Do you check the colour & tone calibration of your monitor?

29th March 2012

I'm often asked by fellow photographers and clients about the 'kit' I use.
There is no doubt that for many photographers part of the enjoyment in taking a pic is the equipment they get to use. There is also no doubt that some photogs take the choice of their kit to an extreme level! They can become unreasonable, agressive and perhaps blinded in their allegiance to a favourite manufacturer.
Right at this moment there is a (sometimes heated) debate in progress about the two leading Professional brands - Nikon & Canon. Each Company has two 'top-of-the-range' bodies already available or due shortly. The Nikon D4 & D800 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III & EOS-1DX.
I try and steer clear of this debate - I am heavily committed to the Nikon system (with a large collection of lenses, flashes etc) and don't really have a choice ;-)
  ....... but I do think that my choice of Nikon has been a good one over recent years. The D3 and D3s have been fantastic for my low light gig photography and have perhaps 'given me an edge' over the competition. Always handy, eh ;-)
The next few months will reveal if Canon have got closer in performance... the debate will continue.
  So perhaps it was inevitable (wasn't it?) that a Nikon D4 & D800 would be added to my kit! I am now in the process of getting to know them and they are VERY GOOD! I will bring a few updates on my findings during the next few weeks.
Having said all of the above, I think one of the most important pieces of kit is often overlooked by many photographers. This is their monitor. It is the interface between you and your finished work. It is where every judgement regarding colour and contast is made. However I have been amazed at some of the screens I have seen in use.
My advice to you if you are embarking on the pastime of photography is for you to allocate a decent part of your budget to a quality monitor. There are plenty of web sites offering helpful advice.
  This brings me to the real reason for this post. I have used a dual monitor set-up for many years and when one of them became difficult to calibrate I decided to buy a replacement. After looking at Eizo and NEC I decided to go with the NEC Spectraview REFERENCE 301. This is a 30" High Gamut monitor and it calibrates superbly with the X-rite i1 Display.
I am also loving the 2560 x 1600 pixels in 16:10 format which give plenty of space and an enlarged vertical compared to the more common 16:9 proportions. I highly recommend this superb monitor.
  My new desk layout is shown above... nice!
Whatever monitor you use it is normally possible to improve its colour and tone reproduction using the built-in utility or graphics card program on your system. Give it a try.
This graphic will help you judge if you have a reasonable calibration.