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Old Feb 4, 2004, 10:37 AM   #1
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Default Monitor Quality on photo's

I used my wifes work monitor to look at some of my photo's, and what a difference. I thought my monitor gave a good representation, but not even close. The flat screen monitor she uses showed everything crisp, clear, and flawed. My question is how much does your monitor distort the image to the point that you might be keeping poorer quality , or dumping better than you thought photos?
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 11:35 AM   #2
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Your monitor has VERY significant effects on the quality of the image you're viewing. Additionally, even the best monitors need to be calibrated to yield the best results for photographic work. If you're serious about your photographic images on your monitor, purchase a monitor calibration program and hardware. It will make a SERIOUS difference in your images.

I use the ColorVision Spyder with Optical software to calibrate my monitor every two weeks. There are other devices that work equally as well or better.

As a minimum, you should calibrate your monitor with the free program from Adobe (Adobe Gamma) for PC, although the results are subjective to your visual perception and the background lighting. There is a similar program available for MAC, but again, any program that relies on your subjective perception will have limitations.
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 1:43 PM   #3
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From what I've heard the Spyder is better than nothing, but not very good. But for most people, 80% right is better than not right at all.

Here is some more info on monitor profiling.

http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/m...alibration.htm

But to MoonGypsy's original question.... I'm sure there are some pictures that I thought weren't good that with a better setup probably are. I just got a new printer that can produce much, much better results than what I had before. But in trade, I have to use much more expensive paper. Well, I could get away with multiple printouts before I got something that I liked, but now I don't think I can. So I'm probably going to have to get a profiling tool for both my monitor and printer. I'm sick of wasting time and resources to get a printout that still isn't what it could be.

It's a similar problem. Your output method isn't color corrected/profiled, so you aren't really seeing what you've actually got.

Eric
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 2:05 PM   #4
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Monitor calibration is critical. I used to think that my pictures always came out dark until I went to a trip last summer where I stayed at a relative's home and could download my pictures there each day. What a difference!! All of a sudden the same camera was producing brilliant pictures and I was so proud! Back home when I saw the very same pictures in my own monitor and found them dark I concluded that my monitor was to blame. I tried a nifty little program called "Monitor Calibration Wizard" which is FREE(www.hex2bit.com) which improved things a lot.

At the same time I also found (from my pictures too) that the monitor at work, a flat panel LCD, was way too bright to the point that gray objects in Windows looked blueish. I installed the Monitor Calibration Wizard there also and it looks much better now.
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 6:43 PM   #5
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Eric:

Quote:
From what I've heard the Spyder is better than nothing, but not very good.
I'd have to disagree with you on that point. It certainly doesn't perform to a $3500 spectrometer, but it does the job! Since using the Spyder, I see all the tones on the tone scale that I previously didn't see and my monitor output matches my print output almost to the money.
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 9:07 PM   #6
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Note I said "not very good". I didn't say it wouldn't work. I didn't say I can eyeball it better. But all the comparisons I've read say that you can do better if you are willing to send more (not $3,500 like you quote. You can do very good with about $1,200, and quite good for about $800, last I checked. But I believe those prices include the ability to profile your printer.)

Unless you have profiled your printer, it is probably luck that your monitor matches your printer. Last I knew, the Spyder can't profile your printer, so it only works out that they match.

Eric
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 10:00 PM   #7
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Correct that the Spyder doesn't profile printers. I make use of the printer profiles provided by RedRiver for their papers and my printer. Blind luck perhaps, but they work, and before using the Spyder they weren't even close.

You can always do better if you're willing to spend more. It's akin to buying a Sigma 70-200 lens rather than the Canon 70-200 lens. You still get a good lens, but you could have spent 2-3 times as much for a better lens.

For the purposes of home use, the Spyder performs admirably well. The other well known colorimeter (Gregtabeth EyeOne) is in the same price range as the Spyder. Depending on which review and who you speak with, you'll get varying opinions on which system is better. I haven't compared the two side-by-side, so I reserve comment as to which is better. I can only attest that I am happy with the results that I get, both with the Spyder and using the ICC profiles provided by RedRiver for their paper/Canon printer.
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Old Feb 4, 2004, 11:30 PM   #8
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Aside from these monitor calibration software, what about the basics - eg. colour temperature setting. What's the ideal for photo viewing?

My monitor has presets at 5000k, 6500k and 9300k, and custom (everything inbetween). But I leave it in the middle (6500K) simply because it's neither too yellow or too blue.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 6:52 AM   #9
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Onyx, I'd suggest that for best results in viewing an image on your monitor I'd start by making sure that you are working in the correct colour space. If you already are, my appologies.

The sRGB colour space is a classic standard for colour representation on screens, so ideally your editing software should be able to be set to use this colour space for the production of re-sized jpegs. If you're not in sRGB then your images may look a little duller than they could be. I don't have an example to hand but I'd say that sRGB makes your images more "vibrant".

It's my colour space of choice for on screen viewing, but when it comes to printing I prefer Bruce RGB on my Epson 895. It's a little less garish on paper than sRGB, but warmer than Adobe 1998 (which is the colour space that I use for taking the RAW files on my D100).

Now you've got an image that, on the basis that it's ok to start out with, should present well on most monitors. If your monitor offers you colour temperature control I'd leave it, as you say, at the mid point.

The effects that you describe are similar to those that you can see with a camera. If the light source is of a colour temperature warmer than the camera setting you can get a blue cast, the reverse you get an amber cast.

Regards,
Graham.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 11:56 AM   #10
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Onyx

Interestingly enough, there is some discussion about color temprature for monitors in that link I gave:
http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/m...alibration.htm

My monitor doesn't support color temps, so I didn't pay much attention.... but it might answer your question. Wait a sec. I lied. I just discovered my monitor does support color temp. Time to read that part again.... Mine is at 9300K and looks ok. But 6550K looks muted and the off white of the internet explorer toolbar looks more grey/yellow. Humm...

ohenry
If you have a paper profile, then you are certainly better off than most people. So I'd say that it's right more due to you than "luck" as I initally said. I was just given a (old, but still functional) photo printer... and I'm looking for paper profiles. I have the glossy covered, but not the matte paper that was suggested for me.

What shocked me is that a friend just did some research and claims he can get a EyeOne (I think) and matching printer profiling hardware for $400. For the amount of time I'll waste printing multiple copies (my printer & monitor don't match) I'm thinking about doing it. Last I looked, the price was much higher than that. And Epson Matte Paper Heavyweight is expensive.

Then again, I guess I shouldn't be so pessismistic... I've only printed one picture and it looks good. But I had already lightened it (I think) to try to compare the best my old HP DeskJet 722C to my new-to-me Epson Photo Stylus 700. Not surprisingly, on the right paper the Epson blew it away.

Eric

ps. How about this. You know you're entering another realm of printing when your paper comes with instructions! It's just paper!!
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