HDTV calibration TOOL recommendations? - AVS Forum
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm interested in an economical but accurate video calibration tool and disk/software that I can use for Front or Rear (dlp, lcd, lcos, plasma, etc) projection HDTVs and maybe computer monitors.

I've seen a lot written about previous tool versions (spyder2) and recommendations based on old prices. What would you guys recommend at today's prices between these three (or is there one I'm missing similarly priced)? I'm drawn to the least expensive with the newer version spyder3tv, but is the Eye-One better?

Colorvision Spyder3TV $99
X-Rite Eye-One LT $143
X-Rite Eye-One Display2 $205

I'm told the only difference between the LT and Display2 is the included software. Is it worth it? Any of the three would work with calman or HCFR (not afraid of the learning curve after reading the dummy guide) right?

Recommendations then for an inexpensive combination of hardware and software that does the job well?
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Old 04-29-2009, 11:19 AM
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http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=958099
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:23 PM
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Quote:

I've been tossing the same question around and just read through the thread you linked. There really is only one or two comments about the spyder3 and it was limited on details.

Has anyone done a shoot out using the spyder3 yet?
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:10 PM
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I've only heard that the spyder3 is a mildly warmed up version of the spyder2.
IE dont' waste you time or money.

I just got a chroma 5 and compared it to my spyder2, the spyder 2 was drastically different than the chroma5 and hte chroma5 calibration looked MUCH better.

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Old 04-29-2009, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

I've only heard that the spyder3 is a mildly warmed up version of the spyder2.
IE dont' waste you time or money.

I just got a chroma 5 and compared it to my spyder2, the spyder 2 was drastically different than the chroma5 and hte chroma5 calibration looked MUCH better.

Ironically, I have heard of some testing done in the past on the Spyder probes and the Chroma 5 and the results found were the exact opposite. I have not done it myself...but I plan to (as time allows) as I have a Spyder Platinum, Spyder 3 and Chroma 5, but unless I have ten of each...it just means one meter I have is better than the others. It isn't a good statistical sampling to say one meter is better than the others. It just means, I'll use this meter over the others for my work. Bottom line is, it all depends on the individual meter. Some Spyders are spot on...others not. It may be more likely that you will have better luck on arbitrarily choosing a Chroma vs. a Spyder from a pile and having better luck with the Chroma, but you can't assume that will be the case. I did an older Panasonic Pro plasma in my house a while ago using the Chroma. The visual results looked too red. This was a 480p model, so it is quite possible the Chroma was measuring in between the pixels, or it could have been the plasma itself. Do you have specific values to back up your comparison? Not to jump on you Sotti that is not my intention, and it is likely not the case (Iam just using you as an example) but there is a real possibility it looked better because you wanted it to look better due to the differences in pricing between the two meters. Can't discount the psycho aspects of anything. I get that all the time...especially for sound. People have a natural tendency to think something is better due to its higher price tag. I have installed $25,000 speakers in people's houses where they thought it sounded incredible...I was cringing the whole time. They thought it sounded better due to the increased value of speakers and they wanted it to sound better, therefore, in their minds, it did. The Spyders are not that bad IF you find a good one, and that is obviosuly the tough part. One thing is for certain, the colorimeter probes are not acceptable for doing color work.

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Old 04-29-2009, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post

The Spyders are not that bad IF you find a good one, and that is obviosuly the tough part. One thing is for certain, the colorimeter probes are not acceptable for doing color work.

Over all it sounds like from this thread and others, that the X-rite is more consistent in quality, would you agree with that?

Also, when you say they aren't good for color work do you mean the Display 2/LT and Spyder3 are best for grey scale only? Or just that for uber thx/isf level calibration they aren't acceptable at all?

I'm in a similiar boat as badger it seems. I'd like to get a calibration tool that I can use on my lcd monitor and dlp tv. And use it to help friends out so it would see lcd, plasma and projectors possibly. Would you think a Display LT with either calman or hcfr would be ok for that?
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:21 PM
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^^^^

I don't have enough experience with the more economical XRite products to be of any help to you. In general, I would say the minimum you would need for any CMS work would be the i1 Pro. That is, of course, if your display had a color management system. If it does not, a meter that does color measuring won't be of much benefit to you in the short term. CalMan does offer the ability to measure primaries and secondaries and you can set your color and tint using the software. To me personally, I find it to be a bit time consuming, and I don't use this feature. I use color filters like the majority of people and then view reference material and set the color control in the user menu by eye. Your call though as to whichever works best for you. They all do an adequate job on average of setting the grayscale until you get into the lower IRE's, but the vast majority of economical meters have trouble below 30 IRE anyway. CalMan does offer a low light algorithm to aid meters in doing this. Like I said, the precision and accuracy of the meter are what remain the question. You may get a good one, you may not. Without testing it against a known source, it is hard to say which one you got. I will say, that whatever direction you choose, the results will likely be more accurate than they are right now. Just how accurate do you want to be is the question. Squeezing out that last 10%, which in video displays can be significant, is where all the arguement and discussion often lies on this forum.

