Spyder3Studio SR (AAUG)
I don't recall when I first began using the Spyder to calibrate my computer display, but I do know that lot has changed since then. Then, everyone used film cameras and made their prints with photographic paper. More likely, someone else developed their film and made their prints. Today, most people make photographs with digital cameras and print their photographs on inkjet printers. That gives the average photographer an unprecedented control and responsibility. The quality of what we see on our computer displays and what we print depends in no small part to our skill in digitally manipulating color and brightness in our computers. This can be a frustrating process unless our actions in software yield predicable results on the computer display and with our prints. Given our reliance on our hardware and software, I continue to be surprised that more people do not calibrate and profile their computer display and their printer/paper combinations. This is a critical issue for getting the results that you intend. I think that one of the reasons that people do not calibrate and profile their displays and printers is that many are intimidated by the process. The cost of the tools is a second reason.
Datacolor has certainly addressed the process side of the equation with Spyder3Studio SR because it is the easiest package to understand and use that I have tested. The display calibration software (calibrates both computer displays and digital projectors) and the printer profiling software install from the same DVD and from the same menu although you still have to install them separately (two clicks instead of one). The installation into Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard) went without a hitch. At the end of the installation, the Spyder3Studio SR icon appears in the Dock. To begin, just hook up the Spyder3 spectraphotometer to calibrate your display or projector, or the colorimeter to profile a paper for your printer and then click on the icon in your Dock. In the first screen, you choose whether to calibrate your display, profile your printer or learn about Spyder cube (more about this later). Select either of the first two and you are taken to a new screen where one of the options is "Learn about color management." In other words, you can start using Spyder3Studio SR without knowing anything and then learn as you go. Each screen has a "Help" button at the top right that takes you to a page that includes both basic and more detailed information about that particular step in the process. Datacolor's documentation is very well written.