Datacolor SpyderX Elite – Monitor Calibration Designed for Expert and Professional Photographers and Motion Imagemakers SXE100

Datacolor SpyderX Elite – Monitor Calibration Designed for Expert and Professional Photographers and Motion Imagemakers SXE100

Posted by leeshkay | Published 5 months ago

With ratings

Purchased At: $189.99 (16 used & new offers)

Once you question your monitor's color accuracy, in my case when editing photographs, you will suffer the nagging suspicion that your finished product will not be all that it could be. Do yourself a big favor and spend the $100 to give yourself peace of mind. It's well worth it.
Don't even bother calling your professional photographer and graphic artist friends, like I did, to see if they work on calibrated monitors. Just because they don't won't quiet that voice in your head.

The least expensive version of datacolor's colorimeter monitor calibration devices, the Spyder5EXPRESS, has the same sensor as it's two more expensive models and produces the same profiles. It's limitations allow it to work only with a 6500K color temperature and 2.2 gamma, which are the most commonly used settings anyway. A little research online will reveal there is no need to spend an additional $100 for the ability to measure ambient light.

You must go online to register the device and download datacolor's measuring software. Sadly the software provides poor results, as evidenced by the negative reviews you may read. There is nothing wrong with the calibration device, only the results when used with datacolor's software. As recommended by others, download the free DisplayCAL software online for accurate, satisfying results.

Save yourself many hours of research and worry...Buy the Spyder5EXPRESS and use it with DisplayCAL's free software. Even if the results are subtle, you'll know they are correct.

- Anonymous

I have two desktops and two laptops at my home. I started this venture when I sent in photos to be printed out in a photo book and the pictures came out horribly. Low contrast, low brightness and just terrible. I had a copy of one of the digital photos that I had sent to be printed and decided to check it on all of the screens. Well, it looked different on every screen and only looked good on the computer screen that I had used to edit and upload pictures for printing. Calibrated all using the datacolor software and was quite happy with the results. I felt it did a real nice job with the screens I calibrated. A heck of a lot better than what I had. I then decided to test how close all the screens were to being equal by testing each screen with a test digital photo. Although close, there was still some differences but again, not too bad. Three of the screens looked pretty good and one of the laptops was not good. I calibrated the laptop two more times with the same poor results. I bought the laptop for my wife and it is only about 8 months old and not even used all that much.
Anyway I ended up researching my issue and found a lot of useful info as well as a lot of confusing info. I came back to Amazon site to read read reviews that had been posted by owners of the Spyder5 Express. I noticed that several reviews complained that the datacolor software was just ok but there was a lot better software available. The popular Software was DisplayCal and Argyll which work together. DisplayCal is the GUI while Argyll is the software that does all the work.
I figured what do I have to lose and I tried it. It was amazing and the laptop that was very poor, popped back to life again after running the calibration procedure. The calibration procedure takes about two hours but is well worth the time since all of my screens now look even better since I did recalibrate them as well with this new software. I was totally impressed how it brought the problem laptop back to life. In my opinion, the Spyder5 Express works good using the recommended software but works fantastic using DisplayCal and Argyll software. DisplayCal and Argyll are free by the way!! The site does ask for donations and I for one will certainly make a donation because of the fantastic product they have. I am extremely happy with my computer screens now. Now what I see on my screen is what I should see when I get my photos professionally printed.

- Anonymous

*** UPDATE 4/29/2015 ***
I returned the Spyder 5 Express, received the Spyder 4 Express, setup up Argyll + dispcalGUI (Datacolor software went straight into the trash), and a calibrated, and THERE WAS A CLEAR DIFFERENCE!! Calibrating your monitor does matter, using a calibration device matters, but MOST IMPORTANTLY the calibration software matters, and the Argyll + dispcalGUI is FAR SUPERIOR to the OEM Datacolor software provided for the Spyder 4 Express and Spyder 5 Express. I'm excited to see how much my prints might improve since I already thought they were great using the steps in my original review. Here's how to setup and calibrate using Argyll + dispcalGUI.

1) Do not install OEM software
2) Download Argyll ( and dispcalGUI standalone version (
3) Set C:/ path for Argyll folder
4) Install Sypder4 usb driver (
5) Run dispcalGUI then Menu > File > Locate Argyll CMS executables > point to c:/Argyll/bin
6) Menu > Options > enable Show advanced calibration options
7) Configure Advance options like this (
8) Run measurement tests and adjustment settings
9) Run calibration (in High speed since Medium speed took 1.5 hrs) then save and apply profile

*** ORIGINAL REVIEW 4/16/2015***
I have never calibrated my laptop's monitor in the approximately 2 years I've had it. My commercial prints were coming out too dark, so I purchased this product. The improvement it provided was negligible, much to my surprise and disappointment. The process of getting photos printed with accurate colors involves more than just calibrating your monitor. This is what I have learned:

