How to choose a monitor for photography?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Eatmorepies, May 9, 2008.

  1. Eatmorepies

    Eatmorepies Guest


    I'm looking for a larger monitor than my current 17" CRT. That will mean a
    flat screen one - and I believe there are now two technologies to choose
    from. Which is the one to look at?

    Also, I read that cheaper monitors can't be calibrated to match the colour
    input from the camera or the output from the printer. I also read that I
    need 14 bit resolution to match my camera and a digital video card in my

    Can anyone recommend a good site where I can read about the subject. I've
    Googled round and round but haven't found anything that looks authoritative.
    I'm in the UK if anyone knows of a decent shop/dealer within 100 miles of
    Mid Wales.


    Eatmorepies, May 9, 2008
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  2. Eatmorepies

    Alienjones Guest

    Rule 1.
    Ignore Usenet advise.

    Rule 2.
    What was told to you about "cheap" LCD monitors should be ignored too.

    Rule 3.
    Australia uses the PAL standard so I guess that makes us pals !!

    Get yourself a Gforce or Radeon video card with at least one - preferably 2
    DVI outlets. You also get a DVI to VGA adaptor with them so you can continue
    to use your CRT screen as a second monitor to hold all the Photoshop tools
    and give you even more working space on the new LCD desktop.

    Next is the contrast ratio of a LCD determines how "good" the monitor will
    display it's dynamic range. Look for high number and probably avoid Kung Foo
    brand stuff. Viewsonic and Samsung are good as are some low end LG monitors.

    The real advance in monitor technology has come about with true "backlit"
    screens that have the Dmax and gamut of CMYK... The standard real printing
    machines that clunk, clunk, clunk in the night use.

    Samsung have just release such a monitor and they sold out the first
    shipment into Australia in days. You might also get just as much value from
    an entry level LG with 2000:1 contrast ratio and some basic profiling
    software. Wide screen is definitely the way to go.

    Do not ever use a LCD screen with a 15 pin VGA cable or you will see where
    all those critics of LCD for photo edition got their opinion from.

    And are the pies pork or lamb?

    Alienjones, May 9, 2008
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  3. Eatmorepies

    OldBoy Guest

    Don't buy one with a TN-panel.
    Check on
    OldBoy, May 9, 2008
  4. Rule 4
    PAL is an analogue video standard of no relevance to modern computer
    displays, not since 80s 8-bit microcomputers that were meant to be
    plugged into tvs at least. (either via rf or composite analogue
    Oolis Kraprin, May 9, 2008
  5. Eatmorepies

    flaming-o Guest

    The short and curlies:
    Unless you get an expensive dedicated graphics panel, a al Eizo or LaCie,
    all LCD panels are inferior to CRTs for critical color managed printing.
    In large measure it is because the brightness and color characteristics of a
    CRT are closer to a reflective print than LCD panels which are just too
    In order to use LCDs, depending on your particular standards, you will have
    to develop workarounds.
    With a color calibration device, keeping the panel at its default brightness
    and contrast, reasonable color matching is not difficult to achieve.
    However brightness and contrast are a different matter, because at those
    default and non-adjustable (read your color calibrator instructions--those
    settings should not be adjusted) brightness and contrast settings what you
    see cannot possibly be matched in even a glossy print. The second problem is
    neuropsychological: the brightness of LCD screens is such that even if you
    generate an ideal print you might not think it so because it cannot match
    the brightness of your LCD panel.
    There are a variety of work-arounds and changes in the way you evaluate a
    print that make use of LCD panels manageable.
    The mid-range Samsungs are very good values but require effort to develop a
    satisfactory workflow; the wide panel formal is very convenient for use in
    In truth I have an older NEC CRT that still calibrates perfectly and if I
    really want the best results I judge the image on that before printing!
    flaming-o, May 9, 2008
  6. Eatmorepies

    Jason Guest

    Heed your own advice.

    Where's your PGP signature? was your post a forgery?
    Jason, May 9, 2008
  7. Eatmorepies

    Alienjones Guest

    That actually depends on wether or not you intend to take advantage of the
    video out function on the cards I recommernded!
    Alienjones, May 9, 2008
  8. Eatmorepies

    Alan Browne Guest

    Get an iMac.

