LeCoultre Movement

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Bill D
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LeCoultre Movement

Post by Bill D »

I shot this image before Christmas, but, I have been so busy, I have finally PP'ed it. It is the movement of a 1946 LeCoultre watch. This was my late father-in-law's watch. I took this right before we gave it to a watchmaker to be cleaned, polished and tuned-up. You can see the stem and crown are very dirty, and the back of the dial has a patina of rust.

Can I ask for some help? I finally gave up the 17" CRT monitor I have been using for years. Over that time, I had adjusted the color and contrast, and refined it to a degree that it displayed my photographs in neutral color balance. This way I could color balance my photos without hard proofs. Well, my wife gave me a 19" NEC 90GX2 flat panel monitor for Christmas. I have tried to adjust it so it will render natural colors. So, can you tell me how this picture looks on your screens? Does the color and contrast look neutral and natural? Your input would be greatly appreciated!

Image
Bill

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Bill,

There are quite a few freebie monitor calibration utilities on the Web if you don't already have one, or if anybody else wants to calibrate their monitor. They are mainly grey scale step wedge types, but it is amazing how many people have their monitors set with the wrong contrast settings for viewing images. There are also loads more than the ones I list if you do a search. There was a colour one somewhere I used but I cannot find it again. See:-

http://www.photofriday.com/calibrate.php

http://zonezero.com/calibration/english.html

http://www.pawprint.net/designresources ... ration.php

http://www.viewsonic.com/support/calibration.htm

http://www.ephotozine.com/techniques/vi ... m?recid=12

Or if you want to get more complicated:-

http://www.photoscientia.co.uk/Gamma.htm

http://www.normankoren.com/makingfineprints1A.html

http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/moni ... ration.htm

DaveW

Bill D
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Post by Bill D »

Thanks Dave for the links. I know these are available. There is some software that includes a light sensor that hangs in front of your screen as well. I just haven't looked into them at this time. I have my own system of setting up my monitor, crude as it is! I thought having some input from other viewers might be helpful? I am going to visit the links you provided and see what's there. I might find the perfect solution.
Bill

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Bill,

I think you probably mean Spyder:-

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/arti ... r2pro.html

DaveW

Bill D
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Post by Bill D »

Yeah Dave, Spyder Pro is supposed to be one of the best. Eye One Display 2 is supposed to be great. www.gretagmacbeth.com There is also one that uses an sensor by Monaco Systems called Optix. www.xritephoto.com I haven't used any for myself. I was just hoping some of the viewers of this post would comment on the overall appearance the image.... contrast to dark... contrast to light.... contrast just right... a little yellow.... a little pink..... I am just wondering how my pictures are appear to most people.
Bill

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Bill,

Your image looks fine on my screen.

Regarding monitor calibration, I take a slightly different approach. I calibrate my printer, using Monaco EZcolor software, their reference print, and a scanner. Then I adjust my monitor so that what I see on it matches what the printer cranks out. That automatically compensates for the effects of room lighting. It also accomplishes what I care most about, which is using my printer as a local proofing device for files to be printed remotely by a high end graphic arts company (http://www.calypsoinc.com/).

The last time I checked, monitor calibration is still a cross between a black art and an exercise in frustration and futility. PC and Macintosh monitors are generally set for different gammas, and color management software still hasn't penetrated all the browsers that are in common use. That's the bad news. The good news is that most people are not very sensitive to either color casts or brightness, until they start trying to match colors on a side-by-side basis. If you're trying to make images that will look good to people all across the web, you have to compromise anyway. This article is somewhat dated, but it's a good overview of the issues.

The other thing to do is visit dpreview and make sure you can see all the blocks on their gray scale (scroll to bottom of page). This should be OK with a new LCD monitor, but it's always worth checking. With my monitor (matched to my calibrated printer), the darkest Y and Z blocks can be distinguished only by careful study, preferably in a darkened room. Under normal room lighting, X, Y, and Z are all black at first glance, and a Kodak neutral gray card matches brightness someplace between blocks P and Q.

--Rik

Bill D
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Post by Bill D »

Thanks Rik, that's exactly what I'm talking about. The compromise of different monitors all viewing the web. I was trying to get an idea of what others are seeing. My system, mentioned above, for calibrating my monitor is similar to your method. I have a couple picture files, that when printed out on my current photo printer, the prints appear to be correct in color and contrast. I use these to visually calibrate my monitor.

