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Author Topic: NEC 2690 or Dell 2709?  (Read 3372 times)
djcsmith
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« on: May 09, 2009, 10:39:36 AM »
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Yes I know the NEC is a better montior, and is my choice if $ is not an issue.
But is the Dell good enough for a lot less?

I am primarily an event photographer, but I occasionally print art reproductions on canvas or fine art paper.  I process RAW images using Lightroom and Photoshop on an 17" Macbook Pro; with a colour managed work-flow of hardware calibrated monitors and custom print profiles.

I'm thinking that a 26 to 27" monitor teamed up with the laptop monitor would suit me well.  (I have recently moved back to Mac from PC's and CRT's, and also have a new iMac 24" that my wife has claimed as her own)

I am interested in hearing from other serious photographer/printers who have worked through this dilemma.
Is the color from a calibrated Dell good enough, or is it bite-the-bullet get-the-best time again?

David
www.thunderboxphoto.com
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01af
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2009, 11:48:00 AM »
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I have the Dell 2407WFP-HC on an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics card, and I think the monitor is just great. Shadows, highlights, and video gamma are spot-on, no calibration required. The colour gamut almost matches Adobe RGB; it is significantly wider than sRGB ... I think the current Dell xx09WFP series monitors have gamuts that even exceed Adobe RGB.

It wouldn't make sense to hardware-calibrate the Dell 2407WFP-HC because (1) it is well-calibrated right out of the box, and (2) it doesn't incorporate 10-bit or 12-bit look-up tables so any attempt to change hardware settings would only deteriorate image quality (i. e. would cause banding and/or uneven tonality). Generally, hardware calibration is needed only when you must match one monitor to another precisely---which rarely is the case in real life. Even when you actually are using two monitors, only one will be used to do colour-critical work; the other will display tool palettes and other non-critical stuff. So normally profiling the monitors properly is all that's required.

Please understand that hardware calibration inevitably means a deliberate restriction of the monitor's native gamut and dynamic range. Matching two monitors effectively means to reduce both to their common denominator, i. e. to the intersection of their gamuts and ranges. So unless desperately required, any kind of calibration is to be avoided in order to take advantage of the monitor's full gamut and dynamic range.

So don't worry too much about the monitor's aptitude to get hardware-calibrated. The NEC 2690 does have three 12-bit look-up tables; the Dell 2709WFP does not. So the NEC can be hardware-calibrated without loss of image quality; the Dell cannot. But the point is: the Dell does not need it, just make sure it's properly profiled.

-- Olaf
« Last Edit: May 09, 2009, 11:54:26 AM by 01af » Logged
djcsmith
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2009, 07:39:44 PM »
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Thanks for your reply Olaf,

It sounds like you are satisfied that the Dell monitor is good enough for your purposes.

The NEC is about about $700 more than the Dell, here in Canada. That is a lot of money.
I am having a hard time justifying this cost difference, to get a limited increase in color accuracy.

David



Quote from: 01af
I have the Dell 2407WFP-HC on an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics card, and I think the monitor is just great. Shadows, highlights, and video gamma are spot-on, no calibration required. The colour gamut almost matches Adobe RGB; it is significantly wider than sRGB ... I think the current Dell xx09WFP series monitors have gamuts that even exceed Adobe RGB.

It wouldn't make sense to hardware-calibrate the Dell 2407WFP-HC because (1) it is well-calibrated right out of the box, and (2) it doesn't incorporate 10-bit or 12-bit look-up tables so any attempt to change hardware settings would only deteriorate image quality (i. e. would cause banding and/or uneven tonality). Generally, hardware calibration is needed only when you must match one monitor to another precisely---which rarely is the case in real life. Even when you actually are using two monitors, only one will be used to do colour-critical work; the other will display tool palettes and other non-critical stuff. So normally profiling the monitors properly is all that's required.

Please understand that hardware calibration inevitably means a deliberate restriction of the monitor's native gamut and dynamic range. Matching two monitors effectively means to reduce both to their common denominator, i. e. to the intersection of their gamuts and ranges. So unless desperately required, any kind of calibration is to be avoided in order to take advantage of the monitor's full gamut and dynamic range.

So don't worry too much about the monitor's aptitude to get hardware-calibrated. The NEC 2690 does have three 12-bit look-up tables; the Dell 2709WFP does not. So the NEC can be hardware-calibrated without loss of image quality; the Dell cannot. But the point is: the Dell does not need it, just make sure it's properly profiled.

-- Olaf
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01af
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2009, 03:53:25 AM »
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Quote from: djcsmith
I am having a hard time justifying this cost difference, to get a limited increase in color accuracy.
Huh!? But you wouldn't get any increase in colour accuray!

The colour accuray of your work does not depend on the monitor's calibration. You just need to install an accurate monitor profile, that's all. Umm ... you know the difference between calibrating and profiling a monitor, don't you?

-- Olaf
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djcsmith
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 05:05:41 PM »
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Quote from: 01af
Huh!? But you wouldn't get any increase in colour accuray!

The colour accuray of your work does not depend on the monitor's calibration. You just need to install an accurate monitor profile, that's all. Umm ... you know the difference between calibrating and profiling a monitor, don't you?

-- Olaf

Hi Olaf,

Maybe not; to me the terms mean the same.

