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Author Topic: Can you really calibrate a laptop screen?  (Read 7984 times)
mreco99
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« on: October 15, 2013, 06:23:39 AM »
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Hi

Im stuck with laptop only for photo editing as its the most convenient.
I use a dell studio 1558, and am now printing images.

As you can expect the printed image isnt exactly like i expect.

Is it worth getting something like X-Rite i1 Display PRO? or am i wasting my time and money?

another question related to that, if i attached a secondary monitor to my laptop for final calibrated edits, is this a good idea, and am i very dependant on the graphics card in my laptop for this being worth while (ATI)

the laptop works well for me for photoshop CS6 editing in terms of processing.

I need to nail this printing thing, currently i am using an online print service while i am deciding whether to get a epson 3880 printer, so i cant keep getting prints back that arnt how id like them

thanks
MrEco

« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 04:04:01 AM by mreco99 » Logged
sharperstill
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 06:54:04 AM »
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You're stuck with it because it's convenient?
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D Fosse
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2013, 07:16:50 AM »
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There are several problems with laptop displays.

The most serious shortcoming is that almost all laptops - and consumer/office-grade monitors - use TN panels. The TN technology has a very restricted viewing angle, to the point where the top of the screen is too dark and the bottom washed out. Only a thin horizontal field is "correct". So obviously critical judgement of colors and tonality is next to impossible. The reason TN is so widely used is that it's cheap - and fast; which is a big deal in the gaming segment.

Yes; you can calibrate a laptop display and it will improve things, within those restrictions.

If you consider an external display you will need a calibrator anyway, so it's never wasted. The i1 Display Pro is probably the best all-round calibrator on the market today, save for dedicated/integrated solutions for some very high-end monitors (Eizo/NEC).

An external display is a good solution for laptop work (but get a good one!). There may be some practical inconveniencies with calibration/profiling if you need to disconnect the monitor frequently, because the OS has to keep track of which monitor profile to load for each display on startup. So you need to keep an eye on that. But it'll work.
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Simon Garrett
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2013, 07:17:33 AM »
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Im stuck with laptop only for photo editing as its the most convenient.
I use a dell studio 15, and am now printing images.

As you can expect the printed image isnt exactly like i expect.

Is it worth getting something like X-Rite i1 Display PRO? or am i wasting my time and money?
Unless you have a good quality display with something like IPS technology, the colour will vary with viewing angle.  Calibration/profiling might help a bit, but colour, contrast, black point etc will vary with viewing position. 

They will also vary with screen brightness level, ambient lighting and so on. 

I did a Google of "Dell Studio 15", and it wasn't clear from that what screen technology it uses - and I think there are various screen options - but it's unlikely to give consistent colours.  However, as our eyes adapt, you won't necessarily know it's changing, unless colour changes are marked. 


another question related to that, if i attached a secondary monitor to my laptop for final calibrated edits, is this a good idea, and am i very dependant on the graphics card in my laptop for this being worth while (ATI)

Yes, provided the secondary monitor has an IPS screen. 



the laptop works well for me for photoshop CS6 editing in terms of processing.

I need to nail this printing thing, currently i am using an online print service while i am deciding whether to get a epson 3880 printer, so i cant keep getting prints back that arnt how id like them

My opinion: don't expect consistent, accurate colour from any printer or print service unless you have a stable, calibrated and profiled monitor.  And use a fully colour managed workflow. 
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mreco99
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2013, 07:49:24 AM »
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Thanks for the replies.

Its convenient because i cant spend all evening tucked (work during the day) away in a space room somewhere editing images. But with a laptop i can be half social, if you know what i mean.

My laptop is TN, i have read alot about IPS screens, good and bad ones, so im not totally in the dark.

Yes i will definately be disconnecting the external screen everyday, would the calibration need to be run everytime i re connected?

Id be happy to get a new laptop IF there was a good (non MAC) solution but even the best ones (with IPS, varies on who you talk to) seem to be a half way house, unless someone know otherwise? I need windows laptop due to my IT work.

Can anyone recommend a good external screen that isnt mega bucks?


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D Fosse
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2013, 08:07:38 AM »
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Can anyone recommend a good external screen that isnt mega bucks?

A monitor is where it really pays off to spend as much as you can. There are huge differences - not only in specifications (which is what everyone looks at), but also in quality control and tolerances (which is what everyone should be looking at).

If you're on a budget (who isn't?), be smart. Go down in size to get the same quality for less. Decide what features you really need (don't listen to the marketspeak), and which you don't need. There's money to save there, which can buy you added quality.

