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Having seen some of my photos on another display I was shocked to see how different they looked because of the monitor settings. I decided I needed to calibrate my laptop at home and as if by magic the Datacolor Spyder 3 turned up at the ePHOTOzine offices. The box promises that I can get the most out of my monitor in three easy steps, so here goes...
Datacolor Spyder 3 Express: Step 1
In the box comes the Spyder 3 Unit, installation disk and a cleaning cloth. Following the installation instructions, I installed the software (must be done before the Spyder unit's connected). The installation process didn't take long and was easy enough to follow.
Datacolor Spyder 3 Express: Step 2
Following the instruction book I connected the unit to my computer via USB, before starting the software which takes you through the registration process. It's a quick and easy process then a welcome screen runs through the set up options. These include ensuring your monitor has been on for at least half an hour, that there are no harsh lighting conditions, the display controls are reset and the Spyder 3 unit is plugged in. If all these are ticked you can move to the next screen which asks if you have either an LCD/Laptop or a CRT monitor. You can then place the calibration device on the screen using the on screen instructions as a guide.
Datacolor Spyder 3 Express: Step 3
Clicking 'Next' starts the Calibration process. The software runs through various colour patches which the Spyder unit reads to create your profile. This process takes a few minutes and is an ideal opportunity to make a cup of tea.
After this process is complete you're presented with various images to test out your new settings. Simply clicking the switch button shows you the different before and after shots. You can view the various images by clicking on them. Click 'Next' and the process is complete with your profile being created and saved for the next time you calibrate.
Datacolor Spyder 3 Express: Verdict
As promised, within the three steps I've adjusted the colour profile of my monitor. The difference between the before and after views are amazing and it is quite shocking to see how far off the correct settings my computer was. As a dual monitor user, the only thing that I can say against the Spyder 3 Express is that it only allows you to perform the test on the main display and you have to have the same profile for both monitors. The software with the Spyder 3 doesn't allow me to set the profile for both monitors and this has to be done through Windows.
EASE OF USE
The Datacolor Spyder 3 Express costs around £69 and is available from Warehouse Express here:
Datacolor Spyder 3 Express