Review: Datacolor Spyder 4 Elite
Recently I was sponsored by Datacolor, one of the leading companies when it comes to monitor calibration. They kindly sent me the Spyder 4 Elite to review on my website, as I've never calibrated my monitor since the day I bought it I was interested in seeing whether the colours on my screen are accurate as in the past I've sent images to be printed and they've come back not the same as I see them on my monitor. So here was my chance to test the product and see if it really does make a difference to my monitor.
- Automated Color Calibration - Spyder4Elite’s intuitive process makes it straightforward to calibrate your displays to a reference condition. You can view and edit images with confidence on a display calibrated to show true-to-life colors and luminance adjusted for precise shadow/highlight detail.
- Full-spectrum color sensor - Spyder4Elites's patented 7-color sensor improves upon colorimeters that use 3-channel RGB sensors. Each Spyder4Elite unit is individually tuned in the factory to accurately handle a variety of wide-gamut and normal gamut displays with ease.
- Single sensor calibrates all your displays - Spyder4Elite works with your laptop, multiple monitors, television (with paid software upgrade on the Datacolor website), iPad and iPhone. It works with LCD, LED, OLED, CRT, DLP and other display technologies. You can calibrate multiple displays connected to your computer. Spyder4Elite is unique in its ability to calibrate all your display devices to achieve greater consistency.
- Improved accuracy and stability - The fourth-generation Spyder4Elite has double-shielded color filters for an even closer match to CIE color standards and improved long term stability. Average accuracy increased by 26% and consistency between Spyder units has improved 19%.
- Fast Re-calibration Assistant - The "ReCAL” feature makes it quick and easy to recalibrate your display to compensate for changes that occur over time.
- Adapts display to surrounding light - The lighting around you will affect image contrast and appearance. An additional sensor on the Spyder4Elite detects changes to surrounding light and adapts the display luminance accordingly.
Spyder4Elite software options for greater control - For greater control over color management Spyder4Elite provides additional features:
- StudioMatch enables visual fine-tuning of studio displays to match the way you see color.
- Built-in presets for video standards such as Cineon, NTSC and PAL.
- Color analysis of your display quality by plotting uniformity, color gamut, and change over time, tone response and allowing comparison with other displays.
- Calibrate to professional workflow targets with L-Star tone response curve.
- Unlimited choices for gamma, white point, white luminance and black luminance.
- Iterative grey balance algorithm for the most accurate greys.
- Front projector calibration for color accurate presentations.
Opening the box revealed a lot less equipment needed to do the calibration than I thought, I was expecting wires everywhere and lots of little complicating devices but all you get is the main device, the stand and the software cd. I like it when companies make it as easy as possible for their customers.
The instructions are very clear and easy to understand, first you install the software CD provided from here it will create an application where you can use the device. You then follow all the instructions which I will not go in to full details as you can see by watching the video at the top of this blog post.
After the Spyder4 had finished calibrating I noticed a huge difference in colour, I noticed that my old colour space had quite a yellowish tint to it and after I calibrated the screen everything looked more natural and the yellow tint was completely gone!
I was amazed at how clear and how balanced the colours were after I had run the program, now when I send images for print or to clients I know they will be seeing the exact same photo as me (as long as their monitor is calibrated correctly as well).
As photographers I believe we need to show people our images of the natural world exactly the way that we see them on our monitors, if you spend hours or even days creating and editing an image, publish it to the internet and because you haven't calibrated your monitor everybody else is seeing something different to what you have spent hours creating then what's the point?
Datacolor are offering you an affordable product that does all the hard work for, it took me about 10 minutes to calibrate my monitor and the screen has looked great ever since. You can also set it to update every week or month to keep the colours looking fresh as after time they can slip back in to bad habits. It can also calibrate your iPhone and iPad!
If you do a lot of home printing then this is a crucial tool in creating that perfect print every time so you won't waste any valuable ink or paper.
I apologise if the blog doesn't go to in-depth details of the product as you can see this on many other websites and I also feel the product is fully covered in my Video but if you have any questions on the Spyder4 Elite then please feel free to leave a comment below.