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We're long overdue in writing this evaluation/report of the the Eizo
CS2740, and for that we apologise. One benefit, though, is that we have
now used it extensively for the better part of a year, so can draw upon this extensive real world experience in our evaluation.
If you want the executive summary, the 'TL;DR' as the kids call it these days - this is it:
If you're in the market for a high quality monitor, for general
photographic/imaging work, the Eizo CS2740 should be right at the top of
your list of models to consider.
The Eizo CS2740 offers a near perfect balance of features and quality, with excellent support from the best brand in the business. It's pretty much faultless.
Read on for our full evaluation....
Part one - Published September 2021
Initial Overview and Thoughts - follows below.
This article will be extended further:
Part 2 - (To be published ~ October 2021) - A more in depth look at 4K in particular, why a monitor like this and not an iMac or Dell or whatever.
Part 3 - (To be published ~ November 2021) - More notes on usage, things we like and things that could still be improved. Why you might go up to a CG, or down to a non 4K.
This is exactly the monitor we have been asking Eizo to make for years. A 4K, ColorEdge level monitor with generally excellent quality, and with a relatively affordable price tag.
Of course, for a lot of people, just shy of $3000 (the price at time of writing) - is a significant price for a monitor, and such people might well scoff at the use of 'affordable' in that last line. But to take photography as an example, as far as photographic tools go, it's really a very reasonable price. Why? Well, there is no other tool you will use for 100% of the images you work on. It's the same sort of price as just one professional lens from Canon or Nikon (and probably cheaper than any Sony lens!!) - and of course a monitor like this is far more useful than any one lens! With a minimum warranted life of five years, and a more typical usage life of seven to ten years, a monitor like this is worth every penny for anyone serious about their imaging work.
If you're any type of photographer, artist or image maker in the modern world, working with any digital techniques, then your monitor is quite simply the most fundamental and important tool in your toolbox. To work to a high quality level in the visual arts you have to be able to accurately specify and control colour - and to do that you must be able to accurately see the colour you're working with. The CS2740 is a tool so good, and so reliable, at doing just that, it's really hard to imagine a better tool for the job.
The Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 is a colour accurate, wide gamut monitor with 4K (UHD) resolution. Many people, us included, have been looking forward to such a model from Eizo for years now.
Who is the Eizo CS2740 For?
We think this monitor is pretty much perfect for just about everyone
working in the visual arts, with the exception of folks doing very high
end video grading work for broadcast or film.
Photographers, graphic designers, artists, videographers, VFX/game content creators - just about everyone with a serious interest in image quality should consider the CS2740. And of course, on top of it's wonderful colour accurate performance, it's also a spectacular monitor for those other day to day things we do with our monitors - i.e. general purpose use (web browsing, email, spreadsheets, etc).
The closest competing model would be the BenQ SW271C.
It's a very good monitor, for sure, but the Eizo is not so much more
expensive (especially considered over the 5+ years ownership time) - and
significantly better again, so we feel in this case the extra dollars
are very well spent.
Dell, LG, and so on often have models that, on paper at least, appear similar. But in practise and side by side, the difference is not so much in specifications - those sorts of brands are great at ticking spec. boxes, in the loosest sense - but the practical difference lies in how well those thing are actually implemented, and how well they actually work.
Who is the Eizo CS2740 Not For?
Given the price tag, this monitor is probably not for people who see themselves as casual dabblers - it would be hard to justify the expense. If that is you, you might want to consider something like the Eizo EV range - or the non 4K BenQ SW monitors. That said, even if you expect your imaging use to be relatively minor, the combination of generally excellent image quality and 4K clarity is a an attractive combination that makes all of your monitor use more pleasurable and comfortable, of course.
If you do really high end colour work (commercial photography in the automotive/fashion/high end decor markets, for example, or other particularly demanding colour work (such as art reproduction) - then you will probably want to look at the Eizo CG range, which offer even greater colour accuracy. We're very hopeful that more 4k CG options will appear soon - fingers crossed!
If you're a grader working in the professional broadcast video or motion picture industries, then you will likely want to look at the Eizo CGX range of monitors (or more exotic solutions such as an OLED run off a BlackMagic etc). This monitor does not have an appropriate peak brightness, contrast level, or performance with blacks, for really high end grading work. However, for a typical photographer now mixing in some web and corporate video work, or wedding video work, it definitely is up to the task.
