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Kirk Norbury on SpyderX Capture Pro

11 September 2019

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SpyderX Capture Pro

I’ve been working as a professional photographer and filmmaker for a number of years now. Throughout those years I’ve used many different cameras, monitors and I’ve seen how considerably different they can be in colour, gamma and brightness from one to another.


If you own two different branded monitors for editing, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. So imagine the images you see on your screen being completely different on another screen, or you send an image to be printed and it didn’t come out the way you expected. This is all down to the calibration of your monitor.


When I first started out, I had a number of images printed in a newspaper and was shocked to see how different they looked, compared to what I saw on my monitor. This proved to me that what you see on your monitor may not always be a true representation of the colours; I’ve made sure my monitors are correctly calibrated at all times ever since.


The SpyderX


I started colour correcting my computer monitors a number of years ago. Once I saw how much the colours differentiated from what they should be, I’ve used them ever since.  Not only is this great for single monitors like an iMac, but it’s also beneficial for laptops, which comes in pretty handy when editing on the go and making sure the colours are the same as when I see the shots on my main monitor.


Also, if you’re using multiple monitors, the SpyderX is great for matching them together. I love editing across two screens, and when I purchased a second monitor I was shocked at how different they were from each other. The SpyderX is very easy to use and with its intuitive menu and control software, they couldn’t have made it any easier to get it up and running for your monitor. I love the options that are available to the user: you can either go through a step by step guide that will help you get the best settings, but if you want to you can delve in deeper with its more advanced settings.


Spyder Checkr


A few years ago, I would have never considered using something like the Spyder Checkr for accurate colours on projects. But as I’m now doing equal photography and video work, this handy bit of kit has became more and more useful. I’m doing more photo and video shoots with whisky bottles, and because these products can have unique and colourful labels that I need to show accurately, the Spyder Checkr really is very efficient. For photoshoots. I will take a picture of it by the product when the lighting is setup and then use that image in Lightroom to get the colours right.


If it’s a video shoot I will do the same, but in my camera I can set the white balance based off the colour Checkr so I don’t play around too much when post-processing. I also carry my Checkr with me in my camera bag for my landscape photography work. When setting up for certain shots I will take a test shot with the Checkr and use this as reference for colour when I get back. Taking a reference shot in the field rather than in a studio accounts for the ambient light of your location and also the light and colour of the sun.



Spyder Cube – Get a Perfect Exposure


The Spyder Cube, in essence is like the Checkr, but rather than measuring every colour, the cube helps you get an accurate exposure and white balance while in the field. I will hold it up in front of the camera and take a test shot to check it later. The chrome ball is for checking blown out areas, the white faces are for checking the highlights, the grey is 18% which is great for white balance and then you’ve got the black areas for checking shadows etc. As each colour reference has two sides, you get to see the impact of light on both sides of the cube rather than just one.


Spyder Lenscal - Calibrating Your Lenses


Something that can be easily overlooked is the focus of our lenses, as we just assume the lens manufacturer gets everything right when the lens was made. To be truthful, that’s not always the case, as lens’s can easily be front focusing or possibly back focusing where the lens has missed where it should be.


When using lenses with a shallow f-stop like f1.4, the depth of field is so narrow that your lens needs to be very accurate to get that crucial focus; because if it misses this will be clearly seen in your images.

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Using the Spyder Lenscal, you can easily calibrate your lenses and make sure they hitting the right focus every time. Most cameras have settings built-in that allow you calibrate each of your lenses and then save what you have changed for future use. I had a Nikon 50mm lens that was always front focusing so when I used the Lenscal I was able to adjust the focus enabling me to get much sharper images than I had previously.


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