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Bought an LCD monitor recently? What's a good one for photo editing?
#1
My CRT monitor (Mitsubishi diamond pro 930) has taken ill and needs to be replaced. I got it because it was rated highly for photo editing, and it was, but I had hoped it would last more than 4 years. Disappointed.

Right now I've got a Dell 1703FP on loan from work, but it's a horrible piece of junk. Brightness is not even across the screen (dimmer in the corners) and resolution is crud. Photos look terrible. Even my wife commented on the poor quality, and she usually takes the "well it's good enough" attitude.

So I'm looking for a good LCD monitor, hoping that quality has improved greatly over the past few years. I'd probably like a 22-inch wide-screen or a 19/20" regular screen. Have any of you been shopping recently and found something good? For less than US$500? (I've been steered to Eizo but those are way to spendy.) Or are CRTs still a better option, despite being hard to find nowadays?

Thanks for any help you can offer!
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#2
I am happy with my monitor. It is a dell "ultrasharp" 2407WFP. It is a good mainstream 24" monitor. It allows changing orientation to portrait, which I find great for writing reports (the whole page can be easily displayed). For photography, I flip it to landscape. Calibrate your monitor and you should be doing just fine. P

P.S> here is a review on CNET. http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/del...99303.html. One reviewer obswerved banding. I never did. It may be a limitation of his graphics card. LCD monitors are not known for great shadow detail, but I did not find this a problem for me and with calibration of the monitor I do get a good match between printed copy and the monitor display, if I use a strong daylight ilumination to view the print.
Please see my photos at http://mullerpavel.smugmug.com (fewer, better image quality, not updated lately)
or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavel_photophile2008/ (all photos)
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#3
*tongue in cheek* 24 inch iMac... Big Grin Big Grin
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#4
I really like my Viewsonic VX, mine is now nearly 4 years old and still maintains calibration really well.

A couple of others in my camera club recently bought them and are both satisfied with the output, one is a former professional graphic designer and really likes the clarity for an LCD.
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#5
Hey thanks, I'll check those out. And a related question: what are you using to calibrate an LCD monitor? I have a CRT-only Spyder ... Sad

I used freeware Wiziwyg on this Dell POS and it helped some, but colors are still way oversaturated and blacks are charcoal gray at best.
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#6
shuttertalk Wrote:*tongue in cheek* 24 inch iMac... Big Grin Big Grin
Funny man. Tongue

You know, I actually looked at the Apple Cinema Displays which supposedly work with PCs ... but then I heard about all kinds of compatibility problems. I think they are rebadged LG/Philips ...
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#7
I use a spyder 2 pro for my LCD.
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#8
I use Xrite. At the time of the purchase, it was highest rated by reviewers. P
Please see my photos at http://mullerpavel.smugmug.com (fewer, better image quality, not updated lately)
or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavel_photophile2008/ (all photos)
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#9
My recently bereaved Samsung Sync-master 172v was terrific but I should have insured it. The 'back light' was the broken part whatever the back light is, and Samsung's repairers (the boss of which turned out to be an old computer club friend) said it would cost more to repair than a new one. (unofficially of course).
While it was working I had no problems.
Calibration I have never done only through the CD that comes with the screen.
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
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#10
Time for a new and bigger and brighter monitor NT. P
Please see my photos at http://mullerpavel.smugmug.com (fewer, better image quality, not updated lately)
or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavel_photophile2008/ (all photos)
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#11
Doing more research, I came upon this thread at my old haunting ground, which might be of interest to current shoppers: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/show...p?t=537386

The differences among screens are amazing, and it really bothers me that some manufacturers are swapping panel types for cheaper ones without changing the advertised specs!