    That may sound like "Apple bias" but what I've noticed with my Mac
    dispay side by side with a high quality LCD monitor is much finer
    appearance and tone grading (even though the other monitor has a finer

    The other monitor is driven from the same card as the iMac display and
    over DVI.

    Under the hood: the iMac uses a Radeon HD 2600 Pro, so a similar
    grpahics card on a PC will likely help.

    The problem is determining which display will give you the best results
    and I regret that I have no advice for that. But an Apple dvi display
    (sans Mac) would probably do the joj even if hooked to a PC.

    Alan Browne, May 9, 2008
  9. Eatmorepies

    Poky Guest

    I have my LCD connected to two computers, one via VGA and the other
    via dual link DVI. There is no difference in image quality.

    All those critics got their opinion from using 6bit panels instead of
    8bit panels. Most panels are 6bit to increase response time. If you
    want a pro quality LCD with 8bit you have to pay a lot more for them
    than what most are willing top pay.

    My LCD is a Samsung 226bw with 2ms response time and 3000:1 dynamic
    contrast ratio and it is considered a good gaming LCD but it is most
    ceretainly not good enough for critical digital imaging work as it
    doesn't even have uniform brightness level across the whole screen.
    That's a common issue with LCD and IMO you are better sticking with a
    good CRT unless you are willing to pay $1,000.00 or more for a pro
    level LCD.
    Poky, May 10, 2008
  10. Eatmorepies

    Poky Guest

    But most are TN panels. If you want an LCD for gaming then a TN panel
    it must be because of their much better response time. If you want a
    pro level LCD for digital imaging that is not TN panel then you have
    to be willing to spend about $1,000.00 or so and they are crap for
    gaming on, unless you only play chess. Since I'm a gamer I will take
    the much cheaper TN panels. I know there were a few not too expensive
    ISPS panels made but I read they are not so easy to find now so you
    must go pro level if that is what you want. Dell might have an ISPS
    model still though.
    Poky, May 10, 2008
  11. Eatmorepies

    Poky Guest

    Yea, they probably use ISPS 8bit panels instead of 6bit TN panels.
    They are much more expensive too though but that would be a good way
    to go if you must have LCD. They are probably not good gaming monitors
    though. I know this is a photography group but I uses my LCD for more
    than just photography so use a Samsung 2ms 6bit TN LCD. I rarely print
    out photos anyway and when I do I just guesstimate how it will turn
    Poky, May 10, 2008
  12. Eatmorepies

    Alienjones Guest

    Well here's a news flash that will shatter that myth...

    I have a "Cinema" Apple monitor on one of my Editing PCs and I also have a
    bottom of the (price) range LG (Life's Good!) monitor on the printer driver
    PC. It controls 4 printers. Many professional photographers visit my studio
    for large (canvas and Giclee) prints.

    All with an interest in colour calibration have remarked how similar these
    are in their display properties despite the nearly $1500 price difference. I
    spent a lot of time discovering how to calibrate them for synchronous
    display. True, the LG need recalibration quite often but... I can now
    interchange them and know I'll still have the same output colours.

    I think the real issue with colour, photography, CRT and LCD is the harsh
    brightness produced by LCD screens as opposed to CRT screens. That
    brightness does affect your sight and colour judgment. With critical work, I
    still use a pair of "smoke" sunglasses to take the edge off the brightness.
    Working in a really brightly lit room can help too.

    At the end of the day, the area of colour balance still has little science
    and much personal preference. No two humans see the same photo as having
    exactly the same colours. I worked for years with an absolutely brilliant
    photographer in Perth (Australia) who was totally colour blind! He just
    relied on his gear and a pro lab for colour output.
    Alienjones, May 10, 2008
  13. Anyone out there using an Apple Cinema Display? That is the third
    big-ticket item on my shopping list this year. After I get Either a 105
    DC or an 85/1.4, then upgrade my 5-year-old G4 computer, I really want
    a thirty, but will probably end up with a 24" Apple monitor. Right now
    they're about $1800 new or $1200 as an Apple refurb.

