Walthrough: Profiling your monitor with Windows 7
Although Windows 7’s calibration tool is free and easy to use, dedicated hardware will do a better job. When you use calibration software, you’re relying on your eyes to make decisions about contrast and brightness. There are two problems with this. First, different people perceive colour and brightness differently, introducing a significant margin of error. Second, the apparent brightness of your monitor will depend to some extent on the lighting in the room – which in turn is affected by the age of the bulbs, the amount of light coming through the window, and a host of other factors.
Hardware calibration devices are inherently more accurate, and because they attach, limpet-like, to your monitor screen, ambient light isn’t a factor. However, some calibration software, such as GretagMacbeth’s i1Match software (www. xrite.com), can also measure the colour temperature of ambient light, which will give you another significant accuracy advantage when it comes to your editing environment.
Hardware calibration doesn’t have to be expensive. LaCie’s easy-to-use Blue Eye Prois at the top of the scale at around $400, but you can get hold of devices such as Pantone’s huey colorimeter for less than $150.