Advice on understanding white toness and black levels

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    I am new to the world of calibration using tools – having in the past relied mostly on my eyes to do this, as well as printed comparison images. I did not have a big budget for this, so I bought an old Spyder3 TV and I do not mind that it is slow. I do not have expectations for perfection, just for adequately accurate color tones. Most importantly, I am trying to get consistency between 4 different monitors that I am using.

    I followed instructions which I believe were given for those who want to maximize dark blacks, against a set 120 CDM brightness. While I think colours improved in terms of accuracy, I did not end up with 4 identical calibrations: white tone is different on all 4 monitors; black levels are obviously off; and even colours seem to have differences. 3 out of 4 monitors are actually quite good in colour but the other one is very off. Same settings were used for all 4, and exact same ambient light conditions.

    1. I had used a low-level room light on at night; to replicate the most typical working conditions. I know some recommend I turn all lights off – but this is not my typical working environment.
    2. I used the lowest possible blacks – because I am happy to maximize potential contrast and to have the deepest blacks possible for each screen. One ended with ‘blue-ish’ blacks, the other one with mostly a grey tone, and one with very impressive blacks. I did not expect perfect uniformity for this, as different monitor has different capability, but I wanted more overall uniformity if possible.
    3. White tones is really what irks me the most. They are simply different. One is cooler (blue), another is warmer, another is cooler (green). None have come out anywhere close to being uniform on this. I had not set any specific targets for white or black – other than brightness, following a guide I had found online. I think the mistake was that the guide was targetted at one monitor calibration – not several.

    In the first set of measurements, I noticed that the K measurement (which I presume is white balance?) was different before calibration begun.

    Monitor 1 was measured/reported at 4369K; Monitor 2 was 5316K and Monitor 3 was 5224K. At the time I presumed that as long as I get all lines to be perfectly as indicated by DisplayCal, that the rest would be done for me automatically.

    Can someone kindly advise me how to approach this?

    My targets are, obviously within reason – by order of importance:

    1. White tones must match
    2. RGB colours must match
    3. I want, more or less, similar blacks. I am happy for some variation – for example one of my monitors has very good blacks – but I want them to be close. Right now they are very different. How can I mimimize differences in how black are the deep blacks?
    4. Brightness should be approximately similar – I do not particularly want very bright monitors. I had set this to 120 CD/M but if I will get better results going for something lower, I am happy to drop down in this category as advised.

    Any support so welcome!!


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    It’s an inaccurate device, hence it will make some big error measuring white point. You need an i1d3 device form Xrite, one model or another depending on your budget.
    You may try to get a white point visually, that looks white, until you get an i1d3.

    After calibration color tint in greys in non color managed apps can be caused by your GPU (if you do not use an AMD card, it’s called banding). You may try to improve it choosing slower calibration speed, but Spyder3 is very slow.. so get an i1d3 colorimeter.
    Color in grey tones in color managed apps may be caused by photo edition app itselft, making computations with small precision. It may improve choosing “1curve + matrix” profile type and enabling black point compensation in profilling tab.

    Buy an i1d3 colorimeter form Xrite. Your current device is useless.


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    Thank you for this advice – however I am not seeking perfection or anything close to it. I just want relative parity when it comes to the above. I understand the device is far from a Pro colorimeter and that it won’t make the monitors perfectly align with each other. In this case, I feel that I am selecting things wrong in the settings resulting in these vast differences. After all, 3 out of 4 monitors have now got uniform colors – and I’d be happy if it wasn’t for the difference in white tone.

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