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Datacolor SpyderPRINT review


Review of the Datacolor SpyderPRINT - Calibration of photo printers

Published on December 02, 2016  |   Updated on October 31, 2019


For less than 300 dollars it is possible thanks to Datacolor and its SpyderPRINT tested on this page to calibrate its printer when the competition is at least 400 dollars. But what is this spectrocolorimeter worth at a time when this so-called competition uses a "real" spectrophotometer?

For a hardware tester like me, there are brands that are, a priori, more difficult to deal with because they are, in the eyes of an informed public, less "prestigious" or less successful. They were therefore quickly catalogued in the rubric of bad material to make a long story short!!!!! As I love discovering new equipment and as I have noticed a upheaval in the hierarchies over the last three years as I have observed a levelling towards the technological top, I am always curious to test the evolutions of these less "glamorous" brands, always with an informed public because the general public doesn't care about them at all! Has this technological advance that is transforming the current photographic landscape slipped into the SpyderPRINT box? A hint, I was first surprised by the Datacolor Spyder5 released in April 2016 and especially by the Express version, finally an interesting first price solution...

Purchase note! The SpyderPrint can be purchased individually or included in the SpyderX Studio case.


In a few words...


Datacolor SpyderPRINT


The SpyderPRINT does not like very saturated colors (especially the blues of the stained glass windows of the cathedral of Bourges!), but if it is a question of reproducing the sRGB, then this kit becomes of an unbeatable quality/price ratio, and at the limit of the crush for clubs that want to discover the joys of printer calibration! - Read my conclusion  




Introduction to the Datacolor SpyderPRINT

The SpyderPRINT basic kit is sold with the 1005 spectrophotometer - the same as in the previous kit - and of course its guide plate for reading colored patches.

Note! It should be noted that this kit is also available in the SpyderXStudio case. This also includes the SpyderCube and the current high-end Datacolor colorimeters for screen calibration, I named thethe old onet Spyder5Elite (Replace by SpyderX Elite on February 2019) released in spring 2015, both under test on this site.

Datacolor SpyderPRINT

The SpyderPRINT calibration kit (and possibly its Studio case)

  • A calibration sensor that is a spectrophotometer and not a spectrophotometer, significantly or much more expensive!
  • A USB cable (2.0) rather long.
  • The guide plate guides,
  • The base of the spectrocolorimeter integrating the white calibration chart,

My opinion on the quality of the whole thing!  The quality of the materials is to be noted as well as the finishing of the whole. All the accessories are very pleasant to handle, touch and hold. Only the sliding of the Spyder on its guide lacks fluidity. The coatings have a velvety appearance, as sometimes found on some mobile phones. It's obviously a detail but it's very pleasant.

Main features:

  • Measuring instrument: The 1005 spectrophotometer.
  • SpyderPRINT 5.0 software: quite easy to use and well documented.
  • Possibility to create an ICC profile based on the L-Star curve which allows, among other things, but this is what interests us here to better brighten shadows (also a little larger gamut).
  • A guide for more comfortable reading of colored patches.
  • 9 choices of test charts for all situations: color, B&W.
  Technical specifications
  SpyderPRINT Average price: $350.00
SpyderPRINT 5.0 - New
  Monitor calibration Yes
  Printer calibration RGB only
  Video projector calibration
Scanner calibration
  Warranty 1 year Datacolor UK

Download the latest version of SpyderPRINT

The SpyderPRINT software (PC and MAC), sold with the SpyderPRINT, is also available for free download if you have another compatible colorimeter - Download SpyderPRINT V 5.0.2 (September 2017)  




Calibrating the printer with SpyderPRINT step by step

Let's start by installing the software and the calibration device, the easiest way in the world!


Reminder: a new paper = a new calibration = a new ICC profile!

When we talk about the calibration of a printer we should rather talk about the calibration of a set:

 a paper,
 inks of a brand,
 a printer.

Each time a parameter is changed, a new ICC profile must be created. However, if you replace an ink cartridge from the same manufacturer as your printer, it is not necessary. I am more cautious about the consistency of ink quality of "generic" or no name manufacturers.


Installing the SpyderPRINT software

This one is very classic! You download the software from the site indicated on the serial number card. The software is compatible with the latest MAC OS and Windows versions. Nothing particular to say, so! When you click on the application icon, the language detection will now be done automatically and the software will ask you to activate it. To do this, simply connect the calibration device and connect to the Internet to enter your serial number. Datacolor then provides you with a registration number.

1 - "welcome screen"

When you open the application (or the software) you are greeted by a welcome screen that offers you two possibilities:

  • To inform you about color management - I hope you have already found everything on this site!
  • Start the calibration process of a printer/paper pair (inks) and start creating a printer profile.



