I'm mostly happy with my new IPS U2414H, but comparing it side-by-side with my beloved old CRT, I can see that the colours are not quite as good on the U2414H. It has less life-like skin tones, carefully chosen colour schemes are a touch less pleasing to the eye, etc.

I know calibration can make the colours of my monitor more closely match the standard colours used for viewing and printing, but this particular monitor comes factory calibrated by Dell (TFTCentral review has details).

Is this as good as I'll get without buying expensive calibration equipment? If not, what can I do to improve the colours?

I actually only care about making my movies and games more beautiful and immersive, I'm not doing any really serious photography work.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it directly says it isn't about photography. (Try superuser.com?) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Even though it might not be related to photography for the TO, I think this is the correct SE for color calibration processes and the question will be of use for photographers with the same question. I, at least, am highly interested in the difference between user calibration and factory calibration and the possibilities of user improval. \$\endgroup\$
    – kamuro
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 12:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kamuro, this website contains already lots of information on techniques and reasons and types of calibration for both monitors and printers, which makes mattdm's comment still valid. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dragos
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 12:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question assumes that your old monitor is "right" and the new monitor is "wrong". What is the basis of this assumption? If, as you say, you only care about making the image on the monitor subjectively look better to you then just play with the adjustments till you find something that's pleasing to you. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 13:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dragos: I disagree, in my oppinion the question is valuable for the information of how accurate factory based calibration and user-side calibration are in comparison, where can mistakes be made, and how to optimise the workflow for a photographer at home. @ mattdm: When I read accurate skin colours in the question, I am thinking of measurably accurate. You are right however, that this might not be what the TO is going for. The information from answers to what I read might still be useful for photographers. And I agree to your 'meta-philosophy' ;-) \$\endgroup\$
    – kamuro
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 16:32

2 Answers 2


Calibration with a hardware calibration tool (I use an X-Rite Colormunki) will improve display accuracy. Factory calibration may get the best out of the display using its internal controls, e.g. contrast, brightness, etc. However, for professional accuracy you also need to "profile" the display with a proper calibration tool. In simple terms, this measures the the remaining colour errors and loads correction factors into the graphics card.


Unfortunately, you have discovered why CRT were so popular for so long. There are monitors that can come very very close to CRT but they can be costly, and typically not fast enough refresh rate for video or gaming.. Look into the EIZO and NEC professional monitors.


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