Which Calibration System & Software????

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jeffrey_weiss, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. I know this basic question has been asked on this forum, but it's been some time and products keep
    changing & I just want to be sure to benefit from anybody's experience that might be able to offer some
    advice on this topic.

    I just bought an Apple Cinema Display 23" and want to be sure I have it calibrated as well as possible.
    I first attempted this with a Spyer2Pro that I already owned and found the results to be bad. The tonal
    range was strange, but most obvious was a blueish/greenish color cast in neutral areas.

    I just tried the demo ColorEyes Display Pro to see how that might work with my Spder2. It seems much
    better. Lots more detail than everything I tried so far, but still doesn't seem neutral when I view grey scale
    gradients and many images I have coming directly from my 5D.

    Can anybody tell me what would be the best tool for this monitor? I could, of course pay for the ColorEye
    Display pro software, but I'm not certain it's as good as can be. I could buy the ColorEyes Display
    ProDTP-94 with the X-rite calibrator. I just wonder if it will be that much better to warrant the $325.

    Then there's the Monaco Optix XR which can be found fairly cheaply, but are they being discontinued???
    I wonder about support, etc.

    Then there's the Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display2.

    Note: I have set the luminance level to 100 prior to calibrating & I am calibrating in a dark room.

    Any info much appreciated, especially geared towards the newer Apple Cinema Displays.

  2. I use ColorEyes Display Pro with the DTP-94 and it's by far the best calibration I've ever
    achieved. I use L* gamma, 100 cd/m^2, D65. I have the Cinema Display 23", late 2004
    model (the models with the infamous pink cast, which ColorEyes Display Pro completely
    eliminates). It's the brushed aluminum enclosure type.

    ColorEyes Display Pro lets you view a gray ramp and set extra calibration points at places
    where there is a color cast. You might want to try that. The calibrator will spend extra time
    at the user-defined gray ramp points, to make sure the color is neutral there.
  3. Monaco Optix XR is a great solution. It's now part of X-Rite calibrating suite. Eye-One Display 2 is another one I would recommend.
    Optix XR was recently available on eBay for $140. Check it out. AS far as ColorEyes, I never tried it, but I've heard it does nice job with Mac screens.
  4. there have been many postings recently on this topic. Apparently the only software that can do the job correctly on apple screens is the ColorEyes. Please search posts from last week to get further information.
  5. I disagree with the notion that the only software that can do calibration and profiling
    correctly is ColorEyes. It's a very good system, but I'm using an Eye One Display 2 unit with
    the latest iMatch software and getting a perfect match between screen (ACD 23") and printer

  6. I think you have everything you need. You won't get much more by throwing buying a whole
    new calibration system. When you used the spyder, did you turn off the room lights? that's
    the best way to do it. Try that. Even though the newer software has a compensation
    adjustment for room light, the best calibration happens in the dark. You might even
    consider getting a hood for your screen if you are absolutely in need of the highest degree of
    surety, that way you won't get the glare of room light of a different color temp interfering
    with your view of the screen. Try the calibrating in the dark if you haven't already.
  7. Godfrey, I wonder if what is meant is, that on some of the newer screens, particularly the
    iMac 24" the problem is NOT color calibration per se, but the fact that the screen brightness
    won't adjust sufficiantly down for accurate over all tonal adjustment. Just too bright,
    therefore the prints are too dark. Color eyes allows a software control of screen brightness
    that the others don't seem to. Other than that, i use spyder 2 program and the color is quite
    accurate, I just have to add a gamma control program to bring down the brightness to match
    the printer.
  8. Barry,

    I just haven't found this to be the case. I've calibrated screens on several different Apple
    systems, including new iMacs, and gotten satisfactory results.

  9. Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display2. I haven't used ColroEyes but I have used Colrovision and
    Monaco. The Monaco will still be supported if bought new and it's a fine product.

