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Author Topic: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing  (Read 11566 times)

RC

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Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« on: December 16, 2011, 12:45:31 AM »
I've been wanting to upgrade my monitor for a while and I'm now beginning my research.   I'm looking for some advice and suggestions on specs, brands, and size from the CR community .  I want a very good monitor optimized for viewing and editing photos--everything else is secondary (I don't care about watching movies on my PC and I'm not a gamer).  I use LR as my main editor and I think with a widescreen display I could optimize LR's interface better.

I currently have a 19" Viewsonic flat screen VP9506.   It has the standard aspect ratio (non widescreen), DVI and RGB inputs, and refresh rate up to 72 Hz.  My graphics controller is GeForce 9600 GSO with 768 Mbs, and with both RGB and DVI outputs.  Oh and I do run Windows as my only OS.

I'm not committed to, but I prefer to stay away from Viewsonic since I've had a string of horrible customer service and hardware experiences over the last decade--maybe they finally got their act together now.

Thanks in advance!   :)

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Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« on: December 16, 2011, 12:45:31 AM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 01:04:44 AM »
Ive been looking at this offering from Dell
it looks like the best bang for buck at the moment
especially in the IPS type

http://accessories.ap.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=au&cs=audhs1&l=en&s=dhs&sku=210-31399&redirect=1
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dr croubie

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 01:27:00 AM »
I've got a Dell Ultrasharp U2711 2560*1440 and I love it, currently $800 in Aus.
I was contemplating the U2410 1920*1200 24", but for only $100 price-difference, I took the extra pixel real-estate.
The 21", 23", and 24"LED only have an 82% Colour Gamut (although you can get three 21" for the price of the 27").
And the 30" costs double the 27" for  160 more pixels along the top/bottom, and 99% instead of 96% AdobeRGB coverage (which I don't use anyway).

There's not much else comparable in this quality/price bracket, Asus have an IPS-something that I looked at, but the reviews weren't too good, and I didn't have money for Eizo.

A few people have complained about the build-quality of the Dell, but I tend to look at the image on the screen, not the frame. Get your own VESA-mount stand if it matters that much.

Other than that, I can't fault it, except that it absolutely chews power, I can feel it radiating heat from a distance, even with brightness at 10. But I can live with that (most other comparable monitors do the same). 3-year next-day on-site 1-dead-pixel-and-you-can-replace-the-whole-thing warranty I hope to never use, but it's definite peace of mind.

Just a tip, don't buy it now. I originally saw mine for $700 in June, then in July it was up to $800. Randomly I saw it one day on a '3-day-sale' for $530, hit the buy button immediately. Turns out these '3-day-sales' aren't too uncommon, especially with this model because they don't move too fast otherwise. So unless you want it tomorrow, keep checking and save a packet...
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pinnaclephotography

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 01:31:47 AM »
Take a look at the different panel technologies.  All photographers should avoid TN based panels when possible, due to the inherent weaknesses in color accuracy, color depth, viewing angles, etc.
http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/lcd-panel-types.php

A IPS based panel is probably the best route, and depending on your budget, a 24" with 1920x1200 or 30" 2560x1600 would be the sizes/resolutions to look for.  IMO, the 16x10 aspect ratio is better than 16x9 for photo editing/viewing.  Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the models available:
http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/s-ips-lcd-list.php

The prices are approximately the following:

Arm: a good 24" with 1920x1200 resolution

Leg: an excellent 30" with 2560x1600 resolution, such as the HP ZR30w or Dell UltraSharp U3011

Firstborn: mostly the same as 'Leg' but with hefty NEC or LaCie markup (sometimes including a bundled color calibration tool)

PeterJ

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 01:48:33 AM »
I've got a Dell U2410 and have been very happy with it, unless you want to fork out a lot more cash for a 30" it looks like the 27" U2711 dr croubie suggested might be the go at the moment. I only went 24" because at the time there was a bit more of a gap and I had an older 24" I now use as a second monitor so it made sense to stick with same size/resolution.

Actually the older Dell blew its power supply recently, it was about 6 years old and I picked up a new power supply for $60 odd and it's back in business. Guess that's one advantage to the more popular brands that spare parts seem to be available a long time.

For your video card I wouldn't touch that, I had an older 9500 that I upgraded to a GTX295 because I had some apps that I wanted CUDA for, but running two monitors at 1920x1200 I could barely pick a difference in speed for normal applications, and the old card would easily let me watch an HD video on one monitor without any noticable affect on the performance of the other.

