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Spectraview ii and Nec PA Series External Monitor

Tinkerbell

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
103
Lightroom Version Number
13.2
Operating System
  1. Windows 11
I bought a new laptop and I am trying to re-calibrate my monitor but I am running into a problem. In the Preferences under the calibration tab I would like to select the "Best Grayscale Color Tracking" but it is greyed out and cannot select it. I was able to select this on my other laptop and not quite sure what I am doing different now.

In the user's guide it states "Best grayscale color tracking - will generate the best grayscale color tracking in the black areas, at the expense of a slightly reduced contrast ratio. This option will not be used if a calibration Target with a Contrast Ratio of other than Default is used. I have been googling this and on a forum I found this: Best Grayscale Color Tracking under Edit>Preferences>Calibration and Contrast ratio MUST be set to Monitor Default in order for this to work. Upon selecting Monitor Default for Contrast Ratio, I am still not able to select Best Grayscale as an option and do not quite understand why. Since I could not use this my contrast ratio is much too high now - 848:1

The settings that I calibrated to is: White point of D55, Gamma: 2.20, Intensity: 90.0, Contrast Ratio: Monitor Default and Color Gamut: Native (Full)

Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated in helping me to figure out what changes or steps needs to be taken so I can select this and thank you for your help.
 

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I use a SpectraView, although I might not be the best help for this because I use it with a Mac. The two options disabled in the third screen shot are also dimmed and unavailable on my Mac, and I think it’s because I’m using a PA272 which does have a SpectraView engine.

However, because you saw the option available for the same display on your old computer, one question is: Are you connecting it to the new computer any differently than you did on your old computer? I don’t actually know how relevant that question is, but I seem to remember that some calibration features depend on the connection type. On page 52 of the User Guide it says “Always use a DVI or DisplayPort” video output if possible. In other words, I’ve heard of people not getting the calibration they expect if they connected the computer to one of the other video input ports on the SpectraView.

For today’s computers, that works out like this:

A port for DisplayPort video out is now rare on computers and especially laptops, but current computers should still support it and DisplayPort can be carried by the Alt Mode of USB-C. So If you connect a USB-C cable or cable+adapter from a USB-C port on the laptop to the DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort input on the SpectraView, that should be the best chance for full support of calibration features.

But, if the laptop is connected to one of the other video input ports on the SpectraView, some calibration features might not be available.

Also, there had been some talk about it not working right unless there was also a USB cable connected between a computer USB port and one of the upstream USB ports on the SpectraView (in addition to the calibration device), but that was about Apple Silicon Macs and I am not sure if that also applies to Windows. However, if the display is not already set up as a USB hub by using a USB cable to connect it to the computer, it might be something to try.

If this doesn't help, I hope NEC tech support can help, but keeping in mind that the SpectraView line has been discontinued.
 
Thank you so much for your reply. I have been in contact with Nec PA monitors regarding this issue and was waiting for their reply before getting back with you.

Their response is their PA series (PA272W and PA243W and 10 other PA models) this feature will be turned off and will use the "Auto" Calibration Priority mode. For other Nec monitors, this feature will be available to them. So the only thing that I can figure out on why is worked before for me is in regards to the updates that have been made. For version 1.1.20 the PA243W was not included and I was able to use that feature and now doing all of the updates to 1.1.44 and this feature is no longer available and it now uses Auto. In the manual refer to the Appendix A - Features by Model page around page 57.

As far as the connections are concerned - the monitor is connected it to the Displayport and since the laptop does not have a displayport the other end of the cable is connected with a USB-C dongle to the USB 3.2 Gen 1 port. I have another port a USB-PD - do you know what this is and can I plug the cable into this also if wanted?

