CALIBRATING THE iMAC FOR PRINT MATCHING

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From the e-mail and forum posts I have read Apple iMac photographer users are having the most difficulty with a too bright screen, and prints too dark. Thanks to one correspondent, Pat Marchitto who alerted me to Phil Corley’s web site (http://www.philcorley.com/articles_68520.html) a solution has been found to lower the screen brightness to calibrate and profile for better print matching.

If you read the page on the Phil Corley website, he states he was getting a whitepoint luminance reading of 300.0 CD/m2 with his iMac (current model) and wanted a third of that or 100.0 CD/m2 in screen brightness. Although that aim point may be ideal for print matching output density, most color management experts indicate, as X-rite recommends a white point luminance of 120.0 CD/m2 for LCD’s. The lower aim point of 100 may work for a new iMac, but for more common, less unique LCD displays, I have found going that low has the price of a deterioration of image color reproduction quality, compared to most LCD displays calibrated to a brightness of 120.0 CD/m2. But that may be beside the point and up to user preference if you can lower iMac screen brightness that much and get away with it otherwise.

The solution is a new version of ColorEyes Display v1.42 that now has direct control for Apple displays (this includes not just iMacs, but all Apple Cinema Displays). The software can be downloaded from their web site at http://www.integrated-color.com/cedpro/coloreyesdisplay.html And, a ten day free trial is offered. In addition a display/monitor sensor is needed to use ColorEyes Display Pro to calibrate and profile a display, and the software supports all current sensors including Spyder and X-Rite i1 Display.

Although I don’t have an iMac or Apple Cinema Display, I did download the ColorEyes Pro software and used it and a Spyder2 to validate the current and recently calibrated and profiled state of my display. The software has good on-line support and relatively easy control just by following on-screen guides and instructions. Even though I could not test the iMac solution specifically, what I was able to determine is the capabilities are there and the software does function as described applied to a current LCD display to my satisfaction.

Personally I find using pro-graphics LCD displays that are calibrated and profiled to a white point luminance of no more than 120.0 CD/m2, which is definitely supported by the ColorEyes Pro application, that I obtain excellent color matching with my printers (custom profiled) and do not experience a “prints too dark” problem. This may in part be due to my work area lighting and its affect on LCD screen perception, which does effect color correction and image adjustment.

In other words accurate and effective display calibration and profiling to a recommended brightness, can reduce if not eliminate the “prints too dark” problem. However in monitoring this issue other printing problems have complicated the matter. So please keep in touch and I will apply my efforts as best I can to finding more solutions - just keep in touch by e-mail at goofotografx@gmail.com

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