Contents > Calibrate your monitor 8 / 12

Kit Datacolor Spyder5Elite


Review of the Datacolor Spyder5ELITE

Published on October 12, 2012  |  Updated on December 02, 2019


The direct competitor of the i1Display Pro is undoubtedly an excellent colorimeter, but to enjoy it fully, you really need to be well informed about monitor calibration since the options offered by its related software are numerous and sometimes unclear. The Pro version, which uses the same sensor but a slightly restricted version of the software, will for most people be entirely enough. Now, what has been improved and does it enable it to catch up with the current reference : the i1Display Pro?

Datacolor's Spyder5Elite display calibration sensor - sold for $250 - is Datacolor's most advanced solution. It is aimed at amateur or professional photographers and of course at anyone who wants to see "real" colours displayed on their desktop, laptop or projector screens. It therefore replaces the Spyder4 versions, which have been on sale since January 2012. Here are the most important features:

  • New version of 7 filter sensor to improve calibration,
  • Better protected filters for better reliability over time but always in organic matter.... However, we have some distance now and it is positive,
  • More precision (+ 55% manufacturer data) especially in low lights and on the quality of grey scales.

Remark! The Elite version enables to calibrate a video projector and the Spyder5 is compatible with ColorNavigator software.

Note! Datacolor launched its new Spyder on February 11, 2019: the SpyderX Elite.


In a few words...



Replaced by SpyderX Elite

This premium Datacolor colorimeter is a direct competitor to X-Rite's famous i1Display Pro. It is also compatible with ColorNavigator for those who own or plan to purchase a hardware-calibrated display. The choice will therefore be made more on the software - Read my conclusion  

  More offers...
CDN$ 369.99



Introduction to the Datacolor Spyder5ELITE / S5EL 100

Development... The Elite version uses the same Spyder5 colorimeter as the Pro or Express version so the differences will be made by the software and the settings possibilities. Evolution thanks to a simple software upgrade is therefore possible without having to buy a new sensor! As a result, you will not find any software in the box but only on the site.


Spyder5Elite Datacolor Colorimeter

Very well finished, the new Spyder5Elite sensor is sold in the same packaging as the Pro and Express versions.

The calibration kit and its box

Datacolor's Spyder5Elite display sensor is sold with a new seven-channel RGB colorimeter that is very well manufactured and has a much wider reading window. It is therefore worth noting or even repeating because it is a striking innovation: the sensor is the same as in the Spyder5Express and Spyder5Pro kits. The kit contains very simply the colorimeter and its long USB cable and... the serial number. Gone are the days when you also found the software on a CD. You will need to go directly to the manufacturer's website to download the latest updated version directly. Well done because this way we are sure to install the latest version and it's more ecological!

Photos of the Spyder5Elite
  Technical specifications  
  Spyder5Elite Average price : Replaced by SpyderX Elite
Spyder5 - RGB + ambient light sensor
Spyder5Elite 5.3 Mac / 5.2 PC
  Panel technology Automatic
Color temperature
User selection to the nearest Kelvin!
  Gamma setting Yes : from 1,8 to 2,4 + L Star
Ambient light control
yes (improved - 5 settings)
  Multi-screen alignment Yes - StudioMatch
  Projector calibration Yes

The installation of the Spyder5Elite software (in its latest version)

Very important note! Download the latest version of Spyder5Express 5.3 or 5.2 in May 2018) in order to maintain maximum compatibility with the latest display technologies.


Download the latest version of the software!

The Spyder5Elite software (PC and MAC), sold with the Spyder5Elite, is available for free download in its latest version - Download Spyder5Elite 5.3 or 5.2   (Spyder5PElite works on Mac OS High Sierra).

Attention, the latest 32-bit MacOS 5.3 version is not compatible with MacOS Mojave.





Preparing the calibration with Spyder5Elite...

The Spyder5Elite software enables to characterize a desktop monitor, a laptop monitor and a video projector from its main window. The process is quite long the first time because you need to select a certain number of options, however, it will only last two minutes and a half during the next re-calibrations. It offers a simplified mode that doesn't have much interest if you're picking the Elite version in my opinion!  

Datacolor Spyder5Elite Kit and its box

Installation of the Spyder5Elite software

It is classic, hence simple. Nothing particular to say! When you click on the application icon, the language detection will be done automatically and the software will welcome you with a welcome message by displaying an online help link. It also tells you what you can do with your sensor. Click on the "Do not display this message again" check mark at the bottom left and click on OK!

