Color management guide by Arnaud Frich

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Updated on April 07, 2017

i1Display Pro review - X-Rite | 1st part

It is simply the best display calibration colorimeter today and the glass filters promise it a long life. Perhaps the next generation of monitors will challenge its immense qualities? but for the time being...

i1Display Pro BoxIn July 2011, the company X-Rite launched the successor to the famous Eye One Display II, the new i1Display Pro and i1Profiler software. Everything is new : the glass filter colorimeter, such as the new Colormunki Display and software. At 240€, it ranks as the most expensive colorimeter on the market but also as its reference ! The adjustment possibilities are endless and benefit from the latest technological breakthroughs to ideally calibrate all monitors on the market, even the latest wide gamut LCD panels, laptop displays or iMac and perform all possible quality controls. We are in front of the ultimate refinements in terms of hardware and software. However, this software is not intended to beginners, because even in basic calibration mode, the options are many and not always speak by themselves.


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Presentation of the i1Display Pro colorimeter

This calibration sensor for screens and video projector is thus the successor to the famous Eye One Display 2 in the X-Rite range of monitor sensors. It is the last expert sensor in the range. It enables to calibrate all last generation screens with wide gamuts and LED technology and also video projectors, and this thanks to a new ADC functionality (Automatic Display Control of the screen), and it enables to calibrate laptop or iMac monitors, who only have one brightness setting, a lot better. They also have many quality monitoring modules, very advanced.

Since February 2014, it also enables to calibrate Apple's iPad and has been noticeably improved in July 2015 (Version 1.6.3).

The calibration kit and what is in the box

Very important note! Especially since version 1.6.1 from July 2015, be sure to update your program because it's not an umpteenth evolution with bugs correction but really a major update.

The monitor colorimeter i1Display Pro from X-Rite comes with a new three RGB channels colorimeter and glass filters, guaranteeing a long duration and, like most monitor calibration colorimeter, a little weight to put on the USB cable. The colorimeter also has a classic thread to fix it on a tripod in order to calibrate a beamer. The kit typically contains the drivers and calibration software i1Profiler (which is also used to calibrate a printer if you have a spectrophotometer). Nothing but classic!


i1Display Pro colorimeter

Key features and novelties

  • High end technological ergonomic multifunction measuring instrument;
  • Glass filters on three chanels - New! -
  • Monitor and projector calibration and charaterization software i1Profiler - New! - compatible with all the last moderrn display technologies, including LED and wide gamut LCD, laptop displays, iMac;
  • Infinite white point, brightness, contrast and gamma adjustments;
  • Iterative intelligent characterization: adaptive technology that measures and analyzes the color capabilities of each unique display for increased accuracy of profiles;
  • Intelligent control of ambient lighting: measurement, compensation and ongoing monitoring of ambient lighting conditions - New! ;
  • Flare Correct™ - New! - measurement and compensation of reflections at the surface of the display;
  • Automatic Display Control (ADC) - New! - to accelerate characterization process and avoid manual settings;
  • Projector calibraton - New! -
  • Calibrate and characterize multiple monitors within a same set - New!
  • Quality control of the display and monitoring trends over time - New!

Technical specifications

i1Display Pro
Average price: $251.80/ £199.20
i1Display - RGB and ambient llight colorimeter -
Color temperature
Infinite possibilities / Defined by user in advanced mode
Gamma choice
Multi monitor
Ambient light control
Yes in luminance - Advanced control
Beamer calibration

Download i1Profiler

i1Profiler Can be downloaded in WINDOWS 32 or 64 bits and MAC OS versions (compatible MAC OS LION).

Logo X-RiteDownload i1Profiler from X-Rite Suivre
Download the official documentation Suivre

i1Profiler software installation

It is very simple and classic. Nothing special to say ! When you click on the application icon, the language detection is now done automatically. The main menu of the software opens directly onto several options:

1 - User mode : "Basic " or "Advanced" in a very nice dark grey interface. I love it!

Main manu basic i1Profiler

User mode: "Basic" above - it is possible to calibrate a monitor, a projector or a printer - "Advanced" below - it is possible to calibrate the same devices but with more options like monitoring, choosing the color temperature or the uniformity of the display -.

Advanced menu i Profiler

2 - Licensing: depending on the license purchased, you will also be able to calibrate your printer (but then you need a spectrophotometer).

3 - Application settings : selection of the colorimeter used for calibration.

4 - Application information: Software version and update (Auto or not).

5 - Application help : training video or i1Profiler online.




Calibration with the i1Profiler: step by step

The i1Profiler software allows you from its main window to characterize a monitor or projector in two user modes: "Basic" and "Advanced." Depending on the selected mode, the options are more or less numerous. I will bring the precision whenever necessary but I will make this tutorial with the advanced mode.

A - First tab : default display settings

When you click on "Display profiling" a new window opens - see below - where you choose the display to calibrate, if you have more than one, and many settings.

