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Monitor Calibration: Colormunki Smile vs. Spyder4 Express

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  • Monitor Calibration: Colormunki Smile vs. Spyder4 Express

    I recently got my first batch of prints back from the lab and am disappointed to put it mildly. I have tried to calibrate my monitors using the Windows 7 utility and Calibrize but this has obviously not worked satisfactorily.

    I therefore intend to bite the bullet and buy a hardware based calibration system of which the two products above seem to be the best option for the amateur. I would be grateful for advice or comments from anyone who has used either of these systems.

    Was it straightforward to install and use?
    How accurate were your prints afterwards?
    Would you buy the same product again?

    My system is Windows 7 64bit

    Thanks.
    "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst"
    (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

  • #2
    I have Spyder3Pro and it is totally accurate. My Dell monitor on my laptop goes from very blue tones to proper ones and what I see on my monitor is what I get in my prints. I do print on my own printer a Canon and do it through photoshop making photoshop control the colours not the printer. Hope this helps.
    Marilyn

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/48453397@N06/sets/

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    • #3
      I also have the Spyder3Pro and there is no discernible difference (to my eye) between my screen and prints from reputable labs.
      Mike Evers
      Rentham Creative | Twitter | Facebook

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      • #4
        Weird, I was just talking about this. I'd love to know how this works on a mac...
        Paige

        "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." ~Roald Dahl


        My flickr

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        • #5
          Spyder3pro here too
          Prints often come out different (usually darker) but I believe this is due to the lab :P
          Art: www.jamieorourke.co.uk
          Work: www.jamieorourkephotography.co.uk
          Sony a200 Sony a580, Canon 500D, Canon 550D, Canon 600D, Canon 600D

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          • #6
            I started with a Spyder2, upgraded to a Spyder3 (and saw minimal improvement), and then switched software to coloreyes display pro and I'm very happy with that combo. They sell their software bundled w/ the Spyder4 for <$350... I would suggest that as a great option.

            And yes, it works on a mac or windows, you just have to get the right software version.
            Steve
            the Photographic Academy.com
            SharpShooter Industries
            My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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            • #7
              +1 for the Spyder3. You can find them on eBay for less than half the normal cost. I ended up with an elite for $80, brand new . And spyder offers a software upgrade to their latest version for free if you bought their spyder3 product after a certain date. So I'm using the Spyder3Elite with the latest 4 software.

              The biggest thing I hear about noticing after monitor calibration is that the monitor appears warmer than normal. I think I've gotten used to mine now, but it was definitely a little weird to see at first.
              David
              Equipment
              Camera: Canon 6D | Lens: Canon 24-105 F/4L , 70-200 F/4L, 50mm F/1.8, Samyang 14mm F/2.8 | Flashes : 430EX II, YN-560 II x 3 | Tripod: Manfrotto 055XProB / 498RC2 Ballhead
              Portfolio, Flickr

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mso View Post
                I have Spyder3Pro and it is totally accurate. My Dell monitor on my laptop goes from very blue tones to proper ones and what I see on my monitor is what I get in my prints. I do print on my own printer a Canon and do it through photoshop making photoshop control the colours not the printer. Hope this helps.
                Mine does the same thing. I found if I tap on the ferrite bead it goes back to normal colors.
                Rick
                JustMe
                Canon EOS 40D

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                • #9
                  I got a Spyder3 Express, but recently upgraded to a Spyder 4 Pro because it has the ambient light sensor (All my prints were too dark because my monitor was to bright) It's helped a lot.
                  Smile.. Don't make me press this shutter release twice!
                  A photo needs to start and finish in your imagination, if it passes through your camera in between, that's cool, if it doesn't, that's cool also.
                  Flickriver 500px Portfolio Website SoftlySensual (NSFW!!) Facebook

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SwissJon View Post
                    I got a Spyder3 Express, but recently upgraded to a Spyder 4 Pro because it has the ambient light sensor (All my prints were too dark because my monitor was to bright) It's helped a lot.
                    THIS^

                    I have been very happy with Spyder4Pro. Prints from my lab are extremely accurate to what I see on screen in both color and brightness.

