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FAQ: Which meter is right for me?

 
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PostLink    Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:15 am    Post subject: FAQ: Which meter is right for me? Reply with quote


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Which Meter Is Right for Me?
Updated: December 31, 2013 - Many of these meters are now discontinued, with the Display 3 basically replacing all low/mid-end meters

I don't have time to read all this. What's the best meter?

By far the meter package we recommend the most is the Display 3 PRO meter with ChromaPure. It is, by a wide margin, the best bang for the buck meter for prosumers, dedicated amateurs, or even the professional just starting out. It is very accurate and fast, with easy to use and intuitive ChromaPure software to walk you through the steps. Perfect for any display technology.

Need more details? Keep reading ...

Introduction

Many meters are available for greyscale and colour calibration. What follows below is a short list of popular meters recommended by CurtPalme.com.

Colorimeters, Spectroradiometers, Spectrophotometers: What's the difference and why do I care?

A tristimulus colorimeter measures the colour of a display by using three separate sensors to measure red, green, and blue. Each of the sensors sits behind a filter that isolates a particular colour. Using a tristimulus colorimeter is conceptually equivalent to using a normal white light meter and putting different filters on it for measuring different colours.

In an attempt to accurately model human colour vision using three filters, in the year 1931 the CIE (Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage, or International Commission on Illumination) defined the Standard Observer characterized by three colour matching functions:



The filters in a tristimulus colorimeter are modeled after this colour matching function to mimic the human eye's response to red, blue and green. How well a colorimeter works is based on how well the manufacturer is able to match these curves to mimic this response to various display types. A filter-based colorimeter doesn't always get it exactly right however. Why? Accurately matching these complex curves and remaining affordable is always trade-off.

A spectroradiometer (also called a spectrophotometer) on the other hand reads light completely differently. It does not rely on filters as a way of mimicking human colour vision, but rather measures the spectra of a display directly in small bands and uses an industry standard formula to calculate the red, blue and green response. What you see is what you get! Its accuracy depends only on the bandwidth, sensitivity, and resolution of the device. This is why (generally speaking) spectroradiometers don't care what sort of display you're measuring.

The Spyder 1/2/3/4, EyeOne Display 2/LT, DTP-94, Chroma 5, EyeOne Display 3, and Hubble are colorimeters. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and JETI Specbos 1201/1211 are spectroradiometers.

Most of the very bad meters that clutter the world, delivering unreliable and wildly inaccurate results, are colorimeters. That is because colorimeters can be manufactured very cheaply. But just because bad meters are mostly colorimeters does not mean all colorimeters are bad meters. Designed and manufactured correctly, either technology can provide excellent results. The underlying technology employed is not the way to judge a meter. Each technology has its advantages, and each has its drawbacks.

We've also published a series of Colour Science articles that deal with calibration in general. The following articles are definite must-reads for anyone looking at purchasing a meter:

Colour Science: About Meter Accuracy
Colour Science: Video Calibration Myths

For the complete list of articles, see here. Note that some of these articles are quite technical so don't worry if they don't make much sense to you. You don't need to understand the intricacies of what goes on in a calibration meter to perform an actual calibration!

So what's the best meter?

People want lists so here's one! Generally speaking, from worst to best we have:

1. Spyder 1/2/3/4 (not recommended)
2. EyeOne Display 2/LT
3. EyeOne Display 2/LT PRO (discontinued)
4. X-Rite DTP-94 (discontinued)
5. X-Rite DTP-94 PRO (discontinued)
6. X-Rite Chroma 5 (discontinued)
7. X-Rite Chroma 5 PRO (discontinued)
8. X-Rite Display 3
9. X-Rite Display 3 PRO
10. X-Rite EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 (Not suitable as your one and only meter in most cases)
11. X-Rite Hubble (discontinued)
12. JETI Specbos 1201 (Not suitable as your one and only meter in most cases)
13. JETI Specbos 1211

This list assumes new colorimeters that are reasonable accurate to begin with and/or have not drifted. Colorimeters can (and should) be periodically recalibrated to ensure they retain their initial accuracy. This eliminates the problems associated with exposure to the elements over time that affect all colorimeters. We recommend doing this yearly. All of the colorimeters listed above may be recalibrated (more information below).

Other budget/homemade meters exist but they're fairly rare and some present questionable results. They're not worth mentioning here given the low price that even reasonable meters can be purchased for.

Others, such as the JETI Specbos 1201/1211 are true reference quality meters that meet strict SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) standards. These true reference meters are used to calibrate other meters. It's not possible to buy more accurate meters than these reference meters.

An important thing to keep in mind is that using any meter is better than trying to calibrate by eye or by using only test DVDs or Blu-ray discs. Our eyes are horrible at differentiating colours. The idea of being able to calibrate a display with only a $20 test disc and our eyes just doesn't make any sense. It simply cannot be done with any degree of accuracy in a repeatable manner.

It's also important to note that just because you can't afford the best meter doesn't mean you won't reap great rewards by calibrating your display with even a less expensive meter. There is a serious steep 'law of diminishing returns' price/performance curve with meters. It's possible to pay 10-20 times more for a meter that is only slightly better than another model but only achieve 1-2% greater accuracy. Professional calibrators use professional quality meters not only because they're more accurate, but also because they read incredibly fast (time is money when you're paid to calibrate) and are built to withstand the abuse of daily use on the road.

