Overly Dim Sony FW-900 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-05-2012, 01:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys,

I've been searching through the forum for my specific issue with the FW900, but no one seems to have covered it -- folks have only talked about the monitor being too bright.

So, I bought this monitor used and it has deep, wonderful blacks. The previous owner didn't abuse it much, and I've owned several CRTs as well as flat panel displays in my lifetime. So, now that I have the FW900, I'm awed at the blacks (totally blows the TFT flat panel out of the water), but it only achieves these blacks with the brightness turned waaaay down.

The sRGB color setting on the monitor requires 15 Brightness and 85 Contrast for it to display the blacks as black as it should be. However, at those settings the monitor is TOO dark -- to the point where if it's a night scene in a movie, it'll be barely visible (same goes with games). Good luck with watching Thor if the monitor is set at these settings.

However, if I turn up the Brightness to some better-viewable level, the blacks turn into browns. So I can discern better what's going on in the movie/game, but now those wonderful blacks have been lost!

So, my questions are:

1. Am I too used to the large contrast in LCD panels? I've been without a CRT for a while (my old Mitsubishi died ~4 years ago), and it's been quite a challenge to re-accustom myself to the CRT world, especially with a monitor this dark. (By the way, I went back to CRT because I couldn't stand the ghosting effects of pretty much every flat panel I tried. I play FPS games, and I hated playing on flat panels.)

2. What can I attempt to remedy the situation?


I've tried to do the Image Restoration feature, as well as playing with color temperatures. I've also read something about using Windas or even manually changing the "G2" setting inside the monitor, but I want to see if this even a feasible solution before I bust out the screwdriver. From my reading on the G2 setting, folks are using it to adjust overbright monitors back to normal levels. But will this fix an overly-dim monitor -- especially if I CAN increase the brightness already (but it screws up the black color)? It's not like the monitor is already at 100 Brightness.

I love the FW900, and I definitely want to keep on using it as long as it wants to live. But it's quite annoying that I have to have a pitch-black room in order to view the monitor somewhat properly. Even with a super-dark room I still can't resolve some of the images on the screen, especially with a movie that has really dark scenes (like Thor).

Thanks!

P.S. The monitor is plugged into the computer via a regular VGA jack. The computer is a 4-year-old Core 2 Duo machine running Windows 7.
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-07-2012, 08:20 AM
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From what you describe, raising the gamma should improve your picture quality: it will brighten the moderately dark scenes without adjusting the black-level bias. Increasing the G2 voltage (which must be done through Windas as there is no potentiometer for it on the flyback) probably won't help, as this will just increase the overall brightness and wash out the blacks again. I could be wrong but I don't think there's any adjustment for gamma correction in the FW900's firmware, so this will be done on the source end. Many recent graphics cards will allow you to adjust the gamma of the VGA output signal, and if yours doesn't you can download PowerStrip which will let you do so. Alternatively, there is the GammaX module from the folks who make the HDfury.

Unfortunately, video content these days is being produced on the assumption that the user will be displaying it on something that will have the black levels set too high, such as a LCD display or an improperly-calibrated CRT or plasma, which could very well explain the "black crush" phenomenon.

You say the blacks turn into "browns" when you raise the brightness (not "grays")? I'm curious, does this gradually improve as the monitor has time to warm up, and does it go away when you do the image restore?
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-11-2012, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, and for confirming my suspicions that fooling around with the G2 voltage wouldn't solve my problem.

I sure do feel silly: I thought about adjusting gamma when I was fiddling with the monitor, but I never went into Nvidia's control panel -- I just kept trying to adjust settings on the monitor. It's definitely been a long time since I had my last CRT / needed to adjust video settings biggrin.gif

This morning I let the monitor warm up and then changed the Nvidia brightness (very slightly) and gamma until the blacks were still black, but I could actually see the dark scenes in Thor. All the games looked much nicer as well -- thanks!

With regard to your question, the blacks still do turn into browns when I raise the monitor brightness levels, even after the monitor is fully warmed up. I've done the Image Restore function, and that did not affect the browns in any way. Here's how it looks like: http://cl.ly/image/3L1s0J3E0a45 For that shot I purposely turned the brightness way up so you could see what I'm referring to. This isn't how I'd normally view the monitor, even before the Nvidia brightness/gamma adjustment -- but you get the idea.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-12-2012, 09:15 AM
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I don't want to give you any ideas here as I'm just learning this stuff myself after nabbing a freebie 51" CRT projection tv but in my experience if the screen/g2 control is set to low then you get black crush. Gamma adjustments might help but if the gamma is correct in the top of the scale and incorrect in the blacks wouldn't compensating with the gamma control cause problems with the top of the scale?

Again I don't want to give you any bad ideas biggrin.gif I only adjusted the g2 on the blue gun of mine by accident and had to recallibrate it using the built in cal screen, from what I understand it's not something you want to mess with without a similar cal screen to work from especially if you put money into your screen.

I'm just hoping someone else can provide more insight into the screen controls, does the monitor appear dim overall? Or is it just crushing to much detail to black?
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-12-2012, 09:49 AM
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I should also mention that I had a similar experience with a viewsonic 19" CRT direct view where to get the deepest blacks out of it brightness would have to be turned down to 30-40 crushing shades near black to black. I played a lot of classic stealth games at the time and would use the in game gamma control to compensate but something just didn't look right in the brighter and mid shades with that "fix", it's kinda tough to describe and I hope someone else on hear can provide more insight. The viewsonic was far from dim overall though, it was able to get ridiculously bright, but when you have shades crushed to black they tend to get washed out when there is a lot of brightness on the screen due to the way crt's work. I'd certainly take inaccurate gamma in the high end over crushed blacks on a CRT any day of the week.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-12-2012, 10:40 AM
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There was an issue with some Dell/Sony CRT monitors (specifically in my case a Dell P1110) where they would develop a 'too bright' problem. I had searched the 'net and found a forum with pages and pages on the subject. The early solution was a G2 resistor change and late solution some kind of software mod; other solutions inbetween but I didn't have time to read it all, seemed like it was around a hundred pages. Lacking the interface board and code to do the software mod I opted for the hardware mod (plus I'm a HW guy). Works great now though (I don't use it for gaming).

This monitor requires some time to warm up to proper black levels, is stated in the manual and it won't allow calibration (user menu) until it's warmed up. It's a professional CAD/graphics monitor so I suspect other CRT monitors of this genre Have the same requirement.

Apparently I didn't save the link or file but search for "Dell P1110 brightness" and gads of stuff will show up.

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