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Understanding Calibration

Understanding Calibration - Calibrating monitors is an important task all photographers should learn how to do.

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General Photography

EIZO Monitor

As photographers, we tend to spend quite a bit of money on kit and work hard to ensure the images we capture are correctly white-balanced, have the right level of brightness etc. but the time we spend adjusting camera settings and tweaking images during post production can be a waste of time if our monitors aren't displaying correctly.

However, there is a rather quick task which can help make a huge difference as well as save us time and money we spend on resources and that's to calibrate our monitors. 

What Is Calibration?

When you calibrate your monitor you are making adjustments to achieve an accurate display. For example, if you edit an image on an uncalibrated screen, you could be compensating for hues, tones etc. which aren't actually a problem. As a result, you'll print the image and spend time wondering why it doesn't look right, plus you'll have wasted ink and paper which aren't cheap.

Before and after calibration example
Above: See what a difference calibrating a monitor can do to the appearance of colours. 

How Do I Calibrate My Monitor?

A sensor, which is usually external but on some EIZO models is actually built-in, will measure the monitor's status and adjust accordingly. The external sensors tend to look like a computer mouse but instead of putting it on your desk you fasten it to the front of your monitor. Software is then used to adjust the monitor's display.

EIZO's ColorNavigator Elements photo colour matching software, which comes free with the ColorEdge CX and CS series LCD monitor range, will help ensure the colour between their prints and monitor match. For advanced users, EIZO has created a software program for ColorEdge in addition to ColorNavigator Elements. The software's called ColorNavigator and a tutorial on using this software, plus ColorNavigator Elements can be found in the EIZO Colorzone

How Often Should I Calibrate My Monitor?

The way a monitor displays colour will change over time with general use so it's important to regularly make adjustments.

After you adjust a monitor with ColorNavigator Elements the built-in correction sensor automatically re-adjusts the monitor at intervals of 200 hours but this can be adjusted if you wish. If you're not using an EIZO monitor which has a built-in correction sensor it's worth making a note of when you next need to calibrate your screen. 

Should I Calibrate My Monitor Even If Photography Is Only A Hobby For Me? 

The short answer is yes. Even if you're a hobbyist you'll want to be able to retouch photos in the correct colour and ensure the colours that display on your monitor match the photos you print out for displaying in your home. As previously mentioned, calibrating monitors can also save you time, money and effort in the long-run. 

If you're thinking of buying a new monitor, read our article which gives you some tips on what to consider when selecting a monitor as a photographer. 

Visit EIZO for more information. 

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pdgalvin 6 5 United Kingdom
27 Jun 2013 12:15AM
I edit my photos using my 10 inch netbook with a 1024x600 resolution. This kind of article scares me, but I can't afford one of your top-notch displays, so I'll have to make-do!

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