It's Time for a New Color Calibrator for My Mac

Eye One

I need your help with this one...

I've been using a Spyder 2 colorimeter *forever,* but its ancient software will not longer work for my new MacBook Air. So I need a new calibration device. The options I've been perusing include:

The X-Rite Eye-One Display 2 for $199. The reviews seem pretty good, but the price is a bit more than I wanted to pay.

Datacolor DC S3X100 Spyder 3 Express for $79 and seems to have pretty good reviews, and I like the price.

Pantone huey Pro for $84, which has pretty good reviews, but I didn't have that great of an experience a while back with the original Huey colorimeter.

So what do you recommend? If you've had experience with any of these, or have a better idea, please post a comment. I could use your help with this one.

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Check out the coloreyes display pro web site. Somewhere on there they discuss which of the current picks works best for the different kinds of monitors, iMacs and laptops.

Nice tip, Tim. I will! Much thanks...

I had the original Eye-One from Gretag and didn't have the best experience with it. Every time I calibrated I got a different result. I could calibrate several times in one day and get a different looking color cast every time. I got told by another photographer that the i1 didn't like the Apple notebook monitors.

I currently have the Spyder 3 Elite and love it. Consistent color each time I calibrate and consistent color between my MBP and my LED Cinema Display. Obviously the Elite is as much as the Eye-One, but from what I understand the only difference between the Spyder models is features in the software. Same hardware and same core software. I only got the Elite so I could calibrate projectors.

Just my personal experience.

Going to watch this one - have so far managed to keep the spyder 2 alive - but - have expected an update at some point to take the life out of the software. Derrick - will you get a chance of a post when you've had time to evaluate them?

One one hand I have the Eye One Display 2 and it's easy to use. OTOH, I can't say that I've solved the big problem yet. That is, I still don't have reliable end-to-end color. My display is calibrated. I view using the profiles from WHCC. I embed sRGB in the JPEGs. But when the prints come back, the color doesn't match particularly in the high-value (RGB) blues. I've tried changing the color temperature of the viewing light. What I haven't tried yet is another lab.

I've had the i1 Display 2 for a few years now and have good experiences with it. My output is pretty consistent across several different laptops and monitors. (And I've actually calibrated a few school monitors too….) I was going to get the LT, but when I went to Samy's the guy I buy from gave me a great deal on the Display 2, and it's been great.

For a little bit less there's the i1 Display LT which only limits in the software. Technically, it's main limitation is a single monitor per computer, but one the Mac there's many ways to get around that such as using lid closed mode, or moving the menu bar in System Prefs. It should go for $149 places and there is an upgrade option to the full version.

Software wise, the Syper3Express seems pretty limited. I don't know how much of the other features you would use, but the Pro version seems more useful being able to set different gamma values and white points. The Sypder stuff is currently all on sale at B&H.

For those looking for a more end-to-end color solution, especially with printing, you might want to look at a Spectrophotometer such as the ColorMunki, Syder Studio or i1 Pro. (Of course those all cost a lot more.)

LaCie's Blue Eye software knows about the Spyder 2.
You can check the documentation on their website
It doesn't look like LaCie sell the software by itself, but you might try dropping them an email to ask whether they'll sell you just the software. Otherwise, maybe you can legitimately download more recent Datacolor software with your serial number, or also buy the software from Datacolor?

I think the older colorimeters like the Spyder 2 don't work well with LED-backlit screens - so I suspect Derrick wants to upgrade the whole package.

BTW unless Apple's done a significant upgrade on the MacBook Air's display panel (and I doubt that), there'll be only so much you can do with it calibration-wise. Calibrated is certainly always better than non-calibrated; but the Air is probably never going to be a good choice for making final color corrections on an important image.

+ 1 Color Eyes

1. It will work with your existing Spyder 2 as a software only download. The software is the best on the market for tweaking your laptop and external displays.
2. If you like it you can by a Spyder 3 device to work with the software. The Spyder 3 is currently the best instrument out there - enables calibration of wide gamut displays. Coupled with CEDP you've got the best combo. You can buy both CEDP and a Spyder 3 device as a combo from them for the same price as the top of the line Spyder 3 with their own datacolor software... and you get something WAY better.
3. CEDP is the only software out there that allows you to set the brightness of your cinema or macbook display automatically. Half the battle.

Been using CEDP for 3.5 years. More than pleased.

btw. The X-Rite eye-one is a joke. They should've stuck with their venerable DTP-94 (aka monaco optix xr) instead of taking on the eye-one and associated products from Gretag.

The X-rite colormunki is also a joke. Any attempt to make a profile is completely hindered by the awful case / attachment that you have to use to get it on the screen. It just doesn't work - light leaks around the thing. Nice idea, shame about the neoprene marketing flop.

Pantone Huey. Urmmm... steer clear. Micky Mouse would be proud of it to get his red underpants the right tone, but then again he doesn't really care.

CEDP and if you can stretch, get a Spyder 3 too.. it is a better device than all the others by a long shot and a significant improvement on the Spyder 2.

I've bought the Pantone Huey a few years back, then I upgraded to the Huey Pro. The Huey Pro is simply a software upgrade from the Huey, and a little Firmware upgrade on the device. So basically this is the same device.

Since I switched my iMac 24" to the iMac 27", I have not reinstall it yet permanently. The software causes display artifact that were less than desirable. I wanted to contact Pantone support, but failed to do it yet.

Since my workflow does not include that much printing, I cared less about buying another device, but still I should look forward to this. Let us know, Derrick, what is your conclusion on this.

I use the Spyder3 to calibrate my Dell 2209WA monitor and am very pleased with the output of my Epson R1800 using Red River paper with their icc profiles. I am also happy the metal prints I order from Bay Photo and that is without using their color correction option.

Good luck,

Why is spyder 2 not working on your Mac? I mean it's ported to pretty much all OS of apple. I have datacolor and I wouldn't recommend it, it's shoddy in quality and comes out very poor in terms of print value.

Bonnie Smith
COO/Director FXP

One vote for the Spyder3 Elite.

Hey, Derrick. I have the Huey and would not recommend it, nor the company either. The device is clearly a side hobby for them, with horrible support and virtually no knowledgebase on the web. Mickey Mouse indeed.

I'm looking to replace it, so I'm following this discussion with interest.