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Thread: Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

  1. #1
    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    Hi, all.

    I just received my new Spyder 4 monitor calibration device and used it last night. My monitor is a 5-year old 22-inch LCD (Dell 2208 something or other).

    First of all, it reccomended a brightness that my monitor couldn't even achieve on 100% brightness, but it adjusted for that when it realized that was impossible and it is not a big deal to me.

    I also don't have direct control over color temperature, only brightness and contrast.

    Anyway, here's the unsettling part: After calibrating it (twice) it offers you an array of 16 photos so you can :"Spyder-tune" your monitor. I had to move the red slider all the way to full red, and i had to turn the purple slider all the way to purple just to get flesh tones to look human. That seems too drastic for a mere "spyder tune". And the kicker is, when I "switch" from the uncalibrated view to the calibrated view, the uncalibrated view still looks much better to me. Post-calibration it still looks a little less bright than I like. And possibly (or maybe not) still a tiny little bit green?

    I have by no means ruled out the possibility of blatant user error, b/t/w, but I did assiduously follow all of the directions it gave me. I have not sent any test shots to the lab yet so I have no idea how that would look post-calibration.

    My questions, then:

    1.) Any obvious screw-ups on my part?
    2.) Is it ok to have such a drastic "spyder tune" in effect, and can that in any way hurt my prints?
    3.) Could this monitor be too old to work well on this?

    Thanks!

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    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    I do not know what procedure the Spyder 4 uses. The software I use initially throws up a screen to get the white point more or less correct. This has 3 colour bars and a light level bar. The colour bars are set using the monitors r g b settings and the light level via the brightness. Once that is set up the calibration is then set. The controls inter react which makes life difficult. I found that providing the brightness is kept below the target it's possible to increase it later when the colours are correct. Changing one colour also altered the others - not surprising really as it's setting a balance.

    One catch with all of this is that LCD's need to be set at their default contrast level before doing anything else. Maybe there is a reset to defaults option or a sRGB setting. The latter often locks the contrast adjustment out and resets it to the default and leaves it there when you go back to user setting mode. Another method might be to use the test bars in the tutorial on monitor calibration on here to get as close as you can. That should sort out your contrast setting. The only other thing I can suggest is starting with the colour settings on the monitor at about 70% if the spyder does the initial white point setting.

    If the Spyder software doesn't work in a similar fashion you could download and install Argll Colour Management and DispcalGUI and use those. This will need some data of your Spyder software discs. A high quality calibration takes about 50-60mins with that (it uses rather a lot of colour patches) and say 5-10mins to get the initial colour bars correct. You can find the software with google.

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  3. #3
    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    I have just obtained my best calibration to date. I set the monitor in it's native sRGB mode and ran a profile on that. The profile showed how it had been set up during manufacture. The basic gamma was ok but there was variation in the amount per colour. Generating and installing a calibrated profile evened that out and gave a more constant gamma.

    This may be of some use to you. The usual standard for screen brightness seems to be 125 cd/m^2 which I find is far too bright. When I set my monitor into it's native sRGB mode it locks out both contrast and brightness adjustments. The measured screen intensity is then about 90 cd/m^2. The screen will go way way higher than that which seems to be the reason why I was having problems getting complete sRGB colour coverage in the blue end of the colour space. I can now try calibrating with the monitor out of sRGB mode around 90 cd/m^2 to see if I can improve it further.

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  4. #4
    gaijin's Avatar
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    Re: Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    Scott, this is a site I came across: http://www.gamutprints.com/color-man...lite-settings/ You may or may not find it useful... Anyway, if you take a look you should see if you're going about the calibration in the right way or not. There is other stuff on the site too - it's not just about pushing the paper they produce.

  5. #5
    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    Quote Originally Posted by gaijin View Post
    Scott, this is a site I came across: http://www.gamutprints.com/color-man...lite-settings/ You may or may not find it useful... Anyway, if you take a look you should see if you're going about the calibration in the right way or not. There is other stuff on the site too - it's not just about pushing the paper they produce.
    That one fits in roughly with what I have found following about a dozen calibrations. I've used the monitors sRGB setting to find out what native is. It turns out to be about 6300K. That has also given be a default screen brightness. This does allow me to display 8 stops meaningfully as well. Brighter settings have given me a much higher dynamic range and the test bars on the tutorial have been incorrect on the gradually getting lighter one.

