What do I need to calibrate my monitor?

Hi, guys.

I have a laptop and I’m going to buy the Dell U2720Q monitor or the Dell U2520D monitor and I have some questions.

What do I need to calibrate my monitor? Do I need a calibration device? If so, which one?


Yes, you’ll need a hardware calibration device and the Display Cal software to do the calibration. Check https://displaycal.net/ for supported devices.

Ok, and do I need to calibrate my monitor on the first use or just a few months later?


I broke down and bought the cheap ColorMunki device, calibrated my displays, and have been quite happy since.

“They” (experts?) say you should do it every couple of months because illumination changes, but I’m going on 2 years with the same profiles and they still look okay to me. Now that you’ve brought it up, now I’m going to perseverate on it until I update my calibrations… :smiley:

Every few months is the recommendation. Before I move and got out of my groove, once a quarter is how often I was doing a calibration.

Note that “it still looks good” isn’t a good test, as colors can shift and you probably won’t notice until they’ve shifted a bunch.

I think “calibration” is a poor term for the process. I’d think that “normalization” is much better… What we are doing is displays color patches that we know the exact color, then measuring what the monitors shows that color as. The generated profile takes the value shown and corrects it to match the color of the swatch. This is probably an over simplification :slight_smile:

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Hi guys

What do you think about the professional monitors (e.g. Eizo, etc) which have been already calibrated by their producers (e.g. Eizo) and they have got an internal software to recalibrate them over the years?
With them you don’t need an external hardware to calibrate the monitor.

In Europe these professional (Eizo) monitors are quite expensive (usually far over 1000 euros).

Built in hardware calibration is great, but you’ll certainly pay for that convenience.

The Dell Ultrashap U series has sRGB coverage and is a decent phot editing monitor. You can grab a 24" HD for ~300 USD.

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I bought a spyderx pro 5. It is not expensive and It does a good job, especially if you are not a professional. Very user friendly!

Does anyone have experience with X-Rite i1 Studio?
I’m really thinking of buying it.

I want to calibrate a few Apple Cinema HD displays that I use at home. The monitors pull towards high temperature (towards yellow/orange). So any photo editing I do on those end up being very cold photos on other monitors.

Any recommendations on something better (or ever price/features/performance wise) that I should get instead of X-Rite i1 Studio?

Also if anyone has experience with that spectrometer under Linux that would be very helpful.

Here’s the link to the device I’m talking about:

@KristijanZic I have one of those, but it’s called a color munki photo or something like that.

If all you need to do is calibrate monitors, get something else. The real power of that device is that you can calibrate your printer.

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Yeah, I forgot to mention that I’m looking into buying a photo printer for home/work also.
But the biggest dilemma that I have is weather I should buy a calibrator or a new monitor and throw away Cinema HD displays?

I’m thinking if I buy some lg 5k factory calibrated monitor it will probably be all messed up in a few months especially because it’s brand new, the color reproduction might regress quickly.

So I might as well buy the calibrator now and a monitor in a few months?

What do you think?

When I had my photo printer and monitor calibrated together, it was magic. Stuff just printed out how it looked on screen… Worth every penny, if you ask me (and its a lot of pennies)

If you’re planning to buy a good photo printer, I would say the calibration device is worth it.

If you’re 100% set on getting a printer, that is the right one.

I’d check the stats of your current monitor. If it covers sRGB, then you’re probably OK.

I wouldn’t trust the factory calibration of any monitor unless it is extremely high-end and has its own color calibration hardware… Marketing plays fast and loose with technical terminology.

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Thanks for the tips!
The monitor should be 100% sRGB but that info is from some really dodgy sources.

But yeah, spectrometer it is. Otherwise I’ll never be 100% sure at what I’m looking at and working on. It’s been bothering me for years now and it’s time I put a stop to that XD


Prepare your wallet.


That is the most scary reply I’ve ever gotten xD

I wish I’d have bought a spectrometer instead of a colorimeter now. A spectrometer is important in making these spectral sensitivity function profiles, as you need to measure the power distribution of the light, and a spectrometer does that.

Essentially, you can point one of those things at just about any object, and read its spectral reflectance. You could re-calibrate a ColorChecker, for instance, or even make your own targets. You may not get into this stuff, but if you think you might…


For the money I’ll be dropping on this thing I’ll be damn sure to get into all of this stuff even if I hear about some of these things for the first time.


DisplayCAL allows you to perform verification of the display calibration and profiling. The produced report gives an objective assessment of the deviations. This doesn’t take a lot of time – e.g. less than an hour for testchart with 490 patches (the duration depends on the measurement instrument).

Even if you trust the factory calibration and profiling initially, you still need to check that the display profile is properly loaded in the OS, otherwise the color managed applications won’t take into account the exact color reproduction characteristics of your display.

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Thank you all.

Should I buy a spectrophotometer or colorimeter? What model do you recommend?

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Bought one 2 months ago along with a new DELL monitor. I picked a cheaper Dell AdobeRGB monitor instead of a bit more costly NEC to save some money for the i1 Studio. For me as a hobbyist it feels a bit like an overkill, but I don’t want a colorimeter with color filters. And there are not so many options if you want to calibrate your printer as well. Before the i1 Studio I used the colorhug I and II, but both created profiles with color shifts if there is no color correction matrix available.

The i1 Studio took me a bit of time to get it working with displayCAL under Debian 10, because of USB device settings. After creating an udev rule /etc/udev/rules.d/90-xlite-color_cal.rules with

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="0765", ATTR{idProduct}=="6008", GROUP="YOURGROUP", MODE="0660"

it works.
The i1 does its job and colors look okay to me. The monitor came with a factor calibration sheet, but I didn’t experiment with the shipped profiles. The colors were definitely off without that profiles.

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