Good news is that there seems to be a few high-quality monitors available at my price point though. Brand doesn't seem to matter much; Dell, HP, Samsung, NEC, all getting good reviews. I do have a 20" Viewsonic at work that I like ... not sure what type of panel but it was darned pricey when I got it 5 years ago. Lasted longer than my CRT!
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#12
Dreamingpixels Wrote:Time for a new and bigger and brighter monitor NT. P
All contributions will be gratefully received. Rolleyes
You have to bear in mind that I have been retired 5 years, and everything except my income has gone up. :|
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
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#13
I am sorry NT, I just like your photos and I know that photography means a lot to you. I am also on the verge of retirement and I too will have to learn to curb my spending. Pavel
Please see my photos at http://mullerpavel.smugmug.com (fewer, better image quality, not updated lately)
or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavel_photophile2008/ (all photos)
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#14
Photography, although I was a "Photographer" in the RAF many many moons ago, is a sort of re-gaining it hobby. I also fly kites. Big Grin
Oh I can afford a monitor or an Imac, but can I justify it? I mean I am not selling photo's. Some of Shuttertalk's members have photography for a vocation.
The PC has earned it's money in entertainment value for both myself and my wife (who's baby it was too start with).
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
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#15
Samsung SyncMaster XL20 - flat panel display - TFT - 20.1 Inch - LS20EDXEB
was : £1030.97
you save : £154.84

£876.13
Is this a good un? Tongue

4 of those would have bought my house.Rolleyes
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
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#16
NT73 Wrote:£876.13
Is this a good un? Tongue
The monitor's probably very nice; the price, not so ... :o

Anyway, I'm very embarrassed, shoulda known better ... when I unplugged the Mitsubishi and installed the Dell monitor, I (1) did not uninstall the old Mitsubishi drivers, (2) did not install Dell drivers, (3) MOST IMPORTANT: did not prevent my old Spyder-made monitor profile from loading on start-up. So I was loading both the old CRT profile and the new Wiziwyg-created LCD profile, and that's primarily why I was getting horrible, blocked-up colors, pink-tinted whites, and terrible blacks. Confusing my video card!

I have cleaned things up, and I have to say this monitor is much better than I previously thought. Still nowhere near the quality of the Mitsubishi CRT, but very respectable for a 5-year old LCD.

It's a little small at 17" so I'll still be shopping for a new one (and I need to return this one to work anyway), but things are looking good in the meantime. Smile
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#17
Very interesting reading your post, Mitch. I am still with my big box a huge Belinea... Wink and I love it. I can see the pixels the size of a cracker... Wink I am not sure if I want to have a LCD monitor.

Anyway, G has a Samsung SyncMaster 204B and he is quite happy with it.
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Paul Cezanne
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#18
I use (2) 17" CRTs from Dell that I paid $20 for the pair.
They are wonderful.

I feel that if you aren't doing any critical color matching or profiling in a commercial printing or web situation, most monitors are good enough.
With minimal calibration by eye, everything I do and almost everything other people do looks just fine on these bargain monitors.
When I go to other people's homes & offices and look at my photos on their monitors, usually I find that they are pretty far from being calibrated, yet most things still look okay.
And my friends are used to the way it looks and/or don't really care.

My feeling is that (for right now) any decent yet affordable LCD is good enough for most photographers if it has a high enough contrast ratio and is adjusted correctly.
The monitor market is only a few years from OLEDs, so buying an expensive LCD now might be a good investment that will hold you until the next generation is affordable, or it might be a big waste of money.

From what I have seen with my own eyes, OLED is clearly superior to LCD
LCDs require an extra layer of LED light behind the main screen to actually illuminate it, while OLEDs emit their own light.
This is why the contrast ratio jumps from the current 1000:1 average up to 1,000,000:1!

Looking at an OLED made me think of the best features from CRT--bright, stable, contrasty, combined with those of LCD--thin, light weight, low power consumption.
(Much thinner than LCD, and probably less power needed.)
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#19
Interesting stuff Keith, but an 11" OLED from Sony is US$2500! :o This does seem like a really nifty technology though.

My research has uncovered the following tidbits of "common wisdom" on various photography forums and monitor review sites:
1. All TN-panel LCDs are horrible for everything but gaming
2. Only IPS or S-IPS panels are acceptable for discriminating photography editing
3. PVA / S-PVA panels might be acceptable for photo editing, if you are poor and an IPS would lead to homelessness.

The in-store browsing experience leads me to the following conclusions:
1. The big-box stores like Best Buy and Costco stock only TN panel LCDs
2. Some TN panels look much better than others! There's apparently more to a quality image display than the panel - some "pro" LCDs from Eizo and Lacie are S-PVA, thus tossing out the IPS-only argument
3. Some TN panels would probably be okay for everyday photo editing, though issues like excessive contrast and over-saturated colors would probably drive me nuts
4. 24" LCDs look much smaller in a big store than they do on your desktop! My wife was impressed by a particular HP 24" widescreen TN display, but we jotted down the dimensions and plotted them on our computer desk ... holy cow, that's a big screen!

