29 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2014 4:49 AM by Noel Carboni

    Monitor for graphic design.

    DIOV

      Hello everyone!

       

      I'm a guy who's getting serious into graphic design, I'm studying it and this is what I want to do as my job...But I need your help! I'm gonna buy a whole new computer + monitor.  The thing is: I have no idea what monitor to buy..I've read that IPS panels are better for this kind of work.

       

      Also my budget is not that great...around 170€/230€ (I know that's nothing but that's pretty much all I can do for now) for a 24" monitor...

       

      Some friends told me this was a good option ASUS VS239HR 23", or this one DELL U2412M...

       

      So..for someone who's going to work with Photoshop and Illustrator basically what do you recomend?

       

      Thank you so much in advance!

        • 1. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          If you're on a budget - go down in size, don't go down in quality.

           

          There are currently only two manufacturers who consistently and reliably deliver top quality: Eizo and NEC. Both have budget / entry-level lines that perform very well at modest prices.

           

          With your budget you should look at Eizo Foris FS 2333, or the NEC EA series. All of these use IPS panels and are very good monitors. The Eizo is about 300 euro here in Norway, I know, a little more than you had in mind, but the monitor is where it really pays off to stretch the budget as much as you can.

           

          All the others aim for highest possible on-paper specifications, at lowest possible price. What's sacrificed is what the customer can't immediately see, namely quality control and tight tolerances. What they do is get their parts from the vendors' C and D batch production (the throwaways) at great discount. Dell is notorious for this.

           

          Case in point: The 23 inch, standard gamut NEC P232 is roughly the same price as the 27 inch, wide gamut Dell U2713H. There is a reason for that.

          • 2. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
            Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

            Dag, 300 euro sounds remarkably cheap for an Eizo monitor, and I suspect an awful lot of graphic designers manage perfectly OK on lesser brands.   I would not be keen to pay dollars for a refurbished Dell BTW.  ISTR someone on this forum saying he has one and it works fine, but when my aging 30 inch 1920 x 1200 Dell Ultrasharp developed an intermitant vertical line towards the left side of the screen, Google indicated it was not uncommon.

             

            On the other hand, I only researched Dell because that's what I have a problem with, and with all those millions of computer monitors in this world, I dare say Google might find similar results for other makes

             

            I got 7.45m hits for 'Eizo monitor problems' for instance.

            • 3. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
              D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              This is what bites Dell customers regularly, and have for many years. This is a very recent example:

               

              http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/peripherals/f/3529/t/19526218.aspx

               

              That in itself is forgiveable if it happens in a single unit. What is not is Dell's official response:

               

              http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/peripherals/f/3529/t/19269971.aspx?dgc=EM&cid= 266809&lid=4934734

               

              In other words: tough luck.

              • 4. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                Jon-M-Spear Level 4

                I have 3 Dell U2410 monitors.  The updated 2412, although considerably cheaper as still highly regarded.

                • 5. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                  Level 5

                  twenty_one has given you a straight answer with very good suggestions.

                   

                  The Eizo FORIS FS2333 23" LED LCD Monitor - 16:9 - 3.40 ms  can be had for US $400 from http://www.newegg.com in the USA.

                   

                  When my older but high-end LaCie and Mitsubishi finally die, I would hope to replace them with something like the Eizo RadiForce MX270W 27' LCD Monitor, but that's definitely way outside your budget.

                   

                  From the NEC line, the 2690 and 2490 with SpectraView software were very good choices when I looked into them sometime ago.  I don't know what the current replacement models are, but they should be around $1,200 or so from a source such as B&H.

                   

                  Dell is a good choice if you want to stay within your present budget.  Look into the DELL refurbished models at the eBay Official-DELL-store:

                  http://www.ebay.com/usr/dell-official-store-usa-refurbished?_trksid=p2053788.m1543.l2754

                  some phenomenal bargains can be had there.  Just don't expect the same performance and quality as with Eizo or NEC.