EDIT: recalibration each time you reconnect should not be necessary if everything works as it should. But you need to keep an eye on it. If something suddenly looks wrong, that's a likely explanation (and then you may have to recalibrate). But you should recalibrate regularly anyway.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 08:16:10 AM by D Fosse » Logged
mreco99
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2013, 08:48:01 AM »
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Thanks, seeeming as im happy (enough) working on a 15 inch laptop screen, i dont need a big external screen, any recommendations?

What do you think of this one? £279 cheapest Eizo on that site
http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-eizo-foris-fs2333-23inch-monitor-black/p1537470
« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 09:05:53 AM by mreco99 » Logged
D Fosse
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2013, 09:17:55 AM »
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The "safe", well-regarded brands are Eizo and NEC. Yes, their top of the line models are out of reach for most normal incomes, but they have affordable lines as well. The advantage is that they already have their quality control set up to meet high standards, and they have a reputation to protect.

The one basic requirement is an IPS panel. Don't consider anything else.

Wide gamut will cost you. You probably don't need it. I have a wide gamut Eizo at work, because I need it there, but at home I have standard gamut and I'm perfectly happy with that.

Other than that it's difficult to make specific recommendations. You should ideally try it before you buy, preferably at home. The sad fact is that you don't always get what you pay for, mostly due to sloppy QC.

Personal experience: A couple of years ago I bought a Dell U2410, which is a "bargain high end" model with very high specifications on paper. When I got it it turned out to be completely useless, with one side of the screen cyanish and the other side magenta-pinkish. Not what I expected, to say the least. Long story short, it turned out that a lot of people had gotten these turkeys, and Dell's official response was to declare it "within specification". Tough luck.

Now, I'm sure most U2410s (and present U2413s) are perfectly fine. And I'm sure it's not only Dell. But this is the sort of thing that can happen, and that's why you should look more at QC than specifications, and try it at home if possible.
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D Fosse
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2013, 09:19:00 AM »
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The Foris is excellent. A friend has one. Recommended, a good buy in that price range.
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Evanford
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2013, 02:07:05 PM »
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I've been using various laptops for years with external monitors both at home and work.  At home I have a high end NEC which I have calibrated with their Spectraview II software.  At work I have a crappy Dell monitor which I calibrated once,  about a year ago,  just to get it in the ballpark of what I am used to.  I routinely take my lap top home and then back to work each day.  I just place my laptop in sleep mode, unhook it from the external monitor, take it home, and plug it into the home monitor.  I do the same thing when I come to work.  The OS is smart enough to identify the external monitor and load the correct associated profile.  At home I take the extra step of starting up Spectraview which I do not have in my startup folder.   Works like a charm.  Unless you are running on some ancient version of Windows, or perhaps they mucked things up in version 8 which i have no experience with, it should work fine.     
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mreco99
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2013, 03:24:34 AM »
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Thanks for the info guys

Love the "try at home" option, except nobody will agree to that lol
Maybe the UK law of distance selling can apply to returns. ie 7 days grace for non business activities.

I have ordered the Eizo Foris monitor as i also checked other reviews and they rated it very well (for the price), and does seem to do very well with sRGB range which is fine for me.
I also ordered the X-Rite i1 Display PRO

I assume my laptop graphics can handle it fine? My laptop has ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5470 chipset
My laptop is win7 64bit.

Laptop graphics spec seems to be ok from what i can tell.
Integrated dual-link DVI output with HDCP13
Max resolution: 2560x1600
Integrated DisplayPort output
Max resolution: 2560x1600
Integrated HDMI® 1.3 output with Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio
Max resolution: 1920x1200
Integrated VGA output
Max resolution: 2048x1536

« Last Edit: October 16, 2013, 04:22:10 AM by mreco99 » Logged
D Fosse
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2013, 04:57:59 AM »
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With the Foris and an i1 Diplay Pro, you should be all set. Enjoy.

There has been a wave of inexpensive 23 inch IPS monitors lately, of which the FS 2333 is probably one of the best and an excellent "entry-level" monitor for photography. It certainly beats your laptop screen.
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mreco99
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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2013, 06:28:08 AM »
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thanks, and it has a 5 year warranty!

With the X-Rite i1 Display PRO i can calibrate as many monitors as i like cant it? its not limited to one monitor?
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mreco99
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2013, 03:01:56 PM »
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OK got the EIZO screen plugged in (HDMI as no digital socket on the laptop)

Immediate result is images on the Ezio look almost like the printed image, and alot different than the laptop screen, as expected. Brilliant

calibrated the laptop screen and it now looks better.
calibrated the Ezio and it changed a little.

Both screens were called  CCFL technology, i assume thats right?

One strange thing though
When i now view my images in Windows photo viewer they seem all weird ie very contrasty and over saturated, until i use the "play slide show" in windows photo viewer, then its all right. very odd. seems ok in photoshop.

