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Thread started 21 Mar 2012 (Wednesday) 20:19
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Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro, giving poor results

 
Geordie ­ Amanda
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Mar 21, 2012 20:19 |  #1

I recently bought the above Spyder 4 Pro to compliment my new Dell XPS 15 Laptop with RBG display. Out of the box the Dell looked very vibrant and a little over saturated, especially in the Reds. So I checked my display was set to default, left it on for ages (it is well run in by now too) and let the Spyder go to work. It told me I had a wide gamut monitor and eventually said I had 99% sRGB gamut. which for a laptop I thought was pretty good. It also gave a fairly high Adobe RGB score. Anyway, the 'not so good' bit was how the screen looked. I know many people will think I should get used to the new colours, but it is much worse than that. Everything seem to have a slight shift to green although Reds were super strong and saturated. Peoples faces looking like beetroots! As a reference, documents that are mainly whitish in their appearance (WORD for instance) looked decidedly greenish. I checked picture taken with different cameras and they all looked awful.

So i rechecked and tested etc and after 6 attempts, I saw great consistency with the results, but always poor colours. As an old saying goes "Accuracy implies precision, but precision does not imply accuracy". Anyhoo, as a professional outside broadcast TV sounds engineer, i thought I should take advantage of the many qualified Vision Engineers I work with and give them a look. Every single one of them said it (the Dell) looked awful and once I showed them the original default settings they said they easily preferred them. As they have not been conditioned by staring at my screen for weeks they should be unbiased witnesses and as experts in colour matching, their opinion must have some credence. I have also lined up my HP Envy 17 with it's 100% sRGB screen (according to the Spyder), which gave poor result with the Spyder, but nothing like as bad as the Dell result and also I tried the Spyder on a couple of Acer laptops I have. Their screens are pretty poor at the best of times so the differences was just a different kind of poor, if you see what I mean :D

So my question is..... do you think my Spyder is faulty? or could it be the RGB screen is difficult for the Spyder to accurately work with (I have read that earlier models had trouble with LED RGB displays) or could it be another reason (including me being an idiot)

Many thanks is advance

Amanda :)


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Daship
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Mar 21, 2012 20:29 |  #2

It will change in every different ambient light situation, so when you move the laptop around or even tilt the screen even the slightest bit different then it was you will have different results.




  
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Geordie ­ Amanda
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Mar 21, 2012 20:43 |  #3

Daship wrote in post #14129219 (external link)
It will change in every different ambient light situation, so when you move the laptop around or even tilt the screen even the slightest bit different then it was you will have different results.

I know what you mean by this, but the Dell and HP have very wide viewing angles and I am looking at the screens at the same angles I have always done. Plus the Spyder can take into account ambient light and this is a feature I have tried on and off, but to of no avail :(

I should add, this is a consistent problem and not a subtle one :(


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René ­ Damkot
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Mar 23, 2012 15:54 |  #4

What images are you comparing, in what software?
Use a reference image that you know is correct color wise (i.e.: not edited by you) and view it in a color managed application, like Lightroom or Photoshop.


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Geordie ­ Amanda
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Mar 23, 2012 18:59 |  #5

René Damkot wrote in post #14140980 (external link)
What images are you comparing, in what software?
Use a reference image that you know is correct color wise (i.e.: not edited by you) and view it in a color managed application, like Lightroom or Photoshop.

I've viewed images in Lightroom, and also looked at things that I believe should be white. But after taking the laptop to show some Pro's I think perhaps something 'is up' as they say. It is a minefield looking at your own images, but having used 3 different Canon DSLRs and several laptops to produce the final images, I found a preponderance of colour shifts across the board. I am thinking of going to my local Calumet and asking if they can take a look at my Dell screen and give me an idea of a true base level for my colours etc.

It look like many of my images are quite crushed too and in Lightroom they don't appear to be looking at my levels?

I have opened a can of worms :( But thanks for the advice :)


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J_R2
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Mar 23, 2012 21:58 |  #6

If you think the results are poor after testing it on 4 different displays, I would say it is the Spyder that has a flaw. I just bought a new laptop, Acer + LED, and it is day and night after calibration. Even my 3 year old Acer is day and night after calibration.

You should get instant results after calibration. White will be a little warm if you choose 6500K.

Look at the B&W test images that comes with Spyder. If they got no tint at least you know that something is right.




  
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Geordie ­ Amanda
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Mar 24, 2012 16:31 |  #7

J_R2 wrote in post #14142771 (external link)
If you think the results are poor after testing it on 4 different displays, I would say it is the Spyder that has a flaw. I just bought a new laptop, Acer + LED, and it is day and night after calibration. Even my 3 year old Acer is day and night after calibration.

You should get instant results after calibration. White will be a little warm if you choose 6500K.

