Calibrating an inexpensive monitor is it worth the cost and effort?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by lrlebron, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. lrlebron

    lrlebron Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    598
    Apr 8, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Luis R. Lebron
    I have an inexpensive AOC monitor attached to my ASUS laptop. I am thinking of buying a monitor calibration device (Spyder5Express or similar) to calibrate both monitors. Do you think it would be worth my time and money with this particular setup?

    thanks,

    Luis
     
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Which model of monitor? Is it an IPS?
     
  3. lrlebron

    lrlebron Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    598
    Apr 8, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Luis R. Lebron
    I'm not sure it is an IPS. It may be an LED. I do not have access to the monitor at the moment and I do not remember the model number
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  4. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    682
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    What is the final output for your images? Web? Lab printed? Printed on your own printer?
     
  5. lrlebron

    lrlebron Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    598
    Apr 8, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Luis R. Lebron
    I will be printing on a Canon Pixma Pro-100.
     
  6. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    probably not. Unless you foresee a future use for it. You can manually calibrate to get reasonably close. Then you'll have to make small test prints to check before committing to a big print. With a cheap monitor you'll have to do this anyway, calibrated or not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  7. Tenpenny

    Tenpenny Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    251
    Mar 16, 2015
    Nampa, Idaho
    Brent Watkins
    This is what I do for my cheap monitor (as if I'll every scrape up enough $$ for anything but cheap lol at least until I get kids through college) I print test images on my favorite printer/paper, then sorta eyeball it with the settings on the monitor to match the print in my hand. The test images are these boring things with CMYK/RGB blocks and lines. That way I have the digital and physical copy to compare. Contrast and brightness take some fiddling.

    Seems to work ok for me. If my images are unattractive it's all on me not my monitor unfortunately ;)
     
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  8. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Yes. "eyeball calibration". e.g. if my prints are coming out too blue and too dark I make adjustments on the display even if it looks wrong until the print is right. Then for future prints I know to make my edits less blue and lighter even though it looks like crap on the monitor.
     
  9. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    682
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    This is an excellent approach, especially with marginal monitors. Print a good accurate test image (I've used a standardized test image that came with one of my scanners years ago) and then use the OS's controls along with any Control Panel / System Prefs add-in supplied with the monitor (if one exists) to adjust the display of the same file in your image editor. This can give you a very, very good calibration for a closed system.

    Some image editors (e.g. Photoshop, ...) have the additional ability to "proof" the display using a printer profile. Turning this feature on can help in getting the display close to the printed output.
     
  10. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    As a hint, Canon's print studio pro utility has advanced features for correcting screen tint, which from experience I can tell you is tricky but quite effective.
     
  11. lrlebron

    lrlebron Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    598
    Apr 8, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Luis R. Lebron
    I just printed a few prints on the Canon and I do not have any complaints at the moment.
     
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I will be the contrarian here and say that calibration software and a puck is a good long-term investment. Your monitor(s), cheap or otherwise, are your window to all that you do. Yes, you can eyeball things and if you are good, you can get reasonably close. But that takes time and effort (and paper and ink) and sometimes close is not good enough, especially if you are working near the edge of a color gamut. Entry level pucks and software are not that expensive, and they should last for years.

    Try eyeballing for a while and then decide if you want more. And if you think that you would purchase one for an expensive monitor, then consider getting it before. Cheap monitors benefit from calibration as much, if not more, than expensive panels.

    --Ken
     
  13. Apollo T.

    Apollo T. Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Dec 27, 2016
    Northern New Jersey
    A thought- don’t you need to calibrate a new monitor as well? If you don’t check out the new monitor you’re working on the supposition that it’s accurate. Ain’t necessarily so, as the song says.
     
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  14. Apollo T.

    Apollo T. Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Dec 27, 2016
    Northern New Jersey
    Could you please give examples. I’m an amateur that thinks $200 for a calibrator for a $125 HD monitor is tooooo much
     
  15. Tenpenny

    Tenpenny Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    251
    Mar 16, 2015
    Nampa, Idaho
    Brent Watkins
    I have heard ok things about the ColorMunki Smile But, still about a hundred bucks.

    The totally free option is to print some test images and dial your monitor in manually by comparing visually. It's not super-duper accurate but, you can get it pretty dang close.
     
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  16. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    477
    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    Go for the calibrator. You'll be a lot closer. Set it to d65 for best results.

    If you want to do a quick check on how you are now, make a step step test in photoshop by creating a long selection, filling it with a b&W gradation, and then, while it's selected, posterize it into 21 steps. You'll get an idea how smooth your gradations are, and whether you are blocking up shadows or blowing highlights. It's also a good way to see if you have any color casts.

    I have a Pro100 printer, and even with a calibrated monitor, the prints need +25 to lighten them. It's probably the Kirkland profile being wrong. I'm too lazy to create a custom profile for it.

    I also have an HP Z2100 hooked in, and it generates it's own ICC profiles. Prints from that are spot on to the monitor. I use a desktop color viewing station adjacent to my screen when I get really picky. I have crappy lighting in most rooms in my house, and look forward to the day when I have daylight led's to light my prints.
     
  17. Tenpenny

    Tenpenny Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    251
    Mar 16, 2015
    Nampa, Idaho
    Brent Watkins
    I'm a big fan of the Z2100. I have one in my lab at work. If I ever get a different job, I'm hosed.
     
  18. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    477
    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    I bought mine off Craigslist used for $250, put in new heads and ink and away I went. 24" model, fits in the den, very nice prints. I'm retired from digital printing, had about 30 printers over the years, this is a good home solution.
     
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  19. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    898
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    If you get something like an X-Rite i1Display Pro, you can leave it plugged in, and it will make adjustments every few minuted to compensate for changes in ambient lighting.

    Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's not a good monitor. HD, IPS, 250 nits, 100% SRGB.

    I run two of these and they will be in use till 4k and hdr monitors get sorted out.

    ViewSonic VX2370Smh-LED Black 23" 7ms (GTG) IPS-Panel HDMI Widescreen LED Monitor frameless design Built-in Speakers - Newegg.com
     
  20. kauphymug

    kauphymug Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    121
    May 1, 2015
    Cowford, Florida
    Me too!