Datacolor Spyder5 Calibrator Review

This is a sponsored conversation written on behalf of Datacolor®.

Recently I had the chance to use Datacolor’s new Spyder®5PRO calibrator. For those of you new to the world of professional photography, calibrating, in relation to digital photography, is making sure that the colors you’re seeing on your monitor are as true to their natural color as possible. When you view a photo on various digital screens, you may notice that there are some disparities in the colors. This is because monitors display colors differently and typically don’t come pre-calibrated. Their colors often shift over time and because it happens so gradually, the off-coloring tends to go unnoticed for a while. When computers are properly calibrated, your images should appear the same on various viewing platforms. (Keep in mind that if the other devices are not calibrated, the images might still look off-colored. However, the calibrated version is the standard that all screens ideally should be set to.) Calibrating is also particularly helpful when printing images, especially when it’s done through an outside provider. Most printer manufacturers expect that the images they receive are in sRGB (standard Red Green Blue) format. Often photographers need to print and re-edit their photos multiple times to get the accurate color display in print. If your computer is properly calibrated to sRGB, you will likely receive printed photos that match the colors on your screen right away, saving you time and wasting less ink and paper.

Now, it is possible to calibrate your computer manually using your computer’s built-in calibration program. However, this involves relying solely on your eye and it is extremely difficult to get the colors exactly right. Datacolor provides an answer to just this problem. Their Spyder5, which is available in 3 versions to address your specific needs: EXPRESS, PRO, and ELITE, is an advanced color accuracy solution for laptops and desktop monitors with room lighting settings as well. Affordably priced at $189 USD for Spyder5PRO ($129 Spyder5EXPRESS and $279 Spyder5ELITE), I would definitely recommend making the relatively small investment in a device that does the work for you in achieving true colors on screen and in print. It often significantly improves your images too. The fewer discrepancies you have in color from the start, the fewer issues you’ll face displaying your photos later, either digitally or in printed form. With the industry’s only patented 7-detector optical engine, the Spyder5 is ideal for photographers and creatives alike who are looking to take their photo editing to this next level. The device is compact and portable, with a built-in lens cap and tripod mount, so you can easily take it with you wherever you go. Moreover, the Spyder5 is impressively quick and easy to use.

In less than five minutes, the Spyder5PRO created a unique color profile for my monitor, calibrating it to an industry color reference standard (such as sRGB). My on-screen colors were true, grays and whites became consistent, shadow and highlight details were protected, and skin tones looked true-to-life. The Spyder5 not only performs calibration of multiple display types but also lets you compare before and after calibration results and offers tools to verify the accuracy of the achieved calibration. Upon opening the Spyder5 package you will see simple instructions directing you to a website where you will enter your product number and download the necessary software. Once installed, you will be instructed to plug in the physical Spyder device and a series of screens will pop up to walk you through the process.

Datacolor ensures that you are given appropriate directions regarding everything from your previous computer settings to the best way to physically hang the Spyder calibrator on your screen.

It even checks up on you, sending you reminders to calibrate your device regularly. As monitor colors do shift over time, a quick and easy monthly calibration will preserve accurate colors and contrast. I was impressed by how easy the Spyder5PRO makes calibration. It eliminates the guesswork of figuring out why your images look different on screen and why the colors on screen don’t match your prints. I can confidently rely on the true colors I see on screen, which frees up my time to do other things—like shoot more photos!

I was additionally impressed with the system’s available options to customize the calibration process. You can evaluate calibration results using your own images, which lets you select the details that are most important to you. As customization is a crucial ingredient for photographers, this option can really make a large difference in your work. Spyder5PRO offers 16 calibration settings, display analysis, and the ability to import images for before and after calibration evaluation.

There is nothing more frustrating to a photographer than working hard to capture, edit, and present a photo that then appears off-color on another viewing device or in print. All of your diligent and creative work shouldn’t be undone by faulty calibration! By investing in a professional calibration system, you ensure that your images are being developed to their truest color profiles and actively take your photography to the next level. The Datacolor Spyder5 is the color accuracy solution designed especially for photographers, to help you see, share, and print pictures just as you intended. Try it out—I promise you won’t be disappointed!

This is a sponsored conversation written on behalf of Datacolor®.

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