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Spyder5 Capture Pro reviews

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Spyder5 Capture Pro reviews

Monitor and projector calibration, AF adjustment and exposure control

The Spyder5 CAPTURE PRO from Datacolor is a collection of photography accessories to ensure accurate image capture and adjustment.

The four items have all been reviewed in great detail by Keith. This article brings an overview of the package and links to them.

We've reviews of many Datacolor products. See the Datacolor Category in the dropdown menu at the top of the right column.

spyder 5 capture pro kit

What you get in the kit

I’ve used all four of these items over time, with the small SpyderCube a regular in my camera bag when I’m shooting product photography on location.

These reviews are quite detailed for each item:

I’ll include an overview of each here, but check the reviews for a more in-depth look.

Focus adjustment – SpyderLensCal


The SpyderLensCal from Datacolor is a tool that allows you to measure aspects of the autofocus accuracy of your camera.

The back of my Canon 1Ds mk3, used in my original testing

magnified rear view of test camera

The black and white pattern lets you see just how sharp your camera’s autofocus is.

Just one word of warning – it’s easy to get hung up on the minutiae of setting up your AF system, to the detriment of learning the skills required to get the best out of what you’ve got.

Exposure and white balance with the SpyderCube

Spyder CUBE and box

This little device, with white, black and grey faces lets you check that the range of subject brightness in your scene is within the capture range set by your camera’s ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

There is also a hole, leading to a light trap – this gives an absolute black level.

spydercube mounted on light tripod

The ball bearing on the top picks up reflections from all around, letting you check for unwanted lights reflecting.

I often shoot in places like factories, where lighting is variable and often not under my control.

The ball in the shots above shows the two lights I’m using for the photo.

The example below shows basic white balancing (mouse over the image to see).

Colour Correction – SpyderCheckr

test photo of Spydercheckr targetDatacolor’s SpyderCheckr is a coloured test target and software that aids fine tuning of the colour response of cameras.

It works with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Elements or ACR (Adobe Camera Raw).

The card is in a solid frame that protects its surface and has a light sensitive patch (red dot) that will change colour if the SpyderCheckr has been out in the sun too long.

In the photo to the right, I’ve got the device attached to a tripod ball head.

fadecheckr - cumulative light exposure patch

You can add a SpyderCube – here, mounted on the top of the SpyderCheckr, via the extending tripod screw thread.

Spydercube fitted to Spydercheckr

The coloured cards are reversible and reveal two grey cards and a greyscale set of patches in 10% increments.

Spydercheckr grey target

The supplied software analyses photos of the coloured targets to provide correction data for your editing software (ACR/Lightroom).

Spydercheckr target lined up with patches

Monitor calibration – Spyder5 Elite

Spyder 5 calibrator top viewWhy bother?

When you look at a picture on your monitor, how do you know that the colour blue in a sky you are seeing, is the one recorded by your camera?

If you get your image printed by a third party printer, then how can you be confident that the colours they see if they look at your image, will be the same as you see on your monitor?

What about the colour white on your screen? Is it an accurate representation of white? Is it too warm (yellowish) or too cool (bluish)

How do you know that the shadow detail you can see on the screen will appear in prints? If your monitor darkens shadows, then you might be inclined to lighten them. If you send this lightened image to be printed, then there is every chance that the shadows that looked fine to you on your monitor will be too light when printed.

Editing images on a monitor that hasn’t been profiled and calibrated leaves all your editing work built on foundations of sand.

There are many things you can do to improve the situation and be more confident that what you see on your screen is a good approximation to what your camera captured.

The first and most important step is however, calibrating/profiling your monitor.

The Spyder 5

The base detaches, and acts as a counterweight for when you hang the colorimeter over your screen to take measurements.

spyder 5 sensor cover

The measurement sensor is behind that fine grille.

The software steps you through all the options for setting up a monitor or projector.

The Spyder5 Elite is the top end profiling and calibration package – so there are a lot of options, or you can just follow the suggested settings.

Note: There is an optional software upgrade to the Spyder5 Elite+ package which I’ve subsequently reviewed

different display gamma settings

One of Datacolor’s strongpoints is the clear and effective help and guidance notes included with their software – it’s designed to be simple, but with much more detail available when you need or want it.


The Capture Pro kit contains useful items in a nice easy to store case.

These are items that benefit from being stored away from dust and light when not in use.

Datacolor products emphasise ease of use and the company offers many additional tutorials and resources.

There is more product info. at Datacolor.

Spyder5 capture Pro kit

The full reviews for each item:

This review note first published in August 2016. Original reviews published at product launch and updated as needed.

Depending on your needs, you may find the Spyder Capture Pro kit or an individual item better value.



The Spyder5 Capture PRO kit from Datacolor is a collection of photography accessories to ensure accurate image capture and adjustment, supplied in a solid metal case.

Addresses autofocus adjustment, colour balance and lighting for capture, along with monitor and projector calibration and profiling.

Buying Spyder products (many available as bundles)

SpyderCapturePro at B&H | Adorama
SpyderPrint at B&H | Adorama | | Amazon UK

SpyderCheckr at | Amazon UK | B&H | Adorama
SpyderCube at | Amazon UK | B&H | Adorama
SpyderLensCal at | Amazon UK | B&H | Adorama
Spyder5 Elite at B&H | Adorama | | Amazon UK

Spyder5 Pro B&H | Adorama | | Amazon UK
Spyder5 Express at B&H | Adorama | | Amazon UK
Spyder5 at Wex (UK)

If you buy any item via a link on our site, then we receive a small commission, which helps in the running of the site. We have no commercial connection with Datacolor, and believe strongly that readers should be aware how we run the site.

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]