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From Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro Monitor Calibration Tool Review

by blinkn aka bassgeisha
Please click here to view the original article on genuineindividual

Disclaimer: This review is written by a graphic designer, not a monitor calibration specialist. I pulled from credible & direct sources as well as from my own experience. I know that there are probably plenty of people out there on the land of the Interwebs that know 10,000 times more than I do about calibration. PLEASE! either email me (look under Resume section) or leave a comment and I would love to include your input. This review goes over the ease of use of using the Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro from the perspective of a first-time user. Enjoy!  

Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro In Box Unopened

Today I just recalibrated (badly needed) my work monitor ( a Samsung 244T-1 ) using a Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro.
I had been familiar with monitor calibration for years, but this was this first time I was let loose to calibrate the monitor myself!
Below I have included direct quotes from Datacolor's Spyder 4 PRO website. However, I'd like to share my own experience with you, reader, instead of just defaulting to Datacolor's Spyder 4 Pro PR!
Once you install the program, it will be under a Datacolor Folder in your Start Menu (or little bouncy bar for you Mac Users  

Datacolor Spyder Pro 4 4.5.4 in Start Menu of Windows 7

Once starting & authenticating the software, you will be brought to Datacolor's Pre-Monitor-Calibration Checklist screen. Each part of the checklist is important, and it is not by accident that the question "Has your monitor been warmed up for at least 30 minutes?" is at the top. The company where I used to work–I used to work with a brilliant man who not only was in charge of calibrating our monitors, but also our printers. He had even done consulting for Epson's printing department building colorspaces. (That is way outside my realm of knowledge..I just know that the way printers/computers? see colors can be represented in a 3d shape. Cool, huh?) Anyway, it is very important for your screen to be at 100% warmed up, meaning at least being on for 30 minutes. As I recall, my old coworker preferred an hour, if not hours before he would calibrate.

Screen Shot of Datacolor's Spyder 4 Pro Program - Pre-Calibration Checklist

Basically the program is a step-by-step easy to use piece of software. Probably the most frustrating part was figuring out how to calibrate the brightness. I had to be able to adjust the brightness on my monitor to 0,25,50,75 and 100% while also holding the Spyder in place! Generally, your calibration time will take about 20-30 minutes. It isn't difficult, just hold the Spyder 4 Pro against the target area when told. Be sure not to move the Spyder while it is taking readings or calibrating. Below is a photo from (opens in a new tab/window)…Their article is actually very informative, it is worth a click!… that reports that regardless of whether or not you purchase a Spyder 4 Pro, Elite or Express, you can also download an application for your iPad and iPhone for free to calibrate their screens as well!
Here is a screen shot from the iPhone/iPad SpyderGallery by Datacolor App (there is currently no support for the iPad 3)

Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro FREE iPhone and iPad 1 iPad 2 app for Color Calibration via App Store. Search for SpyderGallery by Datacolor
Here is a quick exerpt from the article at Computer Arts:

Aimed at graphic designers, photographers and other creative pros, the Datacolor Spyder4 range makes it quick and easy to calibrate a wide range of studio equipment from computer displays to iPads and even projectors used for client presentations.

The aim is to ensure that the colours you see on screen are a true reflection of what your finished output will look like whether you're working entirely in the digital domain or need to turn your artwork into print.

Colourimeters work by measuring the red, green and blue (RGB) colour values on your display and then adjusting its settings to match the the colour profile you're using, whether it's device specific – for something like a printer, say – or an industry standard profile such as Adobe RGB.

Spyder4 sensors
Datacolor boasts that its Spyder4 colorimeter's are more accurate than most since its uses seven sensors, which not only measures red, green and blue colour accuracy, but also the colours inbetween.

Additionally, the sensors in the Spyder4 are also covered in a protective layer so their performance doesn't degrade due to enviromental factors like humidity enabling them to give your consistently accurate readings for years to come.