Look at the B&W test images that comes with Spyder. If they got no tint at least you know that something is right.

My whites do look a little warm, although I would say a little more yellow than warm. I'm going back to Jacobs tomorrow to see if I can get either a refund/an exchange/a clever person to have a look at my Dell and it's settings. I won't hold my breath on that last it :D I can concur that my display was also 'night and day' after calibration too :D

thanks for the replies again guys


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J_R2
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Mar 24, 2012 19:24 |  #8

I forgot to mention that you could look at the Spyder calibration report. It should report gamma, black point etc. before and after calibration. That + visual inspection could give you a clue if it is the Spyder unit or any of the displays. It is a little weird that four different displays should be off, right?

The Spyder unit should be more than capable of calibrating wide gamut displays.

As mentioned: Outside colormanaged programs colors could look way off.

Have you checked Control Panel, Color Management just to make sure everything is set to standard? Just a thought.

You are right about the 6500K whites though, it will look more yellow than warm :-)

PS! I had an older HP laptop a few years ago. It was impossible to calibrate. It had this red/brown tint no matter what I did. It looked much better without calibration. The others look great. So I think it was an exception from the rule. Good luck tomorrow. Hope someone can give you answers that work.




  
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tim
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Mar 26, 2012 17:18 |  #9

Sounds faulty. Return it and get a new one.


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dctech
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Mar 27, 2012 03:44 |  #10

Dear Amanda,

this is Raphael from Datacolor.

Several issues could cause such a color cast. Let me try to give you some advice:

- first of all, double check with our download site that you got the very latest software version installed: http://support.datacol​or.com ….php?_m=downloa​ds&_a=view (external link)

- always plug the Spyder into an USB port in the back of your computer (close to the keyboard/mouse). Do not use USB-Hubs and/or USB-extension cords as this could result into problems with the power supply.

- check that you have turned off all screen savers and energy savers during the calibration. Then please make sure that the Spyder lays flat on the screen in the center where the patches are displayed and try to prevent direct bright light (e.g. sunlight, desklamp) to hit the screen.

- and also make sure that your computer uses the very latest video card driver version

- be aware that many video card drivers use their own colormanagement, which needs to be disabled in order to make sure the calibration will not be faulty/destroyed (otherwise, you would to a kind of double profiling which could cause such a strange colorcast).

Last but not least, some more technical facts/details:

Our human eyes need to get used to the calibrated display, since the target of 6500K is much warmer compared to standard monitors which are adjusted for office use and are therefore much colder. (9000K or more...)

In general, just like that, it's very hard if not impossible to judge if your screen has a real color cast, or if you just need to get used to it (to the calibrated view).

It may also seem like you will see less detail in shadows/darker shadows on a correctly calibrated screen, but this is absolutely normal since the color channles will be clipped. That's necessary to correct and linearize the gamma curves (RGB).

Uncalibrated dislays are normally too bright in shadows and therefore a correctly calibrated display seems to be too dark, but it's not. It's set to a global standard (Gamma 2.2 - 6500K) which is corresponding to the colorspace you are working in (sRGB and/or Adobe RGB 1998).

Finally, when judgeing the colors of your calibrated screen please only rely on colormanaged apps/programs such as the Spyder sample pictures in the after-view and for example Adobe Photoshop products.

Especially under Windows, lot's of programs/apps (Word, MS Fax/Picture-viewer, MS Windows Menus, Microsoft Internet Explorer...) are NOT colormanged, meaning they simply can't read the display profile created by Spyder. This is NOT to blame Microsoft, but they just didn't pay lots of attention up to now in regards to colormanagement.

Have a look at the B&W Spyder sample picture with the women's face in the after-view and, if you got one, compare it with a gray card. This is simply to make sure your eyes are not getting "tricked", since lot's of things in your working space could have an influence on how you are seeing color.

If you have further technical questions related to our Spyder products, please directly contact our tech support team. You will reach them with submitting a ticket in our ticket system under:
www.datacolor.eu-->Support-->Online Support

Thank you and best regards,
Raphael

Datacolor Team




  
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tim
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Mar 27, 2012 04:05 |  #11

Nice work to Datacolor following up on queries like this!

Another thought is to make an image look right on the screen, have it printed at a good lab, and see what it looks like after.


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Geordie ­ Amanda
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Mar 27, 2012 17:38 |  #12

dctech wrote in post #14160956 (external link)
Dear Amanda,

this is Raphael from Datacolor.

Several issues could cause such a color cast. Let me try to give you some advice:

- first of all, double check with our download site that you got the very latest software version installed: http://support.datacol​or.com ….php?_m=downloa​ds&_a=view (external link)

- always plug the Spyder into an USB port in the back of your computer (close to the keyboard/mouse). Do not use USB-Hubs and/or USB-extension cords as this could result into problems with the power supply.