If you're at all serious about Home Theater please calibrate your display. Proper greyscale and colour calibration is regarded as one of (if not the) most important actions that should be performed on all TVs or projectors for optimal picture quality. You will be astounded by the resulting difference in picture quality.

So which is most accurate?

This is a nearly impossible question to answer. "It depends". An i1Pro, Chroma 5, or Display 3 will have lower errors than the Display 2/LT. That much is true. Of course, they also cost more. So the question is not so much one of accuracy, but rather "What you are willing to pay for?" Are you satisfied paying $200 for a meter that removes 80% of the errors or would your rather pay 2-3 times more to remove 90-95% of the errors? Of course, if you invest in a professional quality tool you can remove 95%-99% of the visible errors. Again, notice that the price/performance curve is not particularly consumer friendly. You have to pay a significantly greater amount for what is really just an incremental improvement in accuracy. For casual amateurs, something like the Display 2/LT is fine. For prosumers and dedicated amateurs, or even the professional just starting out, the Display 3 PRO is probably the best choice.

For more information, read this article: Colour Science: About Meter Accuracy

Why buy two meters?

Sometimes kits are listed that feature two meters. Why? As is usually the case, there's usually a trade-off so you'll often see kits with two different meters. Typically one will be a colorimeter and the other will be a spectroradiometer. For example: The Display 3 colorimeter and the EyeOne Pro 2 spectroradiometer kit.

Even an inexpensive colorimeter like the Display 2/LT or Display 3 reads extremely fast but drifts over time as it uses a filter that slowly degrades. A spectroradiometer like the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 on the other hand reads very slowly but remains more accurate over time since there's no filter to degrade. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 also does not read low light levels very well so it's not the perfect choice for gamma and contrast measurements that will generally require readings below the EyeOne Pro's effective operating range.

So what to do? Simple! Pro's and enthusiasts use software such as ChromaPure to create a meter offset make the Display 2/LT or Display 3 read like the more accurate EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 or even more accurate JETI Specbos 1201/1211. This gives the Display 2/LT/3 the accuracy of the better meter and also gives you the low light sensitivity required to read down to near black. The best of both worlds! You do your readings with the colorimeter (called your "field" meter) and your spectroradiometer remains your "reference" meter used to keep the Display 2/LT/3 accurate as it drifts over time. (Note that some of the better reference meters like the JETI Specbos 1211 will actual perform very well to low light levels so you can use it as your 'only' meter if required. Though if you can afford a Specbos 1211 you likely will also own a fast colorimeter as the extra price is somewhat insignificant in the grand scheme of things).

For those that don't want the added up front cost of owning a spectroradiometer, we offer calibration services in which your colorimeter (such as the Display 2/LT or Display 3) is measured against a reference JETI Specbos 1201/1211. Offset tables are created which you then use in ChromaPure software to increase the accuracy of the colorimeter. The meter itself is not modified. While not as good as owning your own spectroradiometer and creating these offsets every time you use your colorimeter, it is still considerably better than nothing, especially if the colorimeter is starting to get old and drift. A yearly recalibration of your colorimeter helps keep it accurate.

Budget Meters:

Budget meters are typically what users on a budget will consider for calibration use. Some of the cheaper ones are not even individually calibrated to begin with at the factory (more on this below). They are filter based meters so they will drift over time and should be replaced or recalibrated about once a year to ensure accuracy. Keep them in a cool/dark/dry place to minimize drifting. Many users use a sealed ziplock plastic bag or case of some sort with silica gel packets to absorb moisture from the air.

Spyder 1/2/3/4 meters




Our experience has been that Spyder meters typically deliver results that are unpredictable. This is true for the Spyder 1, 2, and 3. In tests and discussions with pro calibrators we've found that approximately one third of Spyder units seem to be very accurate, the next third are slightly off, and the last third are considerably more inaccurate. Unfortunately there's no way to know how your Spyder unit rates unless you have a known accurate meter to compare it against. The reason for this disparity in accuracy is that Spyder units are not calibrated at the factory as they come off the assembly line and since they're fairly inexpensive units, manufacturing tolerances are probably much looser than with higher end units. The end result is a variance in accuracy between units. Therefore most calibration experts do not recommend that Spyder meters be used as you simply don't know what sort of results to expect.

The obvious advantage of the Spyder is cost: A low end Spyder can be had for under $100. In our humble opinion you're better off spending just a little more at a minimum to get something that has some sort of guaranteed level of accuracy. While we're all interested in saving money, buying a meter only to question the results and *then* having to purchase a second (better) meter isn't much of a savings!

Spyder meters are not temperature compensated. This means that readings will change as temperature changes. If you wish to use a Spyder on displays such as plasmas (which tend to run hot), leave the meter on the display for at least 30 minutes (with the display on) before starting a calibration. This will help to offset the errors a bit.

If you do have a known good reference meter and Spyder, you can use the offset feature of ChromaPure to measure exactly how far off the Spyder is and create an offset table. ChromaPure can will return reasonably accurate results from the Spyder using this offset tables.

For those that are curious we performed a really simple Spyder2 vs Display 2/LT Sensor Comparison using two brand new meters. While this sample size obviously isn't a good judge of what to expect in all situations it still is truthful information about what sort of variances you may be getting when buying a new Spyder and new Display 2/LT. Our comparison includes information and example graphs of readings done with both meter types. It's only one Spyder sample of course, but interesting nonetheless. Spend more money on a meter and you're likely to see less variances from one unit to the next.

