Working in a dimly lit room versus EV 8.5 lighting ?


I haven’t purchased an NEC Spectraview monitor yet, but I can calibrate my iMac monitor at EV 8.5 brightness. (It’s not the same, I know.)

In a dimly lit room, the low values on the monitor appear too light, too easy to discern. In a normally lit room (EV 8.5) the shadows on the monitor look appropriately dark, as dark as the print examined under EV 8.5 lighting.

So why do we recommend working in a dimly lit room ? Am I getting the wrong impression because I’m not using a truly calibrated monitor ?


I actually recommend putting a light pointed at the wall but directly behind your monitor. This will illuminate the wall and dial your irises smaller and also visually lower the screen brightness in comparison.

Second, never evaluate your print next to your monitor. It’s not a good comparison (especially in dim light). Your brain needs time to hold the memory of the digital image and translate this from memory to the print. Put the print at least a 90 degree angle to your monitor on a viewing wall with gallery lights. Give your brain 5 or so seconds between looking at the monitor image and print.

I’ve learned this over 18 years of fine art printing. I don’t consider it exactly “industry standard” but it seems to be the best way for me and many others who I’ve taught.





Brilliant - Thank you very much Walker.