Then, to continue the installation, the software needs to activate your version of the software and for that you need:

  • Connect your colorimeter to a USB port,
  • Take the serial number from the bottom of the box. 

You can make a manual connection later but to continue installing the software, it absolutely needs a valid serial number right away.

First launch...

At each launch, the program connects to the web to check your licence. (I didn't try to open it without a working connexion). Then you can start by reviewing the "preferences of the software (Menu Spyder5Elite / Preferences) to select two or three interesting options:


Preferences of the Spyder5Elite calibration software


1 - Sensor selection - If several calibration sensors are connected, the software will ask you to choose one. This is the new Spyder5.

2 - Calibration reminder choice - You can never choose between one day and six months and I will admit that sometimes I only do it every six months!

My recommendation! A professional editor will have to do it more often, of course, as well as if you're working with a monitor that is more than five years old because it can "break" quickly.

The rest... - Look for software updates - Why not? / Share your calibration data with Datacolor - For statistics / Note that the button "To calibrate a mini-laptop"e; enables to display very short menus that take a lot less space on the screen.

3 - Advanced settings - (To the attention od advanced users) -


Advanced parameters of the Spyder5Elite calibration software


Advanced settings will enable you to choose the level of Delta E warning hence synonymous of too important a gap with the norm. And if you want to control the display of your screen's color temperature using the RGB sliders on your screen (this naturally excludes laptop screens).

My advice! Leave 3.0 because it is only a warning. If you put it underneath, except on a high-end screen, there are risks that it will quickly start ringing!

Click on "ICC settings..."


ICC setting of the Spyder5Elite calibration software


My advice!  Finally, the ICC settings should be left by default: ICC version 2.0 (Version 4.0 is still far from being a standard and poses real display problems, still in 2018 with some amateur software! Those who are familiar with color management will choose V4) and Bradford Color Matching Mode, the most efficient.

1 - Welcome screen 

Four most classic recommendations:

  • Warming of the monitor for at least 15 minutes;
  • Check the lightning conditions in your room;
  • Reset your monitor and place its color temperature on 6500K and choose a brightness level with which you are comfortable - Read below.
  • And plug the sensor!
Welcome screen of the Spyder5Elite calibration software

The software even goes so far as to ask you to tick each step performed in order to click on the "Next" button.

Click on "Next"...

2 - Selection of the monitor to calibrate...

In the drop-down menu, you select the screen you want to calibrate and the menu will automatically be placed on it unlike the old version, which is less practical on this point.


Sélectionner l'écran à calibrer avec Spyder5Elite


The software allows you to choose the screen to calibrate and the window will be placed on it automatically. Very practical!

Click on "Next"...

3 - Select the monitor you wish to calibrate...

The software then asks you if it is a desktop monitor (i. e. with brightness/contrast/etc. settings), a laptop monitor (only the brightness is adjustable) or a video projector.


Select the type of display to be calibrated with Spyder5Elite


Nothing special to say except that the program will crawl its database in order to identify your monitor and possibly know more about its "usual" correction curves.

Click on "Next"...

4 - Select the requested target setting level...

The Elite software allows you to choose from three target value setting processes: Step-by-step wizard, StudioMatch to align multiple screens and Expert mode offering all the possible and imaginable options! Colour management specialists will not be lost... as for the others...


Selecting the process before screen calibration with Spyder5Elite


Click on "Step-by-step wizard" and "Next"...

5 - Selection of target values in the "Step-by-step wizard" process..."


Calibration parameters before screen calibration with Spyder5Elite


a) ReCAL - The target values are the same as during the previous calibration. It is therefore useful only during a second calibration.

b) CheckCAL - Checking the current calibration.

c) Le FullCAL - Option to choose when you first calibrate your monitor.

d) Choice of target values - I refer you to my page "How to calibrate a monitor?".

My recommendation!  Choose Gamma 2.2, TC at 6500K and brightness at 80/90 if you are in a rather dark environment and you print a lot, 100/110 if you are in a "normal" light environment and possibly 120 Cd/m2 if you work mainly for the Internet and what is more in a bright environment.

e) Advanced settings (2) - If you have purchased the Elite version it is also to have access to these target values:

Advanced settings before screen calibration with Spyder5Elite


  • Selection of predefined target values if necessary; Just follow the sensible advice. We can see that we are dealing with pro software because the sensor is able to check if a screen follows the recommendations of a certification. Absolutely complete... or even overly so!!!!! Real specialists know that this is not necessary.
  • Enable ambient light control;

    My advice! Personally, I don't like to activate the ambient light measurement because with experience I managed to find target values that, overall, matched me very well throughout the day and year.

