Need help running DisplayCAL with Spyder5 Express

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by frank4, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. frank4, Mar 15, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016

    frank4 macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2011
    DisplayCAL - previously named dispcalGui - is an open source software system that is the GUI for the Argyll Color Management System, useful for calibration of computer displays (and other purposes probably).

    I have a Spyder5 Express display calibrator. It is an inexpensive system that includes a colorimeter sensor box that connects by USB, and it comes with its own software that works pretty well to do a fast calibration that improves the colors and match between my monitors. However I want to see if I can do an even better calibration using DisplayCAL.

    I tried a calibration with DisplayCAL last night and I got results that were not as good as obtained with the Spyder5 Express software. I got an error message when the software tried to get a colorimeter correction file for the Spyder5. DisplayCAL asks for a password, I think this might be something to do with "sudos" or system security, I am running as a standard user (not an admin) and maybe that is the culprit. Normally when I install or use certain software I can just input my admin name/password but that is not happening.

    DisplayCAL was able to proceed and do a calibration without the colorimeter correction data. However the resulting display profile produced questionable results, there is significant "black crush" in displayed images.

    Here is a review of the Spyder5 that suggests the user could pair the Express version with DisplayCAL to obtain an excellent low-cost calibrator system with capability equalling higher-end systems:

    Any help is appreciated!
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Not used the Spyder 5 Express but you will certinly need admin privileges to get it to work. Another common issue is with the ADC. Some systems work better with it. Some without.
  3. frank4 thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2011
    Thanks for that, I will try running in the Admin account later today.

    I will try another possible solution in my normal user account first. I put most third party software such as these newly installed calibration apps in an Applications/Downloaded Apps folder but there is a possibility DisplayCAL assumes everything is in the Applications folder so I will move the Spyder5 and DisplayCAL stuff there and see if that helps.
  4. frank4, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016

    frank4 thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2011
    To update:

    Issue 1 fixed:
    I moved the 3 display calibration software folders (DataColor, DisplayCAL, and ARGYLL) to the Applications folder from the Applications/Downloaded Apps folder and that seems to allow DisplayCAL to find the colorimeter corrections file. The DataColor apps can be run from any folder, but it looks like DisplayCAL needs the DataColor files to reside in the usual location which is the Applications folder.

    Issue 2 work-around:
    At the end of the DisplayCal run, it has an option to activate the new display profile for the current non-admin user, or for all users (system-wide). It puts out an error message if a system-wide update is requested, related to the current user not being authorized in the sudoers file. That file should only be modified by experts, and even if modified correctly it can reduce security, so instead I will just run DisplayCAL from an admin account if I want to update the display profiles system-wide.

    About the results from DisplayCAL:
    I find the display profile produced by DisplayCAL is not quite as good as the one produced by the standard DataColor Spyder 5 software. I prefer the DataColor profile since it produces a smoother gradation of darker colors. The DisplayCAL profile looks like it produces some crushed blacks. This can be seen on black-and-white test patterns but is not very obvious on most normal images. I will keep testing DisplayCAL but I think a lot of time-consuming experimentation with its settings is required, and it will be hard to get better results than the 6 minute calibration from the Spyder5 Express manufacturer's software.

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