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  • Display questions

    Much to my chagrine, it looks like I'm going to have to hemorhage even more money out of my bank account for a new display(s). I was really hoping that my new 2200 printer would work perfectly with my monitor the first time I tried it. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. The color tones see to be a perfect match, but the print comes out much lighter than what is on my screen. So, the mess that I tried to "hide" in the shadows is showing up on my prints. I was hoping that since what I see on my monitor and the prints that I've gotten back from Ofoto match perfectly, that my monitor was actually OK.

    Well, I'm not so sure any more. And I can't do much about calibrating the brightness/contrast on my monitor since those buttons stopped working about two years ago. In the past week, I've determined that my monitor does not show any difference in the lowest 10% shades of gray! Doh! It is about 7 years old and I know it's probably time for a new one, but aside from the shadows, everything else seems to be working fine.

    So, I'm trying to decide what my best route to remedying this situation will be:

    1. Buy MonacoEZcolor to calibrate my monitor as best I can (using just my "eye" to calibrate), then calibrate the scanner input and printer output. I think I need to calibrate the scanner and printer anyway, so I should probably just bite the bullet and spend the $200 for the software ($100 off retail as a special offer to 2200 owners).

    2. Buy the MonacoEZcolor bundle including the MonacoSENSOR colorimeter and use it to produce an ICC profile my current CRT monitor. Would the colorimeter pick up that my monitor is not showing the lowest 10% shades in the shadows and account for that in the ICC profile it creates?

    3. Buy MonacoEZcolor (without colorimeter) and a new display (or two?) I can't imagine going from a 21" display (which has been a homeloan from my husband's workplace) to a 17" - but perhaps a 19" would do. (If you can't tell, I'm trying to be frugal here. But, I also don't want to get something that I'm not going to be happy with.)

    4. MonacoEZcolor with two displays. My husband would love for me to get an LCD, but with the exception of the Wacam Cintiq, I haven't found an LCD monitor that I like because of the limited viewing angles and the amount I squirm in my chair - thus changing my viewing angle often.

    But, I was then wondering about getting a 15" LCD with a 17" CRT. (I've got a video card which will support this.) I would use the LCD for e-mail/word processing and the CRT for my photo work, putting the palettes and tool bars on the LCD to maximize the space I have for working on a photo.

    Does anyone know if Windows will recognize a different ICC profile for each display?

    4. MonacoEZcolor with the colorimeter for either of scenarios 3 or 4.

    Does anyone have any words of advice/wisdom as I work through this decision process? Is there another (cheaper) solution that I just haven't thought about yet?

    Thanks, Jeanie

  • #2
    hmmm...lots of options. First of all, your monitor is 7 years old and the controls are I doubt a color management tool is going to do you much good. All the fancy color tools in the world are not going to correct a fading CRT.

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of video card do you have? Some cards have drivers that let you control Gamma and brightness. That could be a way to adjust your monitor without using a physical button. The second solution is a bit more of a could always darken your images in Photoshop right before printing!

    The best option is just to buy a new monitor. A good quality screen is going to do you much more good than a poor monitor with an expensive color management device. I'm not sold on LCD for graphics editing and if cost is an issue your best buy is still going to be a CRT. You can get a Sony Trinitron 19" for around $400...or a Mitsubishi. Either one is going to give you crisp, true colors and your husband will forget all about an LCD! The dual setup idea is intriguing...but for the cost, you could get a new 21" CRT and use your existing monitor for palettes, etc...


    • #3
      If I had unlimited funds, or a husband to buy it for me, I'd get the Mitusbishi 2060u with built-in hardware calibrator. It's only $1300
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4
        Jeaniesa - to make things easy on yourself, forget the concept of making the print match the monitor.

        With colour management what you can do is make your monitor softproof what the printer will output.

        Printer match the monitor, no - monitor predict the printer, yes! There is a subtle difference and it is not just semantics.

        The steps are to hardware calibrate/profile the monitor and the printer resolution/ink/stock in use for that combo. Images are colour managed into your Photoshop workspace (Adobe RGB, sRGB etc) and then the print is converted on the fly to the inkjet profile or you convert a dupe of your working RGB file to the profile and print the numbers raw without transforming them on the fly at print.

