Dell 2209WA not calibrating properly under OS X

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by m85476585, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I usually use my 2209WA connected to my Desktop running Windows 7, but sometimes I'll connect it to my MBP. Windows seems to have found a color profile that works very well, which it got from Windows Update, created by Dell, presumably. It might not be good enough for someone who needs 100% accurate color, but it's good enough for me.

    I tried two different profiles for this monitor connected to my MBP. The first was one I downloaded from a forum somewhere, and the second was the one Windows is using, copied over. The display looks OK with both, but the color depth isn't nearly as good as it is on Windows. Connected to my MBP, the colors look washed out and flat, while the same colors are much richer when the monitor is connected to my PC. For example, pure blue (#0000FF) looks faded when the monitor is on my MBP, and much deeper when it is on my PC. I tried changing the gamma setting under OS X (manual calibration), but it didn't have much effect. It is set at 2.2 for both 2209 profiles and for my MBP LCD's profile.

    How can I make my monitor properly calibrated when it is hooked up to my Mac?

    In both cases I am connecting the monitor with DVI (just moving the cable since I'm too cheap to buy a switch), and both OSes have it set at native resolution. The settings on the monitor (color, brightness, contrast, etc) do not change when I switch computers.
  2. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Has anyone gotten their 2209WA to calibrate properly under OS X without a hardware calibrator?
  3. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    What mode are you using on the monitor? Osx and windows look fine on my 2408wfp. I only calibrated mine by eye using the monitors controls; so maybe my opinion is not creditable in this circumstance.
  4. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I think the settings on the display are the same between the PC and my MBP.

    Mode Selection: Graphics
    Preset Modes: Standard
    Wide mode: Fill
    Sharpness: 50
    Dynamic Contrast: Off

    The colors look OK, and I don't know if I would really be able to tell if they were wrong. The color depth is obviously wrong under OS X, though. Deep blue, especially, looks washed out under OS X but good under Windows.
  5. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    I have a 2209WA. Are you calibrating it to print or just to look good to your eyes? My advice is go buy a calibrator. I use Huey.
  6. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    Well your contrast sounds high. Mine is 45 and my brightness is 12, but the 2408wfp is a S-PVA panel not e-IPS. I also use the graphics mode, but then choose custom R,G,B. I know Dell monitors never come close to accurate out of the box. So I would try adjusting the individual RGB settings, before you buy a hardware color calibrator, unless you need to the color accuracy for employment.
  7. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I don't want to spend the money on a hardware calibrator, and I shouldn't have to. I don't use it for any color-accurate work; I just want it to look good. I have a profile that looks good on Windows, but when I try to apply that profile under OS X it doesn't look the same. The white point and everything looks OK, but the color gamut is significantly reduced.

    Adjusting the RGB settings on the monitor didn't help. It just added a color cast, or if they were all the same, changed the brightness. One of the color profiles I downloaded said to set the RGB sliders to specific values (I can't remember right now), but they were all 96-98.

    The biggest problem for me is the reduced color gamut under OS X.
  8. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    Are you running snow leopard or leopard? And when you calibrated it in windows were you using anything such as a color accurate image, a web site, or the video card driver color calibration walk through? If you are using snow leopard and having this issue, it makes me think that your settings for windows may not be very accurate. Have you tried using any of the built in profiles in your MacBook rather than some random one you downloaded?
  9. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Snow Leopard. On Windows, I've tried the profile that came on the Dell CD, one I downloaded, and the one Windows got from Windows Update (probably the same as the one on the CD). They all look about the same.

    I tried all the profiles I have available in OS X. The ones for the 2209WA did not have much color cast (unlike some of the others), but none of them had as much color gamut as on Windows. The closest profile to the full color gamut of the 2209WA is the profile I use for my MBP's LCD, but since it is for a different LCD, the colors are completely off and there is a strong yellow cast.

    I verified the color profiles under Windows with test images. Under OS X, gamma and contrast still look OK, but saturated colors are not as colorful.

    I'm only talking about premade color profiles here. Whenever I try to calibrate with sliders I end up making it worse. I did try calibrating the 2209WA in "expert mode" under OS X, but it didn't fix the color depth problem, and as always I added a color cast. No matter how I moved any of the sliders I couldn't get the right color depth/gamut.

    I wish I could post a picture, but I don't think the effect would show up.
  10. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    you could take a picture with a good camera and post that. I wish someone would enter this thread and say something else beyond buy a hardware calibrator.
  11. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    What else is there to say? It's the only way to accurately calibrate a display, particularly if trying to match 2 separate systems.
  12. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    Because from what the op is describing, it sounds like if the macbook was his only computer, he would still be having problems with the 2209WA.
  13. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    OK, here are some pictures. I'm impressed that my camera was able to pick up the difference. It is a Panazonic ZS3 (TZ7) with no manual controls. The shutter speed on the Mac picture is 1/20s and on the Windows picture it is 1/25s. The rest of the parameters are identical. Despite the difference in shutter speed, I would say the pictures somewhat accurately represent the difference when viewed on my 2209WA connected to my PC. When viewed on my MBP, the difference it only slightly visible, but the Windows picture still has a bit darker and more saturated color.

    The monitor also has a burn-in fix mode that cycles through different colors (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, and white). The colors shown in that mode are basically the colors I'm seeing on Windows, and they show the full gamut of the monitor.

    The first one should be the Mac one and the second one should be the Windows one. The mouseover text has the file name which indicates which computer was used.

    Edit: I implied this in my post, but these images will not reproduce well on all LCDs. The Unibody MBPs are probably a bit better than mine, but ideally these images should be viewed on an iMac or ACD with an 8-bit panel (IPS, PVA, MVA, etc.)

    Attached Files:

  14. DMC-12 macrumors 6502


    May 16, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    I don't know if my profile is "correct," but it definitely looks really good to me.
  15. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    This is my experience as well. Even on Dell's top model, the 30" Dell 3008WFP the preset modes are practically useless and you have to use custom RGB to have any semblance of accurate colors.

    To the OP, have you checked that they have the same gamma setting? I know Snow Leopard should default to the 2.2 used by Windows but I find it may not always do this.
  16. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    Do you have digital vibrance turned on in windows? If so turn it off and then adjust your settings On your monitor under windows. Hopefully if that was the case, osx should look better.
  17. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I tried it in clamshell mode (thinking that maybe OS X is trying to match the 2209 to my MBP's LCD). It still isn't right under OS X.

    Windows matches 2.2 gamma based on the test images at

    What is the digital vibrance setting? It appears to be Nvidia-only, but I have an ATI card in my PC (and all its adjustments are set to default/off).
  18. m85476585 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    I just tried booting off a Linux live CD. It didn't have the proper driver for my video card, so it was running in VGA mode. My MBP's LCD looked terrible-- it was washed out, grays had a blue-ish cast, and it didn't seem to be showing 24 bit color. The 2209WA on the other hand looked fine. It was set for 24 bit color and it was obviously displaying it. The color depth was right, but it clearly wasn't calibrated.

    That tells me that the color profile Windows is using is probably correct (or good enough for me)-- it is definitely not uncalibrated. Why is it that when I copy over the exact same profile to OS X, the color isn't the same?

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