Do you wish that you could gain complete control over colors in your creative life? If so, the Datacolor SpyderX Create Kit might be for you.
As we all know, color management is incredibly important when it comes to both photography and videography. Color is everything. Color tells a story. It can set a mood. Color brings our work to life. When we get it wrong, it can have a devastating impact on our work.
Datacolor has been innovating in the color management space for many years now. Recently, they’ve released a new kit for photographers and creators called the SpyderX Create Kit. I’ve had the kit in my hands for a little while now. It promises to make monitor calibration and color matching easy for everyone. Does it hit the mark, though?
- Monitor calibration is fast and accurate
- Intuitive, easy to use calibration software
- The ColorReader EZ is a truly fantastic tool
- Most of kit is made from plastic, but it’s tough enough
- It’s surprisingly affordable
- The shelf and tripod are not the highest quality
What’s in the SpyderX Create Kit?
The Datacolor SpyderX Create Kit has five tools that will serve content creators well. You’ll find the SpyderX Pro monitor calibrator and ColorReader EZ. These two items make up the meat of the kit. In other words, these two are the reason you’ll want to buy this kit. The other three items include a USB-A to USB-C adapter called the Spyder USB-C, the Spyder Shelf (which attaches to the rear of your monitor) and the Spyder tripod.
The Datacolor SpyderX Pro Monitor Calibrator
In photography and videography circles, the SpyderX Pro monitor calibrator is what will be known best to most. If you print your images, having accurate colors depicted on your monitor is absolutely crucial. I have used calibrators in the past, but this was the first time I have used the SpyderX Pro. I’m pleased to say that it hasn’t disappointed me.
The SpyderX Pro itself is a pretty small unit. It’s bathed in Datacolor’s colors of red and white. It’s a bit bigger and thicker than a hockey puck. Setup is an easy affair. You simply download the software to your Mac or PC and then register the device. From there you follow the simple on-screen instructions and you answer a few questions about your display.
The calibration process is quick and painless if you know how to access the controls on your monitor. Before calibration, the SpyderX Pro will take an ambient light reading. During calibration, you’ll be asked to adjust a few settings so that you can get the displays output dialed in. In all, the calibration of my monitor took just a couple of minutes. It’s pretty impressive and it’s easy to do.
The results are in
At the end of the calibration, I was shown a variety of images and I could switch back and forth between how the monitor looked before and after calibration. I found that my factory calibrated 4K LG monitor was set pretty cool and bright at the factory.
The Datacolor SpyderX Pro calmed down brightness and contrast and warmed colors up slightly. I could definitely see this in skin tones. Overall, my images looked much better. You’ll also see how much of the sRGB, NTSC, Adobe RGB and P3 color gamuts your display is now showing.
If you’re pleased with the results, there’s nothing else to do. You can set a reminder to recalibrate in four weeks and you can be on your way. However, if you’re not pleased, you can run the program again.
I have to say that the SpyderX Pro is easy to use and that it works incredibly well. After editing and printing a few images I can confirm that the colors in my prints match the colors displayed on my monitor nicely.
The ColorReader EZ
The ColorReader EZ is an incredibly interesting tool and one that will come in very handy. If you do a lot of work where you need to match colors or find complementary colors, you’ll love the ColorReader EZ. The ColorReader EZ is small enough to slip into a pocket so you can always have it with you, and it’s very easy to use.
The ColorReader EZ has an app that it pairs with on your phone. You simply download the application, register the device, and you’re ready to go. So how does it work? You simply turn the ColorReader EZ on, flip open the cover on the back and place it over a color that you want to match. As soon as you hit the illuminated button the color is scanned and the information about that color is sent to your phone.
The ColorReader app is nicely designed and easy to use. You’ll find information about the color you scanned like the HEX code, RGB information and CIE Lab color data. With this information, you can quickly color match any color. The app will even give you information about different paints that are the closest match to the color you have scanned.
On top of this, you can see complementary colors that will pair nicely with the scanned color. This would be very handy for those who do product photography. All the guesswork about creating pleasing color palettes gets taken care of. The ColorReader EZ also works flawlessly with Savage Universal backdrops making it a great tool for portraits and other studio-based work. You’ll have no problems creating nicely balanced images. This is a tool I never knew I needed.
The Spyder Shelf, Spyder Tripod and Spyder USB-C
So, we’ve learned the SpyderX Create Kit in the SpyderX Pro and the ColorReader EZ. Now, let’s take a look at the other accessories that come bundled with them.
The Spyder Shelf is a floating unit that braces itself against the back of your monitor using two adjustable legs. The plastic shelf feels pretty solid. It’s not flimsy by any means. According to the description it can hold up to 8.8lbs/4kg. I put various items on it, including a small camera and it held up pretty well.
You could use the shelf to rest the SpyderX Pro above your monitor for easy access (there’s a built-in 1/4in-20 screw for this), along with the other items that come in the SpyderX Create Kit. So, if you want all of your SpyderX Create Kit within easy reach, the Spyder Shelf is a nifty idea. If you like keeping a clutter-free work area, though, you may not find the Spyder Shelf offers you much.
The Spyder Tripod is again, useful, to a point. The tripod is rated to hold just 275g/0.6lbs. It’s made entirely from plastic, and honestly, it doesn’t feel like great quality plastic. However, I tried it with an Olympus E-M10 IV and a tiny Pentax Q7 and it held up OK. I wouldn’t put anything heavier on it, though.
The tripod features bendable legs that can be wrapped around objects. So, if you have a camera small enough, you could use it to grab shots or video from interesting angles. I wouldn’t venture outside with it though, as it will blow away in the wind. Still, if you need something that can give you a decently stable platform in a pinch, then the Spyder Tripod will work fine.
Spyder USB-C Adapter
The USB-C adapter is exactly what it says it is. A small USB-A to USB-C adapter. It’s a no-frills accessory. Still. it will come in handy if you have a laptop that has no USB-A ports like the latest MacBooks. You can use this adapter on the SpyderX Pro so that you can easily plug it into a USB-C port. You can, of course, use this adapter on any device that has a USB-A connector.
Is the Datacolor SpyderX Create Kit for you?
The Datacolor SpyderX Create Kit is a fantastic set of tools for creators from all backgrounds. The fact that this kit has everything you need to get color management under control at a great price point is fantastic.
Photographers who print images will benefit greatly from the SpyderX Pro calibrator. Creators who struggle with color matching, or who need help with color design will love the ColorReader EZ. There’s a lot of value in this kit with just those two items.
You also get the Spyder Shelf, Spyder Tripod and Spyder USB-C. They’re not the highest quality accessories ever. Still, they do what they’re supposed to do. For the price, it’s hard to go wrong here. You’ll be up and running in no time and you’ll be creating images or videos with accurate colors without fuss or headaches. Check out the latest price and availability here.