What you see is not always what you get with digital photography. An uncalibrated monitor may display colours that are very different from those intended. Unfortunately, colour management can seem like a black art to those who have no experience, and attempts to correct problems often end in confusion. In this review, Gary Wolstenholme
takes a look at whether this entry-level offering from ColorVision can provide the accuracy in a simple way that many can understand.
|What is it? |
Spyder2express is a system for ensuring that the colours displayed on your monitor are accurate.
In the box there is the Spyder2 colourimeter, which is compatible with both CRT and LCD screens, and a disk containing the software to complete the calibration.
The installation process is straight-forward, simply insert the CD and follow the on-screen instructions. Once the program is installed, you can connect the Spyder to a USB port on your computer. The software automatically detects it, so you can begin calibration quickly.
|In use |
The software provided for monitor calibration is very easy to use. Each stage is broken down into several clearly laid-out points. When you have selected your monitor type from the three available your current colour profile settings are displayed. The less technically-minded amongst us can just skip to the next screen as there is nothing to adjust here.
If you are calibrating an LCD screen, the software asks what controls are available and asks for them to be reset to the manufacturers default settings, if you are calibrating a CRT screen, then the contrast and brightness settings will need to be adjusted as instructed.
|Once any manual adjustments are complete, the software will ask you to attach your Spyder2 colourimeter. A diagram is shown to help with correct placement of the device on your screen and then calibration begins. |
A variety of colour samples are displayed on-screen underneath the Spyder, this process can take up to 10 minutes. I found that tilting the screen back helps to keep the Spyder in place, especially when calibrating an LCD panel, as the sucker cups are not used to hold it in place as they are on a CRT screen and the supplied counterweight doesn't always hold it exactly in the right place.
|When the calibration process is complete, the software displays a screen that allows for a before and after comparison of the adjustments. When I calibrated my screen, the Spyder successfully removed a strong cyan cast and now I am much happier with the display. |
It is recommended that calibration is repeated every so-often as colours can drift over time. Spyder2express can be set to remind you if the screen is due to be calibrated again, which is a very handy feature.
The Spyder2express is available from the ePHOTOzine shop
and is currently priced at £67. This is great value when compared to other colour management solutions costing hundreds of pounds. Verdict
The Spyder2express is an entry-level product that provides a quick and simple colour solution for photographers, and designers who require accurate colour.
Although some of the advanced features found on more expensive solutions are missing from this package, it still provides excellent value for money.
In summary, the positive points of the Spyder2express are:
Value for money
Quick and simple to use
The negative points are:
Lacks some of the in-depth features of other calibration devices.
Check the latest price in the ePHOTOzine shop