The Spyder meters can be recalibrated for use in ChromaPure by testing them against a reference JETI Specbos 1201/1211 spectroradiometer on multiple display types. Offset tables are then created for use in ChromaPure to ensure that you get as accurate results as possible. This also compensates for any drift that may have occurred over time, essentially recalibrating your meter. We always recommend recalibration instead of buying a new meter, not only because it costs less, but because it also keeps more stuff out of landfills!


X-Rite EyeOne Display 2/LT, Display 2/LT PRO (discontinued)



The EyeOne Display meter actually comes in two retail box versions: The EyeOne Display 2 and the EyeOne Display LT. These are in fact the same meter, what differs is the retail software packaging. Both versions come with software to automatically calibrate PC/Mac displays by creating a custom display response curve used by your video card (typically of no use to home theater users). The Display 2 version comes with slightly fancier PC/Mac monitor calibration software. The two meters are identical in terms of hardware.

The Display 2/LT is a nearly ideal meter for the person who is new to video calibration. It is inexpensive, fast, has excellent low-light capabilities, and is the most accurate of the budget meters. For front projector calibration we recommend using a universal tripod mount to make life easier. In a pinch, painters tape also works to hold the meter to a tripod, but the tripod mount is easier/more flexible.

If you're the type of person that only will only be calibrating your own TV or projector rarely, is on a budget, and doesn't need absolute perfection, this is the meter for you. The results will be better than anything you could achieve using only your eyes and a calibration DVD/Blu-ray.

Unlike the (only slightly) lower priced Spyder meters, the X-Rite Eye One Display 2/LT is calibrated at the factory as they come off the assembly line. As such, our experience has been that they are all reasonably accurate consistent from unit to unit. This factory calibration most certainly has a lot to do with it.

Colorimeters like the Display 2/LT do drift faster than spectroradiometers so it's best to always get one that's as fresh as possible. Always purchase one from a place that has high turn around, or get the unit calibrated at the time of purchase. You do not want a unit that's been sitting around at hot/humid warehouse for quite some time before being sold to you.

The Display 2/LT is temperature compensated but this compensation is not as accurate as (say) a Chroma 5 however. If you wish to use a Display 2/LT on plasmas (which tend to run hot), leave the meter on the display for at least 30 minutes (with the display on) before starting a calibration. This will help with errors.

Care must also be taken to avoid having stray light hit the Display 2/LT meter from the side. For this reason this meter will be more reliable in some situations as a contact meter (where the meter is placed against the display) instead of as a non-contact meter (for calibrating projectors). If you wish to use the Display 2/LT to calibrate a front projector, care must be taken to avoid any stray light hitting the meter. This means closing all blinds or curtains, turning off all lights, and even making sure to keep the laptop running the calibration software closed while readings are being taken. It's also not uncommon for the bright blue lights of home theater equipment to completely throw readings off at the lower end of the spectrum!

The Display 2/LT meter reads very fast (much faster than the Spyder) and also reads fairly low (ie: darker patterns) such that you're likely to get reasonable accurate readings all the way down to 20 IRE on most displays as long as you're careful with stray light. If you require very accurate readings right down to very close to essentially black (0 IRE), consider the Hubble or the EyeOne Display 3(see below).

Note that some LCD displays can pose challenges for the Display 2/LT and colorimeters in general. Colorimeters can give erroneous results when calculating these displays. The errors aren't huge, but they're there, and most people don't go to the trouble of calibrating their displays for the purpose of making them "not too wrong". The problem is with LCDs in general and is not directly related to the difference between CCFL backlit and LED backlit displays.

A special version of the Display 2/LT called the Display 2/LT PRO is available that increases accuracy for use with not only LCD displays, but other displays as well. It uses special offset tables for various display types when used with ChromaPure. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and JETI Specbos 1201/1211 are also good choice if you wish to remain somewhat future proof and ensure accuracy when calibrating just about any display. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and JETI Specbos units do not need to compensated as they read light completely differently as they are spectroradiometers.

The Display 2/LT PRO units are all individually tested against a reference JETI Specbos 1201/1211 spectroradiometer on multiple display types. Offset tables are then created for use in ChromaPure to ensure that you get as accurate results as possible. This also compensates for any drift that may have occurred over time, essentially recalibrating your meter. We always recommend recalibration instead of buying a new meter, not only because it costs less, but because it also keeps more stuff out of landfills!

More information on the Display 2/LT, Display 2/LT PRO »


X-Rite DTP-94 / DTP-94 PRO (discontinued)



Those of you that have been doing calibrations for some time will recognize the DTP-94. It's the pre-cursor to the Chroma 5 and was unfortunately pulled off the market a few years ago. It is still used by some home theater enthusiasts.

Performance wise the DTP-94 sits squarely between the Display 2/LT and the Chroma 5. It is a fast reading meter that reads well down to fairly low light levels. It reads lower, more accurately, and more consistently than the Display 2/LT but not quite as well as the Chroma 5.

The DTP-94 is more similar to the Chroma 5 as the Chroma 5 was actually designed from the DTP-94 (the specifications are very similar). Think of the DTP-94 as a budget version of the Chroma 5. It reads nearly as fast but isn't quite as accurate. The easiest way to compare the two meters is to think of the Chroma 5 as a low priced professional meter while the DTP-94 is the best performing consumer class colorimeter you can get.