    I notice that the web page doesn't calibrate accounting for ambient light levels. I have tried that but was a bit disturbed by the change in gamma from 2.2 it can give. The reasons for the changes are explained on the dispcalgui site. I'm not to sure about what to do in this area and hoped via another thread that some would comment. They didn't. This is what is stated on the dispcalgui site

    Also note that many color spaces are encoded with, and labelled as having a gamma of approximately 2.2 (ie. sRGB, REC 709, SMPTE 240M, Macintosh OS X 10.6), but are actually intended to be displayed on a display with a typical CRT gamma of 2.4 viewed in a darkened environment.
    This is because this 2.2 gamma is a source gamma encoding in bright viewing conditions such as a television studio, while typical display viewing conditions are quite dark by comparison, and a contrast expansion of (approx.) gamma 1.1 is desirable to make the images look as intended.
    So if you are displaying images encoded to the sRGB standard, or displaying video through the calibration, just setting the gamma curve to sRGB or REC 709 (respectively) is probably not what you want! What you probably want to do, is to set the gamma curve to about gamma 2.4, so that the contrast range is expanded appropriately, or alternatively use sRGB or REC 709 or a gamma of 2.2 but also specify the actual ambient viewing conditions via a light level in Lux, so that an appropriate contrast enhancement can be made during calibration. If your instrument is capable of measuring ambient light levels, then you can do so.


    There is also a link to this web page which seems to suggest a 200 Lux ambient and D50 lighting if perfection is needed. Some recent ISO standards seem to be aimed at a less than 32 Lux ambient - but just read on the web.

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  6. #6

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    Re: Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Stephen View Post
    3.) Could this monitor be too old to work well on this?
    I changed my computer awhile ago, which had an operating system that was not supported by my Spyder 2 Express.When I bought the new computer, the newly released product was Spyder 4 Express. Despite that the monitor was not changed, calibrating it eliminated an obvious green cast that did not exist when using my previous computer. Someone here at CiC reminded me that the monitor is not the only part of the equation; the other part is the graphics card, which indeed was different thanks to the purchase of the new computer. My point is that it may not be that your monitor is too old. It may be that your graphics card is too old.

    I know absolutely nothing about the technical issues involved, so take that into account when considering all of the above.

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    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    Looks Like Scott has asked elsewhere on this and not got very far. Some web searches on the monitor show that it isn't too old. It covers 92% sRGB which isn't too bad really.

    Looking around the web the default brightness is eye searing like many are out of the box so he should be able to reach a default brightness level of 120 cd/m^2 but unless he is in a very bright room I suspect he will find that too bright.. From other Dell monitors the chances are that he will need to set 50% contrast for calibration. He's easiest option though is to set the monitor in sRGB mode, look at the test bars in the tutorial on here and use those to set brightness as it seems Dell do not lock that out in this mode. The important aspect seems to be the dark end and the bright end should look after itself as contrast is bound to be locked out. Then run a calibration. I assume that the Spyder software shows colour errors given by a calibration so it's then a case of looking at that. The rgb gamma curves should more or less lie on top of each other. If it doesn't the software I mentioned does and is easy to use in it's default settings. Just select an sRGB profile and I would suggest no ambient compensation unless the Syder comes with a white cone etc. When that has finished it pops up a check box with an option to view details. That pops up a graph that defaults to the gamut but can also show a tone curve like this one

    Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    The check box also has options to install for the user or system wide.

    There are also options to generate different profiles. This one is the default curves plus matrix. There is also an option for xyz LUT plus matrix. That has the effect of correcting more errors eg the odd slope at the bottom of the one above. It also offers the xyz type with messed up rgb so that it's possible to check that applications are using it correctly. Any profile you have created can be loaded at any time. The centre calibrate and profile button is the one to use to calibrate the monitor and generate the graphs. The right one marked profile just measures what is there. I ran that on my monitors sRGB setting before calibrating and got this which might cause tints in some of the tone range.

    Calibrated monitor with new Spyder 4; is my monitor too old?

    Under tools there are 2 options. The 1st 2 are obvious and give, gamma, black point, white point. temperature and dynamic range. The dimmer the display the lower the dynamic range. I'm getting the impression that anything much over 300 to 1 is ok. That can be checked with the test bars in the tutorial. Out of the box monitors seem to come at 100% brightness. At that level they have very large dynamic ranges. My monitor dims as soon as set in sRGB mode so I now have a level to use for calibration in user mode. I wasted a lot of time trying to calibrate to 120 cd/m^2 which was way too bright anyway. One of the problems is that displays can be calibrated at any brightness level - results vary. It's easy to generate calibrations at various brightness levels with the software and home in on the best one.

    Basically using this software gives the same facilities that come with the more expensive calibrators.
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