The Eizo CS2740 is very well packed, and will almost certainly arrive to you safely. Of course when you buy from Image Science, everything is fully insured from order to delivery. And, fortunately, delivery on Eizo monitors from Image Science is free to most metro areas - our cart will work this out for you!
Eizo is still using a lot of foam in its packaging and we'd like to see them more to more easily recyclable alternatives as some other brands have now done (e.g. some recent purchases of ASUS networking hardware here have come with some excellent cardboard alternatives to foam).
We always recommend you get someone to help you remove the main panel from the box - and always, of course, take care NOT to touch the panel itself as you do this. The CS2740 arrives with the stand attached, so it's really just a process of carefully lifting the monitor out, then straight on to your desk, and you're ready to plug it in and get going.
Connection available: USB-C, DisplayPort, HDMI
The Eizo CS2740 is generally easy to attach to a modern computer (Mac or PC). Please check our full Eizo CS2740 listing ('In The Box' section) - to make sure it comes with the cables you need.
We recommend you use USB-C if you can, otherwise DisplayPort. HDMI only if you can't use either of those. More on this here, or feel free to get in touch if you need help.
If using USB-C with a laptop, the USB-C port on this model can charge the laptop, offering up to 60W of power. This means you can use just one single cable with your laptop and this monitor, for all of video, sound, calibration data, and power delivery. That's a lovely elegant setup and obviates the need for a dock in most cases - which is a good thing, as docks are notorious for creating issues with monitor calibration systems.
If you're not using USB-C, then you must plug in your video cable AND the included USB-3 cable. The video cable gets the image from your computer to the screen, and the separate USB connection is sued for the calibration side of things, and to enable the downstream USB ports on the monitor. Technically you do not have to have this cable plugged in all the time - it's only needed for the calibration process - but we recommend you do leave it in if you can. Over the years, many folks have unplugged this for some reason, then promptly forgotten, and months later when they come to calibrate it can be very frustrating when you get the message and have forgotten about this necessary extra connection!
Eizos, unlike BenQ monitors, will check each port for an incoming signal and generally automatically switch to the input signal. If for some reason this does not happen, it's easy to direct the monitor to a specific input (see notes on buttons below).
Worth noting is that 4K is demanding on a computer.
If your computer is already a few years old (say, from before 2016 or so), you should check carefully that it does support 4K (UHD) resolution - and at the full refresh rate (60hz, AKA 60 frames per second). Some computers/video cards simply don't support 4K, or only support 4K at half the typical desktop monitor refresh rate (i.e. 30Hz).
If your computer is the latter, i.e. it only offers 4K @ 30Hz - you'll definitely want to consider upgrading. You can technically plug this screen into a 4K/30Hz system, but you will notice that animations (opening/closing windows etc) - are distinctly sluggish in feeling. It's also a sign that you're right at the limits of your computer/video card's performance, and you are likely to notice slowness generally if this is the case. We have found customers that have bought 4K monitors for use with 30Hz systems soon get frustrated by the experience, so we don't generally recommend it.
[N.B. Part Two of this article, to follow, will have a lot more on 4K/UHD and how this works in practise].
The design of the screen is typically Eizo. Nice, professional, not unattractive, but also not exactly stylish.
The bezels are typical of a monitor like this - around 1.5cm all the way around. This does allow for a hood (unfortunately not included with the purchase price, and not cheap as an accessory - I really wish Eizo would stop charging such a premium price on what is, ultimately, a pretty simple accessory!). The hood is, at least, excellent - with Eizo's exclusive magnetic mounting system, it is the simplest process in the world to take it on and off, which definitely increases the flexibility and utility over e.g. the relatively clunky 'click in' plastic mounting system other brands use.
The included monitor stand is visually inoffensive, and more importantly offers a LOT of travel - really enough for just about every normal use. There is also a standard VESA 10x10 mount on the monitor if you need to attach some sort of more exotic stand/arm. Just about every such arm/stand on the planet supports this standard. One thing to note is the Eizo stands, especially when new, can be a bit stiff - we sometimes get calls from folks who 'can't move the monitor in any direction' - it sometimes just takes a tad more force than some might expect. A firm grip will get you there, and just remember to take care to touch only the bezels when doing this.
Note - in addition to the power switch on the front panel, there is also a hard power switch on the back where the (standard, kettle style) power cord goes in - remember this! If you switch this off (e.g. when moving the monitor) - you will not be able to get it to turn back on without this switch! Again, this is another very common support call.
