ColorVision Monitor Spyder
3 Spyder & OptiCal
The first page of this review describes the Monitor Spyder hardware itself, on this page we'll cover the professional set up / calibration software OptiCal (bundle price $399). Included in the OptiCal bundle is the Monitor Spyder itself and a CD-ROM containing the USB driver, OptiCal software and manuals in PDF format. Installation (Windows) of OptiCal is a breeze, just select the option from the autorun menu and you're ready to start.
Unlike PhotoCal OptiCal features a separate pre-calibration (monitor set up) applications. Before calibrating and profiling your monitor it is recommended that you use PreCal to initially correct any major monitor set up problems.
After starting PreCal you first of all select your working colour temperature (4000 K - 9300K or Custom). Next you are requested to set the monitors contrast setting to its maximum and then shown the target (below) with which to adjust the brightness settings.
Next PreCal requests that you set your monitors RGB controls to the default setting closest to the selected colour temperature, you then attach the monitor spyder over the indicated position (below) and PreCal will take a series of measurements (Red, Green, Blue, gray levels).
The result of these measurements are shown in the form of three bar graphs indicating the relative output of each of the red, green and blue guns, the aim now is to adjust your monitor's RGB gain controls so that the levels fall within a maximum difference of 0.25 Duv while maintaining a Luminance value between 85 and 95 cd/m2.
Here's what my monitor setup "control panel" looks like (Sony G500):
After each adjustment simply click on the "Continue" button to take a new measurement (remember to clear the monitor's On Screen Display) until you're happy with the pre-calibration set up:
This is all PreCal does, clicking on Done at this stage simply exits the application, your monitor is now configured as close as possible to the selected colour temperature.
Additionally you can also use the four supplied test images to validate / correct focus, geometric and uniformity problems which may exist, these are available at 640 x 480, 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 resolutions (I would like to have seen 1280 x 960 and 1600 x 1200 sized charts too).
|1-C: Focus/Linearity/Convergence||2-C: SMTPE Color Bars|
|3-C: Moire/Gray Balance||4-A: Uniformity and Purity|
Optical has two distinct tasks, calibration and profiling. OptiCal starts by default with this small dialog box, here you can select your gamma curve (1.0 - 2.5 or custom) or target (several are supplied by default and you can add more later). You also select colour temperature in this dialog (4000 - 9300 K or custom), note that if the monitor is already calibrated / profiled you can use this dialog to immediately reconfigure your display to the selected target / gamma and colour temperature.
Selecting preferences from the Edit menu and you can enable Precision and Expert Controls modes, both of which will enhance OptiCal's operation. You can also set the recalibration notification (1 day to 6 months, 2 weeks is recommended).
The calibration side of OptiCal is similar to PreCal in that it ensures your monitor is correctly configured and set up, however, in precision mode (enabled through the preferences dialog) the calibration process is far more exact than PreCal. We will use precision mode for the sample below.
Before profiling (producing an ICC profile) we calibrate, note that the setting of the black and white point (brightness and contrast) is far more precise in OptiCal, the Monitor Spyder is used to measure the exact black and white points while adjustments are made rather than relying on your judgement (reduced size images have been cropped for clarity, click for full size window shots).
First of all we attach the Monitor Spyder sensor to the screen then click on Continue, OptiCal takes various measurements of the red, green and blue phosphors and gray samples. Next we must match the monitor's brightness control (black point) to the target value, as we adjust the brightness the live readout is updated.
Next we adjust the contrast control (white point) to match the target value, at any point you can go back to the black point (brightness) test to check that the change in contrast hasn't affected the black point.
After this OptiCal will take numerous colour and gray samples to verify the monitor is set up optimally for the selected colour temperature.
Once the monitor is correctly calibrated we simply use the Profile option to create a new ICC profile, this simply requires the Monitor Spyder to be attached to the screen after which OptiCal will take numerous measurements of colour and gray values to create a new ICC profile.
Once complete we have an accurate ICC colour profile which is saved with the current date and set as the default profile (loaded by OptiCal at system startup).
OptiCal also offers several tools. The Curves window allows you to see the tone response curves created by OptiCal for the current calibration, you can even edit the profile manually by dragging the control points.
The Information dialog shows information about the current calibration.
The Colorimeter allows you to use the Monitor Spyder to take manual readings of any colour.
OptiCal is aimed at professionals, and it certainly delivers, offering far more precise calibration and profiling than we saw in PhotoCal the results are impressive. The additional flexibility and precision offered by OptiCal will no doubt be attractive to anyone who depends on colour accuracy in the professional work, standardising an entire office to OptiCal calibration would ensure everyone is working with properly calibrated monitors which give the same response.
The calibration process is definitely more involved using OptiCal, however this extra time spent calibrating your monitor does pay off. The ability to quickly switch between working gamma's or colour temperatures is also very useful.
YouTube channel Filmmaker IQ has put together a very interesting, technically detailed, and scientifically accurate description of exactly how various image sensors (and photographic film) work. One of the best overview videos we've seen.
