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Camera club projectors - which image mode

canonman95 15 5 United Kingdom
5 Sep 2016 2:53PM
We use a laptop and projector to display images in competitions. The projector has been profiled using a X-rite i1 Display Pro. All images are 1400 x 1050 sRGB.

Which of the Image Modes in the projector should we be using for best quality?

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Dave_Canon 13 1.6k United Kingdom
5 Sep 2016 5:41PM
It would be helpful to know what model projector you have.

At my club we have a Canon WUX 450, Canon SX80 and an older ACER DLP projector which is no longer used.

For the two Canon LCos projectors we use the following settings:

Image: sRGB
Brightness: 0
Contrast: +3
Sharpness: o
Gamma: -5
Colour adjustments: all 0
Lamp Mode: Quiet

We used to calibrate the projectors using a Spyder 3 Elite and applied the above Contrast & Gamma settings before calibration. We now use an X-Rite I1 which works differently so calibrate and apply the contrast and Gamma settings afterwards. We have got to this position after many years experience and advice from Canon, Northlight Images and a few other Clubs. We take our laptop and projector round to many clubs to show our international Salon and regularly receive comments that it is the best projection they have seen so it pays to get it right. The settings above work well for Canon LCos projectors but I can make no claims for other models/brands. Our key aim is to achieve reasonably accurate colour and retain highlight and shadow detail (or as much as possible). It is vital that calibration and projection is in a totally dark room.


canonman95 15 5 United Kingdom
9 Sep 2016 3:01PM
Hi Dave.
Many thanks for your useful comments. The projector is a Canon SX80 Mk11. It is interesting you apply the contrast and gamma settings after you have profiled the projector/laptop set up. I also have a i1Display Pro and use this for profiling the projector but do not change the settings thereafter. However, do you change the Image Mode from Standard. Most projectors these days have a range of Image Modes such as Standard/sRGB/Movie/Presentation/Photo and I wonder which you use. I have been using sRGB.

Dave_Canon 13 1.6k United Kingdom
9 Sep 2016 6:09PM
John, the mode we use is definitely sRGB. Originally we used a Spyder 3 Pro for calibration and followed advice from several experts that stated it was vital to set the Gamma and contrast before colour calibration. However, we discovered that using the i1 Display Pro neutralised the Gamma and contrast adjustment. We did many experiments to show that you can set extreme Gamma and contrast settings and the i1 "corrects" this. Unfortunately this leave the projector with the highlights too bright and insufficient shadow detail. By setting the variables all to 0 and mode to sRGB gives a good colour profile with the i1. Altering the Gamma to -5 and contrast to +3 then restores the highlights and contrast (or at least optimises as perfect is not possible). It is also important to use "quiet" mode always which reduces the light output and the light source runs cooler so fan slower (hence quiet mode). However, the reason for this was because initially several Camera Clubs took up the issue with Canon of the highlight appear to bright (even when not burnt out). Canon investigated and came back with the advice to use quiet mode. This does make sense as the projector has more than enough light output for a large hall in quiet mode particularly as we use it in a dark room. It is possibly obvious that if you do not use a dark room you will not be able to see shadow detail anyway. I notice that the guy who sells PhotoComp and PhotoEX (competition and Salon software respectively) advises his customers with Canon LCos projectors to use the settings I listed above (which he did get from me and has seen the results).

You have nothing to lose in trying the Gamma and Contrast setting changes after the i1 (you can always change the settings back). It is ideal to have a set of test charts covering 235 to 255 in steps of 2 and also 0-20 in steps of 2. However, having a set of images that are known to be technically correct (no large burn outs or black areas) but are challenging (e.g. high key, low key, high contrast, low contrast etc.) is helpful. It is always comforting when you can project these challenging images well. We keep a set so they when we re-calibrate or buy a new projector we have something we know to compare.

canonman95 15 5 United Kingdom
10 Sep 2016 3:53PM
Hi Dave

I am most grateful for your detailed reply, not only the settings you now use but also the rationale behind them. I will now put these before the small group who look after our projection set up and suggest we try the gamma and contrast adjustments, after the profiling, to see what they think. I am not sure if we run the projector in quiet mode but it all makes sense.

Once again, many thanks.


liteman 8 32 United Kingdom
5 Dec 2017 11:50AM
I too belong to a camera club which presents an internation salon each year. I have followed Dave's profiling instructions to the letter and they have worked a treat on our SX80. In fact everyone I have spoken to reckons that the colours are better than they have ever been (well almost; one visiting judge did reckon some images had a magenta cast which was "obviously the projector" - quite why it was only evident to him and only on 3 images out of 90 nobody knows, but he was a judge so must be right!) I have one additional question, does anyone know where I can download some "industry standard" test images that I could keep on our club PC just so that I can have a quick check every now and again to make sure that the colours haven't drifted off.
Chris_L 5 5.2k United Kingdom
5 Dec 2017 12:26PM
Have a look here and look on Google images for SMPTE Test
Dave_Canon 13 1.6k United Kingdom
5 Dec 2017 3:41PM
You can download a range of test images from Northlight Images; excellent information on that site as well.

liteman 8 32 United Kingdom
6 Dec 2017 10:34AM
Many thanks Chris & Dave - I have now downloaded enough images to severely test the projectors. If, after this and another re-profiling, I get any more comments from judges about colour casts I'll refer them to the nearest branch of SpecSavers!
Chris_L 5 5.2k United Kingdom
7 Dec 2017 11:47PM
LOL, you're welcome Pete
liteman 8 32 United Kingdom
12 Dec 2017 7:34AM
As an adjunct to previous reponses, does anyone know the differences between images saved in sRGB v1.31 (Canon) colour space as opposed to SRGB IEC61966-2.1 as used by Photoshop. Would the Canon version be likely to produce the magenta colour cast seen by our much revered judge?
Dave_Canon 13 1.6k United Kingdom
12 Dec 2017 10:04AM
I suspect that there is no difference or at least it is insignificant and Canon's senior projector salesman certainly implied it was identical when we spoke to him. However, if you want a clear answer, this is a case where you should ask Canon and I am sure that they will provide you with a clear answer.