The DTP-94 is temperature compensated.

The DTP-94 was primarily designed for flat panel and CRT displays but it works well with projectors. Heed the same warnings mentioned above in the Display 2/LT section however about eliminating stray or ambient light.

For front projector calibration we recommend using a universal tripod mount to make life easier. In a pinch, painters tape also works to hold the meter to a tripod, but the tripod mount is easier/more flexible.

Note that some LCD displays can pose challenges for the DTP-94 and colorimeters in general. Colorimeters can give erroneous results when calculating these displays. The errors aren't huge, but they're there, and most people don't go to the trouble of calibrating their displays for the purpose of making them "not too wrong". The problem is with LCDs in general and is not directly related to the difference between CCFL backlit and LED backlit displays.

A special version of the DTP-94 called the DTP-94 PRO is available that increases accuracy for use with not only LCD displays, but other display types as well. It uses special offset tables for various displays when used with ChromaPure. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and JETI Specbos 1201/1211 are also good choice if you wish to remain somewhat future proof and ensure accuracy when calibrating just about any display. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and JETI Specbos units do not need to compensated as they read light completely differently as they are spectroradiometers.

The DTP-94 PRO units are all individually tested against a reference JETI Specbos 1201/1211 spectroradiometer on multiple display types. Offset tables are then created for use in ChromaPure to ensure that you get as accurate results as possible. This also compensates for any drift that may have occurred over time, essentially recalibrating your meter. We always recommend recalibration instead of buying a new meter, not only because it costs less, but because it also keeps more stuff out of landfills!

More information on the DTP-94 /DTP-94 PRO »


High End (Pro) Meters:

These are some of the higher-end meters that are typically used for video display calibration by enthusiasts and professionals looking for quality pro-grade or reference equipment: The Chroma 5, the EyeOne Display 3 (aka 'i1 Display PRO III'), the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 (aka 'i1 Pro' and 'i1 Pro 2'), and the Hubble. All are excellent meters and provide great accuracy and are manufactured to X-Rite's high standards, so any of them will be robust and reliable. The reference JETI Specbos 1201/1211 reference spectroradiometer is also included in this list. It's a true reference device and is accurate enough to be used to calibrate other meters. All pair extremely well with ChromaPure calibration software.


X-Rite Chroma 5 / Chroma 5 PRO (discontinued)



The Chroma 5 (also sold as the Progressive Labs C-5 and the Sencore CP6000 ColorPro) is the big brother to the DTP-94 and Display 2/LT. The main advantage of the Chroma 5 is that it reads more accurately, consistently, and lower (closer to black) than the lower end meters. It also employs better temperature compensation so the Chroma 5 stays more accurate with changing ambient temperatures (such as found on plasma displays which tend to run hot). It can also can be calibrated to tighter standards.

The Chroma 5 is also one of the easiest devices to use because it requires no dark reading calibration. Some meters require that they be covered up and a reading taken either when they're first connected or every 10-20 minutes as you calibrate. It only takes a second but it annoys a lot of people! For comparison sake, the Display 2/LT, EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2, and Hubble requires a dark reading when the meter is initially connected. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and the Hubble then also require periodic dark readings throughout the calibration session.

The Chroma 5 was primarily designed for flat panel and CRT displays but it works well with projectors. Heed the same warnings mentioned above in the Display 2/LT section however about eliminating stray or ambient light.

For front projector calibration we recommend using a universal tripod mount to make life easier. In a pinch, painters tape also works to hold the meter to a tripod, but the tripod mount is easier/more flexible.

The Chroma 5 is one of the few meters that can be locked or modified to only work with one software product. If you think you may want to use your Chroma 5 with other software in the future, make sure to ask the seller if their unit is locked or modified in any way. Already own a Chroma 5? Contact us at kal@curtpalme.com and we'll send you a tester application to see if yours is locked or modified in any way that may render your meter unusable with other software. If the tester application works then you're free to use your Chroma 5 with any software that works with unlocked/unmodified meters. If it does not work then you're likely limited to only using the software it was sold with.

Note that some LCD displays can pose challenges for the Chroma 5 and colorimeters in general. Colorimeters can give erroneous results when calculating these displays. The errors aren't huge, but they're there, and most people don't go to the trouble of calibrating their displays for the purpose of making them "not too wrong". The problem is with LCDs in general and is not directly related to the difference between CCFL backlit and LED backlit displays.

A special version of the Chroma 5 called the Chroma 5 PRO is available that increases accuracy for use with not only LCD displays, but other display types as well. It uses special offset tables for various displays when used with ChromaPure. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 or JETI Specbos units are also good choices if you wish to remain somewhat future proof and ensure accuracy when calibrating just about any display. They does not need to compensated as they read light completely differently as they are spectroradiometers.

The PRO units are all individually tested against a reference JETI Specbos 1201/1211 spectroradiometer on multiple display types. Offset tables are then created for use in ChromaPure to ensure that you get as accurate results as possible. This also compensates for any drift that may have occurred over time, essentially recalibrating your meter. We always recommend recalibration instead of buying a new meter, not that anyone would likely buy a new Chroma 5 every time it drifts a bit!