Datacolor Spyder 4 Monitor Calibration Tool In Use Copyright ComputerArts.Co.Uk

I'm not going to go step by step through each screen shot, as Datacolor truly has made a simple, easy to use program that is step-by-step. (No, I'm resisting the urge to reference New Kids On The Block….) What you are seeing below are the options you can select AFTER you have already calibrated your monitor once. It is also recommended that you consistently recalibrate your monitor. I'm assuming that monitors are just like printers in that they can slip out of calibration after X amount of time.

Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro Monitor Calibration Settings ScreenShot

Here are a couple of off the cuff photographs comparing my monitor calibration experience.
Disclaimer: on the print/monitor comparison, the blues are definitely off and the reds are bent and shadowed. Also, the laser printer those came from always shifts blue for some reason!! Actually, this picture is just bollox compared to irl (in real life). IRL the printout was really quite good (especially compared to previous printouts without calibration…eww..)

Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro Monitor Calibration Comparison to Laser Print

Here are two final photos, one before, and one after (Taken on my G2 Google Phone via Camera please take it with a grain of salt;) :

Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro Calibration (Before)

Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro Calibration (After)

Now for some details directly from Datacolor at…

Advanced Monitor Calibration

Spyder4™ PRO is a display color calibration solution designed for photographers and creative professionals that need to match prints. It includes the ability to adapt to ambient light changes.

Why Calibrate Your Display?

-Displays render the same image differently: Calibration tunes your display to a reference standard and brings color consistency across desktop, laptop, multiple displays, iPad and iPhone.
-Displays change over time: Recalibration returns it to reference state for brightness and color
-Prints often do not match display:
Display calibration provides a base for better print matching
-Wide gamut displays may be oversaturated: Without calibration even wide-gamut displays may be inaccurate.
-Highlight and shadow details may be inaccurate: Control of brightness, white point and tone response with calibration.
-Image colors are not true to life: After calibration, images can be viewed and edited with confidence

Photographers and designers can work confidently on a properly color calibrated screen and can assert greater control over the color fidelity of their digital process. Images can be reliably assessed and adjusted on a properly calibrated display, enabling true-to-life reproduction of image files.

Photographers and designers can work confidently on a properly color calibrated screen and can assert greater control over the color fidelity of their digital process. Images can be reliably assessed and adjusted on a properly calibrated display, enabling true-to-life reproduction of image files.


Spyder4™ PRO automates and simplifies display calibration. Install the software, attach the color sensor to USB, and step through the wizard. The sensor measures a series of colors on your screen and creates a "profile" that brings your display to a reference state. At the end, you can compare how the images look before and after calibration.

Spyder4™ PRO features a patented, full-spectrum 7-color sensor that can accurately characterize a variety of wide gamut and normal displays. Spyder4™ PRO software lets you use the same sensor to calibrate your computer, iPad and iPhone. No other calibrator has this capability. The fourth-generation sensor uses double-shielded filters for longer life and better performance. On average, accuracy and precision are improved by 26% and 19% respectively.


-Automated Color & Brightness Calibration
-Spyder4PRO's simple, clear and automated 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 -Spyder4PRO's patented 7-color sensor improves upon colorimeters that use 3-channel RGB sensors. Each Spyder4PRO 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 –
Spyder4PRO works with your laptop, multiple monitors, iPad and even iPhone. It works with LCD, LED, OLED, CRT and other display technologies. You can calibrate multiple displays connected to your computer.
-Improved accuracy and stability -
The fourth-generation Spyder4PRO 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 Spyder4Pro detects changes to surrounding light and adapts the display luminance accordingly.

What's In The Box?

Datacolor Spyder4™PRO colorimeter
Desktop Cradle/Tripod mount
Spyder4™ PRO Software CD
Quick Start Guide (in 10 languages)
1-year warranty (for countries of the EU, the period is 2 years)
Free Online Support

System Requirements

Windows XP 32/64, Windows Vista 32/64, Windows 7 32/64
MacOS X Panther (10.4), Leopard (10.5), Snow Leopard (10.6) and Lion (10.7)
Color monitor with at least 1024×768 resolution (1024 x 600 netbook option)
24-bit video card
Powered USB port


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Interesting tool for the color calibration, i'm gonna check the article... and thank you for the fav!
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