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Thread: How to choose a monitor

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    How to choose a monitor

    I'm in the market for a new monitor, and my prime criterion is one that is good for photo-editing. How much thought do I need to put into this? There are a lot of parameters that don't mean much to me... contrast ratio, refresh rates, etc etc. Is there a minimum requirement I should keep in mind before I go buying whatever is on sale at the local computer shop?

    Any recommendations would also be welcome. I guess my budget is pretty lean... around the $300-$400 mark. I'm not fussy on size, but at least 22inches would be nice.

    I had a look at Dell, and can get a 24in HD for $299 or a 23in 'Ultrasharp' for $399. Any thoughts on whether the extra $100 is worth it?

    All advice greatly appreciated.

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    The Dell 24 inch gets great reviews. However with your budget in mind, the trick for photo editing is not only to get a 'good' monitor, but then to calibrate it using a hardware monitor calibrator, like a Colorvision Spyder, ColorMunki etc. You will not get true and accurate colour rendering for photography without calibrating your screen.
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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    You need an appropriate panel technology: S-PVA, IPS or equivalent. See here for background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_fi...rystal_display That is need as in NEED. You cannot do photographic standard work with a cheap gamer's monitor. All other factors are minor compared to this - because if it can't get the colour right, neither can you.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I agree with Tony's comments.

    the biggest problems you'll have with cheaper generic monitors is the difference in how well they can be calibrated.
    That is! one may calibrate really well, and you got yourself a bargain, and another may not calibrate well and well you wasted $300-400.
    The issue is that it'll be pot luck, if it's the kind of screen that calibrates well.

    A good quality monitor(generally speaking the IPS based screens are more common now, as new models) is going to be more tweakable.

    It'll have OSD adjustment settings like Gamma adjustment which a generic screen won't necessarily have.
    As I've just found out Gamma adjustment is basically a super contrast setting that allows you to then make finer tuned contrast adjustments using the standard Contrast setting. When you adjust contrast you inadvertently also adjust brightness too. So the two setting are tied together.

    On my new LG (cheapo)screen I have this Gamma adjustment setting hidden in the OSD menu, but on my older HP screen I don't.
    I can't get the HP screen to calibrate as well as the LG because of the Contrast-Brightness linking issue, even if I set brightness on the HP to 100% it's still approx 60% of the brightness of the LG whilst maintaining a decent black point setting.

    Good Dell screen to look out for is the U2410.(approx $800, give or take a few $)

    Not the greatest, but will come close to calibrating to within 1% of what should be acceptable.

    The only reason I didn't purchase the U2410 is because the better U2711 is only $200-300 more, and I wanted the screen with more.. so a decision was made just to get a new screen(with my newly created PC) and then in the near future get the Dell U2711.

    The HP screen will go to the kids for their impending new PC(which is my old one, if I can get it to work again).

    As to whether the extra $100 is worth it for the ultrasharp.. I'd say no!
    But then again I reckon the extra $600 will be worth it for the U2711
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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    It isn't just the adjustments you get. IPS and S-PVA screens generally come with more realistic settings straight out of the box - my two big Samsung 214Ts are so close to correct ex-factory that it's barely worth callibrating them, though I still do.

    Cheap TN/film screens (95% of all screens sold) almost always come set with a terrible colour balace, way, way, way too blue. The scumbag manufacturers al do this because it makes them look brighter and sharper in the shop (same as cheap stereo manufacturers artifically boost the bass and treble). They are actually harsh on the eye and unpleaant to use (same as cheap speakers are) but the manufacturers don't care about that, they just want your dollar.

    Many (not all) TN/film screens clip volours - they don't even attempt to display all the colours, they throw away much of the information your graphics card sends them and just approximate.

    Worst of all, their off-axis colour performance ranges from poor to terrible. You can select a model that does not colour-clip. you can calibrate it to get rid of the blue bias, nut you can't ever do anything about the way it changes colours every time you look at a different area of the screen or move your head even a few inches.

    For photographic work, cheap consumer TN/film screens are useless. Don't waste your money: get something decent or go without a bit longer till you can.

