found to have issues such as clipped areas so this is down to the photographer not the equipment. Projecting high key images is probably the most difficult challenge and are best left for printing but the most experienced can get round this.

Dave

MichaelMelb_AU
13 Sep 2013 - 10:38 AM

I avoid using customer colour profiles in my equipment. All that was needed to be done had already been done for me by manufacturers sticking to certain industry standards. I would probably need to calibrate my printer if third party inks were used - but I chose not to use those inks in my photo cycle.
Sure, I do tweak my editing computer's screen brightness, contrast and colour temperature according to external lighting and how edited images look in print and on my other devices screens - but that is not calibration per se and does not need any special equipment but my eyes. Have a look at my portfolio, and if you like the colours- draw your own conclusion. As for projectors - well, reflective screen is not the same as highlighted one. There's difference between direct and reflected light, so maybe you need to do an extra tweak to images those you bring for the show.

Last Modified By MichaelMelb_AU at 13 Sep 2013 - 10:43 AM
brian1208
brian1208 e2 Member 1110307 forum postsbrian1208 vcard United Kingdom12 Constructive Critique Points
13 Sep 2013 - 10:43 AM

I had to change out my old R3000 printer under warranty and when the new one was set-up I suddenly found that I couldn't get the consistent colours I had been used to with the old one.

After a fair bit of pratting about I suddenly realised it wasn't the printer but my monitor that was the problem, I hadn't calibrated it for over a year

I borrowed my camera club's Spider Pro and have just finished re-calibrating, Checking the Before and After profiles it was a bit shocking to see how my LCD monitor had drifted off standard

My colour standard prints now match my screen again

So for me, calibration is essential (but I do a lot of printing for sale and competition use)

Others may see it differently

Just realised that your primary concern was lack of match between laptop screen and projected image. From my experience of in club and between clubs competitions calibration will not sure this. We have had our club system professionally calibrated (as have some of the others) but the problem remains. I believe it relates to the brightness of the projected image rather than poor colour match. None of the clubs we are associated with appear to have a solution for this.


In our club its a case of adjusting the image at PP time, to reduce brightness and increase contrast and saturation. The best results appear to come from images with a lower tonal range, particularly B&W images (which suffer horribly from burnt highlights and blocked blacks / greys)

Last Modified By brian1208 at 13 Sep 2013 - 10:50 AM
MichaelMelb_AU
13 Sep 2013 - 10:52 AM


Quote: I had to change out my old R3000 printer under warranty and when the new one was set-up I suddenly found that I couldn't get the consistent colours I had been used to with the old one.

After a fair bit of pratting about I suddenly realised it wasn't the printer but my monitor that was the problem, I hadn't calibrated it for over a year
...

Interesting story. For how long have you been without your first printer for the monitor to drift that much? Do you notice any difference to how your images look now on other computers now?

Dave_Canon
13 Sep 2013 - 11:38 AM


Quote:
From my experience of in club and between clubs competitions calibration will not sure this. We have had our club system professionally calibrated (as have some of the others) but the problem remains. I believe it relates to the brightness of the projected image rather than poor colour match. None of the clubs we are associated with appear to have a solution for this.

)

Most small Clubs are using DLP projectors and these do exhibit the brightness problem. This is largely because DLP projectors produce white light via the micro mirrors and achieve colour using a synchronised spinning disk. As you would expect the disk has red, green and blue segments but also has a white (clear) segment. The white segment adds in white light to brighten the output but this makes it almost impossible to achieve a full range of even tones from black to white. They use DLP for cinema projection but do not have this problem because they use three separate DLP sources for each of the three primary colours. There are settings in the DLP projector which allows you to reduce the the White Segment but we found that we needed some white segment or the image is not bright enough so it is a compromise. The Home cinema setting is often a lower white segment and may be a good starting point for calibration. The first projector my Club bought was a DLP which is now consigned for just power point presentations. We invested in the expensive LCos technology and you will find most larger clubs use them and they are normally used for National and International Exhibitions/competitions.

You still have to carefully set up LCos projectors and calibrate but the performance is very good (not perfect). There can still be an issue in the very light areas if you use the projector on full power but we discussed with Canon and they advised useg "Quiet Mode" which is a lower power mode for still photography and they were right.

Dave

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315479 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
13 Sep 2013 - 12:09 PM


Quote: if you're not into printing images then why bother...

Because you might want to post some images on here.

keithh
keithh e2 Member 1023100 forum postskeithh vcard Wallis and Futuna33 Constructive Critique Points
13 Sep 2013 - 12:17 PM

The worst part of giving a talk at a camera club is the moment your first image goes up on the projector screen.

Had some shockers.

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