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Old Jul 31, 2012, 4:49 PM   #1
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Default Computer Monitor

Not sure where to post this question but I have a Dell laptop and the screen size leaves a lot to be desired for post editing of photos. I am thinking about getting a larger monitor and not sure if I should get a dedicated PC monitor or get a high def TV monitor, which can be found cheap. I won't be watching TV on it, just using it when I am in my home office. My laptop has an HDMI output already.
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Old Jul 31, 2012, 5:31 PM   #2
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G'day mate

I guess it depends upon how much desk-top real estate you've got
My obs of many of the current batch of 'oversize' monitors and screens shows them to be about 1800px x 1200px +/- a bit ... meaning that they are 2mpx in display size > certainly a long way fwd from the average SVGA or XGA monitor

I suspect that it comes down -like everything- to your $$$ department and your "real estate holdings"

Regards, Phil
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Old Jul 31, 2012, 6:22 PM   #3
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Funny you should mention real estate because that is the biz I'm in. My local Sam's Club has PC monitors for about the same price as 1080P TV screens. I just didn't know if there was any real functional difference in the two.
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Old Jul 31, 2012, 7:20 PM   #4
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You should get more control over color with the monitor. Note the 'should'. If you can, take a look at the controls, and check to see of you can tilt it to a good viewing angle.
I have a TV which can double as a monitor, but the color profile is much harder to tweak, and isn't really acceptable (to me) for use in photo editing. YMMV

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Old Jul 31, 2012, 8:17 PM   #5
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HDTVs are limited to a resolution of 1920x1080. Computer monitors are not.

Given how ribbons and toolbars conspire to relieve us of vertical resolution, I consider that to be a more valuable commodity than horizontal resolution, so I went for a display with a resolution greater than 1080, which rules out a television.
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Old Jul 31, 2012, 11:41 PM   #6
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The person who lays out our local newspaper is using a 24" BenQ 1920x12080 resolution LED Monitor with a Macintosh CPU tower type machine. Why LED I am not sure but that s what they got. They replaced an older monitor 5 or 6 years old that crapped in December and they seem like the new monitor very well. Its what they do all the newspaper page layout on and what they view, select and do minor editing of photos for the paper on.

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Old Aug 1, 2012, 12:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
HDTVs are limited to a resolution of 1920x1080. Computer monitors are not.
.
The TVs are not necessarily limited to that resolution - it is just all they can display as TVs. Mine can go to 1920x1200 when used as a monitor. Others have higher resolution.

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Old Aug 1, 2012, 7:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
The TVs are not necessarily limited to that resolution - it is just all they can display as TVs. Mine can go to 1920x1200 when used as a monitor. Others have higher resolution.
To elaborate, HDTVs have an aspect ratio of 16:9 (1920x1080) while widescreen monitors generally have an aspect ratio of 16:10 (1920x1200). The extra height is to accomodate the menubar/taskbar, yet still provide a 16:9 desktop.

Unfortunately, most documents are taller than they are wide, so much of the extra screen real estate available on widescreen monitors often goes to waste. Some programs can use the extra space, but most can't. (A noteable exception is image editing applications, however.)
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Old Aug 1, 2012, 1:36 PM   #9
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Outhouse.... where are you located? I ask because computer monitors in Europe vs Asia vs North America are slightly different (mostly brands available) and I want to point you to the right solution. The following is oriented to the North American market.

I think you should avoid using an HDTV primarily because they are somewhat more difficult to calibrate for true color accuracy and for best viewing you need to sit further back (like 5 feet or more) and for some people the real estate required is too much. Furthermore, imho it is far better to pare back your monitor size to save a few $$$ which can then be used for a decent quality hardware calibrator such as a Datacolor Spyder4 Pro or an Xrite Colormunki Display (about $150-170 in the USA).

There is a lot of selection out there in PC monitors. You can get a decent 23" 1920x1080 for $150USD or spend well over $1500 for a high end pro type monitor.

