Tag Archives: Calibration

Three of our key vendors win Photography News Awards!

Congratulations to BenQ, ExpoImaging and X-Rite for winning Photography News 2016 awards. The awards ceremony took place at The Photography Show last month.

The products and categories are as follows:

BenQ PV270 – Best Monitor

BenQ award image

Inset L-R: Will Cheung, Photography News Editor with Jason Lee and Fanny Wang from BenQ

PV270_AwardThe BenQ PV270 is a 27” monitor that meets the demanding needs of photographers that edit both stills and video. Uncompromising colour performance and powerful calibration tools make the PV270 the ideal monitor for professionals that require reliable colour throughout their workflow.

The BenQ PV270 is the epitome of ‘Still meeting motion’, giving professional photographers the best of both worlds. The Adobe RGB coverage encompasses most of the colours producible for photography, whereas the Rec. 709 coverage and the DCI-P3 colour gamut is crucial for video post-production work.

The monitor is priced at just £849.60 incl. VAT.

Expo_button

Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro Lighting System – Best Studio /Lighting Accessory

ExpoImaging award image

Inset L-R: Will Cheung, Photography News Editor with John Baker from ExpoImaging

XL Pro Lighting System_awardThe Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro Lighting System contains the largest FlashBender, creating a much larger light source whilst still being portable enough to take anywhere. The FlashBender 2 XL Pro is quick and easy to set up and can be folded flat for storage or transportation. It has its own travel bag and is sized to fit in a 15” laptop compartment or laid flat in a gear bag so it doesn’t take up any valuable space needed for lenses or other essential equipment.

The XL Pro is designed to fit most standard sized flash models from Canon, Nikon, Sony and Nissin, and is priced at just £89.95 incl. VAT.

Expo_button

X-Rite ColorMunki Display – Best Colour Management Device

X-Rite Liz Quinlisk n Matt Chilton Xrite

Inset L-R: Will Cheung, Photography News Editor with Liz Quinlisk and Matt Chilton from X-Rite

ColorMunkiDisplay_Award2The X-Rite ColorMunki Display is an ideal solution for those looking for quick and easy monitor calibration for one or multiple monitors, or a projector. It gives you the option to utilise more advanced features if required, such as optimising profiles based on your ambient lighting conditions, as well as adjusting to glossy screen types using a Flare Correct feature.

The X-Rite ColorMunki Display offers advanced display calibration, that quickly and easily allows you to deliver consistently accurate on-screen colour.

The ColorMunki Display is priced at just £148.50 incl. VAT.

Expo_button

ExpoImaging announces improvements to their popular professional white balance filter for photography professionals

b7764cea-7d08-4c14-9ff0-4d6170374804ExpoImaging, creators of the innovative Rogue FlashBender 2 speedlight modifiers, has today highlighted the recent improvements to the patented ExpoDisc Professional White Balance Filter to the UK photography market.

ExpoDisc 2.0 is an easy and accurate way for photographers to set a custom white balance meter for exposure, and to dust map the image sensor. Whether shooting in RAW or JPEG, photographers can use ExpoDisc 2.0 to save valuable time editing photos and videos.

“With the original ExpoDisc, we invented the digital white balance filter and established it in the market as the premium white balance tool by individually testing and certifying every ExpoDisc,” said Erik Sowder, CEO at ExpoImaging. “Now ExpoDisc 2.0 introduces user-selectable warming gels and an improved mounting design.”

To maintain its reputation as the premium white balance tool, each ExpoDisc 2.0 is individually calibrated by hand in the USA, for neutrality, and an 18% total light transmission across the visible spectrum. This neutrality is important because using a non-neutral tool for white balance can actually add undesirable colour casts to images.

Key features include:

  • Quickly set white balance for photo and video
  • Meter 18% incident exposure
  • Easily dust map your image sensor
  • Includes four warming filters (gels)
  • Hand calibrated for accuracy
  • Available in 77mm and 82mm filter sizes (to fit a variety of professional lenses)
  • Each ExpoDisc is individually packaged with its own calibration certification card
  • Comes with a sturdy carry pouch and user quick start guide.

