View Full Version : what monitor for photo workflow ?

27-May-2004, 04:31
Hi to all,

I need your help and advices in buying a monitor for my computer. I want a good monitor wich is designed for photo workflow, and not for graphics or other purposes. At a first search for options, I find a lot of brands: dell, nokia, philips, sony, compaq, etc. I am looking for a 19 inch crt monitor, and I don`t know what brand is better for working with images in adobe photoshop or corel photo paint ( I mean the corect rending of colors, calibration option, resolution and other facilities proper for photo workflow). Also, it is not clear for me what kind of properties should have a good monitor designed for photos and if there are particular modells special created for this purpose. ( I hear there are monitors designed for graphics, for auto cad, for games). Tahnk you for your advices.


Ken Lee
27-May-2004, 07:52
This is a big subject.

There are special purpose monitors $$$ for graphics work, which accomodate a greater amount of calibration. (So when you get a monitor, factor in the cost of a calibration tool, if you want to get consistent and professional quality color and greyscale results.) I presume that if you use a large format camera, you know the difference between mediocre and top-shelf image quality. Look at Colorvision.com for an example of monitor calibration tools.

Some will argue that CRT monitors do better at color then LCDs. However, I have found that once calibrated, a good affordable LCD does fairly well. That argument is largely over.

For a more affordable solution than super-top-of-the-line, I suggest the higher end Samsung models. I really like my 172T (probably obsolete already) purchased from Monitor Outlet. Last I heard, Samsung was Dell's actual provider, as Sony used to be, when people bought tubes.

Go to a store where many models are shown. Make sure you view them when they are set to their native resolution. For 17 or 19", that's 1280 x 1024. Otherwise, they are emulating lower resolutions, and what you are seeing demonstrates very little in the way of quality. Since 19 inch monitors often don't provide any more actual pixels, all you get is bigger pixels. A good 17" monitor will therefore look sharper than a 19" at the same resolution. Save some money for your calibration tool.

27-May-2004, 08:02
Ask your question on the digital darkroom forum: http://www.photo.net/bboard/forum?topic_id=1701

Ellis Vener
27-May-2004, 10:01
I really suggest you go to a two monitor set up; one good 17" or 19" monitor for the image and a second cheap one for your menus & palettes. You also want a Gretag-Macbeth Eye One Display calibtation/profiling tool.

Ken Lee
27-May-2004, 11:27
Ellis - Is the Gretag-Macbeth Eye One superior to the others - or are they pretty much all the same ?

Ellis Vener
27-May-2004, 11:33
It seems to be "a bit" more accurate than the other one I have: the ColorVision Spyder with PhotoCAL.

Ken Lee
27-May-2004, 11:57
I have the Spyder too. If it breaks, I'll have a look at the Gretag.

- Thanks -

Michael Chmilar
27-May-2004, 12:40
A CRT is more cost-effective than LCD, at this time, especially for color-accurate work.

As others have mentioned, you must also budget to get a calibration device. Without it, you cannot do color-accurate work. The cheapest good device is the Colorvision Spyder with PhotoCAL.

The minimum requirement for a CRT is separate adjustment for the red, green, and blue. If a monitor only has a "color temperature" setting, it is useless. Beyond that, a finer "dot-pitch" means it will appear sharper, and you can set it to a higher resolution.

As far as brand: any well-known name brand should be okay. Of course, it is always nice if you can see it in action first, just to make sure you like it. You might want to read some reviews about the overall quality of monitors.

The expensive specialty monitors might be a little better for color-accurate work, but not enough to justify the price. A normal RGB-adjustable CRT and a calibration device is sufficient.

Doug Dolde
27-May-2004, 14:15
I tossed my Sony GDM-F500R 21" CRT for a very expensive but SCARY good EIZO ColorEdge CG-21. I am seeing things that I never saw on the Sony, it's that good. And it's a true 21" diagonal unlike the Sony which was more like 20". Of course it's 6x the price but I think worth it for all the time I spend on it. Monitor Outlet has the best price I could find on it. http://www.monitoroutlet.com

And it isn't a 32kg behemoth like the Sony. Only 10kg and it's slim profile lets me put it further from my eyes. The Sony was up against the wall if you know what I mean.

The Sony was also failing after only 3 years with faint diagonal green lines visible against a black surface. It must have had other problems as well but I did not realize how bad it was until I fired up the EIZO.

Ellis Vener
27-May-2004, 15:40
ken, try to find someone who has the Eye One Display and will let you borrow it. first profile using the Spyder. open photoshop and select a familiar image.

Now use the Eye One Display to make a profile using that tool and reopen the image. let me know if you see a difference.

Ken Lee
27-May-2004, 16:25
Okee Dokee - Is there anyone in either the Boston or Western Mass area who would be willing to briefly lend me theirs ?

neil poulsen
30-May-2004, 06:11
The monitor I keep hearing about is a LaCie. They apparently have separate adjustments for each electron gun. (RGB.) Using the Monaco color management tool, there's a point at which the user is asked to adjust each color to within a reasonable range of optimum.

I don't have one of these, so I have no direct comments to make. But, I plan on getting one based on input from local photographers.

BH Photovideo sells them. Check out www.lacie.com.

Don't get an LCD. Stick with a CRT. We have LCD's at school, and they jazz up the image so much, it makes it difficult to get an accurate representation of what will be printed.

Ellis Vener
30-May-2004, 06:39
The monitor I keep hearing about is a LaCie. I've heard that each
electron gun can be separately adjusted, but I've not yet verified this.

Lacie BlueEYE IV: http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10037

Boy was that hard to confirm. But to get best characterization of the BlueEye you need Lacie's calibration tool, not the Monaco, not the gretag-Macbeth, not the Colorvision.