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freeware monitor calibration software?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by nailbrush, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    All I can say to that, is I can see a difference

    And of course the examples I used we much simplified.

    In the case of contrast I hardly ever use the contrast slider in my raw editor. Instead I use the curve tool, so it's more about be deciding where to put the contrast (highlights, mid tones and/or shadows) than just moving the contrast slider down a bit.

    Similarly with saturation - I am more likely to adjust the saturation of a couple of colours than use the saturation or vibrancy slider.

    With WB it's much as Glenn said above - I am not after total colour accuracy as such, it's more that I will tweak the WB to give me the look I want- and that might not be exactly on any of the in-camera WB settings.
  2. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    I know this is drifting further and further away from the OP's question....



    I just did a little experiment. I opened up a photo of mine from earlier in the year in the Canon DPP software. The reason I did this is that the canon app can be set up to convert my raw using the exact same algorithms and settings as in-camera jpg. So I could replicate what the shot would have been like if I'd shot it jpg in the first place.

    So the top image below is the best I could have got from an in-camera jpg. And remember I spent 2 or 3 mins doing this on a nice big monitor, so have probably got a better result than if I was playing with the in-camera settings, and trying to review them on the tiny screen on the back of my camera.

    The bottom pic is what it looked like when I edited up from the raw

    To my eye there is a significant different between the two.

  3. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    For those who wonder if it is worthwhile:

    Simple test - open up a jpeg in windows view and print a copy from there.
    now open the same image in photoshop and choose to let photoshop manage the colours, then print from there.
    They will not look the same, because Windows calibration for colour is not very good - it is a generalised scheme which is nowhere near as good as Photoshop.

    Take the same shots to a high street processor and get it printed - what is the outcome there?

    The same goes for monitors. If you choose the varying output schemes within photoshop, the image onscreen changes drastically. Which is right? Unless your monitor is correctly calibrated, there is no way to ensure that the prints you send off for printing, or the A4 you print at home will resemble what is on your screen. calibrate the monitor, then you know that it is not part of the problem.
    Then look at Photoshop etc and see which of the schemes resembles your printed shot the most (if printed elsewhere) and choose that to work in. adjust the brightness of your monitor to reflect the shot, and you will get a far better idea of what calibration is capable of.
    It is even more important if two people on differnt computers will ever work on the picture. My wife sits at her PC with a Samsung 24" monitor, a great bit of kit, but it shows the colour differently than mine, which is a 30" NEC. Calibrating them to show the same colours means that if either of us changes one of our images, it is visible properly to both of us, and doesn't look weird on one monitor or when printed.

    In short, it is a very worthwhile exercise. I don't know of any freeware software but you could always do it by eye, which may not be as efficient, takes more time, but is possible. Good luck.
  4. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    I'm amazed there is any discussion as to whether monitors are pre-calibrated and as to whether they hold their calibration.

    They aren't, and they don't. Calibration has to be re-done if the lighting in the room changes as this affects the way the eye perceives colour and darker tones in the image.

    Incorrect monitor calibration is the prime cause of web images being too dark / too light / having the wrong colour balance. As others have said, there is no way that you can expect to get consistent results from a printer unless you edit your images with a well calibrated monitor. And all that is assuming that your camera & printer are set up correctly, the image is properly exposed in the first place and the settings on the camera are near enough right.

    Shooting RAW makes camera settings of contrast, colour balance, sharpness etc. more or less irrelevant, but that's another story.

    I'm unaware of any calibration method that doesn't use hardware, and the hardware tends to come with its own software (at least if you're a windoze or apple addict). Stick to what comes in the box unless you really, really, really know what you're doing.
  5. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    Absolutely BJB. To anyone who is not convinced about the benefits of calibration, be it monitor, printer/paper/ink combination, camera, scanner etc. then ask yourself this. Have you ever adjusted the brightness or contrast controls on your monitor? Have ever been into the menu settings and changed anything there? If so you now have a monitor that needs calibration and profiling, and even if the answer is "no" then it is unlikely that the calibration is correct.