Regarding CalMan vs. HCFR, which one would you say is the best to go with? Paid program with customer service and software updates readily available, or a freebie where updates are whenever they get around to it? If the good folks over at Spectracal are offering you a good package deal on software and hardware (display LT/2), I wouldn't think too long to grab it...especially since the price will be going up in May.

As far as the uber ISF/THX calibration is concerned, to each there own I guess. What you get with a professional is often a vast amount of experience making the errors over time and learning from them, often more accurate instruments and other equipment to make your display as accurate as it can be and experience using them, a solid understanding of display technology and the science behind it which took years of learning, and on and on. I don't know, is that worth $300-$400 to you? Since you'll be spending $300-$400 on equipment anyway, spending quite a while learning how to use it proficiently, experimenting in the service menu and quite possibly irreparably damaging it, and spending quite a few more minutes and hours online in this forum trying to piece it all together....as Michael always says...how much is your time worth to you? I guarantee you'll be running somewhere to get the answers and spend quite a few hours, days, weeks, years doing it. Is that worth $300-$400 to you just sitting back with a beer in hand and letting a professional give you peace of mind it will be done right? You can also quiz them as they are performing the calibration and pick their brain to see if it really is something you want to charge headlong into.

Shawn Byrne
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:42 PM
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The current Chroma C5s that Spectracal sells are now calibrated at the factory with a reference instrument traceable to a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) source.

Just like the i1pro units.

The C5 will come with a certificate and a recalibration date, which is one year from date of factory calibration.
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:11 AM
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^^^^

While true, I find it unlikely that most people will pay for the recertification on this unit since it costs about as much as purchasing a new one. In addition, and I am not 100% certain about this, but as far as my information goes, Xrite recertifies both the i1 and Chroma, but if it actually needs to be "recalibrated" (worked on), that costs more than the $200-$250 it costs to recertify them...which means you are likely going to buy a new unit for either probe. I could be a bit wrong in the details, but as far as I was told, that is about the jist of it. However, the fact that the Chroma is even checked against a reference individually from the beginning and then signed off on is a benefit that the Spyder does not offer, but it is also a $100 meter. If NIST certification was available, something they could easily do on the Spyder's, they would cost more. It just depends on how you want to look at things I guess. In general, you get what you pay for, but it doesn't prove that the Spyder probes are worse than the Chroma 5. It does show that XRite cares about its product.

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Old 04-30-2009, 07:11 AM
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So, getting back to the level of gear I can afford Spyder3 or X-rite display LT. It sounds like the x-rite has more consistent quality between meters, and is the better option in this price range?
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhgilmer View Post

So, getting back to the level of gear I can afford Spyder3 or X-rite display LT. It sounds like the x-rite has more consistent quality between meters, and is the better option in this price range?


Yes.
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Bailey View Post

Yes.

Lol, you are my hero. This may be the first direct answer I've seen to this question.
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:29 AM
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I have a Spyder 3. I compared it to the i1pro, and it is way way off. A calibration using the spyder 3 left my kuro with a wierd green greys blacks and whites. My i12 on the other hand is quite usable (at least for greyscale). The supplied software is good for calibrating your computer display and works well.
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:04 AM
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The i1pro and the C5 would be more of an investment, and since both units start around $500.00(C5) and up, one would buy these if you are more serious about what you are wanting out of a calibration,IMO. In essence, the cost of recalibrating them would end up getting you a like new meter with a KNOWN reference, for less than half their cost. Whereas buying a new spyder2/3 or D2 comes with an unknown calibrated reference.

Another benefit of the C5 is the temperature compensation circuitry, which neither the spyder units or i1D2 units provide.

Over time, the filter panels in all of these tristimulus units change characteristics, especially if they are not kept in low humidity environments. This is where you usually start noticing things just don't look right.

I started out with the spyder2 units, then the D2 units, then a spyder3, then a Chroma C5(the non-calibrated version), now I've added an i1pro. None of cheaper units performs as well as the C5 in my personal experience.

Another consideration is still going to be software. The C5 is currently not supported by HCFR, so you would be looking at the additional expense of a software package.

In the end, you may very well start off with the cheaper meters and free software, then upgrade as your requirements change. If any of them gets you to a better viewing experience, then it was hopefully worth the money to you.
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:23 AM
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Hi Guys
I own a i1Pro, that I use it as a prepress print adviser, and I would like to find a display calibration software for projectors, compatible with the i1Pro.
Thanks.
Jose
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:26 PM
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Either calman or HCFR
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