ColorVision Spyder2express

ColorVision Spyder2express

The Datacolor ColorVision colorimeter attaches to any LCD with a suction cup-as we've done here. Just don't expect perfect calibration from the Spyder2express software.

 

We've all fallen victim to the disparity between onscreen colors, color prints, and real life. Whether it's printed photos, a digital illustration you created, or the sweater you bought online, the colors just don't match up. You probably didn't know it, but you just entered the world of color management. Before you run for the hills, as far away from such geeky endeavors as you can get, let us assure you that companies like Datacolor are trying to make color management a no-nonsense task that nontechies need not fear. The ColorVision Spyder2express is a consumer-focused calibration kit for LCDs, CRTs, and laptops that promises pro-level color calibration for well under 100 bucks.

 

The complex pursuit of color management begins with monitor calibration. Mac OS X actually has a basic color management system; it's in System Preferences > Displays > Color > Calibrate. You have to lean back and squint at your display, but it gets you one step closer to trusting your monitor colors and matching your output. But for the best results, you need to turn to third-party devices.

 

The Spyder2express comes with the exact same hardware colorimeter sold with Datacolor's professional tool, the ColorVision Spyder2PRO ($279). The Spyder2express software disables many of the settings you find in the pro version. For example, the gamma (basically, the amount of contrast that affects midtone colors) is fixed at 2.2, and the white point (color temperature) is set at 6,500 Kelvin. Black and white luminance settings are also automatic, although, depending on your display, you may be able to make minor adjustments to brightness or contrast. Unless you have specific color requirements or you're just accustomed to editing all of your photos using the Mac gamma default of 1.8, the 2.2 gamma and 6,500 K settings should serve you well, as those are most common in the PC and Web world. However, any non-color-managed app on the Mac assumes a gamma of 1.8, meaning the 2.2 setting will make colors in those apps appear darker and more saturated.

 

The lack of adjustment tools is the biggest selling point of the Spyder2express - it's geared toward consumers who don't want to tweak these preferences. You don't need to know what "gamma," "white point," or other specialized terms mean. Just follow the onscreen instructions and let the colorimeter and software do the work. When approached this way, calibration seems like smooth sailing. The software calibrates only one display per Mac, though you can work around this by changing profile names in the ColorSync utility.

 

But the problem is that calibration isn't easy - there are so many variables that affect it, including monitor limitations and ultrabright default settings. In the interest of simplifying matters, the Spyder2express software attempts to remove these factors from the equation. But what it ends up doing is making it impossible for you to do anything about them.

 

We used Spyder2express to calibrate a Dell UltraSharp 1707 consumer-level monitor, because the Spyder2express isn't aimed at creative pros who own high-end displays. The results weren't impressive. The luminance was far too high (that is, too bright), and the highlights were too blue. We tested the Spyder2express on a 12-inch PowerBook LCD as well, and the resulting calibration also revealed too-blue highlights; in that case, however, the software set the luminance too low. Herein lies the catch: Low-end and midrange displays require more (not less) tweaking, making the ability to fine-tune settings essential.

 

The bottom line. If you care enough about color management to buy a calibration kit, you'd do better to invest in a tool that allows more control. Using the Spyder2express colorimeter with the calibration app that comes with Datacolor's Spyder2PRO gave us a far superior result than we got using the dumbed-down version of the software.

 

COMPANY: Datacolor
CONTACT: www.colorvision.com
PRICE: $79
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3 or later, powered USB port, 1,024-by-768-pixel or larger display
Intuitive interface. Inexpensive.
Difficult to fine-tune if the calibration produces an unacceptable result.

 

 

2

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

qiqi

And we also provide fast delivery service, guarantee our listing price is lower than other competitors.replicas watches and professional customer service. We are more than ready to show our unique prowess and fortes to gain our footing.

avatar

suaili

Good movie, veryLouis Vuitton good

Read this article, Louis Vuittonsome knowledge to understand, thank you, the author

Log in to Mac|Life directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.