More information on the Chroma 5 / Chroma 5 PRO »


X-Rite EyeOne Display 3 / Display 3 PRO



The X-Rite Display 3 (the official name is 'i1 Display PRO III') is the newest meter from X-Rite, first introduced on June 21, 2011 where it surprised consumers and professional calibrators alike with its high performance at a low price. The Display 3 reads about three times faster and to lower light levels than the Chroma 5, and costs less! In fact, the read speed above 10 cd/m2 is similar to the approximately 10 times more expensive Hubble!

The main advantages of the Display 3 is that it reads much more accurately, consistently, and lower (closer to black) than the lower end meters. It even reads better than some of the other higher end, more expensive meters. For example, the more expensive Chroma 5 is rated to read down to 0.01 cd/m2 light output while the Display 3 is able to read down to 0.003 cd/m2 (0.001 fL), or about one-third as bright. This is due to the Display 3 lens system which is able to capture and focus more light onto the filter diodes, providing much better low-light sensitivity and much faster readings (similar to the Hubble).

Colour accuracy is also excellent: The stock Display 3 shows errors no higher than xy0.006 for both color and white relative to a $10,000 reference spectroradiometer. This is performance comparable to a stock Chroma 5.

The Display 3 does not require temperature compensation as it is a non-contact meter (like the Hubble) so the temperature of the display does not come into play. It does however come with a counterweight so that it can indeed be used in contact mode if desired or when ambient light cannot be controlled easily.

The non-contact design means that the readings will not be affected by the heat a display might emit (older plasmas are especially prone to this), nor is there any danger of damaging the delicate surface of a flat panel. There is no laser aiming device built-in to the unit however such as with the Hubble. We're sure some intrepid DIY'ers will manage to somehow attach a small laser pointer of some sort. Wink

Because the filters on the Display 3 are installed in a sealed environment, they are not subject to the same type of degradation in performance over time that is typical of less expensive contact meters. This means that the Display 3 needs to be recalibrated less often than a typical colorimeter.

The Display 3 is also one of the easiest devices to use because, like the Chroma 5, it requires no dark reading calibration. Some meters require that they be covered up and a reading taken either when they're first connected or every 10-20 minutes as you calibrate. It only takes a second but it annoys a lot of people! For comparison sake, the Display 2/LT, EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2, and Hubble requires a dark reading when the meter is initially connected. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and the Hubble then also require periodic dark readings throughout the calibration session.

A tripod mount is not required with the Display 3 as one is built in, which helps reduce upfront costs.

Note that some LCD displays can pose challenges for the Display 3 and colorimeters in general. Colorimeters can give erroneous results when calculating these displays. The errors aren't huge, but they're there, and most people don't go to the trouble of calibrating their displays for the purpose of making them "not too wrong". The problem is with LCDs in general and is not directly related to the difference between CCFL backlit and LED backlit displays.

A special version of the Display 3 called the Display 3 PRO is available that increases accuracy for use with not only LCD displays, but other display types as well. It uses special offset tables for various displays when used with ChromaPure. The Display 3 PRO increases the stock Display 3 colour and white point accuracy such that in the majority of cases it exceeds that of the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 spectroradiometer. The JETI Specbos units are also good choices (though more expensive) if you wish to remain somewhat future proof and ensure accuracy when calibrating just about any display. They do not need to compensated as they read light completely differently as they are spectroradiometers.

The PRO units are all individually tested against a reference JETI Specbos 1201/1211 spectroradiometer on multiple display types. Offset tables are then created for use in ChromaPure to ensure that you get as accurate results as possible. This also compensates for any drift that may have occurred over time, essentially recalibrating your meter. We always recommend recalibration instead of buying a new meter. Unlike the Display 2/LT and Chroma 5 however, the filters on the Display 3 are completely enclosed so they are less likely to deteriorate as a result of exposure to environmental factors.

When someone needs to choose one single sub-$1000 meter for video calibrations, the Display 3 PRO is the meter that we HIGHLY suggest. The Display 3 PRO is a colorimeter that offers professional grade performance at a price affordable to the amateur hobbyist or enthusiast. No other single meter even comes close. This title used to be held by the Chroma 5, but with the introduction of the Display 3, we see no reason to suggest the Chroma 5 anymore.

Why would I buy a Display 3 or Display 3 PRO instead of an EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2?

The stock Display 3 is less expensive than the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 and may meet your needs, particularly if you are not a professional calibrator and only want to purchase one meter. The Display 3 PRO on the other hand increases the accuracy of the stock Display 3 such that it is more accurate than the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 in the majority of cases and still less expensive.

Why would I buy a Display 3 in addition to a EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2?

If you are a professional calibrator, or even a hobbyist who spends a lot of time calibrating, you will find that the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 (being a spectrophotometer) is quite slow. This is particularly true at low light levels. If you're a pro you don't want to spend most of your time waiting for your meter. The Display 3 provides almost instantaneous results so you can perform the same readings over and over while adjusting the display's settings.

The ChromaPure meter offset feature allows Display 3 users to achieve even higher accuracy by creating an offset of your Display 3 using a spectroradiometer (such as the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 or even more accurate JETI Specbos 1201/1211). ChromaPure compares the differences in readings and then allows you to automatically adjust what the Display 3 records as if it was the other meter. The end result is fast calibration increased accuracy.

More information on the Display 3 / Display 3 PRO »


X-Rite EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2



The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 is a true spectroradiometer (spectrophotometer), and thus offers accurate readings for the widest range of displays at a reasonable affordable price.