I should have mentioned above, the watch movement is about 13 to 14mm long from left to right. The crown is close to 3mm wide.
Bill

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Bill,

As to whether colours are correct on a monitor for an object. The viewer can only guess unless they have the object to compare to it's screen image. Also a print, or it's original photograph, may not show the true colours anyway. Therefore you can only program your monitor to a set standard and hope the image being sent is a reasonable representation of the original subject to start with. Otherwise if you correct your monitor to produce what you think is a proper colour balance for one image it may be incorrect for subsequent ones. That is the reason a set standard is needed.

We all know TV studio colour is often fairly good, but often that in some outside broadcasts is off a bit. Do you therefore keep tweaking the TV settings, or have your TV adjusted to a manufacturers set standard that is correct for most transmissions?

On a different close up photography site I commented to a person who had just changed to digital that his pictures seemed a bit underexposed to me on my monitor. He said they looked OK on his monitor. I asked if he had ever calibrated his monitor and gave some of the previous links to the freebie calibrators. He wrote back and said "I see what you mean now I had the brightness on the monitor turned up far too much and was dialing in exposure compensation on the camera because when shot normally the shots seemed overexposed!". I also gave him some links to using the camera histogram which he was also not using.

I understand monitors once warmed up should be calibrated frequently because they have a tendency to drift off tune. I gather some graphic arts professionals do this at least once a week, but I have never found I needed to do it this often.

DaveW

MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

Agree with Dave. On my monitor it is a little bit oversaturated. But I have no idea how that gold-orange color really looks like. It's hard to tell exactly if you can't see the object. Anyway nice photo with a lot of details. :D
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

Bill D
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Post by Bill D »

Thanks Dave. I went to all of the links you posted above. I went through their "steps" on two of them. Based on what I saw, I ended up turning down my contrast by 7% more than I had turned it down when I calibrated my monitor. I understand all of your comments, and realize everybody's monitor settings are slightly different. I was soliciting subjective opinions in my original post.

Nikola, Your monitor must be set similar to mine... when you look at the watch movement with your naked eyes, it is a strange "gold-orange" color!
Bill

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Hi Bill,

I make the following comments with the intention of being helpful rather than critical.

On my LG782LE TFT monitor:

Detail is good with no obvious sharpening artifacts. Colour balance is also good: (ie, white is WHITE), however, the mid-range brightness (gamma) appears too dark which means I am not seeing some of the interesting mid-range detail. Now I don't know of course whether this is inherent in the subject, the posted image or simply the way it displays on my monitor.

Out of interest, I loaded your image into Photoshop and checked the levels histogram - it has a good spread but is rather flat (which of course may be a true reflection of the subject and lighting). Increasing the mid-range (gamma) to 1.25 brought out a LOT of interesting detail inside the movement and even on the back of (what I assume is) the watch face. The jewels showed as dark red and green verdigris became visible behind the winder. I have to say that on my monitor the result was generally more pleasing, although I would go on to use the history brush (on the modified image) to selectively restore (tone down) some of the "brushed steel" highlights.

This is a very interesting (and to an extent subjective) area Bill as I may well have my monitor set up in a way that you may find too dark (I used Adobe Gamma to calibrate).

I would be very interested in hearing your comments after repeating the above gamma change and seeing the results on your own monitor.

Bruce

Bill D
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Post by Bill D »

Thank You Bruce for taking the time to analyze my image! I have not taken the time to open up Adobe Gamma and set it up. I will do this today. One of the links Dave provided above has a good tutorial for going through Adobe Gamma. I'll post my results. The link with the tutorial is: http://www.ephotozine.com/techniques/vi ... m?recid=12
Bill

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

It looks fine on the lap top I am using. A wondrful piece of machinery. I love the machine marks on the metal. I see the petina of rust on the back but I would have not really noticed it if you had not said anything.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

Hi again Bill,

Just to be clear - if you could try the levels change in Photoshop (increase midrange to 1.25) and let me know how it appears on your screen. That is, does it reveal useful detail (for example, internal workings, colour of jewels and green verdigris behind winder). The brushed steel highlights will probably appear too bright - hence my comment about use of the history brush).

...and yes I agree with Doug - it is an excellent image.

Bruce

Bill D
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Post by Bill D »

I copied the file and opened it up in CS2. I went to "Levels" and adjusted the mid-range to 1.26. Here is the result:

Image

I'm not liking this version! Overall it appears to light. So, is that my artistic opinion or my monitor?
Bill

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