The ExpoDisc 2.0 Professional White Balance Filter is available to purchase through leading photography retailers and is distributed exclusively by Color Confidence. For further information and to purchase your ExpoDisc 2.0, visit: www.colorconfidence.com.

The common question…

Yesterday we spent a very enjoyable day down at LCE Southampton

It’s always good getting out and about and talking to people face to face. It’s something we enjoy, and without wanting to boast, it’s something we’re very good at. We had a great time talking to you all, and we hope you enjoyed our seminar session in the evening.

As ever though, there was one query that stood out above all others:

“My images look great on screen, but don’t look anything like it when printing out” – or in other words; how can I get my printouts to match my screen?

The answer is calibration – a calibration of both a monitor and printer to be precise.

The device capable of performing both is called the ColorMunki Photo from X-Rite.

ColorMunki Photo

Whereas other calibrators will just take care of your screen or projector, the ColorMunki Photo will do your screen as well as any printer(s) you have connected to your laptop, Mac or PC.

Essentially it does the same thing to both devices; namely getting them to display or printout a series of colours for it to measure, compare to what the colour should be and create a profile to compensate for the difference.

Once these profiles are saved and applied to your machine you can start printing with peace of mind what you see on screen is what you’ll see coming out of the printer.

Calibrate your screen once a month and profile your printer for any paper/ink combinations and you’re good to go.

Easy.

You can learn more about ColorMunki Photo here.

Colour management – a refresher

With spring being the time to dust away the cobwebs…

refresher_chews_blog

… we thought we’d do a refresher post about colour management as a whole.

Last week we blogged about the apparent arrival of spring, and a couple of products that would benefit photographers during this time of year. This week we’re going to take a step back and refresh everyone on what colour management actually is, and why it’s important.

What is colour management?

In a nutshell, colour management is the process that helps you keep colour accurate and consistent throughout your workflow. This could be from image capture, to viewing an image on-screen, to printing something out on your printer.

There are numerous solutions and devices out there that help you achieve this accuracy, the process of which is often referred to as ‘calibrating’ or ‘profiling’ your gear. Typically, you can profile your monitor, camera and printer (as eluded to above) to display or process colours as accurately as possible. There are a range of products out there that do this to suit a specific requirement or budget.

Why is it important?

Accuracy is the key word (hence the repetition in the section above!). You want to know what you’re seeing on screen, capturing on your camera or printing out is as true-to-life as possible, especially if your livelihood or reputation depends on it. Effective colour management will help you do this.

No two devices will display colour exactly the same way. Every device will have it’s own colour range or gamut. Even two monitors of the same model and brand can display colour differently. By implementing colour management you can keep colour consistent from device to device, and as accurate as possible within its capabilities.

We’ve blogged specifically about colour management themes before. You can read back through our posts here.

You’ll soon question once you start doing ‘colour management’ how you ever lived without it in the first place!

Spring is here!

Apparently.

daffodils

Despite being April, you’d think we’re still in the middle of January with the cold wind and patches of snow we still have on the car park.

Nevertheless, we thought now would be a good time to run through a couple of products a photographer will find useful for the longer daytime hours and sunshine (fingers crossed).

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

An essential accessory for any photographer. ColorChecker Passport features a series of colour targets to ensure you can ‘calibrate’ your camera in all environments and conditions. Just make sure the first photo of your shoot includes the Passport, and then use the included software (or Photoshop) to correct your images using the Passport’s standardised references post shoot.

Key feature: portability

X-Rite ColorMunki Display & i1Display Pro 

Calibrating your screen is the one thing above all else we recommend you do. One useful feature of these calibrators – and relevant to longer daylight hours in spring – is an ambient light measurement capability. You can get your screen automatically adjusted to the lighting conditions you work in as they change. This means you can be sure your screen is accurate regardless of where the sun is in the sky and how much light is coming through your window.