- check that you have turned off all screen savers and energy savers during the calibration. Then please make sure that the Spyder lays flat on the screen in the center where the patches are displayed and try to prevent direct bright light (e.g. sunlight, desklamp) to hit the screen.

- and also make sure that your computer uses the very latest video card driver version

- be aware that many video card drivers use their own colormanagement, which needs to be disabled in order to make sure the calibration will not be faulty/destroyed (otherwise, you would to a kind of double profiling which could cause such a strange colorcast).

Last but not least, some more technical facts/details:

Our human eyes need to get used to the calibrated display, since the target of 6500K is much warmer compared to standard monitors which are adjusted for office use and are therefore much colder. (9000K or more...)

In general, just like that, it's very hard if not impossible to judge if your screen has a real color cast, or if you just need to get used to it (to the calibrated view).

It may also seem like you will see less detail in shadows/darker shadows on a correctly calibrated screen, but this is absolutely normal since the color channles will be clipped. That's necessary to correct and linearize the gamma curves (RGB).

Uncalibrated dislays are normally too bright in shadows and therefore a correctly calibrated display seems to be too dark, but it's not. It's set to a global standard (Gamma 2.2 - 6500K) which is corresponding to the colorspace you are working in (sRGB and/or Adobe RGB 1998).

Finally, when judgeing the colors of your calibrated screen please only rely on colormanaged apps/programs such as the Spyder sample pictures in the after-view and for example Adobe Photoshop products.

Especially under Windows, lot's of programs/apps (Word, MS Fax/Picture-viewer, MS Windows Menus, Microsoft Internet Explorer...) are NOT colormanged, meaning they simply can't read the display profile created by Spyder. This is NOT to blame Microsoft, but they just didn't pay lots of attention up to now in regards to colormanagement.

Have a look at the B&W Spyder sample picture with the women's face in the after-view and, if you got one, compare it with a gray card. This is simply to make sure your eyes are not getting "tricked", since lot's of things in your working space could have an influence on how you are seeing color.

If you have further technical questions related to our Spyder products, please directly contact our tech support team. You will reach them with submitting a ticket in our ticket system under:
www.datacolor.eu-->Support-->Online Support

Thank you and best regards,
Raphael

Datacolor Team

Thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed response. I did reset all my Display drivers to their default position, but didn't see a way to turn them off completely. This could well be something I need to look at more closely (and no doubt ask for more help :D)


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Geordie ­ Amanda
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Mar 28, 2012 09:18 as a reply to  @ Geordie Amanda's post |  #13

I've been thinking quite a bit about this dipping my toes in the muddy waters of colour calibration and I don't think I am any more enlightened :D I had assumed that correcting my monitor with a white point of 6500K would mean accurate representation of my photographs, but the more I think about it the more confused I get. I must admit that I love to print of my photos, but in all honesty, I probably spend more time looking at them on my PC/Laptops. So if I correct my monitor with a calibrator and various colour channels are clipped etc, am I no longer looking at the most realistic image on my screen, but rather making the image correct for printing? I don't have trouble understnading the concept of a white point, but it may be that I should try to get used to my new settings for a while longer.

Perhaps I am still doing something wrong? or more likely misunderstanding the whole concept? I must admit I find many images look overly saturated to me now, but perhaps that's how it should be? One woman's saturated is another woman's washed out :D


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kirkt
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Mar 28, 2012 09:42 |  #14

THe calibration and profiling you do should be based on the final output. That is, if you are intending your final output to be for display on your computer, you may want to profile for that representation. If the final output is print from a home printer, you should profile for that - if it is for a lab that prints photos, you should profile for that. You may end up having many profiles, one for each output device. The final output is your reference, and you need to know what the reference looks like to choose target values for calibration and profiling of your display related to that final output. You may find that gamma 2.2, 6500°K and 120 cd/m2 give you good display targets for viewing on your laptop or the web, but L*, 5700 °K and 140 cd/m2 give you a good match for those same files printed on your inkjet with photo glossy paper and viewed under a Solux daylight lamp, etc.

The general target values suggested on the web, etc. are, well, general. They may be a good starting point, but, ultimately, you need to have your final output viewed in a reference environment and then pick target values for calibration and profiling that match the final output. This way your display will give you an accurate representation of the image as it will appear on the output device, so you can make more informed edits on your display in the context of the final output.

I hope this makes sense.

kirk


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tonylong
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Mar 28, 2012 10:52 |  #15

Amanda, I'm curious: are you saying that you are getting very good results printing, ones that do a good job of "matching" your monitor, but that you are not satisfied with your images when viewed on the monitor?


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Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro, giving poor results
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