1) Reduce the brightness of your monitor to approximately 50% then use "Calibrate color" (just search for it), the built-in Windows utility.
2) Download & Install your commercial printer's ICC profile. Sometimes it might be available on their website but you'll probably have to call them and ask what brand & model their photo lab machine is then use Google to find the appropriate ICC profile file (local stores of the same chain seem to have the same models, ex: Walmarts close to where I live all use Fuji Frontier DL 600's)
3) Soft proof your photos in Photoshop using that ICC profile (View > Proof Setup > Custom).
4) Save your photos in the sRGB color space (check with your printer to confirm this).
5) Lastly, but not as important as the previous steps, you can try to print a hard proof on your home printer that will attempt to simulate the final product from your commercial printer, (File > Print > Color Management: Photoshop manages colors; Printer profile = your home printer > Change Normal Printing to Hard Proofing: Proof Setup = appropriate ICC profile)

If you'd still like to get a calibration device then I'd say go for the Spyder 4 since it's less than half the price and the results probably won't be much different. I'm returning this. Argyll + dispcalGUI is widely said to better than any OEM software, but it currently only supports the Spyder 4, so I can't tell if just changing software would give me better calibration results. If it's superior hardware that you desire then get a calibrator from X-Rite which are said to be more accurate, longer-lasting, and have native support from Argyll + dispcalGUI. After following the steps above my prints came out perfectly at Walmart.

Save files for viewing on the web as sRGB which is ideal for most monitors. Others can even download your photo and get prints that are fairly close in color accuracy as well. Hope this helps!

*** Resources ***
Download Argyll

Download dispcalGUI

Setup Argyll + dispcalGUI

ICC Profiles

- Anonymous

Wonderful and fantastically accurate tool.

I would STRONGLY recommend going for the "Express" version, as all of the versions are actually the same hardware, just with different software features.

But I tried using the default software, and then tried the open source "DisplayCAL" afterward and displayCAL provided noticeably better results.

Save some cash and get better results by getting the express version and using displaycal

- Anonymous

Das Gerät tut was es soll. Jedoch ist die Software absolut nicht empfehlenswert! Unverständlich, teilweise schlecht übersetzt und nach jeder Kalibrierung ein anderes Ergebnis!
Ob Express, Pro oder Elite, es ist immer das gleiche Sensor dabei nur die Software ändert sich wohl! Ich kann jedem empfehlen sich das Geld zu sparen, die Express Version kaufen und mit DisplayCAL (OpenSource, kostenlos) zu kalibrieren!

- Anonymous

D'abord, précisions une chose importante: la sonde (matérielle) proposée par Datacolor sous les appellations Elite, Express et Pro est exactement identique. C'est une "Spyder 5". Point.
En clair, ces trois produits utilisent le même appareil, il n'y a que le logiciel qui change.

Et ça tombe plutôt bien, car le principale problème de la gamme Spyder est justement lié au logiciel proposé par le fabricant. Car si celui-ci est rapide et relativement facile à utiliser, il est également d'une précision et d'une utilité plus que discutables.

Personnellement, j'utilise cette Spyder 5 avec le logiciel gratuit DisplayCAL (facile à trouver et il est en français), qui est considéré aujourd'hui comme l'un des meilleurs pour l'étalonnage des moniteurs. Son utilisation n'est pas totalement intuitive, mais vous trouverez beaucoup d'explications sur le Net qui vous permettront de vous en sortir. Un étalonnage avec DisplayCAL prend en principe entre une et trois heures (oui, c'est assez long), mais le résultat est généralement irréprochable.
Attention: pour employer la Spyder 5 avec DisplayCAL, il vous faudra télécharger un pilote "Argyll" afin qu'elle soit reconnue par le logiciel. Pas de panique, le fichier d'installation le fait en principe automatiquement.

Jusqu'à aujourd'hui, j'utilisais une sonde Spyder 3 pour calibrer mes trois moniteurs (2 PC, 1 Mac), et j'ai toujours été assez satisfait du résultat obtenu... même s'il fallait parfois recommencer plusieurs fois l'étalonnage pour avoir quelque chose de correct.
Avec la Spyder 5 - plus sensible et qui intègre un capteur de luminosité ambiante - les résultats sont nettement plus homogènes, quelle que soit la plateforme.
Ce n'est peut-être pas une sonde colorimétrique professionnelle haut de gamme, mais elle a de quoi satisfaire les photographes exigeants et les artisans de la vidéo (dont je fais partie).
Matériel tout à fait recommandé... associé à DisplayCAL.

- Anonymous

Ob man den Pro oder die Elite Version kauft ist von der Hardware her egal.
Diese ist immer gleich, nur die Software unterscheidet sich.
Der Spyder X ist soweit ordentlich verarbeitet
Damit kommen wir zum ersten Punkt, der Code für die Software klebt als schlecht gedruckter Sticker schief unten in der Verpackung.
Die Art und Weise wie die Lizenz geliefert wird und dann das diese noch mit E-Mail Adresse aktiviert werden muss. Ehrlich das ist so lustlos wie die gesamte Software.
Wie wäre es wenn ihr die Software an die Seriennummer der Hardware koppelt.
Und dann die Möglichkeit eine Upgrade . (Wenn die Software gut wäre)

Der Spyder X ist ordentlich verarbeitet das Gehäuse macht einen guten Eindruck.
Das Kabel macht weniger was her. Das Kabel wirkt einfach nur billig. Und zwischen Deckel und Sensor wird es vermutlich irgendwann einfach brechen. Die Ferritperle am Stecker lässt ja auch vermuten, dass man hier wenig Vertrauen in die Schirmung von Kabel hat.

