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Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

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  • Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors


    I am looking to upgrade some of my equipment in the ole lab here. I want to take my retouching and design skills to the next level and I am considering purchasing the following:

    Monitor Hood

    My questions are:

    1.) What monitor is the best for accurate (as possible) color display? I have read in places that CRT beats out LCD and I am wondering if this is true. I will be searching for an entry level type monitor and would love to find out some good brands and what is really best for representing color as accurately as possible.

    2.) Where can I get a decently priced Monitor Hood?

    3.) Is the lighting in a room more important than the hood?

    4.) What is the ideal lighting situation with or without a hood?

    5.) I've read that Spyder is the way to go for monitor calibration:

    Would it be alright for me to get the Spyder2express or should I get the
    Spyder2 Suite? I don't anticipate printing any final prints from my printer. I would be sending files back to people who I did retouches for or sending them to places like Mpix, Kodak, Costco etc. for printing.

    6.) I'd like to get a new printer and scanner. As far as quality scanning goes, would it be alright to get one of those printer/scanner combos? Or would it be better to separate out printer and scanner?

    Can you recommend some printers and scanners that are of mid-level price range?

    For all of the above.... is it advisable to buy direct from the manufacturer, or are there places I can get deals on used items. Is eBay a good place for things like this?

    Thanks for any inisght you can share!

  • #2
    Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors



    • #3
      Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

      galavanmoskou - Thank you for the link!


      • #4
        Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

        Hi rnbluvva,

        1. The opinion that LCD's were not as good as CRTs for graphics is no longer true. Last yeat I mothballed allof my Trinitron and Shadow mask CRTs (including the high end ones) and am using LCD's - getting as good and better results with less heat, less eye strain, much fewer calibrations.
        There are many good LCDs suited for image work. I would recommend you look at the VP series from Viewsonic, in particular the 21 inch VP2130b or the 19 inch VP930b. Excellent value for the money. Very accurate color, 170 degree viewing angle, 1000:1 contrast ratio. Best of all they come with an application called Perfect Suite which is used to calibrate the monitor. It is software only but is much more powerful and accurate than Adobe Gamma. After you get used to it, you will not need a hardware calibration device like Spyder.

        2. I find hoods are more of a nuissance than an assist in my workspace. Good lighting and not too many desktop distractions and you may find you don't need a hood.

        3. IMO, room lighting is more important than the hood. I use Panasonic Cool Daylight Light Capsules EFT series. They are solid state light replacements which emit very diffuse cool daylight (almost blue-ish) light. The entire room is also painted a color white that has a hint of daylight blue. There are no reflections or hot spots on the monitor from the ambient surroundings. The lights are stable and don't shift temperature for 10,000 hours. There is little need to recalibrate for long periods of time.

        4. As indicated in 3. above, those are ideal conditions for my eyes and for consistent color in output which closely matches what is on the monitors. Others may a prefer warmer light temperature.

        5. Be careful when buying H/W calibration devices. Some LCDs can not be properly calibrated with them. I have used Spyder and Huey. Most of the H/W calibrators work well. However, I for LCD displays I prefer to calibrate by eye and the s/w.

        6. I have never been a fan of the "all in ones". You would be better off with a good standalone photo printer and a separate scanner. Technologies change rapidly and when you want to upgrade one, you are stuch with the other. Similarly when one malfunctions, you often loose the use of both. Manycombo units do not do either function really well. For photo printers, I would check out Epson, Canon, & HP. I have had best results with Epson. For flat bed scanners, Epsons are my favorite. If you are looking for a dedicated Film/Slide scanner, Nikons are my choice.

        Scanners, printers are subject to mechanical wear, so you need to be cautious when buying "previously enjoyed" products. Similarly, monitors have Cathrode Ray Tubes and LCD monitors have special internal lamps which degrade over time. CRT's in particular have short life spans.
        Ebay has a lot of reputable sellers with good deals. Just be wary of the deals for new products which are way lower than the market price unless there is a good reason.

        Good luck with your choices.
        Regards, Murray


        • #5
          Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors


          All that info is incredibly helpful.