        I would hate for you to buy a new monitor and still get crappy prints.

        Monitor hardware calibration is often used by inkjet users and this really needs to be purchased by you - as it needs regular calibration and characterization to work as intended.

        Many use a service to make their inkjet profiles - they download a target and print it out and mail it to the profile service place. They measure the patches and create a profile which is emailed to you. This lets you get into printer profiling without the major hardware and software costs involved with purchasing ICC gear.

        Printing a nice print to an inkjet printer is not rocket science - but it can be close...which is why consultants make a living setting up systems so that they actually work as most people would expcet them to (out of the box).

        Some links for you to explore on inkjets:

        I would go for a CRT monitor which allows individual R, G, B gun control and separate hardware/software for calibration/characterization. The monitor would be calibrated and profiled. You would have your colour managed workflow in place and all incoming data would be correctly handled into your working space. A third party would produce profiles of your common print conditions and you would convert to the custom profile of the printer. Then and only then does the system work as intended (although there are other ways to the same goal).


        Stephen Marsh.


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies.

          Greg, I have the Matrox G450 video card. I haven't looked yet to see if it will allow me to adjust brightness, but that's a good suggestion! I haven't noticed that the colors look faded, but I guess what you're saying is that if I can't see any definition in the darkest 10% shadows, then it is by definition "fading".

          Doug, If I had unlimited funds, I'd be getting the Wacam 18" Cintiq ($3500)!

          Stephen, I do understand what you are saying about getting the monitor to match printer output rather than the other way around. Thanks for that distinction - it helps me understand color management a little better. For some reason, I've had a mental block regarding color management and have shied away from wanting to think about it. But, now that it's in my face, I HAVE to get a handle on it. So, thanks for all of the links. (I knew you'd have plenty for me to read. ) I'll get back with questions once I've read through everything.



          • #6
            Just a comment Jeaniesa...About 6 months ago I had to replace my old monitor and went with a 17" Compaq FS740. There was no problem with color calibration and everything went smoothly. Then my Mobo blew up, literally(!), and upon rebuilding the entire system, it took only about 20 minutes to get the printer and monitor calibrated to each other using nothing but the "eyeball" method...No complaints from customers about color either!!
            Before coughing up a large chunk of change on fancy tools, etc. you might consider starting with a new medium grade 17" monitor and simply using the built in calibration tools, etc..
            Since things have ceased working on your old Monitor, the chances are excellent that the entire unit has degraded to the point you should not trust it any more.
            Also it might be worth while to check theMatrox site and make sure you have the most up to date Drivers. Good luck...Tom


            • #7
              Thanks for the words of wisdom Tom. I spent all day yesterday reading about color management workflows and felt I understood everything. The whole concept was actually making sense! Then tried it out - and still was unhappy (to say the least!) with the results. I am now researching monitors!! I've decided I cannot trust this monitor any more - so much so that I hesitate to comment when anyone asks for a critique, because I don't know if what I'm seeing is what's really there.

              I'm debating on purchasing a refurbished monitor - the same type that I have, since I really like it. (HP A4331D, which is manufactured for HP by Sony - it's a Trinitron.) However, I'm concerned that a refurbished monitor would have problems with fading phosphors (is that the right term - the RGB guns?) Am I right to be concerned about that? If so, I should just plunk down the $$ on a new monitor. (I'm resigned to the fact that I have no choice at this point. Sigh...)



              • #8
                Originally posted by G. Couch
                The dual setup idea is intriguing...but for the cost, you could get a new 21" CRT and use your existing monitor for palettes, etc...
                I'm rereading this thread just now...

                Uh Greg - just how much room do you think I have on my desk? Two 21" monitors?!?



                • #9
                  I would tend to shy away from refurbished CRT devices for exactly the reasons you mention...Since the Monitor is the digital equilivent of your eyes I would bite the bullet and plunk down the dollars for a new one which had a good warranty...Some refurbished items are actually an excellent buy but due to the nature of CRT devices, I would, if it were my $$, stick with new ones.... Tom


                  • #10
                    I know this is probably way to simple to be the solution to your problem, but I think it's worth a try.

