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211 of 224 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2012
Device itself does what it says very nicely - colors become accurate, shadows now are visible and everything is way better than it was before, but, there's one serious drawback: As a general customer, when I bought this thing, I'd like to calibrate ALL monitors I have around. Software won't allow. Once installed and activated on one computer, when you'll activate it on another one, it will stop functioning on the 1st one. And color calibration is done in such way, that without bundled software it does not works. Imagine, you bought a vacuum cleaner, that can be only used in one room. Here we have the same situation!

UPDATE: The device software also has problems with intel hd graphics drivers. If you have any settings modified in 3d or whatsoever, via the built in intel hd graphics manager, spyder color calibration resets, so you can't have calibrated display. To fix this, you have to remove igfxpers.exe from startup. So, you getting your color calibration working, but lose access to your video card setting! (This is widely known problem, wonder why nobody else complained about it before here).
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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2012
If you want to know what calibrating your monitor will do for you, consider this: When you go into a store like Best Buy and compare the same image on dozens of television sets, you see that they all look different - some are too red, some too green, some brighter, some darker. Which one is correctly displaying the original TV signal? The same problem occurs for photographic images on a computer monitor. If you display the same image on different monitors, they will all look different. Which monitor is displaying the image correctly? With a calibrated monitor, you know that your image is being displayed correctly because the calibration process neutralizes any color cast that the monitor might have and adjusts for correct brightness.

I am a commercial photographer and have been using the professional versions of the Spyder for years in my office. My wife has been struggling to get predictable color prints on our home printer as well as when ordering books and prints online. I bought the Spyder4Express with the hope that it would be easy enough for a complete novice to use. It is! The software installed quickly, and the calibration process is completely menu-driven so that it's simple to recalibrate when needed. We have our Windows desktop set to a neutral gray, and when turning the calibration on and off, it's immediately clear how well the Spyder calibration neutralizes the color of the monitor. With the calibrated monitor, we can now see in advance how our images will look when printed or in books we order online. No longer do we need say to ourselves, "make the image on the screen a little more red than we like, and a little darker than we like because then it will print correctly." Instead, it's now "what you see is what you get." Our prints and online books match what we see on the computer screen.

This is a great little product at a great price.
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146 of 165 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2012
Don't buy this if you have more than 1 machine you want to use it on. You can't for instance calibrate your laptop and your desktop with this because the license only works with 1 computer.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2012
If your tired of printing pictures multiple times to get them to look right you need this. The difference is amazing. Once you load the software you answer a few questions about your monitor, set the Spyder 4 on the monitor where it tells you, and a few minutes later it's done. That simple. After it calibrates your monitor it brings up some sample pictures that you can switch back and forth between the old calibration and new one. You won't believe how much better it will look. You will (should) calibrate your monitor every 2 to 3 weeks and the little icon in the system tray will remind you when to do it.

There are a few different Spyder versions. For most people the 4Express will work. If you go to the DataColor website there is a chart comparing the different models. At the time of this review Amazon is still selling the older model Spyder 3s but the new ones are more accurate and really aren't that much more expensive. Also, if you have an LED backlit monitor you have to have the version 4. The 3s don't do LED.

I am an avid photographer and print quite a few pictures for sale and for fun, but even if you just want decent family snapshots for your wall the Spyder 4Express is worth the money. I highly recommend it to anyone who takes pictures.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2012
Great product and more accurate then the Spyder3. Very important to use the latest driver for Windows v4.5.4 on Colorvision website or a pink color hue shift will be noticed at the end of the calibration. The calibration process will not proceed with all the menu choices needed to make a good profile if you use the default, older version software on the Spyder boxed CD. Otherwise, a good device that just got better.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 27, 2012
My review from the Pro:

I tried both the Spyder4Pro and Spyder4Express. The main difference for me was the multiple display and computer calibration with the Pro. It also tests ambient light which is important but I wasn't happy with the results it gave. After reading some of the other reviews and misunderstood descriptions I think most people will be happier with the Pro if they are deciding on which Spyder version to choose. I have not tried the competition. I am also leery of self described "professional photographers" as anyone can call themselves one but there are no licenses or tests and today most are Photoshop users. I'm an amateur which I imagine most here are.

Instructions and steps are limited if not unclear. I had to search to find out what others interpreted the different settings to be. While the software recognizes (or lists) your monitor I found it odd they didn't take the time to gather the required information such as gamut and backlight type.

