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Calibrating the NEC PA302W and other NEC Displays

Get NEC PA displays at B&H Photo.

See also NEC Wide-Gamut Displays for Photographers.

Here is discussed how to calibrate NEC displays. Included are recommended settings, calibration results, tracking info and so on. Similar settings would apply to other brands.

NEC displays using NEC SpectraView II software offer true calibration, not the faux calibration so often touted as calibration. Avoid faux calibration gimmicks, which deliver inferior results.

Calibration settings for NEC Displays

NEC SpectraView II main window

Specific applications might call for other options, but these settings are highly suitable for fine-art printing and for editing a master image from which prints will be made on printers that may improve in gamut over time.

Using the full color gamut is strongly recommended, since for the NEC PA series, it extends well beyond AdobeRGB. Some printers print beyond AdobeRGB, so calibrating by truncating the gamut of the display to AdobeRGB or sRGB is foolish for fine-art printing.

Master images (full-res full-quality Photoshop or TIF) should be viewed in their full gamut so that proper proofing decisions can be made for the particular output medium, which can vary over time.

Printer gamut improves each year. Accordingly, master images should be edited in 16-bit images using a wide gamut color space such as ProPhotoRGB. A smaller color space such as AdobeRGB or sRGB is fine and even better* if and only if the particular image fits into the gamut of the smaller space.

* Use the smallest color space that does not clip image color. This gives the finest gradations possible by narrowing the range of values that the bits have to cover.

Preferences

Some of these preferences affect calibration, such as the calibration steps.

Toggle to view the five preference tabs.

NEC SpectraView II Preferences

Calibration summary and resulting gamut plot

Summary of the calibration results after calibration using the settings above.

Observe a superb Delta E of 0.32.

NEC SpectraView II calibration results summary

Color gamut vs sRGB/Adobe RGB/Digital Cinema(DCI)

The colorized area is the as-calibrated color gamut of the NEC PA302W.

Toggle to compare: observe that the gamut of the NEC PA302W extends far beyond the gamut of Adobe RGB, Digital Cinema (DCI) aka DCI(P3) and sRGB. Observe that sRGB is strictly limited in the range of colors it offers, although many everyday images do fit into sRGB gamut.

While the gamut of the PA302W does not encompass the entire gamut of AdobeRGB and DCI(P3) along the green/red side of the triangle, it is a much smaller area as compared to its range in along the other two axes.

Color gamut of NEC PA302W as calibrated to 6500°K / gamma 2.2

Curves

Display curve after calibration—actual (measured) vs target. This shows that the display has been truly internally calibrated, measuring its actual outout versus the target settings. Deviations from the target are tiny.

Conformance of NEC PA302W as calibrated to target

Color tracking and DICOM

Accuracy of one Delta E is considered professional grade. Slightly less accuracy in very dark (black and near black) is to be expected, and still excellent at a maximum Delta-E of 1.58. The average of 0.51 Delta-E is superb.

NEC PA302W color tracking Delta-E

Tracks over time, so this is blank after calibration.

DICOM conformance for NEC PA302W in SpectraView II
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