          Thank you for the detail and for taking time. I am well on my way to figuring things out with your info and the DisplayMate info.

          Really appreciate you taking the time to give your advice!



          • #6
            Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

            Hi Nat,

            if you are serious about color, then you certainly need to use a color-managed workflow where you are in control of what you see. so yes, the lighting in your workspace is important and to keep it consistant. Daylight is the prefered but that also differs in different parts of the world. 5500k I think from memory is the prefered viewing condition, this is all set out in ISO standards if you care to look for them.

            You monitor definately needs calibration, but if the light in your workspace keeps changing with the sun, then you will have waste difference in color in the images to make during the day as you percieve the color different depending on the surrounding light.

            X-rite or Gretagmacbeth or worth a look

            no eye-balling the colors with some software gadget!

            LCD's are getting better and some does come with a hood. The hood can be useful depending on your setup, but often I have just used the paper box from my Super A3 Epson paper and folding around the monitor, though it is getting a bit harder as the monitors get bigger.

            However, any monitor cheap monitor that is calibrated is better then an un-calibrated expensive one!!! So calculate the calibrator into the price unless you are buying an EIZO CG221 or NEC Spectraview 21 I think it is called which are reference monitors with very large color spaces.

            I have a couple of Dells myself but I am looking at the NEC 2190's series or EIZO's...I have given up on the wide-gamut screens as there are too many bottlenecks in our systems to get the full portential of these to justify the price. If they were not there I would get one in a snap.

            There isn't that much info out there on lighting setup of a retouching room execpt for a few, and then there is this ISO that gives you the rundown as well, but you will have to pay for that one.

            best of luck in your search and lets us know what you end up with



            • #7
              Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors


              My biggest problem here is the lighting. My room doubles as my office and there is no wired lighting in the room (meaning no overhead lighting). I have one of those floorlamps and it's to the right and behind my monitor. It's awful. I generally do my work at night as I am doing other things in the day or I am sleeping (musician here! LOL). So the lighting is an issue.

              I am not sure how to solve this. I am looking into totally re-arranging my room so that I can figure out a better lighting scheme.

              Murray mentioned Panasonic Cool Daylight Light Capsules EFT series lighting. I have no idea where I would purchase this. Is this something I could go to the Home Depot (hardware store) to buy?

              Also, is there some kind of lighting rig or lamp I could buy that I could get special bulbs for? What is the best type of light fixture to get? I can't seem to get even lighting due to the placement of things in the room. So the light tends to have to be in one of the 2 available corners.

              The room is painted an eggshell white at the moment. The window is directly in front of me (behind my monitor). Usually the blind is drawn, but some light does get in. Maybe I need to rethink the whole set up of the room. That is what I am thinking. That's not a problem to fix though.

              You mentioned X-rite or Gretagmacbeth as color management options. I went to the site and am looking now. I'm not sure what to look at.

              I see ColorPort, Optix and MonacoPROFILER... what should I be looking at? I am so sorry if I sound ignorant, I have no idea about color management at this point!

              Is Optix what I should be looking at? How does it work?

              The GreyTagMacBeth options look good as well. I see the One-Eye Design system and that look alright. The only thing is that the price is way out of my range. I was looking to spend under $200 for now. I have a lot of equipment to get. I know color management is important, but I need something that is entry level in price and I would like to work up as I get more work.

              As of now I have been doing retouching and restorations for family and friends, so I've just been winging it really! No major color disasters at all with what I have, but I don't want to take chances if I charge someone.

              I've got a few months to get my budget together, so I am doing a lot of research here to get the right equipment. Basically I am looking for entry level stuff.

              Thanks for your insight!



              • #8
                Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors


                The Panasonic bulbs George mentioned are basically compact flourescent bulbs designed to replace standard light bulbs. I've seen them at hardware warehouse stores like Home Depot. See this page for more information:

                The bulbs come in a warm and a cool white variety. You want the cool white (eft20e50 or eft28e50) which has a 5000 degree K color temperature and a color rendering index (CRI) of 88. The higher the CRI, the better.

