Accurate colors matter. You spend huge amounts of time getting your images, videos and designs to be perfect, so you need to ensure your colors have the best chance of being viewed perfectly. If you are working with inaccurate color, with multiple designers or with printers, spending a little time on a color-managed workflow now can save poor outcomes and headaches later on.
To be honest, I never performed color calibration as often as I should have because the process would take valuable time away from my productions. But, I was given a SpyderX Photo Kit to review and the process was much faster than methods I was using previously. Now, I’ll check my calibration more often because it is easy and efficient to do with this new technology. Best of all, it feels good to know my work is being output at true to life color.
Let’s explore the kit, where you’ll find the SpyderX Elite monitor calibration device, the SpyderCUBE advanced gray card, and the SpyderCHECKR 24 camera color correction tool.
Let’s start with the monitor calibration tool, the SpyderX Elite. A lot of great engineering went into this product. A new lens-based color engine makes the SpyderX series more precise than ever. This results in improved color accuracy, white balance and shadow details.
Displays all render color slightly differently and the colors they output can change over time, so it’s important to ensure the accuracy of your monitor in order to make accurate decisions on your work. Luckily, SpyderX calibrates all monitor technologies. And calibration is quick; you’ll be done in less than two minutes. You just hang the device down over your screen and follow the simple, user-friendly software prompts.
The SpyderX Elite model offers one-click calibration to return a monitor to your calibrated settings, automatic switching based on room light (switch to a different brightness profile when lights are on or off) and a profile manager. It also has the ability to simulate how something would look on other devices or print from certain printer models.
In addition, it features advanced gray balance, video calibration targets and multiple monitor matching (which I love!).
The SpyderX Elite is useful to serious photographers, designers and videographers. For a more in-depth look at using the SpyderX to calibrate your monitor, please view my article on monitor calibration.
The SpyderCUBE is a perfect portable reference tool for RAW processing. Just place it in your composition and take a reference photo to easily set exposure, black level and brightness. It can also be used to set white balance. Then, use applications such as Photoshop or Lightroom to quickly adjust a series of images to these settings.
The circular hole in the cube defines absolute black. The black face around the circle helps define your shadows. The whiter portion of the cube defines highlights and acts as an in-camera or post-production white balance target. Finally, the chrome ball on top shows catchlight and specular highlights. The durable SpyderCUBE can be hung, held or attached to a tripod.
The SpyderCHECKR 24 is a compact solution to adjust light color and intensity in a scene. Just take a reference photo and import into RAW software such as Photoshop, Lightroom or Hasselblad Phocus.
The gray face column provides in-camera and post-production white balance and exposure adjustments. The saturated color pigment patches allow for color correction automatically using the SpyderCHECKR 24 software within your RAW software, allowing you to achieve color accuracy (hue, saturation and luminance) for a series of images.
It is important to note that this system works on JPEG files as well. If you are a videographer, SpyderCHECKR 24 software also pairs with Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve to ensure accurate color for your footage. It is a solution for all workflows.
Is it worth it?
I’ll admit monitor calibration is something I didn’t do often enough, but this kit changes that. Calibration used to be a drag. Now I can calibrate multiple monitors on my workstation in mere minutes. It just makes good sense to ensure I’m working with accurate color and exporting the best product possible.
The SpyderCUBE has the number one trait that any reference tool should have — simplicity. The small but mighty device can check multiple key values in one quick reference shot.
As someone who shoots a lot of video, the SpyderCHECKR 24 is now part of my everyday workflow. Again, it just takes a second to stick it in a scene and get my white balance and color references for later color grading in Resolve. If I’m taking photos, the process is just as quick in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Finally, I’ve actually noticed the difference. SpyderX Elite showed that my monitors were not matched to each other and my reds were slightly off. The SpyderCHECKR24 has taken the guesswork out of color and, although I was very close, now I’m spot on in my production work and exporting exactly what I wanted my clients and viewers to see. This is a toolkit worth considering if proper color workflow is important to you.