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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for some advice for a high quality monitor for my PC.
The absolute main purpose is for high resolution photography editing.
So not sure what I need to look for in pixel pitch, contrast ratio etc.
What makes for a high quality monitor?

I do not want to go large (19-22in max) Would prefer 4:3 but not a deal breaker if its WS.

Thanks for tech spec advice or monitor model recommendations.
 

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The Dell Ultrasharp models are typically ranked among the best. IPS with a rich feature set and adjust-ability. You will pay a premium though. Don't pay full price because they go on sale fairly often.

Other choice might be the VIewsonic VG series, which is what I have. This is their higher end line. They have three other series but for graphics, go VG.
 

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Talljak,

Tsk Tsk,.... I thought all good images come out of the camera untouched.

(just kidding). No advice re: model of monitor, but when I was serious into photography, the big thing was to calibrate it.

I used Spyder (express) to adjust the colour of the monitor to what is considered true.... I believe the software/hardware was under $100

P
 

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One of your first decisions is whether you're going for a 'standard' i.e. general-purpose, TN LCD, or a wider-gamut/IPS LCD.

I'm not an expert on the subject, but what follows below is my rough understanding of it.

While it seems like a no-brainer to go for the IPS display if it's in your budget, just make sure you know exactly what you're getting. A wider-gamut display is fantastic for colour-managed applications (like Photoshop). But once you step out of the sphere of graphics editing/publishing software, 99% of all software out there is not-colour managed and designed for the (narrower) sRGB colourspace, including web browsers, Windows OS, games, etc.

sRGB/narrow(er) colour space images displayed on a wide gamut display will look decidely more vivid and vibrant (somewhat oversaturated). It's going to be a little annoying when you view an image in Photoshop and it looks perfect, then upload it to a website and it doesn't look the same.

To this end, it's important to know when you're post-processing an image what its final intended use will be, so you can use the correct colour space or colour profile when proofing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the input guys.
Hugh, I am looking at the VG serries. The VG2227wm. It seems to be a fairly decent display. If anyone has any thoughts to add to it. I find the price of LCD monitors sure have fallen. My current 19" Sony I paid 3 times the avg LCD price.

I see monitors also come in LED now, is that something I should look into or steer clear of?

Petee_C A calibrator is in order, but not until I get a new monitor.

Tezster, its mostly Greek to me, but I will research it Online.
 

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LED typically has larger colour gamut and reduced energy consumption. Definitely something to consider
 

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Finally after a year of frustration of my prints coming out of my printer way too dark I took the plunge and bought a NEC P221W with SpectraView II. I just found that most off-the-shelf monitors were way too bright and if you tried to drop the brightness down too low the blacks got crushed. I had a really nice 24" Samsung and a Spyder II colorimiter but decided to get the NEC.

(I edit in a dark, dim basement so I have to crank the monitor waay down)

It is a wide gamut (96% aRGB) monitor and like the Dells has Look Up Tables in the Monitor to adjust the color so you don't have to do the colour adjustment in the video card's LUTs.

The model I bought also comes with a rebranded X-rite i2 puck (calibrated for wide gamut NEC displays) and calibration software.

With the Sammy and the Spyder I had to manually adjust the RGB sliders using the on-screen display. Now I just set my target luminance (100 cd/m^2) curve (2.2) and whitepoint (D50), put the puck on the monior and walk away.

It also pivots so you can do portrait mode.

I shopped around and ended buying the monitor from NewEgg but NCIX also carries it.

It was a lot of money for a monitor but it solved the problem and just means that with my new printer I won't be able to by any lenses this year.

From what I read while the Dells are good monitors nothing can use their internal LUTs for calibration.

If a NEC is over budget then I would look at one of the Dells or a Samsung "T" series but if your going that route get the puck and calibration software first and use it to test the monitor and if it won't calibrate send it back. The Spyders are OK but there are better units out there.
 

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I had the same problem as Gordon where my prints were having black crush problems due to my monitor being too bright.

I bought a Datacolor Spyder to calibrate my Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP. After that, the colours and brightness are bang on. Having a monitor with high colour gamut is expensive but well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yea the 700 dollar monitors are a bit more then I thought about spending, but I'm going to keep research and saving.
I want to go into a couple stores and look at the viewsonics that Hugh recommended.
Trouble with Dell and NEC is no one has them on a shelf to look at them.
 

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Yea the 700 dollar monitors are a bit more then I thought about spending, but I'm going to keep research and saving.
I want to go into a couple stores and look at the viewsonics that Hugh recommended.
Trouble with Dell and NEC is no one has them on a shelf to look at them.
Me too but when you factor in the cost of a decent colourimiter ($200 for a Spyder3 Pro or $300 for a Xrite i1d2) and the software to calibrate it ...