Key feature(s): speed of calibration, regular lighting condition adjustments

Booq Toploader

With spring in the air the likelihood of nipping out to take a few pictures increases. Get yourself a booq Toploader camera bag to ‘nip out’ in style, and be assured your DSLR is protected against the elements. There’s enough room for a DSLR and lens (plus lens caps, memory cards etc.) so you’ll only take what you need when spontaneity strikes.

Key feature: compact, minimalist toughness

Franzis HDR (editing coolness)

Once you’ve been out and about, edit your RAW or JPG pictures with the latest HDR effects from Franzis software. Add filters, enhance and correct your images and create original effects to add some extra impact.

Key feature: bracketing feature to work on multiple images simultaneously

Color Confidence Autumn 2012 review – part 2

Welcome to the second part of our 2012 Autumn review, which this week looks at our range of colour management services and solutions.

The below extracts are taken from our autumn review mailing and dedicated webpages, a full ink can be found at the bottom of this post.

Developments in colour management solutions for home and business use have introduced higher standards and ease of use, whilst addressing the challenges of new monitor technology and quality of print.

Instruments, software and workflow settings all contribute to a correctly colour-managed environment. Our technical support team provides a range of services and training to suit your requirements – for further reading on matching your screen to print, see our “Light and Shade” document.

We’ve had a look at three aspects of colour management:

1) For home use – photographers and designers

We’ve examine the solutions available from X-Rite for accurate colour management for personal or home use. Here, we look at the ColorMunki Display, ColorMunki Photo and ColorMunki Design, as well as the new, simple monitor calibrator; ColorMunki Smile, which you can see in action in the below video from this year’s Photokina:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1IgI0eo7DE?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

2) In the professional studio – from creative to print

We examine the solutions available for the discerning photo and imaging pros requiring more detailed colour accuracy with the X-Rite  i1 Display Pro and i1 Pro 2 solutions.

3) In the pressroom

We take a closer look at the high-end colour management solutions suited to the demands of the pressroom environment, with X-Rite 500 series Spectro/Densitometers. These devices aren’t for the faint-hearted though, so please contact us to discuss any specific requirements further!

You can read the article in full on a special webpage here – tune in next week for part 3!

Studio View and Studio Photo – complete colour management

Colour management – Wikipedia will tell you this is the “controlled conversion between the colour representations of various devices”. And, broadly speaking, this is pretty much spot-on. Although we prefer to think of colour management from a practical perspective; how managing colour correctly throughout your workflow and various devices can improve your image quality, and perhaps more importantly – your own satisfaction!

With this in mind, a few months ago we created two bundle items to help you start this accurate colour management process. The Color Confidence Studio Photo & Studio View respectively combines various devices and solutions to set you on your way to achieving quality colour results.

But what are they, and why do you need them?

Color Confidence Studio Photo

This is ideally suited to photographers offering solutions to white balance your camera, calibrate your monitor screen to display colours accurately and something to verify/check the colour reproduction of your workflow. To achieve all this, the Studio Photo gives you:

  • an X-Rite ColorMunki Display for accurate monitor calibration
  • a Total Balance – the durable and neutral grey reference to balance your camera
  • a Kodak Check Up Kit that provides a visual verification to check colour accuracy in your workflow

All in all, the Studio Photo is a great way to start achieving accurate colour from capture and on-screen, and to assess how accurately colour is produced throughout your workflow.

Learn more about it here.

Color Confidence Studio View

This one is great for photographers as well as graphic designers and imaging professionals, offering a colour management and viewing solution. It allows you to calibrate your monitor to display accurate colour, the means to shield your monitor from unwanted light and glare than can distort colour representation, and a daylight replication light to proof images under the correct lighting conditions. It gives you this using:

  • an X-Rite ColorMunki Display for accurate monitor calibration
  • a PChOOD to shield unwanted light from your display creating an accurate working environment
  • a GrafiLite formulated to replicate natural daylight conditions allowing for image proofing in the right light

The Studio View is a great way to create the right environment to start accurately viewing and reviewing colour.

Learn more about it here.

Reasons to replace your existing calibrator with the new i1 Display Pro or ColorMunki Display

  • X-Rite raises the bar with the new i1 Display Pro and ColorMunki Display monitor calibration systems
  • Significant hardware and software changes in the new products, redefines monitor calibration.


