Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I've got three monitors, a Dell Ultrasharp U2412M and two Dell E1911 19" monitors, although the E1911 monitors look pretty terrible for colour so I'm desperately needing to calibrate them.

I've done a little bit of reading and it seems that I use a piece of hardware like the Eye One Display 2 and then some packaged software to create an ICC profile for that particular display, but it seems though that the ICC profile is ignored for certain things (PC gaming etc.).

The monitors all allow adjustment of the brightness, contrast and individual RGB channels; it would seem that setting the monitors RGB channels would be superior than using an ICC profile, but I'm struggling to find software that is capable of profiling the monitor and then telling me the ideal monitor settings without using a profile.

Also, is there actually a difference between the Eye One Display 2, which sells for £130 and something like the Spyder3Express which is £85, or even cheaper ones like the Pantone Huey PRO? The reviews for these devices seem to focus more on the packaged software. I'm aware that some software can't handle multi-monitors, this isn't an issue though as unplugging a monitor isn't a great deal.

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A hardware calibrator like the Eye One Display 2 will go through two steps: calibration and profiling.

  • Calibration is where you will make adjustments to the display with the monitor's controls -- you'll use the brightness, contrast and individual channel controls, as you noted. This is the gross adjustment step, and obviously gets the display into good shape.

  • Profiling is basically the process of building the ICC profile you mention. Profiling is looking for little details that need adjustment. This is the fine adjustment step, adjusting for a slight cast here or there.

It's been years since I've looked at what the hardware calibrators were capable of so you might take this with a grain of salt, but my experience was that the Eye One Display 2 (which I have) was leaps and bounds better than the ColorVision Spyder products.

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Thank you, I think the Eye One Display is the one to go for then... –  R4D4 Feb 23 '12 at 14:48

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