Datacolor is a Swiss-owned New Jersey based outfit established in 1970, an age in technology terms, who claim to be the global leader in colour management and communications technology. The Spyder brand is one of its leading product lines focused firmly at the graphic design and photography markets.
Spyder3Pro by Datacolor is billed as ‘display calibration for serious photographers’. It is claimed that Spyder3Pro will deliver a high degree of colour accuracy, from capturing images to digital editing and printing. A colourimeter with the latest optical design and photocentric user interface. It’s all very exciting.
A quick sweep of the web finds Spyder3Pro priced from £89 to £125 plus VAT (recommended retail price £164.99), such is the triumph of the free market.
The Spyder3Pro arrived packed simply but effectively, the package containing a four-stage quick start guide, disc, desktop cradle and Spyder3Pro.
Software installation is straightforward. Before the calibrating fun begins, the monitor must be turned on for at least 30 minutes. An episode of The IT Crowd later and we are ready to go.
The Spyder is plugged into a USB port, software launched and option selected for LCD, CRT, laptop, brightness and contrast, far too easy. The display details where the Spyder should be fixed. The screen is cleaned, a quick French kiss to the suction cap and on it sticks, well briefly before it falls off with a dull thud as it lands on the keyboard. This time, using a circular motion when in contact with the screen and a degree of pressure, and a strong adhesion is achieved.
Press ‘go’, ambient light is assessed and the test procedure commences. The Spyder works through a series of colour measurements as the screen rotates through a cycle of colours and shades, the process lasts no longer than 10 minutes and is very simple.
At the end of the process, a colour comparison chart is displayed with a toggle option to allow ‘before and after’ to be viewed. The first time the exercise is completed the effect is like removing a fog from your screen, that seemed fine and didn’t need calibrating. The images in the comparison chart are seemingly transformed from two to three dimensions.
When not in use, the Spyder3Pro can be left in the desktop cradle to allow the levels of the ambient light to be controlled and measured and prompt when changes are needed (though how this is communicated, I will have to wait and see).
A good buy? My digital press is calibrated, its output matches the trusty Pantone Management System, my screen now matches the press’ output, so let’s hope our clients have also calibrated their screen.
A tremendous piece of kit and one I have to say I could not be without. Essential for any professional user for whom colour is critical and shockingly easy to use.