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05-08-2015, 11:10 AM   #1
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Monitor Calibration Issue

I am trying to calibrate two IPS laptop panels with the Colordata Spyder4 Express. On both panels, the colors end up fine, but on one of them, the gamma according to this page remains far off. I'm getting 1.6 at 48%, 1.8 at 25% and 2.0 at 10% across a wide range of viewing angles when viewed in the Chrome browser. Is this a limitation of the Spyder 4 Express software or am I just out of luck with this panel?


Last edited by Ikarus; 05-08-2015 at 11:39 AM.
05-08-2015, 12:19 PM   #2
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Nevermind, it's some weird behavior of the laptop. I have disabled all adaptive display settings I could find, but it somehow still switches contrast settings based on screen content.
05-08-2015, 04:37 PM   #3
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In order to fix this problem of the gamma shifting based on screen content, the only thing that seems to help is rolling back the Intel HD 5500 graphics driver to the Generic Windows driver. The laptop is an ASUS ux305fa-asm Ultrabook that has been favorably reviewed, not the least for its bright 96% sRGB IPS panel, but seeing how the graphics driver currently cannot be reigned in, it definitely cannot be recommended for photo editing at this point. There does not seem to be a remedy available from either Asus or Intel.

From my research on the web it seems there are other laptops out there with this problem, so this is something to watch out for when shopping.
05-09-2015, 01:46 PM - 1 Like   #4
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It feels a bit like talking to myself, but since this might be of interest to others, if not now then perhaps later, I'll share it anyway. Here's a few things I learned.

1) Intel Graphics Driver - I uninstalled the ASUS pre-installed version and replaced it with the generic Intel one. This required using the driver sweeper app. Without a clean uninstall, the system would refuse to install the generic driver. I'm not sure this was crucial to me being able to disable all adaptive settings, but in case it was, I wanted to mention it. Now, Intel did a great job at hiding the relevant settings in their fancy-schmancy graphics control panel. There is an easy-to-miss drop-down at the top left, right next to the settings category on each page. For instance, under 'video', you find things like "Color Enhancement" and "Image Enhancement". I disabled all settings that seemed suspicious, especially relevant seemed Video->Image Enhancement->Advanced->Contrast Enhancement and Power->OnBattery->DisplayPowerSavingTechnology.

2) The Gamma Test Panels - these are automatically resized in all my web browsers! Since they must be viewed at the generic resolution, this makes them misleading. It seems the amount of rescaling is directly tied to the desktopRightClick->screenResolution->MakeTextOrOtherItemsLargerOrSmaller setting in Windows 8. When I download the Gamma test image and open it in the Windows image viewer after calibration, the gamma is spot-on at 2.2 in all columns. Since the gamma panels are useless with the way they're displayed in the browsers, I'm not yet fully convinced that Chrome and Firefox properly use the Windows look-up table after calibration, but eyeballing a bunch of images and comparing to the desktop view makes it seem that way. Firefox does need some setting changes in about:config for enabling color management, though.

3) The Spyder4Express software - it's very basic, and one is tempted to just click 'next' through the screens. DON'T do that. First make sure Go->Preferences->LCDnative is un-checked, in order to get the proper white balance (this panel is way too blue and without doing that, it remains that way after calibration) and then click on Go->Full Calibration.

It was quite an ordeal I must say, but worth it in the end. The panel is operating at its full, considerable potential now, so with the caveat that you have to be fine with it not being like that right out of the box and that you need to put in some effort, I'd consider the ASUS ux305fa-asm1 ultrabook very usable for photo editing (and a bargain too, at $699 in the US).


Last edited by Ikarus; 05-09-2015 at 07:17 PM.
05-10-2015, 03:52 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
It feels a bit like talking to myself,
No your not alone, I'm reading your posts... but I can't offer anything constructive as I'm not as obviously as technical as you (I'm just a simple soul) and I use an iMac with a x-rite i1 Display Pro for my calibration needs.

But good to hear you got it sorted in the end, well done.
05-10-2015, 08:04 PM   #6
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I had issues with the Spyder and my desktop HP w2207 monitor - the calibration would turn the screen a very loud red cast. Every single time. Didn't matter the amount of ambient lighting.

This monitor uses a TN panel and is glossy... not sure if that matters but it might. In the end I returned the spyder for a refund. But since then I've come to realize calibration matters little unless I plan on printing images. If my images stay digital, then there is no point in calibration since everyone isn't using the same settings.
05-11-2015, 12:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
But since then I've come to realize calibration matters little unless I plan on printing images. If my images stay digital, then there is no point in calibration since everyone isn't using the same settings.
I must say I disagree with that. For digital, calibration is not about giving all viewers the perfect viewing experience. This is clearly impossible. It is about getting it for those who care enough to not use crappy viewing equipment, and about getting the best for everyone else on average.
05-11-2015, 02:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
For digital, calibration is not about giving all viewers the perfect viewing experience
+1 on that, it's for the clients who have engaged you to shoot a colour critical image or product range and want it to be right on the button when it comes to the output.

To that end... I also use a Colour Checker Passport at image capture stage to ensure I'm as accurate as possible.

05-11-2015, 08:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
I must say I disagree with that. For digital, calibration is not about giving all viewers the perfect viewing experience. This is clearly impossible. It is about getting it for those who care enough to not use crappy viewing equipment, and about getting the best for everyone else on average.
What is 'getting the best' if digital rendering and human perception runs the gamut? And who doesn't use crappy viewing equipment? very very very very few. The overwhelming majority of viewers are viewing on consumer grade devices that, combined monitor and computer, cost a fraction of your 'accurate' display monitor... which actually may vary slightly from monitor to monitor (Even in the upper echelons).

More importantly, human eyes perceive colors differently from person to person.. so someones dark blue might be someones purple and someone in bright daylight will see the color differently than someone in a dark room. The whole concept of calibration is overly considered in non-scientific circles. Human eyes cannot be calibrated. Agreed, Your images need to work within a range of acceptability. However, they will never be 1:1 to your perception of them to other people.

I'd only be concerned with more accurate colors in print.. where the argument of display device rendering is removed entirely.. only the human perception remains.
05-12-2015, 12:49 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
What is 'getting the best' if digital rendering and human perception runs the gamut? And who doesn't use crappy viewing equipment? very very very very few. The overwhelming majority of viewers are viewing on consumer grade devices that, combined monitor and computer, cost a fraction of your 'accurate' display monitor... which actually may vary slightly from monitor to monitor (Even in the upper echelons).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a purist. When I say crappy, I am not counting screens like that of my Nexus 5 phone in that category. That one is actually fairly decent and so are the screens of all three smartphones I've been using in the past 4 years. All my recent laptops had decent IPS panels right out of the box with the exception of the ASUS model that triggered this thread. Now, just because they weren't crappy doesn't mean I would consider them suitable for photo editing without calibration. To me, photo editing on an off-calibration screen is a bit of a futile exercise. Why even bother? Might as well shoot jpg, keep them as is and hope for the best. In musician's terms it's like playing a prized instrument that I haven't tuned first. Perhaps I get lucky and it is spot on anyway. More probably, though, it is not, and the people in the audience that pride themselves of half-decent hearing will notice that something isn't quite as it should be.
05-12-2015, 01:25 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
I am not counting screens like that of my Nexus 5 phone
Oh dear I must be really sad...

There's an app called ColorTRUE which allows me to calibrate both my iPhone and iPad using the x-rite i1 Display Pro.

I have found this particularly useful for colour critical work when showing clients examples of work and shoots on mobile devices.
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