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Pantone Eye One Display LT review

  |   Articles and reviews, Colour management, Monitor calibration, Review, X-Rite   |   No comment

Review: Pantone Eye One Display LT

A Colorimeter for profiling and calibrating monitors and displays



The Pantone Eye One Display LT is the ‘mid-range option’ of the 3 colour management devices (Huey, Display LT and Display 2) recently launched under the Pantone brand name.

We’ve reviewed the original GretagMacbeth Eye-one Display 2 elsewhere and have a page of updated information for the Pantone Eye-One Display 2 which will be of interest if you are looking for more information on the differences between the various models.

pantone i1

2012 X-Rite took over GMB a few years ago and you can still find the i1Display 2 on sale.
However, the software has not been updated for a while. The current equivalent products are the i1Display Pro and the more basic ColorMunki Display, both of which are fully reviewed on this site.

Info about i1Display 2/LT support under Mac OS 10.7

March 2006 — GMB have updated the Eye-One Match software with some extra functionality – more details

In case you are wondering just what this ‘Colour management’ stuff is, we’ve a very short guide to colour management page that might be of help.

What do you get?

The Pantone Display LT is a small USB device which contains a colorimeter to measure the light coming from your screen.

You use the device with the supplied Eye-One match software. The Display LT device looks identical to the Display 2 device, with the exception of a different label underneath. Both devices come in a plastic blister pack, with a software CD and printed ‘Quick-start’ guide.

There is a small weight to counterbalance the weight of the device when it is resting on an LCD screen. The underside of the device has small suction caps for holding it to a CRT monitor.

Pantone Eye-One Display LTThe guidelines expressly warn you not to use the sticky pads to attach the device to an LCD screen (this is the opposite of what is suggested for using the Huey — see my review of the Huey for why I never stick things to my LCD screen)

There is also a white plastic base supplied for storage of the device (this is used for ambient light measurement in the Display 2)

Will the Display LT make my monitor match my prints? I’ve been asked this a couple of time and have written a short article on how it will help, but why you need to consider some other factors as well.

Profiling and Calibration?

There are two main aspects of getting your monitor set up correctly:

Firstly, how do you characterise the actual performance of the display. For example…

  • How red is bright red
  • What colour is displayed at R=127,G=127,B=127 (should be a mid grey)
  • How linear is the brightness output with changing input values

This is ‘Profiling’ your monitor

Secondly, making the monitor perform as a ‘standard’ device

  • What gamma do you want to have (I use 2.2 for my displays now)
  • What colour temperature do you want (I usually use ‘native’ settings on my laptop or 6500 on CRTs)
  • What black and white point luminances do you want

This is ‘Calibration’

It’s worth remembering that you are actually measuring the whole monitor/display card combination, since some aspects of monitor display can depend on the capabilities of your video card.

Installing the software (Eye One Match 3.5) is a simple operation, which you should do -before- plugging in the measuring device.

Do read the help notes provided. They are clearly written and intuitive to follow.

Calibration startup

You can check for updates to the software at this stage

updating monitor calibration software

Nothing to update, so I don’t know how well the process works…

Due to the differing characteristics of various displays, you must tell the software what it is you are measuring.

selecting monitor type

Next you must choose what settings you wish to use with your monitor.

Fairly simple choice here – just the monitor temperature. 6500K would be typical for most use (especially with an LCD display) but 5000K might be a better choice for print proofing work (it will look quite dull and yellow).

I’d suggest that if you know you need 5000K, then you will want a bit more choice than what’s here…

calibration settings

Next position your sensor over the monitor. It helps to tilt the monitor back to let gravity keep it in place.

set up monitor calibration sensor

Depending on your monitor there are several adjustments you can make to get it to the best settings for matching your choice of target.

On my own Apple display, there is only a brightness setting, which I have set at about three quarters maximum. I normally use my Eye-One spectrophotometer for profiling it, so the options I have are a little more comprehensive (they are the same as in the Eye-One Display 2)

If you can adjust contrast, there is the following optional adjustment screen (I skipped it for my own display)

monitor contrast a

The picture below shows how you might alter typical monitor whitepoint settings. Once again the help is clearly written and has all the information you should need.

monitor rgb colour temperature set up

The measurement process consists of a number of coloured patches being displayed on your screen.

You can see the progress bar at the top right in this screen shot.

calibration under way

Once completed, you are prompted to save the profile and it becomes your current monitor profile.
saving monitor profile

There is a convenient reminder option which can be set to flag up when it is time to re-calibrate.

You can now disconnect your sensor, and put it away somewhere safe for a few weeks…

Conclusions

The software works well and quickly and easily produces a monitor profile.

There is a question as to just what that profile is set to. You do not get the chance to set display gamma at all, although the value used (2.2) is pretty widely used as standard these days.

At least there is not the chance of accidentally using some values like D75 (7500K) and a gamma of 2.5 which you might want to try with a system like the Huey.

Note … If anyone has a -real life- situation where D75 and G2.5 is of genuine use, please let me know :-)

The options available with the LT version of the sensor are very limited when compared with the Display 2.

However, the LT is a viable option where colour management at a default setting like 6500K/G2.2 needs to be widely rolled out in an organisation, and only graphics/imaging specialists need the more refined capabilities of the Display 2.

The table below shows how the capabilities of the various products differ.

It contains my own observations of what the software does and may differ from the version you see in promotional literature :-)

HueyEye-one Display LTEye-One Display 2
Gamma choices1.8, 2.2, 2.5 – Note that these choices are not available by name – the info is in the generated profile nameFixed at 2.21.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2
Colour TempD50, D65, D755000K, 6500K, 7500KNative, 5000K, 5500K, 6000K, 6500K, 7000K, 7500K
RGB control calibrationNoYes – This is where you can make additional adjustments to your monitor before the calibration.Yes – I’ve seen information that suggests that there is something better about the adjustments in the D2 version, but I have not found out what it is yet…
Multiple monitorsNo*No*Yes
Ambient lightingOnly to change profile settings.
No quantitative output.
NoAllows level of lighting and quality of lighting to be measured.

* Note that although multiple monitors are not directly supported, on a Mac you could alternatively designate each monitor the main monitor, profile it, rename the profiles, and allocate them in the Displays system preferences. I’ve been sent some info on doing this under Windows XP and have written a short note about Dual monitor profiling under Windows XP

June 2007 – We now have a Pantone huey PRO review – it supports multiple monitors and offers better control of settings and profiling. It is much improved over the huey

Summary

The monitor profiling is very easy to set up and use. The comprehensive help facilities mean you won’t have problems remembering what to do every few weeks when profiling your monitor.

A good solid bit of kit, with the measurement device coming from a well respected name in colour management.

March 2006 — GMB have updated the Eye-One Match software with some extra functionality – more details

More colour management and printing related information

For information about printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main printers and printing page, or use the search box at the top of any page. All colour management information is indexed on the main Colour Management page.

Some specific articles that may be of interest:  

  • Why don't my prints match my screen? A short article showing why there is more to getting your prints to match your screen, than just calibrating your monitor. It's the vital first step, but you do need to consider some other factors for best results.
  • Why are my prints too dark - some basic suggestions to this common problem.

 


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