Click "Next" 

2 - "Before you begin"

You will now enter the printer/paper pair to be calibrated.



Note that you can run some printing tests to see if you have any clogged nozzles.

Click "Next..."

3 - Start creating the profile

You can choose to print the test charts or select an existing file to improve it. I imagine you're going to select "Print and measure a target".



Click "Next"...

4 - Select the number of test charts and print them

You have 9 possibilities! I will try to guide you even if I will not try the 9 possibilities to compare!

1 - 1 - Choose the number of patches and the type of test charts (color calibration and/or B&W) - To make it short and according to the official Datacolor documentation, 225 patches are usually enough. More complex test charts are there to adapt or solve a particular problem on a special paper for example or for a Black & White work.



My recommendations!  I would be tempted to tell you to try it with 225 color patches and bring out the heavy artillery if you're not satisfied. For purists, it is better to print the 729 patches directly because printer calibration is not often done, unless you change paper type often. If you are printing in black and white, choose the option 225 colors + 225 black and white.
If you just want to choose between several papers, just use the 225 test charts page to make your first selection and then refine when you have chosen your favorite paper. 
But before printing the test charts you will immediately set up an important option in the software preferences: SpyderPrint Menu > Preferences. There you will absolutely check an empty button by default: "Use the L-Star process". This will allow you to obtain slightly lighter and more detailed shadows and a significantly larger gamut. Not much, but it's going in the right direction. That's the whole point of a L-Star curve.

2 - Start printing... - Here, the choices in the printer configuration will be very important!

Attention! As every time a test chart is printed, the choice of printing options in the printer driver is very important for the success of patch measurement and therefore creation. To do this, DO NOT CLICK on the "Print..." button because you cannot disable all the color management of your printer through this menu. Your test chart would be printed with an embedded profile and your profile completely distorted. You must use the Adobe software: Adobe Color Printer Utility. This software was created by Adobe on purpose.


Attention! Impression of the test chart with Photoshop

Since Photoshop CS5! Since Photoshop has been upgraded to CS5, a printing option has disappeared. However, this option allowed us to print our printer calibration charts WITHOUT PROFILE. This is no longer the case but fortunately, Adobe has created a new small Adobe Color Printer Utility software that allows you to print the test chart file live. I describe the process below.

Adobe Color Printing Utility

Logo Adobe Printer UtilityDownload Adobe Color Printer Utility for MAC Download Adobe Color Printer Utility for PCSuivre

Several calibration and characterization options: screen / projector / scanner and especially printer (color or B&W).

Its use is very simple. Once downloaded, simply launch Adobe Color Printer Utility and it opens directly to your browser. Go and get your "Mire.TIFF" file from your hard disk. Then, there is normally nothing to set in the print menu Menu > File > Print Setup.... Then open Menu > File > Print and adjust the settings of your printer's print driver. Here is an example with an Epson 7800 printer with a Premium Glossy 250 paper when printing the test chart provided by the calibration kit manufacturer:

EPson print driver

1 - Printer - Choose the printer model from your printers list.

2 - Choose the right paper medium - Choose the one given by the manufacturer when it exists otherwise take the same type from the list. The good manufacturers, and they are few in number, work for several brands! So sometimes there are very large "similarities".

My advice! This choice only determines the inking rate. If you use paper from the printer's brand, your paper will be in the drop-down list. If you use another brand, choose the same type of paper as at Epson in this example. Indeed, all the brands have the "same" paper ranges: Premium gloss, Archival matt, baryta, etc.

3 - Color settings - Be sure to disable the printer's color management. We are trying to measure the defects, the characteristics of the printer WITHOUT color management.

4 - Quality - Choose the printing fineness. I create two profiles at 1440 dpi and 2880 dpi but I admit I'm not sure there's a difference when making the ICC profile, but I prefer the shape of the prints printed at 2880 dpi in the sky.

Note! You can also choose the speed without, in my opinion, having an influence on the calibration. But note that I never check "Thinner details" because I have a bug on my 7800 Epson when I print my panoramas in a very large width.

My recommendation! This has nothing to do with what concerns us here but I prefer to print at 2880 dpi because I find the gradients in the skies even more beautiful because they are more shaped! For the finesse of the details, I don't see any difference.

Before printing, make sure you have placed an A4 sheet in your printer!

Start printing, let it dry for at least half an hour and then click on "Next"... not before!

5 - The reading of the patches will start but it is necessary to calibrate the spectrocolorimeter first....

To do this, simply place the spectrocolorimeter on its base because it has a white test chart at the bottom of the small well. (It is necessary to take care of it!)



Click on the button at the top of the sensor and a new page opens:



Name the ICC profile so that you can recognize it when you choose it in Photoshop later on. Click on save.