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 02:20:46 AM »
There are 3 major players in color correct monitor industry.  NEC, Lacie and Eizo.  Eizo are great but absurdly (and I do mean ABSURDLY) expensive.  Lacie's are just rebranded NEC monitors that come with a spider calibration kit and hood and you pay a premium for the package, would be great if you can find a good deal on one though.

Unless you have a rich idiots budget for an Eizo, then you are going to want to get an NEC.

The Dell and Apple monitors that people go gaga over don't have the color accuracy of the above monitors, and don't have hardware calibration controls (last I checked, and they suck so bad for so long despite rave reviews, I stopped checking).  They also tend to use heavy vibrance settings to make them "pop" on the shelf, but it's not useful for accurate display to printing workflows.

You want to be looking at the NEC's that are on the higher end of the range, because they do also sell consumer end models that aren't going to be much different from anything else.  They are usually branded as Color Critical or Professional Graphics but there may be some exceptions to that, you have to study the features.  There is a real wide price range to pick from between $2,550 - $450 or so depending on size and features (that's going by MSRP list price, you can probably do a bit better, especially if you find a new copy of an older model for sale somewhere).

You are going to see something like "Supports internal programmable 14-bit 3D lookup tables (LUTs) for calibration" or similar on the features which indicate that the hardware that drives the monitor is capable of direct calibration.

Sony used to sell color accurate displays back in the days of CRT.  I haven't looked to see if they have kept up with things.

After clicking the below link, sort it from Price - High to Low
http://www.necdisplay.com/category/desktop-monitors

Edit: It was too long since I last looked at Eizo's prices vs. NEC.  Still expensive but seems there are models that are with-in reach and competitive with NEC pricing.  Last time I looked 2-3 years ago this did not appear to be the case.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 05:48:59 AM by Jettatore »

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 03:20:12 AM »
i use an Eizo FlexScan S2243WFS-BK.
it's a really great monitor for a pretty decent price. colours are great (95% of Adobe RGB)! it has a large resolution of 1920x1200, but the monitor is only 22 inch in size.

like the others before me said, eizo can be pretty expensive. it just depends on how much you are willing to pay for it. the more quality you want, the more money they will ask :P

good luck with your choice!
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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 03:20:12 AM »

92101media

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 03:49:51 AM »
FlatPanels HD recommendations (updated regularly, new models added, old models removed):
http://www.flatpanelshd.com/focus.php?subaction=showfull&id=1229341472

You want to be looking at the 'Graphics Monitors' section, about half way down the page.

Generally, for color accuracy, you want to be looking for an IPS panel, with a wide color gamut.

Once you've identified a potential candidate, it's worth doing a general google search for reviews. The Dell U3011 seems to be reviewed consistently highly (and in the States is only a couple hundred bucks more than the Dell U2711, which is not ranked as high consistently). Note that some people feel that Dell has been particularly heavy handed with the anti glare coating on some of their displays, with some people complaining that it's like trying to look through a screen door or dirty windows (several of the Dell U2711 reviewers on Amazon seem to mention this, IIRC).

Matte displays are generally more color accurate, striving for neutrality, rather than glossy displays with over-saturated 'pop' meant to wow the average consumer. This is the same as the music industry, and the general rule is that if you can get a picture (or music) to look (sound) good on neutral unflattering media during the post-processing (mastering) process, then it'll look great on consumer gear, designed to wow; while the reverse is not necessarily true (material that looks good on a flattering display can look flat & uninteresting on a more neutral color accurate display).

I just went through this process myself, but my requirements were different. I wanted a 1920x1080 display because 1. it's the same resolution as my notebook screen, so I can do 1:1 mirroring of my notebook display on my desktop monitor, and 2. that res is effectively 1080p, so I can display 1:1 1080p content without upscaling / downscaling / underscanning / overscanning. Also, I already have a generic 1920x1200 24" display, and wanted something larger than 24", so I can more easily view 2 full scale pages of a doc side-by-side for business use, without too much eyestrain (I am mildly near-sighted, and don't use glasses when using a computer). I did look at some of the 23"-24" Dell IPS displays though, but was put off by the fact that some of the more recent value-oriented displays (U2312HM, U2412HM) were missing an HDMI port (though they had DVI & the newer Display Port connections). I looked briefly at the Dell U2711, but was put off by some of the reviews on Amazon, and the fact that the more consistently better reviewed Dell U3011 is only a couple hundred bucks extra. Sadly, though, the > $US1100 for the Dell U3011 is more than I currently wish to spend.