The only drawback is relatively limited low-light sensitivity. It simply does not read as low (close to black) as most colorimeters - even the inexpensive ones! The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 alone is therefore not the perfect choice for gamma and contrast measurements that will generally require readings below the meter's effective operating range. For truly reference spectroradiometer performance, consider the JETI Specbos 1211 (the one meter that can 'do it all').

The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 is, however, a nearly ideal choice for use together with the Display 2/LT, Chroma 5, or Display 3 colorimeter, both of which can work well in very low light settings. Simply create an offset in ChromaPure using the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 as a reference and then use that offset to correct the response of the other meter.

Although the color performance of inexpensive meters (such as the Display 2/LT) is not as good as the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2, their luminance performance is remarkably accurate down to surprisingly low levels. Furthermore, once color corrected by a known reference, they maintain their accuracy down to very low levels as well.

The combination of the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 together with either of these colorimeters offers excellent accuracy, speed, and low-light sensitivity and is suitable for professional calibrations.

In addition to its superb accuracy it is the most versatile meter available anywhere due to the spectroradiometer technology used. It is able to read just about any kind of display accurately including CRT, plasma, LCD, the newest LED, front projector, rear projector, etc. If you own more than one meter, one of them should most likely be an EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2.

Spectroradiometer technology is typically slow however: It takes longer for each read to come back and update the software that you happen to be using. Especially at the dark end of the grayscale. A reading that will take the Chroma 5 a couple of seconds might take the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 a good 30 or 60 seconds. There are faster spectro's however (such as the JETI Specbos 1211 but at much greater cost). This means that performing a calibration can take longer as you spend more time waiting for the readings to update. Whether the extra time is worth it or not is a call each person has to make for themselves. While most home users may not care, the professional who spends many hours a day doing calibration for a living would be pulling their hair out. (Which is why pro's will typically use a faster colorimeter with an offset created against the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 to get the best of both worlds: Accuracy and speed).

For front projector calibration we recommend using a universal tripod mount to make life easier.

How does the new EyeOne Pro 2 compare to the original?

The new EyeOne Pro 2 is shown on the left, the original EyeOne Pro on the right:


In 2012 X-Rite released an updated version of the EyeOne Pro called the EyeOne Pro 2 (i1Pro 2). This version replaces the extremely stable revision D version that people have known and used for years. The accuracy of the EyeOne Pro 2 is the same for the original EyeOne Pro. It looks and feels like it is better built, and is heavier. It is better isolated from temperature (partially due to the aluminum outer shell) and it reads higher levels of luminance, but the vast majority of the improvements made are for reflectance readings for those who use it for photography and print work, not for the emissive mode that we use for calibrating displays.

The EyeOne Pro 2 looks and behaves identically as the EyeOne Pro as far as supporting software is concerned. If software supports the EyeOne Pro, then it will also work with the EyeOne Pro 2. No software or driver changes are required.

Why would I buy a Chroma 5 or Display 3 in addition to an EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2?

If you are a professional calibrator, or even a hobbyist who spends a lot of time calibrating, you will find that the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 (being a spectrophotometer) is quite slow. This is particularly true at low light levels. If you're a pro you don't want to spend most of your time waiting for your meter. The Chroma 5 or Display 3 provides almost instantaneous results so you can perform the same readings over and over while adjusting the display's settings.

The ChromaPure meter offset feature allows Chroma 5 or Display 3 users to achieve even higher accuracy by creating an offset of your Chroma 5/Display 3 using a spectroradiometer (such as the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2). ChromaPure compares the differences in readings and then allows you to automatically adjust what the Chroma 5/Display 3 records as if it were the Eye One Pro. The end result is fast calibration with the accuracy of the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2.

Why use an EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 instead of a less expensive pod colorimeter?

A pod device such as the Spyder1/2/3/4, Eye-One Display 2/LT/3, DTP-94, or Chroma 5 measures light through filters and estimates the color based on a relatively small number of sensors, usually three and sometimes a few more. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 uses a holographic diffraction grating with a diode array (no filters to degrade) similar to what is found in laboratory grade instruments. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 samples with 100 sensors instead of three and uses the internationally recognized scientific standard method from CIE to calculate the x and y coordinates from those samples. The end result is increased accuracy (in some cases) that remains accurate over time. There's no filter to degrade.

Does the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 work with all displays?

Yes. The EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2, being a spectrophotometer rather than a filter-based tristimulus colorimeter doe not have issues with certain display technologies.

More information on the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2»


X-Rite Hubble (discontinued)



The Hubble is a laser guided non-contact meter for calibrating light-controlled front projected displays. It’s the most widely used non-contact colorimeter: Sencore has sold scores of them to professional calibrators as the rebadged OTC1000 (it's the exact same meter).