                   

                  Good luck.

                  • 6. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                    D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    At face value a Dell is a bargain. A U2413 is on paper absolutely identical to an Eizo CG246 - at a third of the price. Who wouldn't jump on that?

                     

                    The problem is that the parameters that really matter aren't in the specs: panel uniformity, backlight uniformity, even tonal separation from black to white without banding,  and so on. These things cost money to get right, and this is where a company like Dell will cut corners. They have to, to be able to sell at the prices they do.

                     

                    Most units are perfectly fine, and that's why they can get away with it. But if you're not-so-lucky and get one of the lemons, you can forget about getting it replaced. (I once did; and they wouldn't). It will simply be within specification, no matter how bad. That official statement from Dell is really sensational.

                     

                    All of which is getting a little away from the OP's question. But I maintain that the Foris FS2333 is one of the best budget monitors on the market.

                    • 7. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                      Herbert2001 Level 4

                      My answer is probably not going to be very popular - bit of a warning ;-)

                       

                      DIOV, you are approaching this the wrong way. Let's take this for an analogy: suppose you are a sound engineer or musician. You buy the best computer hardware and best audio processing hardware and software. Then you realize you are out of a budget and you are forced to purchase inexpensive monitors (speakers) and a generic cheap microphone.

                       

                      All that great hardware will be useless and the final quality of the productions you make will be average at best - because you skimped on the most important components: the output and input.

                       

                      You stated you are about to invest in a new computer system - I would take a long and hard look at how you plan to invest your money. Good quality monitors recommended for graphic design start at a minimum of about $500. For example, the 2410 from Dell can handle wide range gamut (almost full Adobe RGB), while the 2412 does not even match the sRGB range and only 77% of Adobe RGB.

                       

                      For video work the 2412 is okay, but not for colour critical GD jobs. Another candidate is the Asus PA248Q which sells for 365€, and does 99% of Adobe RGB. That one would be a more realistic choice for serious GD jobs.

                       

                      You will also have to invest in a Colour Spyder Pro, Color Munki or other equivalent hardware calibration tool - which is another ~130€. Because for GD work you MUST color calibrate the screen you work with. And that requires a hardware colorimeter.

                       

                      All in all, about 500€ investment in your monitor and color calibration setup. The thing you will be looking at ALL DAY LONG and the thing that is CRITICAL for high quality output. The thing you need to rely on to make money. Why would you go for a screen that only hinders you in your work?

                       

                      So do yourself a service, and rethink your strategy: even less expensive CPUs are more than enough to deal with most GD work. Instead of getting a more expensive graphics card, perhaps a slightly less inexpensive one will do the job just as well.

                       

                      You have not listed your intended computer hardware - but try to allocate twice as much as you currently have in mind to your screen setup, and less into the computer hardware. I mean, you did mention you are planning to get serious about graphics design - so why would you skimp on the most important part: your screen?

                      • 8. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                        Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                        Dag, it's a pity you are so far away because Eizo Australia just added themselves to the list of sponsors for the convention I am helping to organise in my town in April.  We have not worked out the details on how it will be won, but someone is going home from the convention with a nice new NZ$2500 Eizo monitor.  I don't know what the model number is.  Just its value in NZ dollars. 

                        • 9. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                          DIOV Level 1

                          Thanks a ton everybody! Really helpful insights and aspects I should consider, I'll take a look and study a little more what I can do in terms of budgeting...

                          • 10. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                            D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            That sounds very much like a CG246 (the CG's are pretty much universally regarded as the holy grail of monitors. But the NEC PA's are right up there too). I already have a somewhat aging 22" wide gamut Eizo Flexscan at work, but a CG246 is at the top of my list. I was that close to getting one a couple of months ago. But I'll get there.

                             

                            In principle I fully agree with Herbert2001. In practice the expenses pile up and it's difficult to draw up the priorities. A Nikon D800, lenses, complete master collection/CC, a pair of studio flash units, a new i7 box fully stocked. I'm lucky enough to get most of this covered at work, but they draw a line somewhere too. Sometimes I just pay out of my own pocket. I see it as an investment in the work.