  • Calibration of the gray balance;

    My advice!  I choose "The best" in order to obtain the most "beautiful" grayscales, i.e. the most progressive and without dominant colors.

Click on "Next"...

7 - Place your colorimeter on the screen.


Place the Spyder5Elite on the laptop screen to start calibration

Place the Spyder5Elite on the screen to start calibration


Click on Next and the calibration starts. The software will help you to set the brightness target value if you have ticked the option above: with the brightness buttons on your screen (+ -) adjust it according to the software indication. (The same can be done with TC and contrast if necessary. Don't worry if you don't need to adjust these other two options then.


Adjusting the screen brightness during calibration with Spyder5Elite


The characterization continues and lasts four-five minutes. When it is finished, click on "Finish" to name the ICC profile.

8 - Choose the name of the monitor (to automatically name the ICC profile)...

By giving you the ability to choose the make and model of the monitor you are calibrating, the software knows what name it will automatically give to the ICC profile you are creating.


Recording the ICC screen profile after calibration with Spyder5Elite


Tip! If, like me, you have two or more identical displays, it will be easy to add "_left" or "_right" to your screen template, for example, so as not to mix ICC profiles later on.

Click on "Save". The software then tells you where it has stored the ICC profile.

9 - Before / after comparison and calibration analysis

Once the characterization process is complete, your monitor is calibrated and the software offers you a before/after comparison.


Before after screen calibration with Spyder5Elite


Before after screen calibration with Spyder5Elite


By clicking on the "Swap" button, you can see the effect of the calibration live. Click on "Next"... to save your profile and select a possible reminder.

The following window displays a report on your calibration and in particular in the CIEXY area, the gamut of your monitor and, new feature 5.0, the percentage of the sRGB space on your monitor. I let you browse through the many reports that the Elite version offers. For those who love numbers!


Profile overview after screen calibration with Spyder5Elite

Note that this window now displays the % of the sRGB space on your screen.

Calibration is complete!



Use and checking of the ICC profile

As said in the page about color preferences in Photoshop, it is wise to check that Photoshop indeed uses this new ICC profile to correctly display the colors of your monitor. It is also possible to perform many tests on your calibrated monitor to know its value and actual accuracy:


quality control after screen calibration with Spyder5Elite

  Datacolor Spyder5Elite  
Color fidelity 9,0/10
Implementation / settings 10/10
Manufacturing quality 9,0/10
Quality / Price ratio 10/10


  I like it very much...  
  • Excellent calibration quality, visibly improved even to the naked eye compared to versions 4, especially for low- and middle-range monitors,
  • Impressive settings possibilities in Elite version,
  • Excellent finish and reduced bulkiness,
  • For color management and figures lovers in Elite version,
  • Enables to calibrate your video projector,
  • Very good calibration even on a laptop with mostly the same tone breaks as X-Rite (for these monitors).
  • Compatible with ColorNavigator.
  I regret...  
  • Its price : $250 as starting price for the Elite version,
  • Grey gradients that look less smooth than with the sensor i1Display Pro, which remains the reference,
  • No possibility to choose a 287:1 contrast,
  • Not so easy to choose among all the options combinations in advanced modes,
  • Full calibration a bit too long, numerous (too numerous!) settings to adjust in Elite version but you know what you're buying,
  • Interface of the program less beautiful than its competitor's! Personal opinion of course!
  My overall rating...  
  9,5 / 10  
  My conclusion...  

Spyder5Elite Colorimeter on laptop screen A product that has been even more improved, that you can buy without a second's thought to calibrate all kinds of monitors. However, this colorimeter does not replace the reference on calibration of high-end displays, but has never been so close. Note that it is more a software problem than a hardware problem because the colorimeter is compatible with the famous ColorNavigator software and the whole thing then works perfectly.

New ! Datacolor SpyderX ELITE


CDN$ 369.99
Here is my complete review of the Spyder5Elite from Datacolor.
- Review of the Datacolor Spyder5Elite
  - Introduction to the Spyder5Elite
- Calibration with the Spyder5Elite
- Conclusion and rating

- Why and how to calibrate your monitor?
- How to choose your monitor?


Calibrate your photo printer with the best quality/price ratio: X-Rite i1 STUDIO !

Read my full review...  


Calibrate your monitor with your favorite colorimeter : Datacolor SpyderX PRO !

Read my full review...










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