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Am I buying a wide gamut monitor for the right reason?

Oct 27, 2013 4:16 PM

I currently shoot Adobe RGB, colour correct using XRite color passport (when I can), soft proof in lightroom and print using a Canon Pixma pro 9500 mk2.

I use a color munki photo to match both my monitors to my printer, and I fairly happy with my results. However both my monitors are sRGB, so during soft proofing I often get out of gamut warnings for monitors.

My plan is to keep one sRGB for the web and gaming, and replace the other monitor with a wide gamut monitor.

I am getting a new monitor regardless, so wondering if I should get the following monitor:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00B1QTZOE/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i 00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

for the following reasons:

  1. The only thing in my workflow that can not handle a wide gamut is my monitor
  2. It is seems the best value for a wide gamut monitor
  3. I believe that I can use my existing hardware calibrator to create profiles to keep the colours constant, so whether the monitor is calibrated at factory is irrelevant
  4. The controversial built hardware calibrator is not a big deal to me because I have my own hardware

Am I missing anything?

Should I spend the extra money on a NEC or an Eizo?

I am not a professional; however I love to shoot and print. I want to prints to be the best they can be. I understand I can achieve good results with an sRGB workflow, but it really does bug me when I want to print a picture that clearly my monitor struggles to render.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 28, 2013 6:29 PM   in reply to b1uedust

    I'd be guessing the most limiting factor is your printer. Can you confirm or compare your printer's color range is any better than sRGB? or that something better than sRGB on screen will be as good when printed?  Ink colors only go so far...and not as good as a monitor.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 1:24 AM   in reply to b1uedust

    Stay away from Dell, it's a lottery. I'm serious. There's a reason they're half the price of corresponding models from other brands, and that reason is non-existing quality control. Here's one random example, note the official response from Dell:

     

    http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/peripherals/f/3529/t/19526 218.aspx

     

    Dell goes out of their way to market the Ultrasharps as "high-end", and when complaints like this come up, which they do frequently and have done for years, it's "oh, we didn't mean that high".

     

    The Eizos and NECs are worth the price. You get what you pay for, so decide how high you want to go. If you go down in panel size, you get the same quality for less (or better for the same).

     

    Wide gamut is - in my opinion - not all it's cranked up to be, but that's just me. I have a wide gamut Eizo at work and a standard gamut NEC at home, and in practice I rarely think about the gamut differences. Gamut limitations are a fact of life in any case. But this is something you have to decide for yourself.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 2:49 AM   in reply to b1uedust

    Yes, calibrating a European NEC isn't as straightforward as their US counterparts where you get the excellent Spectraview II hardware calibrator at reasonable cost (or bundled). In Europe it's a different software called Spectraview Profiler (in reality BasICColor Display), but it only has full functionality with the specially branded "Reference" or "Spectraview" monitor line. And they have hand-picked panels and are really expensive, I suppose targeted directly at the Eizo ColorEdge CG market.

     

    You can buy Spectraview Profiler for around 100 euro (and use the excellent i1 sensor). Lacking genuine hardware calibration with euro NECs, an option is "no calibration/profiling only". This requires that you set white point temperature and luminance by other means, like the included Multiprofiler. Calibration as such, beyond that, is not really required with the P/PA line - the important thing is that you have a good monitor profile for color managed applications to use. But this is an "advanced" option where you should know what you're doing. Just to get started the safe option is to use the i1 Display Pro as standard software calibration.

     

    You can also order Spectraview II boxed version from US, but at double cost. Download is blocked for EU residents - you'll be redirected. But it'll work on an EU monitor.

     

    Eizo has recently reworked their line-up. Gone are the higher end Flexscans, replaced by the new ColorEdge CS and CX lines (roughly corresponding to the old Flexscan S and SX). But here you have ColorNavigator included. If I should be so bold as to recommend a specific "value" model, it would have to be the CS 230. It's standard gamut only, and small, but rock solid quality all the way.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 3:28 AM   in reply to twenty_one

    I should clarify the terms here to avoid confusion:

     

    Hardware calibration is where monitor response adjustments are performed directly in the monitor's internal LUT. High-bit, high precision.

     

    Software calibration is where it's done in the video card, lower precision.

