Monitor Calibration Systems and you!

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Eastcoasthandle, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Calibration Systems

    Have any of you considered investing in a decent monitor calibration system to get the most out of your monitor? Once you use one correctly you should see a better image quality. Also, if you plan on buying a monitor it's well worth the investment to calibrate your monitor correctly then to try to tweak it yourself with just a cheaper calibration software solution. I have found 2 manufactures that make calibration systems for your monitor. They are:
    Pantone
    ColorVision
    X-Rite
    ColorEyes

    Here is a Comparison Chart for the X-Rite
    Here is a Comparison Chart for Pantone & Colorvision to view. However, you should look at the product description for each.

    From my understanding there are 2 types of instruments used in calibrating your monitor (along with adequate software):
    -photometer
    -colormeter

    Sidenote:
    As joemama pointed out, it's best to use the Spyder2 device is a unlit area. If the area inwhich you monitor is used is well lit it may or may not function correctly. Please diable Adobe Gamma and other color calibration software before you start the process.

    Also (assuming with any colorimeter/photometer) it best to have the device make contact with the monitor (without damaging the monitor or device). If you can lay your monitor back so the device and rest on it, do it. If you can safely use a object to push the device against the monitor, try that as well.

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    Reviews

    review of Monitor Calibrators

    here
    ColorVision Spyder2 reivew
    Huey Review
    --------------------------

    Camera Photo Vs Print Screen

    As you can see here:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The first print screen, pic is no different then the 2nd taken with a camera to reflect that all shades of gray are in view. If anything the camera is slightly off as I used ISO 800.

    ---------------

    Exam your Screen

    Use this photo to see if your monitor uses to much red, blue or green (for example).

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    How to Choose a Monitor Calibration System (MCS)

    For starters it's better to invest in a good monitor calibrating machine (w/software) then try to do it yourself.

    Try to pic a decent calibration package that offers
    -gamma
    -RGB
    -Light measurement
    -Creates monitor profile

    How to use your Calibrating software (this varies from package to package depending on what's available).


    -Disable all anti-virus/adware and firewall software
    -Disable all ATI/Nvidia color profiles
    -Disable all Adobe Gamma profiles.
    -Make sure there is no gap between the colorimeter and the screen (unless instructed otherwise by the manual).

    -It's best to calibrate your monitor during the night with the room light off (works best for me but results will vary).

    -Tweaking RGB settings also influence color temperature as well. When doing so you want to keep it as close to 6500K as possible. Increasing Red means that blue and green goes down. Increasing Blue means that green and red goes down. Increasing Green means that blue and red goes down. Decreasing Red means green and blue up. Decreasing Blue means green and red up. Decreasing Green means blue red up. It's a tedious process but once you get the hang of it you will figure out how to get as close to 6500K as possible.

    -Cyan = Blue + Green
    Magenta = Blue+ Red
    Yellow = Red + Green

    -You always adjust Brightness first then Contrast.
    Brightness: black levels
    Contrast: white levels (more or less)
    Please watch this video it really explains how you make the proper adjustments.
    Video showing how to adjust contrast & brightness.

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    GAMMA Control

    Gamma describes the nonlinear relationship between the pixel levels in your computer and the luminance of your monitor. Gamma affects middle tones;. It has no effect on black or white. If gamma is set too high, middle tones appear too dark. If gamma is set too low, middle tones appear too light. Gamma has a big effect on gray scaling (gray levels). If not set correctly gamma can make dark grays blacks (crushing blacks). Gamma: 2.2 is the most used settings for a LCD. If you lower the gamma, you get more detail but brighter colors. If you increase the gamma you get more solid colors, but less detail. The gamma curve is often the cause of banding issues.

    Use this Gamma chart to see how well your monitor is calibrated.

    -Here is an example of what crush blacks look like on a monitor that has gamma set incorrectly. 1st pic is normal. You can see the radiator on the lower left side.

    Pic 1[​IMG]

    Pic 2[​IMG]
    (by seemore)

    As you can see in the 2nd pic the lower left side looks black. From my understanding this is do to a monitor that does not display dark gray shadows correctly. Areas that are suppose to be gray are not. As if certain tones of gray and other neutral colors are darker then normal. In order to fix this here is what you work with Gamma, Contrast and Brightness.

    Please use the LCD Monitor Test image "Contrast Test" to make sure you see all gray shades of blocks (yes, that includes gray shade found on block 1). Also make sure they are not different colors as well. Even if you can see all the blocks you have to make sure they are different shades of gray. If one or too look to purple, red, yellow, etc then they are not gray. You will need to adjust the colors with a colorimeter. Which can cause color banding if not done correctly. It's best to shift your view from dead center of the screen to the far left, right, up and down to make sure that the shades of gray in each block remain consistent.