    I know what you mean about the CRTs though. I used to work on LaCie's
    in the service bureau, and my home monitor was a Trinitron which did
    yeoman duty for nearly ten years.
    Tully Albrecht, May 11, 2008
  14. I've been thinking about an upgrade of my G5, wondering if a top end
    iMac wouldn't be just about perfect....? I won't be doing much, if any,
    video, so I think it's fast enough for LR or PS batching or reasonably
    complex actions in PS, but I don't really know. It'd certainly make the
    monitor decision easier!

    Interesting about LaCie; I have the 19" Electron Blue, and have been
    trying to re-calibrate, using it at times as a second monitor off my
    MacBookPro, but setting it to sRGB seems to lock out Contrast and
    brightness adjustments. (?) Was thinking of calling support, but
    perhaps you know, Tully? The other temps are stated in degrees, and the
    sRGB does say to read the fine manual, which I have misplaced.
    John McWilliams, May 11, 2008
  15. Eatmorepies

    XxYyZz Guest

    What's your point ?

    Many professional photographers visit my studio
    Sure they do. Is this the studio that has no adress ?

    Yes, nothing like wearing sunglasses for all your critical work. Who would
    have thought suglasses would beat a well calibrated monitor. And you call
    yourself a working pro ? I'll bet you wear the sunglasses because you're a
    crackhead !

    Forget calibration and just get some sunglasses, eh Doug ? Sounds real
    professional advice to me, not !

    No two humans see the same photo as having
    Did he still think bridezilla was ugly ?
    XxYyZz, May 12, 2008
  16. Eatmorepies

    Zilla Guest

    Get one with the most real-estate and highes resolution you can afford, or
    to afford. Whatever you do, get a monitor calibration system.
    Zilla, May 12, 2008
  17. Where I worked, the retouching Macs were all calibrated to a specific
    target image "by the numbers" and ran 24/7. We worked in LAB, had a
    single profile conversion LAB>CMYK for imagesetter output. Nobody cared
    about web color, so the occasional low-res RGB file was tweaked by eye.
    they installed the first digital press just before I quit, and I never
    prepared an image for it. Everything I worked on was proofed as a
    four-color (overlay or laminated), and color corrections (we strove for
    no more than three rounds of CX, even for picky clients like Saatchi
    and other agencies with national accounts.

    That's getting off track, but the simple truth is I started my shift by
    throwing away PS prefs, loading my own prefs and actions, using the
    eyedropper to check the target image, and then looked for the day's
    first cup of coffee. I've had to learn a lot about RGB profiles,
    inkjets and RAW conversions over the last two years!

    I have been ogling the Cinema Displays for longer than that, and after
    I get my eight-core Mac from Apple Refurbs (ballpark of $2k) I may get
    a monitor from the same source. One of these days I might even get CS2
    or CS3. I'm very cheap, though: I was still using OS9 and PS5.5 as
    recently as 2004.
    Tully Albrecht, May 12, 2008
  18. Not necessarily.
    Why do you think it would mean a flat screen?
    There are 2 different things to ponder regarding calibration:
    - how exact the calibration can make the output look like it
    should look.
    - how repeatable that calibration is. Monitors age, but it is a
    difference if a calibration every hour or every month is needed
    --- or if just shifting your head changes the hue and intensity
    (as many flat screens, especially cheap ones, do).
    DSLRs produce 12 or 14 bit linear RAW data these days.
    - there's a large difference if a pack of chewing gum costs
    $0,10 or $0,30
    - The difference if a house costs $500.000 or $500.000,20 is
    a) just as large in linear steps (12 or 14 bit RAW)
    b) trivial and not noticeable looking at the big
    picture. (more how our eyes and JPEG work)

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, May 12, 2008
  19. Eatmorepies

    OldBoy Guest

    12 bit: 4096 steps
    13 bit: 8192 steps
    14 bit: 16384 steps
    A factor of 4 trivial?
    OldBoy, May 12, 2008
  20. For your $500.000 home, does it matter if the auctioneer
    raises by $250 or $62.5? No, since he'll use $10.000 or
    $20.000 steps ...
    It is only relevant in the shadows --- and only if the additional
    steps give you signal well enough above the noise level. Sure,
    if you stack hundreds of shots, it matters.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, May 13, 2008
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