The grayed-out button in field 2 "Reading the target" is then displayed: "Open the sample reading screen". Click on it. A window opens asking you if you want to follow a tutorial. You can request that this message no longer be displayed.

A picture of the test chart you have chosen to print opens wide on your screen:



Note that the first line, ready to be read, is surrounded by red.

Attention! Please choose at the bottom right of this page (photo opposite) the type of reading you want to use: "In strip" or "per sample". This determines whether you will make a continuous reading or sample by sample.

My opinion! 

After trying both methods, I ended up using the longer method a priori so per sample because I could never get enough reading fluidity and there was always a patch missing! I got tired of it and made it as easy as possible. So it wasn't that long anymore because it works the first time this time!

Finally, if you choose " Split ", each patch will be split in two: real color / read color. This obviously has no impact on the reading process.

Two recommendations before you start reading!   As advised, place two sheets of the same paper under the printed sheet before you start reading the patches. This avoids uncontrolled reflections due to your table, especially if it is colored and do not hesitate to tape the printed test chart on your desk. This will prevent it from moving during patch reading. Start reading the patches...

When you are finished, click on the button at the very bottom "Close and save" . 

It's time to create your ICC profile and save it on the next page....

Last recommendation! Define a profile name that is easy to identify by using hyphens between words and avoiding spaces and other accents.

6 - Spyderproof - Profile editing

On the next page, you can edit your profile ("Advanced Editing") or print a test run. We will do it directly from Photoshop.

Be careful twice! In "Advanced Editing", do not use the color correction sliders otherwise there is no point in making an ICC profile! Colorimetric defects are never linear! The only thing that might be interesting is to lighten the shadows slightly if you almost always see shadows that are too blocked in relation to your screen.



Click "Next"...

Finally you create your profile and save it!



Note! The profile is stored in the folder containing all the profiles on your computer.

Finally, I invite you to read my page on printing with Photoshop because this software has many practical features to print correctly with custom ICC profiles. Everything is explained in detail in a step-by-step process. You can also review my page on the calibrating a printer with a calibration kit.




Checking the ICC profile and Questions and Answers

Before answering some of the most common questions I receive about printing profiles, I will make a 3D comparison of several profiles of the same paper/printer pair made with the SpyderPRINT and the high-end i1 Photo Pro 2.

3D comparison of the profile made with the SpyderPRINT 5 vs i1 Photo

This is the ICC profile of calibrating my Epson 7800 printer with Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper. As you can see below, the ICC profile made with the SpyderPRINT 5 (Kit at around 350 dollars) is, in volume and therefore in gamut, smaller, especially in one direction, the blue-green ones than the one made with the superlative i1 Photo Pro 2.

3D comparison of ICC profiles made with Colormunki Photo vs i1 Studio

Here is the ICC profile of the calibration of my Epson 7800 printer with Epson Baryté Permajet paper. As you can see below, the ICC profile created with the Colormunki Photo is, in volume and therefore in gamut, very similar to the one created with the new i1 Studio. The differences are anecdotal. The use of the same measuring device but a slightly different software probably explains their similarities.


Comparison of ICC profiles made with ColorMunki Photo and i1Studio

This is the limit of a more "amateur" oriented solution and therefore of a spectrophotometer rather than a spectrophotometer. If you print very saturated colors, especially blue or blue-green, you would benefit from having your ICC profile done by a professional. 

And my impression by comparing real prints and no longer curves.... I am a photographer after all!

It is obvious that it is very - very - good, even on quite saturated colors like on these building facades. The SpyderPRINT 5 compares favourably with the Colormunki Photo! Visually, by putting the prints side by side, not far from my screen, it is clear that the differences are anecdotal and the two impressions are close to the screen; Very beautiful! I can't believe it and it took me a long time to get interested in this product because I had a negative bias against it and Datacolor. Shame on me! All colors are correct in relation to my Graphic Art screen Eizo CS2420 calibrated with the i1 Display Pro). However, it is necessary to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, it is also indisputable that the ColorMunki Photo does better because it is excellent even on fluorescent boundary colors. I am thinking, for example, of the blues in the stained glass windows of Bourges Cathedral...


I am well aware that we don't see much, it's just there to illustrate my test! Now, you have to take my word for it or come and see me in Auvergne!

a) What about the shadows?

But as always, the darker parts are more difficult to highlight depending on the lighting environment in which you are going to make this comparison. It is not for nothing that professionals use precise visualization standards and therefore cabins with standard lighting. This does not make much sense - although not without interest - for a club or an amateur or even professional photographer who therefore do not expose a priori in a cabin! Let's say that by comparing the prints under different lights it appears that by default, the shadows are a little more obscured than on the screen. But there is a cure!