On my machines, I have been using Manaco EasyColor with an Optix DTP94 to create profiles.
My Monaco manual refers to this process as calibrate & profile.
On CRT's I set custom white point, gamma 2.2, contrast and brightness, and then create a profile.
On my laptop LCD, I set use native white-balance, gamma 2.2, brightness adjustments, then create a profile.

What am I missing?

David
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jackbingham
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 05:35:51 PM »
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" It wouldn't make sense to hardware-calibrate the Dell 2407WFP-HC because (1) it is well-calibrated right out of the box"

This is nonsense. No monitor is calibrated right out of the box

"(2) it doesn't incorporate 10-bit or 12-bit look-up tables so any attempt to change hardware settings would only deteriorate image quality"
What you suggest is silly. How the image quality is degraded depends on many things not the least of which is how radical the adjustments are.

"Generally, hardware calibration is needed only when you must match one monitor to another precisely"
Calibration is generally needed when trying to match a monitor to a viewing light. Something anyone with a monitor, a printer, and a need to make critical judgements requires.

"Please understand that hardware calibration inevitably means a deliberate restriction of the monitor's native gamut and dynamic range. Matching two monitors effectively means to reduce both to their common denomination"
No it means generally restricting one to match the other assuming of course that one has reduced capabilities from the other.

" i. e. to the intersection of their gamuts and ranges. So unless desperately required, any kind of calibration is to be avoided in order to take advantage of the monitor's full gamut and dynamic range."
Again you suggest an absolute nature that does not exist. If matching print to monitor is an issue than calibrating using a monitor's osd controls may well be a perfectly reasonable solution with little or no noticeable sacrifice in image display quality.



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Jack Bingham
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2009, 01:17:27 AM »
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Quote from: 01af
I have the Dell 2407WFP-HC on an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics card, and I think the monitor is just great. Shadows, highlights, and video gamma are spot-on, no calibration required. The colour gamut almost matches Adobe RGB; it is significantly wider than sRGB ... I think the current Dell xx09WFP series monitors have gamuts that even exceed Adobe RGB.

It wouldn't make sense to hardware-calibrate the Dell 2407WFP-HC because (1) it is well-calibrated right out of the box, and (2) it doesn't incorporate 10-bit or 12-bit look-up tables so any attempt to change hardware settings would only deteriorate image quality (i. e. would cause banding and/or uneven tonality). Generally, hardware calibration is needed only when you must match one monitor to another precisely---which rarely is the case in real life. Even when you actually are using two monitors, only one will be used to do colour-critical work; the other will display tool palettes and other non-critical stuff. So normally profiling the monitors properly is all that's required.

Please understand that hardware calibration inevitably means a deliberate restriction of the monitor's native gamut and dynamic range. Matching two monitors effectively means to reduce both to their common denominator, i. e. to the intersection of their gamuts and ranges. So unless desperately required, any kind of calibration is to be avoided in order to take advantage of the monitor's full gamut and dynamic range.

So don't worry too much about the monitor's aptitude to get hardware-calibrated. The NEC 2690 does have three 12-bit look-up tables; the Dell 2709WFP does not. So the NEC can be hardware-calibrated without loss of image quality; the Dell cannot. But the point is: the Dell does not need it, just make sure it's properly profiled.

-- Olaf

This is utter nonsense for sRGB monitors. I'd rather have accurate color with slightly limited gamut of the monitor, rather than have one with full gamut but which is factory-"calibrated" to look garishly oversaturated and too bright at the shop to separate the monitor from others. I know for a fact that my cheap-o Samsung 215TW looks an order of a magnitude better and more accurate after calibrating with a Spyder than before - and I can assure you there is no visible deterioration of quality.

I've occasionally heard similar claims about wide-gamut monitors not needing profiling, and I've always been skeptical. Great if they don't! So while what you say might be true - I'll let the more technically oriented pitch in -, it's one thing to talk about a theoretical limiting of gamut due to calibration on sRGB monitors, and a whole another thing about an appreciable visible impact. And I bet most photographers would rather have accurate color!
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tho_mas
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2009, 06:43:56 AM »
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Quote from: djcsmith
to me the terms mean the same.
(...)
What am I missing?
calibration means (here) that 1.) the grey scale is adjusted via graphic card / video LUT according to the white point and the gamma and 2.) that the colour reproduction of the display is measured and stored in a profile. The second part is "profiling": the characterization of the display without previous adjustment of the grey scale.
The Dell displays are quite bright even when adjusting to the lowest level. Too, they are quite cold and tend to have a shift to green. That's what I've heard about the Dell displays... So I think it's essential to calibrate it just as you are used to do it with your CRT. (In this case you have to reduce the blue and the green chanel in the OSD and you will lose some tonal values as the display has just an 8bit LUT).
If the Dell is calibrated quite well out of the box you will not lose that much tonal values due to the grey scale calibration as in this case the corrections on the graphic card will be marginally.
A colleague has 2 or 3 of those Dells amongst Highend displays in a prepress agency. They don't use them for final production but preproduction of certain stuff. They are calibrated of course. He said they are quite good for the price but of course have some banding in dark tonal values after calibration. As long as banding is visible only in technical test patterns like gradations and such but not in real images that's okay. That's the price you pay for the cheaper display.
The loss of gamut (when reducing certain colour chanels) is totally negligible... an accurate white point is much more important than a slightly bigger gamut.
Too I find an accurate grey scale essential... to me it's actually the most essential thing and it is basically what is calibration all about.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 06:58:14 AM by tho_mas » Logged
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