Calibrating Your Monitors- Why Hire a Pro?
December 2, 2011
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 $800.
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.