Paramètres de réglages des écrans dans i1Profiler

Display settings window in "Advanced" user mode.

1 - Select your display and technology type (basic and advanced mode): You just need to click on the monitor to be calibrated (1).

Choose a monitor and technology type i1Profiler

Then (1bis), choose the type of lighting technology for your screen - Updated in August 2015 - if the default choice, thus automatic, isn't correct. This choice enables the program to choose the color matrix it is going to use to perform a perfect calibration! It turns out that with many screens, this choice doesn't have any influence on the quality of the calibration hence on the delta e. Anyway, after several tests, I'd never noticed a difference in calibration when changing this criteria until iProfiler version 1.5.6. It is completely different now that I've installed version 1.6.1 and especially for the first screen I reviewed since this update. On the BenQ PG2401PT, Graphic Arts screen with IPS panel Led GBLed, the DeltaE goes from 2.73 to 0.84 by choosing the "right" technology!

Very important update since 1.6.1! Even if updates are often here to correct bugs, this 1.6 update is major one. It integrates, in particular, new screen backlighting technologies, especially high-range in order to refine calibration quality. I noticed it very simply during the review of the monitor Eizo CS240


How to choose between CCFL, white LED, etc.? - Updated in August 2015

Why and how to choose? The color matrix on which the profile of your screen is based isn't the same. There can thus really be visible calibration differences by a dominant. Your screen then looks anything but neutral, but this is one of the goals of calibration!

CCFL technology is the most common one for old flat screens since it is a "neon-type" technology. It is the default choice.

However, more and more screens are manufactured using LED-based technologies, white or RGB. If your screen uses LED technology without specification, it is most certainly white LEDs: iMac, MacBook Pro 2011 and next, many recent wide gamut screens (2012 and next). It is then better to choose White LED.

If your screen uses RGB LEDs, it will be specified because it's an expensive technology and manufacturers are proud and eager to claim it when they use it: choose RGB LED.

If you don't know what to choose and your screen isn't Wide Gamut, try CCFL AND WHITE LED.

If you don't know what to choose and your screen is Wide Gamut, try CCFL Wide gamut AND WHITE LED.

Certain NEC screens or the last BenQ PG2401PT use Led GBLed and it changes everything!

As a final resort, make a calibration with two solutions as recommended above and see which one seems the most neutral to you. On a 2012 MacBook Pro I'm still searching!

2 - Choose white point (basic and advanced mode): there are several possibilities that we are now going to review. You can choose in the list:

  • Choose the CTa preset target: D50, D55, D65 or D75.
  • Native: the monitor color temperature;
  • Daylight temperature : you can choose whatever color temperature you want;
  • xy values for experts;
  • Measure: it measures the ambient light of the room in chrominance;

My advice! The D50 and D55 are only used on high-end displays. In other cases, I like to choose 6,000 K, neither too warm nor too cold manually. I never use the "measure..." function.

3 - Choose brightness (basic and advanced mode): there are several possibilities that we are going to review now. You can choose in the list:

  • Choix de la témpérature de couleur dans i1Profilera preset target (in Cd/m2): 80, 100, 120 or 250.
  • Native: brightness of the monitor;
  • Custom: you can choose the brightness you want;
  • Measure: it measures the ambient light of the room in order to adapt the display luminance;

My advice! In most cases, a luminance around 80 -100 Cd/m2 should be fine if you often print. If you only work on the Internet, use 120 Cd/m². Once again, the displays are often too bright, especially for photographers who print.

4 - Contrast ratio (advanced mode): You can choose the contrast ratio in the list :

  • Choix de la témpérature de couleur dans i1Profilernative: it is the maximum contrast of the display;
  • Custom: you can choose the ratio you want, to align multiple monitors, so for example, by choosing the lowest common denominator;
  • ICC PCS black point: for experts, this is very much one of those "If you don't know what it is for, you probably do not need it" settings;
  • from printer profile: Does not work for me!!!


My recommendation!

I choose "Native" by default but a photographer printing at home will prefer "287:1", the contrast ratio of the eye when watching a sheet of paper. Whether be it with my wonderful Eizo CS240, it is the contrast ratio that works best for print.

5 - Activate Flare Correct (advanced mode) : Measures ambient light reflection on the monitor in order to adjust the contrast. This is useful on laptops displays with glossy panel but obviously also on Apple iMac IF you are always working in the same room, otherwise ... (the measurement is done at the end of the color patches measurement process).

6 - Ambient light Smart control (basic and advanced mode): as it says, it allows you to adjust the profile according to the ambient light by a regular measurement of it, after calibration. If you select this option, the colorimeter will measure the ambient light at the end of the color patches measurement process and regularly after, according to the preferences you will have selected - see below.

My opinion! If the function works really well and has a real visible influence, I find it, regarding the color temperature, very pronounced and it becomes very difficult to balance multiple monitors together. To date, I only recommend it if you are using one monitor and only if you do not have compact fluorescent lights. Otherwise, it is a disaster!