Hardware:

Prompted by advances in monitor hardware specifications, including larger colour gamut, new panel technologies, and other improvements, X-Rite have responded by redefining the monitor calibrator to meet these new standards.

In comparison to the old i1 Display hardware, with its separate diffuser and counter-balance weight, the new compact precision instrument has a built in diffuser for ambient light measurements that also acts as a protective cover.

This is combined with an integral counterweight for secure placement on the monitor display, which also safeguards against the loss of any parts.

The new instrument also has the ability to profile projectors.

The instrument supplied with the new i1 Display Pro utilises the same hardware as is supplied with the new ColorMunki Display. However, where the new ColorMunki Display operates at a comparable speed to existing calibrators, the new i1 Display Pro is approximately 5 times faster.


Software:

In comparison to the old feature set of the i1 Display 2/Spyder3Elite, and LT/SpyderPro, the software features available from the new ColorMunki Display are far more comprehensive.

The new i1 Display Pro also introduces a range of new advanced features, these predominantly being based on quality assurance, monitor and standards validation.

Of the new features available within both models, many are advantageous to all, and others are best recommended under certain circumstances.

The ‘Flare Compensation’ option helps achieve an improved match form print to screen with an allowance for light reflecting off the monitor, which effects the accuracy of how you view on-screen aspects.

The display is calibrated through a contact process, eliminating all external illumination, whereas the ‘Flare’ feature takes an additional measurement from a distance in order to apply appropriate compensation to the monitor’s profile. Ideally, the use of a monitor hood will reduce the need to apply Flare Correct™.

A further new feature in both models is ‘Ambient’ light compensation – although this sounds great, having the monitor automatically adjust its brightness based on ambient room light changes, it is not an ideal situation to be in, in the first place. Even if you are in such an environment, we do not recommend using this feature initially, but if you have issues relating to changing room lighting, it is an option worth evaluation.

A relatively new challenge has been that of over-bright monitors, in particular from Apple, where at even the minimum brightness setting a new monitor can still be still too bright. This can now be resolved with both versions of the software which have the ability to reduce a monitor’s brightness through the profile.

New advanced features available only through the new i1 Display Pro software predominantly relate to quality assurance. This ranges from checking the overall colour accuracy of a monitor, to its ability to accurately match other standards such as an ISO print standard or specific Pantone colours. Trending provides a record of the monitor’s stability as a basis for how frequently the monitor should be re-profiled, or replaced.

In Summary:

For anyone who does not currently own a monitor calibrator…

X-Rite provides an excellent choice in these two products. If budget allows, the extended feature set and speed of the i1Display Pro is worth the additional cost.

For anyone considering upgrading their monitor calibrator…

You will enjoy a number of compelling, new features in both cases.

In addition, given the fact that you already appreciate the benefits of monitor calibration, this will also put you in a good position to appreciate the advanced features in the new i1 Display Pro.

Even if the additional features in the Pro version do not seem crucial at present, it is worth noting that this version offers the ability to understand your monitor’s limitations by recording its ongoing level of quality, which is a significant benefit for consistency over time.

If you are happy with your current feature set, you will see a noticeable improvement with the new instrument, which provides a more than justifiable enhancement in its own right.

For users of the old i1 Display 2, you will find moving up to the new i1 Display Pro a natural progression for today’s monitors and expectation levels. Even if you are happy with your current software, the new hardware is more than justifiable in its own right.

For old LT users, moving to the ColorMunki Display provides a natural progression with significantly more/improved features available. Based on your current knowledge of calibration, this could be the ideal time to go Pro.

For users of other manufacturer’s monitor calibration solutions, this new instrument provides an excellent step forward to accommodate the challenges of today’s monitors and is complimented by comprehensive intuitive wizard driven software. Consider the i1Display Pro for a comprehensive calibration solution.

Controlling your environment:

Compliment monitor control by enhancing your working environment too with a desktop lighting solution or desktop viewing light.

Welcome to next generation monitor calibration

Introducing the ColorMunki Display and i1Display Pro.

