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OreoCookie Jan 4, 2008 06:17 AM
two calibrated screens, different results
I've calibrated both, my ProBook's screen and the external Samsung 213T at work. I'm in the middle of finishing a wedding book for friends of mine (I was the `official' wedding photographer). Now I have noticed that photos on both screens don't look the same, even though both have been calibrated recently.

Is that a limitation of my ProBook's screen (the separators in iTunes, for instance, are very faint while they are clearly visible on external screens)? Does this mean I should do all color-sensitive work on my external screen?
iranfromthezoo Jan 4, 2008 10:26 PM

I did some minor research on the topic and I found through other message boards that color accuracy with the 21" model and certain video cards presented a problem with the monitor being calibrated correctly. If you don't mind me quoting a in depth review from heres what it says about the color on the Samsung.

The overall color representation of the 213T is acceptable, but not amazing. The Spyder2 showed us that the monitor at 100% brightness was producing about 228 cdm/2, a bit below the advertised brightness. As far as color accuracy is concerned the 213T did a pretty good job, though like many LCD monitors it had trouble producing reds accurately. This will not effect most users but if you are into graphic design you will probably want to get a tool like the Spyder2 in order to calibrate it properly. The use of DVI, which meant the colors could not be changed with the OSD, left the monitor looking cool and bluish before calibration and a bit warm and reddish afterwards. These issues can be more or less fixed with calibration but the color accuracy on the 213T is not the best out there.
OreoCookie Jan 5, 2008 04:50 AM
Both have been calibrated with a Spyder 2 (and the Express software), that's the problem. But I think the number of colors that the external screen can display is just larger … 

I think your hint about the reds is pointing in the right direction, though, visually, the difference is most noticeable with skin tones.

So after a recalibration, should I rather trust the external display with its larger displayable color range or my ProBook's internal screen?
iranfromthezoo Jan 5, 2008 12:33 PM
I honestly wouldn't see a problem of trusting the Samsung the only issue I can forsee is that the Samsung won't be with you always. So I would use my ProBooks screen just based on the fact that it's always with me and thats what I'll use on the fly. I hope I make sense.
OreoCookie Jan 5, 2008 04:16 PM
Yes, you do. The internal screen is good enough for initial editing. I'll lay the finishing touches on my book with the external screen, though. Thanks! :)
CaptainHaddock Jan 6, 2008 10:22 AM
I think ideally you should be basing all your work on the screen with the widest colour gamut, which is probably your external but depends a lot on the type of LCD being used.
Veltliner Jan 6, 2008 02:19 PM
In which way do the images look different?

If it is in brightness, then you have to turn down the brightness on the Samsung.

I did some research and saw the Samsung (8-bit, like the MacBook Pro display) is from 2003. That's quite old for an LCD, not age wise, but generation-wise. It could be, that it gets beaten by the MacBook Pro laptop screen in color accuracy.

A friend of mine has a set-up of MacBook Pro (17") and a 21" external LCD and it's a true mess, as both screens aren't calibrated and he's not interested in doing so. I don't know what brand that external display is, but its colors are horrible next to the MacBook Pro.

Your display got good reviews - in 2003. It may simply be out of date.
Veltliner Jan 6, 2008 02:22 PM
I just saw you used spyder express for calibration.

Sorry to say, but I would not use any kind of "light" or "express" version of a calibration tool. Even the "big" spyder is not very well respected.

Ask around if you find someone with a Gretag-Macbeth (now X-rite) Eye One Display 2 or someone with a Monaco Optix Pro. Or some one with the Color Eyes software.
OreoCookie Jan 6, 2008 02:35 PM
Well, the depth seems different. It's not a very good description, but when I compare the two, the images on the ProBook's screen look kind of flat. Similar to the iTunes row separators: they are barely visible on my ProBook's screen (it's gotten much better after calibration), but are nice on the external screen. Do I make sense?
Veltliner Jan 6, 2008 05:37 PM
About the row separators: sounds like a contrast problem.

Depth (I understand that it looks a little bit whitish? Well, in a photo I'd first look at the black point. Then at the color temperature).

But I really think the key problem is your calibration tool. Believe me, all those cheap tools aren't worth anything. I tried the Pantone Huey, as it had such great reviews on Amazon. What a piece of junk that was. It made everything green.

I am very satisfied with the Eye One Display 2, and it's a standard tool for those, who can't afford 1200$+ calibration packages.

Xrite | Eye-One Display 2 | EODIS2 | B&H Photo Video

Have you tried to print (do you own a photo printer?). Or, in case you have it printed by an online lab, I recommend the following (just in case you can't get hold of a good calibrator):

1. Adjust an image, so it looks good on the Samsung. Then adjust it on the MacBook Pro. Have both versions printed. You'll see which monitor is closer.

This way you can at least avoid a large number of photos going bad (and you'd probably have to pay for it, as it is not the lab's fault).

If one of the images comes out well, you know which monitor to use for editing.

If both are off (and it's likely to be that way), then you need to get a good calibrator. Costs around 200 to 250 Dollars. But, again, LCDs are much more stable after calibration (CRTs you had to calibrate once a week). So, if you know someone who can do it for you once, you are good for months (not for color fetishists, but generally you will be relieved of horror color shifts, wrongs color temperature, etc.).

After all, photo editing is What You See Is What You Get. If you can't see, what you get, as the calibration is off, you are the pilot flying through the fog - and no radar.

Good luck, and don't despair. Color problems are nasty, but they can be solved.
OreoCookie Jan 7, 2008 05:10 AM
Great advice, thanks!
You're right, faces look a little whitish and pale on my ProBook's screen (much worse without calibration, though!) and very rich, but more reddish on my external LCD. I cannot regulate contrast on neither screen, so I guess I should take the screen with the wider gamut as reference. (The panel type (MVA) is suitable for rendering accurate colors (as opposed to cheaper TN panels).)
The Samsung's range of displayable colors:
The ProBook's range of displayable colors:

I think there is no getting around that the ProBook's screen is `just not as good' … :(

I do own a photo printer, an Olympus P-11, but it's what I'd consider a polaroid printer, not sure if it's good enough for this type of stuff. I'll give it a try today, though.

As for your suggestion to change the calibration tool, I will do that when I can, preferably when I invest in a new computer with a nice external screen. (At the moment, neither the ProBook nor the screen are my own.)
Tesselator May 15, 2008 01:17 PM
Well I can't decide what to get. Do i want a $2,000 kit that calibrates
camera profiles, printers, projectors, and my LCD? Do I just want a
printer and LCD one for $1,000? Can I see what they do first by just
getting a $300 one? I don't see any at all for under $300! I have no
idea what I'm doing or if I even need this. This is what I have written
down but it's weird... It's like these products have no names, share
names, or change their names weekly or something cuz when I go to
price something out it only seems to exist under another name with
no mention of the former.

My list:

Do not get:
  • Spectrolino
  • Spectracam
  • Basiccolor Squid
  • Eye One 1 Sequel puck
  • Chroma4
  • Pantone Huey
Because they suck.

Look at or get:
  • Color Eye
  • * EyeOne Display2
  • ** EyeOne Pro
  • Optix Pro
  • Spyder 2
  • ** Spyder 2 Pro
  • Pantone Eye-One Display LT
  • Pantone Eye-One Display 2
  • * Monaco x-rite Pro
  • ** x-rite DTP94
Assembled from several discussion forums and review articles

Can anyone makes sense of any of this or offer actual links to actual
products with or without recommendations?
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