                             

                            At home I have an NEC P232. A very unassuming little thing with absolutely no selling points, but still a price tag of...let's see...a bit over 1000 NZ$. It's a wonder they manage to sell any of them...it's a beauty 

                            • 11. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                              Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                              There's an old photographer's saying:

                               

                              A keen photographer uses most of his budget for his camera.

                              A good photographer uses nost of his budget for his lens.

                              A great photographer uses most of his budget for his tripod.

                               

                              So a sort of  'no system can be better than its weakest link' truism.

                               

                              Does that apply to Photoshop and monitors?  Maybe if you are printing at the same level as Jeff Schewe, but I'd have thought it over the top if you design for the Web.  Twenty_one archives important works of art, so he obviously needs to do the best job he possibly can.

                               

                              For the most of us, I am mindful of Michael Freeman, who writes the 'The Photographer's Eye' and 'The Photographer's Mind' books, and perhaps Freeman Patterson, who both talk about looking at things with your eyes scrunched up sort of approach, so you see the overal image and don't get confused by detail.  Please note I am saying that from non-recent memory, so don't take it as verbatum.

                               

                              Unfortunately I am stuck in no man's land, as I don't have a natural eye for a really great image, and nor am I into fine detail and colour accuracy, so I have had to work very hard over many years just to get to my lowly level as a photographer.

                              • 12. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Trevor Dennis wrote:

                                 

                                A keen photographer uses most of his budget for his camera.

                                A good photographer uses nost of his budget for his lens.

                                A great photographer uses most of his budget for his tripod.

                                Actually there's a lot of truth in that.

                                 

                                Michael Freeman? I bought a couple of books by him way back in the 80's when I started out. They were absolutely excellent and I have a lot to thank him for. At the same time I had Ansel Adams' "The Negative" and "The Print" with their somewhat more...scientific...approach (I'm putting that in italics for those who know Adams' writing. They'll know what I mean), so it was a nice balance

                                • 13. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                  D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  DIOV, I re-read Herbert2001's post and there are a lot of good points there.

                                   

                                  The problem is of course that to get properly set up right away you need almost unlimited funds, which no one has. We all have budgets. So you have to think strategically. The suggestion to get a good monitor now and pay what it takes, and in turn manage with a less than optimal computer for the time being, has a lot of merit.

                                   

                                  And then of course there is the issue of calibration/profiling, which I specifically didn't bring up, but Herbert did. The higher end Eizos and NECs come with dedicated calibrators, but anything less and you have to factor that in. If you work in a closed loop (only printing to your own desktop printer) it's not a critical priority as long as you get a good match.

                                   

                                  But the moment you become a link in a production chain, handing your work off to others, it becomes absolutely critical and something you simply cannot work without, or you'll be out of work faster than you can turn around. Again, it's an investment in future work.

                                   

                                  Among third-party calibrators, the overall best (but not the cheapest), is the x-rite i1 Display Pro. The reason it's a particularly good investment is that the sensor is supported in virtually every calibration solution out there, including NEC Spectraview and Eizo ColorNavigator. So it's very future upgrade-proof. But it is around 250 euro right there.

                                  • 14. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                    StrongBeaver Level 3

                                    This question may seem hard to answer but is there any good monitors that are good for the eyes for hours upon hours of staring, natural fatigue or bad eyes not included

                                    • 15. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                      Pictus 171 Level 1

                                      To be on the SAFE side, do not use a monitor with low frequency PWM.

                                      See http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/pulse_width_modulation.htm


                                      The flicker free list http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/flicker_free_database.htm

                                      • 16. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                        Noel Carboni Level 8

                                        twenty_one wrote:

                                         

                                        The problem is that the parameters that really matter aren't in the specs: panel uniformity, backlight uniformity, even tonal separation from black to white without banding,  and so on. These things cost money to get right, and this is where a company like Dell will cut corners. They have to, to be able to sell at the prices they do.