The new calibration solutions from X-Rite have arrived. Two new display solutions, two new ways to calibrate your monitor.

If you’re into colour management, or a bit of a colour perfectionist, you’ll probably already know how important monitor calibration is in the process of achieving accurate colour. The ColorMunki Display and i1Display Pro are the latest solutions from X-Rite, and give you a whole-host of new features and capabilities to suit any level – from amateur to professional.

It’s fair to say these new systems are very much in the ‘new generation’ of calibrator, making use of completely new optical system and filter technology. This not only means you get greater repeatability and device longevity, but your state-of-the-art, modern LCD display can be accurately calibrated – even your wide gamut display can benefit.

The two devices give you two levels of calibration. The ColorMunki Display offers fast, intuitive calibration using their award-winning ColorMunki interface. The focus is ease; especially useful for those less familiar with colour management, or for those looking for a straight-forward, but still accurate calibration.

The i1Display Pro is suited to the more demanding of colour perfectionists, with a focus on customisation. This is suited for those looking for higher degrees of control and for those looking to achieve a really precise colour calibration.

It should be noted that both devices will:

  • Measure ambient light using Ambient Light Smart Control
  • Make use of Flare Correct
  • Profile/measure projectors
  • Support new and emerging display technology – both are ‘future proof’
  • Both have a tripod mounting system

The i1Display Pro does all the above plus extra features only available with this device:

  • 5X faster measurement speed that standard (the ‘standard’ being the ColorMunki Display)
  • The choice to use advanced profile setting and options
  • Let’s you check your display QA workflow against industry standards (e.g. FOGRA)
  • Allows you to check the uniformity of your displays
  • Utilises user defined Pantone palettes for colour optimisation

The i1Display Pro also uses the innovative i1Profiler software user interface, giving you wizard control and direct access. This means that you can customise the entire process to suit our needs. To see this software in action, check out the video below…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxYvDEW9I5w]

Two new additions to the ever changing world of colour management and calibration. If you’d like to chat to somebody about these devices, or which one may best suit your needs – don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can see our contact details here.

We’ll also be doing a detailed review of these products in the coming weeks, details will be posted on here and on colorconfidence.com

Monitor calibration – what’s the point?

We often get asked; “what is achieved by calibrating a computer monitor, and is it something I actually need to do?”

Well, monitor calibration (and profiling) is important if you use your computer monitor for the assessment and preparation of photography or graphics – where producing something accurate is really important. In addition to the fact that an image will simply look brighter/darker depending on the level you set the brightness button, the brightness and balance of colour varies between different monitors, even with identical new models.

Calibration and profiling of a monitor gives you the ability to accurately set your monitor to an accepted colour balance and brightness.

This means if a picture looks too dark and blue on a calibrated monitor and you spend time making adjustments, it will be for the right reasons and you will achieve your objective of improving the image. It will then look similarly correct on other calibrated monitors and prints.

Whereas, if the image was actually correct but just looked bad due to the current balance of your monitor, your time will have been spent destroying a perfectly good image, which will subsequently look wrong when viewed or printed under correct conditions. Calibration is not just for controlling subtle colour differences, but will also correct highlight and shadow detail. Basically, what you get is an image on-screen that is more accurate, and a better reflection of the image you originally photographed or created.

So, what if you’d spent a lot of time painting out an image background, then when you see it displayed on a friend’s computer there were bits of people in the background which you thought you’d removed – you check back again on your computer and still can’t see what had been missed…?

This is a frequently highlighted problem, and is an excellent real life example of what can easily happen if you don’t have a calibrated monitor. Had your monitor been calibrated all the background would have been visible to you and removed as originally required. Even if you pictures are then subsequently viewed or printed on an un-calibrated device – the images may not look as good as you had intended – there is no way unwanted areas you removed can reappear.

Monitor calibration is frequently the first step we recommend to producing more accurate images, and is often one of the simplest things to do to start people on their way.

Have you ever thought about calibrating your monitor? Perhaps you’d like to, but don’t know which one is best for you?

Drop us a line or post a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you out!

Simon Prais
Technical Director