Please help me calibrate my monitors
November 2, 2012 11:10 AM   Subscribe

For editing photography: How do I calibrate these two screens: My iPad (I realize I'm just setting brightness here), and the monitor connected to my Mac (the Mac prefs calibration instructions don't work for me at all). Is there an excellent reference image out there I can use to calibrate my screens?

My iPad is an iPad 3: I have it set to Auto-Brightness OFF. How bright should I set brightness?

My Mac Monitor is an Envision H190L. Not that it matters for this question, but the resolution is 1280x1024. I desperately need help calibrating this sucker.
posted by 2oh1 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your best bet is going to be using a colorimeter. Spyder actually has an app to use their Spyder3 and Spyder4 colorimeters on the iPad. I don't think you're going to really be able to calibrate the screens using just the brightness on the iPad.
posted by sgo at 11:22 AM on November 2, 2012

For the iPad, all I'm trying to do is properly set the brightness for editing photography. I should have made that more clear. Color accuracy-wise, the iPad 3 screen is superb.

I don't have access to a colormeter, so I'm hoping for an excellent reference image.
posted by 2oh1 at 11:31 AM on November 2, 2012

A search for "monitor calibration image" turned up this page, which has some pretty good ones about half way down.

However, if you're even remotely serious, I would very strongly recommend an X-Rite or Spyder colorimeter. They also seriously help to set brightness. Having an impartial piece of equipment that can give absolute measurements helps to ensure that your imaging equipment is as accurate as possible.
posted by Magnakai at 11:48 AM on November 2, 2012

i1Display Pro

Forget about a reference image. It's not going to cut it. If you want a color correct display you have to use the right tool to calibrate it.
posted by eatcake at 11:52 AM on November 2, 2012

To do this without spending money, print an image (or a few images) out from your printer or whatever place you have your images printed. Match the color on the printout to the color on the monitor.

Obviously, this doesn't work if you do photography for a living. It's not technically "right." But what you see on your monitor will match what you see on paper, so you can focus on actual photography and not on equipment, which people spend WAY too much time arguing about. And it saves you $150 to $200.
posted by cnc at 1:05 PM on November 2, 2012

I don't do photography for a living. It's strictly a hobby. I'm just trying to get my monitor as close to its optimal settings as I can get it, in terms of using it for image editing.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:31 PM on November 2, 2012

From your question, I think it's apparent that you don't know what color management is (that's ok, neither did I until I started getting into digital photography). The short answer is that there is no 'correct' brightness for any display - it will vary significantly depending on the environment, especially the intensity and color of ambient and reflected light. I have a calibrated display with a Spider 3, and there's a huge difference in the profiles (i.e. calibration settings) depending on the room of my house and time of day.
So, what you really need to know is whether or not your display is calibrated to your output - that may be the same screen, a different screen (different computer or a stranger's computer on the internet), or a printer (your own, or Walmart, or a photo lab). That's really the only context in which there's a 'correct' brightness. A colorimeter creates a 'standard' output - so if your display is calibrated, and mine is calibrated, the image will look exactly the same. And if the company printing has a calibrated printer (Walmart may or may not, a photo lab definitely will) then your print should have the same brightness and colors as your display. But if you put an image on Flickr or Facebook, most people don't have a calibrated display, and it will probably look different (too bright or dark, too yellow or blue, too red or green) than your screen, even if it was calibrated.
So that was my short answer - Andrew Rodney is an expert, and if you click on the Tips section of the website, there are many 'introduction to color management' articles that can give you the detailed version, much better than I could.
Good luck. It's a pain to learn and get set up, but if you care about your pictures, and especially your prints, it's an essential part of the process.
posted by jhs at 8:01 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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