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07-13-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
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Computer Screens

I'm surprised that there's very little discussion dedicated to computer screens/monitors. We all fret like heck over our photographs and worry that they will be right, but if we are using a screen which does them no justice, what to do?

I just bought a Dell U2410. I've got it set to sRGB because thats the colour that I am told is expected by most electronic displays. The thing is, NOW I can see why my photographs seem so washed out... its because they are. I always had sRGB set in photoshop, and yet what I see in iPhoto here, or even photoshop before editing, is much more saturated by comparison with what is later displayed from a website... yikes!

What are other people using? How do you deal with the colour issues?

07-13-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
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sRGB is good for all around stuff. I've always used it, its easy, its "standard", am satisfied with the gamut for both digital and print, and so are the folks who use and purchase my pics.

Other folks will vouch for Adobe RGB or ProPhoto for greater color gamut, and they're right. I just don't care.

I'm currently using a Dell U2412m as my primary monitor, and I'm happy with it. The monitor it replaced, a Dell 2007wfp, is my secondary monitor.

I would advise calibrating your monitor, although it reputedly does quite well at the factory settings. You can use this website to see how well your monitor is currently calibrated: LCD monitor test images
07-13-2012, 03:55 PM   #3
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I have a Dell U2412M and I can't believe how much better it looks than my older E198FP (work displays, obviously). It does make me wonder, why would I buy a high end monitor that supports the wider gamut of AdobeRGB or Prophoto? If I go to the trouble and money to calibrate my monitor, what would it matter if 99% of the people viewing my images don't see the wider gamut?
07-13-2012, 08:11 PM   #4
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I quit worrying about trying to use AdobeRGB after finding most printers, especially local, only accept sRGB anyway. Although my new Spyder4Pro is happy to demonstrate where my monitors fall short of all 3 gamuts, I have never seen actual printed copies where my old eyes could tell any difference. Would love to hear if others can though. If I cant see it, its like the proverbial tree falling in the woods.....

07-13-2012, 10:23 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I just bought a Dell U2410.
Very good choice.
I have one of these myself.

One of its few disadvantages is that the custom mode is broken. It will introduce non-linearities if you change the settings, so you cannot use it to manually set your own white point. Not to worry, though. Just avoid the custom mode.

You can still set your own white point using the factory menu (there is a "secret" key sequence to get into it). Not as convenient, but it addresses that shortcoming.

The only other shortcoming I'm aware of is that you cannot set the gamma value manually and that it is slightly off the 2.2 target. However, this only means that you'll lose a few tonal values when calibrating to a gamma of 2.2. Nothing to worry about, though.

QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I've got it set to sRGB because thats the colour that I am told is expected by most electronic displays.
If you want to see what others are seeing with their sRGB displays, the sRGB preset is a good choice.

However, with appropriate colour management, most images should look very similar, independently of the preset. The catch is the "appropriate colour management", though, as the majority hasn't got this part right. Hence, images may look washed out or over saturated even though they would not need to with a proper monitor profile.

Make sure that your computer is using an sRGB monitor profile, or better still, a profile you created for your monitor using a hardware calibrator.

Another issue are non-colour managed browsers. If you view an image with a non-colour-managed browser, even a correct monitor profile won't help.

QuoteOriginally posted by callmeraymon Quote
It does make me wonder, why would I buy a high end monitor that supports the wider gamut of AdobeRGB or Prophoto?
Have you seen a wide colour gammut display yet?
You'll be surprised.
In comparison to a wide gamut red the sRGB-red, is more like a pale orange, and an sRGB-green looks like yellow in comparison to a wide-gammut green.

In many images the difference does not matter much, but there are certain subjects that have colours that sRGB displays simply cannot reproduce.

Using a wide gamut display makes sense, if you
  1. just enjoy watching intense colours for yourself,
  2. know others are using wide gamut displays as well and you want to provide them with the best viewing experience, or
  3. want to tweak your images for printing. Many printers support a colour space that is quite a bit wider than sRGB.
If a printer supports sRGB only, it is either not a very capable model or something is wrong with the printer driver (or its settings).

BTW, one needs to be cautious when calibrating wide gamut displays because not all calibration hardware is capable of dealing with wide gamut displays. Either get a calibrator that handles wide gamut displays natively or try to see whether you can obtain a "correction matrix" for the device you have that you can feed to respective advanced calibration software (such as Argyll).

