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Using a Spyder 4 for the first time


mick183 6 7 5 South Africa
21 Jun 2013 2:25PM
Recently I sought members' advice about purchasing a calibrator. Long story short, my Spyder 4 arrived today and as soon as I had it out of the box I calibrated my laptop screen. First reactions are that it has made a significant difference: the sample images provided by Datacolor show a 'before calibration' and 'after' comparison and unsurprisingly, post-calibration the images looked a whole lot better on the screen. When I later reviewed some of my own images in the Elements Catalogue I was in some cases quited shocked to see how 'bad' the colour appears now. If I had known in advance what a difference a calibrator would make I would have made the purchase long ago. I now feel I have to go back over old ground and re-process the images - and there are quite a few - that have more potential than was shown the first time round.

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tpfkapm 4 178 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 2:39PM
Need to print out now to see if new colours on screen match print out

But I agree, calibration should make editing and processing more accurate for your desired effect
Gaucho Plus
13 2.6k 2 United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 2:59PM
What it won't do is make your images look as good on other folk's uncalibrated screens.
AlanJ Plus
2 501 England
21 Jun 2013 3:11PM
I notice there are various versions of Spyder4 (Pro ; Express; Elite etc) all at quite varying prices.
As a (very) non professional which would be the minimum recommended if I were to consider one?
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
21 Jun 2013 3:32PM
The basic Express package is the minimum recommendation - they all use the same hardware. The biggest forfeit you make with the Express is in its inability to measure luminance - it just rattles off a 2.2 gamma and 6500K calibration and creates a profile accordingly. That means you can't set a 'target luminance' and return the monitor to exactly the same objective level of brightness at every calibration - but in reality a lot of people don't need this. It's basic, but makes sense for people that have spent threepence ha'penny on their monitor. Otherwise I'd tend to skip the Pro package and buy the Elite, which has one or two nice extra features (alternatively I'd buy the Express and pair it with BasICColor Display).
lemmy 8 2.2k United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 3:53PM

Quote:What it won't do is make your images look as good on other folk's uncalibrated screens.


Very true. We are so used to images being tweaked for effect that an image that approximates reality can look quite dull. Also, although we often think of seeing with our eyes, seeing is really done in the brain. So eventually, even a badly adjusted monitor seems to give normal tones.

Then when you calibrate it, it can seem very red or blue or whatever. Until the eye gets accommodated to the new 'reality'. The great advantage of calibration is that it gives everyone who calibrates their monitors reasonable certainty that what they see is what the other party will see. And, the ability to soft proof on something like Lightroom and know that images from that file will, if given to a good professional lab, return prints exactly as seen on screen.

The other thing about calibrating is that you can set the luminance of your monitor correctly. Correct luminance for the eyes' comfort and for accurate printing is much lower than most monitors are set to as default. The default is set to make the monitor look spectacular and stand out from others in the store. Many cheaper monitors won't even turn down to the levels appropriate for photo reproduction.

For non-photographers, calibration can look like a large step backwards.
Paul Morgan 14 16.7k 6 England
21 Jun 2013 4:40PM
I`m still using the original spider Smile

Do you think upgrading it to the latest would make a huge amount of difference.

I`m one of these, if its not broke, dont fix it lot, you would not believe how old some of my TV sets are.

Even all my telephone box things in the house are the original bakelite construction but I still get a 17mb speed through copper wire Smile
lemmy 8 2.2k United Kingdom
21 Jun 2013 4:51PM

Quote:Do you think upgrading it to the latest would make a huge amount of difference.


I'm no expert but a properly calibrated monitor is a properly calibrated monitor now or then.

I'd imagine the changes have been in the design of the sensor and the software, essentially cosmetic, easier to use, that sort of thing. Mine's only a couple of years old (I had a Huey before which conked out) but I can't see me getting a new one before it fails.
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
21 Jun 2013 5:34PM
Early Spyders were pretty rubbish at dealing with anything that deviated from a standard-gamut CFL monitor. Nowadays the filters are improved, and more adaptable to different monitor types. I think it's worth switching from early-generation models. Datacolor claim a 19-26% improvement in accuracy between 3 & 4, I just noticed (I'm still slumming it with the 3).
Paul Morgan 14 16.7k 6 England
21 Jun 2013 5:48PM
Added it to my list of upgrades, it will probably happen when I eventually up-grade my old XP machine, more than likely my old Spyder will be unsupported anyway Smile
colinEIZO 1 2
26 Jun 2013 8:28AM

Quote:I`m one of these, if its not broke, dont fix it lot, you would not believe how old some of my TV sets are.