The ICM file created in xrite, do i need to do anything with that? or now its saved for both screens, itll automatically use that?

thanks for any help

MrE




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D Fosse
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2013, 12:24:38 AM »
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Both screens were called  CCFL technology, i assume thats right?

I believe you should use the "White LED" setting for the Foris. That's what it is (RGB LED is a very expensive high-end technology).

Quote
The ICM file created in xrite, do i need to do anything with that? or now its saved for both screens, itll automatically use that?

That's correct. It's all set up at system level, so don't do anything. Photoshop will find the profile by itself.

Quote
When i now view my images in Windows photo viewer they seem all weird ie very contrasty and over saturated, until i use the "play slide show"

That's weird. Photoshop and Windows Photo Viewer are both fully color managed (use the monitor profile) and should display identically. Try again. The slideshow mode in Photo Viewer turns off color management however (nobody knows why...).

Maybe it's a v4 profile (the default in i1 Profiler) and Photo Viewer doesn't like that. Set it to v2. You could also try matrix vs. LUT.

Calibrating a display is actually two separate processes lumped into one for convenience:
1) Calibration. A simple, basic adjustment of the display itself. Affects everything globally, but not a part of color management.
2) Profiling. The profile is a complete and detailed description of the monitor's behavior in its calibrated state. The precision is much higher. This profile is used to display the image, but only by color managed applications. Other apps just ignore it and send data straight to the display.

So calibration is system-level, but color management (the profile) is application-level. (To confuse things the calibration look-up table is embedded in the profile, but again that's just for convenience. They're still separate).
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 12:41:25 AM by D Fosse » Logged
mreco99
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« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2013, 02:06:28 AM »
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thanks for replying.

white led for the foris, should it autodetect that, should it be in the foris manual?

checked again this morning and windows photo viewer is definitely completely wrong when not viewed as a slideshow, but slideshow is fine, same for laptop screen and foris
ill see if i can fine the v2 setting,and the matrix v LUT

on the foris when xrite said "change RGB to get the sliders in the right place", all i seemed to be able to do to alter this was adjust the colour temperature to alter these,is that right. I think i got the temperature down to 5500k to seem about right.

Is CCFL correct for the laptop?

Is there a way to set either screen back to default?

thanks again
Mr E

« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 02:11:43 AM by mreco99 » Logged
D Fosse
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« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2013, 02:35:21 AM »
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You probably need to put i1 Profiler in "advanced" mode for these options to come up. It's a simple tick box on the home screen.

The thing is that you should get the Foris as close as possible to the calibration targets before the actual calibration starts. Those targets are, for now, D65 (6500 K) white point temperature, 120 cd/m² luminance, and gamma 2.2.

The main reason to do this instead of just letting the calibration handle it (which it can and will) is that the monitor's internal circuitry has higher bit depth and thus higher precision than the computer's video card, where it otherwise will be done. So it just improves the final overall quality.

The way this normally works is that you dive into the monitor's OSD menu and adjust brightness and R-G-B gain (separately), while the sensor reads off the values and tells you on-screen how close you are. When you're close enough, you quit and the real calibration can start. I haven't used this function in i1 because I have other ways to get there.

There's also an OSD "reset to factory state" item somewhere. Just look around for it. Don't know about the laptop.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 03:19:53 AM by D Fosse » Logged
Vaards
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« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2013, 02:12:03 PM »
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I have NEC 3090 and ASUS UX31A laptop with IPS screen. And I have advanced tools for monitor calibration (I1 spectrophotometer, DTP 94, Monaco, etc).

But comparing NEC to IPS laptop, there is difference. Somehow colors, darks and whites looks different. But I have an old Dell Inspiron 6000 ad that one is much worse than ASUS wiht IPS screen.

My suggestion would be to get new generation laptop with IPS screen. Dell XPS, Asus Zenbook, Samsung 7 series etc. is using IPS screens - just search and decide what features you want. SOme of them is already rathr cheap on ebay (time by time).
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Shutterbug2006
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2013, 09:01:13 PM »
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After receiving and connecting a new Dell 27" monitor yesterday, I found that my Display Color Management was missing all previously associated profiles because Windows used (correctly) a different monitor driver.

Check yours out by clicking On Control Panel/Display/Settings/Advanced/Color Management. If no profiles are listed, then that will explain the strange color differences between Windows explorer or preview and software where a profile or monitor has been associated in the programs' preferences.

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fetish
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2013, 07:39:18 AM »
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I have a HP elitebook with the dreamcolor screen for mobile edits. It's the best option out there for folks who need mobility and spot-on colors, as well as processing power which out classes most desktops except for expensive professional rigs.
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