    Actually Monaco AND Gretag-Macbeth are officially no more as both companies have been
    combined under the X-Rite corporate umbrella.
  10. Godfrey, maybe on your calibration system that works better than the Spyder for that. I found that the color I get on the 24" iMac is correct, its just that by itself, the screen brightness won't adjust down far enough to match the brightness of the Epson 2200 I use as there's no brightness adjustment in Spyder's software. I think this is an issue effecting basically the 24" model w/the Spyder. But maybe I'm doing something wrong?

    Anyways, I just have this little program I use when I'm going to go to print that brings the brightness of the screen down to where it matches the printer and with the Spyder 2 pro calibration, it works very well. And the prints match the screen very very closely. I have a friend who is using the 24" for his photo business of primarily making photo enlargements for commercial use. He loves the brightness of the screen and works with it at full brightness. Since he's done literally hundreds of prints since getting his iMac 24", and its now replaced the G5 towers he used before, and since he uses it all day, every day to adjust, post-process and then print on Large Format Epson printers, the big ones, he says he's just learned to eyeball the brightness difference between the screen and the printers, just adjusts in his head, and he's always dead bang on. He also uses the Spyder 2 I believe and he is quite happy w/the accuracy of the color he gets and accuracy is really important in his work.
  11. Barry,

    When I was looking for a calibration system, my engineering colleagues at Apple doing the
    graphics/monitors work recommended I stay away from the ColorVision Spyder and go
    with the Eye One Display unit. They'd had problems with the Spyders in terms of
    inconsistent results and poor adjustability. Their pick was the Eye One Display device and
    software, which is why I bought it. That was a couple of years before the iMac 24" became
    available, or the current version of the ColorVision unit, so I cannot offer any assessment
    of the Spyder at present.

    But it sounds like it was good advice from what you've said. I don't believe I should have to
    do any further adjustment to my print process after I calibrate and profile a screen. If I do,
    that says to me that the calibration/profiling process was deficient.

  12. Thanks for all the input on this- since I've tired & tried to use the Spyder2 (yes, in a dark
    room) and most seem to like the Eye One Display 2 & it will still be supported unlike the
    Monaco Optix XR, & the ColorEyes package is a bit more expensive than the Eye One.

    It could be that I have a bad Spyder2 device, but I have to move on & try another.

    thanks Jeff
  13. Jeff,

    In a dark room, the screen will look unnaturally bright and that can easily throw off your
    eye when making adjustments, making printing look dark. I calibrate and use my system
    in normal room light ... no direct light hitting the screen, of course, but normal ambient
    illumination (a couple of 60W bulb equivalents in an 8x12' room with light walls).

    This could be a significant part of why prints look somewhat off color or dark.

  14. Godfrey, the Spyder 2 Software recommends a dark room, or at least no siginifcant glare on the screen from an external lightsource. They've recently upgraded the software to allow compensation for room light. I've also heard that the color eyes software used w/the Spyder 2 device works really good too, allowing you to set your screen brightness.
  15. Sorry Barry.

    Working in a darkened room with a bright monitor does not make my eyes happy, and I
    find most adjustments I make in that kind of environment are out of kilter when I print.
    Working in normal room light, not blindingly lit of course and with no glare on my screen,
    produces far better results.

    The difference is in what works well for your eyes, not monitor calibration or print profile.
    It's your eyes that must ultimately arrive at the right balance on screen, and doing that in
    too dark a room throws them off.