The buttons on the front are the unlabelled 'touch' buttons. Regular readers will know I find these quite frustrating and miss the days of 'real' buttons, with at least some helpful labelling. Whilst this undoubtedly looks better, it's definitely a little less functional. In any case, touch them and then icons pop up on screen showing you what they do. For example, if you're trying to direct the monitor to a specific input signal, touch the buttons, then choose the button with an arrow into a square symbol (clear as mud, right?) - and you will then get another pop up menu allowing you to choose from the labelled inputs. More button presses and some interpretation required than having a proper button with a label, but fair to say it's not really that hard once you're used to the approach.
To be fair, this likely bothers me a lot more than most because I do so much technical support for monitors. Most folks won't be bothered - and once you have an image, almost everything else is then controlled by software, anyway. I very rarely go in to the monitor menus, and do appreciate the visually clean appearance of the screen.
At this stage, we're up and running with an image from our computer on the Eizo CS2740. Even a quick glance shows the image to be super sharp, very uniform across the display, and just remarkably good.
It's a good idea to do some basic checks at this point.
First, we check the signal to the monitor is correct. You can do this by bringing up the monitor's Information menu. Touch one of the buttons on the front, and choose the menu symbol. Navigate down to 'Information' and select it. You will get a pop up showing your monitor model and serial number, and below this you will see the type of connection you're using, and the resolution and refresh rate figures - for example, ours shows 'Display Port, 3840x2160. The refresh figure is the one next to 'fV' - it should say 60.00 Hz. It would be nice if Eizo labelled this better - such as a simple 3840 * 2160 @ 60Hz line.
(BenQ monitors display a very clear message in their info menu - 'Ideal Signal: [email protected]' and 'Current Signal: [email protected]' - which is a little easier to interpret than the Eizo information panel).
Once you've checked resolution and refresh, the next step is to check for dead pixels. This is best done by changing your background colour to pure white and pure grey and doing a careful visual check. Worth pointing out, we haven't had an Eizo with a dead/stuck pixel issue in many years now - their in house QC is superb, so such issues are vanishingly rare. We have notes on all this in our Getting Started With Your New Monitor material.
Once you're up and running and have done your basic checks, it's time to calibrate your Eizo.
Of course, the Eizo and its preset modes are factory calibrated, and the out-of-box result is already wonderfully accurate. Many people use their Eizo monitors in a preset mode, without further calibration, for some time. But it's good practise to get in to the habit of calibrating, and realistically many people won't want to use the presets, as there are better settings to use for their specific scenarios. All monitors, even wonderful ones, drift over time through usage, and thus need calibration to remain accurate.
Important - this monitor supports Direct Hardware Calibration. This means, the calibration process can adjust the monitors hardware and the results of the calibration can be store in the monitors high quality internal Look Up Tables (LUTs), rather than the low quality LUTs in your video card. But it's very important to be clear that this does NOT mean the monitor includes or comes with a monitor calibration device.
The obvious choice of calibrator for this monitor is the excellent, industry standards i1Display Pro. Other compatible calibrators are listed in our product page, but if buying or upgrading, then really the only sensible choice is the i1Display as it's significantly better (and longer lasting) than the alternatives.
In addition to your monitor calibrator, you will need to download and install ColorNavigator from Eizo. A license for this is included with the monitor purchase.
We won't repeat ourselves here - we have a very comprehensive and popular guide to calibrating your Eizo CS2740 monitor. Lots of screenshots and tips. It starts with a section on getting ready to calibrate.
And of course, if you get stuck and you bought your monitor from Image Science, don't hesitate to get in touch for advice and support.
It's going to be hard to write this next section without being too effusive - but that's a factor of just how much I enjoy, and have come to rely on, the Eizo CS2740. (It's also based on the feedback of many customers who have followed our recommendation and bought their own CS2740 - the positive feedback has been universal!).
At Image Science we're very lucky. We sell (and just as importantly - support!) - a quite significant proportion of the high end imaging monitors sold across Australia. We're a small business, but our presence in this market is really strong. This is primarily because we're known for being genuinely helpful at all stages of the process - model selection, the sale & delivery stage, and then the on-going follow up knowledge and support. It's literally a daily occurrence around here that someone who bought a monitor from us 10+ years ago calls for, and gets, excellent support for their monitor. We have great relationships with both Eizo and BenQ (and formerly NEC until they exited this market) - and unlike classic stores, we actually also use the equipment in the day to day running of our very busy fine art services business (which we believe is the oldest continuously operating such business in the country, and has used colour management pervasively in all processes since day one, when most folks hadn't even heard of it - way back around 2001/2002!).