It is a high-end color analyzer for professionals, pro-sumers, and dedicated amateurs and offers the following advantages over other colorimeters:

  • The size of the Hubble allows it to use relatively large photo sensitive diodes. Coupled with this are the custom optics that span the entire diameter of the chassis. The lens focuses all of the collected light onto the diodes. The result is extremely effective low-light sensitivity. The Hubble will read down to 0.001 fL (same as the Display 3). This is ten-times the sensitivity of the Chroma 5 and sixty-times the sensitivity of the EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2!
  • Because the filters are installed in a sealed environment, they are not subject to the same type of degradation in performance over time that is typical of less expensive contact meters. This means that the hubble needs to be recalibrated far less often than a typical colorimeter (same as the Display 3).
  • The speed at which the Hubble reads light and color is astonishing. Readings, even at low light levels, are nearly instantaneous (faster than the Display 3).
  • The non-contact design (same as the Display 3) means that the readings will not be affected by the heat a display might emit (plasmas are especially prone to this as previously mentioned), nor is there any danger of damaging the delicate surface of a flat panel. Also, because of the laser aiming device built-in to the unit, you can precisely aim the Hubble and even take readings off the screen of a front projector from very near the normal viewing distance.
The observant reader will note that a lot of these features are now available on the Display 3 meter, at 1/10th the cost. If the laser pointer or the faster low-light reading is going to be of use, consider the Hubble over the Display 3. If the meter needs to be used commercially in the field and will incur more rough handling, consider the Hubble.

More information on the Hubble »


JETI Specbos 1201/1211



The Specbos 1201 and 1211 are the most affordable true reference color analyzers available on the market today. Just mount either on a tripod, facing towards the source, connect to ChromaPure Professional and use as you would any other color analyzer.

At some point many professionals conclude that their work requires a reference colour analyzer. SMPTE has established standards for such a device. It must measure color accurately to within ±0.002 xy at or above 10 cd/m2 and luminance accurately to within ±0.5 cd/m2 for white field measurements. These are very exacting specifications that no tristimulus colorimeter can achieve, at least for chromaticity. For this level of accuracy you must have a 5nm spectroradiometer.

Unfortunately, such devices are not cheap. The Photo Research and Minolta reference devices start at about $15,000 and go up to near $30,000. The X-Rite EyeOne Pro / EyeOne Pro 2 is reasonably affordable, but it is a 10nm device that cannot routinely achieve ±0.002 xy accuracy. Furthermore, in addition to being expensive, true reference devices also often suffer from practical limitations. They can be slow and have problems with low-light readings.

Recently, a German company JETI Reference Instruments has developed two true reference spectroradiometers, the Specbos 1201 (also known in the U.S. as the Orb Optronics SP100 - same meter, different name) and the Specbos 1211, that solve most of these problems.

First, they are relatively affordable, that is at least what passes as "affordable" in the context of reference devices. Second, both are reasonably fast for higher luminance sources, and the 1211 is speedy even with low luminance sources. They are also amazingly compact and portable and both include a nifty laser spotter that allows for accurate aiming. The only feature these incredible devices give up to the established Photo Research and Minolta competitors is stand-alone operation. The Minolta and Photo Research alternatives allow for aiming through optical sights and readouts on a small LCD screen. They are fully functional devices without a PC. In contrast, the JETI devices work only when attached to a PC via USB with custom software

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Last edited by kal on Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:55 pm; edited 120 times in total
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our FAQ's undergone a major overhaul. We've added the following new items:

EyeOne Display 2 PRO
X-Rite DTP-94 PRO
X-Rite Chroma 5 PRO

Also added are links to the new ChromaPure calibration software and links to the following two Colour Science articles:

Colour Science: About Meter Accuracy
Colour Science: Video Calibration Myths

Enjoy!

Kal

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PostLink    Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another update!

I've added information on the JETI Specbos 1201/1211 reference meters.

Quote:
JETI Specbos 1201/1211



The Specbos 1201 and 1211 are the most affordable true reference color analyzers available on the market today. Just mount either on a tripod, facing towards the source, connect to ChromaPure Professional and use as you would any other color analyzer.

At some point many professionals conclude that their work requires a reference colour analyzer. SMPTE has established standards for such a device. It must measure color accurately to within ±0.002 xy at or above 10 cd/m2 and luminance accurately to within ±0.5 cd/m2 for white field measurements. These are very exacting specifications that no tristimulus colorimeter can achieve, at least for chromaticity. For this level of accuracy you must have a 5nm spectroradiometer.

Unfortunately, such devices are not cheap. The Photo Research and Minolta reference devices start at about $15,000 and go up to near $30,000. The X-Rite EyeOne Pro is reasonably affordable, but it is a 10nm device that cannot routinely achieve ±0.002 xy accuracy. Furthermore, in addition to being expensive, true reference devices also often suffer from practical limitations. They can be slow and have problems with low-light readings.

Recently, a German company JETI Reference Instruments has developed two true reference spectroradiometers, the Specbos 1201 (also known in the U.S. as the Orb Optronics SP100 - same meter, different name) and the Specbos 1211, that solve most of these problems.

First, they are relatively affordable, that is at least what passes as "affordable" in the context of reference devices. Second, both are reasonably fast for higher luminance sources, and the 1211 is speedy even with low luminance sources. They are also amazingly compact and portable and both include a nifty laser spotter that allows for accurate aiming. The only feature these incredible devices give up to the established Photo Research and Minolta competitors is stand-alone operation. The Minolta and Photo Research alternatives allow for aiming through optical sights and readouts on a small LCD screen. They are fully functional devices without a PC. In contrast, the JETI devices work only when attached to a PC via USB with custom software (such as ChromaPure of course!). For display/home theater calibration this is none issue as you'll be using calibration software anyway.