Bei meinem Exemplar kann noch hinzu das auf der Innenseite der Linse irgendwelche Reste von der Fertigung lagen. Es sind zum Glück nur 5 Schrauben und etwas Druckluft nötig um das zu beheben. Nebenbei kann man dann ja auch seine Neugierde befriedigen.
Sollte ja trotzdem so nicht sein. Der Messing Gewindeeinsatz für das Stativ kann über das Kabel auch nicht so richtig hinwegtrösten.

Laut Internetseite von Datacolor hat man dort ganze 3 Jahre über konzentriert eine komplett neue Farbsensor-Technologie zu entwickelt.

Der Spyder 4 war ein 7-Band-Colorimeter, der zu Spyder X verwendet einen 6 Kanal Sensor plus NIR. Wobei NIR wohl für Nahinfrarot stehen dürfte. Ich wage nicht zu spekulieren wie dies beim Farbabgleich von Displays behilflich ist.
(AS7264N ist nicht nur dafür konzipiert)
Vielleicht hilft es auch dabei die Keimfähigkeit von Kartoffeln zu bestimmen. Geneueres findet man sicher im Datenblatt von AS7264N ( Dieser ist per I²C (oder SMBus) an einen Silicon Labs C8051F020 Mikrocontroller angebunden. Dieser wind dann über eine Serail zu USB Brücke mit dem PC kommunizieren. Das ganze erinnert gewaltig an das Demo Kit von AS7264, letztendlich macht es ja auch genau dies. Zusätzlich ist hier eben eine Optik sowie ein Helligkeitssensor an der Oberseite integriert. Insgesammt macht die Hardware einen sehr ordentlichen Eindruck.

Kommen wir zu Software. Diese überzeugt einfach nicht, sie ist zwar schnell aber die Ergebnisse sind einfach nicht so gut wie von der kostenlosen OpenSource Lösung DisplayCAL. Man kann hier den Bewertungen von „MP“ und „Luke“ nur voll und ganz zustimmen und beiden ein „Nützlich“ geben.

Ich habe die Software von Datacolor wieder runtergeschmissen.

Fazit : Also besser nicht die „Elite“ Version.

- Anonymous

PREFAZIONE: Nessuno colorimetro al mondo può trasformare un pessimo monitor in un buon monitor. Quello che può fare è rendere un pessimo monitor decente e un ottimo monitor ancora migliore.

La serie Spyder 5 è composta da tre modelli: Express (fascia bassa), Pro (fascia media) ed Elite (fascia alta).
La cosa interessante è che tutti e tre hanno lo stesso sensore! Quindi sono equivalenti in quanto a precisione.
Dove sta la differenza? Nel software. Esso infatti "castra" la fascia bassa e media per renderle meno prestanti (tempi di calibrazione) e con meno opzioni.

Ma c'è una soluzione!
Esiste un software open-source in grado di funzionare correttamente con questo colorimetro e offrire un'infinità (letteralmente) di impostazioni, trasformando quindi il sensore di fascia bassa in uno equivalente a quello di fascia alta.
Il nome del software è DisplayCAL. In realtà questo software funziona come interfaccia grafica per Argyll CMS, che viene scaricato insieme a DisplayCAL dalla pagina di quest ultimo.
Il settaggio iniziale non è intuitivo (vanno installati dei driver alternativi e per farlo bisogna disabilitare il controllo della firma driver nel caso di Windows 10), però tutti i passaggi sono chiaramente spiegati sulla home page di DisplayCAL.

Quindi se siete interessati ad avere un colorimetro per regolare i vostri monitor (e proiettori), il prodotto Spyder 5 Express in combinazione al software DisplayCAL + Argyll CMS vi offrirà una qualità ottima e tutte le impostazioni che possiate desiderare.

Se invece siete professionisti (ambito lavorativo o grandi appassionati) e necessitate della massima precisione vi consiglio il prodotto X-rite i1 Display Pro. La differenza qualitativa è minima ma se vi serve più precisione possibile, la differenza di prezzo non è troppo grande.

RIASSUNTO: Se volete spendere poco prendete Spyder 5 Express e scaricate il software DisplayCAL + Argyll CMS per avere le stesse capacità dei modelli superiori.
Se vi serve qualcosa di ancor più preciso (uso professionale) allora puntate al X-rite i1 Display Pro.

EDIT 05/02/2016: Il programma dispcalGUI ora si chiama DisplayCAL, corretto nella recensione.

- Anonymous

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