     

    The monitor profile (as opposed to calibration in the strict sense) is the description of the monitor in its calibrated state. This is all a color managed application uses to display the image. If the description is accurate, it displays correctly. That's why a "no calibration/profiling only" option is viable as long as the monitor is well-behaved. But you still need to set the monitor white point.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 9:37 AM   in reply to b1uedust

    b1uedust wrote:

     

    Doug.S wrote:

     

    I'd be guessing the most limiting factor is your printer. Can you confirm or compare your printer's color range is any better than sRGB? or that something better than sRGB on screen will be as good when printed?  Ink colors only go so far...and not as good as a monitor.

    I am creating ICC profiles on each paper that I use, and the printers gamut range varies according to the media selected. I softproof using Lightroom, so my printers capability is made clear with out of gamut warnings; however often I find my that my monitors clips a lot of colours compared to my printer.

    Are you referring to the 'Monitor Gamut Warning' or actual differences between the paper print held sid-by-side next to the monitor. The problem with current Soft Proof view in PS and LR is that it doesn't really tell you by how much the area is out of gamut. The difference could be very slight and not visible in the print, yet shows up in LR or PS Soft Proof as big solid out-of gamut areas. Using a wide-gamut monitor (i.e. 100% Adobe RGB) may let you see an image that is "closer" to the gamut of a wide-gamut printer, but by how much?

     

    You can compare your current monitor profile to your printer's profile by uploading them here:

     

    http://www.iccview.de/content/view/3/7/lang,en/

     

    You can also compare them to the standard Adobe RGB profile, which is the gamut of most wide-gamut monitors. You'll need to download and install the VRML plugin at the above link. Drycreek also has a similar tool, but without upload capability. The VRML plugin will work with their 3D model as well.

     

    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/tools/printer_gamuts/

     

    Interestingly my cheap standard gamut HP 2509m monitor has a wider gamut in the Yellow region than Adobe RGB and this shows up in pictures of yellow flowers. The areas showing as PINK and BLUE are the monitor's out of gamut and RED is Adobe RGB out of gamut area, which is much larger.

     

    Soft Proof Comparisn.jpg

    Soft Proof Comparisn - Monitor Profile.jpg

    Personally I'm still not sold on any of the currently available wide-gamut monitors, but I'm still looking for one. Also using two monitors (standard + wide gamut) is probably the easiest way to work with both color managed and non-color managed applications. Otherwise you'll need to switch the monitor's preset mode between factory sRGB and your wide gamut setting. Depending upon the monitor type (internal hardware LUT vs software calibration) this may not work very well. But then what do I know....I've never used a wide gamut monitor.

     

    Message was edited by: trshaner Added 3D model of monitor profile vs Adobe RGB

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 1:07 PM   in reply to trshaner

    I believe Andrew Rodney once commented that gamut warning is buggy and unreliable in Lightroom (IIRC).

     

    In a thread some time ago, can't find it now, I did some tests and was puzzled that I got monitor gamut warning in areas that could not possibly be out of gamut. The test may have been on files that had already been converted to the monitor profile, and so couldn't be out of gamut. But that was several Lr releases ago.

     

    And I'll repeat what trshaner said: it doesn't say how much out of gamut.

    trshaner wrote:

     

    I've never used a wide gamut monitor

    You're not really missing all that much. Colors will be out of monitor gamut anyway, and you still have to deal with it. At work I have some use for it since I work mostly for offset print and ISO Coated (european standard) is contained within Adobe RGB. So proofing makes sense. But it's not as if I couldn't do it with a standard gamut monitor.

     

    Otherwise you'll need to switch the monitor's preset mode between factory sRGB and your wide gamut setting...this may not work very well.

    No, I don't think it would. Lightroom/Photoshop needs to pick up the corresponding profile on startup. Even a reboot would probably be necessary to load the correct profile on system level.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 1:17 PM   in reply to b1uedust

    The NEC Spectraview 271 is a wonderful monitor, and it will have full hardware calibration (but you might want to wait for the 272). You're obviously not on such a tight budget as I thought...go for it.

     

    But again: wide gamut is mostly beneficial for prepress/offset print, for the reason I outlined above. Inkjet extends well beyond Adobe RGB in some colors anyway, and so you still have to deal with printable, but out of monitor gamut.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 1:23 PM   in reply to b1uedust

    b1uedust wrote:

     

    all responses have been really helpful and polite; this is rare on the internet ...

