How do you deal with the brightness of LCD monitors?

Well, I just upgraded from a old CRT monitor to a new 19" flat panel LCD. All-in-all it’s a nice screen, but I’m beginning to notice that it’s hard on the eyes. Especially reading the dope with all it’s white and light grey. I’ve tinkered with the settings but I can’t find a way to chill out the itensity without screwing up the colors.

Do you folks find this to be an issue, and if so how do you cope with it?

This is a shameless bump to get my thread back onto the front page hoping to get at least one reply. I’m so embarrassed for myself.

Set your contrast to 90%, then adjust the brightness so it’s comfortable. That’s the advice I always give.

I used to set up monitors for diagnostic imaging (radiologists), and the 90% Contrast, Brightness to taste rule works surprisingly well in comparison to the calibration tools I used.

It is possible to get utilities which apply a ‘gamma correction’ which adjusts the way color data is converted to signals sent to your monitor. This is primarily used to correct color differences between images on-screen and from printers. You could use one to tone down your overall brightness by making bright whites slightly gray. I use the Adobe Gamma Loader which came with Photoshop, but you may be able to find freeware versions.

Sit back farther and make sure you have other lights on in the room. Make sure the area behind the monitor is brightly lit.

Ugh, 90% contrast looks terrible on my LCD monitor. The light-grey boxes on this message board totally disappear, everything is all washed out, regardless of where I set the brightness.

My LCD is set on 50% contrast, 50% brightness. Basically you’re going to have to play with your settings until it looks good to you. I find my LCD is much much easier on my eyes than a CRT ever was. I used to get eye strain after working on a CRT all day, with an LCD that hasn’t been a problem in 2 or 3 years.

The lower contrast and personally satisfactory brightness settings do work well, but also in that same vein is the colour temperature. Most LCDs have three different preset colour temperature settings – one cool, one neutral, and one warm. Colour “temperature” (measured in degrees celsius) is a measure of how much/little blue (cooler) or red (warmer) influences the white balance. (There are programs, such as the aforementioned Adobe Gamma Loader, which can let you set your colour temperature by a more flexible approach) This can also have an effect on how comfortable the screen is to look at for extended periods. For example, I tend to prefer the colour temperature on the warmer side as I find it is easier on my eyes.

Not what you asked but make sure you are running that LCD in one of it’s native resolutions also (or perhaps that doesn’t matter anymore).

I think I’m running it at it’s natve resolution. It’s set at 1280X1024 on the video card which is what the monitor lists in it’s specs.

In any case, this is the second LCD I’ve worked with, this at home and the last one at work, and both felt like they created quite a bit of eye strain.

I’ve played with the contrast and brightness settings. Currently the contrast is at 60% and the brightness at 40%.

I tried the 90% contrast setting and it was really stark, and I turned the brightness all the way to 0% and it was pretty bright still. I’ve found that lowering the contrast helps keep the brightness in control without screwing up the coloring.

As for the Gamma Loader suggestion, I don’ really understand what it is that it does. Th colors right now are about perfect, just too intense. If I play with that am I liable to screw up my colors?

Not a nitpick, but a question. Many years ago color temperature, at least in photography, was measured in degrees Kelvin. Not any more?

My last monitor was in Kelvins. The current one only uses “warmer” and “cooler” without any numeric measure at all. I’m assuming that it still is Kelvins in many cases just not established universally.