                    I found this pdf file that tells how to set things so that the color management is handled by PhotoShop.

                    I've been having serious problems with my Epson 1280 so I'm going to try this - doesn't cost anything and it just might work.



                    • #11
                      I just tried those new settings and I am amazed at the results. I was about to toss that Epson 1280 into the dumpster, but this print came out so beautiful, I think I might finally be able to produce the kind of output that I dreamed about.

                      Before the changes, skin tone was faded, colors were muddy and in some places the color was way off.

                      Once again, here's the link to the article:



                      • #12

                        Thanks for the link. I had already found it and tried it. Didn't work. I really think it's my monitor. If it's not, I'm going to start crying for real!

                        Tom - thanks for your thoughts on the refurbished issue. It's good to know that I still have some logical ability left in my brain. Looking on eBay, there's a new-in-box HP P1130 (another Sony Trinitron) that is due up in a few days. It sells retail for $849, but past auctions have it going for as little as $300. My husband uses that exact monitor at work and says it's "really nice!" Perhaps I can get a good deal on the eBay one. It comes with a 3-yr manufacturer warranty, so I know it's new and not refurbished.

                        Of course, I still have almost two days to make the eBay decision - and since I just purchased the latest Computer Arts Special magazine with a big review on "hardware for Photoshop" including monitors, I might change my mind.



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jeaniesa

                          Uh Greg - just how much room do you think I have on my desk? Two 21" monitors?!?

                          Looks like you need a new desk as well....:

                          Tom is right- avoid refurbished monitors and go with a new one. It might cost more, but a good quality monitor will last years.

                          I see the monitor you mentioned on Ebay. It looks nice and the reserve is only $465. I just have mental block that forbids me from purchasing anything with the initials "HP" in it.

                          I'm like Doug...if I had the money I would get the 2060u. It's a 22" Diamondtron (same thing as Trinitron) for around $700-$750... I love my 19" Sony...but that Mitsubishi beckons me!!


                          • #14

                            Hey Janiesa...

                            You might want to check out

                            They have some verrryyyy good deals on monitors, plus you would avoid the "E-Bay Anxiety" blues !!



                            • #15
                              Good news!

                              I can't believe it! Late, late last night, I decided to try pushing the buttons on the front of my monitor one more time - and they worked!! Well, they didn't work completely, but they worked well enough for me to change brightness and contrast. I was speechless! (Still am.)

                              Needless to say, I was also very excited! So, I ran Adobe Gamma, but the resulting calibration/profile did not make my screen version of the file I've been test printing for five days look like my actual print. I was very suspect of the part of Adobe Gamma where it says 'make the inner square barely visible while retaining a bright white'. (See related discussion on this here.) I mean, how do you know if you're retaining bright white?

                              I had downloaded the MonacoEZcolor demo that came with my new printer, so decided to try that to calibrate & profile my monitor. (The demo is only functional for monitors, but that was good enough for me!) There were a couple of questions I had to guess on (like what the color temperature of the monitor is - since it is user selectable and that part of my front buttons is still broken - can you say "loose connection"? ) BUT, I found the part where you set the brightness much easier than Adobe Gamma. And the best part, after I'd run through it and it had setup the profile for me, I went into PS and the image looked exactly like my prints!!

                              Not wanting to push my luck, I waited until this morning to actually do a test print. (I thought I would sleep better with some hope rather than possible disappointment. ) Anyway, after adjusting the image (mostly the contrast) to the way I liked it, I printed it out - AND IT LOOKED JUST LIKE I WANTED!!

                              I'm SO HAPPY!

                              Lesson learned: A calibrated monitor is KEY if you have any hope of matching what you see on your screen to what comes out of your printer!

                              I know, I know. I will need to get a new monitor sometime in the near future. BUT - I think this one will get me through a stack of photos that I've got waiting for me to work on and by the time I finish working on them, hopefully I'll have the money I need to get a (nice) new monitor!


                              P.S. Before I realized I had more control over my monitor than I thought, I was looking seriously at that Mitsubishi. It will stay in my top three when I start looking seriously again. AH - thanks for that link. It looks like most of the monitors are either refurbished or recertified. Do you know what "recertified" means?


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