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    Reduce Sharpening
    Although few monitors offer this feature it's always a good idea to check and reduce sharpening as much as possible. Sharpening is best reduce (by the lowest level possible without losing details of objects, people, etc) when watching a movie, cable, TV, etc. Not all monitors are created equal. Some will need sharpening while others need vary little yet others don't have the option at all. If sharpening is to high, the overall picture will exhibit artifacts that gives the appears of screen snow or noise. By reducing it you could reduce the amount of noise/screen snow you see and still maintain a good level of picture detail. When adjusting sharpening it's best to do so using a movie, cable/TV show other then just a still picture.

    Sharpening filters try and find edges between elements of the movie you are watching and alters the pixels at those edges to better separate them from the background. When the sharpening filter incorrectly detects film grain as an "edge" it noticeable increases the visibility of the grain as it is boosting the grain pixels as well as the edge pixels. Sharpness control adjusts the amount of detail enhancement or high frequency peaking to be added to the video signal. Increasing sharpness control will add extra edges to at least some of the transitions in the picture, making them stand out. This additional edges is not part of the original picture. Although it gives the appearance of more detail, it has nothing to do with how the original picture is suppose to look. (by other users)

    ----------------------------

    Definition of some of the OSD features

    * Contrast (picture) applies a scale factor (gain) to the red, green, and blue signals. It affects the luminance that is reproduced for a full white input signal
    * Brightness (black level) adds or subtracts an offset, or bias, into the red, green, and blue signals. It controls backlight luminance
    * Sharpness (detail)
    * Tint (hue)
    * Color (saturation)

    ------------------------


    Color Temperature

    One thing we need to remember when adjusting our monitors is to maintain a good color tempature. IMO, 6000k - 6500K is ideal for a LCD. The problem is you could spend an entire day trying the perfect kelvin. Therefore, (depending on your needs) a range of 6000k-6500K can memic outside color temperature real well. Just remember that at 6000K you have more white. At 6500k you are at the border of where white starts to turn blue. But again, this depends on how your enviroment is set up. Just remember what looks like 6500K to me in my room maybe 6200K in yours (for example).

    ----------------------------

    Other calibrating programs (colorimeter needed)

    If anyone with a direct-view CRT display needs a degaussing wand to freshen up their colors and contrast, check these prices out: http://electronics.search.ebay.com/_...sZdiscounttown. By SJetski71

    ColorHCFR by SJetSki71

    CalMan by joemama

    If you decide to purchase a colorimeter, monitor calibration system make sure you go online and register the product. There maybe other updates available.

    ------------------------------------

    Ghosting

    Ghosting is an undesired image on the screen appearing superimposed on the desired image. Sometimes the undesired image is in front or behind the desired image. This creates mutliple images of what should only be 1 image of that object/person/etc. I have found that on some monitors (not all) require some rear cooling to reduce (or eliminate) ghosting on dark backgrounds. Having a window fan of desk fan behind the monitor (blowing air on it) can reduce ghosting on some monitors. I cannot say this will work on all monitors because I have not tested this on all monitors. I also found out that increasing the refresh rate (specially when you decrease the resolutions) also helps decrease ghosting. However, keep in mind that you will only notice a difference if you are see a sever case of ghosting. For example, dark mouse trails on dark gray backgrounds, etc.

    Ghosting on digits and letters do occur but there is a cure for it. Try Clear Type Turner to clear up the letters and digits. This little tool helps clean up image quality for items that you read. With ClearType enabled the faint ghost images around the Windows shortcuts should disappeared. However you would also need to use a brighter desktop that uses lighter grays or whites.

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    SIDENOTE
    Monitor Calibration is not a universal fit for everyone. Sometimes you have increase/decrease color temperature, back light, contrast etc to fit what's in your environment. What looks 6500K in one person's home may not be 6500K in another. Please keep that in mind when calibrating.

    click here--->OFFICIAL CALIBRATED MONITOR PROFILE THREAD <---click here
     
  2. joemama

    joemama [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I calibrate both of my pc monitors every 2 weeks with a Spyder2 Express..it works (at least to my eyes) and takes away a lot of guesswork. I also recently bought a Spyder TV for my plasma and lcd tv's with mixed results...better but not quite what I was expecting. I had more dramatic results on a friends rear projection...but of course the settings were pretty whacked on that one to begin with.

    For the average person just wanting to take away the guesswork that comes with manual tweaking...I suggest not spending over $100 on a colorimeter/software package. As far as tv calibration...the low end models aren't quite ready for prime time imo.
     
  3. pablo

    pablo n00bie

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    i think i might try the huey. i heard from a couple of people that its works pretty damn good
     
  4. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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  5. Painman

    Painman [H]Lite

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    I need to buy one for mine (I have one here, but it's on loan). It definitely helps out, esp. with black levels on an LCD.
     
