Color Callibration and 'Scanners' - Advice?

I have never used these tools. From the little I know, there are two separate categories I’m interested in, but they might overlap:

1 - Monitor Color Callibration
2 - Color ‘Scanners/Matchers’

I am curious what our community’s experience is with them, how useful they are, and what the best ones are right now. Your advice is greatly appreciated.


I’m admittedly working with a couple refurbished “genericized” 25" IPS HP monitors, same model but I bought one a couple years after the other and the colors were noticeably different. I messed around a lot with manual adjustments and such but could never quite get them to match. At $140 or so each, they were great for the money, but not amazing. B&H had these on sale a while ago so I gave it a shot before bucking up for UltraSharps or something. The agent said if I couldn’t get the results I desired I could return it without any hassle so it was a low risk experiment. It was between this and the Datacolor Spyder4ELITE, but I seemed to see more love for the X-Rite overall.

One thing I learned while researching around photography forums was that a properly calibrated monitor probably won’t look right to the untrained eye - most monitors are set up much too bright and with too much contrast for color-accurate work (but it sells monitors as the image really pops on the shelf!). I ran the out of the box default calibration profiles, and they did indeed appear pretty dim, I re-calibrated with a little extra brightness on the second round. End result was managing to get them pretty close to each other and still usable in a light room, which for relatively cheap monitors of unknown and diferent age and histories, I think I’ll call it a success and I’ll put up with these cheapies for a while longer yet. It will be interesting to see how things go with ‘real’ monitors down the road.

I think the scanners/matchers might be more for calibrating printers - but don’t quote me on that!