LaCie Blue Eye 2
Simon Baker, 1 August 2008

 

 

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Introduction

Back in November 2006 we reviewed the LaCie Blue Eye Pro calibration package, which has since become our software of choice for all our reviews and monitor analysis. The LaCie software we use allows us to calibrate the monitors professionally, and also offers a very useful range of test and report features allowing us to analyse the performance before and after calibration. These include the dE graphs and measurements of gamma, colour temperature and luminance that you see commonly in our reviews; and it is this extensive reporting function that separates the Blue Eye Pro package from other software packages from other providers. In fact, many colorimeter packages come with the same hadrware device (an X-rite Eye-One Display 2), but are then packaged with varying software suites, with different functions and features, and ultimately a different cost. We use the full Pro package and all it's features in our reviews, but the price of this package is high at around 299.90 GBP.

There is another package available from LaCie however, and it retails for a more affordable 209.90. The Blue Eye 2 package features the same hardware device, but the software package is different. The device still offers manual hardware calibration for LCD's and CRT's, along with automatic ICC profiling. LaCie's information states:

"LaCie's blue eye 2 is a complete monitor calibration and automatic ICC profiling tool that ensures accurate color rendering. Manual hardware calibration of White Point Temperature, Gamma, and Brightness settings can easily be performed. With its timesaving Color Evaluation tool, you can verify monitor settings and recalibrate if necessary. Fully compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems, the blue eye 2 seamlessly integrates with Colorsync and applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and QuarkXPress."

The Blue Eye 2 package comes with the LCD cable weight, LCD hook, LCD connector, CRT connector, Plastic base, Blue Eye Utilities CD  containing manual and calibration software and a 2 year warranty.

 

The Software and Configuration

I had v2.2.6 of the software for testing. When you first load up the software you are presented with options to choose the gamma, white point (colour temperature) and luminance values you want to achieve from the screen. As a reminder, for LCD monitors, we always aim towards the same settings in our reviews. These are:

  • Gamma of 2.2  - default for computer monitors and the standard for the Windows operating system and the Internet-standard sRGB colour space

  • White Point / Colour Temperature of 6500k - the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance of 120 cd/m2 - The recommended luminance (brightness) of LCD screens in normal lighting conditions

As you can see from the image above, you are presented with options to either 'test and report' on your current configuration, or to calibrate the screen.

I restored my graphics card to its default settings and de-activated the saved ICC profile being used. I tested the software on my Dell 2405FPW screen (which we have used for all our colorimeter testing), leaving the monitor OSD untouched with a brightness of 35 and 32, 34, 34 for RGB channels respectively.

Following the 'test and report' process allows you to place the device on the screen over the coloured circle, before a series of different colours are flashed in front of the device.

This process takes around 15 second, and at the end, you are presented with a very basic diagram and results summary as shown above. The left hand side shows a CIE diagram which shows the colour gamut of the screen being tested. In this case, the black triangle represents the gamut of our Dell 2405FPW test screen, and the triangle does not meet the sRGB triangle as one might expect. This doesn't look quite right, more on that in a second. For reference, the colour space for ISOcoated is also shown in white.

On the right we are given readings for gamma (1.7), colour temperature / white point (5847k) and luminance (170 cd/m2). This is a limited test and report feature, and for frequent readers of our reviews, you will probably notice it is lacking any further reporting of colour accuracy or black depth. There is also no option to save the calibration report as you get from the Pro package.


Note: This image is taken from the Pro package, and is NOT available in the Blue Eye 2 Software

In comparison, the test and report feature from the Pro package was far more advanced. I ran this straight afterwards to check that the Blue Eye 2 results were at least quite accurate. Gamma was recorded at the same value of 1.7, colour temp was slightly different, this time being recorded at 6058k (only 211k difference), and luminance was the same at 170 cd/m2. The main difference in the results we could see from both packages was that the triangle representing the monitors colour gamut was now very closely matching the sRGB colour space, and this was much more like we were expecting to see. For a standard gamut monitor, with backlighting capable of covering 72% of the NTSC colour space, the triangle should be very close to that of the sRGB reference. The results seen in the Blue Eye 2 package were not correct, be wary of this.

In addition to these results we also have colour accuracy validation on the right hand side in the form of DeltaE measurements across various colour shades. I won't go into that now as you can read more about this feature in our Blue Eye Pro review, but the Blue Eye 2 package did not offer this reporting feature.

 

Calibration Process

There are 5 steps to the calibration process, which are easy to understand and navigate:

Step 1 involves chosing the target settings for your screen as we discussed before.

Step 2 asks you to set your monitors 'brightness' setting using the OSD menu and by following the guidance shown in the image above. The slider bar shows you when you reach an optimum setting from the monitor itself. Further correction will then be carried out at the graphics card Look Up Table (LUT) level later on.

Step 3 asks you to do similar with the contrast setting from your monitor.

Step 4 asks you to adjust your monitors RGB levels to get the optimum settings from the monitor itself. Again, further adjustments are then carried out later on at the graphics card LUT level.

Step 5 is an automated process which takes about 90 seconds to complete. A series of greys and colours are flashed in front of the device, and adjustments to your graphics card LUT are made, and an ICC profile is created. At the end, you are presented with an option to name and save the profile, which is then activated.

 

Calibration Results

After calibration was completed, and the ICC profile had been saved and activated, I proceeded to run the Blue Eye 2 test and report feature again. This produced the above results. Again, the gamut triangle for the monitor is incorrect, not stretching far enough to cover the sRGB space. This must be a flaw in the software reporting function I think (bear in mind I'm using v2.2.6 here). Gamma was corrected nicely to 2.2, colour temperature was very close at 6482k, and luminance was also nicely corrected to 121 cd/m2. The calibration seems to have been a success. Let's test it with the Blue Eye Pro package as well.


Note: This image is taken from the Pro package, and is NOT available in the Blue Eye 2 Software

As you can see, the results from the Pro package were in concurrence with the Blue Eye 2 report. Again, the monitors gamut is more accurately reflected here, and the graph on the right also shows the dE measurements which are not offered in the Blue Eye 2 package.

 

Conclusion

The Blue Eye 2 package is basically just a trimmed down version of the Pro package. The software is easy to use and follow, and it features the same hardware colorimeter tool - an X-Rite Eye One Display 2. It is capable of a good level of calibration, being on par with the Blue Eye Pro in this regard. Presumably the process is the same in both packages anyway, but where the Pro differs from the Blue Eye 2 software is in the depth and complexity of the reporting. The Blue Eye 2 only offers very basic reporting of gamma, white point and luminance, and does not offer dE analysis or the ability to save the calibration report in more detail.

The CIE diagram representing the monitors gamut was also incorrect sadly, and there was also no function to measure black depth (and therefore contrast ratio). The advanced test and report features of the Pro package are invaluable to our reviews, but if you just want reliable calibration results, and don't have the need to verify or compare them, then the Blue Eye 2 package could well be worth a look, saving yourself a fair bit of money too.
 

Pros

Cons

Same hadrware colorimeter as the more expensive Pro package

Limited reporting features, with no dE analysis

Easy calibration process

Incorrect representation of monitor gamut

Good calibration results

No black depth measurement available

 


Further Reading

TFT Central Colorimeter Reviews: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews.htm
LaCie Blue Eye Pro Review: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/lacie_blue-eye.htm

 

 

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