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02-11-2012, 11:34 AM   #1
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How do I know my monitor displays my pictures accurately?

I was in photo shop (actually paint.net cuz i'm poor) playing with a photo and when I would send the pics to my friend after adjusting this way or that, it was like he was looking at totally different colors and brightness.

So that got me to wondering, how can you adjust a picture if you have no idea whether your monitor displays things like most others? I would hate to edit everything and then find out that old equipment or a different technology means that your images all look funny to everyone else.

My monitor is an older Samsung syncmaster 997DF CRT monitor from right before everything went to flat panel only. Bout time for a new one but I keep buying lenses instead.
Is there certain lines of monitors that are accepted as more correct than others? I was actually planning on getting a flat tv instead of a monitor for more multi purpose, but maybe that wouldn't be as accurate?

The digital age can be such a bother sometimes.

02-11-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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Sounds like you need to look into getting a color calibration device for your monitor - or getting a new one. Check out this guy for color calibration:

Spyder3Pro - Datacolor - Global Leader in Color Management Solutions

I use a slightly earlier version of it on my LCD screen and it does help. The real problem is that even if your monitor is calibrated and you adjust your images appropriately, you have no control over what the state of calibration is of others and then there is calibration of printers to be considered...
02-11-2012, 11:47 AM   #3
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I have the same problem when I used my laptop for photo editing. I found these sites to be helpful:

Monitor Calibration: Is Your Monitor Calibrated?
Photo Friday: Monitor Calibration Tool
02-11-2012, 11:48 AM   #4
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There ARE certain kinds that are more correct, but they'll look really bad at first, because they're designed to be used with correcting software that monitors the output of a portion of the screen and compensates by changing the output from the computer to make sure it's as neutral as possible. It'll still look different on other screens, but at least you'll know that's because of their screen, not yours. It's also very important for printing.

I know Samsung apparently make very good monitors, and Eizo and NEC supposedly make the best as far as I'm aware. I'm hoping to get one from a UK based company called Hazro who make very heavy, solid monitors at low cost with incredible screen quality. Only issue is they lack port options, I think they have a DVI port and a power socket and that's it, but that's not an issue for me. If you're really worried about quality I'd look at those three companies.

Otherwise, if you're going for something a little cheaper, read around about samsung and HP monitors. They're very cheap, and they tend to be very good as well. I've got an HP 20 inch monitor that I picked up for just over 100, and granted I need to upgrade it at some point, but for now it's proved excellent for my use.

02-11-2012, 11:48 AM   #5
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Hang onto that CRT for as long as you can......
If you want to know if you monitor is accurate, you will need to learn about monitor (and overall system) calibration and will also need to invest in some calibration equipment.
When it comes time to buy a flat panel, don't just go out and buy any old monitor. Some panel types are better than others. Most cheap panels are TN type panels, and are pretty much garbage for colour accuracy.
02-11-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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Also flat panel TVs are horrible for using as a PC monitor in my experience. And the Spyder was the product I was thinking of for colour calibration, as blackcloudbrew mentioned.
02-11-2012, 11:52 AM   #7
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pantone huey pro!!! I love it
http://www.amazon.com/Pantone-MEU113-huey-Pro/dp/B000OFC1YY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UT...8986327&sr=8-1
02-11-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Original Poster
According to those test sites, my monitor is actually a really good one since I can see all those different block like it says I'm supposed to here: Monitor Calibration: Is Your Monitor Calibrated?
Also it seems most of those adjustment options that you need the software to fix are built into my monitor, like the color temp thing by 100k increments, by default this thing is cranked up over 9000, I turned it down to 6500k and suddenly all my pics that my friend said look normal actually look normal. Meanwhile this white text box looks like laundry in need of bleach, guess you cant win everything.
I do recall this monitor being advertised as for photo people when I bought it though it was dirt cheap at the time since everyone wanted flat panels, it also has really small dot pitch or something as I recall.
Guess I don't want a new monitor.

02-11-2012, 12:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Hang onto that CRT for as long as you can......
Indeed. Nothing come close to a good CRT monitor. I treasure my 8-year old 22" Pro Series Viewsonic CRT. I hope it last!

On the other hand, you will need to calibrate the white balance of every monitor precisely. A 6500 K setting on the monitor is not enough. Use a calibration software and a hardware device to set the color temperature by adjusting the Red-Green-Blue intensities on the monitor. Then set proper contrast and brightness. Most monitors default to 100% which way too much. Again a software/hardware calibration system will let you set the correct values. Keep in mind that these are affected from ambient light so calibrate the monitor in the typical lighting you use to edit/view your images.

