Colorvision - Spyder2 - CRT and LCD calibration

Colorvision Spyder2

Have you ever edited a digital picture on your home computer, possibly with a discount LCD display, sent it off for printing just to realize all the colors were somehow differnt then they were on your screen? While most people may blame the results on the photo processing lab, here is a surprise for you. It may actually be your wrong doing that made the image look all wrong.

I have found that most commercially available LCD screens have a greenish or blueish cast and pictures usually look somewhat "cooler" than they should. Most of us are not used to the idea that what we see may not be a good representation of our picture. We tend to trust our LCD screens. Some of us may have spent a lot of money on expensive equipment and we have bought a software like photoshop to "get the most out of our pictures". Adjusting a picture with such a screen "to look better" may actually lead to a deterioration of image quality as we unknowingly make things worse. Welcome to the wonderful world of color calibration and color profiles.

There are some better colorimeters available than the Spyder 2. Generally the more you are willing to spend the better the result. However I found the Spyder 2 to be more than adequate for my needs. I have had mine for over a year and I am more than happy with the results. The images I sent off for printing correlate to what I see on the screen.

The first colorimeter I bought was a Spyder. I was very disappointed and after a week of sending emails back and forth with Pantone (the makers of the Spyder), I finally got them to acknowledge that the sensors in the Spyder were inadequate for LCD calibration (even though it was advertised for LCD and CRT). At that time the Spyder 2 just hit the market and I was determined to try that one, since the Sensors were supposed to be completely re-done. I have to say the Spyder 2 completely convinced me and I kept the unit.

The morale of that story: Don't buy anything less than the Spyder 2. Don't buy any of the Spyder 2 or Spyder Express Packages either, since they lack some basic RGB setting controls.

Before showing the basic usage of the device, here is one more word of caution. Even after you calibrated your monitor, you still need to use an application such as Photoshop that can use the color profile. Many shareware picture editing programs (including the widely popular Gimp) do not use color profiles. The calibration data consists of two different pieces. One is for the Grapics card and is loaded during startup and one is for the application (an ICM file). If you just calibrate your monitor and look at the picture with the Windows Image Viewer, you will not have a calibrated view! Make sure your application supports color profiles. Before printing, you can actually soft-proof your picture. I generally try to find a photo lab that offers a color profile of their printers. Photoshop can then show you a preview of the print (assuming your screen is calibrated) and it can calculate if you have any "out of gamut" colors. More about that in the Workflow tutorial.

Spyder 2 On Screen Guide

Using the Spyder is actually quite easy. On screen guides will assist you in the process. For usage with an LCD, you need to attach the LCD Baffle, since the suction caps can destroy the LCD screen. Just follow the instructions to the letter and you will be fine.

After you have told the software what controls your monitor has (RGB Sliders, RGB color temperature selectors, Contrast, Brightness ...) the calibration process can begin. The software will show you where to put the colorimeter on your screeen. There is a weight that counter balances the device, so you can hang it from the top of your screen. I don't know if that is the best solution possible, but it seems to work rather well. Make sure the sreen stands at an almost 90% angle. Almost, so that the spyder will sit tight on the screen, but not too much so that no pressure is put on the display (this tends to screw up the colors).

If you didn't go cheap and didn't buy the Express packages, you will have many options to pre-calibrate your screen.

Spyder 2 RGB control

In the picture above you can see the spyder dangling from my LCD screen. There are 3 RGB bars shown on the right and with the RGB settings of the monitor I am trying to manually bring them close to target. You will have to do the same with Brightness levels.

The Spyder 2 works just fine, even if your monitor doesn't have these controls, however it is better to start closer to target.

After you have done all manual adjustments, the acutal calibration process will run. This will take approx. 20 minutes, where the monitor puts out a color and the spyder 2 measures it. With the feedback information the actual color profile is being calculated and stored.

Thats pretty much a rundown how the Spyder 2 works. Its really simple and the results are astonishing.

calibrated with spyder

Hi, I am getting a magenta cast with I use this on my IMAC, LCD screen. I have tried several times. What am I doing wrong??? I believe my imac has kelvin temperture sliders and a backlight for brightness, even so, I tried several ways in case I was wrong. Each time, it was magenta. Spyder help people do not return my calls or emails. HELP!!


In all honesty, I do not know how color management works on the Mac, so I can only speculate. Here is what I would do on a windows machine:

  • Try to set up your system so it actually loads the profile you generated.
  • Make sure Adobe Gamma is not loaded during startup (delete it from the startup menu).
  • Only look at pictures in a color managed application like Photoshop.
  • During the calibration, the spypder might read other light sources (do you have a bright desk lamp)?
  • Make sure the spyder connects well and doesn't pick up ambient light.
  • Update your spypder software.

Maybe you can pick up some hints in this Article about Color Management that I wrote to explain a few things (as I understand them).

On my laptop, the calibrated screen appears wrong too (it has a warmer tint), but in Photoshop things look different. In Windows you need an application (like Photoshop) to show you the true color.

reply to "calibrated with spyder"

I have spent the last 3 days figuring this all out. I have a 20 inch Imac. (new aluminum model) I purchased the spyder2 suite only to find out it is not advisable to use on the glossy screen imac. (this I found out from Imac pro). What I ended up doing is using the mac display calibration software and took my time to do it right. This I did by turning my backlight down all the way and doing the calibration in the dark. I tried it several times just to get used to the calibration utility. My imac still has a slight magenta cast when monitor is dimmed down, it is not as noticeable with backlight turned up and my photos are looking much closer to the same images on my screen. When I do any photo editing I tern the LCD backlight back down all the way. Also found out that the new Imac LCD is not the best screen for any serious color calibration. But I was not properly informed by Imac sales people that this was the case. Since I have to work for my money and can't just by a new system I will have to make this work. Which I think I can. I the mean time I have been printing of some test images and monitor to LCD representation Is pretty close. As close as I can get it for now with out breaking something anyhow. $179.95 spyder2 for sale also.

iMac 24 calibrated with Spyder3 Pro > still a magenta tone

This is exactly my experience. I therefore bought the brandnew Spyder3 Pro calibrator and tried to create an ICC profile for my iMac (target values 6500K, gamma 1,8, 220 cd/m2). After checking the calibration the color temperature was 6021 kelvin and not the targeted 6500K.

