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Thread: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

  1. #1
    Seriche's Avatar
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    Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    I'm very ignorant about callibration, and so far I can't find the answer I need by searching the net. However, I know that most of you here will know the answer in an instant

    I have a new iMac 27" and use it just for photography, art and correspondence. I won't ever be selling or printing photos, but I do post them to friends via email and to the web. So do I need to calibrate?

    I doubt that many of my friends have calibrated monitors, but I'm assuming that it will make a difference when doing PP or posting to forums etc. But will it be a significant difference?

    I'd be grateful if someone could let me know if I need to spend money on calibration software or not, because otherwise the money can go towards some good GND's I'm saving up for

    Cheers,

    Seri

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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Hi Seri,

    Hard to say. I can almost guarantee that you'd see a difference - but as to how much of a difference is one of those "how long is a piece of string" type questions.

    In reality, there are a number of things that affect colour accuracy - things like a colourchecker passport for generating custom camera profiles & white balancing may prove to be a better investment for you (better to know that the colours are accurate even if you can't necessarily see that on a screen) (assuming you're shooting RAW and using a compatible converter).

    Personally, I like to work from known standards.

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    Seriche's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Hi Colin,

    I started shooting RAW as soon as I got the 5D mk II a few months ago, and have never changed the settings since. I use LR3 as a convertor (and have Camera Raw as part of CS5 too, but haven't touched either yet).

    X-Rite ColorChecker Passport is now on my Amazon wishlist. I'd never heard of that one before. Many thanks for recommending it. I learned such a lot from reading the reviews and descriptions of it.

    When I recently started taking photography seriously, I knew I'd get into the workings of cameras and lenses, but never guessed at the time how much I'd also enjoy learning about PP as well. Photography is by far the most absorbing and rewarding interest I've ever had, and I'm still trying to work out why it becomes so compulsive.

    Seri

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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Hi Seri,

    PP is really pretty much an "equal part of the equasion" these days - some people have some pretty strong views on it, but at the end of the day, the camera doesn't work the way our eyes do - and a certain amount of manipulation is always going to be required.

    In terms of colour accuracy, it's not that critical for the likes of landscape, but for portraiture, accurate skin tones need to be almost "taken for granted" - and that's where the likes of a colour card / grey card / colorimeter / spectrophotometer get far more accurate and consistent results with far less effort.

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    Seriche's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Seri,

    PP is really pretty much an "equal part of the equasion" these days - some people have some pretty strong views on it, but at the end of the day, the camera doesn't work the way our eyes do - and a certain amount of manipulation is always going to be required.
    Hi Colin,

    I've only started photography recently. I did more in the way of drawing and painting before and although I used traditional methods, I've always considered digital art to be the equal of all the other genres, and can't wait to try it now I have the software.

    And since, to me, photography is unquestionably an art form, it seems natural to use any kind of manipulation as part of the creative process.

    What's interesting me as a beginner is where the dividing line is between a manipulated photograph, and digital art. But that's a bit off-topic

    In terms of colour accuracy, it's not that critical for the likes of landscape, but for portraiture, accurate skin tones need to be almost "taken for granted" - and that's where the likes of a colour card / grey card / colorimeter / spectrophotometer get far more accurate and consistent results with far less effort.
    Donald was mentioning such esoteric things to me just recently, and I understand the theory behind using them, but am so busy learning the basics just now that I'll leave those until later. Making the jump from macro and close ups on manual, to landscapes, is proving challenging.

    The main problem is that I love being out there taking photos so much that I'm not spending enough time learning the techniques. I need to slow down and read more of the tutorials and archived posts here

    Thanks for all the good advice, Colin,

    Seri (always spurred on by failure )

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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Serichi:

    My experience is that monitor calibration is much more important for prints than for viewing on the monitor or sending to others who will also view them on monitors. This is for two reasons:

    1. If you are not calibrated, prints will never match up to the colors you are seeing and you will go nuts and broke trying to get prints that look like what you have been seeing on the monitor. This simply does not apply if you are not printing.

    2. You don't know what your other viewer's monitors are calibrated for; whatever you do is going to be somewhat different when viewed by others anyway as you have no control over their viewing environment.

    If your're not going to print, I'd advise using auto adjust for your monitor and then PP your photos to look the way you like them on your monitor.

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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    2. You don't know what your other viewer's monitors are calibrated for; whatever you do is going to be somewhat different when viewed by others anyway as you have no control over their viewing environment.
    Hi Homer,

    I see what you're getting at, but it still seems a bit illogical to me in that -

    (a) If your screen is profiled and theirs is profiled (as is becoming increasingly more common) then they should see what you saw,

    (b) If your screen is profiled but theirs isn't then at least there's only 1 set of errors and not two, so chances are it'll be better, and less of a lottery

    (c) If your screen isn't profiled but theirs is then you really have no idea how others are seeing your work (eeek!)

    (d) If neither are profiled then it's just a lottery!

    So obviously best if both are profiled, but I maintain that it's still better if only one is.

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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    I agree profiling is a good idea. I just don't think you really need to worry about it too much if you're not going to print. Most monitors will look reasonably good without profiling - at least for viewing.

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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    I agree profiling is a good idea. I just don't think you really need to worry about it too much if you're not going to print. Most monitors will look reasonably good without profiling - at least for viewing.
    Hi Homer,

    I think for landscape thats possibly true, but I'd be a bit worried about skintones for closeup portraiture. It's not just colour accuracy either - many many many monitors have maladjusted black and white clipping points which make a BIG difference (infact in my experience even more of a difference to the overall image than the colour side of things).

  10. #10
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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Colin and Homer,

    Thank you so much for the input. Since I won't be able to afford the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport for a while, I'm going to work out how to do auto adjust in the meantime. However, I will get the software in the end, as I'm a real nitpicker about colours, so even a tiny difference will mean a lot to me

    Once again, thank you both very much for taking the time to answer. Much appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Seri

  11. #11

    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    I'm going to work out how to do auto adjust in the meantime
    Seri

    Apple symbol /System Preferences - from the popup screen click 'Displays' go to the 'color' (sic) tab and click the 'Calibrate" button and follow the steps.

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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Homer,

    I see what you're getting at, but it still seems a bit illogical to me in that -

    (a) If your screen is profiled and theirs is profiled (as is becoming increasingly more common) then they should see what you saw,

    (b) If your screen is profiled but theirs isn't then at least there's only 1 set of errors and not two, so chances are it'll be better, and less of a lottery

    (c) If your screen isn't profiled but theirs is then you really have no idea how others are seeing your work (eeek!)

    (d) If neither are profiled then it's just a lottery!

    So obviously best if both are profiled, but I maintain that it's still better if only one is.
    +1. No profile = lottery!

    Tim

  13. #13
    Seriche's Avatar
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    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Seri

    Apple symbol /System Preferences - from the popup screen click 'Displays' go to the 'color' (sic) tab and click the 'Calibrate" button and follow the steps.
    Thanks, Steve. Will do

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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Do I need to Calibrate & Profile my Monitor if I don't Print?

    Glad you're back, Seri.

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