So the end of the financial year is looming, and many of you are probably thinking about buying a new monitor. We have a very extensive article on buying monitors for high quality imaging work in our knowledge base (right) but for those of you who just want the (somewhat!) shorter answer, here’s our quick guide to the current monitor landscape as at June 2014.
Below, we’ve got a table summarising all of this, and a ‘jargon buster’ section explaining some of the terminology.
At the very top end are Eizo CG247W and CG277W – these are the very best monitors made. Not cheap, they are however extremely refined and easy to use. They are wide gamut, and have fully automatic direct hardware calibration.
I have the CG277W monitor on my desk and it is the finest imaging device I’ve used. I use it vastly more than any lens (which costs much the same), and it never ever lets me down. It is unfailingly accurate, extremely even across its field, has excellent clarity, very neutral neutrals, great shadow and highlight detail – and it took me literally less than 5 minutes to set up. It now auto calibrates once a month when I am not even there, and remains perfect each and every day. I love it.
Eizo CG247W (24”) Complete Integrated Package
Eizo CG277W (27”) Complete Integrated Package
There are also the Eizo CX solutions, which are like the CGs with a few things removed. Personally, though, we think if you’re in this price bracket you might as well go the whole way and get the very best.
Here, NEC is really the king. The NEC PA range offers a great deal of the quality of the Eizo CG range, but at a significantly lower price.
What you lose is some refinement in the screen itself – you get slightly less good neutrals, slightly less uniformity and the NEC warranty is not as long or as good. They still have excellent reliability (much better than consumer brands), offer good uniformity, and excellent clarity. Both are wide gamut and support direct hardware calibration.
I own a PA27 at home which is actually where I do most of my imaging work – and it’s an excellent screen. To take advantage of the direct hardware calibration you will need a i1 Display Pro or Syder 4 Pro and Spectraview2 software.
NEC PA242W (24”)
NEC PA272W (27”)
These monitors are all standard gamut, so you lose the ability to work accurately with the more saturated tones that wide gamut monitors can display.
Both Eizo and NEC do good work in this area, but the best value options are in the Eizo EV range. While they don’t support direct hardware calibration, they calibrate very well with a traditional calibration approach. They’re not as good at things like contrast simulation for print work, but they definitely give you the ability to do good quality editing and soft proofing.
These are really your basic starting point for a ‘better than Apple/Dell/Samsung’ monitor, and the bare minimum monitor anyone with any interest in imaging should be aiming for.
Eizo EV2336W (23”)
Eizo EV2436W (24”)
Eizo EV2736W (27”)
At the higher end of the budget, NEC have some direct hardware calibration standard gamut models available (P Series), but we’d recommend if you’re considering those that you stretch to our mid range options as they would be a better long term decision really.
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