The result of that is that we have here a veritable smorgasbord of the world's best monitors installed here in the studio. And as the director of the business, I get to cherry pick my personal favourite. There's got to be some perks, right? At this moment, off the top of my head, in the studio we have from Eizo an CG2730, CS2731, CG279X and an older CG277. From BenQ we have a SW321, SW271C, SW271, SW270C, and an SW240 in active use....so really, we're actively using an example of just about every high end colour accurate model available in Australia today.
From all of those, I have specifically chosen the CS2740 as my personal primary screen (with a CG279X currently on my desk at home). This is because I think it offers the best overall combination of features and quality to suit my needs - which probably line up with a lot of people's needs.
First and foremost I of course want colour accuracy and image quality - in my case for my own personal photo and retouching work, and so that I can open, assess, and work on files for fine art print purposes.
I also, unfortunately, spend a lot of my day in emails, web apps (ticketing software), and spreadsheets. So the monitor has to be a fabulous general purpose monitor as well.
The CS2740, properly calibrated, absolutely delivers the accuracy I need. Across all 27 inches, the display is just superb. Of course, we use an even more accurate Eizo CG2730 on our main services station, for our art reproduction work in particular - which is particularly demanding work requiring the highest levels of precision. But the differences to the CG accuracy are very subtle, and only of relevance to the most difficult and precise work. For most users, even professionals, the level of accuracy of the CS2740 is more than sufficient to support all their work.
If you're used to a non 4K display - the sharpness is excellent and text and UI element rendering is, in particular, much nicer than on normal HD screens. [I'll go into a lot more detail on this in part two, to follow]. The general comfort of the monitor in use is excellent - the picture is 'quiet' - there's no flicker or glare at all.
The uniformity, another big part of the perceived quality of a display, is also simply excellent. This continues to be an area where Eizo just tend to be better than everyone else. Side by side with e.g. our SW271C - overall a great monitor and not too dissimilar in price - there's no doubt that the Eizo is still distinctly more uniform. Part of this perception is almost certainly the quality of coating on the two screens. Unfortunately, the excellent matte coating found on the SW321C (BenQ's best model to date) - did not make it to the (newer) SW271C - and this was a real surprise, and a real shame. The SW271C is noticeably much glossier, and without doubt this gives the panel a less uniform and less comfortable appearance due to the greater reflectance of ambient light, particularly when displaying low key tones. Which isn't to say the SW271C is bad - it's not, it's very good, but the Eizo is just distinctly better again. You pay more for the quality, for sure, but you definitely also get more, in this case.
The Eizo CS2740 is wonderfully matte in appearance - there's no hint of glossiness - and the whites are very clean (no rainbow sparkle you so often see on cheaper screens). The greys are very neutral grey and the display is remarkably even across the field. I can't see anyone having a practical issue with the level of uniformity achieved by the CS2740. Like many things, it's hard to describe the visual sensation - but it's 'quiet' - you never really notice the image, it just simply 'is' in front of you in a marvellously pure and accurate way.
There is simply no aspect of this display that is not visually excellent. I've primarily used this screen for several months now, and it's fair to say I have found it be overall the best balanced screen - that is, the most comfortable, reliable and accurate screen I've ever used. Given this pandemic, I've spent a LOT of hours behind this screen - too many! - and I feel completely confident in saying Eizo have absolutely hit it out of the park with this model. It just offers such 'just right' balance of quality and features.
I have, thus, been recommending it far and wide, and it has become one of the most popular monitors we sell.
...More to come...
Stay tuned - in part two (will be added early October 2021) - we'll be looking at 4k in a lot more detail, in terms of how it affects both the general use of the monitor, and more specifically in such scenarios as evaluating sharpness of photographic images.
We'll also address why you'd look at spending your money on an Eizo when you can get a sort of similar sounding set of specifications from a Dell, or an iMac, for a lower price.
- Jennifer K -
I have to just say how happy I was to find your company out of so many mediocre online art printers and to have received my images so well packaged and the print quality is amazing. Hahnemühle Bamboo is glorious!! And fast to deliver. So much appreciated.