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SpectraCal C6 Colorimeter Review



SpectraCal recently sent the Home Theater Shack one of its new C6 Colorimeters for the C6 Giveaway to review. Some of the highlights of the C6 are:

● Up to 5x faster than similar-looking retail models
● Superb performance at low light levels
● Additional display characterizations for greater accuracy
● NIST Certificate - only device on the market with this document
● Included Sturdy protective case and tripod holder w/ extension

SpectraCal states that the C6 offers unparalleled low light performance, accuracy, speed and expanded display support. SpectraCal worked hand in hand with X-Rite for two years researching, developing and designing this new meter. Additionally, the C6 comes with a NIST Traceable Certificate of calibration from the SpectraCal lab. Some of the advantages of the C6 over both the retail and OEM models of the i1d3 are:

• NIST Certificate
• Field Upgradeable
• Carrying Case
• Included Tripod Mount/Holder

Along with the NIST Certificate from SpectraCal labs, they also profile this meter with the labs Konica Minolta CS-2000 Spectroradiometer to other display technologies. This increases the accuracy of the meter significantly from a tristimulus meter. The included profiles are:


LCD

• LCD
• LCD CCFL
• LCD CCFL Wide

LED/LCD

• LED
• LCD LED White
• LCD LED RGB

Plasma/CRT

• Phosphor
• Plasma
• CRT

Front Projection

• Projector
• Projector UHP (DLP, DLIA, SXRD, LCoS, LCD)
• Projector LED White
• Projector LED RGB

Low Light Reading Performance

Speed

One of the claims to fame for the C6 is speed. I performed a test with all of my current meters and software. All runs were made in automatic mode using an Accupel DVG-5000 as the source. I did two tests with with all of the equipment listed. The first run was made with the Low Light Handler selected in CalMAN and the 1.5 second delay (the default) for the DVG-5000. As you will see in the second round of testing, these two items add a considerable amount of time. The second round of testing has the LLH not selected and the delay for the DVG-5000 set to zero. Even though it is set at zero, a lot of the delay in the runs was from pattern changes. If I were to guess I'd say over half the time is the DVG-5000 changing patterns. During the second run, when the pattern (40% and above) came up, it seemed to be less than a second for the C6 to get the reading.

Here are the charts for the first run with the LLH enabled and the delay set at 1.5 for the DVG-5000





The C6 was pretty much even with all of the other meters while reading gamut numbers except the Chroma 5 within CalMAN. When reading gray scale, the C6 outpaced the field except when it came to the ChromaPure software. I think that it's safe to say that if the C6 were licensed to run on ChromaPure, it would have bested the Chroma5 and the OTC-1000 there as well.

Here are the results from the second run





As you can see it knocked quite a bit of time off of the grayscale measures. For gamut it seemed to favor the Chroma5 and the C6 more than the OTC-1000 and the i1Pro.

The following chart shows a comparison for the C6 and the i1Display Pro Retail meters reading a 10% pattern 10 times. I will be getting additional readings of other percentages in the next week. I'm told that the C6 is quite a bit faster at higher percentages which I verified during an impromptu run at 70%. The 10 readings were finished in less than 4 seconds unofficially. It will be interesting to see if the i1Display Pro can match those times.




Low Light Handling

The C6 handles low light situations particularly well. The surprising thing is that it handles them both quickly and accurately. Ten readings of a 10% gray pattern (.0413fL) were accomplished in 35 seconds while my Chroma5 took just slightly under a minute - 57 seconds. Variation between readings were minimal with the C6 - ±.001.

Accuracy

The C6 measured out very accurately in my tests. Readings were within an acceptable range (when compared to my X-Rite i1Pro spectrophotometer, OTC-1000 and my Chroma5. In addition to my meters, I also purchased a retail i1Display Pro to check the accuracy versus the C6. Comparing the readings, x values were within .0005, y values were within .003, and Y values were within .002. So out of the box this is a very accurate meter.

Repeatability

I recently did ten readings at both 20% and 80% to test the repeatability of the C6 meter. These readings were from my second computer monitor, not a display. I did verify the meter's repeatability on a Sony LCD/LED and a Panasonic plasma as well.





As you can see the meter's readings were very consistent.


Conclusion

The SpectraCal C6 is an excellent meter priced very well. There aren't too many meters that will come with NIST certification at that price point. Add in the low light capability, the speed of an OTC-1000 and the much lower price tag, the C6 is sure to be a hit among DIY calibrators. The interesting thing to see is how well the filters hold up over time with this colorimeter. Given the bad history of the i1Display2, I'm certain that the team of X-Rite and SpectraCal fixed that problem. Even with that in mind, I would still store this meter in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight. Storing it in a bag with some sort of desiccant pack would not be a bad idea either. That's how I store my meters.
 
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