I'm using an Alienware 17 R3 with a 4K screen, and my monitor colors were looking off, so I bought a color probe to get my monitor screen as close as I could to print. Made sure all screen and graphics settings were set to default, reset all the color profiles to system default as well. I went through my Intel Control Panel, reset everything to default. I hooked up a Spyder 5 Pro, and went through all the steps carefully, yet the result was an even more oversaturated monitor. Just awful. The colors are worse than they were before I started, and have decided to just manually turn down the saturation (but now I'll never know if I'm close). How do I tell if I have a defective Spyder 5? And how, if it is defective, do I know that ANY Spyder 5 is accurate enough to do a better job of adjusting my monitor's color than I can?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you using a profile for the printer? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2016 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually using a Mac to compare my monitor's color to. The colors look fantastic on the mac, just as they would in real life. Saturation's not too much, nor too little. So I'm adjusting by eye using my mac, but the monitor was just SO oversaturated after using the Spyder 5 that anyone could have seen it, regardless of if they were comparing it to something. Bordering on garish. It was bad. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sanix25
    Oct 10, 2016 at 17:10
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ you cannot say that the measurement is wrong until you compare it to the reference. Whether it looks good or not to you is not important. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2016 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ A mac isn't usable as a reference? Don't they all have color managed operating systems and monitors? And whatever my monitor is, I know it's wrong. Everything is very oversaturated. Raw pictures from multiple cameras look oversaturated. Regardless, it's what my Spyder 5 told me was correct. I don't know what else I can do but eyeball it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sanix25
    Oct 10, 2016 at 19:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest that you profile iMac display too at least for comparison. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2016 at 19:53

3 Answers 3


If you have significantly wrong colours after profiling here are possible ways of learning whether the colorimeter is wrong:

  • compare the output of different programs. If the output differs, you might have chosen ICCv4 profile output which is not widely supported yet
  • profile another display of different computer with it. If you get significantly different results using same colorimeter then the problem is somewhere in the settings of either OS or one of the programs. It may be so that you picked up the wrong display type (I do not know whether it is selected manually or automatically for you)
  • if you have another colorimeter which is known to be good try profiling same display with both. If output differs then the new one is defective

You should use exported images tagged with profile for comparison. RAW image is not a final image and it's look depends on the viewing program used (viewing programs can use JPEG preview or apply any unspecified conversion to RAW data).

There is no 100% reliable way of judging the colorimeter correctness without having some reference, at least a combination of printed reference colour chart and a light source with known characteristics (X-Rite Colour Checker + daylight, for example).


Monitor calibration seems quite simple on the outset, but in actuality there are many more variables that must be taken into consideration than simply attaching a colorimeter and running the calibration process to create a monitor profile.

Creation of a display profile is pretty rudimentary, ICC version 4 is recommended for matrix based profiles over V2. But that's just not going to cut it in most situations.

The question you must answer first is: 1.)Calibrate to what? Are you matching to a print or calibrated proof? If so what and under what light source?

Lighting is critical. Ambient lighting must be 5000k and not as bright as the display brightness because your eye will adapt to the brightest white in your environment. If that's not the monitor then your sunk.

If your matching to a calibrated proof, then you will need to do it under controlled 5000K lighting. Why? Because that is the white point built into your profile CIELab working space. So color transforms are go through D50 CIELab when going from application colors to display color space.

Question 2 is: What is the backlight in your display? Is it TFT? or LED backlit LCD? If LED then you will deal with metameric issues around 470nm (aqua greens) Assuming your display also has enough gamut and brightness to match the calibrated proof's gamut, there is a chance to match well.

Question 3 is: What is the brightness of your calibrated display? 100CD/m2 is a good minimum, but you must make sure your ambient light is controlled ie: no window light, and the calibrated proof or print are being viewed under 5000k controlled lighting that is equal in brightness to the display.

That will give you a good start, but in the end you may still be dissapointed because your display may not have a high enough bit depth to show colors accurately. 10 bit's minimum!

Hopefully that get's you either going in the right direction.


Just a minor thing, for anyone reading this other than the original poster, you must reset the monitor settings before you calibrate. If you forget this you will get wildly different results.


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