    All that profiling does is produce a set of adjustments that get applied to the device that ensures that the colour captured by your camera and displayed on your monitor and printed on your printer/paper/ink combination is the same.

    A brand new monitor will never display the same colour as your camera captured unless both are calibrated and profiled to produce the same result. When I bought my brand new monitor and switched it on I thought "wow that looks terrific" at which point I calibrated it and produced a profile. At the end of the process you are able to switch between "before" and "after" views and the difference was noticeable, still terrific but different. The calibration software reminds me to re-calibrate at monthly intervals. After each re-calibration you can see a difference in the before and after check. Monitors change in their gamma and spectral response over time.
  6. Mosstrooper

    Mosstrooper Well-Known Member

    These disertations I have read are very informative as far as I understand them. From my own point of view, I simply do not have enough lifetime left to make the studies you have made, and are still making, so the decision I have made is getting out and taking pictures is the number one pleasure, the one's that look nice I keep, the one's that don't get discarded. If I buy a Computer system, I get something that can display a good picture, I rely on the Maker to supply me with something of good standard that does not require me to reconfigure everything about the system. If I buy a Printer to attach to that system, I rely on the Printer Maker to supply me with a machine of good standard that can "talk" to my Computer and produce a print of good standard, straight out of the box, I do not want to investigate all the 3rd Party offerings that tell me the Printer I bought is somehow lacking.

    To return for a moment to what we see on screen and in print, namely the Judges top 30 selection for the APOY competition, every single picture chosen looks on my Uncalibrated Screen to be completely Fried, Overcooked and very unpleasant to look at. Am I to take it that my screen is so far out I should just dump it, or is it the perfectly Calibrated Screens of the Judges and Entrants that need looking at.
  7. Norman

    Norman Well-Known Member

    You are, of course, perfectly at liberty to ignore the advice given here and even believe that it is false. Before doing so, however, take a read of this single page explanation and if you still do not understand/believe the difference it can make then ignore away. :)
  8. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    Again that's just a personal choice. I've been tweaking the manufacturers setting on PCs for 20 years to get the best out of them. Oh the good old dos days of editing autoexec.bat fikes on old DOS pcs in the early 90'a.... sigh :)

    All PC's, printers and cameras are set up to be ok for the "average" user. I just understand that I am not him!

    Almost certainly neither.

    Either you are seeing them (by chance) as they were intended to be seen, or you are not.

    If it's the first then the fact you don't like them has no bearing on anyone's calibrations, it's just that you like different things than the judges and photographers. Nothing wrong in that. I hate Macaroni cheese.... but loads of people love it.

    In the second case, then they look so cooked because you have the contrast and saturation setting on your monitor turned up too far (possibly because that's how the manufacturer set them because the average user likes punchy looking screens) 5 mins with a calibration tool would correct that.
  9. Mosstrooper

    Mosstrooper Well-Known Member

    I'm not basing my opinion on what I see on a Screen, I'm looking at the Images printed in the AP Magazine, they look awful with all the faults I see images panned for in our Appraisal section. I have not made any kind of adjustments to my Monitor, its still the way it came from the shop.
  10. PhilW

    PhilW Well-Known Member

    In that case it's probably just a taste thing as the judges will probably be judging on the same view you have

    As mentioned above - that will have no correlation to whether it is set correctly for viewing photographs.
  11. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Well, I've taken this thread to heart, and just ordered a Spyder 3 Pro for Windows 7 from Amazon.

    For years I have been using the ColorVision ColorPlus. However, when I switched to a 64 bit system it continued to work, but couldn't reload the profile after a hibernate or reboot, so I had to recalibrate every time I planned an editing session. :mad:

    As a result, I now have a huge backlog of printing to get through, and although the difference on my new screen is not great, I have been making temporary tweaks just before printing to get the right output, if I have just been doing a one-off job.

