This is a quick list of our recommended monitor and printer calibrators. For our full range of products please select the monitor calibrator and system calibrator categories from the menu above.
If you require more information about colour control and calibration in general - read some of our articles on calibration:
In terms of monitor only calibrators there is a pretty clear cut choice in this area - the i1Display Pro.
We strongly recommend this calibrator to all image makers. The accuracy of this device has been independently tested and found to be an order of magnitude ahead of older calibrators (such as the Eye One Display 1 & 2 and Spyders 3, 4).
It offers better results, has more features, and is noticeably cheaper than the Spyder5 Elite which is the only real competitor.
The i1Display Pro has been specifically designed to cope with current monitors - such as those with LED backlighting (like iMacs/Cinema Displays) and Wide Gamut screens. Data from NEC's magnificent wide gamut PA monitors was used in the development of these calibrators so they offer superb accuracy.
The software is clever and well designed, and although it initially takes a little getting used to, we have a very comprehensive guide to get you started.
Being the industry standard, this calibrator is also compatible with pretty much everything - after-market calibration software, Eizo's ColorNavigator and NEC's SpectraView, and all types of monitors including CRT, LCDs, OLEDs, Plasmas, front projectors and more.
We don't think you save enough with the cheaper calibrators to make their significantly reduced capabilities acceptable. The i1 is fast, accurate, easy to use and reliable and without doubt the best choice in monitor calibrators.
The DataColor Spyder 5 Express offers a very affordable colour management system and if you're on a budget it's the best choice.
Like most cheaper calibrators it does most of its work in profiling rather than calibration, but it's the best budget option in terms of accuracy and reliability - it is slightly slower to use, but the quality is well worth the extra time.
The software is very very simple to use and is great for first time users as you can just follow the prompts.
The wizard interface will get you going fast, and since there are basically no options, it's hard to get anything wrong during the process.
The main thing to consider is - do you save enough versus the i1 Display Pro to make this worthwhile? In the long term a more full featured, compatible with everything calibrator is the better choice.
But if you're after a cheap, good and simple option, then this is the best choice.
The i1 System from X-Rite is a fantastic platform for colour management.
All based around the excellent, easy to use and accurate i1 spectrophotometer, there are packages available to suit every need. The i1 (AKA Eye One) range is the industry standard, professional level, colour management system.
The i1 is also
capable of taking densitometric readings.
Densitometry measures how much light, in total, is being reflected by an
object (irrespective of what colour that light is). These reading are
used in all sorts of scenarios such as CMYK linearisation and paper
comparisons (e.g comparing d-max between papers - i.e. just how black
are your blacks?).
For a comprehensive colour management package, the i1Publish Pro 2 is recommended for people needing consistency across all their devices and for those wanting to make a greater investment into colour management. It allows you to calibrate screens and produce your own RGB and CMYK output profiles, calibrate scanners, cameras and digital projectors, measure ambient light sources, and take spot readings of almost any surface.
If you're not going to deal with CMYK at any point, then you can save a bit and go for the i1Photo Pro 2 package. You can always add the CMYK module later if you ever do need it (although of course it costs slightly more when you buy the module later).
The i1Basic 2 Package is the cheapest way to get an i1 spectrophotometer. It is typically bought by those wanting to use an i1 with their existing RIP system, or after-market calibration software.
The X-Rite i1 Studio is by far the most affordable, very easy to use and highest quality system calibrator in the market.
It's vastly better than the Spyder option in this area - the printer profiles are simply much better and it's a lot less fiddly to use.
We recommended it to amateurs on a budget who are keen to bring greater quality to their colour and for people who don't already have any calibrator and want to sort out monitors and printers in one go!
The i1 Studio can calibrate your whole workflow - monitors, scanners, projectors and printers.
It also comes with an application that allows you to take spot measurements and convert it into all sorts of values - LAB, other RGB colour spaces, and the closest matching Pantone library colour (very handy for graphic designers trying to match packaging etc!).
The software that comes with it is easy and
excellent. In all, the i1 Studio is highly recommended.
If you're a keen paper experimenter, then using a custom profiling service can feel too slow - so even if ultimately you get a really proper custom profile made for your very favourite papers (to eke out that last few percent of quality), having a i1 Studio is great for testing things initially.
- Jenny L -
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