New Monitor for Mac:wide color gamut or not?

7enderbender

EOS RP
Feb 17, 2011
644
5
Boston, MA
So here is the old question again: wide color gamut or not?

I finally pulled the trigger on a new Mac Mini to replace my ancient Dell desktop. Defined use for that thing will be a mix of audio recording, photo editing and basic general use. I specifically went with the Mini as opposed to an iMac to not get stuck with the shiny 27" all in one monitor design.

Of the 27" ~$1000 monitor options such as Dell or NEC there seem to be plenty that are now extremely good for the money and they have finally worked out the anti-glare coating issues. Connectivity on especially the Dell models is great (better than the Apple Thunderbolt really). So it comes down to the old issues with wide gamut over sRGB standard models.

Does anyone have any recent experiences, e.g. with the Dell U2713H (wide gamut) vs U2713HM (standard)? Or can anyone make a compelling argument for the Apple Thunderbolt display (shiny which I don't like, USB2, no option to connect a second old PC)? Or should I keep it simple and go with one of the mid range NECs which lose in the connectivity department but may be overall better quality?

For calibration I already have the Xrite ColorMunki Display (which I know is not compatible with Dell's hardware calibration but should work just fine with a software profile I think).
 
I'm a PC guy, but I can say that with Dell at least, the wide gamut experience has been great. I bought a U3014 last year and love it. At first the wide gamut settings led to some garish web pages and applications, but once I set up the Dell Monitor Manager and set it to switch to sRGB for general applications, configured my monitor profile (Datacolor Spyder for me) in Firefox/Waterfox, and such, it works perfectly! I also went a little nuts and bought a Nvidia QUADRO for 30-bit color (not worth it for photos, really) and love my set up. My previous monitor wasn't bad (I went from 76% to 100% AdobeRGB), but the colors are so accurate it's amazing. The only downside is that it has revealed the flaws in my printer profiles. The USB3 hub works great in it.

I would say that most high quality monitors (not labelled wide gamut) are pretty good these days, though, so unless you really want a color critical monitor, you might be better off spending your money elsewhere. Also, Dell sells refurbs at a significant discount if you're set on one.
 

Drizzt321

EOS 5D Mark IV
Nov 23, 2011
1,667
0
Lala land
www.aaronbaff.com
If you're doing a lot of paid photo work, especially commercial that will be printed, get the wide-gamut monitor. You've already got a quality calibration device, so you're good there. If your photo work is mostly a hobby, or occasional paid work that's meant for the web mostly, then go ahead and just get a quality monitor with decent gamut rather than spending the extra money for a wide-gamut. Obviously your audio work & general use don't need wide-gamut, so it's really can you justify spending the extra money to output a better quality product that will be visible to your clients? If it does, then a better quality output may likely translate to more work and/or more referrals which will pay back the investment many times over.
 

7enderbender

EOS RP
Feb 17, 2011
644
5
Boston, MA
mackguyver said:
[...] At first the wide gamut settings led to some garish web pages and applications, but once I set up the Dell Monitor Manager and set it to switch to sRGB for general applications, configured my monitor profile (Datacolor Spyder for me) in Firefox/Waterfox, and such, it works perfectly! [...]


Thanks for the input and the real life experience. What you mention here is really the essence of my question and also brings up what Drizzt321 brings up as a concern.

No, I still do very little paid photo work - and in this day and age I'm sure that most of it will be for web use in most cases anyway. I personally don't even own a photo printer and have no intentions in getting one. I'll rather pay the few good printing houses and let them deal with it - and few of those even consider aRGB profiles etc.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love having the option. And I'm ok with spending some extra money for that. BUT - if that means that 95% of everything else gets thrown off - meaning everything in sRGB will display with neon-reds and off greens then what's the point? I understand that there are "color aware" programs while others are not. For daily browser work I prefer Chrome - so that's already an issue from what I hear.

But then again - I'm curious about the "set it to switch for general applications" statement above. What exactly do you mean? Does this apply only to those applications that are smart enough such as Firefox or others as well?
 

