2013-01-04

Calibration Made Easy

If you've ever printed images yourself, then there have probably been occasions when the colours of your print don’t match those on your computer screen. You probably blamed the printer, but it’s more likely that the screen itself is the culprit. As photographers we invest lots of time, effort and money to capture brilliant shots, but without investing in a colour calibration device, we may be destined for a lifetime of disappointment.



View images correctly & make accurate adjustments



A colour calibration device is an essential tool for the photographer. It allows you to calibrate your display so that the images you view are an accurate representation of the images you've taken. All display devices handle colour differently and if you've never calibrated your monitor or laptop, you can’t be sure that the images you’re working with are being displayed correctly. This means that you could well be spending time making adjustments that are at best unnecessary, and at worst, detrimental to your work. At the same time, you’re not seeing the full potential of your camera, and if you are printing images you’re unlikely to get the results you want or expect.

I don’t really need one, do I?



Using a colour calibration device is a vital step for any photographer, and will help you achieve a colour managed workflow. This means you can correctly view you images on your display and only make corrections that are necessary, rather than spending time brightening your images, for example, simply because your monitor is set too dark
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Quick & Easy Setup



Using a calibration device is quick and easy. Whilst setup varies by model, essentially you just install the software and launch the calibration tool. You’ll be prompted to attach the calibration device to your screen, and the software will display a variety of colour swatches on your display. The device records how the colours are displayed on your screen whilst the software compares the results with the original file to determine how your display handles colour. Finally, it automatically adjusts your display to ensure the best match and optimise your viewing conditions. The process normally takes just a few minutes and you’ll then be prompted to save the newly created profile. Since your monitor’s display characteristics will change over time, it’s good practice to re-calibrate your screen on a regular basis. Most calibration tools will remind you on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, according to your personal preference.

Finally, since the way we view images will vary greatly depending on the prevailing lighting conditions, it’s best to be in the same room and under consistent lighting conditions when you are viewing or manipulating your images. Alternatively, create separate profiles for daylight and artificial lighting and use these when needed.


Professional displays for the ultimate quality



The quality of your images can only be as good as the quality of your setup, so as well as calibrating your screen, you may wish to consider a professional monitor. These offer superior quality to regular monitors supplied with computers and laptop display panels. They offer a broader colour gamut, typically displaying around 98% of the Adobe RGB colour space, which itself is superior to the sRGB colour space that most computers use, notably in cyan and greens. Some models also offer in-built calibration and ambient lighting adjustment, changing the display to reflect the prevailing lighting conditions. Park Cameras offer a wide range of monitors from BenQ, EIZO, and NEC.


Spyder vs Munki?



Park Cameras offer a wide range of colour calibration devices. Popular models include the Spyder range, whilst the X-Rite ColorMunki series will profile a wide variety of devices including displays, projectors and printers.

Park Cameras' Top Colour Calibration Tips

  • Invest in a colour calibration device to profile your display correctly
  • Use it on a regular basis – most software provides reminders
  • Profile your printer to get the results your images deserve and avoid wasting paper and ink
  • Try and maintain consistent lighting conditions when profiling your display and working with your images

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