Alghunaim Photo contacted me last week asking me if I’d be interested in reviewing the Spyder4Pro monitor color calibration tool. Since I’ve always wanted to try one of those tools I passed by and picked it up and then spent the weekend playing around with it.
Every monitor displays colors differently and my 27″ iMac never really felt very accurate when compared to other screens around the house. Even though there is an option built into the Mac system to calibrate the color, it involves a lot of eye squinting and results in a final calibration that I don’t trust. The Spyder takes away all the decision making from me, kinda like a little robot with a focus on keeping the colors on my screen calibrated.
First thing you need to do is install the Spyder software and connect the Sypder to a free USB port on your computer. When you run the software the first test it performs is to measure the ambient light in your room using the light sensor on the Spyder. Once it’s done measuring the light the software then asks you to hang the Spyder on top of the illustrated Spyder on the screen. The Spyder software then proceeds to perform a bunch of tests displaying various colors on the screen while the Spyder measures the results. After a few minutes the test is completed and you’re given an option to either save the new settings or go back to your previous one. You can also compare the new settings with the old one and they even provide you with a variety of pictures to use for comparison.
The best way to perform the before and after comparison is turn away from the screen while changing from one setting to the other. By flipping between the before and after I realized that before the Syder calibration my iMac screen colors were a very cool tone (cool = more towards the blue). After the calibration the colors are more balanced and even the screen brightness which was absurdly bright before is in a much more natural state after the calibration.
All is not good though since I do have a few quibbles here and there but they’re mostly the fault of Datacolor the company and not the Spyder product. My biggest issue is with the documentation or should I say lack of it. The manual doesn’t really tell you about any of the features of the Spyer and it’s also out dated. According to the manual the way to hang the Spyder onto the screen during the tests is with the help of the supplied rubber bands. But the model I got didn’t have any rubber bands and used a simpler newer method using a movable counter weight on the cable. Because of the lack of documentation there’s one feature that’s still confusing me. When connected to your computer the Spyder continuously measures the ambient room light and informs you with a a red icon if the light is different from when calibrated. What’s confusing me is what to do when the ambient light doesn’t match the one the test was performed with? Do I calibrate the display with different ambient light? Do I perform a test during the day and a test during the night? Do I switch between the different color settings myself? I have no idea what to do and the Datacolor website doesn’t even have the latest manuals uploaded yet alone answers to my questions. If you actually do end up purchasing the Spyder I would actually recommend you visit the product page on Amazon where one reviewer has a step by step guide on how to set everything up. That’s how poor the product’s documentation is.
But, even with the poor documentation I’ve still decided I’m going to purchase the Spyder4pro. The thing is it works and it works really well. Within just a few minutes after setting up to your computer you’ll start seeing results and the difference in some cases can be dramatic. It’s really something every serious photographer should have and also anyone doing any sort of design work. I highly recommend it.
Usually at the end of a review I’d proceed to place links to Amazon but in this case Alghunaim actually sells the Syper for prices slightly less than Amazon. He has three models in the store priced as following:
The three Spyders are similar but each offers additional features than the other model. To see which one is suitable for you check out the chart [Here]
I’m going with the Spyder4Pro because it has the ambient light sensor which is missing from the Spyder4express and I also don’t really need any of the extra features from the Spyder4elite.
Alghunaim Photo is located in Baitak Tower in Kuwait City. Here my my previous post about them [Link]
I previously read Jazeera was getting their own terminal and I’m guessing this design is it. [Images Source]
The quote below is taken from the Jazeera Airways website:
Jazeera Airways Terminal
We are on track to have moved some 4 million passengers by end 2008 and project passengers in excess of 8 m by 2012. The Jazeera Airways custom built dedicated terminal is our response to protect the integrity of our service offerings and offer the passengers a dedicated Jazeera Experience that is second to none and maintain our On Time excellence. [Source]
What else do we need in Kuwait? Here’s what I think Alshaya should get next:
- Pret A Manger
- In N Out
- Barnes & Noble
Update: Just found out there’s another one as well, “I want your faith“
Mo is a 22 year old Kuwaiti student currently studying at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. When I first saw some of his illustrations they instantly grabbed my attention since I found them very strange. I contacted him by email and spoke to him regarding his thoughts and future plans.
According to Mo his illustrations come from the core of his personality, it’s who he truly is without the filters of ego and peer pressures. He’s also excited about coming back to Kuwait after he graduates since he feels there is a lot of potential now more than ever for Kuwait to generate culture on its own.
A lot of culture in Kuwait is homogenized, it comes from the West for the most part. There is the traditional Kuwaiti culture, but that is really just a backdrop being humored for the popular culture, the influx of movies and other entertainment is where the interest of younger and even older generations truly lie. People today have the wonderful luxury of taking in media from around the world, and I think some of the talented and passionate people in Kuwait today are digesting influences from both Western and Eastern creators into their subconscious minds. Something that has popped up in the GCC area has been the advent of interesting and funny animated programs, not to mention the lauded 99 comic book series. I believe that I can help contribute to this newly generating culture, and offer something different than the humor of the animated series and the super-hero stories of the 99.
He’s got a bunch of his illustrations up on his blog which you can check by clicking [Here]
Going by the trailer it looks like a pretty interesting and well made documentary. Makes me look at Saudi Arabia in a completely different light. [YouTube]
This new school is designed to promote experimental teaching, to branch away from the rote memorization model of learning that ensures that most Kuwaitis have zero knowledge of their agricultural history. To implement a more hands on approach, the designer created plenty of outdoor space at grade and even on the school’s roof.
A presentation of the new Kuwait Airport by Foster+Partners. [YouTube]
Update: I’ve updated the video link to a working one.