Datacolor treats its customers like Apple dropping support for older products

Apple is known to drop support for previous products at any moment they like. But this company is not alone. Datacolor just stopped providing software updates for Spyder2 colorimeters after they released the next generation of their products.

For Spyder2 devices:
As we promised earlier you can now download the software from Spyder3Express to use your Spyder2 sensor with your Lion OS X. Please click the below link to download the appropriate software. Spyder3Express supports a single monitor calibration with target of Gamma 2.2 and 6.500 K white point.
Please understand that your Spyder2 sensor is not compatible with Spyder3Pro and Spyder3Elite software because if it’s missing ambient light sensor. Please also note that Spyder2 sensors are physically not able to read LED backlight color because of its different spectrum of light. If you need to calibrate a monitor display with LED backlight technology please upgrade to the current 3rd generation of Spyder products.

Source: OSX Lion Support for Spyder products

But why? I still have a 6 years old Cinema HD 23″ monitor – the same that I successfully calibrated many times with Spyder2Pro wich I also purchased simultaneously with the monitor. Nothing changed since then, only the operating system is now different. Why not to make Spyder2 drivers for Mac OS 10.6-10.8 like many other companies did for their products? I don’t see any technical reasons here but purely commercial interest – to push sales of new devices. (BTW, my Spyder2Pro does have an ambient light sensor.)

Inconsistency in Colour Display of Digital Screens: Can There Be a Solution?

This is an excerpt of an article that I wrote some time ago. See the complete text and illustrations on my website: Nature Images by Arthur Tiutenko – Articles: Colour Madness

No. The problem that we discussed here is caused by the variety of technical devices being used by people. There is nothing bad in this variety itself, and we should regard it as a completely normal effect of technical progress and competition between hardware and software developers and manufacturers. However, if we can’t completely solve the problem of inconsistent colour display, it doesn’t mean that we should just give up. The following measures may help us to live with it and to reduce its impact:

1. Work with calibrated screens.

Begin with yourself: ensure that the colours that you see and produce in image editing process are correct. The best way to it is to calibrate your computer screen. I work with my images on two computers. Each of them has two displays, i.e. I see my images on 4 screens. Though all of them are of very high quality, I calibrated them immediately after purchase and re-calibrate now and then. I need it because I want my images to look the same on all four screens and want to be certain that their colours are objectively correct, i.e. as much as possible correspond to real-world colours.

Some people believe that it is enough just to work with a good screen. This is only partially true. Of course, a good display is what we always should start with. In my opinion, for work with photos a good monitor is even more important than a powerful computer or software. If you are a photographer, it is wise not to save money with it. You may not buy Adobe Photoshop and use GIMP instead, your computer may be old and slow because you have no budget for an upgrade. In that case you will just need more time to work with your images if the processor is slow or the software is not very sophisticated — but the results will still be good. Things may be completely different when your monitor is a crap. When you work on an image you make it look good on your screen. Making an image match a bad display does not guarantee that it will appear good when the monitor is of top-quality. When first-class monitors cost 2.000 – 4.000 €, you wouldn’t do anything wrong if you pay at least 500 – 700 € for a monitor — which will be if not excellent then at least just good. Further discussion of the requirements that a monitor of a photographer has to meet would exceed the scope of this article, so I would not elaborate on them here. The quality and technical features of a monitor correspond roughly to its price, i.e. you can normally expect from a monitor that costs at least 500 € it will be good enough for image processing.

The next step will be to install a colour profile for the monitor. The best way is to create a customized one as we discussed above.

2. Persevere the colour managed workflow.

Here I am assuming that the operating system of your computer is either Mac OS or Windows. Other OS, such as Linux, may lack colour management features or support them only partially. If you use Photoshop, configure it properly in the Color Settings dialog. If it is a different image editing software, find out how to setup colour management in it.

3. Always publish tagged images.

I’ve seen advices that photos that are to be published in the Internet shouldn’t be provided with colour profiles at all. People who give them are usually arguing that the standardization of browsers goes towards rendering of untagged images with sRGB colour space. Thus there is no need to attach a profile to the image file: it will only increase its size, but the browser will default to sRGB without it and render correct colour. This argumentation is wrong or at least outdated.

The development of browsers and operating systems is going just in opposite direction — towards colour management. It was added to the recent versions of Windows, and to Mozilla Firefox. New browsers — Apple Safari and Google Chrome — are also colour managed, both in Mac OS and Windows. Internet Explorer that lacks colour management is the only browser that works like those writers are suggesting: it displays all images by default with sRGB colour space. But this browser exists only in Windows. Opera that ignores ICC profiles too, defaults to sRGB only in Windows. In Mac OS it uses the current monitor profile, and would render the colours of the same image differently.

4. Find a compromise.

Check the images on as many screens as possible and, if the colours somewhere appear bad, adjust them till they will be looking more or less acceptable on all screens you are checking with. Use only good screens: adjusting the images for bad displays is a really bad idea which was already discussed above.

5. Be aware of your target group of viewers.

It is neither possible nor necessary that your photographs attract all people on the Earth. Like with printed images that you sell, give or just show concrete persons, only certain audience will interested in your images when they will be published in the Internet or distributed on an optical disc. Well, the Internet audience may be very unpredictable and heterogenous. But occasional visitors of your website are normally not those people whom you as a photographer want to impress with your work. More likely you would want to show your images to other photographers, publishers, or other potential buyers. You can expect that they will be using good screens — often better than yours. In that case I would prepare my images only for this audience. I would then either ignore the technical issues that other viewers may have with my images or restrict their access, i.e. redirect their browsers to a page explaining that the online gallery can be accessed only with specific browsers, screen resolution, etc.

6. Don’t take it too serious.

Usually the variations in colour rendering between different browsers, operating systems and displays are quite minor, so that most people even won’t notice any. This is always only you who exactly knows how the colour should be, hence a colour shift that is obvious to you may not be so to other person. In that case, unless the colours are absolutely horrible, just stay cool and do as if everything is all right.

Something ingenious doesn’t need to be complicated

Something ingenious doesn't need to be complicated

Here is a solution for the well-known problem with laptop screens that can drive mad everyone who requires confidence in colour presentation – for instance, a photographer processing images on a mobile computer.

I don’t like the realization though: A piece of velcro has to be sticked to the laptop housing from outside (ugly and inconvenient – particularly on small laptops), this little gauge thing can be lost very easy… I’d wished the laptops to have such a viewing angle indicator built in.