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I've heard that Spyder3Express applies one calibrated colour profiles on multiple screens, hence they try to get you to upgrade to the Pro version and twice the price for that pleasure.

Can owners confirm if there is a way around this? For example, calibrate one screen, then rename the colour profile in the mac os x colour profile folder, then calibrate the second screen, hence the new profile does not override the old one... This is just a thought, I don't own a Spyder3Express yet, but I will only get if I know I can independently calibrate each screen.

Thanks.

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I have a Spyder 3 Pro. I've heard rumors that the only difference is in the software. I don't know specifics. –  ahockley Nov 30 '10 at 3:34
    
@ahockley, The software is traditionally the only difference between the versions... it's all the same hardware. When I bought my spyder2express they even had a hard sell upgrade offer to move up. I couldn't justify the added cost when I could hack around the lack of dual screen support by hand pretty easily. –  cabbey Dec 3 '10 at 6:00

3 Answers 3

Using a Spyder3 with the Spyder3Express software version 4.0 on SnowLeopard, I can confirm that cabbeys method of renaming the profile and switching the screen works. However, I recommend to rename both the file and the internal name of the profile. Here is what I did step by step (partly borrowed from cabbey):

  1. run a calibration on whichever screen is your main display (it's the one with the menu bar and dock).
  2. go into the system preferences, display settings and choose the color tab on your main monitor. Select the Spyder3Express profile and select "Open Profile"
  3. A new window pops up, where you can edit the name of the profile. The name is field #1 called 'desc'. The name appears three times. I edited all occurrences for good measure. E.g. Append "Left" To the existing name (results in Spyder3ExpressLeft).
  4. Upon closing that window it will ask to save your changes. Tell it to save.
  5. go into the profiles directory ( /Users/username/Library/ColorSync/Profiles/ ) and COPY the profile it just created (right click and choose "Diplicate". you get a file named "Spyder3Express copy". Rename that file to the same name you renamed the profile (e.g. "Spyder3ExpressLeft")
  6. change which display is primary (Display settings, arrangement tab, drag the white bar at the top to the other one)
  7. run another calibration. This time it will be on the other display.
  8. go rename that profile too (steps 2-5 from above). Append e.g. "right" to the profile name.
  9. put your primary display back.
  10. in the color tab of the displays preference on each monitor, pick the profile you renamed with the "Left" and "Right" names.

And another tip: If you want to get rid of that Spyder3Utility from your menu bar, you can do the following:

  1. Navigate to /Applications/Datacolor/Spyder3Express
  2. Drag Spyder3Utility.app to the dock
  3. Ctrl-click (right click) on the Spyder3utility icon in the dock
  4. Uncheck Options->Open at login
share|improve this answer

I have the Spyder2Express and a dual screen mac. It's a bit of a pain in the you know what, but it is possible to calibrate both screens with it. The 3 and the new software adds a bunch of whizbang features that do all sorts of automatic magic to your display. That would probably break this process. But if you don't want all that, and disable all that stuff, then it will probably work.

  1. run a calibration on whichever screen is your main display (it's the one with the menu bar and dock).
  2. go into the profiles directory ( /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays/ ) and COPY the profile it just created. I rename mine with "LEFT" added to the end.
  3. go into the system preferences, display settings, and change which display is primary (arrangement tab, drag the white bar at the top to the other one)
  4. run another calibration. This time it will be on the other display.
  5. go rename that profile too.
  6. put your primary display back.
  7. in the color tab of the displays preference on each monitor, pick the profile you renamed with the Left and Right names. You can use the Open Profile button to bring it up in the ICC wizard to see which is which.

Again, that's what I do with the spyder2express and the previous level of software... YMMV with the 3 and the current stuff out of the box.

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I can't speak directly to the Mac OS X versions, as I am a Windows user. I have used both the Spyder3Pro and the Spyder3Elite, with the older 3.x software and the newer 4.x software. With all combinations, one thing I have noticed is that the Spyder software actually loads your profile when it starts. When possible, it actually loads and syncs the profile with whatever hardware devices support ICM directly, which seems to be the case with nVidia cards and my Apple CinemaDisplay 30" screen.

I have manually set my color profile with the Windows ICM control panel, and the Spyder software always overrides it. In the case of my desktop workstation, the Spyder software loads and installs the profile instantly, so I rarely ever see the switch. With my laptop, however, the Spyder software seems to lag, and there can be up to a couple minutes of time between when Windows starts and the calibrated profile is actually applied.

If the Mac OS X version of the software works in a similar way, I would assume that manually setting the profiles would not work unless you also disable the software. The Spyder3 is an active calibration device, and if you keep it on your desktop, it will actively measure the ambient lighting and alert you when the profile is no longer accurate. The newer version of the device and the 4.x software also seem to actively adjust brightness to maintain your target screen luminance (I try to keep mine around 80-90 cd/m.)

If you really want to calibrate multiple devices, and have multi-device profiles, I highly recommend getting at least a Spyder3Pro (which isn't terribly expensive, around $140) with the v4.1 or later software. The new software brings a ton of new features to the table, making the Spyder3 competitive with much more expensive higher-end calibration systems like X-Rite's EyeOne (i1) system. The 4.x software does support multi-device profiles as well as multiple screen profile normalization, allowing you to create profiles for multiple displays (such as a workstation, laptop, projector, and TV) and ensure that your images look the same across all devices.

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