Art and Photography

Favourite Calibration System?

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 26th, 2009 4:41 am
Deal Addict
Feb 13, 2007
1169 posts

Favourite Calibration System?

I'm heading down to the States in a few weeks, and plan to take a look at various pieces of equipment while I'm there. Among those could be monitor calibration equipment, since it's consistently MUCH cheaper across the border than up here.

I'm a hobbyist who spends a fair bit of time adjusting photos after I transfer them, and while calibration hasn't been a HUGE issue (as I rarely print anything, but that might change), I do notice some differences between monitors, and I'd like to know what I'm doing is at least accurately represented, especially after sifting through thousands of trip/event pics.

I'm wondering what people here prefer and reccomend. Syder3? Eye-One? Colormunki? Huey?

If it has any bearing, most of my editing is done on a Dell 2709w monitor.
5 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 3, 2004
10943 posts
I personally use the Spyder calibrations from Data Color.

I used the Spyder2Express in the beginning, then moved up to a Spider3Pro.

This page will give you a comparison between all of the models:

For what I do, the Spyder3Pro is fine as I am only beginning to break into commercial studio photography - where the Spyder3Elite shines in as it has more calibration options for such a thing.

For a hobbyist with a single monitor then Spyder2Express is just fine for what you're doing.

You won't be disappointed, going from a non-calibrated screen to a calibrated screen is like night and day.
Apr 20, 2005
460 posts
I sw the Spyder3Pro on Amazon for $140US.

Sweet deal... might look into that.
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2006
3803 posts
I use a Spyder2 PRO but if I was going to buy another calibrator right now I'd buy the Xrite i1 D2.

FYI... the Spyder2 Express is now discontinued as of a couple of weeks ago. You may see some real hot prices out there but I suggest you stay away from it.

In fact, don't buy any device that uses the Spyder2 puck. Your Dell 2709W is a wide gamut monitor having measured values of 97% for the sRGB colour space and 97% for the AdobeRGB colour space. The Spyder2 pucks have a sensor that is not adequate for wide gamuts. You need to look at the Spyder3 or the i1 series of devices.

I suggest you consider the Spyder3 Elite as it has full featured software. The Spyder3 PRO and new Spyder3 Express use crippled software which you can see from the comparison chart. Note the row in the comparison chart for "Custom B/W Luminance Control". The white luminance value is your primary means of measuring the brightness of the monitor. The key point is that only the Elite permits you to calibrate to a custom white or black luminance value.

If you're having issues with prints from post processed images coming out too dark (or too bright) it is this white luminance value which you need to tweak. Commonly, the preferred value for white luminance is around 120 cd/m2. It could be lower or higher depending on the ambient brightness of the room you are in.

Most people find that the calibrator gets them close for brightness but after making some test prints (from post processed images) they want to adjust the brightness a little. Being able to measure to a specific exact luminance value is invaluable for getting the brightness right.

To my mind, calibrating the RGB of your monitor is only half the battle - you must also calibrate the brightness, especially if you do find yourself adjusting levels and intend to print some of your work.

For the same reason I would only buy the Xrite i1D2 and not the basic or LT version (though I'm not 100% sure how crippled they are, I do know for sure that the i1D2 permits calibrating to custom white/black luminance values).

Btw... if you're curious about just how good your 2709W can be once calibrated as compared to factory settings, check these out. ... tml#Colour

This next link will likely generate a pop-up asking if you want to redirect to the UK or USA sites.... DON'T. Click "Continue" to go to the correct site for comparison of monitor vs monitor. ... =3699&ph=6

Hopefully what you see is the new Dell U2410 on the left and the Dell 2709W on the right and a graph of "Colors with factory settings". Check it out and then select the test "Colors after calibration".

I think from this you should see that you are making a good investment getting a quality calibrator.

Deal Addict
Jul 15, 2003
1246 posts
I highly recommend the EyeOne Display 2. I bought it years ago when it was made by Gretag Macbeth (now X-rite). It calibrates beautifully and consistently across all my monitors with whatever software package you use. I used the EyeOne Match software for years and recently bought a new monitor with hardware calibration 12-bit LUT and the EyeOne Display did beautifully with the NEC SpectraView software too.
Jr. Member
Nov 19, 2002
170 posts
Ditto on the EyeOne Display 2. I've been using it for years both at home and for clients computers. It's never let me down