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Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 157574 5-Dec-2014 10:19
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Hey guys,

I would really like to get my monitor calibrated for use for Photography (Lightroom + Photoshop) but not sure I can afford to buy one of these Spyder thingies. (seems to be $300+)

Does anyone know of a place I could hire one from? I have tried a few place but no luck so far.

Cheer,

Guillaume

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  Reply # 1189187 5-Dec-2014 10:34
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Get a Spyder4 express from Amazon for about $100. You can't really borrow/hire as you seem to need software resident to load the profile, and you need a license to run the software.

I have an old DTP94 calibrator which I'd sell, but you'd have to use free software as the software is way out of date and doesn't seem to work on W7. The DTP94 isn't suitable for LED backlight screens though. I got a Spyder personally, much easier.




AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1189192 5-Dec-2014 10:44
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Thanks for that.

Woudld The Express version be ok compared to the Pro (US$130) ?
The pro one does multi monitors (I have 2 but really only care about 1 being calibrated) and all sort of other features but I have no idea if they matter at all..

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1189202 5-Dec-2014 11:05
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I'd just calibrate one with the express. I don't need features personally, I just plug it in and do what the wizard says.




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  Reply # 1189204 5-Dec-2014 11:08
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A problem with borrowing/hiring a calibration device is that over time there will be colour shift (backlight aging of LEDS or CCFL tubes in monitors) and/or change in monitor hardware or software/OS display settings means re-calibration is required.  (Not as much of an issue as with CRTs which required very regular recalibration - but still an issue).
Then the license for the software which comes with the device may prohibit sharing (you may be allowed to use the software on several of your own devices only).
If you're doing something like printing - where screen:print matching is important, or sharing digital images with other users who are using calibrated monitors (for example producing artworks or photographs where colour accuracy is critical) then it's probably worth (or essential) buying calibration equipment.
If it's for general sharing of digital images on the web, it's debatable whether there's much advantage in accurate calibration of your machine(s), as you can guarantee that almost nobody is viewing the images on a calibrated system anyway - not even by using the "software calibration" tools which come with the operating system etc.  Those methods at least usually allow you to get the gamma close enough to correct to meet casual needs and get things in the ballpark, which IMO in many cases is good enough, but hardly anybody uses them.
If it's only for your own viewing of media (and not printing), then truly accurate calibration is almost pointless - tweak it until it looks good.  Your eyes adjust for colour balance variation automatically - so that even quite large variation isn't visible unless or until you viewed the differences side by side with something else.  (Clear evidence of this is that when you do calibrate a monitor properly the first time - then the calibrated colours will look well and truly "off" for a while, until your eyes/brain gradually adjusts to see the new profile as normal - and only then if you reverted to the uncalibrated monitor profile would you be aware of how far "off" it may have been).

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  Reply # 1189222 5-Dec-2014 11:35
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There's a little "cheat" possible to improve the limited performance of "express" version of Spyder etc.
There's free open source software available called HCFR.
You still need the licensed driver software which comes with the (spyder express) device.  IIRC last time I used this, you needed to manually copy a DLL file from the spyder install directory to the HCFR directory to get it working.
HCFR allows a couple of advantages normally reserved for the "pro" software versions (and more).
You can take "real-time" readings, so can "hardware calibrate" the monitor (ie using the OSD RGB level settings etc) to get colour balance and white level set - before you run the "express" software.  This gives a better result - as the adjustment needed for each measurement point used in the automatic calibration process should be less. Manually setting the white level also allows better black levels (less screen glow, as you've set the backlight brightness manually).
You can run HCFR after calibration to check the result, with gamma and colour balance charts to show you what's going on, and the software calculating a Delta E for the result automatically.
It's a bit of a fiddle, but this is a geek forum...
I see now that they claim it's "fully integrated" with ArgyllCMS, so not sure, but it could be possible to use that to create ICC profiles - unrestricted by the limitations of the crippled "express" software.

Once"done" the ICC monitor profile could be loaded using (in Win 7 or later) the Colour Management applet in control panel - no need to use the spyder software.  I suspect however that while this would be perfectly legal if you owned a copy of the spyder device drivers, you'd be potentially in serious trouble if you were to use this workaround to offer a commercial or free colour calibration service for others - as you'd still be bound by the license terms for the needed device driver.



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  Reply # 1189384 5-Dec-2014 14:52
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Thanks a lot for this.

I have a friend who is also interested and we were thinking on going halfies on one of these device.
Based on their licencing model, can you see any "technical" limitation to having 2 people using this device?

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1213239 13-Jan-2015 15:15
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I recommend you get an Xrite http://www.xrite.com/i1display-pro

Although a little more, you get a longer life span with this device over the vast majority of legacy designs. The main problem is filter drift with cheaper devices, not with standing out of the box inaccuracy.

Also note: the Xrite device can be used with Xrite software(obviously, unless OEM version), and most but not all calibration software. The free software, you have to know your way around PC systems as it can be a little complex for a beginner. The majority of pay for software is generally point and shoot.




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  Reply # 1213243 13-Jan-2015 15:32
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Where do you live?  



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1213246 13-Jan-2015 15:37
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I am in Birkdale, Auckland North Shore

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