SpyderHD Capture and Calibration Tools for Photo and Video

SpyderHD from Datacolor is a comprehensive color-management system that allows photographers and videographers to deliver accurate, uniform color from capture to image editing to presentation. Packaged in a striking aluminum case, the kit includes SpyderCube, SpyderCheckr, Spyder4Elite HD colorimeter, and supporting software.

The Spyder4Elite HD colorimeter and software combination can calibrate monitors with or without a graphics card and associated lookup table. It calibrates video reference displays, desktop computer displays, laptops, flat-screen TVs, and with the SpyderGallery app, iPads and smartphones. In the field or studio, the SpyderCheckr and SpyderCube build accurate exposure data for RAW image editing.

Using the Spyder4Elite HD colorimeter, I calibrated my laptop, desktop, flat-screen TV, iPhone, and iPad, and the results were excellent. (Calibrating a flat-screen TV requires tedious, manual adjustment of the set's color, tint, contrast, and brightness sliders.)

The SpyderCube and SpyderCheckr are photographed under the light you're working in, and then the files are brought into your RAW processor. The SpyderCube looks like a Christmas ornament, but it's essentially a 3D gray card with pigmented white, gray, and black sides to set your white balance and white and black points. Its 3D design trumps a standard, flat gray card by clearly showing both primary and secondary light sources. The SpyderCheckr is a 48-color patch and gray ramp target that does a good job of calibrating and profiling your camera and lens combination for a given light source. Both SpyderCube and SpyderCheckr have convenient built-in tripod mounts. (Note that the SpyderCube and SpyderCheckr are available individually, but currently not the Spyder4Elite HD colorimeter.)

Whether working alone or sharing files in a group setting, consistent color data is paramount. SpyderHD cuts down unpredictable color variances, making it definitely worth looking into.

Company: Datacolor
Price: $349
Web: www.datacolor.com
Rating: 4.5
Hot: Delivers consistent color between devices
Not: Clearer illustration for smartphone calibration