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Importance of monitors

By Andrew Paquette

Most likely everyone here already knows this, but I wanted to mention here the difference an excellent monitor makes. I come from the feature film VFX industry, where monitor calibration happens every week when a specialist would walk through the studio with his calibration equipment and calibrate every monitor in the building. Because of the size of the studio (about 450 artists), I think he was calibrating monitors every day and it took about a week to get from one end of the studio to the other.

The point is that I understood the importance of monitor calibration. However, I left that lesson at work. When I got home, I bought a Spyder pro to calibrate my average quality consumer grade monitors and felt that was good enough. There were, however, some signs that I had been unwise. For instance, my wife complained that my photos on this site looked pale and washed out. A member of the site said something similar about my photos there. They looked fine on my monitors, but then, even my monitors didn't agree. They had all been calibrated, but because each of my three monitors had different capabilities and was different in other respects as well, there were noticeable differences between them.

More recently I had a completely white image on one screen and saw that the entire right side was darker than the left. Monitor calibration couldn't do anything about that and it made me seriously worry I should get a new monitor, so I did.

So, after spending a year acquiring some nice cameras and lenses, I finally bit the bullet and bought an Eizo CG276 monitor. The difference is huge. Most importantly, I can now see the bias in my monitors by looking at the bias in the images. I wish I hadn't tossed half of my RAW files to clear space on my hard drive, but at least I have the rest and Lightroom's non-destructive workflow because now I can re-edit them.

I may not update the images here because I hate to re-submit them as if they are new images, but will probably delete a lot of the old ones if the biased versions are too washed out or green, as many are.

Now I wish I had bought this monitor last year, before I'd made editing choices based on the wrong colors, contrast, and intensity settings I was using then.


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Reply from Wolf Rainer Schmalfuss on 02-15-14 8:35 AM

I am really not an expert, but I doubt, that it will be presently possible to transfer the fully digital results of good digital cameras perfectly onto any perfectly calibrated PC monitor etc. My 2 cents!
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