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SpyderX Studio review

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SpyderX Studio review

Datacolor printer and screen calibration/profiling


Datacolor have produced a new version of their Studio kit, the Spyder X Studio.

It includes the SpyderX Elite monitor calibrator, the SpyderPRINT, printer profiling system and the SpyderCUBE, a nifty gadget that helps with exposure and white balance amongst other things.

This overview of the kit includes links to much more detailed reviews that cover each component individually.

spyder-x-studio

The Spyder X Studio

The kit can improve the accuracy of taking photos, viewing them on your monitor, and the quality of printed images.

Whilst the items can be purchased individually, it’s always worth checking the kit prices if you want multiple items. The items come in a solid metal case – instruments like this deserve better than just keeping in a drawer, collecting dust.

open-case

I’ve used all the individual parts for some time and have detailed reviews that go into a lot more detail about how the items work and why you would use them.

  • The Spyder X Elite – monitor calibration is essential to get more consistency in your photography, whether you’re creating images for dis.play on the web, printing, or even sending your images off to be printed.
  • SpyderPRINT – create ICC printer profiles that get better results from your printer. Especially useful if you use third party inks or papers.
  • SpyderCUBE – lets you set white balance and check exposure. Great for product photography setups, aiding consistency and photo quality.

All three fit into the case. There is a mounting/scanning plate in the lid of the case which helps in the reading of printer test target prints.

spyder-x-studio-kit

The Spyder X colorimeter lets you profile and calibrate any monitors you are using.

It’s seen here along with all the earlier Spyder units I’ve reviewed over the years (every version ever made).

spyders on monitor

In this next shot of the case, there are lights to either side of it.

It can sometimes be tricky to ensure lights are balanced at a particular point in the scene.

Look carefully at the two halves of the cube – the greys are not quite the same, showing that at this point, the light source off to the right is brighter.

cube-lighting-balance

Close up on the cube shows the tripod mount and light trap – this gives a stable black point that you can use when processing images.

At the top is a ball bearing. Actually very useful for spotting potential sources of specular reflection or coloured lighting.

Note how in the middle of the two light sources you can see orange?

That’s because I forgot to switch off the room light (tungsten lamp) and you’re seeing its lower colour temperature glow. I’ve used the cube many times on location to see if there were any light sources that might cause problems in images.

Printing

The SpyderPRINT spectro-colorimeter is based on the original SpyderPRINT and PrintFIX I reviewed some time ago.

(note that bit of orange ceiling in the reflection?)

The button at the top is used during the measurement process (strip or spot reading)

The base unit contains a calibration white tile for the device.

There is a good range of printer profiling targets – including ones for printable discs.

Starting up the profiling software brings up one of the features that has always set Datacolor apart – the detailed help and usage information.

Spyderprint-startup

There’s a web guide and a printable PDF.

user-guide

If you’re new to printer profiling, such a guide is invaluable. It’s full of useful background info too, and covers details of every feature in the software.

One more feature that the SpyderPRINT supports is actually making sure you’re using the optimal media setting for a paper/ink/printer combination.

You read the test sheets with the aid of the guide plate, which makes lining up strips of patches much easier.

target-measurement

Conclusions

A great way of purchasing multiple devices if you need them.

As ever, the Datacolor kit is made to be easy to use, with a lot of assistance for non colour management specialists.

Requirements

MacOS 10.7 onwards. Windows 7 onwards

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