Pantone Huey

I picked up a Pantone huey colorimeter this week so that i run a little more of a chance of getting a reasonable match between the colors that I see and what comes out of a printer. I can’t say that I’m 100% convinced that I’m getting good results yet, at least on the MacBook’s screen. The MacBook vs. Huey is not exactly an unknown issue on the net, though this seems to be a more subtle version than the heavy green casts that people were getting.

First off, the colors are different. Cooler and less contrast are the first things that I notice. if I take a break and come back to to the screen, the colors do look reasonable, so that’s not evidence of miscalibration. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that the native MacBook colors are far punchier with high contrast and saturation and muddy shadows. That’s great for videos and selling machines in the store.

What does worry me is that the B&W images that I’m displaying (in Lightroom, a color aware application) aren’t coming out in pure neutral. There’s distinct coloration, a sort of off color yellowy green in the mid-tones. That shouldn’t be there in a properly calibrated screen. I’m going to venture a guess that the response curves for the individual RGB channels aren’t the same. The calibration software does the bulk of the profiling with neutral tones instead of a pure singe color. I’m not sure why, unless it’s a speed or product differentiation issue. That compromise would wind up making the overall luminosity curves correct at the expense of the color balance. Thankfully, it’s something that might be fixable in software.

The calibration seems better on my Dell 20″ desktop LCD, so perhaps it’s a quirk of the MacBook screen. I’ll have to try comparing to good prints to see if it can nail skintones on the external monitor. If it can, then it’s worth having.

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