A port for DisplayPort video out is now rare on computers and especially laptops, but current computers should still support it and DisplayPort can be carried by the Alt Mode of USB-C. So If you connect a USB-C cable or cable+adapter from a USB-C port on the laptop to the DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort input on the SpectraView, that should be the best chance for full support of calibration features.
I am not really tech savy on some of this stuff but I am learning and I am not quite sure what "and DisplayPort can be carried by the Alt Mode of USB-C". What is Alt mode? Does it matter or what port should the calibration unit (Spectraview) be plugged into then - USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 - USB-C Gen 1 - USB-C Gen 1 (alway on) .
But, if the laptop is connected to one of the other video input ports on the SpectraView, some calibration features might not be available.
is connected to one of the other video input port on the Spectraview - what is a video input port and how do you know the difference?
Also, there had been some talk about it not working right unless there was also a USB cable connected between a computer USB port and one of the upstream USB ports on the SpectraView (in addition to the calibration device)
What is an upstream USB port on the Spectraview?

Thanking you in advance for any help you can provide in education me on this matter. I just want to be sure I have this connected correctly.
 
Many of the questions are about the newer USB standards that make a lot of nice things possible. One of those is making USB docks and hubs very useful and easy. The new USB standards allow USB to carry more and better types of data and power (do more things), to the point where if you have a USB dock or hub, you can just plug it into the laptop with just one USB cable that can carry power, video, data, a network connection, and more.

Your questions fall into two categories: Newer USB standards, and features of the PA243w.

I am not really tech savy on some of this stuff but I am learning and I am not quite sure what "and DisplayPort can be carried by the Alt Mode of USB-C". What is Alt mode? Does it matter or what port should the calibration unit (Spectraview) be plugged into then - USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 - USB-C Gen 1 - USB-C Gen 1 (alway on) .

USB-C Alt mode is not something you need to think about usually. Alt mode is about the other standards that USB-C can support. For example, it’s what lets a USB-C cable also be a video cable, by also carrying DisplayPort and HDMI signals. If a laptop and a display both have USB-C ports supporting alt modes, then you don’t have to buy specific video cables, just grab the nearest USB-C cable and connect them with that. (That helps save money on cables!) Your PA series display and mine don’t have USB-C ports, so although our laptops have USB-C ports, we both need a cable or adapter that has DisplayPort on the other end to plug into the NEC display.

As far as the connections are concerned - the monitor is connected it to the Displayport and since the laptop does not have a displayport the other end of the cable is connected with a USB-C dongle to the USB 3.2 Gen 1 port. I have another port a USB-PD - do you know what this is and can I plug the cable into this also if wanted?

That sounds right. If you connect that and the display works, then it’s fine. (Any good recent USB-C cable or dock/hub should support the video alt modes.)

USB-PD means USB Power Delivery. Older USB ports only support enough power for low power devices such as a keyboard, external drive, or smartphone. If a port supports USB-C PD, you know that it can potentially charge higher power devices such as a laptop, so if someone has a laptop that can charge via USB-C, they know that a charger with a USB PD port means they don't have to charge it with their laptop power adapter, just connect it to USB-C PD. USB-C PD is a primary feature of docks and hubs, because if you use a dock/hub that has it, you know that the one USB-C cable connecting the laptop to the dock/hub will also be charging the laptop.

USB-PD is in addition to the usual USB-C features, so yes, if you don’t need high power from that port but you do need another USB port for (for example) an external SSD, go ahead and use the port marked USB-PD because it should still work as a normal USB-C port for data, video, networking…

Does it matter or what port should the calibration unit (Spectraview) be plugged into then - USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 - USB-C Gen 1 - USB-C Gen 1 (alway on) .

If those are the USB ports on the laptop, you can use any of them. The calibration unit is a simple low power device, so it doesn’t need a specific kind of USB port, it probably just needs a USB-A to USB-C adapter.

I leave my SpectraView calibrator plugged into the USB-A port on the side of the NEC PA display. This works if a USB cable connects the display to the computer (see below regarding the upstream ports).

is connected to one of the other video input port on the Spectraview - what is a video input port and how do you know the difference? …What is an upstream USB port on the Spectraview?

On the PA243w, the video input ports can be divided into “old’ and “current.”
Current: DisplayPort, HDMI. Use these when possible, in that order.
Old: DVI-D, D-Sub. Only connect to very old computers or devices that don’t support DisplayPort or HDMI.

The PA243w also has these data-only ports:
USB upstream (USB-B): Optionally connect to a computer.
USB downstream (USB-A): Optionally connect to USB devices such as a keyboard, mouse, graphics tablet, calibrator. If you connect anything to this, you must also use the upstream port to connect the display to the computer, so that the display becomes a USB hub, adding its USB-A ports to the computer.

