Top positive review
188 people found this helpful
Great value, good colors
on August 1, 2011
First, I'm an old Photoshop user with over 18 years of experience. For me accurate colors are not an option, I NEED accurate colors.
Second, I'm used to calibrating my displays by hand. I have set of calibration images I have used effectively across the years. Manual calibration has become difficult as the number of displays I use in a day has increased. One thing is to get decent colors and another to have multiple displays have the SAME colors.
Third, I have the Pantone Huey Pro and I was never totally happy with the results. I could always see some kind of color cast on the result so I ended having to tweak the resulting color profile by hand.
I got the ColorMunki because it seemed like an upgrade from the legendary X-Rite i1Display. I did find some reviews for the ColorMunki but they all used the more expensive model, the Xrite i1Display Pro for their reviews. Still, after careful study I determined that the added features of the i1Display Pro model were not relevant to my needs. The ColorMunki had all the features and parameters I was looking for.
The included software was easy to use. There was an update on the X-Rite site for the software but it looked like a small update.
I went through the menus, follow instructions. Calibration took like 5 minutes. It measures ambient light and has the option to compensate for changing lighting conditions. This is an option I don't care much for but is there is you want it. You need to leave the ColorMunki connected to your computer for this.
During calibration the ColorMunki actually took control of my monitor settings. Changing contrast, brightness, color balance and then adding a color profile to Windows. I was VERY impressed and the results were better than anything I have ever seen.
It even did a GREAT job with my two laptops. In those cases I had to manually increase or decrease the screen brightness but again a painless process.
In total I calibrated 5 computers and all look very close in brightness and colors. I never would have been able to do this with hand calibration.
Overall I'm very happy with the results from the ColorMunki. I can now move from computer to computer without having to worry about the colors been incorrect. My laptops (like most laptops these days) use TN displays that shift the colors as you change viewing angles (reason graphic artist are hesitant to use laptops for graphic work) but it was still a huge improvement from the default settings. Just getting the brightness of the laptops correct was a big win.
I recommend this product for any photographer and graphic artist that care about color accuracy.
First, there has been an update from X-Rite to the X-Rite XRD Manager. It seems to solve several problems with the program not responding. This component (the XRD Manager) gets installed by the X-Rite drivers but this component got a separate update.
Go to the X-Rite site and search for "X-Rite Device Services (XRD)", the latest version as of today is 2.2. Below are a list of issues (rare issues) I have encountered with ColorMunki but I don't know if this update would solve any, some or all of them. Will update in the future after this update.
I wanted to update my review with several issues I have encountered while calibrating some displays. Note, all my testing is with Windows 7 64bit and Vista 32bit computers, I don't know how the ColorMunkey would work on a Mac or older versions of Windows.
Problem 1: For some displays I've had to calibrate twice to get the right colors. Not common but it has happened to me. If the colors don't look right try again. I suspect this to be a Windows issue (I suspect the latest patch will fix this).
Problem 2: It works better when Windows has drivers for the monitor. Yes, for most monitors in Windows 7 and Vista Microsoft will send you drivers for your monitor through the Windows update feature (optional updates). ColorMunkey seems to use the information on the drivers to some extent.
Problem 3: I have found SOME monitors that REFUSE to calibrate NO MATTER what. ColorMunkei depends on being able to take control of the monitor settings. I found that one of my old Samsung 21" monitor (DVI Connection) would not calibrate no matter what. Then again this monitor has poor colors even if you manually calibrate it.
Problem 4: This is perhaps the biggest problem for many, ColorMunkei doesn't do miracles. A bad display is, well ... a bad display. To get acceptable results ColorMunkei needs all primary colors and most of the secondary colors to display within an acceptable range (usually no more than 3 deltas of difference from ideal color). Some displays will not give you good colors no matter how you calibrate. In those cases calibration becomes more of an art than a science and ColorMunkei is no good at that. Manual calibration is your only hope here as only you can know what color defects are acceptable to you.
Example: A particular monitor can't display blues right, after calibration all other colors look good but now you have a blue color cast because calibrating the other colors actually highlights the blue color issue even more.
I still would recommend Color Munkey without hesitation but problem number 3 is specially disturbing. This tells me that at least on Windows machines we can get some kind of hardware/software incompatibility that you can't overcome (I have not tested with the latest patch from X-Rite yet). Problem number 4 is more about expectations, know your hardware and understand what it can do. TN panels are cheap and color quality varies a LOT on them. You CAN make them look better after calibration but IPS are generally better if color is critical to you. It is better to begin with a good display and then calibrate to get the most from it. Don't get a bad display and expect calibration to fix every color issue.