So I just ordered a 27" 1920x1080 (1080p) Samsung TN display (P2770HD), that was pretty cheap (US$ 300), seems to be consistently well reviewed across a number of sites (Amazon, B&H, and a number of others), and has a plethora of analog inputs too (though I wish it had a 2nd HDMI and Display Port inputs as well). Upon reading the reviews for this particular monitor, it seems that one caveat is that when using its HDMI input for a PC display (as opposed to a multimedia display), you need to go into the menu and tell it that the HDMI is being used as a PC input to disable overscanning, so that it uses 1:1 mode (thereby preventing fuzzy rendering of text).

I realize that in general a TN display is not as desirable as an IPS display for color accuracy, but photography is just a hobby for me, and my newish notebook has a decent (but not great) 17" 1920x1080p matte display, which I can also reference when editing photos to help make sure the color doesn't look too flat on a matte display. I haven't received my Samsung P2770HD yet (it is due to arrive tomorrow), but if it looks pretty decent, while also serving my other multimedia & business needs well, at a value price, then I'll be satisfied. If I don't like it, I'll just return it, or move it into my bedroom as a multimedia TV, connected to DVD player/netbook etc., and wait until I can afford a better quality, >= 27" IPS display later.

Either way, for you, moving from a 19" monitor to a larger size, higher res, newer technology display is likely to be a significant improvement, so it's important to keep that in perspective too. Just make sure that your somewhat older graphics card has the requisite connections, and that it will support whatever resolution you choose for your new monitor, at least in 2D mode (2D mode, used for static display, such as photos, is less taxing than 3D dynamic display, such as used for later movies & games).

Hope that helps.

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 04:36:17 AM »
I really recommend 24 inch or larger.
The Dell Ultrasharp U2410 and U2711 are on my watchlist at the moment, U3011 is above my budget.
I might also get a 27" iMac next year, until then I'm "stuck" with dual Acers (24" + 19").
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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 05:29:25 AM »
xROELOFx,

That one you have is real nice, current list price for the model you listed is like $850ish.  Not amazing, but not as horrible as Eizo used to be either, obviously quality is up there but I think NEC by the time you get to that price range has some considerable competition for them.  Also Eizo requires EIZO EasyPix adapter $180 to get access to hardware calibrate it, so looking at $1,000 total.  That EasyPix/Flexscan kit will help you synch it to any printer as well.  NEC has some similar toolset which is also required for calibration and isn't included with many models they sell but some have it in the box.  Without these adapters the money spent on a color accurate monitor is more or less wasted.  Even if you don't have your own printer, you can get the printing company who you use to give you a calibration print to use to synch your monitor to their specifications and make sure the pictures you work on, look like how they are going to print.  And after-all, that is the entire point.  Otherwise, might as well go cheap and get some big Dell or Apple but cheap display that looks half-way decent, and if you only do web work, their isn't anything wrong with that idea.

Someone said something about having at least 24" or more.  I don't disagree at all but I think if you don't mind using multiple monitors, you can just have one large, cheap monitor for all your menus and tools and brush pallets, etc..  And then your second, color accurate display to host your image canvas in fullscreen doesn't have to be so big.  I like the idea of the color accurate display being able to be rotated into portrait mode and back to landscape so that you can really make use of a smaller (cheaper) color accurate screen dedicated to your canvas.

Edit: looking at the Eizo's now $ wise closer than I have in a long time.  Seems they do have models that are competitive to NEC.  Last time I looked at this 2-3 years ago the NEC's were considerably cheaper.  I guess that's to be expected, both of them are expensive, you can still start with a $450ish + adapter cost budget on the NEC's though, not sure if Eizo has anything in that range but maybe they do....  time to re-assess.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 07:01:20 AM by Jettatore »

ordad12

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 05:42:28 AM »
I bit the bullet and purchased the 30 inch Dell UltraSharp monitor about six months ago. I can't comment about the comments about color accuracy by others, but it is accurate enough for my needs. I love it because I immediately know how sharp my pictures are when I open them in Lightroom or Photoshop or DxO Optics Pro 6. It makes it very easy to weed out the marginal shots and concentrate on the keepers. And I agree with the comments about waiting for the Dell UltraSharps to be on sale. They often will be 25% off. I got mine for a little over $1,000. Good luck.

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 06:36:58 AM »
Maybe the Dell's are decent now ordad12, I've no idea?  Like I said, I stopped looking at them a long time ago, they have good standards support now on that UltraSharp line, not sure how calibrate-able the high end ones are to match it to specific printer needs though.  Have you tried?