I can send you a picture of the NEC :D

Vistek does have stock in TO but not in Edmonton but only the monitor without the SpectraView bundle - maybe they could order one in for display.

I bought mine sight unseen after discussing it with some very knowledgeable Colour experts on LuLa
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I had no Idea vistek sold monitors. Cool to know thank you.
Which model with out the Spectraview were you seeing?
 

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I had no Idea vistek sold monitors. Cool to know thank you.
Which model with out the Spectraview were you seeing?
The NEC P221W.

IMHO the 22" NEC is the best value out there for a wide gamut monitor. Even with Spectraview it is still comparable in price to a 22" Apple Cinema display.

When you start looking at the higher end pre press monitors like Eizio, LaCIE, the wide-gamut Dells they are at the low end of the price range but still offer almost the whole aRGB color space. They are not IPS panels but are still very highly regarded.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The response time on my current monitor is 5ms. For the NEC its 16ms Black-to-Black (8ms Gray-to-Gray) Would I notice a slow down in any way? Or is that only an issue for games & movies?
 

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The response time on my current monitor is 5ms. For the NEC its 16ms Black-to-Black (8ms Gray-to-Gray) Would I notice a slow down in any way? Or is that only an issue for games & movies?
Here is a article that explains it somewhat.

Short answer, I went from a 20,000:1 5mS panel and have not noticed any difference but then I'm just watching the odd YouTube. I imagine it might make a difference watching HD video at the native resolution (not that this monitor can do 1080i or 1080p) but that's why we have home theaters, right ;-).

In my experience images in PhotoShop don't move very quickly!
 

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Moving Target

I am still using my 70-pound 22'' CRT graphics monitor because of the issues discussed above. Poor colour gamut and too bright.

However, I'm reasonably certain that the colour gamut issue will be fixed by lighting the LCD with LEDs and I've seen a few models on sale at Future Shop for a reasonable price. I think LG had one such model. Has anyone tried the LG LED-lit monitor?

I am uncertain about how to address the brightness issue without spending mucho dollars.

I wonder about the use of a TV set as a monitor. I picked up a cheap ($400) LED-lit LCD for use in the bedroom. 32" and 1080p. It could be used as a monitor and it weighs around 20 pounds, much less than my 70-pound CRT monster.

Has anyone tried such a setup?

David Brooks seems to be behind in addressing the LED-lit monitors in his column.

Brooks has addressed the monitors mentioned in this thread, but I suspect that the current situation in monitor availability and features is a rapidly moving target.

On a personal note, because of USB3.0 and other advancements, I am thinking of getting a new desktop and would like to get a good monitor that I can use for some time. (It won't be a Dell desktop, but one built to my own specifications.)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I wonder about the use of a TV set as a monitor.
Ive done this and I find the pixel pitch is too low. While its fine for playing games or watching videos. For text or picture editing the detail is too low.
 

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talljak, I have seen and experienced hd lcd/led tv's hooked up as a computer monitor and the quality is not the same. As you mention the pitch is not fine enough compared to a say a good 24" lcd computer monitor.

Used for business presentation is what lcd's would normally be used for not for critical photo editing etc.

I use HP monitors in the study HP LP2465 and 2035 as the second monitor. In the basement where I mostly do my editing I use a HP 3065 and 2475(rotate vertically for portrait) and calibrated with a pantone huey pro.

I have a older 1gig ati 4850 video and when I went to the 3065 I had to upgrade the video card to the 5830, 1gig since I was running 2580x1600 the refresh from web pages was noticeable slower with the 4850.
 

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...I am uncertain about how to address the brightness issue without spending mucho dollars...
Springle,
The brightness is only an issue if your ambient lighting is very dim. If you have your image editing system in a room with brighter ambient light then you may be able to get by with a less expensive monitor (HP, Dell, Samsung T) depending on how finicky you are with respect to color matching.

While I do somewhat agree with your decision to get a custom built PC I believe that you might find that times have changed and most mid range systems these days are more than adequate for PhotoShop CS.

For years I built PCs for friends and family but 3 or 4 years ago I noticed huge price drops in branded systems that have half decent specs. I just couldn't save anyone money custom building so I started recommending that people just buy one model up from the manufacturer's base model if they just need basic functionality (Word, Excel, Browsing, Flash-based games).

I ended up taking my own advice when my system died a horrible death a couple of years ago. I was just going to but a mid-tier HP/Compaq system but ended up getting a Acer as it had some features I wanted (Firewire, Card Reader) but would have had to add to the HP and was less expensive (even more so that I bought an open box).

The down side of buying branded systems is that they come preloaded with useless software (bloatware) that take a while to remove.

A new computer used to be a $2000 expense for me. Now it's down to $500 - $600. I just replaced the wife's computer and installed one for our eldest child and the systems cost around $350 on sale (without monitors).
 
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