Once temperature, contrast and brightness are set on the monitor, then generate color profiles using the software/hardware tools to set correct gamma curves.

You will need to repeat the procedure every few months for critical performance since the characteristics of the monitor will change over time as it gets older.
02-11-2012, 01:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
How do I know my monitor displays my pictures accurately?
Make prints of your pictures... After making a few prints I know that when editing on my Samsung laptop that I over saturate and turn skintones slightly orange... In comparison my newer (and smaller) Acer laptop requires that I slightly over contrast or increase shadows in images... But I only know this through the trial and error process of going to and from the printshop with images on USB...

Get your pictures printed and you'll soon know where to push in your images...
02-11-2012, 01:21 PM   #11
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My dad does a fair amount of printing, and went through all of the color calibration stuff a few years ago. He uses an inexpensive flat panel monitor (I don't know anything about CRT monitors)

Calibration matters, but he also found that the angle at which you look at the monitor and the lighting in the room matters. His computer is set up in the basement (to minimize natural light), and he only turns on specific lights when editing photos.

When I am visiting, I will go an look at a picture he is working on and tell him it is too dark. Really it is that I am looking at the image on an angle.

I believe that there are more expensive monitors that might not suffer from these problems quite as much.
02-11-2012, 02:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kswier Quote
I believe that there are more expensive monitors that might not suffer from these problems quite as much.
Your father is probably using a TN panel monitor which suffers from narrow viewing angle. Not only the brightness but the colour will change too depends on the angle. IPS panels are best suited for PP and PVA is somewhere in the middle.

QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
Indeed. Nothing come close to a good CRT monitor. I treasure my 8-year old 22" Pro Series Viewsonic CRT. I hope it last!
Time has changed I am afraid. I used to have the NEC P750 & FP1350. The 24" H-IPS monitor I have now simply outperforms both by a wide margain after calibration (i1D2). The sharpness and colour rendition are just so much better. I used to PP with those 2 CRT and my friend always complained they were low in contrast. Now I do my own inkjet printing (profiled with SpyderPrint) and the prints match the monitor display. If I were to buy a new monitor calibrator today, it would be Sypder3 series because x-rite lowend calibrators have too much variation.
02-11-2012, 03:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Time has changed I am afraid. I used to have the NEC P750 & FP1350. The 24" H-IPS monitor I have now simply outperforms both by a wide margain after calibration (i1D2). The sharpness and colour rendition are just so much better. I used to PP with those 2 CRT and my friend always complained they were low in contrast. Now I do my own inkjet printing (profiled with SpyderPrint) and the prints match the monitor display. If I were to buy a new monitor calibrator today, it would be Sypder3 series because x-rite lowend calibrators have too much variation.
Of course time changed

I run my CRT side by side next to several LCD monitors and I am using it primarily as the second (proofing) display for Lightroom to see just the image without the menus and controls. Simply put it you will never achieve the black level of a CRT monitor with anything that is backlit. I do all my printing on large format EPSON 7600 and 4800 printers, and that's the best way to match screen display and print, although the new Lightroom 4 is very promising with its soft proof feature to help further.

Sure the LCDs are "sharper" and you can see individual pixels but they appear grainy and the color gamut is more restricted. A good analogy is viewing a hi res high quality jpeg vs. the same in TIFF (or listening good quality MP3s vs. SACD or Analog). Most of the time they will look (sound) similar but not to a trained eye (ear). Perhaps your CRT monitors may had some issues, especially since you perceived them as having low contrast. A well calibrated CRT will have far greater contrast (primarily because of its very low black level) than any LCD. And I am not referring to manufacturer provided imaginary contrast ratios. Just using a good old colorimeter and measure it.

Too bad that I'll have to replace it one day, I hope in the distant future though
02-11-2012, 03:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
IPS panels are best suited for PP and PVA is somewhere in the middle.
Then why does a company know for their colour accurate monitors (Eizo) use PVA instead of IPS?
02-11-2012, 03:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
Perhaps your CRT monitors may had some issues, especially since you perceived them as having low contrast. A well calibrated CRT will have far greater contrast (primarily because of its very low black level) than any LCD.
Problem for CRT is the brightness, they can't get that high so the contrast actually suffer from it.
I've a LCD and a CRT both calibrated but the CRT almost needs full brightness while the LCD is at 30% and this is in a dark room...
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