    Ever seen that Disney video where Goofy is nice and polite, then gets in the car and is an unholy terror whilst driving - aggressive and cursing people..., then nice and polite again once he gets where he's going. I think the internet is like driving, only worse, since not only can you not see the people you're interacting with, but you can't even see their cars!

     

    Cheers,

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 3:35 PM   in reply to b1uedust

    I'd still recommend the Spectraview 272 - if you have the cash for it. The only one to rival it is the Eizo CG 276.

     

    This is about so much more than gamut, it's about accurate color, good tonal separation all the way from 0 - 255, and consistency from corner to corner. And hardware calibration ensures absolutely smooth gradients without any color or tonal banding.

     

    b1uedust wrote:

     

    I would also like to overcome any issues with how windows has poor support for managing multiple on LUTs on one GFX card that has dual display setup

    There are no issues; this is a strangely long-lived myth. There was one small problem with pre-SP1 Vista, where the LUT was kicked out when the monitor went to sleep or the UAC was invoked. It was fixed in SP1 and has never been seen since. The only other possible issue is a calibrator without multi-monitor support (like the Spyder4express), but you can't blame Microsoft for that.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 3:35 PM   in reply to twenty_one

    twenty_one wrote:

    trshaner wrote:

     

    I've never used a wide gamut monitor

    You're not really missing all that much. Colors will be out of monitor gamut anyway, and you still have to deal with it. At work I have some use for it since I work mostly for offset print and ISO Coated (european standard) is contained within Adobe RGB. So proofing makes sense. But it's not as if I couldn't do it with a standard gamut monitor.

    Thanks. That's what I thought and why I said, "Using a wide-gamut monitor (i.e. 100% Adobe RGB) may let you see an image that is "closer" to the gamut of a wide-gamut printer, but by how much? Here's an Epson 2200 printer profile (solid) compared to Adobe RGB. Areas in the Yellow and Cyan region fall outside the Adobe RGB gamut (red wire frame). It's a lot better than than sRGB gamut, but still missing gamut. You can use the 3D modeling tool at the Dry Creek link I provided with their profiles:

     

    Soft Proof Comparison - Epson 2000 vs Adobe RGB.jpg

    twenty_one wrote:

    Otherwise you'll need to switch the monitor's preset mode between factory sRGB and your wide gamut setting...this may not work very well.

    No, I don't think it would. Lightroom/Photoshop needs to pick up the corresponding profile on startup. Even a reboot would probably be necessary to load the correct profile on system level.

    Windows 7 allows changing monitor profiles without reboot, so non-color managed applications would work without having to close and relaunch them. I would think monitors that don't use an internal LUT would require "manually" changing the monitor profile at the OS level when switching from a wide gamut to sRGB preset mode. I believe the NEC Spectraview monitors do this all automatically and reassign the proper monitor profile at the OS level. I've never actually worked with a wide gamut monitor, but it seems  less-than-optimum to have to open and close apps to keep track of "on-the-fly" profile changes, etc. That's why I suggested using a 2nd standard sRGB gamut monitor for use with your non-color managed apps.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 3:41 PM   in reply to trshaner

    Sounds reasonable.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2013 3:59 PM   in reply to twenty_one

    twenty_one wrote:

     

    I'd still recommend the Spectraview 272 - if you have the cash for it. The only one to rival it is the Eizo CG 276.

    NEC PA272W Press Release:

     

    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131007005062/en/NEC-Display%E2 %80%99s-27-Inch-Color-Accurate-Display-Built

     

    The redesigned monitors are built on GB-R LED backlights, which mean that the PA272W provides a wider color gamut and more color control than a conventional white LED backlight, and consumes 37 percent less power than comparable CCFL backlights.

