Datacolor Capture

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Datacolor Spyder Capture Pro – review

Datacolor has been producing colour management tools for as long as I can remember, I have been using Spyder Colorimeters for monitor profiling for several years now. In this review I will be taking a look at the Spyder Capture Pro suite. For the photographer the Datacolor Spyder Capture Pro kit appears to be an ideal solution for creating accurate colours in digital photography workflows, so let’s take a look at each item.

The Spyder Capture Pro suite includes:

  • SpyderLenscal – a camera calibration tool for checking focus accuracy of a camera and lens combination.
  • SpyderChecker – a colour reference chart for calibrating and creating camera profiles.
  • SpyderCube – a quick way to set white balance on RAW files in post production.
  • Spyder 4Elite – a colorimeter for calibrating and creating profiles of a monitor, TV, iPad, iPhone and projector.
  • Screen cleaner, Software CDs and Quick Start guides
  • A rugged aluminium carry case to keep all the above products safe.

The Spyder 4 Elite colorimeter.

Spyder 4

The first step in any colour managed workflow is to ensure that the monitor is displaying accurate colours. The Spyder 4 Elite colorimeter has a seven colour sensor that accurately calibrates and profiles a variety of displays, monitor, TV, iPad, iPhone and projectors. The colorimeter is supplied with a generous 6 foot USB cable – a useful length if you have a floor standing computer. The Spyder Elite software is easy to use, just follow the on-screen instructions and place the colorimeter on screen when prompted to do so. A series of colour patches are displayed on screen and the colorimeter measure the values and compares them to a reference file, when completed a monitor profile is created. This profile is loaded into your graphics card LUT (Look Up Table) when you boot up the computer and will be set as the default monitor profile.  There is also the option to profile a second monitor handy if you work with two screens. I did experiment with the settings on my monitor by throwing out the RGB colours to something that was totally unacceptable and then re-profiled the monitor using the basic settings. The new profile cancelled out all the unacceptable colours and produced a well balanced looking screen. Of course, I don’t recommend that you do this, you should ensure that your display is looking good before you start the profiling, this will ensure that there is plenty of latitude for the software to shift in either direction.

A slight tilt of the screen should ensure the Spyder sits flat on the surface

Monitor profiling is the starting point for a colour managed workflow, after all it is the window by which you will make all your adjustments. One small niggle, when you place the Spyder on a monitor screen the meter does not sit flat on the surface, this means ambient light can enter through the sides, which could influence the accuracy of readings. This is due to the USB cord being at the top of the device, thereby putting a slight pull on the meter, especially if the monitor screen is slightly recessed from the surrounding facia. A better solution would be to have the USB cable at the bottom of the device and a separate weighted cord to hang the colorimeter by. A very simple way to ensure the meter sits flat is to tilt the monitor backwards. We have reviewed the Spyder 4 Elite here. http://www.photo-i.co.uk/2012/02/spyder4-review/ so I will not go into further detail.

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