  16. Godfrey, sorry, I didn't make it clear. Only darkened when you calibrate, not when you work, it has to do with the Spyder 2 Pro and its software. You work in normal light, better if same colour temp as your monitor is set for. Also hoods are nice to reduce screen glare. Nice yet expensive solution? Not glary light, basic nice soft illumination with a hood over your monitor to prevent glare and a light viewer, often attached with your printer on top that drops the print right into the viewer (basically box with measured light at the same color temp as your monitor). At least that's how our school does it, but then they actually have a nice budget. Its a pretty good work flow.
  17. Jeffrey,

    There seem to be very few solid comparisons of monitor calibration hardware-software packages available.
    Here are three I have turned up, and only the first one is truly rigorous.It is the work of A. Sharma, at Western Michigan University, published in the Seybold report, Janvier 2005:

    However, the field experience of graphics professionals may be as useful, or even more useful. See here:

    Finally, it seems that users of LaCie BlueEyePro are very loyal to it, and lesNumeriques.com seem to have the data to back up their loyalty, even though those data do not really agree with A. Sharma's results:

    Finally, consider the inherent qualities of your monitor: see lesNumeriques.com, Flatpanels.dk, and possibly Anandtech for in depth technical reviews.
  18. Jeffrey, what targets have you used in your software?

    As a very subjective opinion I would say Spyder2 is a better colorimeter than eye one. And I believe Spyder2 Pro, Coloreyes and Basiccolor are better software than Match3. At least as far as diagnostics and troubleshooting are concerned.

    Give us some numbers - what don't you like about what the software was achieving? Maybe the targets were unrealistic? Perhaps you just could't achieve the targets? How does validation look? You've got tools to deal with all of that.
  19. Please note that my formatting of links in my previous post introduces extraneous characters at the end of the url. You will need to strip those characters to get to the right page. Sorry.

    Also, pay attention to the dates on the reviews I sent: two of them are two years old, and none of the three takes into account recent changes to Colorvision software.

    Regarding ColorVision software (Spyder2): there are large differences between the three versions of the software (Express, Suite, and Pro)in the number of adjustments that are available. Contrary to what has been stated, brightness and contrast control are available, but only in the Pro version.
  20. Where in the pro version Spyder? I have it and didn't come across it.
  21. When reaching the 'select luminance mode' page, select 'measured' instead of 'visual' (meaning: measured luminance). The next page will allow you to enter a white luminance, and a black luminance number. You then proceed as usual, going through the often lengthy (IMO) process of getting temperature just right. During that stage, as you fiddle back and forth with the RGB controls, you also pay attention to white luminance, and try to get it close the target you entered earlier.
    Then, later on in the adjustment process, you will be presented with a page that does not show up when you use 'visual luminance mode': the 'adjust luminance' page, where you make fine adjustment using the backlight (brightness) control on the monitor.
    LCD displays are typically absurdly bright for editing. I have found that this is the only reliable way to get good color calibration at lower brightness (110 white luminance, 0.3 black luminance). Consider contacting ColorVision support, who has been very helpful to me as recently as last month.

    Found in another thread: Shootsmarter.com has monitors and calibrators reviews too. However, they only consider full-fledged professional set-ups (read: expensive overkill for the amateur). I can't help remembering that in the 2005 Seybold paper, the inexpensive Profile Mechanic won out over much more expensive systems. Of course, a number of improvements have been made to some of the others since then.
  22. Thanx Luke, I'll take a look. It sounds similar to the color eyes I just got and maybe didn't need to.
  23. Yeah Luke thanx, however, on the iMac 24" the luminance cannot be brought down by the brightness control sufficiantly for a proper calibration. I found what you are talking about and actually I had to use a 3rd party utility (Shades) to enable brightness down to the 110L I wanted. Color eyes will actually some of that in software, but the result I got was awful. Spyder plus Shade right now is doing the trick though Iwill play with coloreyes more, since I already spent 199 bucks for it or whatever it was.
  24. Barry,

    Just curious. Have you checked the Universal Access setting is
    set to normal? Just learning OS X and read about this last week.
    It's funny why Apple put a contrast setting separate from the
    brightness slider.
  25. I have not played with an Apple display, but keep in mind that most, if not all of the reduction in brightness is best done by setting your RGB sliders at the low end, and balancing the three of them down at that low end. At that stage of the calibration process, there is no need to touch the backlight.Later on, the backlight may need to be lowered some to reach, say, 100 cd/m2.

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