Last week in Monitor Calibration: Debunking Unit I wrote about the “facts and shortcomings” of monitor calibration. Then, I received an email from Ismaeli. A few emails later and there is a major clarification that is needed.

Ismaeli was saying:

Like all serious photographers, he has a MacBook pro laptop, and his monitor calibration doesn’t work properly. Could I offer some suggestions?

Ismaeli’s problem was that even after calibrating his laptop with a ColorMunki and he can’t get the same colours. Isn’t that the purpose of the monitor & printer calibration

The problem with laptops is that calibrating them is pretty much impossible and useless. This is for all laptops, include Mac and Windows. Why? Because of the hinge that holds the LCD panel.

  • Each LCD panel is made of 2 polarizing filters. And polarizing filters work more/best at 90° of the light.
  • You can see it yourself by looking at your photos on an LCD screen from a higher position then from a lower position. You will see it lighter and darker. That’s exactly the same thing that’s happening on a laptop, depending on the angle of the LCD panel relative to your line of sight.
  • I’m not saying that you should not calibrate your laptop.
  • The calibration will only work if you can always position yourself in the same line of sight as the angle of the laptop.
  • Do not rely on the colours of your photos when you are viewing them on your laptop.
  • It’s much easier and more reliable with a desktop, since the screen is fixed, your desk is fixed, the height of your chair is almost fixed. The only variable is the “slouching”.
  • That’s why many labs still have “boob tubes”.