B - second tab: default profile settings (advanced mode)

Few options will be modified, but it is here that the gamma can be changed and only in advanced mode.

Choix du gamma dans i1Profiler

Profile settings window in advanced mode because these options are not available in basic mode.

Few options are a priori changed but one is very important - the famous norm V4 to be changed for V2 - but it is here you can, among others, change gamma, hence only in Advanced mode.

Profile version: norm V4 (default) must be changed for V2.

Profile version: V2 or V4?

V4 is the new norm, but not all photo viewing programs use it, like Windows viewer for instance. So if you create a V4 screen profile, the images displayed in your viewer will be very dark. Still on a PC but in Photoshop or Lightroom, everything will go back to normal because these programs manage this norm. With Mac OS, everything will look OK.

My recommendation! Be sure to choose norm V2 except if you're really sure about what you're doing!

Gamma (in version 1.5.6 because in 1.6.1 it's in the first tab) :

Choix du gamma dans i1Profiler

Window of profile settings in advanced mode because these options are not available in "Basic" mode. The choice of gamma is in the first tab in version 1.6.1.

In advanced mode, in version 1.5.6, it is thus possible to change gamma values in a list of 4: 1.8, classic 2.2, 3.0 and sRGB. In the new version 1.6.3, choice of gamma is now in the first tab.

My recommendation!

Choose 2.2, it works really well, especially for those of you who print a lot. The matching between monitor and print is excellent then. (For that, also choose contrast 287:1).

C - third tab: patch set (advanced mode)

This is where you can choose the number of color patches that will be displayed in front of the colorimeter. The more patches and, presumably, the more precise the ICC profile will be. It is yet to be verified and it is not that easy to control.

Choose Patch set size d'i1Profiler

  • Small: 119 patches - Number by defaut of the basic user mode.
  • Medium: 220 patches
  • Large: 478 patches

My advice! a high quality of this new colorimeter is the speed with which it measures the patches: impressive ! So why not choose the highest number of patches, once every four weeks? That said, I have never seen a difference between these options in the end. The most demanding people will choose the most and the most in a hurry the least!

D - fourth (or second) tab: measurement (basic and advanced mode)

The patches measurement, so the characterization, will finally start and you may be surprised by the speed with which patches pass in this new version of i1Profiler (If you have the choice of the number of patches in advanced mode, it is set by default to 119 in basic mode).

Mesure des patchs avec i1Profiler

1 - Automatic Display Control (basic and advanced mode): it is here that you will choose to enable or not the ADC function or in other words, the automatic control of brightness, contrast and color temperature of the monitors that have very few settings, such as laptop displays or Apple displays like the iMac. Great feature that works so well.

2 - Adjust brightness and contrast manually (basic and advanced mode): if your monitor have all the settings for brightness, contrast and color temperature, it is possible to make the right adjustments with the support of the colorimeter.

My advice! ADC function not only works well with laptop displays (MacBook Pro glossy display, for example) or iMac, but also on desktop monitors. Automatisation can sometimes be good !

Mesure de la lumière ambiante dans i1Profiler3 - Start measurement. If you have enabled the ADC mode, the colorimeter will take full control of brightness, contrast and color temperature settings. Otherwise, the software will assist you. Just follow the instructions, they are so clear. In the end, if you have enabled Flare Correct or Ambient light Smart control, the software will guide you to perform these measurements, simple as shown in photo on the right.

E - fifth (or third) tab: ICC profile (basic and advanced mode)

You will finally be able to name your display ICC profile, save it, turn it on and choose how to control the ambient light, if you chose this option in Step 1. You will also be able to activate the characterization reminder at most every four weeks.

Profil ICC avec i1Profiler

Here with the "Advanced" user mode but it is the same options than when using the "Basic" user mode.

If you have enabled the optimization of the ICC profile depending on the ambient light, you will be able to choose the mode and frequency :

Mesure de la lumière ambiante avec i1Profiler

It is an available option in the two user modes: basic and advanced.

This control can be done automatically every 10, 30 or 60 minutes or manually. If your ambient light conditions often change or you do not want to take care of this task, I urge you to leave it in automatic mode. To this day I lack feedback but I will share my experience as soon as it becomes significant.

Calibration with the i1Display Pro is over !

Remember !

The name "Pro" is a marketing thing : of course it is Pro but why an amator would not have the desire to know if its monitor is properly calibrated, uniform, etc ... and select its color temperature ? For less than $250 is tempting !

What ever you choose basic or advanced mode, the quality of the profile will be the same.

If you choose the advanced mode, which I recommmend, you will be able to choose a color temperature of 6.000 K, neither too hot nor too cold.

On the next page, we are going to now verify the calibration quality, done with the best colorimeter on the market - Does it really make a difference ?

2nd part of i1Display Pro calibration review Suivre

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