Monitor Calibration on the Cheap with Spyder2 Pro

Musicvid wrote on 1/16/2020, 11:50 AM

Spyder2 Colorimeters can now be found for $20-40 on eBay, Craigslist, and Thrift Stores. Although not indexed for the latest generation of LCD displays, they are quite usable with a few tweaks for Windows 10 display graphics.

  • A few of the reasons to have a calibrated display include:
  • Screen / Printer / Scanner matching
  • Grading using 3D LUTS, which are shareable between your display and applications
  • Handoff between machines with different displays
  • Sharing among forum users, knowing there is coordinated monitor control
  • Production for distribution and broadcast
  • And of course, routine correction, white balance. and effects at the production level

NOTE: This is a medium-advanced tutorial. A knowledge of Windows system boot options, RGBY'cmyk theory and identification, Kelvin temperature, color controls, and the ability to follow exact steps is assumed. Do not attempt calibration if Adobe Gamma, Calibrize, Dynamic Contrast, Screen Enhancements, etc. are present at Startup. Do create a System Restore or Drive Image Backup (recommended) before beginning. Do turn off your touchscreen. Do have a CD ROM drive connected. If you are unwilling to bypass Windows Driver Signature Verification one time to install the open source Argyll CMS drivers, there are a few other alternatives in the jungle. Tutorial follows (14 minutes).

YMWV with other monitors and graphics panels.


Musicvid wrote on 1/16/2020, 7:31 PM

Corrections and suggestions welcome.

walter-i. wrote on 2/15/2020, 3:59 PM


I would have a good opportunity to buy Spyder2 Suite.
Is it possible to calibrate 2 different monitors (BenQ G2200W and HP Elite Display E243i)?

Musicvid wrote on 2/16/2020, 2:08 PM

It's possible to get them very close -- their native hardware color temperatures being the biggest factor. This information can be hard to dig up.

walter-i. wrote on 2/16/2020, 2:49 PM


But in principle could you recommend the Spyder2 Suite to calibrate two different monitors?
Or would the Spyder 2 pro be much more suitable?

Musicvid wrote on 2/16/2020, 5:00 PM

Spyder 2 is obsolete, and I wrote the article because it's cheap.

The instrument is the same no matter how it was originally packaged.

New SpyderX is only $129.

NickHope wrote on 3/8/2020, 10:37 AM

I've just bought an LG 43UM7300PTA 43" UHD TV to use as a PC monitor, and an ASUS Vega 64 GPU. I have a Spyder 3 Pro, but Datacolor's own software would not detect it. However DisplayCAL was able to detect and use it, so this tutorial was useful.

Before I ran DisplayCAL, I did a standard Windows calibration, which installed a profile "CalibratedDisplayProfile-2.icc". Am I right to think that while DisplayCAL is calibrating, it disables existing profiles such as that (as opposed to calibrating "on top" of the existing profile)?

Unfortunately I don't have access to any RGB sliders other than at the end of the Windows color calibration, which is a pity. The RGB controls in "Color Management System" on the TV don't seem to change anything (only "White Balance" does), and the Radeon Settings only offer "Color Temperature" and "Hue" adjustment. So achieving a perfect line-up of the RGB bars in the Whitepoint/White Level adjustment was impossible.

Musicvid wrote on 3/9/2020, 11:10 AM


Glad it was useful to you.

* Every profile is initiated or changed starting from ground zero (adapter gamma), not hop-to-hop.

* Start with screen color temperature at Native, even though it will be higher than 5600K. Reason, the controls can only mask the whites and possibly introduce banding. Your eyes adapt easily to color temperature changes, since they do it every day.

* With your HSL monitor, set white point first (luminance), then red arrow using saturation, then Hue to line up green with blue. Understandably, the rgb index points are better suited for crt monitors.

As always, your production eyes will tell you what is best, and it really is ok to make small hsl adjustments afterwards without recalibrating.

NickHope wrote on 6/3/2020, 12:30 PM

I've had mixed success calibrating my LG TV and my few-years-old ASUS ProArt PA246Q monitor, using DisplayCAL and my Spyder 3 Pro.

Starting with the TV set in Game mode, and all the interpolation, smoothing, sharpening etc. off, I got a good calibration by following the tutorial. However the calibration on the ASUS monitor just kept coming out too pink. On the right is the TV and on the left is the monitor:

This is the home made "monitor match" png image I have spread across them:

After a couple of attempts I have decided to just match the ASUS monitor to the TV as well as I can by eye, using it's menus, and not attempt to apply an ICC color profile to it. I'll use the TV to make color judgements.

Another problem I've been having is that my Windows 10 Pro version 1511 unloads the ICC color profile regularly and displays default colors. It seems a lot of people were having this problem when version 1511 was mainstream, and it may well be fixed in later versions. It's irritating to have to reset that 2 or 3 times a day, and dangerous if you're making color judgements and you don't notice that it's happened. So I've abandoned having Windows Color Management apply the profile and today I've started using Color Profile Keeper, which is working well so far.

Musicvid wrote on 6/3/2020, 10:39 PM
  • I did my tests on an ASUS monitor as well, although I'm sure they come with different displays. Did you leave your Intel Graphics set at -15,0,0 RGB as I did?
  • My saved DisplayCal profile loads at every startup, but it can take two full country minutes for it to go through its gymnastics. I have a grayscale saved as my desktop wallpaper, and the profile doesn't need subsequent reloading here.
  • I can see I'm going to have some fun with your target images!


NickHope wrote on 6/4/2020, 6:51 AM

I have a AMD Radeon VEGAS64 GPU, not Intel graphics on this machine. Believe it or not, it doesn't have a straightforward RGB channel mixing control. This is what it provides:

I left that at those neutral settings.

I tweaked the TV settings using my remote control to get in the ballpark. The last time I calibrated, on the "Interactive display adjustment - Whitepoint / White level" step, I'm pretty sure I lined everything up with the white arrows.

It seems like this ICC profile unloading problem does not affect most Windows builds. Anyway Color Profile Keeper is working nicely. It kicks in during bootup and then sits in my system tray. It can be used to change profiles too, if someone wanted to do that.

Besides that stripey graphic, I made a few more "real world" 3840x1080 test images years ago when I was trying to calibrate 2 side by side HD displays. I just mirrored some HD video screengrabs. Here was one of them:

Musicvid wrote on 6/4/2020, 12:27 PM

I wouldn't know how to start with an HSL graphics controller. I would probably tighten the hue last, after ballparking the rest.

I adapted this one from a popular internet target to make it 4096x2160. Every time I look at it I'm convinced by the warm flesh tones that the original embedded profile was probably Adobe RGB.

There is also an option in DisplayCal to load your newly calibrated profile right into the hardware gamma tables, if you want a bit more permanence.

I arrived at my personal graphics correction by concentrating on the response curve, which I'm comfortable working with, and which I found quite amazing when I finally got close. No CRT monitor could come close. Again, this was done at native Kelvin, about 8000°, which works really well at this altitude. Fun stuff.


Musicvid wrote on 6/7/2020, 6:23 PM


Do you have experience with monitor calibration using Resolve?

NickHope wrote on 6/8/2020, 2:00 AM

@Musicvid No. Does it have calibration features? I've pulled back from doing color in Resolve since I struggled to make accurate black and white point corrections with it. I'm back to fiddly VEGAS Color Curves.

Musicvid wrote on 6/8/2020, 2:21 AM

I was digging through Resolve to learn to make 3d LUTS, and ran across at monitor calibration tab. Haven't investigated het.