14 March 2010
24 May 2009
17 May 2009


Monitor Calibration

How true is your monitor’s color?

First a little background, I use a MacBook Pro along with a 30inch Cinema display. When sending client photographs to print, I do not elect to have the lab color correct my photos. Fingers crossed, I have not had any color related issues between what my monitor displays and the lab printed product and the only calibration I would run is the built in monitor calibration tool for my display. With all of that in mind, I previously used a ColorVision calibration tool on my old Windows based PC. Issue: I wanted to ensure that I was getting the most out of my equipment and my prints so I decided it was time to buy a monitor calibration tool for my Mac. Yes, I know, I was already using a calibration tool which was strictly software based. The other issue is that it relied on what I perceived to be “correct”. I wanted a hardware/software 1-2 punch product to ensure I was color correct.

For my search I looked at the Huey, Huey Pro, Spyder3 Pro, Spyder3 Elite, & ColorMunki Photo.

While searching, the Huey had completely inconsistent results and a tremendous amount of feedback around an issue associated with it calibrating creating a red or green cast.  The reviews and feedback on the Huey were terrible with people writing about returning them only to receive a second defective unit. Amazon.com reviews rated The Huey as a 4 overall but has 46 reviews rating it as a 1, 2 or 3 (out of 167 overall ratings).  Even people rating it a 3 were not especially thrilled.  The biggest issue seemed to be associated with Pantone's quality control.  The Huey's bigger brother, the HueyPro seems to have been plagued by the same issues of color casting.   On the Apple Store Web site the Huey Pro received an overall 2 out of 5 stars and no, 1 was not the best.  There were 13 Apple reviews on the product as of this writing. The Huey, HueyPro and ColorMunki appeared to all be from x-rite photo.  Based on that fact combined with all of the Huey color cast issues, I ruled out the ColorMunki as a possible solution. I did not need a product that might be a hassle out of the box.

Price Breakdown:
Spyder3Elite $249
Spyder3Pro $169
Huey $89
HueyPro $129
ColorMunki Photo $499
(Prices Obtained from manufacturer Web sites)

At the end of the day, I went with the Spyder3 Elite and have been very pleased all the way around.  The setup was easy and pain free. The product work correctly out of the box. I know that this seems to be a ridiculous item to be excited about, but considering the reviews on the Huey & HueyPro, it was a definite plus. I was especially excited about the unlimited Gamma choices and unlimited color temperature choices as apposed to only having limited presets to choose from. Overall the Spyder3 Elite was much more customizable and was feature rich. Keep in mind that the Spyder3 Elite was not in the same price range as the standard Huey or the HueyPro, but I was looking for a good solution.  If I could have obtained a quality solution for $50 I would have happily jumped on it.

To be fair, there are a good amount of reviews pertaining to the ColorVision Spyder products rating them as having poor support. They Huey had numerous write ups for the same issue.

For those who purchased the Huey or HueyPro...
If you were fortunate enough to get a good Huey unit out of the box, then be thankful.