Sunday Street: The Best of Both Worlds

March 17, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

iMac and NEC displaysin a dimly illuminated studio setting

 

 

I spend a considerable amount of time editing images to make prints - that is what drives me. 

 

The challenge when editing an image for printing is to make a print that matches what you see on your display. After using traditional computer monitors for years, I learned about NEC and Eizo monitors that can be calibrated for printing. As you can see from the image, the iMac display is brighter and has far more contrast than the NEC display on the right. My subject looks terrific on the iMac's screen, but will not match the print I want to make, no matter what paper, ink, or printer I use. Why is that? For starters, ink on paper relies on reflected light rather than back light. In comparison, the NEC display on the right is calibrated* to look closer to what I can print. It is neither as bright or as contrasty - the net result is it looks a little dull.  Softproofing an image on the NEC monitor brings it closer to the way the print will look.

 

What can you do to have the image on your monitor look more like a print?

 

Reduce the ambient light in your room and turn down the brightness on your monitor. For those wanting to do more, use calibration software and a colorimeter to get closer to a D50 standard.  If you want to go all the way, get a monitor that can be calibrated made by NEC or Eizo and calibrate it using their software and a colorimeter. Lastly, match your color space of your images and display to what you can print. Spoiler alert: no one can print in ProPhoto RGB color space. No one. There is no hardware that supports this color space, unless you plan to time travel to the future to make a print and then return with it. That doesn't mean your have to limit yourself to the much smaller sRGB gamut.  Adobe RGB (1998) is the current sweet spot for many photo printers.  

 

Whatever you decide to do, don't chuck your old monitor. It provides the best of both worlds when used along side a monitor that has been calibrated for print making.

 

See ya around,

Bob

 

Geek Speak

* For those interested, both displays are calibrated to D50, gamma 2.2, Adobe RGB (1998) and viewed in a low light environment with the brightness greatly reduced (read: go full cave). The difference between the calibration of the displays is that the NEC is actually calibrated without changing the output values on the graphics card, whereas the iMac display requires changing the graphic cards values in one or more of the RGB channels.

 

 

 


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