Spyder4Elite review

If you deal with images on a daily basis, having an accurate display in terms of colour, brightness, shadows and highlights is extremely important before you start adjusting, tweaking and editing. The latest release of the Spyder colour-profiling system - Spyder4Elite - can calibrate normal and wide gamut displays with an average of 26 per cent more accuracy than the previous version.

Compared to Spyder3Elite, version 4 offers an advanced calibration test; percentage of colour space tests for NTSC displays; adaptation for monitor types; a monitor quality rating; gamma and grey ramp and a white point test; plus a display graph for colour uniformity.

Setting up is fairly straightforward; a few preparatory steps are required, then it’s on to defining the display type, model and system of calibration. A configuration of 2.2 gamma, 6500K white point and 120 brightness is recommended, but you can change these to your preferred settings.

The next stage is to measure the ambient light (it’s better to do this in the middle of the day than in the evening). For such a user-friendly product there’s no advice as to which way the sensor on its stand should point or how near the screen it should be; we tried two different directions and got quite different brightness readings.

Once the profile has been created you can test it against your previous configuration with this sample of image types

On to the monitor calibration stage where the Spyder runs a series of tests, one of which requires user-intervention to adjust the brightness via the Settings. At the end of it, a configuration is produced and you can profile against what it was like on a variety of subjects. Not quite right? Then tweak the settings and save the new profile.

Finally, you can compare your profiled colour gamut to sRGB, NTSC or AdobeRGB with a graph and percentage. If that wasn’t enough, there are further, advanced tests that can be run, including colour accuracy and screen uniformity.

OUR VERDICT

Colour profiling is one of those onerous tasks that’s pretty much an essential requirement for designers, photographers and anyone working with images or video. The Spyder4Elite is easy to use – though there’s advanced options for those that need them – and produces great results.

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