I'm happy, and hopeful for someone to come along and correct me on this/update my info.

The way I understand this issue, is that if you are doing print work.  You have to accurately match the display to a well calibrated printer.  The display might be able to handle a bazzillion colors but if the printer can only do a few thousand, then what you have on the screen is never going to match what comes out of the printer.  So you have to be able, as accurately as possible, to match the display to any printer you plan on using, and the closer you can do that, well that is the entire point, to do that as close as possible so that what you see is what you get.

With that said, the way this used to be done and still is done on the hardware calibrated monitors to a high standard was that the higher end monitors, the software and tools that helps directly color match their output, has direct access to control the internal hardware of the monitor to load in new profiles for radically fine tuned adjustment over the display.  I'm looking at the new Dell's at a glance, and while they support quality sRGB/Adobe standards (which really does help) they don't mention being able to be hardware calibrated which to me means, getting them to display what a print from a certain printer is going to look like, and be able to edit with-in that working space/limitation, is going to be at the least, difficult if not mostly impossible.  But, you at least are geting an accurate to industry standards default factory configured profile sRGB/AdobeRGB which is great for just viewing images in the cameras color space as accurately as possible on the screen, and now if you have a printer that can match that/reproduce aprox that same range and is also set to the same standard, then probably/maybe the fuss I'm making about doing it the other way isn't as necessary?  But subtle things like the type of paper chosen, or variations of the printers actual capability vs. the standard, can quickly throw this off and make what is seen on the screen widely different from what you get.

Reason I was so hard on the Apple and Dell monitors in the first place, is that for years, they were just about flash, and for all I know really still are, and were not readily recommendable as displays for accurately working in custom print/color-spaces and were always more about being large and flashy with ridiculous contrast and vibrance that had nothing to do with print accuracy but sure did look purty, macbook pro displays were/are notorious for this.  The only laptops I've ever heard of with hardware color calabrate-able/color accurate screens come from the Lenovo W series.

Edwin Herdman

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 07:44:25 AM »
There are 3 major players in color correct monitor industry.
And how does one get to be a "major" player?  Marketing.  There are at least a few other great monitor makers that shouldn't be discounted simply because they are less well-known.  (The secret ingredient of great monitors, the LCD panels, are obviously not manufactured by the likes of Dell or Hewlett-Packard; the panel makers may have some exclusive distribution deals but great panels show up in monitors from relatively unknown makers.)

Case to my point:  I currently use and greatly enjoy a Planar PX2611W - 26", 1920x1200 @ 60Hz (however, only single-link DVI, iirc), ~$700 (about a year ago; it has gone through some internal revisions since its initial release some years back) has great colors, great viewing angle, great size, and a very reasonable price at the time I bought it.  Some (reviewing an older model, I have to add) complained about its ability to reproduce some patterns in unusual circumstances, but this is something many monitors will find problematic.  It even has a very quick response time so it can be used for some relatively fast stuff, so drawing with a tablet would be no problem, and even gaming works pretty well on it.

I wrote up a review on Amazon a while back.  CNet does pretty well, too:
http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/planar-px2611w/4505-3174_7-32370426.html

This being said - the sub-1-frame lag of the Planar was perhaps the most important factor in my monitor search back in late '09 - early 2010.  When you consider this, and the price, essentially all the other monitor choices simply were unsuitable for me.  I do not expect that my reasoning will suit many other people here - unless you demand real-time-application response (or like to play games).

One thing I ought to mention is that the IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel type of monitor is pretty decent.

It might be worthwhile to look over this:
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/specs.htm
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 07:59:48 AM by Edwin Herdman »

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 07:44:25 AM »

Jettatore

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 08:05:39 AM »
Ed for the price and size and native resolution you did fine for a large, reasonable quality monitor.  But what you got has nothing to do with color reproduction accuracy and isn't in the high-end Eizo/NEC/Lacie category.  I'd happily accept that there are more in league for competition with the above mentioned, but this isn't one of them, not even close, sorry man.

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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 08:24:47 AM »
Hi RC, I am glad your question generated a lot of response already!  For me a 24" display with 1920x1200 resolution is the smalest I would consider.  That said, the best monitor I have used hands down is the Apple 27" display LED screen.  It has an even higher resolution and the image is just spectacular.

BTW, I actually use my Apple 27" display with my PC setup, it works perfectly as long as you have a real digital DVI or mini display port output from your video card.  Good luck.
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Re: Monitor recomendations for viewing and editing
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 08:24:47 AM »