    Actually, the cost of sub-standard prints needing reprinting would soon have exceeded the cost of the Spyder 3 Pro, I suspect, as I tend only to print A3+.
  12. DaveS

    DaveS Well-Known Member

    And to use an analogy, if you bought a Steinway Grand (For the price of a very nice car) would you ass-u-me it to be perfectly tuned? And would you expect it to stay in tune forever?

    If the answer to both those questions is yes then there is no hope left

  13. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    If you are talking about the images on this page of the AP Galleries ?

    You have of course answered your own question.

    On your uncalibrated screen they look

    On my calibrated monitor they look perfectly okay.

    So... where do you think the problem is?

    Must be your monitor. Although rather than wasting a shed load of money on buying a new monitor, just get the one already have profiled!
  14. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    They look fine on my (uncalibrated) monitor.....just like they look in the magazine.
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    This is a test to see if a web browser is colour managed. It has images in it created in different colour spaces which, by a stretch of the imagination, could be considered the impact of editing photos on an uncalibrated monitor and then printing or displaying on another.

    To see the positive results of the test needs a colour managed browser (I was surprised to find that IE9 seems to be colour managed)


    The best demonstration is halfway down the page.
  16. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    Discontentment on the web regarding IE9 revolves around the fact that it ignores the monitor profile, and merely converts non sRGB images to sRGB. That'd work fine on most laptops, but if you have a wide-gamut monitor or even a standard monitor with a strong colour spike it's a poor solution.

    I forget if I tested this, but you could obviously check it Pete on your NEC by comparing Firefox to IE.
  17. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Thanks for reminding me I had completely forgotten. I was suprised IE9 responded at all to the tests. Firefox (once set up) works properly. The link was an attempt to show that colours could render differently on different monitors given the thread discussion but it wasn't a very good example.
  18. john_g

    john_g Well-Known Member

    I've always got by without calibrating my monitor, but only because I can't afford the expense and seem to be able to get satisfactory (which might not mean accurate!) results without it.

    I'd be interested in peoples' views regarding another way of tackling the issues being discussed here... I recently needed to take some photos of Christmas cards that had been made by a group I've been involved with. These were for publication in a charity magazine, so I wanted to get the exposure and colour balance right. I could have paid to use a calibrated computer & monitor station at The Printspace, a photographic printing company in London which I'm a big fan of. But, instead, I spent under £20 on a collapsible "grey card", the Lastolite Ezybalance 12%. This allowed me to set my camera's colour balance and exposure correctly, and the results in print look as accurate as I could hope for. Do you think this is a valid alternative approach, albeit that there will be situations where it cannot be used?

    I guess one obvious objection will be that I'm not controlling anything other than at the mid-point, but does anyone ever fiddle with colour balance separately for shadows and highlights? In terms of exposure, the Lastolite includes small areas of black and white which are intended to allow eye-dropper selection for black and white values in Photoshop, but I didn't find this particularly helpful.

    The 12% (rather than the traditional 18%) is calculated to place the exposure at the '128' mid-point of the camera's histogram.

  19. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    Not really because all you're doing there essentially is neutralising colour - you're not describing the colour produced by your camera, which is the difference between calibration and profiling. You can apply the same idea to a monitor - white point deals with the colour or temperature of white but it's the profile that enables you to rely upon what you're seeing in terms of non-neutral colours.

    Yes, people do sometimes colour-correct highlights, mid-tones, and shadows, although colour casts in highlights are far more noticeable than they are in shadow areas. You can do this kind of thing in Photoshop by the numbers even if you have an awful monitor, but the problem would be that you wouldn't be able to rely on the appearance of your colours being consistent with anything else.
  20. blindluck

    blindluck Well-Known Member

    Excuse me if i am mentioning something that may have already been said. (I only read the first few posts then skimmed the rest:p)

    Sadly I have other commitments so I can no longer attend, but the camera club I was going to join had a number of bits of hardware they loaned to members. Maybe an idea?

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