Calibrating Your Monitors- Why Hire a Pro?

December 9, 2012

It’s an honest question.  Why hire someone to come in and calibrate your displays when you can buy a calibration system for short money – often cheaper than one calibration session – and do it yourself?

It’s a simple answer.  When you buy a $125 calibrator, you’re using, well, a $125 calibrator.  When you hire me to calibrate your displays, I’m using the i1 Pro.  Besides being part of a complete system for building every kind of ICC profile, it’s a more accurate measurement device.  It costs more, too.  Think around eight times more.

The cheap calibrators are colorimeters.  They’re a basic device that measures color based on three filters.  For the cost, it’s an effective solution, but has some limitations.  The i1 Pro is a spectrophotometer.  A spectrophotometer measures light energy at various frequencies across the entire spectrum of visible light.  It’s more accurate.  And more expensive.

Is there a difference?  Yes.  I’ve done some fairly comprehensive testing on many types of displays, and in some cases a colorimeter will get you pretty close to the results of the spectrophotometer.  In some cases, it won’t.

Simple as that.

Is it a good idea to run a cheap colorimeter on your displays periodically?  Certainly, but it’s more of a ” better than nothing” scenario.  Is it a better idea to have your displays calibrated periodically with a spectrophotometer?  Emphatically, yes.

At the very least, it’s a really good idea to calibrate your display with your low-end device, then calibrate it with a good spectrophotometer, then compare the two profiles.  It will be pretty obvious if you can live with what you’re running, or if you need to consider moving up to a spectrophotometer.  You can then make the choice – do you need to buy one, or is it better to have someone come in and do it for you, with their equipment?



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