The criteria you want to select by would include the following:

LCD panel type
Brightness adjustability
Size
Resolution
Gamut
Bit Depth
Back light
Stand
Connectivity


LCD Panel Type
- TN, MVA, PVA, IPS or PLS
.... TN's panels are usually found in the least expensive gaming type monitors. They usually have a fake 8bit (6bit+FRC) color depth and color/gamma shifts at angles other than straight on. On larger screens (24" & 27") it is quite obvious that the top of the screen is darker than the middle and that the left and right are shifted as well, especially if you sit close (less than 30").
.... MVA's are found in many large HDTV's; narrow angles for optimal viewing; known for solid blacks (sometimes too much aka "black crush")
.... PVA's are fading in use as Samsung, the primary OEM of these, has shifted to a new technology (S-PLS) for better quality office and imaging use. Still found as c-PVA panels in some 23" monitors. Known for solid blacks (sometimes too much aka "black crush"). Good viewing angles. Used by the best graphics monitors for several years until recently.
.... IPS are the standard of the industry for image work today. They are made by "LG Display" and provided to almost every monitor company including "LG Electronics" their sister company. Very little shift in color/gamma at angles other than straight on. Solid colors. e-IPS in standard sRGB gamut "budget" monitors and H-IPS type in better quality and/or wide gamut monitors.
.... PLS is a new panel type from Samsung; very similar to IPS technically; not widely used and only found in Samsung's better quality monitors to date

You can see the difference here between a TN panel and an IPS panel.
TN tft panel
(per TFT Central BenQ XL2410T review http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews.htm )
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/images/b...ing_angles.jpg
IPS tft panel
(per TFT Central NEC EA232w review http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews.htm )
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/images/n...ing_angles.jpg


Brightness Adjustability
- some budget monitors such as the Dell U2312HM and still in stock HP ZR24w are not able to lower the brightness below about 130 cd/m2 white luminance using just the Brightness control. This is too bright for image editing in a dark or dimly lit room. Editing on a monitor that is too bright for the room it is in can lead to an issue known as "dark prints". Note that you can always increase the ambient light level in a room to deal with a monitor that is too bright.


Size
- good monitors are available between 21.5" and 30". Up to 24" and an upper limit of $400USD you will find a wide selection of e-IPS panels with sRGB gamuts. Above $400 and 24" and larger you will find H-IPS tft LCD panels, better connectivity, wide gamut and deep bit depth.


Resolution
- the industry has shifted to mostly 16:9 form factor 1920x1080 native resolution in the under $400 market. You will find a couple of good 16:10 1920x1200 units here as well. 16:9 2560x1440 is available in a 27" panel and 16:10 2560x1600 will be found in 30" units.

NOTE: most economy WinOS laptops cannot provide the high bandwidth output required for 2560x1440 and 2560x1600 resolutions. You need either a DisplayPort connector or a Dual Link DVI-D connector to drive these resolutions. In theory, HDMI will work. In practice it seems some laptops cannot, as the output from their HDMI ports is limited to 1920x1080. Furthermore, trying to use a laptops screen and the external monitor at the same time will usually result in the external being forced to use the laptop screen resolution (not desirable).


Gamut - standard (sRGB) or wide gamut (sRGB + AdobeRGB)

Standard - most LCD monitors offer at least a standard color gamut covering close to 100% of the "sRGB" color space. This equates to about 72% of the NTSC standard which is a specification you'll sometimes see listed. This is usually adequate for people editing images for posting to web sites like Flickr, Smugmug, Zenfolio, and others and/or where they upload images to off site printers like Costco and others. By using a standard sRGB gamut you will avoid some serious color management issues (with WinOS) for the most part.

Wide Gamut - a number of LCD monitors on the market offer a "wide gamut" covering about 100% of the sRGB color space and about 100% of the AdobeRGB color space. This is roughly equivalent to about 104% of the NTSC standard. For people who edit images in the AdobeRGB or ProPhotoRGB color space, it is essential to use a wide gamut monitor to see all the true nuances of color on screen.

However.... wide gamut monitors require a complete understanding of color management. ICC profiles must be identified and assigned for use in viewing and printing images using color managed software. Viewing sRGB embedded/tagged images on a wide gamut monitor using software that is _not_ color managed often shows an image with certain colors noticeably over saturated - typically reds and greens are what stand out initially.


Bit Depth - panel & processing; most 24" and smaller monitors under $400USD use a 6bit + Advanced Frame Rate Control (AFRC) system to simulate an 8bit color depth of 16.17 million colors. Cheaper TN paneled gaming monitors may still use the older 6bit +FRC system. Some 23" and 24" monitors under $400 use a true 8bit panel offering a color depth of 16.7 million colors. Better quality (above $400) wide gamut monitors will offer either a fake 10bit (8bit + AFRC for 1.04+ billion colors) or true 10bit color depth of 1.07 billion colors (its' debatable if it a true 10bit panel is available in a consumer class monitor). Notably, if you scrutinize the literature for monitors claiming 10bit color depth you will sometimes find a disclaimer stating something to the effect... that of the 1.04+ billion colors, only 16.7 million will be used for displaying the image

Monitors also have internal processing, sometimes referred to as an internal Look Up Table (LUT), that has a bit depth for reference. Most budget monitors have 8bit processing. Better can be 10bit, 12bit, or 14bit.

