Contact us: +44 116 291 9092
 

Review update Spyder 2 Pro projector calibration

  |   Articles and reviews, Colour management, Datacolor, Hardware review, Monitor calibration, Review, Software update   |   No comment

The Spyder 2 Pro
– updated for profiling digital projectors

ColorVision add projector profiling to the Spyder2 Pro



The Spyder2 Pro gives good results profiling CRT Monitors and LCDs.

It does a good job with laptops as well, and now ColorVision have released an update to the software that allows you to profile digital projectors.

spyder 2 PRO

Profiling Projectors and monitors

Keith has looked at this new functionality and some other changes in the software…

What has changed?

The latest release of the Spyder 2 Pro software (download here) offers some general improvements and bug fixes to version 1, but the two most welcome changes are a noticeably faster calibration process and the ability to calibrate LCD projectors (other types such as DLP are supported, and CRT projectors should probably be fine).

I’ll not go over details covered in the original review, but the software essentially works just the same as before when calibrating your monitor, and it does it just fine…

Profiling a digital projector?

I’ve regularly given introductory talks to various groups of people of why colour management can a worthwhile contributor to the bottom line of your business (“Right first time – more often” sums it up pretty well).

Almost invariably I’m using an LCD projector that the organisers have set up for use.

In many ways this is the best way I can give real examples of what may well be unfamiliar concepts.

bad digital projectorWithout exception, every projector I’ve ever used has been noticeably ‘wrong’ in it’s colour.

Show a nice picture on the big screen, let everybody decide that it looks great, then turn round my laptop with its profiled screen and the difference just jumps out at you.

I took the picture at the right, at an event where I’d previously been speaking. The image on the screen is my own photo of a sunset at Cape Kiwanda in Oregon.

Although I’ve corrected the overall photo for the mixed lighting, the greenish tint in the projected image is quite clear.

The process of profiling and calibrating a projector is not much different from doing a monitor. You just need to measure the light being reflected off the projection screen (or wall if need be). You have to be a bit more careful about extraneous light, but within reason this can be allowed for.

The software

device profiling choice

A new choice is available when initially opening the application – ProjectorThe Grey Balanced Calibration option is there since apparently some projectors profile better with it switched off.

See the summary below for a minor help issue with this screen.

There are a wide range of ways you could set up your monitor – best stick to the suggested ones unless you have a specific need

calibration target settings

When profiling a projector system you need to hold the sensor directly in front of the screen, as in this suggestion shown in the software.

screen profiling orientation

tripod adapterWhat’s being shown here is a tripod adapter, although it’s not clear what is what.

It’s actually this thing… available from ColorVision, or included with the latest version of the Spyder 2 Pro.

I actually made the equivalent from a tripod ball head and a large lump of Blu-Tac (very useful stuff to keep in your camera bag!)

The sensor should face the screen and be about a foot away from it

monitor positioning

Before the calibration process starts, there is a target cross projected to help ensure that everything is aligned.

The process itself consists of the whole screen being changed to different colours and brightnesses, while the sensor records the reflected light.

After this the profile is built and you should save it with a meaningful name.

Note that on many PCs you can only apply one profile to a video card, so with most laptops you can have your screen correct or your projector, but not both (see our note on profiling dual monitor PC systems)

Buying the Spyder4 Elite

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the review of help please consider buying the Spyder, or any other items at all, via our links with Amazon or B&H
Amazon UK link / Amazon Fr / Amazon De
Amazon USA link / Amazon Canada link

It won’t cost any more (nor less we’re afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.

 

You can make new measurements under higher ambient light conditions if need be, which should give better results (I was unable to fully test this feature).

It’s probably taken you longer to read this review so far than it would to profile a projection system…

  • The Amazon links, to the right, go to the latest Spyder4Elite calibrator, which is the current eqivalent for the Spyder2Pro.

Summary

Quick and easy to use — I’ll have to try it out ‘in the field’ to see just how easy it is to set up when I’m giving talks and lectures. There are many locations and venues where I’ve spoken that could not easily be dimmed for calibration, but if I’m setting things up myself, it looks to be very useful. — I’ll add a comment in a few months when I’ve used the device ‘for real’ a few times.

The increase in speed of profiling is also useful, if you have several machines to do.

One minor issue I noticed was that the help documentation does not seem to have caught up with the new functionality – it has no information on projectors.

Overall – very useful enhancements to a good product.

Never miss a new article or review - Sign up for our Newsletter (2-4 a month max.)

Enjoyed this article?

More colour management and printing related information

For information about printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main printers and printing page, or use the search box at the top of any page.
All colour management articles and reviews are indexed on the main Colour Management page - please do let Keith know if you've any questions, either via the comments or just email us?

Some specific articles that may be of interest:  

  • Why don't my prints match my screen? A short article showing why there is more to getting your prints to match your screen, than just calibrating your monitor. It's the vital first step, but you do need to consider some other factors for best results.
  • Why are my prints too dark - some basic suggestions to this common problem.

Articles below by Keith (Google's picks for matching this page)


Buying anything from Amazon (not just what's listed) via any of the links below helps Keith and Karen keep the site going - thanks if you do! [Amazon UK]