I don’t have a natural eye for color, which might be why I shoot so much Black and White, so calibrating my monitors has always been a hit and miss exercise for me. I’ve know about monitor calibration tools for years, but I could never get around to picking one up. Last week I noticed London Drugs had a Datacolor S4X100 Spyder4Express on sale for about $60 CDN, so I finally got one (sort of on impulse). Honestly I wish I had purchased one years ago now that I have it.
I use an Alienware M17x for my multimedia “work” (and gaming on occasion). It has a beautiful, clear 17″ LCD at 1920×1080, that is calibrated horribly. Since this is a system tweaked for gamers the LCD comes calibrated with an intentional, extreme blue tinge that’s really difficult to correct at least for me. So I’ve been suffering with it for about two years, second guessing all my color photo enhancements.
Post calibration (which only takes a couple of minutes) my monitor immediately went from “Michael Mann Blue” to a color spectrum I could easily recognize. Going back to look at my raw photos from the last couple of years I felt a huge boost of confidence; the pictures I took finally matched much more closely what I was expecting to take when I hit the shutter button.
So, if you’re a photographer and you don’t have one, get one while they’re cheap, it’s money well spent. Think of it as auto-focus for your color calibration.