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Monday, September 3, 2007

Toolbox: Display Calibration

For accurate adjustments and consistent color, start with a properly calibrated monitor

Datacolor's Colorvision Spyder2express

Datacolor's ColorVision Spyder2express. If you want something simple and inexpensive, take a look at the Spyder2express. In three easy steps, you can calibrate your laptop display, CRT or LCD monitor. It's quick and accurate—install the calibration software, connect the colorimeter to a USB port, follow the instructions prompted on your monitor and, in a few minutes, you're done. List Price: $79.

Pantone huey
Pantone huey.
As far as calibrators go, this is one of my favorites because, unlike other calibrators, it sits in a cradle on your desk and is continually monitoring changes in ambient light. After you initially calibrate your monitor and establish the optimum color profile, it keeps your colors, contrast and brightness both consistent and accurate, even as the ambient light in the room changes. It does basic profiling and calibrating on all types of LCD and CRT monitors, and the step-by-step instructions in the software menu make it user-friendly. List Price: $89.
X-Rite i1Display LT

X-Rite i1Display LT.
One of the things I like about the i1Display LT calibrator is how easy it is to use. Once you've installed the software and plugged in the colorimeter to a USB port, you can choose first to determine the ambient light of the room and use that measurement to help set the monitor's color. Then, during each of the next steps, you're guided by a built-in tutorial. So even if you've never done gamma or white-point adjustments, it's fairly easy to learn. List Price: $170.

Datacolor's SpyderTV
Datacolor's SpyderTV.
In addition to watching shows and movies, viewing slideshows on a television is definitely becoming more popular these days, so you might want to calibrate your TV, too. SpyderTV can calibrate plasma, RPTV, DLP, LCD and CRT televisions to give you the best viewing experience possible. Using the sliders on the menu of your television, the colorimeter and SpyderTV software determine the optimal settings for viewing. Each step of the calibration process is guided by the intuitive interface and comprehensive help screens. With the before-and-after feature, you can compare the color before calibration and after to see what a difference it made. The software is only compatible with Windows XP and Vista, so if you're strictly Mac, you'll need a Windows emulator to run the software. List Price: $229.

X-Rite i1Display 2
X-Rite i1Display 2.
The i1Display 2 is similar to the i1Display LT, but with nice features like Workgroup Match for calibrating and matching color on all the monitors in a workgroup and Ambient Match for checking light conditions in different working environments and adapting color profiles accordingly. Advanced adjustments include unlimited gamma, white-point and luminance settings, as well as gray-balance optimization for more neutral and better-defined grays. There's also a one-step, push-button calibration for industry-leading monitors. List Price: $249.

Pantone hueyPRO

Pantone hueyPRO.
Like the huey, the hueyPRO also measures changes in ambient light throughout the day and makes automatic adjustments to the color profile of your monitor. The hueyPRO, however, also lets you make advanced adjustments to brightness, contrast, gamma and white point. During the initial step-by-step calibration process, the calibration software prompts you to make custom adjustments along the way. Even if you've never calibrated your monitor before, the Advanced Help instructions lead you through the process in a way that's simple as well as educational. List Price: $129.

Datacolor's ColorVision Spyder2PRO

Datacolor's ColorVision Spyder2PRO.
If you want more sophisticated control, Datacolor offers the Spyder2PRO. Its Ambient PreciseLight function measures the ambient light of the room and balances that with the settings of your monitor. You can calibrate and profile multiple CRT, LCD or laptop displays on a single system or across an entire studio. It has unlimited choices for gamma levels and color temperature, automated black-and-white luminance adjustments and the ability to calibrate projectors, as well. List Price: $249.

Datacolor | www.colorvision.com
Pantone | www.pantone.com
X-Rite | www.xritephoto.com



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