Both units share a similar design and software support. Both achieve reference levels of accuracy. The differences? Well, the 1211 is larger than the 1201 and about 30% more expensive. But surely the most important difference is low-light sensitivity. The 1211 is MUCH more sensitive than the 1201. At light levels at or above 50 cd/m2 (14.6 fL) they perform similarly, but as you go lower than this the 1201 begins to take noticeably longer and longer to return a reading. At 4 cd/m2 (1.2 fL) the 1201 will take approximately a minute-and-a-half to return a reading. By way of contrast, at this level of stimulus, the 1211 chugs happily along returning a reading in about 5 seconds.

This has profound implications for day-to-day use when calibrating displays. For this reason, the 1201 is best used for color management, when light levels are generally high, or as a reference device employed to create an offset for a field colorimeter, such as the Chroma 5 or Hubble. The 1211, on the other hand, can be used as a working or field color analyzer (one that is not solely only used to create offsets to make other faster meters accurate). Its speed and low-light sensitivity make it suitable for any calibration task—except perhaps reading black level—where the light level is so low even the 1211 often cannot cope. Fortunately, very low light levels can be accurately read with quite inexpensive instruments, such as the AEMC CA813 illuminance meter. The Chroma 5 will read down to about 0.01 fL, and the Hubble will read down to 0.001 fL.

The JETI Specbos 1201/1211 are supported by ChromaPure calibration software. It is not supported by our Greyscale & Colour Calibration for Dummies guide.

More information on the JETI Specbos 1201/1211 »



Kal

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PostLink    Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NOVEMBER 1, 2011: New lower price on Display 3 meter packages



Effective immediately, we've just dropped the prices on our Display 3 / ChromaPure meter packages.

The new groundbreaking Display 3 meter performs three times faster and is able to read lower light levels than our previously recommended general purpose meter, the Chroma 5. Better features, better performance, and at a substantially lower cost - now even lower still!

The new X-Rite Display 3 offers near professional performance at a price affordable to any enthusiast and home user. In fact, its performance is so close to professional colorimeters, such as the Klein K-10 or X-Rite’s own Hubble, than it has become extremely difficult to justify purchasing such devices that come in at 10-20 times the cost.

For complete details on the performance of the new Display 3 including videos, see our Display 3 order page here: http://www.curtpalme.com/ChromaPure_EyeOneDisplay3.shtm

Kal

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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read above that Spyders 1-3 are not advisable. How would you rate the Spyder 4 Elte as it seems to be calibrated?
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never used the Spyder 4. Where did you read that it's calibrated?

Kal

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Westmd



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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would understand the section under "Full-spectrum color sensor" in that way @ http://spyder.datacolor.com/portfolio-view/spyder4elite/

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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link.

They say:

Quote:
Full-spectrum color sensor
Spyder4ELITE’s patented 7-color sensor improves upon colorimeters that use 3-channel RGB sensors. Each Spyder4ELITE unit is individually tuned in the factory to accurately handle a variety of wide-gamut and normal gamut displays with ease.


"Individually tuned" doesn't mean it's necessarily accurate but it certainly sounds like a step in the right direction. You'd have to get a bunch and compare them to the older Spyders to really know if they're indeed more accurate out of the box.

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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal,
any verdict on XRite's Colormunki? From the sheet it looks very similar on a hardware basis? (Software is not needed as I will most likely will use Calman v5)

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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never used the Colormunki. Sorry.

Kal

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PostLink    Posted: Sat May 25, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,
Can we use Minolta CA-210 with ChromaPure?
We want to calibrate Barco grayscale lcds and Barco recommends CA-210 as prefered measurement sensor. is it compatible with your software? Thanks.
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PostLink    Posted: Sat May 25, 2013 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

roozbeh007 wrote:
Hello,
Can we use Minolta CA-210 with ChromaPure?
We want to calibrate Barco grayscale lcds and Barco recommends CA-210 as prefered measurement sensor. is it compatible with your software? Thanks.


I do not believe so.
A complete list of supported meters is on our ChromaPure order page is here: http://www.curtpalme.com/ChromaPure.shtm
Only some of the newer Minolta's are listed. The Minolta CA-210 is discontinued (no longer available).

The CA-210 was first introduced in 1991. I'm not sure when it was discontinued, but given how old it is I'm sure much better meter technology is available for considerably less.

Are you sure Barco recommends this even today? Do you know why? Maybe you're reading something that is 10-15 years old?

Kal

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PostLink    Posted: Sat May 25, 2013 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello.
no, the guide is recent. unfortunately, I am not sure why.
I have three options with them. Minolta CA-100, Minolta CA-210 and Tektronix J17.
I think that was CA-100 that came out in early 90s. maybe I'm wrong. I'm not sure.
I will keep you posted if I can get more info from Barco.
I just purchased a Minolta CA-210 and should receive it within next few days. I will check it with ChromaPure to see if it works.
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PostLink    Posted: Sun May 26, 2013 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

roozbeh007 wrote:
I just purchased a Minolta CA-210 and should receive it within next few days. I will check it with ChromaPure to see if it works.

Email us at Chromapure@Curtpalme.com and this'll go off the authors of the software and keep me in the loop. I'll update the order page if it is indeed supported.

If you are interested in purchasing ChromaPure, we are associated with them directly and offer it at a discounted price. Exact same software and same support, just more money in your pocket at the end of the day. See: http://www.curtpalme.com/ChromaPure.shtm

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