When I recently tried to calibrate my wife’s new laptop running Windows 10, I stumbled upon a major problem: we had displaced the software CD for her Spyder 3 Pro calibration device, and DataColor doesn’t provide drivers for their Spyder 3 Pro anymore.

I took this problem to Twitter first, and DataColor responded: claiming that the colorimeter is outdated, modern monitors are different, etc. etc. they told me to contact their support – who would tell me to buy a new device at a discount. In other words, it’s just another case of (infuriating) forced obsolescence, making users trash a piece of hardware that works perfectly fine because they lack the will and vision to charge for software updates. How hard can it be to adapt a Windows 8 driver to Windows 10?

While doing some research on how to solve this problem, I stumbled upon DisplayCAL. Without going into too much detail, it’s an open source display calibration software suite that works with many, many hardware calibration devices – even and especially older ones. It is also the way to go if you’re using Linux and want to hardware-calibrate your display.

Its usage is probably not as straight-forward as DataColor’s own software, but having used hardware calibration before, it was easy enough to figure out what they’re after in their dialogue boxes (try to find good neutral values for your monitor first, then go from there, that sort of thing).

For open source, donation-based software, DisplayCAL looks astonishingly good – but even more importantly, it didn’t leave me alone: I was able to install every piece of additional software that was required (like the Argyll Color Management System, and the much needed Windows 10 drivers for the Spyder 3 Pro!) right from within DisplayCAL. Fantastic! If you’re stuck with an older colorimeter that has been abandoned by the company that made it, DisplayCAL may be the solution for you, too.

That said, I made a donation towards DisplayCAL to support its development. I wish DataColor would read this, and understand that users are perfectly willing to pay for software updates. People are environmentally conscious nowadays – if I can avoid “producing” waste electronics by paying a small update fee, then I’m all for it.

Forcing users to trash their working hardware because of a lack of software updates on the other hand is a horrible practice that just has to stop.

3 thoughts on “DisplayCAL

  1. So in the 2 years since you’ve written this what are your opinions on DisplayCal? I’m at the point of deciding to buy a new Spyder and use their software with Windows 10, or to go the DisplayCal route (Which I have done on my laptop (mac)). Does DisplayCal deliver a solid calibration like the Spyder software used to?


    1. I don’t exactly remember the circumstances, but we ended up getting a new Spyder5 – I think one of the W10 updates may have temporarily broken DisplayCAL, I’m not sure anymore. I do remember that for whatever reason, the corrections weren’t properly loaded when booting the system, and we had to manually choose and apply the profile after each boot.


      1. Thanks for the update! While this kind of obsolescence bugs me a lot too, at a certain point buying the new thing make it all a lot easier.


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