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Marco Raugei | profile | all galleries >> Technique >> Monitor calibration tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Monitor calibration

Colour management (part 1): Monitor calibration

On a properly calibrated monitor, the central square below should be the same shade of grey as the background;
at the same time, the eight dark and eight light steps on either side should be clearly distinguishable.
Monitor Calibration

Before calibrating the monitor, start by selecting the factory default values for "Brightness", "Contrast" and "Colour temperature" via the On Screen Display (OSD) controls of your monitor.

How to calibrate your monitor:
By eye - Least precise method, but still better than nothing; requires basic calibration software, e.g. Adobe gamma
Software calibration - Much better and more consistent results; requires a measurement device ("spider"), e.g. ColorVision Spyder, Eye One Display,
Hardware calibration - Best and most precise results; requires a high-end monitor with proprietary software (e.g. EIZO Color Navigator) and a measurement device ("spider")

Colour Temperature
5000 K - Classical "pre-press" setting (useful to approximate printed results, but often subjectively a little too yellow)
5500 K - Best subjective match to prints viewed under bright gallery lighting (also, perfect correspondance to Daylight balanced slide film)
6500 K - sRGB standard (useful to approximate average web viewing conditions, but often a little too blue to closely match printed results)
9300 K - Native (uncalibrated) colour temperature of many low-end LCD screens (looks "bright" but is WAY too blue for any serious work)

Gamma
1.8 - Old "pre-press" standard for MACs, now superseded by 2.2
2.2 - sRGB standard, now universally accepted for both PCs and MACs

Luminance (= white level)
80 cd/m2 - Classical "pre-press" setting, works well for computer work in dim rooms, and corresponds to prints viewed in relatively subdued lighting (often a little dim-looking on modern LCD screens)
~ 100 cd/m2 - Best subjective match to prints viewed under bright gallery lighting
120 cd/m2 or more - Suitable for general computer work in bright rooms, but best avoided for critical photography work (too bright with respect to printed output)

Black level
= Luminance / 250 - Set so as to reproduce a 250:1 contrast ratio (R), which corresponds to the maximum Density range (Dmax = log(R) = 2.40) that is attainable in glossy C-prints (Inkjet and matte prints often have lower Dmax)

To sum up, my recommended monitor calibration target settings are:

- Colour Temp: 5500 K
- Gamma: 2.2
- Luminance: 100 cd/m2
- Black level: 0.4 cd/m2
Monitor calibration
Monitor calibration