The below article contains excerpts from The Display Calibration Guide.
Please note that as of Jul 2021, X-rite has split its colorimeters to a new company called Calibrite (https:// calibrite.com/). The i1Display devices are now called ColorChecker Display devices. They use the exact same hardware as before.
There are two types of meters that can be used with HCFR: colorimeters and spectrometers. Colorimeters are cheaper devices that are generally great at luminance and good with colour. Spectrometers are generally much more expensive and are excellent with colour and not that great with luminance measurements, especially near black. There are of course exceptions if you are willing to spend money!
To get the best of both worlds, colorimeters can be profiled using a spectrometer to develop a correction matrix (CCMX) and then use that correction matrix while calibrating that display or display type.
In my opinion, a colorimeter is a must, but having a spectrometer is completely optional.
A general correction profile (called an EDR or CCSS – spectral sample) is included per display type in HCFR for the most commonly used colorimeters: ColorChecker (previously i1 Display Pro) and Spyder devices. However, these corrections are not specific to the actual meter or actual display.
While these are not mandatory for SDR displays, anytime you are calibrating a wide gamut display or a laser projector, it is a good idea to find a new CCSS for your particular display – more on this can be found at the end of this article.
The second option for making a sensor more accurate with a particular display is called a sensor correction matrix (CCMX). These are developed for your particular colorimeter and the particular display you are about to calibrate (e.g. i1 Display Pro serial number XYZ, Samsung Q90T serial number XYZ) – you can do this yourself by having both a colorimeter and a spectrometer at hand. More on this at the end of this article.
Spyder versus ColorChecker Display / i1Display Devices
I know some of you will ask me which one to get. Both have their pros and cons. However, It is best to get a model that has a sealed sensor and is less prone to oxidisation and wear as it will stay accurate for longer. So that leaves the Spyder X and up and the ColorChecker Display (i1Display) and up.
1. Spyder X:
- Can calibrate upto 5000nits,
- It has more deviation than Colorchecker Display devices.
- It includes less spectral profiles than Colorchecker Display and those profiles cannot be updated with additional CCSS files.
- Can calibrate upto 1000nits, so perfectly adequate for SDR and some mid-luminance HDR devices.
- Has better low-light capability than Spyder X and reads darker patches more accurately.
- Higher accuracy than Spyder X upto 1000nits
- More general correction matrices (spectral profiles) areincluded and can be updated within software.
- All the benefits of ColorChecker Display and…
- Accuracy upto 2000nits, so they are the recommended unit for HDR calibration from this particular brand. If you don’t have the money to buy a new colorimeter, then I recommend to search for used units on the market. In particular, i1Display Pro devices keep their accuracy for 5-7+ years due to their sealed optics so they are suitable for learning.
In addition, X-Rite is still selling through old stocks of both i1Display Pro and Colormunki Display. The ColorMunki Display is compatible with HCFR. Officially, there are two differences:
- It is limited in its speed (its measurement speed is halved – but in practice only about 30% slower than i1Display Pro devices)
- It is not enabled in other paid software packages like Calman. So if you were to graduate to paid software, it isn’t advised to buy the ColorMunki. However, you could graduate to ArgyllCMS with DisplayCal which would give you more functions without the price.
Performance Difference Between ColorMunki Display / i1 Display Studio and ColorChecker Display Plus / i1 Display Pro Plus
However, my personal experience is that the performance difference between the ColorMunki and the higher-end devices can be huge. My ColorMunki Display was inaccurate especially in its gamma measurements even when staying under 100 nits, which is way below its 1000nit capability. My ColorChecker Display Plus is a lot more accurate in colour and gamma, as I compared it to my i1 Pro 3 spectrometer.
The difference in performance was visible by eye when calibrating displays with them. With the ColorMunki, I was getting crushed highlights from the get-go as I remember this being an issue with it after purchase, which I confirmed once I got my higher-end unit and my spectro. I never had such an issue with the ColorChecker Display Plus or the i1 Pro 3. In fact, the i1 Pro 3 is more accurate across the board, even for gamma, than the ColorMunki Display. Ouch!
So I would say that both likely use “binned” parts, with the lowest end device getting the worst performing parts and the highest end device getting the best.
Installing the Sensor
I covered sensor installation in a previous article.
Creating a Correction Matrix (CCMX)
Creating Spectral Samples (CCSS)
If you would like to learn more about displays, and display calibration, you can get The Display calibration Guide here.