DataColor Spyder 3 Elite

DataColor Spyder 3 Elite

Ever vigilant, the Spider can watch for room-lighting changes to make regular color profile updates.


Monitor calibration is the secret step in digital media creation. Onscreen colors in digital photos, Web design work, and video editors may look good to you, but they may not match other peoples’ displays. The Spyder 3 Elite accurately calibrates a display so that images match a real-world baseline, and your other tools—like photo software—will know how things look. It’s an important step for serious photographers to take to those ends.


After letting an LCD warm up for about a half an hour, we ran the Spyder application to walk through the calibration process. The software relies on the palm-size hardware, which literally samples and measures the colors presented onscreen. The device hangs on your display with a suction cup or with a counterweight and can be used with desktop LCDs, CRTs, or laptops. (And it can even be mounted on a tripod and aimed at a projector.)


When calibrating, the Spyder runs through an automated process where it flashes colors onscreen, then reads their accuracy through the hardware. This took about five minutes, and we ran most of it unsupervised. The device also had us adjust internal display settings, reading back our modifications to brightness, RGB, temperature, and other adjustments. These manual tweaks do a great job of fine-tuning display color.


The final calibration steps save the color profile, giving a before-and-after comparison of the results. Our tests showed a comfortable improvement over default settings. But even more important, Photoshop and other programs then use this profile to subtly adjust onscreen colors for accuracy on that display without additional tinkering.


The bottom line. The Spyder 3 Elite has enough hand-holding to lead beginners through accurate calibration, but its deep manual settings should satisfy pros.


COMPANY: Datacolor


PRICE: $279

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3 or later, USB

Ambient sensor optionally adjusts color with room-lighting changes. Can be hung with a weight or suction cup. Extensive manual controls. Helpful step-by-step instructions.

Some manual settings lack complete explanation.





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Photo Queen

Just wanted to let everyone know, Smart Images are offering discounts and Free Shipping on the Datacolor Spyder3 Range of color calibrators.

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