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Author Topic: What to look for when buying a monitor.  (Read 5312 times)
The View
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« on: October 29, 2008, 02:11:11 AM »
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Key features would be reliable color reproduction and luminosity across the whole screen.

I have the impression that consumer grade monitors fail in these points.


My 24" white iMac's matte monitor doesn't allow me side-by-side comparisons, as the highlights (in my case, the light reflection on skin etc.) is not represented in the same way across the whole screen surface.

It's a good monitor, but obviously not good enough.


My next monitor has to be reliable in these things.

For what technical features should I look for?


I pretty much decided on an LED monitor...

And now? How do you separate the disappointing bargain stuff from serious hardware, and this from unnecessary high expenses?
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Dale_Cotton2
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 06:58:15 AM »
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A few things off the top of my head:

[attachment=9279:Good_bad...profiles.jpg]

Ability to profile is critical. You should be able to profile at various brightness levels without the resulting RGB plot looking like a roller coaster track (see attached JPEG). You can get a pretty good read on this when shopping in a store. Set the colour preset to 6500K then look at an image file with a full range of colours and brightnesses that you are intimately familiar with. (This could be a printer test image saved as an sRGB JPEG that you have on a thumb drive then load into a browser.) There should be no obvious inaccuracies, such as inky shadows or blown highlights or reds that are orangish, etc. Repeat at different brightness levels. IOW: the closer the monitor is out of the box to looking as though you had already profiled it, the better.

Angle of view. You should be able to look at the monitor from different positions without seeing a shift in colour. Sit in front of a monitor you are evaluating; try moving a couple feet to left or right, try standing up part way. You should be able to look at the monitor from at least 45 degrees off-centre from any direction without seeing a noticeable change in colour. This will have an effect on the highlight colour problem you report.

Pixel pitch. The individual dots that make up the image should be small enough at your comfortable viewing distance that you can't distinguish them. This comes down to whether the screen diagonal is appropriate for the native resolution. A 17 inch display with a native 1280x1024 may be appropriate. A 19 inch at 1280x1024 may be too coarse. I'm sure this is as must a matter of eye sight and viewing distance as anything.

Rich OSD (on-screen display) feature set. An inexpensive monitor will probably not have all the adjustments you need. Of course, brightness, contrast, and separate RGB channel adjustments is a beginning, but the ability to adjust per-pixel sharpness is pretty much essential too, as is the ability to move the OSD location.

Orientation rotation is nice. By default monitors are used in landscape orientation; the ability to easily rotate it to portrait orientation is great if you ever need to edit portrait orientation pictures.
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The View
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 12:50:10 PM »
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Thanks, Dale.

Those are great points!



So you bring a test image to the store, load it on their computer, change brightness, and see how this profile you attached (how do you get this profile? It's different from ICC profiles, which is the only one I can get from my display here).

I will definitely add the ability to rotate to my list, as I do a lot of portraits.


Looks like you know quite a lot about monitors.

What models in the 24" range do you think are good? I only know of the Eizo ColorEdge at this time, which seems to be quite expensive.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2008, 01:08:51 PM »
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Quote from: The View
What models in the 24" range do you think are good? I only know of the Eizo ColorEdge at this time, which seems to be quite expensive.
The new NEC 2690WUXi2, about to hit the stores in a few weeks, has 98% of the Adobe RGB space, replaces the NEC 2690WUXi which has a very good reputation for graphic and photographic work, and is about the same price: $1150.  If you have a colorimeter that is compatible with the older model, you can buy the SpectraView software from NEC ($100) and directly profile the monitor's LUT.  If you don't, you can buy the software/colorimeter package for about $275, if I remember right.

The NEC 2490WUXi has somewhat less of the aRGB space, and is only about $100 less, making the new 2690WUXi2 a better buy.  It has a 25.5" diagonal viewing size, and very good evenness from corner to corner.  

Check it out at the NEC website under Peripherals>Display>Desktop>Professional>Multisync 90.

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The View
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2008, 07:51:33 PM »
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Sounds like a very good alternative to Apple's cinema displays.

But it's still an LCD.

You don't play with the thought of getting an LED display? There should be coming out quite a few of them in the coming months.
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Dale_Cotton2
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2008, 07:40:39 AM »
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The View wrote:
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So you bring a test image to the store, load it on their computer, change brightness, and see how this profile you attached (how do you get this profile?
Unfortunately, no. The line graphs I attached to my first post are part of the output of The EyeOne Display 2 monitor profiling tool (when used in non-LUT mode). If you have one of those and the store lets you profile their display monitors, that would be great, but I doubt it's gonna happen. ;) What I'm saying is since that isn't feasible all you can do on any monitor you're considering is look at a good test jpeg that you're thoroughly familiar with seeing displayed properly. Hopefully, if the image looks off in any way - contrast, gamut, etc. - your eye will catch that.

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What models in the 24" range do you think are good? I only know of the Eizo ColorEdge at this time, which seems to be quite expensive.
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You don't play with the thought of getting an LED display?
Sorry: I have no experience with either 24" or LED. I've had a Lacie 320, which has the same 1600x1200, 20" LCD as the equivalent NEC display, for most of a year, since my Electron Blue CRT died. It's absolutely superb and my appreciation for it gets renewed every day, sitting in front of a budget LCD at work. I practically live in Photoshop and couldn't be happier, so I haven't paid any mind to alternatives. (Feel the same way about my Epson 3800, BTW. ;) You go right ahead and buy yourself that Caddy Seville that turns your crank. I'm perfectly happy with my little ol' Corvette. ;)
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The View
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2008, 11:19:57 PM »
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The key things a monitor must have are:

1. even distribution of luminosity across the panel

2. reliable display of colors across the panel.

It doesn't help to have a 30" display that doesn't do that. I'd rather go with a 24" display that does.


Not sure how good that first generation of LED displays are. Couldn't sample a 24" Apple display at the Apple store, as there was none. But I am not inclined to use a display with a glossy surface/with glass between me and the image.
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Box Brownie
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2008, 05:34:29 PM »
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Just looking for some thoughts when more modest budgets rule!

I know that the choice of display is like getting good glass for my dSLR but budget (sadly) will always be a consideration.  So if the budget is more at the 300 to 400 what monitors at a minimum size of 19inch and a max of 24inch are viable options ~ I have a Spyder3 Elite for that critical step of calibration
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artyfact
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2008, 05:40:13 PM »
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Box Brownie,

might check this out: http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/review/2008...ml#Introduction
Its in one of my final final, really final, probably final selection of candidates.
Artyfact
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Plekto
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2008, 07:53:49 PM »
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http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Periph...s,2/Monitors,8/

Check out some reviews.  Speed of course is meaningless here - color accuracy and features are the goal, which is where LCDs frankly fail(and why I'm waiting for an OLED monitor in a year or two)  

Oh - Apple's monitors are full of problems lately.  I'd avoid them entirely.

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