Hi Paul,

The reality about calibrators are, like everything in life, they don't last for ever. But the problem with calibrators is they don't suddenly stop working one day or they don't have a light that warns you that it is broken. Calibrators become less effective at what they are designed to do which is to calibrate. So gradually over time your calibration results will be less accurate. Much like reducing eye sight, you may not be aware of it happening. We see this a lot with customers who upgrade to a wide gamut monitor but don't upgrade their calibrator. When they run that first calibration, the screen tends to go a hue of green or pink or yellow. Of course they are straight on the phone to us because they understandably assume it is the monitor. But in reality they are trying to push their old calibrator to work in a wider colour space than before. So it goes screwy. To prove this we send out a calibrator to those customer that we know is working and when they use it the monitor calibrates ok.

One of the most common questions I get is "can you calibrate a calibrator?". Standard calibrators tend to have 1 year warranty and an average life of 2 years. Once they are no longer effective then there is not much you can do with them. More advanced calibrators (higher cost) can be sent back to the manufacturer for re-calibration with some manufacturers recommending this is done annually. Calibrators are also very sensitive. If you drop them or leave them in a humid environment then it is not good.

My advice to customers is to find a way to get your calibrator checked every year. Otherwise the harsh reality is that the calibration you are doing has limited use.
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
26 Jun 2013 10:09AM
Spyders seem a popular recommendation on ePhotozine—I think because they're accompanied by fairly user-friendly software—but some of the X-Rite pucks seem to deliver better consistency and accuracy if the online tests are to be believed. Not just nominally so, but to an extent that would be appreciable by eye.

I guess the relevance of this always comes down to how much accuracy any of us actually needs, but calibrators are the perfect placebo; they make us feel better about what we're doing but most of us aren't in a position to properly compare or evaluate them, or to know what condition they're in.
Paul Morgan 14 16.7k 6 England
26 Jun 2013 7:52PM

Quote:The reality about calibrators are, like everything in life, they don't last for ever


My spider dates back to about 2004 Smile

There was only one update for the software that made just a very slight difference.


Quote:Spyders seem a popular recommendation on ePhotozine—I think because they're accompanied by fairly user-friendly software—but some of the X-Rite pucks seem to deliver better consistency and accuracy if the online tests are to be believed. Not just nominally so, but to an extent that would be appreciable by eye.

I guess the relevance of this always comes down to how much accuracy any of us actually needs, but calibrators are the perfect placebo; they make us feel better about what we're doing but most of us aren't in a position to properly compare or evaluate them, or to know what condition they're in.



Is that the Colour munky Glen, think that`s what they call it.
keithh Plus
11 23.8k 33 Wallis And Futuna
26 Jun 2013 8:49PM
Color Munki and they're a great bit of kit and software.........until they go wrong and X-Rite become the invisible company from what the hell.
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
26 Jun 2013 10:50PM

Quote:Is that the Colour munky Glen, think that`s what they call it.


Yes, ColorMunki Display and the more expensive i1 Display Pro are meant to be extremely accurate. They're the same puck with different software, except the cheaper of the two is anchored somehow to the proprietary software whereas the i1 Display Pro can be used with 3rd party programs. The value of this might be significant—Dry Creek Photo reckon the X-Rite calibrators yield better results with either ColorEyes Display or BasICColor Display software (I've tried these, Spyder worked better with BasICColor).

If you splash out for i1 Display Pro and BasICColor Display though the bill will be over £250 - more than many people spend on a monitor!

One nice thing about the Spyders is that Datacolour don't tie them up in knots - you can buy the cheapest package and pair the hardware with BasICColor Display if you want—an upgrade option that'll probably give you better long-term support (BasICColor still supports the vintage Spyder 2, which might be useful if you've kept one in a glass cabinet).

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