Calibrating your BenQ Monitor with Palette Master Element

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: January 24, 2019

Category: General

I think it’s fair to say that one of the most frustrating tasks can be calibrating your monitor correctly so that the colours you see on screen are then correctly represented in a final print. I can’t even begin to imagine how much time and money I wasted in the early days trying to get this right. What I thought looked great on screen with regards to the colour and the brightness, when printed looked completely different.

This frustration meant that for some time now I’ve handed over the printing process to a lab but even then I’ve experienced issues; mainly with images coming back too dark compared to what I had on my screen.

Anyway, I’m happy to say I’ve now sorted it so thought I’d add a couple of posts showing the process for a) Calibrating your Monitor and b) Getting the Perfect Print.

For this post I’ll show you the settings I use to calibrate my BenQ Monitors which are my brand of choice quite simply because they do exactly what they are supposed to, I’ve never experienced any dead pixels (as I have in more expensive brands) and the price is great.

So let’s get started…

Colour Calibrator

There’s quite a few out there in the market but my choice is the X-Rite i1 Display Pro for no other reason than I was recommended it a couple of years back and it works great.

Monitor

My main monitor is the BenQ SW320; a 32″ monitor giving 99% Adobe RGB. It comes with a monitor hood to minimise light spill on the screen so (once calibrated correctly) what you see is what you get. I also have the BenQ SW271 as my 2nd monitor and the SW2700 which I only use when doing LIVE Broadcasts i.e. I can work on my main monitor, have the streaming software (OBS) on another and YouTube or Facebook on the 3rd so that I can see what viewers see and know that all is working as it should).

Glyn Dewis BenQ

Software

As I use BenQ Monitors, I choose to use the software provided by BenQ, Palette Master Element. This just makes sense to me to use software created by the folks who make the monitor and the results speak for themselves. I also use the X-Rite i1 Display Pro to calibrate my laptop screen but use the X-Rite Software.

Palette Master Element

So, here’s the settings I use and find (after much trial and error) that give me the best, consistent results. Please note though that I do tend to work in the same lighting in my office using black out blinds and daylight balanced bulbs.

  • Start off by plugging in your calibrator and then start Palette Master Element. When you do, in the Start Screen (below) you’ll see your monitor listed and calibrator. If you’ve more than one monitor connected, here is where you can choose which one you want to calibrate. Check the Advanced option and click Start. (Note: If for some reason the Start button is greyed out, try un-plugging and plugging back in your calibrator, re-starting the software etc…) 

Glyn Dewis BenQ

  • In the next screen that appears, choose Profiling and click Next

Glyn Dewis BenQ

  • The third screen is where you can manually put in the settings you want the monitor to be calibrated at, so here’s what I use (Note: you could also try these settings in other calibration software)…
  1. White Point: 6500K (D65)
  2. RGB Primaries: Adobe RGB
  3. Luminance (Brightness) I set to 110. There’s lots of discussion about this, but I find this to be the sweet spot for me. Generally it’ll be between 90 and 130-ish.
  4. Gamma set to 2.2
  5. Blackpoint I set to Relative so that I do see detail in the black / shadow areas

Note: You can save these settings as a Default so that you can then choose it from the drop down menu the next time you calibrate your screen.

Click Next

Glyn Dewis BenQ

  • Just a few more settings before the calibration process gets underway…
  1. Profile Distribution: Tick the System Level checkbox
  2. Profile Version: Use v2 (Why not v4? Well, just from advice I was given a while back this is the best option to use…for now anyway)
  3. Profile Type: 16 bits LUT
  4. Patch Set Size: Small

Click on Start Measurement

Glyn Dewis BenQ

At this point you’ll then get a screen area pop up showing where to position your particular calibration hardware, then click Continue and let the process begin…

Glyn Dewis BenQ

Now that the calibration process is underway, make sure not to alter the lighting in the room, don’t jump to another screen etc; just sit back and let the process continue uninterrupted. Oh and if your monitor has a monitor shade with the hatch at the top to drop the calibrator through, close it so that no light comes through onto the screen.

And that’s pretty much it. The process will take a few minutes to work through and at the end of it you’ll see a report show up on the screen giving the results of the calibration and what settings were achieved. You can at this time then verify the calibration if you like.

Now that you’ve gone through the calibration, the only issues you may encounter when printing is the brightness of the print compared to what you see on screen so we’ll cover this in the next post; I’ll also record a couple of videos going through the process.

In the mean time if you have any questions please feel free to make use of the comments section below and I’ll get back to you asap but please be mindful that I am in no way professing to be a colour management expert (far from it) however I do know through advice, lots of reading, lots of video watching and lots of trial and error, what I find works and gives great, consistent results.

Cheers
Glyn

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23 Comments

  1. John

    Glyn, any chance you could go through the setup for your laptop using xrite

    Thanks john

    Reply
    • Glyn

      No problem John; will do 😉
      Cheers
      Glyn

      Reply
  2. Rob Sirota

    Glyn,

    I get this message when I launch it on my MBP:

    A connection to a BENQ monitor can not be established
    Please make sure that the USB cable is connected and that the FTDI drivers are working

    The monitor 27″ is connected via HDMI. What am I missing???

    Reply
    • Alexander Schwarz

      Hi Rob, to work properly you have to connect via Displayport or Minidisplayport. Also try to connrct hte screen usb to your MBP.
      Had the same issue with my NBP. Somewhere in the manual or help section it says it won’t work via HDMI
      Hope this helps
      Alex

      Reply
      • Alexander Schwarz

        OK just checked.
        You have to connect the USB from the Benq to your computer or else it will not work regardless of the graphics input.
        Cheers
        Alex

        Reply
  3. Cliff Baughen

    I do wish that monitor suppliers would clearly specify the minimum requirements to support their products. They normally indicate the OS requirements but not the graphics cards or main processor.
    Glyn, I’m sure that others would be interested in your desktop and laptop configuration parts that give you the required performance.

