I’ve been running an uncalibrated system since upgrading to an iMac a couple of years back. I know I’m a hethan, who does colour work on an iMac? Well a lot of us. Not everyone has the funds or need for a fancy monitor that displays the full gamut of Adobe 98. In reality I can’t justify the expense and I get great result as is even with the bright and saturated Apple monitor. Prior to my iMac I had a custom build PC, made with my own fair hand, and a 22″ Asus monitor. With my trusty (and cheap) ColorVision Spyder 2 Express calibrator I ran a colour calibrated system. That is until I upgraded to the iMac. The Spyder’s software ran through the usual steps but the final calibration was far from perfect. I was left with a massive magenta cast to everything, no doubt the result of the Spyders poor capacity to calibrate the iMac’s high gloss screen. I really hope no one accepted this as correctly calibrated system as the difference is pretty obvious.
So I ran with an uncalibrated system for a while going off old images that I knew were good and how they looked on a calibrated system. With a bit of spare cash I thought it was finally time to purchase a more fitting and professional monitor calibrator so in comes the X-Rite i1Display Pro. I know a lot of other photographers use either the X-Rite ColorMunki calibrator and the i1Display Pro was a step up from that. I had also read others online had successfully calibrated an iMac with it, my main reason for buying it. The results have been great so far, not that I would really be able to tell otherwise. All I know is that my prints come out as expected when soft proofing in Photoshop. The software is pretty intuitive (not quite as intuitive as I would like) and even automatically figures out I’m about to calibrate an iMac (a big confidence booster, it actually know’s what it is doing and has some presets for it). The only other thing worth mentioning is the ambient light monitoring. You can configure the calibrator to check for changes in ambient light and adjust the screen brightness/colour (I think) of the monitor automagically. I don’t trust this preferring to keep it consistent and ensure I process my images under the same conditions.
Depending on who you listen to there are a number of different settings you can select when going through the calibration process. If you have your own printer or preferred lab you may want to run some tests to get the best match or ask the lab for their recommendation. I would love to hear your thoughts as it would seem it is somewhat subjective. What we are aiming for here is the closest screen to print match, with that in mind I set the following:
White Point D65
Luminance 100 cd/m2
The results seem to be good so far, I highly recommend investing in a good calibrator especially if you have a bright, saturated high gloss iMac or similar like I do. Any questions please let me know.
For further reading I recommend this article by ImageScience.