                                         

                                        Agreed.

                                         

                                        Only thing I might add is that - assuming you don't need museum-level perfection - their more expensive monitors really aren't bad.  In a few months use of the new U3014 I got recently I can't say I'm unhappy in the slightest.  It has met or exceeded all my expectations.  It is, unfortunately, well outside the price range listed in the OP of this thread.

                                         

                                        I don't mean to go against twenty_one - he knows his stuff and his needs are more stringent than mine.  He's also had some bad experiences as I understand it with a particular model.  But, generally speaking, the reality is not *quite* "Eizo rules and Dell drools".    Maybe more like "Eizo rules and Dell makes some decent monitors too."

                                         

                                        Monitors.jpg

                                         

                                        -Noel

                                        • 17. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                          StrongBeaver Level 3

                                          Any recommendations for a AdobeRGB Gamma monitor that are around $1K ? Color and viewing angle are my main concern. 

                                          • 19. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                            Semaphoric Adobe Community Professional

                                            I have a Dell Ultrasharp U2713H that I paid around US$800 for, and am pretty happy with it. I had one issue with a firmware setting (for viewing full-screen video) that often produced light purple boxes overlaying windows. It's on by default,but once I turned it off, it works like a champ.

                                             

                                            It's a 30-bit monitor, but AMD's drivers for my Firepro video card mess up the Windows clipboard when in 30-bit mode. There's a new driver out, but my workstation was down for two months; finally got it back running, but had to go out of town for a couple of weeks, so I haven't been able to test the new driver.

                                             

                                            When buying one of the Ultrasharps, you want one with a model number that ends in "H", not "HM".

                                            • 20. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                              StrongBeaver Level 3

                                              Any other alternatives to Dell ? Not particularly found of Dell

                                              • 21. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                Pictus 171 Level 1

                                                Then go to the better and more expensive NEC PA or Eizo CG/CX series...

                                                 

                                                http://www.prad.de/new/monitore/test/2013/test-nec-pa242w-bk.html

                                                • 22. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                  StrongBeaver Level 3

                                                  The NEC-PA is quite nice.

                                                  • 23. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                    defensive_design

                                                    I think with that budget you should be able to find a good monitor from the name brands. Whats more important is to think about your intended audience. If your designing for screen (i.e. web)  try to remember that most people viewing your finished work will be doing so from cheapo budget monitors that came bundled with their computers. You're medium is dusty displays with greasy finger prints and Cheetos-tinged bezels. Don't just design for the 1%, design for them.

                                                     

                                                    If for print, well your working toward ink on the page. Getting that consistently across large scale print runs, the colour accuracy nightmare of an RGB monitor vs a CMYK environment, of additive and subtractive colour environments that seem perpetually at war in the designers environment. Even the best monitors can't predict what happens when your work hits the press. There can and will be surprises. Experiences has led me be more conscious of how I mix a colour then what the screen shows me. A finally calibrated, expertly tuned monitor is pointless if I'm using 4 colour black.

                                                     

                                                    Colour accuracy is great, and is important; you should be commended for extending your budget to a higher quality display; but you don't need to go to the extremes of buying Eizo, NEC or whatever other displays commonly found in camera stores. Even as an experienced designer I find their prices excessive. No doubt the experience of using that monitor is the most earth-shattering trans-formative moment when pixel peeping, but for that kind of money; buy an iMac instead. With that you get an led backlit IPS display (a perfectly adequate choice for general design work) and a modern computer to boot.

                                                     

                                                    I also don't really accept that a monitor costing thousands is that much appreciable better than ones in the original posters budget range. Maybe when LCD were first starting out, when they were still figuring out how to mass produce the things, and what the standard would be; but today? It's a ubiquitous and well understood technology. Is a monitor costing 5 times more really 5 times better?

