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X-Rite ColorMunki Photo (CMUNPH)
|Price:||$449.86 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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|Included Components||Black ColorMunki spectrophotometer, ColorMunki pro|
|Item Dimensions||6.1 x 3 x 11.25 inches|
|Item Weight||1.57 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||1.59 pounds|
Designed especially for professional photographers and passionate hobbyists, the ColorMunki Photo is an all-in-one spectrophotometer that allows you to adjust and match colors between devices. The ColorMunki is the only device you need to calibrate your computer monitors, projectors, and printers so that the color you see on screen is precisely the same as the color you'll get in print. With ColorMunki, you'll finally be able to stop wasting ink, paper, and valuable time with trial-and-error color correction, and enjoy the benefits of precise color from the beginning. As a photographer, you know perfect color is essential. But with today's complex digital imaging workflows, getting colors to match between devices can be a challenge. ColorMunki simplifies this challenge with its easy-to-use interface and self-guided system, streamlining the process while still delivering optimal results. In just minutes, you'll be able to synchronize your monitor's colors with the colors of your printer or projector. To calibrate your monitor, all you have to do is point the ColorMunki' s sensor at the screen and allow it to measure the colors your screen displays. The device will then compare the measured colors with "ideal" colors, and create a color profile accordingly. Printer profiling is easy, too. By using RGB and CMYK printer profiling technology, the ColorMunki is able to deliver a high-quality profile in seconds. Simply scan a printed test chart with the device, and ColorMunki will detect your printer's coloration tendencies and dynamically correct them. You can even use ColorMunki to optimize your color profile based on images for black-and-white, sepia tones, flesh tones, and more. ColorMunki also features AppSet software, which allows it to interact with a variety of different design applications. Once you've finished creating a color profile, AppSet will automatically synchronize it.
Top Customer Reviews
Using the calibration is a two step process. First you install the device drivers and software, reboot, then access the software, plug in the Smile, and basically let it read the colors as they cycle in a box on your screen. The screen needs to be titled back slightly so the Smile sits flat on the screen with no light gaps. If you allow light gaps, the calibration will be flawed and the resulting 'improved' image will not be good. This process takes between 3-6 minutes depending on the OS and PC performance. Once done, the colors are matched well across devices. If, like me, you are using multiple displays, it calibrates them so the image color and contrast is consistent across them. This is very beneficial with a laptop and external display, or multiple multi-vendor displays, when dealing with colors for video editing, photo editing, or graphic work in general.
That was the good news. The bad news is that it is sometimes very finicky getting it to work. The issues come in multiple forms. First, you need to connect the Smile to a USB 2.0 port that has sufficient power. Many un-powered hubs will not provide enough juice and the error will simply be "Device not found." This is especially confusing when plugging directly into your PC's USB port and getting this message. Only when I realized that it required a direct USB 2.0 connection on the PC, rather than through most hubs or built-in USB 3.0 ports, did it work. This was true on more than a few of my systems making each distinct system a new problem to solve. This is also true on Mac's and PC's alike. For example, it works fine on one MacBook Pro but not on another older or newer one depending on their USB configurations. Heaven only knows if this will work at all on systems with only USB-C ports with dongles...
In addition to the aforementioned USB issue, the driver software is horrible on Windows. They claim their software is Windows 10 compatible, however, the latest version is not. What is ironic, is that the older version is. A quick look at the INF file (used for loading the drivers) included with the latest 1.0.2 version of their software, shows no OS later than Windows 7 listed. Consequently, when you open the device manager, you will see that no driver is loaded for the Smile, and therefore the software can't find the device. If you had Windows 7 with X-Rites drivers already installed and you upgraded to Windows 10, the driver will continue to function. However, if you just received that shiny new laptop and are installing the software anew, it won't work. Even manually forcing the driver to load (by hunting it down and manually selecting it), will not work because it is not a signed driver and is listed as incompatible with Windows 10. The installer however, gleefully ignores these issues during install and reports no problems at all. Unless you know enough to drill into the device manager and INF files, you won't ever figure out what the problem is.
The solution I found, is to find and download the older version 1.0.1. When you install the older version the driver is picked up by Windows 10 as compliant, and you will see the device being installed and configured by the device manager. Reboot and launch the software and it will inform you there is an upgrade available. Just ignore that. The calibration should now work. You may also need to right-click the ColorMunki Smile shortcut icon created by the installer, and choose 'Run as Administrator' for it to work, again making this kind of trial and error effort.
While the ColorMunki Smile works, the support is basically non-existent and the software hasn't seen a meaningful update in two years. What's funny is they list the latest software as being released in late August, 2016 but this is the version (1.0.2) that won't work with a fresh Windows 10 install. Due to the flaky nature of their software, and the hit and miss nature of the USB compatibility, I have to dock a star for each issue.
Would I recommend this? For color calibration yes, but only if you want to mess with the aforementioned issues. Other options are more expensive so I guess you get what you pay for, and X-Rite is content with that.
Enter the ColorMunki Display, this baby with the included software (though you should download the latest version from the website) can have your monitors calibrated and ready to go in a matter of minutes. The onscreen instructions are easy enough for a novice to use, meaning you don't need to be a professional monitor calibrator to attain professional results from this device (though knowledge does help).
Ease of use
Unlimited profiling across devices (meaning you only need 1 device for a home)
Excellent profiling tool (hardware)
I think the software gets updates but not fairly regularly and not major enough to warrant listing it as a Pro. This is only a minor con as even once the software is outdated many years down the road, there are free software solutions that can still use the hardware to calibrate (perhaps even better than the stock software, though I've never tried this yet.
WHO this device is for:
You are a professional who needs accurate color reproduction for art/photo/design/print work.
You have a multi monitor setup, perhaps monitors of different brands (different monitors will come with different vastly different calibrations and in order to have things look uniformly you will need this tool).
This device is NOT good for:
An average person who doesn't work with art/photo/design/print work.
Person who has 1 monitor (reason is, if you have 1 monitor your eyes will adapt to make the colors make sense, even if they aren't accurate reproduction)
Picture attached shows the 3 monitors, they do show slight variances. Monitor on the far left is a 10+ year old TN panel, the other two on the right are both IPS, all of which depending on how long they've been on they can display varying brightness, however the color temperature is almost exactly the same across all panels. This is more evident when sitting directly in front of the monitors.