My PA272 has slightly different ports, so I got that info and the diagram below from page 6 of the PA 243w manual. I marked up the diagram in blue.

NEC-PA243w-manual-page-6-ports.jpg


If you are supposed to connect a USB-B upstream port to a computer, why are there two USB-B ports? Because like many displays, the PA 243w can be a KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switch. In other words, you can connect a keyboard and mouse to the display, connect the display to two computers via both USB-B and video, and at any time, switch which computer uses the display and the USB accessories connected to it. I use this feature so that my PA272 can be a display for both my laptop and my desktop, and I can switch between computers using the Input button on the front panel of the display.

So, the way they set up the USB ports is to let the display be both a USB hub and KVM switch, both very useful features if you need them.
 
Conrad, I want to THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!! for taking the time in educating and explaining this to me. I reeeally appreciate it. :) I now have a better understanding what all of the ports do. I didn't know that I could plug my mouse into the USB-A port on the monitor and now it has freed up one of my ports on the laptop, Whipee.

I had to reread this many times and let it sink in so I understood what you were telling and explaining to me. I take it then I can connect the monitor to the laptop either with the USB 32.Gen 1 Port or the USB 3.2 Gen 1 (always on) Port. Am I correct on this? If I do use the Always on Port, should I disconnected the cable when shutting down the laptop after I am done using it for the day?

If I ever need any more USB-A ports, I do have a hub with 4 ports on it and was wondering if I ever need to use the hub does that make a difference and will it be the same as if it was plugged into the port on the laptop (not quit sure how to ask this) like using the hub for doing an image backup of computer or editing photos using LR/PS.

I have three more questions I would like to ask you regarding Native Color Space, ICC profiles stored at and Monitor Setting tab (spectraview). If I need to start a new thread for this, I will be more than happy to do this, just let me know please. Thanking you again for all of your help.
 
I had to reread this many times and let it sink in so I understood what you were telling and explaining to me. I take it then I can connect the monitor to the laptop either with the USB 32.Gen 1 Port or the USB 3.2 Gen 1 (always on) Port. Am I correct on this? If I do use the Always on Port, should I disconnected the cable when shutting down the laptop after I am done using it for the day?

Because those USB-C ports are labeled differently, they clearly have different capabilities. Check the computer’s manual or online help to confirm what video specs each port supports. If you’re lucky they will all support the same versions of DisplayPort and/or HDMI; if so then you could plug a display into any of them. But, if you do find out that some support higher video specs then others then you just want to make sure the port you use has high enough video specs. NEC SpectraViews are an older design that don’t need/won’t reach the highest current video specs, such as the 8K resolution or 120Hz refresh that some ports support.

Always On probably does mean the power always gets power, so that you can do things like charge a smartphone when the computer is not running. But check the computer’s help files to make sure. Also, how your display is set up might also affect what it does, so check your PA243w manual to see what yours will do. For example, my PA272 has “power save” and “off mode” settings that controls what power state it goes into when the video signal goes away, such as stay on, or drop to low power standby.

If I ever need any more USB-A ports, I do have a hub with 4 ports on it and was wondering if I ever need to use the hub does that make a difference and will it be the same as if it was plugged into the port on the laptop (not quit sure how to ask this) like using the hub for doing an image backup of computer or editing photos using LR/PS.

One major factor is what you need that hub to do. That’s because the hub on the SpectraView (at least on my PA272) is an older, basic hub compared to what you can get now. The USB hub feature on my PA272 is USB 2.0 supplying 0.5A. That’s OK for low power stuff like keyboards, mice, tablets, a calibrator, maybe even an external drive. But if you need to plug in devices that need more speed or power (like a fast SSD, or I have USB devices that need 2A power or more), then you should put those on your other hub. So, I have some USB devices connected through the display and some through another hub.

Some current displays that have a hub feature that typically supports USB-C and USB-C PD. This lets them connect to a computer with just one USB-C cable for video, fast USB data, and enough power to charge the laptop. The USB hub in the SpectraView can’t do all that.
 
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