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Quote: Of course, the real question is "How do you know that it is actually working correctly?"
I use it to calibrate my monitors and am happy with the results. But I use two identical Dell 27" U2711 Ultrasharps and when I use the Spyder to calibrate both, they are never exactly the same in terms of tones and tints. Both are good enough for my purposes (i.e. general photoprocessing) but the fact there are slight differences means that one (or possibly both) are not quite right.
I also use two Dell Ultrasharp monitors (not identical models) and calibrate with a spyder 3 Pro. When first booting up I can see the background image (one of my photographs) on each monitor and it is visibly different in colour and luminance but at the end of the boot process the respective colour profiles are loaded and both monitor change to become very similar. The differences are generally very slight and, as you suggest, definitely good enough for general photography.
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At the end of boot-up the monitor profile isn't in play. At that point the calibration data has been loaded via a vcgt tag, so the transformation you see is the adjustment of white point and gamma through the video card LUT. Colour only gets fine-tuned once opened in Photoshop or the like; the Windows 8 desktop ignores the monitor profile to the best of my knowledge (I haven't paid much attention to it - in previous versions that was certainly the case).
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