                    Trained monkey can install this software and follow the instructions to calibrate. It is very simple. Keeps track of your calibration, pops up a window letting you know it's time to recalibrate. I am also running windows 7 64bit OS.

                    I have it calibrate my large monitor I edit from, my large viewing monitor client's view proofs on, and also my laptop so everything stays kosher!

                    I'm not sure what Jon would say, but with Spyder4 and the ability to measure the ambient light I do try to keep the conditions when editing my files as close to the same brightness as possible as when I calibrate the monitors.. I would think it would be a bad idea to be all over the map with brightness levels of your room.
                    Website
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mshockley View Post
                      !I'm not sure what Jon would say, but with Spyder4 and the ability to measure the ambient light I do try to keep the conditions when editing my files as close to the same brightness as possible as when I calibrate the monitors.. I would think it would be a bad idea to be all over the map with brightness levels of your room.
                      I agree.. It's not exactly possible for me because I do a lot of editing on the train and at work (during my lunch hour of course) but I only do final print edits on my home laptop in a constant lighting environment.

                      Another bonus of the Spyder 4 Pro is that I can calibrate my iPad.. If you're going to use this to show clients, it's essential.
                      Smile.. Don't make me press this shutter release twice!
                      A photo needs to start and finish in your imagination, if it passes through your camera in between, that's cool, if it doesn't, that's cool also.
                      Flickriver 500px Portfolio Website SoftlySensual (NSFW!!) Facebook

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                      • #12
                        I'm pretty certain the spyder3 has ambient light level monitoring... I don't use it but it's there. (and yes, consistent lighting is essential and probably my biggest weakness)
                        Steve
                        the Photographic Academy.com
                        SharpShooter Industries
                        My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sk66 View Post
                          I'm pretty certain the spyder3 has ambient light level monitoring... I don't use it but it's there. (and yes, consistent lighting is essential and probably my biggest weakness)
                          That it does
                          David
                          Equipment
                          Camera: Canon 6D | Lens: Canon 24-105 F/4L , 70-200 F/4L, 50mm F/1.8, Samyang 14mm F/2.8 | Flashes : 430EX II, YN-560 II x 3 | Tripod: Manfrotto 055XProB / 498RC2 Ballhead
                          Portfolio, Flickr

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                          • #14
                            Just got the Spyder4Pro and already saw a nice improvement at home and at work.

                            Now if I could just train my eyes to identify underexposure better.... I have an issue with that it seems and I don't think the Spyder will help with that
                            About.Me // Flickr // Blog // 500px

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lanacan View Post
                              Just got the Spyder4Pro and already saw a nice improvement at home and at work.

                              Now if I could just train my eyes to identify underexposure better.... I have an issue with that it seems and I don't think the Spyder will help with that
                              A little trick I just thought up which might help you (I haven't tried it, but I will)

                              Copy your image to a virtual copy.
                              Crop the image so that the image ONLY contains a tiny portion of the image that you believe should be 15% grey (A white persons skin tone)
                              Adjust the exposure so that it sits in the middle of the histogram,
                              Note the exposure setting.
                              Delete the copy
                              Adjust the exposure of the original the same amount.

                              Hopefully that will give you a correctly exposed photo.. I don't know if it will, as I said, I just thought of it as I saw your post, but it should give the right exposure level for the part of the photo you believe should be mid tone, the rest of the image should work around that..
                              Smile.. Don't make me press this shutter release twice!
                              A photo needs to start and finish in your imagination, if it passes through your camera in between, that's cool, if it doesn't, that's cool also.
                              Flickriver 500px Portfolio Website SoftlySensual (NSFW!!) Facebook

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