What’s Harder Monitor Calibration… or Not?


by Brenda K. Hipsher – December 6th, 2012

I often see people shrug when asked why they don’t calibrate their monitor.  It’s clear to me that people think its just too hard.  Truthfully that used to be the case. But no more. Let’s look at some of the ways that NOT using monitor calibration makes life harder for you.

1. That’s Not What I Shot!

When color is “off” in a photograph sometimes that’s not immediately apparent. But what we immediately notice is how we “FEEL” about the picture. When the colors are off, even by a little bit, we often look at the image and we just don’t get the same feeling we had when we snapped the shutter on the camera. Calibrating your monitor means that your monitor is set to produce the colors as exactly as possible whether they were captured on a camera, an image  you’re viewing online, or the footage you see in a video editing program. And image that is too Red looks dull and brownish. An image that is too magenta may seem red or pink. And green… well you just don’t want to see green and blue in a skin tone. It brings up memories of zombie films in your youth.

2. Prints Too Dark From Your Lab

Do you really need the aggravation of getting back the prints from your lab and seeing they’re all too dark?  Now they have to be sent back. Maybe you even have to pay extra to have them “corrected.”  The prints look just fine on your monitor but the prints are just too dark.  This is often caused by a monitor that is simply too bright.  When we buy a computer monitor the luminance is turned way up and the contrast is often high as well.  The monitor looks “better” for surfing the net, reading email, looking at movies and YouTube.  But when you’re correcting images for print output from digital files, your luminance level and contrast must be set properly. If your monitor is too bright you’ll darken the image until it looks good on your screen. But the lab is color managed and that includes contrast and luminance. Even if your lab routinely tries to correct images that are sent too dark, lightening a JPEG image degrades it and causes the histogram to go from looking like a smooth curve to one with gashes out of it. This phenomenon is so common it’s called “combing” because the histogram ends up looking like a comb! The bottom line is you want to see the image on your monitor the same way the lab will see it.

3. Wasted Time, Paper, and Ink

If you’re making your own prints you know what it can be like. You have an image on your monitor that looks GREAT!  You make the print and well… not so much on the looking great on the print.  So you shift the color, contrast, and luminance of the image on the screen so that the image on the paper looks better. It looks worse on the screen now of course.  And you print another. The print is better but still not quite there. So you do it again. Whoops! Overshot it… now the print AND the monitor look bad.  And all the while the sheets of expensive paper full of even more expensive ink are going into your garbage can. Estimates are that for every 8×10 inkjet print you put into your wastebasket you just threw way $4.00. And you’ve just wasted an hour of your time with nothing to show for it but a waste can full of color prints.

So what’s the answer?  Simple. Color management solutions by X-Rite.

X-Rite has color management solutions for everyone from folks who only view images on a computer monitor, to photographers who send their files to labs, to photographers who make their own prints right in their studio or office. There’s something for everyone.

X-Rite ColorMunki familyThe ColorMunki Family includes ColorMunki Photo, ColorMunki Display, and ColorMunki Smile. Each solution is specifically tailored to your needs. Learn more about the ColorMunki Family of color management solutions at www.xritephoto.com.  Download the latest full line brochure [CLICK HERE] and let us know if you have questions. Leave your comment here and we’ll do our best to help you decide which ColorMunki is YOUR ColorMunki!


If you want the versatility of i1Profiler software look at the i1 Family of color management solutions. From the portable i1Display Pro for monitors and projectors to the new i1Photo Pro 2 and i1Publish Pro 2 with the most innovative hand held spectrophotometer on the market i1 Family has tools for photographers and videographers. Special features in the advanced mode of i1Profiler software include the ability to make monitor profiles with video settings NTSC, PAL-SECAM, and Rec. 709. Download the latest full line brochure [CLICK HERE]. Leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer your questions about the i1 Family.

For a complete comparison of X-Rite color management solutions for digital photographers and videographers [CLICK HERE].

X-Rite Color Perfectionists Unite!Keep  up to date on all the ways you can Stop Guessing and Start Knowing by reading the X-Rite Photo blog. Follow @xritephoto on Twitter, “Like” X-Rite Photo on Facebook, and now check us out on Google +. Let your inner color perfectionist out and start saving time and money with color management solutions from X-Rite.

Categories: Monitor Calibration | Tags: , , , ,

5 responses to “What’s Harder Monitor Calibration… or Not?”

  1. Jim says:

    Just got an X-Rite promo email with the subject line: Your Invited: Take control of your monitor, printer and camera! ‘


  2. Beach Cruz says:

    Hi Brenda. I have an important question about the i1 Display Pro and an honest accurate answer would help clear up much confusion. Is the “X-rite branded” i1 Display Pro calibrated the same as the “NEC branded” i1 Display Pro and will the X-rite and NEC i1 Display Pro colorimeters perform equivalent Calibrations of a NEC PA271W-BK Monitor when both are using the newest version of NEC Spectraview II software.

    X-rite has stated that the X-rite branded i1 Display Pro Colorimeter is compatible with NEC Spectraview II software. Does that mean fully compatible and with the same ability to perform the same as the “NEC branded” i1 Display Pro if both are calibrating a NEC PA271W-BK Monitor when using Spectraview II software? I have also read that the “NEC branded” i1 Display Pro is only compatible for use with Spectraview software and NEC Monitors.

    • Brenda K. Hipsher says:

      Lucky for you we specialize in “honest and accurate” answers. Your questions are very simple.

      “Is the “X-rite branded” i1 Display Pro calibrated the same as the “NEC branded” i1 Display Pro?” I assume you’re asking me if they are the same hardware and the answer is yes.

      “[W]ill the X-rite and NEC i1 Display Pro colorimeters perform equivalent Calibrations of a NEC PA271W-BK Monitor when both are using the newest version of NEC Spectraview II software.” Yes.

      “I have also read that the “NEC branded” i1 Display Pro is only compatible for use with Spectraview software and NEC Monitors.”
      This is correct.

      Have a look at this blog post from November 2011 that will detail the same information: http://blog.xritephoto.com/?p=5346

      Let us know if you have any other questions. We’ll do our best to answer them.
      Brenda K. Hipsher

  3. Andreas says:

    What ist the best way to check the fresh calibrated crt-monitor? (I own a DTP94B)

    • Brenda K. Hipsher says:

      Our i1Profiler software gives you the option to run a Quality Assurance check after a profile has been created. This software is available with our i1Display Pro colorimeter solutions and our i1Basic Pro 2, i1Photo Pro 2, and i1Publish Pro 2 spectrophotometer solutions. This is one of the new features available with these new solutions using the i1Profiler software.
      Brenda K. Hipsher

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