Datacolor’s Spyder4Pro: It’s Still My Favorite Arachnid
“The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout…”—old nursery rhyme
If you’re not happy with the color of your ink-jet prints, the solution to the problem starts with making sure you have a color correct monitor that will display accurate colors as well as shadows and highlights. I have always been a big fan of Datacolor’s Spyders because they were inexpensive, easy to use and just plain worked. I’ve been using an old Syper2Pro since 2004 but just switched to the new (last week) Spyder4Pro because it makes quick work of the color calibration process.
The Spyder4 is designed for the way that photographers work and includes software with an easy-to-use interface that has lots levels for brightness and color control. The Spyder hardware is a full-spectrum device with a seven-channel sensor that captures color the same way as the human eye, making sure the colors on your screen look real. One of the cool features of the mondo-easy software is that at the end of the process it lets you quickly snap between the way your monitor used to look and how it looks when calibrated. I’m always surprised at the difference, with the calibrated monitor profile looking so much better. But even calibrated monitors decrease in accuracy over time, requiring re-calibration every one to or months so the software lets you set a reminder to do it again. The whole process takes less than 15 minutes including software installation so if you care about the way your on-screen image and prints look, you gotta re-calibrate.
Datacolor offers several models of the Spyder4 to fit your budget and needs including:
- Spyder4 Express ($119) out of the box quickly calibrates a single display or laptop. iPad and iPhone calibration is available through Datacolor’s free SpyderGallery app.
- Spyder4 Pro ($169) is the Goldilocks choice it you want more control over light and color management, offering ambient light measurement and the ability to calibrate multiple displays, as well as iOS devices.
- Spyder4 Elite ($249) for the perfectionist offers the highest level of customization and can also be used to calibrate projectors. Spyder4 Elite provides the tools to manage multiple displays and calibrate them using a set of gamma and non-gamma tone response curves to create custom workflow settings. Video shooters? The Elite includes L-Star workflow and supports the video standards Cineon, NTSC, PAL and HDTV.
So don’t complain about the color on your monitor and prints, do something about it. The Spyder4 is the best way that I’ve found so far.