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Author Topic: Spyder 4 Elite- looking for feedback.  (Read 10459 times)
Mr. Rib
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« on: March 15, 2012, 10:06:19 PM »
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Hi,

I find it hard to get any reliable info on Spyder 4 Elite- can anyone tell me what is their experience?
I'm looking for a calibration solution for my set of monitors, which is Apple Cinema Display 30", Wacom 24" HD and probably a NEC / Eizo CG 30" in near future.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 10:53:48 PM by Mr. Rib » Logged
Czornyj
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 04:10:30 AM »
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I'd wait till Ethan Hansen will have something to say about it:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=53825.0

...or just get X-Rite i1Display Pro instead.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 04:14:06 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Mr. Rib
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 07:39:33 AM »
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Thanks for a reply Marcin. I contacted one of the big companies which sell calibration units  regarding their experience with Spyder 4 and I've been told that i1 Display Pro by X-Rite yields a bit better results. So they back up your opinion.
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Ethan_Hansen
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 11:25:59 AM »
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Thanks for a reply Marcin. I contacted one of the big companies which sell calibration units  regarding their experience with Spyder 4 and I've been told that i1 Display Pro by X-Rite yields a bit better results. So they back up your opinion.

Based on the single Spyder4 we purchased, I agree with the company's assessment. A year ago the Spyder4 would have been the most capable colorimeter on the market for the range of LCD technology. The accuracy we measured on both white and black is better than any of the Spyder3 pucks we've characterized - about midway between the S3 and either the i1Display Pro or Discus. Obviously, based on a single unit, we can't say anything about the variability problems that plagued the Spyder3 family. We contacted Datacolor regarding test unit availability with no success. A OEM distributor has a batch of S4 units that we hope to get data from before too long.

Datacolor's bundled software is capable, although does not perform the same level of fine-tuning as does either ColorEyes Display or BasICColor Display. Neither CED nor BCD supports the Spyder4 in their current release versions. CED promises to have S4 support soon; the Mac version was slated to land this week and the PC version a few weeks later. I'd bet on later for both.
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rschlierbeck
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 08:56:29 PM »
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I just purchased a Spyder4 Pro to use with my new NEC PA241. My reasoning for the Spyder4 was that I have many other monitors in the house that need calibration/profiling and I read somewhere in these posts that the i1 Display Pro software did not build profiles that were all that great. At least that is what I took away from the comments. But that was from comments that came out several months ago.

So now I have profiled 4 different monitors and the results are pleasant. Much better than my old Spyder2. But now that the i1 Display Pro has been around for a while I'm wondering which of the devices would be a better choice. The Spyder4 or the i1 Display Pro? I understand the i1 is a better device and would probably work better with my NEC and Spectraview II software but I'm also concerned about having good calibration and profiling on my other systems.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Scott
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shewhorn
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 09:36:52 AM »
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I just purchased a Spyder4 Pro to use with my new NEC PA241. My reasoning for the Spyder4 was that I have many other monitors in the house that need calibration/profiling and I read somewhere in these posts that the i1 Display Pro software did not build profiles that were all that great. At least that is what I took away from the comments. But that was from comments that came out several months ago. <snip>

I have both the i1 Display Pro and Spyder 4 Elite. I've compared them using their bundled software (i1Profiler and Spyder 4.5 Elite respectively) as well as using 3rd party software, specifically Color Eyes Display Pro v1.6 and Argyll CMS.

First, comparing them as individual packages, the Spyder 4 Elite software had some serious bugs when first released but Datacolor did an excellent job of correcting those. Even with the updates though, i1Profiler is the clear winner in my experience as it renders far more linear greyscale response. The Spyder 4 Elite 4.5 software exhibited lots of bands and some color casts in a greyscale gradient where as i1Profiler was much more smooth. Another feature missing in the Spyder 4.5 Elite software is the ability to produce LUT based profiles (it will only produce a matrix based profile). There have been religious wars regarding LUT vs. Matrix profiles in this forum. For most people I don't think this is a huge concern but some would obviously disagree.

One particular usability gripe with the Spyder 4 Elite software is that it provides absolutely no method to measure the white point of another monitor and this in my opinion is essential to maintaining sanity when calibrating multiple monitors. Now that said, I'd say Datacolor does have the best visual matching interface on the block. When you consider that measuring doesn't always produce a visual match (particularly when dealing with monitors of different gamuts, or monitors that use different backlighting technology), I'm a bit conflicted as to whether or not the absence of that feature is a good thing for most users or not. In practice though, visual matching adds a step that can potentially be eliminated if a measurement can do the job.

Due to the greyscale performance, other user interface/usability issues, and considering the lack of ability to measure a different monitor to obtain a white point target, I'm not recommending the Spyder 4 Elite to my clients. Initially I wasn't all warm and fuzzy with i1Profiler (with regards to monitors, I love the printer profiling) either as it had several glaring deficiencies too such as the inability to calibrate RGB levels but X-Rite has since rectified that and a number of other issues so as a stand alone package, I'm pretty comfortable with recommending  the i1 Display Pro.

Now when we look at the pucks using the same software packages (Argyll or Color Eyes Display Pro), it's a little more interesting. The i1 Display Pro is the superior puck however, when both are compared on the same software platform, the performance gap between the two isn't as big as it is when comparing the packages (bundled software and puck together). Both are capable of rendering decent profiles when used with Argyll CMS. You start to see more significant differences between the two when applying the -K variable in dispcal and setting it to 1.0. For those not familiar with Argyll, the default configuration is with -K set to 0. The -K variable controls how much color correction is applied to the blacks. Most software packages do apply any color correction to the blacks and this is certainly the case with the Spyder 4 software, Color Eyes Display Pro, BasICColor Display, etc. Spectraview II does provide an option that allows to to calibrate blacks but the default is set to off (and I'm not sure but this may no longer be supported with the PA series monitors). The point here is that ultimately, this won't play a huge roll in the real world but it does demonstrate the limitations of the Spyder 4. Getting back on track, when -K1.0 is specified, the Spyder 4's weakness in the shadows becomes apparent as the resulting profiles contain lots of color casts in the shadows where as the i1 Display Pro performs quite admirably. Again, most software packages DO NOT do this so in most cases you're not going to hit this limitation.

Cheers, Joe

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rschlierbeck
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 12:16:29 PM »
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Joe,

Thanks for the excellent reply. Very helpful to hear first hand how the pucks and their software compare. My initial impression of the Spyder4 is that all my displays look significantly better now than using the Spyder2 with Argyll. Not surprising since the old puck is, well, old. At the moment I'm sitting in front of a system with dual monitors, both Dell 2007FP and calibrated/profiled with the Spyder4. I understand that you cannot get two displays to be a perfect match. And although close they do exhibit enough difference to make me wonder about the capabilities of the puck and software.

Prior to the Spyder2 I used a Spectrocam which I still have and use for print measurements. I used that with Colorblind Proveit and was very happy with the results. Sadly no one supports the Spectrocam anymore. I suppose it is getting long in the tooth but it did do a good job. I had hoped that I could use it with Argyll but I don't think that is possible either.

Although I do think the Spyder4 is good device I will be returning it and getting an i1 Display Pro.

Thanks again for the input. It is very helpful.

Scott
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shewhorn
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 12:25:05 PM »
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Scott...

Perhaps another option to consider would (if you're a Mac person, the PC version isn't out yet although you could conceivably wait for it) be to go with Color Eyes Display Pro v1.6, or even Argyll seeing as you already have experience with Argyll (and that'll work right now on either platform... and (so long as you're comfortable with command lines) you really can't beat the price).

Cheers, Joe
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