Colour calibration on iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by StellaDMN, Aug 4, 2016.

  1. StellaDMN macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2016
    Nottingham, England
    Hi - I'm fairly new to the iMac after years of using a PC, so still have lots to learn.I've searched on here for help, but all the threads seems to be pre-2010 and I wonder if things have changed.

    I'm a photographer, regularly run Photoshop and Lightroom. I have an iMac 27" mid 2011, Intel core i5 2.7ghz, 12gb RAM

    Whilst my photos look fine onscreen, when printed they are dark and muddy.

    I was advised by another photographer that I needed to calibrate my monitor (as well as my camera and get profiles for printer.)

    But reading stuff online, it seems that some iMacs can only have their brightness altered and not be calibrated for colour.
    I have read so much that I am starting to become confused.

    Please could someone tell me if it can be calibrated for colour? Just a simple yes or no would be great.

  2. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    Yes an iMac can be color calibrated from the standpoint of a software profile. It's not like doing a hardware color calibration on a high-end monitor, but it works fairly well. Likewise you can generate a printer color profile that is matched to the display profile. The product I use is ColorMunki Photo:

    For the display this calibrates both brightness and color. If you only need to calibrate the display, there is ColorMunki Display:

    DataColor has several similar products:

    Re profiles for the printer, you normally generate those profiles based on your specific paper with a tool like ColorMunki Photo. This takes into account variation in batches of paper, age and condition of the printer, etc. Lacking this, some paper companies make ICC printer color profiles for various types of paper/printer combinations. These can be loaded and used by your printer driver, but it's not as accurate as calibrating it yourself.

    Re calibrating your camera, I don't know what that means.
  3. StellaDMN thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2016
    Nottingham, England
    Thank you for your advice :)

    My camera (Nikon D750 full-frame) isn't 'calibrated' as such, but is set to sRGB.

    I have just bought - but not yet used - an X-rite colour-checker Passport to help my camera 'see' the colours correctly. My camera (Nikon D750 full-frame) isn't 'calibrated' as such, but is set to sRGB. The X-rite profile can then be set in Lightroom. I was advised by a professional photographer that that was the first of three steps to get accurate prints.

    The second step was to get my monitor calibrated too, with the X-rite equivalent of the Colour Munki kit.

    It was when I was reading up online about it that I came across conflicting advice about Macs not being good for photography editing as you can only alter the brightness, not the colours. So this is my next step. I am hoping to borrow one first to try out, before buying the kit (at some £200+).

    I know printer profiles are based on paper etc. I rarely print anything, and so this is an area I have not got round to yet. I don't have my own printer (well, only a B&W laser) so when I want half a dozen prints or so, I take them to the nearest supermarket. And this is where they have turned out dark, muddy prints.
    Two friends have rescued me on occasion and printed them out on their inkjet and they have printed perfectly.

    (ASDA prints top, inkjet prints bottom - same files)
    ASDA bad printing photos6239.jpg

    I shall now go away and read up on what you've told me - thank you for your time :)
  4. adamneer macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    I don't know where you got the idea that the colors can't be calibrated on an iMac. Perhaps you're confusing the inability to manually control the brightness and contrast settings as you would a traditional display before calibrating. In any case, whatever software your calibration device uses will likely have a setting to let it know your monitor does not allow contrast adjustment (usually it will tell you to turn the brightness to whatever setting you find most suitable, which you'd do with the keyboard buttons). It's possible the software will even have a special setting just for Mac's knowing they aren't capable of manual adjustments. I use a Spyder Xpress, which works well but requires some annoying trickery in order to save individual profiles for multiple monitors (since the "cheap ones" only allow calibration of a single monitor at a time, being one of the only real differences between the $150 models and the $300 models).

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