                                                     

                                                    So go out and enjoy your new found appreciation of design. Keep playing in Photoshop and Illustrator. Be master of the pen, swift with the keystroke and artful with the brush. Enjoy and expand, and learn and grow. It's a world filled with design and you enter in to make your mark. Buy what your budget allows (hopefully something tasteful in appearance). Move on and create.

                                                    • 24. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                      D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      defensive_design wrote:

                                                       

                                                      I also don't really accept that a monitor costing thousands is that much appreciable better than ones in the original posters budget range.

                                                       

                                                      You better believe it. You don't really know what a good monitor is until you've worked with one for a while.The monitor is in fact the single most critical piece of hardware you have, aside from camera and lenses. It should be the top consideration in any budget.

                                                       

                                                      Here's your average Dell (a U2713H):

                                                      U2713.jpg

                                                       

                                                      And here's an Eizo CG246 (my own):

                                                      CG246.jpg

                                                      • 25. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                        Herbert2001 Level 4

                                                        Never save costs by settling for a $200 screen when you are doing any graphics work - it is generally just a bad idea.

                                                         

                                                        It does, however, depend on the type of design work you do. I work predominantly with web, app, 3d, and game development nowadays. I used to work more in graphic design, and at the time I had a dual setup of professional Lacie CRT screens - they were very expensive at the time. The quality was outstanding (and still is compared to the lacking black on any flat screen, even expensive ones).

                                                         

                                                        Currently I work on a three screen system. Two more expensive ~$900 27" Samsung screen which are colour calibrated with a Spyder, and a cheaper old hp w2408h 1920x1200 screen tilted in portrait mode for web browsing and testing my designs to see how they work out on a lesser quality screen.

                                                         

                                                        The Samsungs are incredibly sweet on the eyes while coding (no IPS grain, no TFT vagueness), and the colours are very good. But the black is not exactly black - that is the main downfall. However, this is not important for my line of work.

                                                         

                                                        Quite the opposite, I would argue that, in my case, I do not want to work on a very expensive Eizo, because it would distort what things would look like for 99% of people out there who work on lesser quality screens - because my designs and games are supposed to be viewed on those, being the most common denominator. If I'd have true blacks my eyes would see colours somewhat differently in relation to that true black, while no-one else viewing those graphics would have true black. Bit over-simplified, but I hope you catch my drift here.

                                                         

                                                        An Eizo is great for press and photo critical work, though.

                                                         

                                                        Anyway, I would say the choice of the screen depends in part on the type of design work you do. Having said that, there is a threshold below which a screen just becomes unusable for any design work. Invest in a good screen - and that means spending somewhere in the $500~$1000 range.

                                                        • 26. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                          D Fosse Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                          Herbert2001 wrote:

                                                           

                                                          If I'd have true blacks my eyes would see colours somewhat differently in relation to that true black

                                                          This is in fact one of the main advantages of these units: you can set up several calibration targets and switch between them with a single click. All you need to do is relaunch Photoshop so that it can pick up the corresponding profile. Here I have two different black points, and sRGB emulation for whenever I need to work with non-color managed software (BTW this is from my home system using a CX240; more or less identical to the CG246 but at 2/3 the price, lacking some special features):

                                                          colornavigator.png

                                                          • 27. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                            Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                            A great monitor is well worth investing in.

                                                             

                                                            If your monitor changes gamma (your image changes brightness) depending on where your head is at, it's not a great monitor.

                                                             

                                                            -Noel

                                                            • 28. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                              Herbert2001 Level 4

                                                              Hmmm, interesting, that is entirely true - setting different targets would get you the best of (several) worlds. I'd consider this next time I purchase a new setup.

                                                              • 29. Re: Monitor for graphic design.
                                                                Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                                By the way, twenty_one and I discussed near-black level performance in another thread (more oriented to the color-management logic than monitors) that might be of interest.  Specifically we posted some files that exercise system performance near black...

                                                                 

                                                                OpenGL inaccuracies and black levels

                                                                 

                                                                -Noel