The Monitor Effect

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Dan Krull
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The Monitor Effect

Post by Dan Krull » August 26th, 2010, 8:30 pm

Ok. I have a question about the variability of display devices. Between the lens, the back of the camera, my computer, my wife's laptop, and an actual printed image there is a HUGE AMOUNT of variation.

I already knew that the jump from the pic on the back of my camera to my computer screen is often shocking (both positive and negative) but it wasn't until I posted some pictures I took of a gray treefrog in my front yard that I realized that my pictures looked different on other people's computers.

So, on my computer screen this picture looks like it is perfectly exposed, and rather good:


But when I posted it I got comments about it being overexposed. Looking at it right now on my wife's computer, the eye seems a bit out of focus, and the exposure changes depending on what angle the back of the computer is set to.

Anyway, not sure what to do about it, but until I actually print a pic, I have no idea how good it really is or isn't



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Re: The Monitor Effect

Post by ChrisNM » August 26th, 2010, 9:55 pm

I wouldn't call it terribly overexposed, but it does seem to be overexposed on my end though not bad.

The areas that stand out to me are shoulder and immediate area below the eye to mouth corner. The later also seems a tad OOF. These areas seem to be missing a little detail to me. The eye doesn't seem to be wholy OOF, but rather the flash reflection into the eye might be the distraction that is being observed.

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Re: The Monitor Effect

Post by justinm » August 27th, 2010, 4:08 am

You may want to look into some monitor calibration sofware.

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Kyle Dickerson
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Re: The Monitor Effect

Post by Kyle Dickerson » August 27th, 2010, 8:53 am

You can always just look at the histogram to see if its over or under. In a high contrast image, its not always possible to get a "perfect" exposure. I'd say the exposure of this image is within tolerance. The over-exposed areas are shown below.


Paul White
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Re: The Monitor Effect

Post by Paul White » August 27th, 2010, 1:39 pm

As far as LCDs go, they all have optimum viewing angles and moving the monitor relative to you will massively affect what you see. There's no way around that, and it's not anything to do with the camera. My mom (real estate agent) has the same problem when taking pictures of homes for listings; the paint will look entirely different colors on different people's monitors...and you can't control how their monitors are calibrated.

Erik Williams
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Re: The Monitor Effect

Post by Erik Williams » August 28th, 2010, 9:27 pm

It's definitely over exposed, but the highlights aren't blown out so you can just tone it down a half-stop and be done with it.

It's a tricky exposure because there is a lot of black and a lot of white. Often the auto exposure misses the right exposure because it takes a scene average. Spot metering or center-weighted metering would help here. If the background was better lit, the frog wouldn't be overexposed. The camera adjusted to keep the highlights in control, and I think it did a fine job. Bring the hump in the histogram to the center point or maybe even a bit left of center and it should even out.

With regards to your monitor, just get some calibration hardware. I've even had good luck with downloadable gamma correction software.


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Re: The Monitor Effect

Post by chrish » August 30th, 2010, 9:03 am

I agree with the others. It is a tad overexposed, but not so much that it ruins the shot or that it couldn't be recovered.

I see the overexposure most clearly in the color of the bark. That's just a bit too light. Dial it down 1/3-1/2 stop in Photoshop and it should really be nice.
It looks like the pic could benefit from a little bit more sharpening as well.

As for monitor calibration, it is definitely an issue. I bought a cheap Pantone Huey monitor calibration device and have found it really helps me get more consistency from my photos and they tend to look OK on most monitors then. When you get into trouble is when the monitor you use for doing the actual tweaking is out of calibration.

In the absence of hardware fixes, there are monitor calibration sites that help you fix what you can easily.

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Don Becker
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Re: The Monitor Effect

Post by Don Becker » September 21st, 2010, 5:17 pm

Looks great on my computer, but I have my monitor set to use sRGB color space.

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