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Screen Calibrated – Tests & Results

As I already mentioned in my post earlier this week, I was alerted to the color of some of my images may be too red and in some cases perhaps too saturated as well. What I have been doing for calibration for about the last year is working with the X-Rite ColorMunki which is a very nice device. However for one reason or another, the calibrations must be off despite the color looking good and neutral B&W. Plus both screens matched well. (And my prints have typically matched fairly well too.) Knowing that I have “perfect” color perception based on the Farnsworth – Munsell 100 hue test, my eyes were not deceiving me. (Actually, your eye will try to automatically “correct” for known colors and neutralize color shifts.) But it just proves the point that a good calibration makes all the difference.

With the possibility of a problem with my calibration despite always staying on top of keeping the profile up to date, I decided to do some testing to see just how well a few other devices and software packages worked out.

First, I purchased a Spyder3 Elite package made by Datacolor. This costs about $260 and comes with the Spyder3 colorimeter device, Spyder3 “Elite” calibration software and a desktop stand to hold the colorimeter up on your desk to make on-the-fly brightness changes depending on the ambient light level of the room. (As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the room light is as important as the screen calibration itself.)

For comparison, I borrowed a Spyder2 colorimeter and also tested my older Monaco Optix puck in the mix.

I also spent a good deal of time trying out different color calibration software programs. My LaCie 324 came with the Blue Eye Pro software which until now I had no use for. It is designed specifically for LaCie displays and only works with a few select colorimeter devices including the X-Rite built LaCie Blue Eye, it’s sister device the X-Rite i1Display 2, the Spyder2 and Spyder3 and devices using the popular DTP94 sensor. I also tried out a full featured calibration software called ColorEyes Display Pro which is both very good and quite powerful.

After a few dozen calibration tests followed by charts to display the margin of error, I cooked off the fat and found out what works with my hardware and what doesn’t. Of the devices I tested, the Spyder3 gave the best overall color and least amount of banding and color anomalies when viewing images in both color and grayscale. For average users, the included software was fairly easy to use and functions perfectly fine. For those of us who desire the most accurate profiles or need complete control, I would highly suggest buying the ColorEyes Display Pro software package for use with your devices. The display profiles from it were very good and the software allows much more customization and advanced options. However, for those of us with a LaCie brand display, the Blue Eye Pro software seems to be the best option as it interfaces with the monitors own controls via DDC with the least amount of trouble giving the best overall profiles for that display. However for my less expensive, run of the mill Dell display, the Blue Eye Pro software did work well but the ColorEyes Display Pro profile was slightly more accurate.

The ColorMunki was left out of the test as it is not a true colorimeter (it is a spectrophotometer) and it was on loan with the person I borrowed the Spyder2 from for their own testing. I did use it to re-profile prior to lending it out and did some testing of those profiles which found them to be good but the white point to be slightly off.

In the end, the Spyder3 with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software worked out the best for my needs but the included Datacolor software would likely suit most people well enough and for power users, you can purchase the Spyder3 (or a DTP94 based colorimeter) in a bundle package with the ColorEyes Display Pro software from the above link for a reasonable price.

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