Q&A: Adjusting gamma for better projection display

Q Whenever I connect my MacBook Pro to a particular projector, the projected image appears dull, and the colours weak. I have tried to adjust the projector, but cannot find a solution. Is there anything which I can try on my Mac?

A Yes: any display, whether projected or not, which appears dull can be greatly improved by adjusting the gamma value in its colour profile.

There remains dispute as to whether the ‘normal’ gamma should be 1.8 (the traditional Mac setting) or 2.2 (popular with other systems). Whichever really is correct, in practice switching to a different gamma can work wonders, particularly with non-standard display devices such as video projectors. The sRGB colour space turns out to deliver a gamma of close to 2.2, and often does the trick.

To do this, open the Displays pane, select the non-standard display, then select the Color tab. If the option to Show profiles for this display is checked, disable it, so that you are offered a wide choice of profiles. Select one such as sRGB IEC61966-2.1. Alternatively you can adjust the gamma display by calibrating it, using the Calibrate… button.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 29 issue 1, 2013.