  6. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Which one do you have on loan? How do you like it so far?
     
  7. Dunan

    Dunan [H]ard|Gawd

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    already use the spyder2express, and it works well.:)
     
  8. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    I just ordered one myself and I noticed in the PDF there is an upgrade option to the pro. Do you know what the difference is to upgrade?
     
  9. joemama

    joemama [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I assume you're talking about the Spyder 2? The upgrade to Pro simply gives you gamma adjustments, advanced grayscale and the ability to create profiles for multiple monitors. (that are used together) You can get a list of the differences in packages on the Colorvision site btw..
     
  10. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thanks for the heads up. I take it that they are not that important. The Spyder2 should be good enough as is, right?
     
  11. Painman

    Painman [H]Lite

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    It's a Gretag Eye One Display LT being used with SpectraView. I tried the software that comes with it, but it's the "lite" software and doesn't have many extra features. You can buy the Pro software for it later just like you can do with a Spyder, the colorimeter is the same as the Pro one.

    Seems to do the job well, and it's sturdy :)
     
  12. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  13. AboveBeyond

    AboveBeyond [H]Lite

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    anyone else have tips for monitor calibration?
     
  14. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    For starters it's better to invest in a good monitor calibrating machine (w/software) then try to do it yourself.

    Try to pic a decent calibration package that offers
    -gamma
    -RGB
    -Light measurement
    -Creates monitor profile

    The number of combinations for each can very but this is what I look for. Basically you let the machine do the rest but it's only limited buy the software so make sure you have a decent software package.
     
  15. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wow, not that many people use this method to optimize their monitor. Why not? It will greatly enhance your viewing experience.
     
  16. AboveBeyond

    AboveBeyond [H]Lite

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    I think it's because it cost additional money to buy the software/hardware. I"m thinking of getting the Spyder though.
     
  17. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Wow, you mean to tell me that people are willing to spend $600+ up to $900+ for a new WS monitor but won't invest in a $100 calibration system to get the best quality possible out of their monitor?
     
  18. DefineByte

    DefineByte Limp Gawd

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    Most people don't spend that much on monitors and a decent (slightly subjective I guess) colorimeter will cost more than $100. Still, I'd definitely say it was worth it.
     
  19. joemama

    joemama [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Depends on your needs/wants. If you are a professional photographer or do any kind of graphics work then you'll probably want to invest in the more robust package....for the average user mostly just dicking around on the internet and playing games then the Express package is fine.
     
  20. interpolator

    interpolator [H]Lite

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    I use a Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Pro photospectrometer. It acutally cost more than most LCD monitors. It does a great job but is a bit difficult to maneuver because of its bulk. I also use it to calibrate large screen television displays. It is a bit over the top and really should only be purchased by those in the pursuit of the best they can get out of their display. I am not a big fan of the Spyder or Huey products. Very satisfactory results can be obtained using the Gretag Macbeth eye one display II or the X-Rite DTP94/Monaco Optix-XR. Some really like the Monaco software but I understand that the product is being discontinued

    One previous poster stated that the Gretag Macbeth eye one display and eye one pro are the same colorimeter. This is not correct. The Gretag Macbeth eye one pro is not a colorimeter but a photospectrometer. They look and perform significantly differently. The pro models list in price for $1000 and up. The "display" model is priced in the $200-$300 range.

    The entire current product line from Gretag Macbeth is currently being rebadged under its new owner's name X-Rite. Some of the software and instrument packages are also being changed.
     
  21. Painman

    Painman [H]Lite

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  22. AboveBeyond

    AboveBeyond [H]Lite

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    Thanks for the link. Now I'm considering the Eye 2.
     
  23. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Good informative posts, thanks
     
  24. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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  25. joemama

    joemama [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Review? That seems to be the Chromix website..
     
  26. Velocities

    Velocities Limp Gawd

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    Hi,

    I was going to get a good calibrate tool for my Dell 2407WFP. The color is a bit wash out compare to IPS. And if I want color accuracy almost the same as Apple Cinema, what would the best calibrate product to use? I was thinking Spyder 2 Pro, but not a lot of online store sell it and it quite expensive. I want to know if this is good or not before even considering it.


    Thanks
     
  27. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    Sorry about that I have now corrected it in that post as well as here
    ColorVision Spyder2 reivew
    Huey Review
     
  28. AboveBeyond

    AboveBeyond [H]Lite

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  29. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    It appears to be the same to me. Let us know how things go when you get it. From my understanding there are 2 types of instruments used:
    -colormeter
    -photometer
    Which of the 2 are better? I am still trying to research this.
     
