Pantone ColorVision Spyder with PhotoCAL for LCD/CRT (GEUSB102)

Pantone ColorVision Spyder with PhotoCAL for LCD/CRT (GEUSB102)

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Questionable Color

Jun 21, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Easy installation.

Cons:Poor Gamma in Dell 5100 Notebook. Made my whites blueish. Extremely questionable color.

The Bottom Line: You're better off using your eye or Adobe Gamma. This tool left me very disappointed for the high dollar amount.


Ok, so I've been trying to get my color calibrated correctly for a while now. The main problem has been my Dell 5100 Laptop showing colors a tad bit too dark. So I went out and bought a $149 color calibrating system from ColorVision called the Spyder with PhotoCal software.

Installation was a breeze. The software booted up great onto Windows Xp Pro and Home and it instantly recognized the Colorimeter tool (the plastic attachment that measures the color on your screen).

The calibration is only Wizard-based (which kinda sucked). It guides you step-by-step with the following questions...
1) Is this a CRT or LCD
2) Would you like 1.8 or 2.2 Gamma?
3) Would you like 5000 or 6500 color temperature.
4) Can you adjust the color settings? Yes, No and Presets are options.

If you select No, then it starts the calibration immediately by scanning all gradations of RGB, White, Black and Grey.

If you select Yes, then it quickly scans normal RGB and then asks you to adjust the colors through your monitor until they all meet inside a thin rectangular box (I thought the calibrator was supposed to do this!). Once you calilbrate your own monitor, it starts running through all the gradations of RGB, White Grey and Black as mentioned above.

Finally...it asks you to save your ICC profile and it creates a nifty Startup program similar to Adobe Gamma that boots with Windows.

First was my 19" Dell 1901FP LCD monitor. The love of my life. Color on this monitor is quite nice but I decided to give it a go and test it out anyways. I deleted Adobe Gamma from my startup folder and away we went.

Once done, I was semi-kinda-happy. The white, however, seemed rather blueish. All the other colors seemed ok. I was semi-content and moved on to my notebook. This was trickier since I can't adjust color settings and I had to completely rely on the Spyder to do the job. It finished and looked semi-decent. So being in a hurry I packed everything away and left to work.

At work...things got bad quick. I booted up my Dell 5100 Laptop and immediately noticed the colors were quite dark. As a matter of fact, my gamma was screwed. I was looking at a picture of some black Rollerblades I was selling on eBay and I couldn't differentiate the blacks from the midtones. It was just a congestion of really dark mids and highlight.

So I did some research and found out I was supposed to calibrate without any ambient light sources. This was buried in the PhotoCal CD and was never mentioned in the Wizard. At the time I had daylight and tungsten lights (Reveal lightbulbs) so I guessed that's what I did wrong. So tonight, in complete and total darkness I once again calibrated both LCD monitors and I achieved the same results. The notebook was deathly dark and although the colors were much better off, I simply couldn't adjust the gamma. The Dell 1901FP 19" display was still blue-toned. The worst part is after reverting back to my old color, there wasn't that much of a difference.

So tonight I printed my return slip and tomorrow it will be in UPS' hands enroute back to Amazon.com. In my eyes, this is either a defective product or a poor Colorimeter. I'm hoping it's the first. Regardless, I found this baby quite worthless of it's $149 price tag. I'll just have to rely on my good ole eye-sight from now on.

I'm an Illustrator working in North Miami Beach, FL. I've designed Ads for magazines such as Ocean Drive, MTV and Florida Design. I've been working with art and color for over 10 years.


Recommend this product? No


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