    Reply
    • Neil Snape

      Perhaps a maximum performance list would be better. Any video card recent enough to drive HD would be sufficient. Optimal conditions though are far more specific. For example with Mac you need a recent OS, and a video card that sends out 10bit. Not only that but good cables ( fortunately BenQ supplies these). With Mac there is not much you can change manually, whereas with PC you can configure the BIOS in many scary ways.

      Reply
  4. Cliff Baughen

    Glyn,From your experience of using the SW320 and SW271 is the larger version worth the extra money i.e. if you had to choose just one to work with which one would you select (and why)?

    Reply
  5. informalphotography

    What to do if your validation fails? Macpro2012. Duel Sw2700 monitors. Not on Mojave yet because drivers for capture one and Nvidia not yet available.

    Reply
  6. Simon Parker

    Got to say I find BenQ immensely frustrating, I’ve previously had problems calibrating and just seem to be repeating every time, and their support is just woeful. Just upgraded to the latest release of Palette Master, and half of the settings can not be changed.

    Reply
  7. Betsan

    Hi Glyn,
    Followed your tutorial but I’m getting a failed report summary. Any ideas why this is happening?

    Reply
  8. Andy H

    Hi Glyn
    Recently bought the SW270. Using the software and i1Display Pro, the process takes over 30 minutes being ‘stuck’ forever on magenta. Any ideas?. It seems there are a lot of problems with this softweare and BenQ support are no help.

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
  9. Betsan

    Hi Glyn,

    Mine failed. What should I do next?

    Reply
  10. Michael Chavez

    I have my monitor, SW2700, connected via DisplayPort and the USB 3.0 Port but cannot launch Palette Master Element. I keep getting the prompt telling me to check my connection and FTDI Drivers. Definitely connect and have also downloaded Drivers from FTDI, still nothing.

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Jim Gregory

      apparently you could try to unplug the power cable for 30secs, this resets the monitor that should fix the fact it does not recognize it.

      Reply
  11. Jim Gregory

    apparently you could try to unplug the power cable for 30secs, this resets the monitor that should fix the fact it does not recognize it.

    Reply
  12. Marshall

    Hi Glyn,

    Just bought a refurbished SW 271 for my ole MP5,1 with NVidea GTX 980. Monitor looks great and soon plan to use your instructions to calibrate using the latest release of Palatte Master Element (does tell me the version?). Hope all goes well. My purpose is to eventaully balance the monitor so my prints match. Can you give a link to your instructions in part 2 of how to match brightness of print, etc.

    Thanks for your help and clear easy instructions.

    M

    Reply
  13. Gerald Pasternack

    Wondering if PME has a setting for “Native Gamma” ?

    I generally use Gamma = 2.2, bit when I try to validate this (using Ezio monitor tests) I measure a gamma of about 1.4.

    Should I be concerned? Other monitor calibration tests (Ezio, Lagom) look fine — good WP, BP, tone gradient response. Test photos look great.

    Reply
  14. Bob Rafferty

    Thanks for the tips. I have a quick question, my workspace is sRGB, therefore shouldnt I set it to that setting, not AdobeRGB. In addition if I switch to AdobeRGB via the hotkey puck. Should I recalibrate the monitor in AdobeRGB…When it is in that state. Since the monitor can switch between the two via the hot key puck. Sorry, for my lack of understanding here. New to this.

    Reply
  15. Vincent Ferant

    Hi, My monitor warned me after a month that It needed calibration when I turned it on.
    So I did with palette master element and an I1 diplay pro.
    It went well. My color profile in photoshop changed name. But when I turn it off and on again I still have this warning message “your monitor needs to be calibrated”. I saw in the screen settings menu that you could turn on and off the Calibration reminder.
    I wonder now if my screen is correctly calibrated? Should I turn off the calibration reminder message or even ignore it? Or did the calibration process went wrong somehow ?
    I feel the colors are right but I keep seeing this message everytime I turn it back on..
    Thanks in advance for your support.

    Reply
    • Glyn Dewis

      Vincent…not sure why your Colour Profile would change in Photoshop when you calibrated your screen. That would remain at something like Adobe RGB. I take it you are using Windows? When I was on that before I would get a message about screen needing calibrating and that was not from the X-Rite software…I think it’s something in Windows doing that.

      If you go to Display settings in Windows you should see that the calibration profile should be there.

      Hope this helps in some way
      Glyn

      Reply
  16. Arne Hofmann

    Thanks for the useful article, Glyn. But no, the calibration reminder is neither a Windows nor an X-Rite/PME feature, but something the monitor itself does via OSD. (See p. 62 of the manual: “Sets [sic] to remind you when monitor calibration is recommended. When the monitor is in use, the used time is automatically calculated by a built-in timer.”) I am having the same problem as Vincent: no matter how often or recently I calibrate, the calibration reminder never goes away unless switched off altogehter. I contacted BenQ customer service about this, which, slightly to my surprise, is offering to replace the monitor with a refurbished one or to take mine in for repair. Any advice? I’m feeling a little unenthusiastic, as everything else seems to be working fine. (I’m getting good validation reports both from PME and from Display Cal.) I suspect that it’s just that timer that is broken, in which case I wouldn’t want to exchange my still quite new monitor for a refurbished one or ship it across the country – I can live without that reminder. Would you recommend to have them check it?

    Reply
    • Glyn Dewis

      Arne, if the issue you have is just a reminder popping up from time to time but colours etc are spot on then if it was me I’d turn the reminder off completely and just to it ‘as and when’. I tend to do it before printing most times anyway.
      Glyn

      Reply

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