     

    The Spectraview PA271W uses CCFL backlight, which will have aging issues. I'd hate to spend that much for a monitor knowing that it will be constantly dirfitng and losing gamut as it gets older. That's what I'm experiencing with my CCFL HP 2509m monitor:

     

    Monitor   Controls

    2010

    09/06

    2010

    12/29

    2011

    07/03

    2011

    10/22

    2012

    03/11

    2012

    08/23

    2012

    10/23

    2013

    04/03

    2013

    08/08

    Luminance

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    100cd/m2

    Contrast

    70

    70

    70

    70

    70

    70

    75

    75

    85

    Brightness

    20

    26

    25

    24

    27

    33

    34

    37

    38

    R

    255

    255

    255

    255

    246

    216

    205

    196

    157

    G

    221

    230

    236

    246

    220

    196

    182

    175

    126

    B

    230

    235

    240

    253

    255

    255

    255

    255

    215

     

     

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2013 12:02 AM   in reply to b1uedust

    b1uedust wrote:

     

    It looks like I was intent on buying a wide gamut monitor for the wrong reasons; what I am really after is high quality monitor to aid my desire to have a really good colour management process. Having a wide gamut monitor will not solve my issues with not being able to display some colours that my printers can print, and in actual fact this issue may not even be a big deal most of the time.

    That's very well summed up. You seem to be in a good position to make an informed decision.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2013 7:45 AM   in reply to b1uedust

    b1uedust wrote:

    I guess I will do more research on the two main brands (Eizo and NEC), and look out for the models that are more resiliant to age.

    Just to be clear the new NEC PA272W with a GB-R LED backlight won't have aging issues like the older NEC PA271W with W-CCFL backlight.

     

    CCFL = Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamp

    LED = Solid State Light Emitting Diode

    Some good information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LED-backlit_LCD_display

     

    Any monitor using an LED backlight should have good backlight stability and minimal drift with age. That said there are both good and bad LED monitors, same as with CCFL monitors. TFT Central does extensive testing, but don't have reviews yet for some of the newer monitors like the NEC PA272W.

     

    One complaint about LED monitors is flicker, due to use of pulse-width modulation to lower the luminance. CCFL monitors have the same flicker issue at lower brightness settings, but LED backlights are brighter and require more aggressive control. TFT Central tests for flicker and I would suspect NEC, Eizo, and any other "professional" monitors would not have any issues at the target 120 cd/m2 light level. Buy your display from a reputable reseller with at least a two-week money-back satisfaction guarantee. From my own experience B&H in NYC is one of the better online resellers in this respect.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2013 2:01 AM   in reply to b1uedust

    The Eizo Flexscan EV line are very good monitors (much better than the Dell Ultrasharps at around the same price), but they can't be hardware calibrated (at least not with any Eizo software). They're mostly targeted at trading rooms and so on. Any standard software calibrator will work just fine of course, and be perfectly adequate for most purposes, it's just not optimal.

     

    TFT central, excellent site as it is, doesn't do Eizo for some reason. A much better Eizo option is the Coloredge CX 270 CAL (the edition with ColorNavigator included), which in Europe seems to be at around the same price level as the NEC Spectraview 272, or even a bit lower. The CX line corresponds roughly to the old Flexscan SX line, which many are familiar with. Top of the Eizo range is the Coloredge CG line.

     

    In any case monitor pricing is a bit of a mystery to me. Here in Norway prices go up and down in a seemingly random way, and things may be different where you are. The price relationship between Eizo and NEC is very different in the US and Europe - any US poster will say Eizo is too expensive for no apparent reason, and few people there recommend them for that reason. But where I am the difference is negligible or even the other way round. What's certain is that between them they make the best monitors on the market.

     

    EDIT: of course my basic advice, whenever budget considerations come into the picture, as they always do, is this: Go down in panel size.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2013 8:21 AM   in reply to twenty_one

    If you have the room to use two monitors you probably don't need to purchase anything larger than 24". What size and type monitor are you using now? Take a look at this video:

     

    http://tv.adobe.com/watch/the-complete-picture-with-julieanne-kost/usi ng-a-secondary-display/

     

    Using dual-monitor mode with LR gives a lot more options for comparing and adjusting images. By making your wide gamut monitor the secondary display it allows you to use the whole screen area for the image. This would make the image as large or larger than using a single 27" monitor in LR's standard view mode.

     

    The other thing to consider is that LR does not use your graphics adapter for preview building. Higher resolution monitors like 2560x1440 (3.7Mp) have been reported by numerous users as causing LR to slow down, especially in dual-monitor mode. Using a smaller 2nd monitor with lower 1920x1080 (2.1Mp) or 1920x1200 (2.3Mp) is much less likely to slow down LR.

