Pros: Very easy to use; Highly accurate colors make for great prints.
Cons: Expensive; Priced for pros, but still powerful enough for hobbyists.
With the widespread use of digital cameras today, and the proliferation of image editing software, one would think getting great prints from your home inkjet printer would be simple. Unfortunately it's not so simple due to the varied (and usually inaccurate) colors a monitor displays.
Why do I need to calibrate my monitor?
This is a common question, and I'll give you a common answer: Have you ever edited a photo on your computer, and you get it looking just right on your monitor...but when you print, the colors are completely off? That's because the colors you see on your uncalibrated monitor are already wrong, and that throws off your entire correction.
So what do I need to do about it?
Calibrating your monitor is the *single* most important thing you can do for your photo editing work. If the colors are right, you can make informed choices when correcting photos.
This brings us to the topic at hand: Colorvision's excellent Spyder2PRO Studio monitor calibration device.
What comes in the box?
The Spyder calibration system is made up of both hardware and software components:
The Spyder colorimeter itself, which hangs over the front of the monitor to read the various red, green, blue, highlight and shadow values from the color profiling software.
In addition to CRT and LCD monitors, the Spyder2PRO also calibrates projectors and laptop screens.
The included software consists of: The Spyder2PRO Professional monitor calibration, Colorvision's DoctorPRO, PANTONE's Colorist, and PrintFIX Plus printer-profiling software.
Some of the more advanced software features include:
* Selectable gamma options
* Selectable color temperature
* Creating custom targets
* Before and After views
* Luminance targeting
How does it work?
The Spyder2PRO Studio is powerful enough for professionals (hence the name), but couldn't be easier or more straightforward to use. The Spyder comes equipped with a fairly long cable (approximately 6 feet long) and has a counterweight attached, so that you can hang the Spyder over the front of the monitor.
When you run the calibration software, it steps you easily and simply through the process using wizards. It recommends default values which most users will select, and for pros who have special lighting or hardware considerations, there are options available as well.
When you re-calibrate (for most users once a month is enough - for pros, maybe once a week or whenever they begin a new project), the Colorvision software remembers your previous choices, so the process is just that much quicker.
What, you mean I have to keep calibrating my monitor?
Yes, because a monitor's colors can shift over time, and even a full calibration is only likely to last about a month before needing to calibrate again. The nice thing about the Spyder2PRO however, is that the process generally only takes between 5-10 minutes.
But it's so expensive...isn't there a cheaper option? Actually Colorvision does make a less expensive version called the Spyder2Express, priced for the hobbyist/home user at about $80 with the essentials only. It doesn't include the extra pro-level advanced tools which come with the Studio Pro.
Also (and this is a major reason why I went with the Pro2Studio), the Spyder that comes with the express version isn't as color-accurate as the Spyder2. While I doubt I'll be making a living with Photoshop, it's important to me to have as accurate color as possible.
Bottom Line: If you're a pro, semi-pro, or a serious hobbyist, get the Spyder2PRO Studio and get your monitor's color in line.
Thanks for reading!