Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


Testing different monitor calibration targets

Filed under: — adam @ 8:53 am

With the purchase of new monitors (see also, I noticed that I was getting really muddy blacks, even though I had the contrast set properly. Through some trial and error, I discovered that the Spyder2Pro I was using to calibrate was wiping out whatever changes I made to the contrast and brightness settings, and flattening about the lower fifth of the gradient curve to black.

I discovered that I could alleviate this by calibrating to a different gamma/temperature target – I had been using the windows default of 2.2-6500K. Through some more trial and error, I found that the “right” balance seems to be 1.6-6400K – colors are still crisp, and I still get a good range of shadows. I think I may have thought that my old monitors had some limitations that they didn’t, and the calibration was at fault instead of the hardware.

Have you experimented with different gamma/temperature targets? I know the mac defaults to 1.8-6500K, but when I tried that one, it was still way too dark in the shadows (testing on a 64-band gradient). 1.6-6400K looks great, but it seems like a weird number to end up at.

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