If you have a small number of images which do not appear to be projected correctly, it is best to examine those files on a PC which you know is properly calibrated. We always found the fault to lie with the originator i.e. it looked fine on their uncalibrated screen so assumed that it would project "correctly". A few years ago some of our more experienced photographers were using Adobe RGB (as they printed) but did not convert their PDI competition entries to sRGB and the results were thus poor. We could not persuade some of them to change but it was eventually resolved when the Competition software was updated to recognise profiles and convert to sRGB automatically. While we have very few issues now, we still have a very few images that have burnt out (white) areas. Members have been warned to ensure they keep highlight areas away from white so try to ensure that apart from specular highlights that they keep highlights to just below 250. If you have a highlight area with some subtle detail that is 250 or above, this tends to be rounded to 255 during the conversion to JPEG and thus is projected white.

11 Feb 2019 12:49PM
Hi Dave, thank you for sharing your knowledge on setting up Canon LCos projectors.
My club uses a Canon WUX 6010, which in my initial opinion, gave excellent results for showing detail in the highlights and average results for the shadows. We had complaints, similar to the ones you had, from a few members and one judge who said that some of the images were too bright. Initially I argued that the projector was calibrated correctly and there was no loss of detail in the highlights and there was an acceptable loss in the shadows (which has never been a contention). Following a further comment by a judge that some images were too bright I decided to have a go at reducing the brightness of the projection.

My initial thought was to set a target luminance of 100 in the pre-calibration settings (we use a Spyder Elite 5) but saw your recommendations on here and decide to give them a go. One thing that wasn't clear to me was whether you set the projector to silent mode before or after calibration. I decided to set the power mode to "Energy Saving" (I assume this is the same a "Silent mode” for your projector) prior to a calibration - I got reasonable results after the calibration when looking at test images in the calibration software. I then went on and set the projector's contrast to +3 and the gamma to -5 and had a second look at the test images in Dicentra competition software - the results weren't fantastic.

I decided to go back to the old profile (which previously gave reasonable results in my opinion) and kept the projector settings that you recommended - low and behold, the results were far better in the shadows and others that had complained about the projector being too bright were happy with the luminosity. Unfortunately, I had no time to redo the calibration, but I do want to do this a son as I get an opportunity. Please would you clarify if you set your projector to "silent mode" before calibrating or after (i.e., along with the contrast and gamma adjustments).
Dave_Canon 13 1.6k United Kingdom
11 Feb 2019 8:08PM
We only have experience with two calibration devices a Spyder 3 Pro and Xrite I1 Display Pro. There appears to be significant difference in that the I1 changes the brightness/contrast in the profile as well as colour. The Spyder 3 only produced a colour profile. So when we used the Spyder, it did not matter whether we set the Gamma and Contrast on the projector before or after the colour profiling. However, with the I1 it was vital to set the Gamma and contrast after profiling (all set to zero for profiling). This is because the I1 tries to compensate for the Gamma and Contrast changes so by profiling before these changes ensure that they take effect. I do not know what your Spyder 5 Elite does but it is more recent and could well operate like the I1. Anyway there is nothing to lose by producing the profile with projector settings zero and then adjusting Gamma and Contrast after which works with either.

Also we always leave our projector on Quiet Mode (Silent Mode) for both normal use and calibration.

One extra piece of advice is that once you have established a set up and profile that you are happy with, do not be pushed into re-calibrating too often. We have a few members who think that we should re-calibrate just before any major competition. Those of us experienced with projector calibration know that they do not drift very quickly (hardly used compared to a monitor) and the pressure of calibrating while many are waiting for a competition to start can result in mistakes. We book an evening just for calibration and take our time but only do this about every 3 years and produce profiles for each of our projector Laptop combinations (2 projectors 3 laptops). Best of Luck.

11 Feb 2019 9:09PM
Thanks very much for the info and great advice.

It's interesting to hear that you found that the Spyder 3 Pro didn't try to correct the gamma and contrast adjustments you made prior to calibrating but it makes complete sense if the calibrator only makes colour corrections in the LUT profile. I'm fairly certain the Spyder 5 Elite adjusts contrast and gamma so I'll follow the method you use with the I1 Display Pro. With our set-up and from the very limited one off calibration that I mentioned above it appears that it is possible to get good results by having projector settings with everything to set to zero and with the image mode set to sRGB and the power mode set to normal (i.e., not quite mode) then after calibration set the projector to -5 gamma, contrast +3 and the "Lamp mode" set to "power saving". I'll have a go at setting "Lamp mode" set to "power saving" prior to the calibration to see if I get any improvement. Once again many thanks for your help - I'm sure our members will be very happy with our projector improvements and this wouldn't have happened without you sharing your in depth projector calibration knowledge and experience.

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