X-rite i1Display 2
Color management starts with your monitor, and if it isn't
correctly calibrated there is little if any chance of color being
displayed accurately. Therefore, the key to obtaining color accuracy
and consistency across applications and systems is to use a good
quality hardware device to measure the light emitted from the display.
This review discusses x-rite i1Display colorimeter along with the supporting
i1Display 2 Hardware
i1Display, which I reviewed in 2004 included a pretty
good colorimeter along with a slightly limited software application. In
general, it lacked many of the elements users now demand from monitor
calibration and profiling packages (i.e. speed, DDC compliance, and
ambient light measurement). However, with the introduction of the i1Display 2 colorimeter
x-rite (formerly GretagMacbeth) significantly increased the
speed of the calibration process without compromising quality, and they also managed to include the ability
to measure both ambient light luminosity and color temperature. The
hardware is essentially the same in appearance, but an enhanced light
provides much better repeatability, which translates into more
consistent calibration. The sensor is also much more sensitive, which
makes for better control of shadow detail and thus more neutral
greyscales can be obtained across a wider range of tones.
As mentioned above, the i1Display 2 colorimeter is virtually
identical in appearance to the original. It's still a low powered USB
device, which means that Apple computer users can connect it directly
to the keyboard or display USB ports. The same slim counterweight,
which is clipped onto the cable has been retained. The device itself is
easy use with any LCD panel or CRT monitors, but the counterweight
tends to fall off far too often for my liking. A detachable ambient
light head is provided that will enable the user to capture ambient
light measurements. The ambient light head also serves as a dust
protector for the i1Display 2.
When you need to profile a
monitor with a
hood it's simply a matter of using the built-in suction cups to attach
the device directly to the monitor. When I first saw the original
i1Display 2 device I was immediately
wary of these suction cups, especially when attaching it to my original
Apple Cinema HD Display. However, my concerns were ill-founded. This
latest version uses a virtually identical arrangement, so I don't
expect any problems with LCD or LED monitors.
i1Match 3 Software
With the introduction of i1Match 3.6
x-rite has made further
improvements to user interface (UI) and feature set. The UI was
designed to be simple and it certainly seems to have produced less
critical feedback than earlier versions. The easy to follow on-screen
help (called strings) is designed to guide the user through the process
of calibrating and profiling your monitor. i1Match 3.6 also expands on
the number of monitors supported by "One Push Button Monitor
Calibration" (PBC) support. Typically, these are DDC enabled LCD's
whereby the software can automatically control the calibration process. The
following is a summary of summary of new features along with a
comprehensive list of supported monitors.
Whatís new in i1Match 3.6?
You can create profiles according to the ICC 2 (default) or ICC 4
specification. This feature is only accessible via the options menu
in the application.
Monitor module in general.
Before and after calibration step added. User feedback during the
recognition phase of the Push Button Calibration check. After your
calibration you can check how the monitor looked before the
calibration. The following is a list of supported monitors for the Push Button
Hewlett Packard P1230
Updated gamma selection
Choose a gamma from 1.0 Ė 3.0
Choose native gamma
Updated target luminance dialog
Measure your target luminance on a white patch on a different
Note: the screenshot below shows that
also includes modules for profiling electronic projectors, scanners,
digital cameras and printers. It also shows the module for
editing printer profiles. These modules will only be activated when
the user purchases the upgrade codes and the i1Pro
The "Easy" mode provides predefined settings and automated
processes for users who are new to color management or who donít want
to develop customised settings. The "Easy" mode also removes the need
for the user to select the target White Point and Gamma values by using
preset values common to the Mac and PC platforms. Personally I think it
produces lower quality profiles and an over bright monitor.
Like its predecessor i1Display 2 can only is used
for calibration and profiling of CRT and LCD monitors. However, not
before time, x-rite have also included the option for native gamma. This
is a welcome and very necessary addition to i1Match, which will
come in particularly useful for users who specialise in Black & White
(figure 3) gives experienced users access to
customised settings for the best possible results. These include
alternative white point and gamma values. The "native white point"
option leaves the white point of the display as is which is an
essential perquisite when profiling LCD type displays. It's also
possible to set your preferred luminance value. The default value for LCDs is now 120cd/m2, which is a lot more useable than 140
"Advanced" also provides support for checking the "ambient light" light
within your monitor workplace (figure 4). Ideally, the lighting
within the workplace should be set up to meet the ISO norm for Graphic
Technology and Photography, although it may not be possible to achieve
a perfect match. There are actually two norms, one for editing the
image independently of the printed output and an other for editing
whilst directly comparing to printed output. i1Match uses the former.
The screen shot shown above shows the ambient conditions within my
workplace, which is pretty close to ideal.
Positioning the i1Display 2 colorimeter onto the
require any additional supports or add-ons. Depending upon the type of
display that was chosen earlier i1Match the remaining steps in
profiling the monitor will differ slightly. The screenshot shown below
shows a typical step when calibrating a CRT type monitor.
When you click the "Start" button
i1Match first goes into a
routine whereby it establishes the actual position of the colorimeter.
The UI then steps through a series of color changes, which are measured
by the i1Display 2 device and compared to a reference file.
A "Quality Indicator" dialog is displayed on the screen indicating
whether the contrast, brightness and color balance
is correctly. The user must adjust the monitor settings so that the
quality indicator for each is centred. With previous versions of
i1Match the little triangle was prone to jumping around a lot,
but version 3.6 seems to have eliminated the worst excesses of this.
The ability to carry out a quick Before and
After check is a welcome
addition to i1Match, as is the ability to track the drift of your
display as it ages.
On completion the user is invited to assign a name to the newly
created monitor profile. I tend to retain the date component of the
auto generated name and then insert a description of my monitor (e.g.
Apple Cinema Display_6-05-06). You also have the option of having the
software remind you that the monitor needs calibrated again after
I mentioned at the outset of this review that good
hardware and software is a prerequisite for consistent color handling
across a wide range of applications and hardware systems. When the i1Display 2 was first introduced I was generally very
happy with the improvements made by x-rite. Nevertheless, there were still
some issues with the i1Match software that needed to addressed
before it equalled the best of the rest. This latest version of i1Match
(i.e. 3.6) certainly a big improvement
and with it x-rite have managed to enhance the basic feature set without
compromising on quality or increasing the cost. Both greyscale
neutrality and smoothness of gradations have been greatly improved when
using the new linear gamma option, although this is feature is probably
only suitable for better quality LCDs and high end CRT type monitors.
For the more usual choice of gamma 2.2 x-rite have improved upon the
smoothing algorithms, and the earlier tendency to block shadows has
also been substantially eliminated. I still believe that it would be
useful to be able to define an actual black level. The ability to
profile laptops was also welcome addition to version 3.3, but didn't
really receive the acclaim that it deserved. Likewise, "One Push Button
Monitor Calibration" should have proved very useful to many users, but
didn't appear to receive much coverage in any of the more widely read
i1Display 2 is Mac and PC compatible; i.e. OS X,
Windows XP, Vista and 7. i1Display 2
currently costs about $249. If you have deeper pockets and a need to
profile scanners, digital cameras and/or printers then take a look at
upgrading to the Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer and the full i1Match 3 suite.
For more details on i1Display 2, i1Match
you should visit the dedicated web site at