Drizzt321

EOS 5D Mark IV
Nov 23, 2011
1,667
0
Lala land
www.aaronbaff.com
7enderbender said:
mackguyver said:
[...] At first the wide gamut settings led to some garish web pages and applications, but once I set up the Dell Monitor Manager and set it to switch to sRGB for general applications, configured my monitor profile (Datacolor Spyder for me) in Firefox/Waterfox, and such, it works perfectly! [...]


Thanks for the input and the real life experience. What you mention here is really the essence of my question and also brings up what Drizzt321 brings up as a concern.

No, I still do very little paid photo work - and in this day and age I'm sure that most of it will be for web use in most cases anyway. I personally don't even own a photo printer and have no intentions in getting one. I'll rather pay the few good printing houses and let them deal with it - and few of those even consider aRGB profiles etc.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love having the option. And I'm ok with spending some extra money for that. BUT - if that means that 95% of everything else gets thrown off - meaning everything in sRGB will display with neon-reds and off greens then what's the point? I understand that there are "color aware" programs while others are not. For daily browser work I prefer Chrome - so that's already an issue from what I hear.

But then again - I'm curious about the "set it to switch for general applications" statement above. What exactly do you mean? Does this apply only to those applications that are smart enough such as Firefox or others as well?

I mean, I got a dell 24" aRGB wide-gamut for myself, and I don't do _any_ paid photo work. But then, I have enough disposable income to afford one.

As for the "switch for general applications", Dell has a tool that will sit in your tray and let you quickly and easily change ICC profiles, or auto-switch them depending on the application you are currently in. So when you bring Photoshop as the active application, it'll use the AdobeRGB calibrated profile, but when you bring Firefox or Word or what not as the active application, it'll switch to sRGB mode.
 
7enderbender said:
mackguyver said:
[...] At first the wide gamut settings led to some garish web pages and applications, but once I set up the Dell Monitor Manager and set it to switch to sRGB for general applications, configured my monitor profile (Datacolor Spyder for me) in Firefox/Waterfox, and such, it works perfectly! [...]


Thanks for the input and the real life experience. What you mention here is really the essence of my question and also brings up what Drizzt321 brings up as a concern.

No, I still do very little paid photo work - and in this day and age I'm sure that most of it will be for web use in most cases anyway. I personally don't even own a photo printer and have no intentions in getting one. I'll rather pay the few good printing houses and let them deal with it - and few of those even consider aRGB profiles etc.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love having the option. And I'm ok with spending some extra money for that. BUT - if that means that 95% of everything else gets thrown off - meaning everything in sRGB will display with neon-reds and off greens then what's the point? I understand that there are "color aware" programs while others are not. For daily browser work I prefer Chrome - so that's already an issue from what I hear.

But then again - I'm curious about the "set it to switch for general applications" statement above. What exactly do you mean? Does this apply only to those applications that are smart enough such as Firefox or others as well?
It sounds like a good quality monitor calibrated with your ColorMunki is probably all you need for now. Most monitors in the $300+ range these days are 100% sRGB and 80% AdobeRGB range which is plenty for all but the most critical applications. I always deliver full-res AdobeRGB TIFFs and downsized sRGB JPEG "web" files to my clients. The TIFFs go to their ad agency, and they use the web files for their website, Facebook, and everything else. The web versions also give me the assurance that the photos will look right on the web. It only takes one "why are the colors so faded" call to learn that lesson. Don't ever let clients convert AdobeRGB TIFFs to AdobeRGB JPEGs!!! Even if they get beyond the "Facebook won't let me upload a 79MB file" call ;)

I made do with a decent monitor for years, even working as a graphic artist and selling large prints. Another factor is what you shoot - those extra colors in the wide gamut can be critical to serious fashion, product and landscape photographers, but for most people, it's not noticeable. The difference between a calibrated and uncalibrated monitor is HUGE, but the difference between a good calibrated monitor and calibrated wide gamut monitor is much smaller. For me, it's about taking my work up a notch to separate it from my competition.

As for the Dell Monitor Manager - it installs on your computer and switches monitor modes depending on what application is open (foremost window). I have it set to sRGB mode by default for desktop (Windows) and non-color managed apps, and AdobeRGB for Firefox, Adobe apps, DxO, and my other color-aware applications. It works really well because things like MS Word, non-ICC aware browsers, and even desktop icons look way oversatured in AdobeRGB mode (think really bad HDR!).
 
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