                I've used this type of bulb for a couple of years and they have a few quirks. They start up at a lower intensity and take a half a minute or so to come to full brightness. This seems to increase as the bulb ages. Also, the color (to my eyes at least) seems to shift to the pink after a year or so and turn yellower just before they burn out. I swap in a new bulb every year to avoid this and use the old one in other lamps in the house.

                Other manufacturers make similar bulbs but I haven't checked out color temperature or CRI.

                You might want to look at SoLux. Solux is a low voltage (12 volt) MR-16 bulb (2 pin socket) bulb that has a very high CRI on the order of 98-99. It should work in a standard 12V halogen fixture. The 4700K bulb is close to the D50 standard -- I'd look at the 36 degree beamspread bulb. See for more information. They have a web store also. About $8 per bulb.
                Last edited by BobJones; 10-23-2006, 04:27 AM.


                • #9
                  Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors


                  Thank you so much for the bulb education! It helps me out tremendously. Who knew that there was so much to know about light bulbs! It's really all great info. Thanks to everyone who has responded!

                  When I get everything, I will make sure to let you know what I got and hopefully post some pictures if I get this old room cleaned up!


                  • #10
                    Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

                    Hi again ;-)

                    Color management tools from Gretag/X-rite you can get OneEye display calibrator which shouldn't be too expensive. The kits are more expensive but you will only need one of these if you are planing on calibrating other devices or build paper profiles, been looking at this myself but I have sort of convinced myself that there are people out there with even better equipment and knowledge that I can draw on as a resource to have paper and ink profiles made. However, monitor profiling is our responsibility. The Gretag/X-rite calibratior can also measure the ambient light and compensate for this.

                    lighting setup. I place a small halogen lap right behind each of my monitors, I have daylight balanced ceiling light, but you could use whatever works for you, as long as the light is daylight balanced and not reflecting in your screen. NO sunlight our outside light is good! as it changes too much. Biggest mistake I made when my partner and I made re-did our office workspace...ohh, I like to see the sunlight outside!!!damn sunlight! changes the way I see the colors on the screen! ;-) Now, I take 10-15min break ever so often and go outside and have a breath of fresh air. Go back in and let my eyes climatise to the new light and start working again.

                    Where you can get this is a good question, but I can tell it is easier for me to get it from the states then down under in Australia ;-) check out Solux they make different bulbs

                    good luck



                    • #11
                      Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors


                      I had lots of problems with the color on my older Dell 21" LCD. I'd colorize an older photo and it looked fine on the monitor but it wasn't what came back from the digital lab, there was a noticeable difference especially in skin tones.

                      I bought Spyder Xpress and it has made quite a difference. Now what I see on the monitor is what I get back from the print lab or at-least close enough that I can't tell the difference.

                      Just make sure you run the adjustments in the same lighting you work in and you should have no problems.


                      • #12
                        Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors


                        Thanks for the info on the Spyder Express. I'm looking at the Spyder2 system at the moment for both printer and screen callibration.



                        • #13
                          Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

                          I have had the original spyder and now have the Gretagmacbeth iOne and I must admit the later is so much better, and with two graphics cards it happily calibrates my two screens independenly(sp?)

                          my the spyder is better then no calibration!



                          • #14
                            Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

                            The Spyder2 is considerably better than the original Spyder and competes favorably with the Eye-One Display 2. The original Spyder isn't in the same league.

                            The eye-one display 2 has a better gradation and smoothness in the highlight range, but the Spyder2 does better in the shadow range. Both are excellant in the midtones.


                            • #15
                              Re: Questions about Spyder, Hood, Printer/Scanner and Monitors

                              I am going to go for a Spyder2 System for now. The Gretag MacBeth systems are out of my budget range for now, but I will look into upgrading if my demand for actual prints increases.

                              I am hoping to get the Spyder2 in the next few months. I see some dealers on eBay that have pretty good deals as compared to the Colorvision site prices. I will see where I can get the best deal, but not sacrafice on the customer service end.

                              Thanks to everyone!

                              I am going to be getting the equipment very soon and will let you know how I fare. I decided to upgrade my computer system as well.

                              Anyone have suggestions for a good Graphics Card?


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