In Part 1 of his series on photographing Greenland in winter, landscape photographer Erez Marom shares the freezing details of his arrival on the town of Uummannaq where the temperature was -25°C. Still, he went out shooting.
SmugMug has acquired struggling photography site Flickr for an undisclosed sum, with CEO Don MacAskill promising to give the neglected photo sharing service 'the resources that it deserves'.
The APO-Makro-Plasmat 105mm F2.7 is Meyer Optik's latest Kickstarter lens revival, and it promises "natural sharpness, unbelievable color reproduction, and a glowing bokeh united at every step of the aperture" ... whatever that means.
The update also comes with "post-scan cloud processing," which allows you to render 3D models with 4K resolution textures for better detail and realism.
Chinese accessories brand Meike has announced it will introduce an 85mm F1.8 lens for Canon and Nikon full frame DSLRs that will feature autofocus. This will be the company’s first AF lens.
The World Photo Organization has finally revealed the overall winners for the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, including the coveted Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, and Student Photographer of the Year winners.
Venus Optics has unveiled four new lenses that will ship later this year: a wide-angle zoom for Sony FE, a circular fisheye for Micro Four Thirds, a wide-angle lens for the medium format Fujifilm GFX, and a 2x Ultra Macro for multiple full-frame mounts.
The One Backpack is a 5-in-1 modular backpack that can be used as a camera bag, work & gym pack, suit carry backpack, travel pack or tech-backpack.
This highly-specialized lens is perfect for sports, action and wildlife photography. Check out these first sample images for a taste of what it's capable of.
For KFC Hong Kong’s latest ad campaign, New York City-based advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather used Photoshop to magically morph pieces of flaky fried chicken into fire and smoke in various scenes.
The Android and iOS app from Surpuba AR lets you place animated 3D models in real-world environment using augmented reality technology. You can alter poses and location, insert lighting equipment, and more... right from your phone or tablet.
Under the agreement, the two companies will work together to develop Oppo's smartphone camera roadmap, covering optical zoom, depth mapping and other innovative imaging features that dual cameras allow.
Canon is jumping into the portable printing game with the new IVY Mini Photo Printer: a rechargeable battery-powered printer for creating 2x3 prints and stickers of your smartphone snaps on-the-go.
The program first launched last year, but only as a temporary promotion limited to previous-generation GoPro cameras exchanged for discounts on current-generation models. This time around, GoPro is accepting nearly any digital camera in any condition.
One of the most usable 360° cameras on the market is getting even better. With its latest update, Rylo adds a 180° mode, bluetooth remote capture, and a cinematic motion blur effect for your timelapse shots.
Phase One has released the first major update to its Capture One Pro 11 photo editing program. The update adds support for 8 new cameras and 16 new lenses, and includes several new features and functional improvements that speed up workflow.
We recently got our hands on Samsung's latest and greatest smartphone, the dual camera, variable aperture Galaxy S9+, and took it to mostly sunny Southern California for a long weekend.
It's spring, and that means wedding season is upon us! If you're one of the many photographers planning wedding shoots this year, this is a great time to think about including aerial photography in your plans.
The first firmware update for the Sony a7 III addresses an issue in video mode wherein "blinking pixels" would show up along the base of footage recorded with certain settings.
Researchers with Switzerland's EPFL have developed a soft exoskeleton that enables its wearer to control a drone using their upper body. The human-robot interface is said to offer "natural and intuitive control of drones."
Photokina has released an official list of confirmed exhibitors for the 2018 expo, quieting rumors that major brands like Canon and Profoto might follow in Elinchrom's lead and skip this year's show.
For owners of Sony's a7R III, a9 and the new a7 III, there's now an easy fix for the rare but dreaded 'striping' in backlit shots with lots of flare. Click through to learn more.
The team behind the ubiquitous JPEG format has unveiled an all new image format designed to quickly and efficiently stream content across wired and wireless networks alike. Surprisingly, it actually uses less compression than traditional JPEG.
Canon USA has released a promotional video showcasing its latest CMOS sensor technology. Albeit over daraticized, it’s an interesting overlook at the work it’s continually putting into its camera systems.
The large-format digital LargeSense LS911 is the "world's first 8x10 digital single shot camera for sale." The camera features a 12-megapixel 9x11-inch monochrome CMOS sensor, which translates into massive 75 micron pixels.
Pricing and availability have been announced for Tokina's high-end Fírin 20mm F2 FE AF autofocus lens for Sony E-Mount. If you're curious about this lens, you'll be able to pick up your own starting in June for $950 USD.
It's the copyright lawsuit that refuses to die. In September 2017, PETA finally settled its monkey selfie lawsuit with photographer David Slater, but the request to dismiss the case has since been rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
As part of his ongoing ‘Good Light’ YouTube series, London-based photographer Sean Tucker has created a simple tutorial on how to find good natural light for portraits.
The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, with the photography awards going to photojournalist Ryan Kelly for image of a car plowing into protesters in Virginia, and the entire Reuters photo staff for a series on Rohinga refugees fleeing persecution.