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Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

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  • Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

    I am in discussion with someone about LED monitor calibration tools and the suitability of the Spyder 3.

    The problem appears to be that the Spyder works correctly for calibrating at least one system with an LCD monitor but fails to produce a neutral screen on two other systems which are I believe Dell LED's resulting in blue tinge on one and red on another.

    It was also stated that the software suggests lowering screen luminance to 120cd/m2 once that had been done the user reports screen way too dark and colour tinge worsens.

    I have not seen the systems but confess to being a little surprised that 120 not high enough. I know that the numbers are largely irrelevant and to an extent your monitor brightness settings will be driven by the amount of ambient light you work under. Apart from the fact that the user feels the screen 'just looks too dark' it is my belief that the most important thing is that you are able to get a close match when printing which as yet is not clear. AFAIK these low priced units are not actually individually calibrated to a known standard and there is no way of telling if the readings are actually true, so I guess all you can really hope for is consistency in use and therefore if the unit reads 100cd/m2 but in reality it is actually 120cd/m2 it is irrelevant as long as the final output has the closest match to screen.

    All systems are PC based and other software to drive the Spyder (basICColor) has been tried without any apparent improvement on the LED systems.

    I have read some comments about Spyder 3 and suggestions that there are likely to be issues with calibrating some LED monitors. Problem is just because it is on the net does not make the information true.
    Datacolor seem to say there are no issues and the system is suitable for LCD and LED.

    So looking for other views and information here hopefully from those who have the experience with LED's.

    I know this post has been a bit long winded but wanted to present the details and the facts as known

  • #2
    Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

    Yes, some Colorimeters are not expecting LED backlight and can produce awful results. In fact, you’ll need either a Spectrophotometer (ColorMunki, i1Pro) or one of the newer generation of Colorimeters like the newer ColorMunki Display or i1Pro Display’s from X-Rite. They have multiple filter matrices for this and other types of displays and should suffer no such issues.


    • #3
      Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

      Thanks Andrew you have confirmed what for me was only a best guess as it was not based on my own practical experience or any other information source that I felt comfortable trusting - until now.

      Perhaps too much to ask but do you have an opinion on the capabilities in this regard of the model I mentioned?


      • #4
        Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

        The backlight is screwing with the way the instrument measures and sets the white point. You could in theory just enter all kinds of values until you hit the wrong magic number that produces the right appearance. Or you could just get one of the newer instruments designed for this backlight (and to some degree, guess at the numbers until you get a visual match, that’s still part of the process). The difference is, the Spyder is probably way the heck off.


        • #5
          Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

          Thanks again Andrew very helpful.


          • #6
            Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

            One of the reasons some manufacturers gave for not using LED on their higher end displays was color reproduction. Also keep in mind that factory calibration is not an all or nothing thing. It's obviously weighted toward the values taken from the center of the display given that users would later use a colorimeter in this area. There isn't a true industry standard to factory display testing.

            Regarding newer colorimeters I want to mention to think carefully before you buy. X-Rite seems to have released an sdk of some kind for the i1 display pro, and it has started to see integration with other calibration solutions. It doesn't seem like you can use the colormunki display with other software packages in spite of similar hardware. If you buy the colormunki display colorimeter, you may be limiting yourself to the X-Rite package.

            On Dells, the units they produce that are aimed at the photo enthusiast/prosumer market still use ccfl.


            • #7
              Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

              Thanks Kav, these Dells are definitely LED driven one a low budget desktop system (that could not be described as an enthusiat/prosumer model) the other a relatively expensive laptop.


              • #8
                Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

                No problem man. I mentioned the X-Rite thing so you might consider your options regarding what displays will be calibrated over the life of the unit. I should have an i1 display pro relatively soon. If you like I'll post some results once I've had some experience with it. It must have some popularity. Eizo patched their newest software "just" to add support for that colorimeter. Supposedly they test a number of units and create lookup tables for any colorimeter they support. I don't like Spyder so I'm glad that X-Rite has a product out again that isn't a decade old design.


                • #9
                  Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

                  Thanks again kav, but the problem is not actually mine it relates to someone else. Who is having a hard time accepting that the Spyder 3 may be the issue with his LED monitors. He seems to want to blame everything else first in the hope that he can find a solution.

                  I have made suggestions including to me the obvious one in an attempt to eliminate problem areas one by one. He has three systems 2 Dell LED one standard Sony CCFL LCD.

                  As he gets a perfect calibration on his Sony LCD I have suggested swapping the monitors around (after first removing any calib. software). Then try calibration on this PC with the Sony if results are good great - PC system sound. Then try calibrating the Dell LED on the system that gave good results first i.e. the Sony. If results are bad then this highlights the Spyder as highly suspect. Any other result would indicate other system errors need attention before trying again.

                  I actually use Spyder 2 for monitor calibration with NEC Spectraview software. I have found it perfectly capable for calibrating the 2090UXi's and achieve a close and predictable result when printing. So far I have not invested in calibration hardware to take care of the printer but am considering if I need this for the future.

                  I would like to hear your experiences and impressions with the i1


                  • #10
                    Re: Calibration of LED monitors with Spyder 3

                    You should first tell him that he'll never get the three to match. Third parties bundle with their colorimeters aren't really custom tailored for any given display. Your friend might also note that almost every expensive professional display on the market (aside from a couple manufacturer experiments) still uses CCFL.

                    One word on solutions for the printer, don't buy something that just generates a profile of the printer. It will not help much and it could worsen your results. If you're playing with adjusting the output at the printer level, you need a solution with exceptional accuracy or you will hate it.

                    I will have to purchase that i1 display pro (I say the full name so that no one thinks I mean the older device) before too long. I'll let you know what I think. Results though will be with color navigator. I can try with spectraview too but it will be on a fairly old display. Words from NEC are below. If you are interested in their custom sensor, it's not really custom hardware. Supposedly they use adjusted firmware. One of the other sites did a test on this and said the margin of error was in fact lower with the NEC branded colorimeter, but this was the older one.

                    I wouldn't expect it to be a bad colorimeter given how quickly NEC and Eizo have moved to incorporate it in their packages. NEC came out with that, and Eizo released an update just for that colorimeter as opposed to incorporating it into a regular update at a later time.

                    Quote from NEC's site


                    X-Rite iOneDisplay Pro:

                    This version includes support for the X-Rite iOneDisplay Pro color sensor.
                    The X-Rite ColorMunki Display device introduced in mid-2011 is not supported.
                    The NEC SpectraSensor Pro is based on the X-Rite iOneDisplay Pro sensor and is supported. Note that this sensor may not be supported by non-NEC software.


                    By the way, note that no one seems to support the X-Rite Colormunki display, even though the hardware is almost identical. It seems like X-rite only allowed an SDK for the i1 display pro, so if you're buying one, that is the one you should purchase.


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