Wide gamut displays, unless you drive them in a sRGB compatibility mode, are less straightforward to handle than sRGB displays, but I feel the that effort is well worth it. The sRRG colour space is comparatively small and not surprisingly so because it has to work as the lowest common denominator, so going beyond it can be quite impressive.
07-13-2012, 10:30 PM   #6
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A good print lab is going to color correct, unless told otherwise, but calibrating your monitor(s) is essential if you want the best results.

As to color space, I recommend using the highest grade you can for editing. The web, and in most cases printing is done in sRGB. But, if you shoot and edit in AdobeRGB and then save your 'print' as sRGB you will have more latitude for adjustments than if your workflow is all sRGB.
07-14-2012, 09:07 PM   #7
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Thanks to all for your input. I've sought opinion elsewhere and the general consensus is that no matter what, get a hardware calibrator... I'll borrow one on the short term and do something constructive about getting one of my own later down the track.

I havent been printing much but part of that was because I could never get screen and print to look the same. I think I'll have a much better chance, now.

Thanks again
07-14-2012, 09:58 PM   #8
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relevant comment,kyte
my best purchase, some time ago, was a big Eizo. Cost as much as a high end Pentax body, but i decided it was the way to go as I can't afford everything.
I also use it daily for my work in the soft text mode, and switch on sRGB for the photos.
I still use ist ds and I can't imagine having say a k-5 and trying to view its outstanding images on any of the other off brand monitors i have here, of much lower image quality compared to the Eizo.

The ist ds still works fairly well in good light, outputting camera jpgs in sRGB (reposts, sorry) These look OK on the Eizo: (go full screen)
https://www.box.com/s/625ca6d099fd8409cb6c
https://www.box.com/s/209edf19081385021670
https://www.box.com/s/b22e5f8ee40b57fa24d2

I use linux, xgamma set to defaults with the nvidea gpu cards standard 24 bit out to the Eizo, using x, and sometimes vnc from another machine.
Also the Eizo can/is recommended to have its lamps replaced periodically, maybe I should do that soon.

07-14-2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kyteflyer Quote
I've sought opinion elsewhere and the general consensus is that no matter what, get a hardware calibrator... I'll borrow one on the short term and do something constructive about getting one of my own later down the track.
Try to get a spectrophotometer. These can handle wide gamut monitors such as your U2410. Colorimeters are cheaper but unless you have access to a spectrophotometer to produce a correction matrix for your particular colorimeter copy, it will not work well with your monitor.

Both spectrophotometers and colorimeters are sold as "monitor calibrators" and you need to check the specs to see what kind of device you are dealing with.

BTW, the LCD panel in the U2410 is a very good one and has been used in more expensive monitors as well.

The advantage of more expensive monitors from Eizo or Nec is typically
  • more manual control over display settings (such as the gamma value)
  • colour compensation to reduce partial hue deviations
  • monitor-based calibration, i.e., the monitor LUT is programmable. No need to use the graphics card which leads to slightly better accuracy and makes the monitor easier to use with multiple sources.
If your panel is free from partial colour hues, you are not missing anything essential compared to the much, much more expensive models.
07-14-2012, 11:01 PM   #10
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BTW, I suggest to check your monitor settings, monitor profile, etc using this set of test pages before and after hardware calibration.

It is always a good idea to make checks after a hardware calibration, and trust your eyes if you observe a tint. Some calibrator models have high tolerances (e.g., the cheap Spyder models) or may no play well with the U2410 and should not be trusted without double checking.
07-14-2012, 11:36 PM   #11
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As a hobbiest, how about using a $7 color/gray card instead of those costly monitor calibrators?
Shoot the color card in bright sun ...
(I have a south window with curtains near the monitor)
Place the real color card near the monitor and check your image and adjust the gammas. A new monitor should require little or no adjustment to a Pentax ( or any other) camera jpg.
Old monitors in my experience degrade in areas of the screen so it is a compromise.

I wrote a linux gui exe which displayed/ trims/holds the 3 gammas using sliders but I don't need it after I got the Eizo.
Fairly crude.., if anybody on linux wants it , pm me (free, no warranty! and source if needed)
07-15-2012, 01:17 AM   #12
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Class A: Thanks, I'll do the test thing anyway, just to see how it is right now, and yes, panel is completely free of crazy hues (I heard some came with a green tinge down one side... UGH). Spectrophotometer looks to be just a tad expensive... well out of my league.

Wombat: I'll be borrowing a Spyder at first. I'll worry about other stuff later
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