The higher the bit rate in color depth, the lower the chance of the monitor displaying banding in color gradients.

In practice, the latest budget e-IPS paneled monitors with 6bit +AFRC do a very good job of minimizing banding and dark are artifacts.


Back Light - the back light controls the gamut of the monitor. Most budget monitors have moved to W-LED (W=White) offering a gamut of between 94% and 96% measured of the sRGB color space. Some still use CCFL back lights and these will usually offer between 95% and 98% of the sRGB color space.

Wide gamut monitors almost all use W-CCFL (W=Wide) back lights except for an EIZO, Lacie, HP, and a few laptops which use RGB type LED's. Notably, the desktop monitors with RGB LED back lights all cost more than $1500USD.

In general, CCFL's are more color accurate but can take up to an hour to warm up, coming to full brightness and color accuracy. Over the lifetime of the monitor, they will dim, substantially in the first year with some.

LED's use less power and are typically at close to full brightness and color accuracy with a minute or two. However, some LED systems (maybe all in PC monitors?) use an very rapid on/off system to lower brightness. Some people can sense a flicker from LED back lit monitors where the brightness has been lowered substantially from 100%.


Monitor Stand - 21.5" e-IPS monitors with a height and angle adjustable stand can be found for about $169USD. If you don't mind, you can get almost the same monitor with a TV type fixed stand for about $20-30 less. Often this also come with an HDMI port where the one with the fancy stand does not. I prefer a proper stand.


Connectivity - oddly, an HDMI port is not to be found on a number of the under $400 monitors most sought after by imaging enthusiasts. Why this is, I'm not sure. I've read that it may be a refusal to pay an exorbitant royalty fee. Regardless, there is a solution. You can buy a HDMI to DVI-D adpater for less than $10 online. For example....

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Unlimit.../dp/B0007MWE1E



Some examples of budget monitors with 6bit+AFRC e-IPS panels, sRGB gamut, proper stands, and good brightness adjustment range.

Dell U2212HM
... 21.5" 1920x1080
... as low as $169

HP ZR220W
... 21.5" 1920x1080
... seldom below $240USD

NEC EA232
... 23" 1920x1080
... mid $200's

LG IPS231P
... 23" 1920x1080
... under $200 on sale (I've seen $169CAD locally)

Viewsonic VP2365-LED
... 23" 1920x1080
... mid $200's

Dell U2412HM
... 24" 1920x1200
... with coupons or on sale about $269

HP ZR2440w
... 24" 1920x1200
... seldom below $350USD



Examples of wide gamut monitors with 10bit H-IPS panels, minimum 12bit internal processing, and good brightness range.

Dell U2410
... 24" 1920x1200
... as low as $420USD with coupons

NEC PA241w
... 24" 1920x1200
... 14bit 3D LUT and much much more
... about $950USD

(why no ASUS PA246w? Too bright at "0" Brightness)



Monitor reviews here:

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews.htm
http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/reviews.html


PS... notice that I did NOT include Contrast Ratio as a criteria? Most manufacturers publish the "dynamic" CR of 1,000,000:1 (or similar) which is totally irrelevant to what you want to do with your monitor when editing images. If you browse the TFT Central and Prad reviews you will see that they use a viewing mode where dynamic contrast is disabled. After a proper calibration most current monitors with IPS panels will have a static contrast ratio between 600:1 and 900:1 with a measured black point of between 0.14 and 0.17 typical. This is where you want to be.

.

Last edited by NewsyL; Aug 1, 2012 at 2:04 PM.
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Old Aug 1, 2012, 1:50 PM   #10
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To NewsyL's encyclopedic post, I'll add that most monitors use the sRGB color space (gamut) (In fact, sRGB was developed jointly by HP and Microsoft, specifically to be used as an easily achieved standard for displaying colors on a computer monitor.), and that while there are many monitors that are capable of broader gamuts, few can actually achieve the AdobeRGB color space. If you're serious about color reproduction, you'll either need to stay on top of it with a wide gamut monitor, or be content with everything being sRGB, which is usually a lot easier.

BTW, there are still many, very good monitors that use the 4:3 aspect ratio.
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Last edited by TCav; Aug 1, 2012 at 4:58 PM.
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