Spyder X Rolling Review Part 2: Testing my Display with the Spyder X
I’ve had the Spyder X attached to my computer for over a week now, and for the most part there isn’t much one needs to do. It does continue to work away in the background though, so I wanted to give it some time to see what it was like to be using it over a longer period.
Room Light Measurement
When you leave the Spyder X device plugged into your computer it will continue to measure the room ambience depending on the period you set in the preferences. I have it set to measure every hour, but you can manually update it when needed.
There is also any option in the preference to automatically compensate for ambient light changes, and this basically adjusts the brightness and contrast of your monitor when it detects a change. This is pretty common on most calibration systems and it should work away in the background without you having to pay much attention to it, and this was pretty much my experience.
There were a few times when I came into the room and the measurement hadn’t been updated yet. You can do a manual measurement from the menubar icon, and occasionally when you do this you can see the display change. Overall, I’m happy with it, and the fact that its pretty hands off, which is what its supposed to be. The real test will be in a couple of weeks when I need to do a recalibration, and I’m curious to see how far it drifts, although this will be more to do with the monitor.
Another feature of the software that I was keen to test out, is the ability to test the accuracy of your display. This uses the calibration hardware to measure various aspects of your monitor and compare it to a baseline. There are a number of tests that you can run, and the process is pretty straight forward.
I have a Dell 27” monitor as my main display on my Mac Pro, and so I ran the tests on this. The process is really easy, and the software walks you through all the steps. The results were interesting. The display isn’t a really expensive monitor, so I wasn’t expecting brilliant results. Here are a few of the charts that it gave me. It has 100% RGB but only 79% of Adobe RGB and only 84% of P3. Still, this isn’t terrible for a relatively cheap display.
My scores for Gamut were 5 out of 5. Tone response was 5 out of 5 but colour accuracy is only 4 out of 5. (I had done the colour uniformity test too, but I hadn’t saved the results.)
Does having the results of these tests have any practical benefit to me? Not really, but they are interesting to see. It’s also useful to check again in 6 months or a year to see if the monitor is deteriorating.
I still have to try the camera calibration tools that came with the kit. This includes a colour checker, a RAW white balance tool and a lens calibration tool. I’ll be trying these out over the next week or two, so stay tuned for that.
If you’re interested in this, the Spyder X Capture Pro package I'm testing here is available for around $399 and you can get it from BH Photo or Amazon. It’s also available a few different bundles, including just the calibrator on its own.
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