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Creatively Using Selective Focus in Photography and Photoshop Read More

Creatively Using Selective Focus in Photography and Photoshop

Harold Davis, photographer, author, and print master, shares with you how to use selective focus as a creative tool, including in-camera and in Photoshop.

2.2 or 1.8 Gamma on a Mac

Lukas Jenkins , May 29, 2006; 11:26 p.m.

I have read that the Mac is gamma 1.8 but should be set to 2.2 to match the Windows world for web sRGB. However for inkjet print I wonder if 1.8 is better?



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Serge Cashman , May 29, 2006; 11:42 p.m.

Here's an interesting thread on the subject I stumbled upon on Colorvision's board: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/colorvision_group/message/981

Personally I think current Macs are all natively close to 2.2 just like PCs. And for that reason they are set to 2.2. The origin of the 1.8 gamma notion is unclear, according to one of the Colorvision's managers. DryCreek claims it's because old monochromatic macs were natively close to it...

I don't know anything about printer gammas though, so you may have a point there.

Ed Rudolph , May 30, 2006; 12:59 a.m.

Hi Lukas.... when I got serious about digital printing, I calibrated my Mac monitor to gamma 2.2, and also to color temperature 5500K. One good reason to use the 2.2 is that's the gamma of the Adobe RGB file format.

Godfrey DiGiorgi , May 30, 2006; 02:50 a.m.

I have my Apple Cinema Display 23" monitor calibrated to gamma 1.8, white point 5500K with Gretag-Macbeth Eye One Display 2. The match to the Epson R2400 when printing with Photoshop CS2 and a color managed workflow is so good I hardly even think about it anymore and only rarely bother with a test print.

I don't care much about the theory, this setup works great in practical terms.


Chiswick John , May 30, 2006; 03:54 a.m.

For any commercial printing and CMYK output even a PC should be set to 1.8 in my experience. For web and desktop printers 2.2 is better. I have 2 profiles stored 1.8 and 2.2 so I can switch between them depending on the work I'm doing. Whatever you choose it has absolutley no relation to your working space gamma.

Patrick Lavoie , May 30, 2006; 08:22 a.m.

are you talking about monitor calibration? if so is monitor calibration have nothing to do with printer. you calibrated your screen using is native gamma that on all modern screen should be around 2.1-2.3, mac or pc. As for the kelvin it should be D65 or 6500K to match as possible what you could see under a balanced ligthbox. Gamma 1.8 on a Mac? last time i heard or read that was 10 years ago at least...read some good book of color management it will help you.

Andrew Rodney , May 30, 2006; 09:10 a.m.

Most of the stuff on the color vision forum was way off.

Displays have a native gamma (actually a tone response curve but luckily, unlike most devices, the curve can be described using a simple gamma formula). There's no such thing as a Mac versus a Windows display. The gamma is a physical property of the device.

The OS on the other hand is different. The Mac has and CONTIUNES to assume a 1.8 gamma curve response. But the displays native gamma is much closer to 2.2. If you calibrate a Mac to a 2.2 gamma, you're doing far less adjustments to the graphic card since the display is closer to that behavior. That's a good thing. The downside is on the Mac, outside of ICC aware applications that actually look at the profile and see you've aimed for a 2.2 gamma, everything looks a bit dark. No big deal. Calibrate your Mac to 2.2 (better, if your software supports it as the new EyeOne Match does or the older Sony Artisan, use Native Gamma). The gamma might be 2.1 so why arbitrarily pick 2.2 when that's not correct? Native simply leaves the adjustment alone (like Native White Point does).

Lukas Jenkins , May 30, 2006; 04:17 p.m.

So from what I can gather my 20" Apple display, which is currently calibrated to native white point and a gamma of 2.2 is correctly calibrated. This also means that from working within Photoshop and printing from Photoshop using .icc profiles I am working within a color- managed workflow. From what I described colorsync is not applicable if I am correct since Photoshop handles color management itself. If everything I just described sounds correct then I thank you for your input and clarification.


Godfrey DiGiorgi , May 30, 2006; 05:25 p.m.

If your monitor is correctly calibrated (just saying gamma 2.2 and white point = native doesn't mean much), then a color managed print workflow from Photoshop CS2 says:
Use Print Options

  • set printer with Page Setup
  • Set Photoshop Manages color
  • Set paper profile
  • click print
In the printer dialog:
  • set printer settings to advanced and the type of paper, Best photo
  • Set color management settings to NONE
That should print as a match to what's on the screen.


Serge Cashman , May 30, 2006; 11:48 p.m.

Andrew Rodney's response makes a lot of sense for me. The non-colormanaged applications assume 1.8 but since hardware is close to 2.2 then for image quality reasons (8-bit curve adjustments) 2.2 or Native would be better for colormanaged applications. Native still seems a bit too experimental to me - it's gotta be 3 different curves...

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