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digital darkroom monitor


mwalker649

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The Eizo ColorEdge CG221 is king for color. At over $5K, it's a bit pricy. I find the Dell Ultrasharp 2405 a great monitor for color correction. Every monitor needs to be calibrated and profiled, though. Make sure you invest in a good hardware calibrator like a GretagMacbeth Eye-One.

 

Best of luck in the digital darkroom.

 

David

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Well, there still isn't a LCD out there at any price that will match what a professional CRT delivers, but that's a mute point, because you really can't buy them anymore.

 

A friend of mine just finished an exhaustive study of LCD screens for a major Hollywood studio. The criteria was to find an LCD display that would be accurate for digital to film work. Turns out that all brands, regardless of the price, fell short of a CRT. The problem lies mostly with the ability to properly display blacks and the very low range of values. Even illumination and color consistency from corner to corner was also lacking.

 

Overall the professional NEC models come very close to a CRT and were the units to beat.

 

http://www.nec-display-solutions.co.uk/

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I can recommend the Eizo CG210 now CG210N.

 

I can't speak to the study for Hollywood studios but monitors for motion images have different issues from what a photographer needs to worry about. Be careful about generalising.

 

Most of the high end colour professionals that I know use Eizo CG 210s. I can vouch for this monitor, I use one. They run about £1500 and display roughly the sRGB colour space which is what pretty much every other LCD monitor is capable of producing at the moment. There are only 3 monitors that I"m aware of which approach displaying the adobe RGB colour space; the Eizo CG221, the LaCie 526 and the NEC SpectraView® Reference 21 . They are hideously expensive, $3-5k. Although they have outstanding gamuts, they are not without their problems.

 

Here are some monitor "facts".

1) Most LCDs display something akin to the sRGB colour space although colour gamut alone is not the sole criteria for a good monitor.

2) Banding or the ability to display a smooth gradiant is an important aspect of monitors (banding=bad, smooth gradiant=good). Make a new window in Photoshop the size of your monitor;s resolution at 100% (eg, 1920x1200 pixels or 1600x1200 pixels, etc., don't just magnify a smaller window!). Then, using the gradiant tool and the black/white gradiant style, stretch a line from one side of the monitor to the other. The gradiant should be smoothly changing continuously across the gradiant and not show clumps of black or gray.

3) Better monitors have higher bit processing algorhythms even though they can't display higher bit gamuts. This allows better fine tuning of the image that is displayed.

4) Setting the monitor brightness, colour temp, black point, white point and "gamma" correctly are critical.

5) A monitor hood helps keep reflections off the screen

6) Some monitors like the Eizo CG210 can rotate 90degrees allowing you to maximise monitor real estate to match landscape and portrait images.

7) Just because one monitor made by a company (say Eizo) is very good (say the CG210) that doesn't mean that every monitor it makes is good for photography. Eizo for example makes lots of monitors which are designed for inexpensive large scale industrial settings where people stare at spreadsheets or stock charts all day long.

8) LCD and CRT monitors should be calibrated and profiled regularly, CRT ones more regularly than LCDs. The better monitors have their own built in software to work with (usually) a Gretag Macbeth colorimeter, and have higher bit algorhythms.

9) Monitors emit light. Prints reflect light. In general your prints will never appear as punchy as your monitor images. You need to learn tricks to evaluate prints carefully.

10) The next few years should see a dramatic improvement at the high end in monitor technology.

11) In general, you get what you pay for. The best graphics monitors from Eizo and LaCie are good from my experience.

12) Lots more here:

ColorWiki - Monitors Part One ColorWiki - Monitor to Print Matching

ColorWiki - Monitor Calibration FAQ

ColorForums.com :: View Forum - Monitor Calibration & Soft Proofing

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I also depend on EIZO.

 

If you don't want to spend on the CG 210, I have the CG19, and while it's a wee bit smaller, it's a lot less expensive. 10bit LUT, fabulous edge-to-edge consistency, and works with DDC calibration.

 

Next best thing to an Artisan, IMO (though not an Artisan) :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Go there:

 

Monitor Showroom - Welcome to the Monitor Showroom - Colour Confidence

 

And you'll have monitors by quality, price, size, manufacturers...

I bought an Eizo L997 there. Same screen as the CG series but not hardware calibration.

 

I will add my support to this recommendation. I visited Focus at NEC this year and spent some time with Colour Confidence and an expert on the nearby Eizo stand. I chose the ColorEdge CE210W, which has inbuilt calibration software, for £710. I am astounded by its performance. It is a joy to use.

 

David

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I use three monitors -2 LaCie 321's excellent & now the NEC Multisync LCD2690WUXi & it's an incredible monitor.Covers 91 % Adobe RGB gamut, also won best monitor @ MacWorld so if you are in to a larger monitor(26"), check it out also

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