Syder 3 Elite Screen Calibrator answers a question

A Cylon? The last starfighter?… wait hang on its a Syder 3 EliteAs I pass through my mid 30’s, I find myself asking many questions in regard to my career.

Do I want to progress into management?
Which interests me more, digital media creation or photography?
Could a Wookie take a Na’vi?

Yes all important questions to which I don’t yet have an answer. However, I have just had one question which has been annoying me professionally for a long time answered. Are screen calibrators worth the money.

The answer (unshockingly) is yes, I have had this answered by the recent acquisition of a Spyder 3 Elite I found looking forlorn on eBay. I had done some research, and the Elite seemed to have the best reviews and consistency across multiple devices, sorry by devices I mean screens.

In this price range (around £90 secondhand, which I did, or £140 new) your not going to get screen to home printer calibration. But since the majority of my work is sent out to external printing services this isn’t such a big deal.

So what does this thing do, well you stick it in a spare usb socket, load the software, do what it says. “Stick me on the screen ‘til I am done” is basically all it demands of you) and then 5 minutes later it shifts the colour of your monitor to a point where you go, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I have run this across a range of my macs, and for the first time I have consistent colour, not quite brightness and contrast, but I run matte and gloss screens across a range of manufacturers, so to have colour is a real start.

I didn’t notice how off all my screens where until I took my calibrated MBP into work, and was doing some work in Aperture. The 20” vga I was using all of sudden didn’t look right, whereas colour checking on the laptop screen realised consistent results across printers and colleagues machines. 
This blew me away, mainly in shame, as I never thought there was much to this calibration lark, but the spyder is now firmly attached to my main photography mac, and is not going anywhere. I have still something to learn to get consistent results across all screens, which will be done by some serious RTFMing but at least I know now I have the tool to do it.