I was one who overlooked ambient light as one of the factors when comparing printed photos with the computer display. It just didn't occur to me. When testing the ambient light in the room the instructions don't tell you where to put the device. But from what I found the ambient light test is on the back of the unit. So you just put it on the stand in front of the display is the best I could figure.

Brightness adjustment puts the Spyder right over the spot where the monitor adjustment menu comes up. Which means you must move the spyder to make adjustments and then put it back hopefully where it was to continue the test. They should have taken that into consideration and put the marker back up. It's not immediately obvious but the indicator for "getting it in the middle" is the upper right and is only updated after you click the Update button each time which takes a few seconds.

The software interface is not the greatest. For instance, when I decided to do a full calibration again it asks for the name to save the profile. I left it as the original name but a "failed" error came up with only an OK button and no description. It took several clicks to get rid of the message. Apparently it didn't actually save so I gave it a different name and then it finally says Congratulations. I found other buttons didn't react immediately leaving you to wonder is it working or not.

When you have two displays it shows two windows one on each display so you can compare the before and after. But how is that helpful if the second display is not calibrated? Makes me question the accuracy of the before and after comparison.

After completion I didn't find a great deal of difference. In fact, it was slightly worse with the brightness adjustment they suggested. For me it was just too dark even though the instructions said it was fine.

And I did not find that it fixed my printer problem. Which means that I have to work on things at that end but just be aware that this may not be the fix all that you are looking for.

It does work and is helpful to getting the best output for your photos. If you have settled on the Spyder I suggest getting the Pro as it helps adjusting for ambient light (at least makes you think about it) and you can adjust all of your monitors and computers.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2012
My friend convinced me to buy this Datacolor Spyder 4 Express after talking about his experience with their products. All I wanted was a way to calibrate my monitor without having to go through a long process with changing settings and all that. This thing does all the adjustments and changes automatically - no user settings to fool with or modify. I just installed the software and registered the product. Then with just a few clicks the calibration started! It's so simple and easy. Then at the end of the process, it provides you with a graph that shows how accurate your monitor is compared to RGB color standards.

It's easy to use and a great value for $119. Highly recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Coming from experience using ColorVision's Spyder2Pro, I was curious to see how the Spyder4Express would do. It can take more than a half-hour to tweak on the settings of a monitor with the Spyder2Pro to get the results to dial in the way you want them, but the benefit is that the results are well worth it. Can a product advertised as "Express" and saying that it is "easy monitor calibration" do the same job in less time and less tinkering?

The Spyder4Express handily beats the Spyder2Pro in the speed department, but that's likely because the number of adjustments is zero. The instructions tell you to default the monitor back to factory settings, and you don't touch the monitor settings at all.

The resulting calibration looked pretty good, but the monitor is a little on the pink side. The final screen that you are shown gives you the ability to switch between calibrated and uncalibrated results, and you can definitely see the difference in whites looking pinkish, and flesh tones looking a little more flush than they should. The difference was quite drastic and could be seen by even an untrained eye. There are no adjustments to be made during the calibration process, as the color profile is uploaded to the video card to make the adjustments the software wants in order to compensate for what it observed.

The color rendition in the calibrated state is better than the default state, but it is too pink. My guess was that the initial state of the monitor can greatly influence the results, since the monitor's settings are never adjusted during the calibration process. A second calibration attempt that started with more palatable monitor settings resulted in a better-looking image, but I could tell that it was still not as good as it should be.

The lack of any kind of feedback or test-and-adjust process like there is with the Spyder2Pro product means that you never have a chance to make the results better without guessing. In a perfect world, the adjustments that the software is uploading to the video card would right any wrong, but that's sacrificing the results for ease of use.

I uninstalled the Spyder4Express software and reinstalled Spyder2Pro, and after about a half hour of fine-tuning, I ended up with the monitor dialed in. No hint of pink can be seen.

Given these results, I will leave the Spyder4Express software and the sensor in its box, and continue to use the older "Pro" package instead.

I did not notice at first that this product is limited to just one monitor, so if you have a multiple monitor configuration, this isn't the right version for you. Other reviews have mentioned that the software is also limited to installation on just one computer, so if you have a desktop and a laptop, reportedly, you can't calibrate both. I didn't run into this scenario since I uninstalled it before I could experiment with that.

I tried using the Spyder4Express sensor with the Spyder2Pro software, but the older software would not recognize the newer sensor. Not a surprise, but it was worth a try.