     

    You can test your systems "large Loupe view" performance by launching the 'Secondary Display' (#2 in lower-left corner) and resize the window to fill the screen. Drag the 2nd window off to one side and try using LR in the Develop module with Lens Corrections and Luminance and Color Noise Reduction applied (worst case) to the images. Work on some images in both the Develop and Library modules to see how much it impacts LR's performance.

     

    The Secondary window should look like this when resized to maximum, which is what you want to use for testing.

     

    Dual-Monitor.jpg

    Tips on using LR with dual-monitors. I don't believe anything has changed in LR5.

     

    http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1881387&seqNum=4

     

    Message was edited by: trshaner Added Scott Kelby link

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2013 12:59 PM   in reply to b1uedust

    b1uedust wrote:

     

    I have been running a dual monitor setup since I was crazy enough to have two 19" CRTs, and I always belived the bigger the better; I appreciate that is not always true. I currently running two 1920x1080 screens; the primary is a 27 inch samsung SA650 and the secondary is a 23 inch Dell U2312HM.

    You already have two very good W-LED backlight monitors and are now looking to better this setup, which narrows the perspective.

     

    b1uedust wrote:

     

    My thinking is that the extra resolution will be good for displaying the image as large as possible; I have recently upgraded my machine and performance is a non issue now, and I will looking into any issue with 2560x1440 resolutions in lightroom.

    Screen resolution and image size are inversely proportional. At the same 27" screen size as you increase the monitor resolution the 1:1 (100%)  image size becomes smaller, but the dpi is higher. What this means is that the  image will retain its sharpness at closer viewing distances, same as Apple's Retina display technology.

     

    In order for you to benefit from a higher resolution screen (of the same size) you will need to reduce the view distance. Depending on your current setup and eyesight this may not be possible.

     

    b1uedust wrote:

    I have recently upgraded my machine and performance is a non issue now, and I will looking into any issue with 2560x1440 resolutions in lightroom.

    Increasing your monitor's resolution from 1920x1080 to 2560x1440 resolution monitor will proportionally (3.7/2.1 = 1.76)  decrease LR's performance. This means it will take approximately 1.76 times longer to build screen preview images when you make adjustments in LR's Develop module, etc. If your current dual 1920x1080 monitor LR system has no perceptible lag with the worst case  test conditions I outlined then you're probably OK moving up to a 2560x1440 monitor.

     

    b1uedust wrote:

    However I do have to honestly ask myself do I need it to be that big; need is there operative word here.

    You really need to determine what it is you're trying to accomplish by using a "bigger" screen size. If you want the ability to view the whole image (ie. Fit view) at a larger size you can do that with any 27" monitor, whether 1920x1080 or 2560x1440. If you want the ability to locate the monitor at a closer viewing distance then moving to a 2560x1440 monitor of ANY size will accomplish that goal. What is your current viewing distance for the dual-monitor setup (eyeball to center of screen)? Are you satisfied with the image sharpness at this viewing distance?

     

    NOTE: None of this has anything to do with the monitor's color gamut and is entirely separate from the wide-gamut issue.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2013 1:44 PM   in reply to b1uedust

    It always boils down to this question: Can I justify this expense? Think about that some, because the answer may not be so obvious as it would seem.

     

    A major, back-breaking investment may be justified if it enables you to do work that you couldn't before, or it significantly alters the way you work, or even the way you think. Inversely, even a small expense may be unjustified if it has no real impact.

     

    As for screen size, what happens is that you tend to sit at a distance where the screen fills a certain angle of view. That's what your eyes can comfortably take in. The rest is explained by trshaner.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2013 4:49 PM   in reply to b1uedust

    There currently appears to be very few (affordable) monitors that fit your criteria, which is why I'm still "looking" as well.

     

    A 12bit or higher internal LUT and 8bit + FRC (i.e. 10bit) panel is a must have with a wide-gamut monitor. If you are also using PS I would add support for a full 10bit data path (i.e. via DisplayPort connection) as another must have, since PS supports 10bit/color. Lacking this you will likely see banding in fine gradients with some images that are not present with your standard gamut monitors.

     
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