  30. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have used the Spyder2 Suite and want to explain how things went.

    Installation went well once I disabled anti-virus and software firewall(s) that I had installed. After installation, I follow all the instructions and let the colorimeter hang from the monitor. Once the calibration was complete everything turn with a red tint. Puzzled I went to Adobe Gamma and notice that it was disabled and ATI's CCC color control was also disabled. I activated my monitors original profile and reactivated CCC's color control and Adobe Gamma. I did it by eye again but decided to give it one more try. I followed the instructions again but this time I placed a weighted box on the colorimeter pushing the colorimeter onto the monitor (before it was about 2-4cm from the screen) screen (to make sure there is no gaps between screen & colorimeter). This time, everything can out beautiful :cool: . I am looking at some of my desktop wallpaper and say to myself, "Is this suppose to be the right color?" Sure enough, it is the right color. The only issue I had is that the before/after only reflects default settings of the monitor and not how you had it before (per the initial instructions). However, I can clearly see a difference. My greys are correct and my whites (hard to put it), they are not brighter but more whiter then before. I can now see different shades of blacks now. Overall, I am very impressed.

    Sidenote:
    The green control on my monitor is grayed out and could not access it. I did what I could and it's very puzzling why I have no access to it. This is not the fault of the calibration program and frankly still did a very good job.

    I wish I had before or after wallpaper but I don't
    [​IMG]

    The reason why I posted the wallpaper was simple. I never saw the image on the building until after I calibrated the monitor. Something I didn't see before and I had that wallpaper for months.
     
  31. AboveBeyond

    AboveBeyond [H]Lite

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    Nice, I should do a before/after once I get my Eye-One.
     
  32. bw31

    bw31 n00bie

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    Is there one that will do BOTH a LCD monitor and a HDTV for around $200? I would be interested in one but only if I could calibrate both my monitor and TV.
     
  33. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    To calibrate a TV would take a whole different approach IMO. Its not like you can plug the USB into your HDTV. Personally if they exist might cost more IMO.
     
  34. okashira

    okashira [H]ard|Gawd

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    You do realize that posting your desktop is meaningless as far as color is concerned. Your monitor could have the most jacked up color and your desktop screenshot would look the same to us.
     
  35. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you have anything meaningful to add to this thread please let us know. By the way do you use a monitor calibration? If so, which make, model do you own?
     
  36. Liver

    Liver 2[H]4U

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    Dude, that was a very very valid point that okashira made. Posting pics of screen shots makes no sense, unless before / after is given. Hell, if your display isn't calibrated (or properly) his screen shot will still look bad.

    Anywho, before you flame me. I use a Spyder2PRO. I used AVIA before, but the Spyder took the guess work out of it and honestly it looks better.

    On my HTPC it works great. Video really looks nice (off of HTPC).

    On my gaming PC, not so much. Surfing and generally sitting around looking at wallpapers and pictures, it is very nice and calibrated.

    Once I load up a game, it reverts to no calibration. You can actually see it doing it. From Half Life 2 to BFME2 to Supreme Commander, nothing retains calibration. Still better than no calibration, but it is a gamer, and I'd like it to retain it for games.

    Thoughts?
     
  37. AboveBeyond

    AboveBeyond [H]Lite

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    What monitor do you have?

    I'm assuming that not all monitors lose the calibration once a game loads up.
     
  38. Liver

    Liver 2[H]4U

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    Calibration data is stored in the computer, like under the nVidia control panel for color adjustment.

    So I am using WinXP, 7900GTX both with updated drivers and all games revert back to "standard" calibration when launched. Used this setup with a Dell 2405 and now with NEC 20WMGX2. I have loaded Half Life 2 on my HTPC (using MCE2005 and 7950GT, fully updated) and played it on a Sony Bravia 46inch 1080p display. All exhibit returning color correction to "un corrected" prior to gaming.

    All the color corrections are done on the software level, no hardware corrections.

    However, I may not have said this earlier, upon exiting of the game. Everything reverts back to corrected.
     
  39. feo

    feo Limp Gawd

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    What he said was right, whether you calibrate your LCD or not and post a screenshot it'll look the same to us. The only one who's gonna see a difference on your desktop is YOU. To give US an indication of before/after you gotta take an actual pic of your LCD with a camera. :rolleyes:
     
  40. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle [H]ard|Gawd

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    As I already post that I did not have before and after shots so why are you regurgitating that? I play BF2 and I do notice a difference in the game. And, there is both software and hardware corrections made. I am not sure why you don't know about the monitor menu correction (which can be considered hardware) but they do exist .

    The reason why I posted the wallpaper was simple. I never saw the image on the building until after I calibrated the monitor. Something I didn't see before and I had that wallpaper for months.