After going crazy with information overload, and my wife saying "just buy something already!" I ended up ordering a new HP LP2275w. It's S-PVA, so it's less expensive than the S-IPS models, but based on my in-store experience with the "inferior" TN panels from HP it should be very very good. It is the biggest I could get, at 22" wide, and even that's overkill for me but what the heck. Almost all other 22" wide panels are TN, but this is one of the few PVAs. I am 99% sure the panel is made by ... Samsung. Wink Can't wait to get it!
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Everybody got to elevate from the norm!
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#20
I know it is more bucks but I would suggest after my experience to insure it.
My Samsung (about £150) went after 15 months. I may have been the unlucky one, but that is not great value.
Well actually it was as both myself and my wife really give it some use. £10 per month? £2.50 per week.
I'm glad it was not the 42" tv that went.Big Grin
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
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#21
15 months? Jeez, that's not good. But I know they make panels for a number of brands (some HPs, some Dells, even EIZO) and I haven't seen anything to suggest their longevity is less than the others. Still, I'll see if I can add the additional insurance, though I turned it down at the time of order ... :mad:

We've had a Samsung LCD TV for a couple of years with no problems at all. :knocks on wood:
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#22
From what I have heard, just about ALL LCD monitors and TVs are made by Sony and Samsung.
They got together and built a huge factory in China for $2 Billion, then expanded it for another $2 Billion.

Not sure if it's true, or what it means to the consumer--just thought I would throw it out there.
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#23
I don't think it's "only" them, as LG Philips and AUO are big players, plus some other small ones, but the point is good: there really are very view LCD panel makers.

One thing I've learned in my research is that it's not only the panel that affects the image - the polarizing filter and other factors also matter. Someone showed a picture of a NEC and Planar displays (I think those were the brands) next to each other; both had the same panel and both had been calibrated the same way, but when viewed at a slight angle, one had notably deeper blacks while on the other they were charcoal gray.

It's not much different from the early digicam days, when Sony made effectively ALL of the p&s imaging sensors - Nikon, Canon, Oly, etc. all used the same exact product. But other factors like IR cut filters, AA filters, software, etc., made the products unique.
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#24
Well, this thing is really nice! Colors are pretty good right out of the box, though overall it's too bright (even after calibrating and setting gamma by eye.) Sharp but not too sharp; text is clean. Blacks are rich at full resolution. Only real negative is the control and calibration software it comes with are not very good. I can use Wiziwyg, but I think I'll be buying a colorimeter that works with LCDs just because I don't trust my aging eyes.

One interesting point: there is a huge difference when calibrating at the monitor's recommended resolution (1680x1050) vs. at a lower resolution (1440x900.) Much more accurate at full rez. At the lower rez, shadows get a little clumpy, but at full rez they open up nicely. I can very easily see it in grayscale test patterns. Now, for me this is not a problem as I like the full rez and would leave it there, but my wife likes the lower rez for general computer use. There is one nice feature in the control software that lets you store different display settings and switch between them in a single click, so I think I'll be using the lower rez default and switching over to full rez for photo editing. Minor quibble. Big Grin
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#25
HI,

If you can find one of THESE at a reasonable price, grab it.

Best Buy had a Christmas sale on the Sony PS 3D 23" monitor which originally cost $400. I picked it up for $150.

So that is the monitor I have now, and it is very sharp, but not quite as sharp for photo editing as my old Samsung 215-TW.

It is a true professional monitor (and should be since I paid over $400 for it). I gave it to my brother along with the old system and sort of regret it now.

One issue I did not see mentioned besides RAM, is that your video card can make a big difference in the view.

Since I have an Intel i7-3930 6 core processor, 32 GBs of Corsair Dominator Platinum Ram, and a 3 GB Radeon XFX 7900 Video card, nothing really affects my processing of RAW files.

One issue I have discovered in the past, is that for most LCD manufacturers, the serial numbers can be researched to find out where it was made.

Consumer reports show the same model monitor made in Mexico rather than China can often have pixelation and other defects much more frequently.

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