I have connected a 2nd monitor to my iMac 24, a Dell 2407WFP which allows to adjust the RBG colors individually by single colors to adjust the white balance. I have done this very carefully and got 6521K, with good other values at 220cd/m2, and the colors are great! I have a picture with tomatoes on both screens, and on the Dell it looks real while on the iMac the tomato red is just an unnatural orange.

I googled a lot to find a shareware/freeware that allows to adjust the individual colors of the iMac's backlight, but unsuccessful so far.

So my urrent opinion is: use the iMac as a basis, and use a good second screen (e.g. an Eizo) for all your foto work that really depends on color correctness.


I have tried to calibrate the screen of my laptop, but realized that there is only so much I can do. Although the overall appearance improved, there is still much to be desired.
I do all my crucial editing on my desktop machine.
Thanks for your feedback regarding the iMacs. I think this is very valuable, as I only use PC and cannot provide that kind of information !

Spyder2 with Paint Shop Pro

Hi Andre,

Do you know if a Spyder2 calibrated color profile will be recognised by Corel's Paint Shop Pro? I use PSP as much as I use Photoshop and want to use calibrated profiles in both applications.




The Spyder software just creates the profile and loads part of it on start (windows). Any software that supports color profiles will work with it. I assume PSP supports color proofing?
Make sure to get the latest version of the Spyder!

Spyder vs Eye-One

Hi- I have heard the Spyder does not measure Luminosity on an LCD screen but Eye-One does. Any thoughts? I think the luminosity is a major factor. Thanks

I think you may be right

I think you may be right. The software asks you to adjust the luminosity manually with a scale as part of the calibration process.

Dell 2209WA

I have a Dell Ultra sharp 1707FP LCD which is a very good monitor for day to day work.

I am into photography and now geting into digital photography. I tried everything to get my photos displayed correctly on LCD to match the print but failed so far. After reading all available forums I realised that the monitor play a very important roll in photo editing.

Now I am looking for good monitor at a affordable price. Dell 2209WA (E-IPS) panel suits my wallet but I am not sure whether is it going to improve the quality a lot better than 1707FP (TN panel).

Photography and graphics are my hobby so I don't want to spend too much money on it.

Please advise me is it worth going for this monitor or get a good hardware calibration kit (Spyder 3) to calibrate my 1707FP.

Many Thanks


2.2 vs Native Gamma

I have a 15" mac book pro and had been trying to figure out how to calibrate with the spyder2 without resulting in magenta cast and dimming. I've tried everything described above and in the end what made a difference was changing the target to "native gamma" instead of using 2.2 - and now the screen looks perfect.

I use Spyder2express to

I use Spyder2express to calibrate my Sony SDM-HS74P monitor. I have the monitor connected to a 15” MacBook Pro which I usually use as a CPU. After calibrating the Sony monitor the colors look great but the colors in MacBook look bad. Grayish with very low saturation. I would like to obtain similar colors in MacBook when I disconnect it from the Sony monitor, as when traveling.
How do I have to proceed, do I have to calibrate both monitors together or one at a time? What is the procedure?

Thank you for your help ☺


You need to create a profile

You need to create a profile for your monitor and one for the laptop and use the profile switcher to select the correct profile for the monitor you are currently using.

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your reply Andre :-)
Where do I find the profile switcher in CS4?


It's actually a windows

It's actually a windows program that came with the Spyder installation. I am not sure what they deliver on the Mac, but I think they should have something comparable. If you don't have it, check their website.

I created separate profiles

I created separate profiles as you suggested and bingo both the monitor and laptop colors look great.

Again many thanks!

I have a Dell Vostro Laptop

I have a Dell Vostro Laptop with NVIDIA GE Force 8400M GS Graphic card and an Epson R2880 printer. I bought ColorVision Spyder 2 Suite to calliberate the Monitor. After caliberating I can see the difference in colors. But the prints are still the same, shade or 2 darker.

After creating the profile the software does say that Photoshop or other softwares using color management will use the newly created profile as default. But for the monitor I had to add it to its color managment set up and I could see the difference with the wall paper.

Is there a site or can some one can guide me on what to do after the calliberation is done, the instructions with the software is just one pager describing how to caliberate.

Two components

You need to use a color managed software like photoshop. The calibration includes two components, a monitor profile that Windows loads (use the color profile chooser that comes with the spyder) and a component the software loads.
Then you need to color proof your shots against the printer profile. Creating these profiles yourself is difficult. An economical choice I like is ezprints. You can download their profile, and then you can use it to "preview" how the image will look on that specific printer.
After calibrating my monitor, the pictures in Photoshop look very close to final result on Ezprints, but other printers may be different. For instance my inkjet gives a slight reddish hue.

you have interesting site.

you have interesting site. good post and i think it's very useful.

Colour Profiles for Windows Image Viewer

I just managed to pickup a Spyder2Pro for a good price waiting for this to arrive, yet calibrate. Reading through your article it does seem pretty straight forward. I just wanted to clarify on something though. You mentioned this:

If you just calibrate your monitor and look at the picture with the Windows Image Viewer, you will not have a calibrated view!

Can you explain how we can go about getting Windows Image Viewer to use a colour profile or is this option just not available to the native viewer?


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