Help me understand calibration
I ordered a new Dell U2410 yesterday, it should arrive at my place in a week or so (hopefully sooner) and I have come accross quite a few posts regarding calibration to maximize the quality of these displays. Now... what exactly is the deal with this, why is there a hardware based calibration tool and what exactly does it do, is it necessary? Is there a software based tool I can use to calibrate the display?
So basically the built-in modes aren't suficient?
A hardware calibration tool will basically measure the colour your screen displays and make adjustments so that it is correct. You can't do this with software since every specific panel needs its own special calibration settings to display true perfect colours, so you need an outside reference point to calibrate your monitor with (which means either another monitor which is already calibrated, or a hardware calibration device).
If you want to spend money buy this or a similar tool. The spyder tools tend to favour the red spectrum a little more. Another tool I have seen favoured blue. This means that at the end of it all colours will appear to have either a hint of more red or blue after calibration. Especially noticeable in whites.
Spyder3Pro - Datacolor - Global Leader in Color Management Solutions
Otherwise you can use something like these online tests and your own eyes to make adjustments.
LCD monitor test images
the best free program i've found to calibrate a monitor is found here:Hex2Bit - Software by Mike Walters
it can calibrate brightness/contrast and RGB tracking, but will not help you to adjust to 6500K; this can be done the following way - it does not guarantee accuracy, but it will be very close.
Get a gray scale or gray card and put it on the wall behind your monitor, just high enough that you can see it above the monitor.
use a 6500K compact fluorescent to light it, making sure light falls only on the back of the monitor, and shut down all other lights.
put a b/w photo that has a wide tonality range on the screen, or a gray scale (full screen, so nothing else than gray shows)
go to the monitor's manual adjustments for RGB settings (right now, you should find the color setting to be on 65K fixed) and adjust only 2 of the 3 colors, like R and B, until the gray on the screen is the same color as the gray on the wall.
just be patient, it can get tiring, just take a break once in a while, and come back to it.
the results should be very good, and it will cost you little.
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