7

Assuming monitor(s) are correctly calibrated and print viewing is done in a viewing box with its own light source, what should the room lighting be? With no lighting at all I think most people find the contrast between monitor and the rest of the room much too harsh (and its a bit depressing), but what kind of lighting is appropriate? I currently have a 150W 6500K bulb which is very bright and causes a lot of reflection from my screen.

Would a dimmer bulb with the same (daylight) temperature be appropriate?

5

You don't need a dimmer bulb, you just need to disperse it properly so that it is more evenly distributed throughout the room. Rather than placing the bulb where it is shining directly on your monitor, place it in a fixture and bounce it off the neutrally colored walls and/or ceiling so the light is fairly uniform throughout the room.

The standard (ISO norm 3664:2009) for viewing photos on a monitor is D50 (broad spectrum light with all of the components, including UV, carefully controlled and centered on 5000K). For LCD monitors the intensity of the ambient light as measured at the center of the screen should be 55 Lux. The monitor should also be calibrated to D50. Recommended maximum brightness with an LCD monitor is 120 cd/mm². For a CRT it is 100 cd/mm².

There are many in the graphics industry that prefer to use D65, which is centered on 6500K, for monitors. This is perfectly acceptable as long as the monitor and the ambient lighting match. However, care must be taken not to allow the 6500K ambient light to affect the perception of the D50 light source illuminating prints in your print viewing booth. In the case of a small print viewing box, you would need to turn off any non D50 lighting when critically evaluating photo prints. Otherwise you risk metameric failure.

Metamerism is when two objects render different spectral power distributions yet visually match under a certain lighting/viewing condition, but not under another. Two objects that visually match under at least one lighting condition are called a metameric pair. When two objects match under one light source/viewing condition but not under another, the resulting condition is called metameric failure.

  • Thanks. If I opt for D65 for my monitor (and room lighting) could I just use D65 in my viewing booth as well? – Undistraction Apr 4 '16 at 12:38
  • In other words, prints that match your monitor at 6500K (when the light and monitor are matched at 6500K) won't match your monitor at D50 (when the light and monitor are matched at D50). D50 was chosen because it is very close to daylight. Have you actually measured the output of that 6500K bulb? By the time it reflects off the bulb housing and walls, it may be closer to 5000-5500K than you think. – Michael C Apr 4 '16 at 21:43
  • Ultimately, it is best to critically view a print under the same conditions that you plan to display it. Most art museums and high end galleries display photos at very near D50, although they tend to use lighting that does not contain the UV components of D50 lighting. – Michael C Apr 4 '16 at 21:49
2

First of all the walls.

Paint the walls in white. You can use a light neutral gray, but it could be not neutral, cool or warm, so you do not want that.

Use the same temperature as your base monitor's one. Normally you will go for 6500K.

You can use flourescent or led bulbs marked as 6500K. Or you can buy specialized lights like solux.net/cgi-bin/tlistore/colorproofkit.html which are more expensive.

Regarding your reflection simply use dimmer lights or put that one further away.

2

While there are probably different approaches to this, in general, you probably want to avoid using a single, bright source. I prefer to have a couple of low power (10-20W) halogen sources in enclosures that completely block horizontal radiation of light, allowing it to flood onto the ceiling (and possibly also the floor). These don't have to be fancy decorative lamps - clamp lights like the one pictured are available for cheap in hardware stores (well, where I live, anyway).

Locations to the sides of the person facing the screen seem to work best for me, keeping them from being visually distracting, but also not causing glare on the monitor by being directly behind the viewer.

Also worth noting is that using dim sources with a high color temperature can actually be a little bit weird for human perception (hence my preference for halogen at low light levels).

  • Thanks. Really interesting link. So you don't feel like the halogen messes with your perception of colours on your monitor? – Undistraction Apr 3 '16 at 20:43
  • @Pedr - I don't think that's a problem at that low level of ambient lighting, as you quickly adapt to the monitor temperature when you're sitting in front of it, since it pretty much overpowers the ambient light at that point. If you needed more light, for also evaluating prints, etc, then you would want to match the monitor temperature. – junkyardsparkle Apr 3 '16 at 21:55
  • Not even close to ISO specs. – Michael C Apr 4 '16 at 10:52
  • @MichaelClark - Nope, didn't claim to be. Just an alternative to the no-lights situation described in the question. If the ISO spec is what they were looking for, then that should probably be made the accepted answer. That isn't an environment that everybody would want to spend their evening hours in, though. – junkyardsparkle Apr 4 '16 at 17:11
  • Where does "evening hours" even appear in the question? And 55 lux isn't really that bright. – Michael C Apr 5 '16 at 6:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.