The low price point of the Spyder4Express will attract people that have never tried monitor calibration before, but if they don't get good results with the hands-off approach that this product takes, what options do they have? They can't buy the more full-featured software that has more tests and adjustments as an upgrade, so the likelihood that they're going to spend more money all over again to purchase the Datacolor Spyder4Pro S4P100 Colorimeter for Display Calibration (currently $90 more than the Express) is pretty low.

If I could buy the Pro software for $40-50 and use it with the Express sensor, I would probably do so, even though the Pro sensor hardware has an ambient light sensor the Express sensor lacks. The rest of the specs appear to be the same between the sensors, so it would have been nice to have that as an option. (Datacolor provides a $99 upgrade to go from "Pro" to "Elite")

Based on my experiences here, this product will only work well for you if you can start with good monitor settings that can be accommodated by the uploaded adjustment file, and it will only work if you have a single monitor. If the "one PC" limitation is true, then its usefulness is even more limited.

If you're looking to get into monitor calibration for the first time, I suggest going up to the Pro version of this product. If you want to take the chance that this will do what you want, then make sure you try it out while you have the chance to return it if it doesn't work out.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2012
The first time I tried to calibrate my monitor, I followed all of the instructions and the images turned out greenish. In case the greenish color was the result of the light on the corner of my desk (not intense, direct light), I turned off the light and ran it again. This time everything was far too reddish. Telephone customer support is only available Monday - Friday, from 8:30am - 4:30pm, and for those of us who work during during the day and don't have access to the computer we're trying to calibrate, those hours just aren't helpful. Instead, I ended up resetting my computer to its native settings--much better. Will be returning this product. What a shame, because I wanted it to work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2012
I have had this in my cart for some time. I was about to pull the trigger when this popped up in one of Amazon's Goldbox Deals. It's worth ever cent!

I normally shoot with a Canon 5D Mark iii. I edit using Adobe Lightroom 4 but was always a bit disappointed when my prints came out with a slight reddish cast when I printed. I knew that I had to profile my Apple Cinema Display to get accurate target prints. The Sypder4Express is meant for those who just want to "set it and forget it". Actually, the process was less than perfect. The first 2 times I profiled my ACD, the colors looked a bit reddish. I had downloaded the latest software (version 4.5.4) from datacolor. I later let my monitor warm up for about an hour and turned off all ambient lights in the room and the 3rd try was the charm. My screen was now "warmer" in terms of color temperature. I can now see shadow detail that used to be "crushed" due to aggressive factory contrast with the default profile from Apple. And now my prints match what I see on my display.

I just want to point out that getting an exact match on paper is impossible. That is due to the fact that light shining thought a LCD is very different from light reflecting off a photographic print. I will not get into unnecessary detail but you are doing well if there are no strange color casts in your target output. And being that today's monitors are really bright, you need to lower the brightness to 120 cd/m2. Now that Express does NOT show you the actual brightness but simply tells you to set it to a "comfortable" level. This may fool the uninformed to think that their prints will match their screens in brightness, which it may not if you didn't get the Pro or Elite version of the Spyder4. According to research, my Apple Cinema Display hits the target brightness at about a 40% setting. So that's where I set it before I did my profile. I now only try to edit my photos in a darkened room to get proper prints.

PROS:

1) Great value whether you pay MSRP or less
2) Good results after profiling, provided you follow the steps on the program to warm up your monitor for at least 30 minutes and clean the area of the screen with the provided microfiber cloth where the sensor reads the color patches
3) Easy One Click software program makes it easy for 1st time users to do it correctly.
4) Before/After comparisons and color gamut calculations of your specific monitor after calibration in terms of sRGB, Adobe RGB, and NTSC colorspace. (My Apple monitor was a full 100% of sRGB, which is nice as we are in a sRGB world in terms of how web browsers display colors.)

CONS:

1) No provision for setting desired screen brightness (e.g. 120 cd/m2) for proper print print brightness output
2) Only able to profile 1 monitor. You have to register online to activate the software and it will deactivate the color profile on the older computer if you try to run the program on another computer. BUT, this is clear stated in the product description.
3) Only profiles at 6500 Kelvin. (But this is standard setting for most photo editing so it should not matter unless your have a very specific need to adjust the color temperature)
4) User must download the latest software (version 4.5.4) as older version was know to cause a red tint, according to datacolor.
5) No ambient light sensor. Pro and Elite has this sensor.

In conclusion, I would say that the Spyder4Express should satisfy the needs of most amateurs and enthusiast users despite the limitations in the software. Unless you must profile more than one monitor or have specific needs to set arbitrary color temps, the Express will get the job done. You will be happier with your target output and that will help you to enjoy your photography so much more.
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