My recommendation!  Before creating your profile, remember to take a look at the software's preferences and tick the box: "Use the L-Star process". It is a gamma curve, even closer to the eye's response than the classic 2.2 curve and has the advantage, in short, of brightening very, very low lights. I refer you to Jean Delmas' book on page 118, especially if you want to know more. Clearly, with this option, you will be really close to your calibrated screen.

b) What about the colors?

At this level of print to screen correspondence and having known color management for more than ten years, I can assure you that it is excellent for this price level and considering the target audience, especially amateurs. I can really recommend with my eyes closed to those who are just starting out in color management of their printer, printing colors from everyday life, even quite saturated (except maybe some fluorescent limit blues as I said earlier). We just have to keep in mind that the gamut is not the largest that can be found today but it will be largely suitable for a very large number of amateurs who may never see the case I am talking about....

c) And the blacks and whites?

The most amusing thing is that when I made my first ICC test profile, I "only" used the 225 simple patches test chart, on a single page. I didn't even use the 450 patch test chart on two sheets with a more specific black and white page and the results are... very good. There is nothing to stop you from looking for more precision, but it may not be necessary.

Now your most frequently asked questions:

Q - Do I have to redo my printing profile often?

Canon Photo PrinterA: It depends! If you use ink from the manufacturer of your printer (Epson, Canon, HP), there is no need to do so because the ink quality monitoring is extremely accurate and I have never noticed, even after a year, so after several changes of ink cartridges, that it was necessary. Under these conditions, I do it every year as a way of...

If you use "generic" ink, I advise you to redo your printing profile more often...

Q - Do I have to redo my printer profiles (and screens) if I change computers?

A: Not at all! You only redo them if you change the printer, paper or ink quality. The computer only manages the colors. It doesn't transform anything by himself. You recover them well (backup) and simply reinstall them on the new computer.

Q - What is the difference between manufacturers' inks and "generic" inks?

A : Especially in brands renowned for the quality of their "Photo" printers such as Canon, Epson or HP, quality control is rigorous since they work with color professionals (photographers but also shooters, graphic designers, etc.). Consistency in the color quality of their ink is therefore fundamental. Generic" ink manufacturers do not have this requirement because their potential customers are on the side of large accounts that print Excel tables all day long. The color constant of the pie charts is less "fundamental"!




  Datacolor SpyderPRINT  
Quality of ICC color profiles 8,0/10
Quality of ICC B&W profiles - -
Possibilities 9,0/10
Manufacturing quality 8,5/10
Quality / Price ratio 10/10


  I like it very much...  
  • Maximum quality/price ratio!
  • Product perfectly adapted to its audience, i. e. amateurs: in this case I even give 10/10 !
  • Possibility to create an ICC profile based on the L-Star curve, for a better result in shadows,
  • As good in color as in Black and White,
  • Easy to use.
  I regret...  
  • Very little compared to its qualities and considering the target audience!
  • Reading process a little long because the spectro slides poorly on the guide,
  • Gamut a little behind on the most saturated colours, fluorescent limits (Blue of the stained glass windows of the cathedral of Bourges become purple). A real spectrocolorimeter does better. But as for the other colors...
  • Lack of image perhaps?
  • Very little I tell you!
  Ma note globale...  
  8.0 / 10  
  My conclusion...  
This is the kind of discovery I like to make for amateurs or clubs! On paper and for a long time (I have been interested in color management since 2002!) Datacolor has the vocation to offer this audience accessible "semi-professional" solutions. Difficult to fully agree so far.... Accessible but not always sufficiently efficient. However, one after the other in 2015, Datacolor released two products that I can recommend: their new sensors including the SpyderX Elite which is integrated into the SpyderStudio 5 suite and this revision of SpyderPRINT 5 also in this case. Whether you buy the Spyder5Studio or SpyderPRINT 5 suitcase separately, I can assure you that you will rediscover your printer! This SpyderPRINT does not dethrone the i1 Studio but mix many test prints on a table and find out who is who, you will be amazed! Few times will you necessarily want the competitor or even more professionally.
Datacolor SpyderPRINT
CDN $452.00
Here is my full review of the calibration kit for photo printers or monitors: Datacolor SpyderPrint
- Full review of the SpyderPRINT
  - Introduction to the SpyderPrint
- Calibrate your printer with the SpyderPrint
- My rating and my conclusion

- My 3 photo printers reviews!
- How to choose your photo monitor?
- How to calibrate your photo printer?


Calibrate your monitor with the best
colorimeter: X-Rite i1Display Pro !

Read my full review...


Calibrate your photo printer with the
best value for money: X-Rite i1 Studio !

Read my full review...  










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