Musings on Photography

Persistence of vision, part II

Posted in equipment, hardware, macintosh by Paul Butzi on June 20, 2008

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Some time back, I wrote about color drift of LCD displays, and about LCD scrubbing to get rid of LCD image persistence.

At that time, I wondered if running an LCD scrubber would get rid of the LCD drift. Well, over the past few days I’ve been running the scrubber on my Apple MacBook Pro each night, and this morning, I reprofiled the display.

Bottom line: scrubbing didn’t seem to make much difference that I could see.

As a side note, I’d observe that even the monitors I’ve bought which were very close to correct with the manufacturer’s profile out of the box have since drifted to the point where that original manufacturer’s profile is now substantially off.

There is no substitute for owning monitor profiling hardware and software and profiling your monitors (even your LCD monitors) at least monthly. It’s a bummer but that’s the way it is.

4 Responses

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  1. Sam said, on June 21, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I’m intereswted that you mention “even your lcd monitors”, I would have thought lcd’s were worse than crt’s? Or maybe I’m not reading it right?

  2. Oren Grad said, on June 22, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I use a 20″ Apple Cinema Display with my WinXP PC, and I’ve been running a profile every month or so. What I’m finding is that the color balance is very stable but the brightness level is always drifting.

  3. Paul Butzi said, on June 22, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I’m intereswted that you mention “even your lcd monitors”, I would have thought lcd’s were worse than crt’s? Or maybe I’m not reading it right?

    No, you’re reading it right. The conventional wisdom is that LCD monitors drift at a much slower rate than CRT monitors do. The problem with CRT monitors is that the phospors age with use.

  4. Rylee said, on June 23, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Good article – it got me thinking, and doing a bit of research.

    It seems LCD monitors drifting over time makes at least as much sense as CRTs doing the same.

    The color in an LCD panel comes from red, green, and blue color filters. These rely on a dye or pigment.

    As we’ve noticed with dyes and pigments in printed photos, they drift over time when exposed to light, particularly UV light. Fluorescent bulbs emit a fair deal of UV light.

    Nobody expects anyone to keep using an LCD for 70 years, so my guess is that the color filters in a typical LCD would not have anywhere near the same permanence as good quality printer ink.

    The best we can do, as you say, it to profile them regularly, and, if you’re able to, buy LCD displays engineered for color accuracy and viewing angle over response time.


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