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    I'd also factor in a monitor calibrator. X-Rite Eye One Display 3 or the Spyder 3 are both good choices.
    I picked up a Dell 2408WFP when the 2410/11 was out. It is the "older" S-PVA panel type but I have obtained wonderful results once calibrated - so long as you understand the pros and cons of working in a wide gamut colour space, you won't have any issues. It also had a bazillion connection types, card reader, 4 extra USB hubs which tidies up my desktop space nicely. The stand is top notch too, really solid and heaps of adjustability. Not sure if the 2410 kept some of these traits, but if it is anything as good as this one then its worth a look.
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    Have to agree with this..

    I am a gamer at heart as well.. so about 6 months ago i decided to get 3 screens for gaming.. they were cheap TN panels.. but i because of this my photography work on my screens was horrible. when ever i went to print the pics. they would come out completely different then what i thought it was. i have just currently sold them and bought my single U2711 H-IPS panel. and wow the color difference is amazing. If you are thinking about a new monitor for doing editing on i would also suggest waiting as long as you need to get a IPS monitor.

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    Thanks everyone for the excellent input. I cannot reply with any technical intelligence, but the 23in Dell U2311 for $399 is an IPS panel and seems to be a good buy. The 24in is $799 which is a big jump for the extra inch. I'm not after a massive screen so this will probably suit me for my purposes. I'd love to spend more on an bigger and better unit, but I'll use the extra $$ to invest in a monitor calibrator. Unfortunately I cannot wait as I am currently without a monitor (and to avoid the obvious question, I'm sending this from my work computer... just don't tell anyone). Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmahong View Post
    Thanks everyone for the excellent input. I cannot reply with any technical intelligence, but the 23in Dell U2311 for $399 is an IPS panel and seems to be a good buy. The 24in is $799 which is a big jump for the extra inch. ....


    the way to go.

    ps. I didn't see the 23" version on their site, and had I known(or see that) I'd have got that one instead of the LG that I did end up with.(could be a new model, that wasn't there two months ago)

    Also, that U2410 screen seems to be a a bit of no mans land ATM.

    it's too much more expensive than that 23" screen, yet only a few hundred less than the U2711, which by going by the specs on the U2711 seems to be a lot better(smaller pixel pitch which should help with seeing a sharper image without the need to boost sharpness in the screens adjustment settings.
    I suspect that's a trick that those "Ultrasharp screens have" as opposed to tighter pixel pitch.. but I don't know!

    anyhow.. looks like a good one, and I'm off to check it out too.

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    Dell U2410 24" are now selling for $612 at Harris Technology which is a lot better than the original $800 odd.
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    I pondered over a new monitor for quite a while, and luckily I get to try a lot of them at work.

    I tried HP LP2465, LP2475, LP3075, Samsung 2233W, 2333W, Eizo ColorEdge 24, Dell 2408, 2409.

    The HP's are initially impressive, but lack brightness and vibrance. The Samsungs are better, but a bit off colour. The Eizo's are great, but way too expensive for my shed. And the Dell's were pretty good.

    In the end I decided on the new Dell (Ultrasharp) U2711, which arrived last week.

    Wow!! This is an impressive monitor. 2560 x 1440, huge gamut, and nice and bright. It's a lot of real estate with small pixels, so the reading glasses definitely have to come out! Thumbnails were a bit too small for browsing, so a regedit change gave nice big thumbnails. I must say though, so far this one looks like a better monitor than anything else up to four times its price.

    Now to get hold of a proper calibrator.

    Cheers,
    Jason.

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    I have the Dell U2410 and I paid $550 from dell delivered....look out for codes..search whirlpool they have a thread dedicated to Dell codes!

    3 yr next day warrenty too....this screen is great and comes calibrated...but may need a little tweeking!

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    Good to know that there are users of the Dell Ultra sharp screens. I believe they are the cheapest of the IPS screens. I am in the process of upgrading my rig and if the budget stretches far enough, the 23 inch ultra sharp will be on my list as well (and since I have been doing a lot more film these days, I cannot justify jumping into an Ezio or Cinema display)

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    I can vouch for the Ultrasharps too (I have a U2711) - these things blow you out of the water. If you're willing to wait, I would definitely hang around for some 15% off vouchers to appear and may even get lucky with some additional coupons that stack at times.

    But definitely avoid the cheaper panels, even the cheap IPS ones. I'd bought a 24" cheap IPS Dell and it's colour reproduction/gamut was so off to my other monitor.
    Adam

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    +1 Dell Ultrasharp U2711 - i got lucky and managed to get mine for $600 at the (online) dell outlet store

    Also note that if you're an NRMA member you can get discounts with Dell. Think it's about 10-15% worth.

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