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Spyder 3 Studio vs ColorMunki

Martin Chamberlain , Sep 28, 2008; 06:30 p.m.

I've seen separate reviews of both the Spyder 3 Studio (the package of Spyder 3 Elite plus Spyder Print) and the ColorMunki, but never seen a comparison. They both see to do the same thing (monitor calibration and printer calibration), and they are a similar price. Does anyone have experience of both and could let me know their preference?

There seem to be a few more teething issues with the ColorMunki, and the the Spyder seems to have better instructions and help facility, so as a non-expert in colour management I'm leaning towards the Spyder. I'd like the ability to tweak the printer profiles but I think they both do that.

Any views on comparing the two would be appreciated.

Responses


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Gerald Skrocki , Sep 28, 2008; 07:36 p.m.

Here is a review comparing the two systems:

http://spyder.datacolor.com/pdfs/CI-303%20Calibrating-S.pdf

Michael Axel , Sep 28, 2008; 09:12 p.m.

English is always useful. Martin, I have the Spyder and not happy with it on my LCD, but a friend bought the Colormunki and I was finally able to calibrate it. It's a color spectrum analyzer, so it is great at calibrating your monitor, and then sample outputs to your printer. I think it's head and shoulders about most other calibration tools in this price range. The instructions recommend you recalibrate every month, so I'm going to end up buying one myself. I'll probably see if I can unload the Spyder first.

Colin James , Sep 29, 2008; 05:23 a.m.

Martin,

I like to think of myself as having an excellent grasp of colour management theory and practice - I'm an experienced computer user (I've made a living from IT for 30+ years) - and I was a spyder II user.

When the spyder III kit came out I upgraded - to be honest, I wish I hadn't.

It's a little difficult to explain why - perhaps I'm trying to "out think" the product - but just so many things about the software just seemed so "clunky" - "poorly thought out" - and just plain "erroneous". From error messages just trying to launch the software - to the software using incorrect names to identify each monitor - to trying to calibrate the wrong monitor. I've got a printer that can print 24" wide media - but do you think I can get the program to output a 24" wide target with even a small space between the targets (both vertical and horizontal) (no way) - and the procedure to produce the print profile is equally confusing with needed options being greyed out - colorimeter not responding - and a lot more.

I'm sure it all makes good sense to the creators - some of it is STARTING to make sense to me - but in terms of being intuitive, it's a freaking nightmare. I'm a reasonably intelligent person - and I found it almost impossible to make enough correct choices when working through the wizards to get the result I want.

On the plus side (if there is one) their tech support responded quickly, and solved all of the technical problems - but the software itself is so counter-intuitive I'm sure that just about ANYTHING else must be better.

Just my opinion - hope this helps.

Cheers,

Colin

Patrick Lavoie , Sep 29, 2008; 10:28 a.m.

1_i had both and have tested both personnaly, the spider3 studio box is better than the colormunki for profile creation for sure.

2_i had in the other hand better consistent result for monitor calibration than the spider3, that was not bad at all, but a bit of red in the gray vs the perfect neutral gray from the colormunki.

3_the spider3 pro is a way better tool than the spider2 no question ask, i had tested it vs the eye1 pro display and the result where similar, but again the little red cast was getting on my nerve. On the other hand, the spider3 that come with the studio package is the elite one, and that is really good. You get all the advanced setting you want, and the spider3 elite vs the spider3 pro is in fact better and more neutral.

So in the end, yes the spider3 studio is a better tool than the colormunki, but for most, like myself, i didtn see any improvement when doing my custom profile with the spider3 studio using my epson 7880, epson ink, and already extraordianire icc profile for the epson paper. Good thing i had to teste them, so nothing cost me money. As for the problem i had none; on mac running leopard, print the 750 target on a 17x22 sheet, all was flawless..long but flawless : )

The colormunki gave me to saturated and dar profile, maybe good for people who want good looking print for there book, but what i want is the reality; a red purse that look like the original is what i want; a red pusrese that look like firy red and over saturated look good, but is not close to the client original...the colormunki didtn give me the real thing. Andrew Rodney send me is profile and the result was good, but again compare to my epson profile was a bit lees density, and a bit colder..but for my well trained eyes, when comaring both print side by side.

In both case it culd be a good deal to get it, but maybe for all the problem you could get, the long time it take to create a good profile..maybe you could buy a eye1 display pro for your monitor calibration, and get some custom profile made for 30$ instead, accroding your really need it..

As a non expert in that area, you are going in a pretty hard journey using any of them, a steep learing curve taht could be really frustrating when you spend 500$ or 750$.

What printer do you own? what paper are you printing on?

Gerald Skrocki , Sep 29, 2008; 06:50 p.m.

The article I posted previously (English) is a good comparison of the two systems. I have been using Spyder3 Studio for about a year now. It produces very accurate profiles for my Canon iPF5000 printer. The instructions are clear and easy to follow for those that actually read them.

The system provides an ultimately adjustable profile for both monitor and print.

The ColorMunki system is marketed for those that have little or no understanding of color management and is not that configurable.

Martin Chamberlain , Sep 30, 2008; 03:53 p.m.

Thanks to you all for your answers - very helpful. I think I'm slightly swayed by the Spyder - mainly beause it seems to be easy to tweak a profile if necessary. I'm not sure that you can adjust individual colours on the ColorMunki (though happy to be corrected). The ColorMunki certainly seems easier to scan the printer patches, though that is not a big issue for me - a don't anticipate producing print profiles too often.

Also not sure that the ColorMunki actually calibrates the monitor. If I've got my terminology correct I mean optimise the hardware adjustments rather than just create a profile. This is an area of confusion: my Huey (for example) only creates a profile, it does not advise on adjusting monitor brightness and indivual colours hue & saturation. Am I right in thinking that the Spyder calibrates the monitor and produces a profle, but the ColorMunki only produces the profile?

Patrick - to answer your question - I currently use a Epson1290 with tetenal papers. But the purpose of investigating these kits now is in anticipation of my next printer. I was sort of hoping that HP would announce a replacement for their 9180 at Photokina. They didn't so I may need to take the plunge soon.

Thanks again.

Patrick Lavoie , Sep 30, 2008; 04:08 p.m.

yes you could calibrate your monitor with the colormunki.

again, if you dotn think about doing it often i would suggest you let real pro do that for you, at 30$ a piece..it would take a long time to get in your investment...specially if you dont really know what youre doing.

And again, if you use manufacturer ink and paper, good chance that they already got good profile for it. Even now, a lot of other brand have there custom profile made for user.

Not sure its a good investment, but its not my money...so you do as you pleased. ; )

Keith Durrett , Oct 04, 2008; 12:59 p.m.

ColorMunki doesn't do CRT monitors, which ought to rule it out, imo.

Paul Delcour , Dec 14, 2008; 05:26 p.m.

Hi,
anyone ever used this equipment to calibrate a color laserwriter? Some report it can be done quite well, but state it needs to be done frequently due to the instability of laserwriters. I have far too big a differnce between my monitor (Mac 24") and prints (Konica Minolta 2350) and it drives me nuts. I think either apparatus would be a sound investment.
:-)
Paul Delcour


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