LCD monitors ... NEC or LaCie?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bill Hilton, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Bill Hilton

    Bill Hilton Guest

    I need to replace my aging 21" Viewsonic Graphics Pro monitor (CRT) and
    it looks like it's time to jump to LCDs ... both NEC and LaCie are now
    specifying the % of AdobeRGB gamut their high end graphics models can
    display and it looks like the ~70% gamut ones are in my price range
    (unfortunately 100% of AdobeRGB in an LCD monitor costs many thousands
    of $$ right now).

    I'm looking specifically at these models ... LaCie 321 (21.3") and
    LaCie 319 (19") or NEC LCD2180UX or LCD1980 ... probably leaning toward
    the LaCie.

    So, anyone have any hands-on experience with any of these? I'll have
    to buy it mail-order so can't play with it at a dealer's in advance.

    Any issues generating ICC profiles with either of these with the Gretag
    Eye-One?

    Thanks.

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Jul 10, 2006
    #1
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  2. As to latter, I am a bit rummy with the ICC profile, as I am not certain
    I have the monitor's manual controls all set properly, and I am using
    Colorvision software. I have the LaCie electron19b4, a 19" CRT,
    calibrated with Spyder2. It sits side by side with a Samsung Syncmaster
    191t, a 19" LCD.

    This doesn't directly answer your question, or even come close to it,
    but it's an alternative, and a nice way to go- best of both worlds for
    me, at a fairly economical price.
     
    John McWilliams, Jul 10, 2006
    #2
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  3. Bill Hilton

    Jim Waggener Guest

    Bill, being the Pro that you are ( I mean that seriously) don't limit
    yourself to these two, I have and use a Samsung 213T which I have
    calibrated. Using Photoshop CS and outputing onto a Epson 7600..superior
    results. I know you do fine art printing as well. The Samsungs are great
    LCD's Regards, Jim
     
    Jim Waggener, Jul 10, 2006
    #3
  4. SNIP
    I've been using the LaCie 321 since my Trinitron tube went south. It's
    quite insensitive to viewing angle.
    The EyeOne Photo (the spectrophotometer) is what I use, and I have
    only minor issues in creating good profiles, slightly in excess of
    sRGB gamut in the Reds/Yellows, slightly less in the Blues/Cyans.
    Gamma in the midtones is slightly(!) off if driven as a digital
    display but close enough (I may need to get the black point
    characterized better, which is an issue on most LCDs).

    Bart
     
    Bart van der Wolf, Jul 11, 2006
    #4
  5. Bill Hilton

    W (winhag) Guest

    How about looking at some of the LED backlit LCD monitors? I am not
    sure who is making these at this point or what they cost, but they
    claim a larger color gamut than the standard fluorescent backlight LCD
    monitors.

    W
     
    W (winhag), Jul 11, 2006
    #5
  6. Bill Hilton

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Jim, the reason I'm locking in on the LaCie and NEC models is because
    they are one of the few to express the color gamut of certain
    "professional graphics" models in terms of what % of AdobeRGB they
    display. Samsung doesn't do that (NEC and LaCie only do it for a few
    selected models). Most LCDs are better suited for game players or
    office work, not serious graphics, at this time.

    For the next guy who goes thru this, I found out that NEC makes the
    LaCie monitors and they are tweaked and re-branded, which I found
    interesting. So the hardware is pretty much identical.

    Here's a link from earlier this year (when prices were higher)
    discussing the percent gamut metric ...
    http://westcoastimaging.blogspot.com/2006/01/new-data-quantifies-accuracy-of-color.html
    ... basically you can get 98-100% AdobeRGB (or SMPTE-C, which is
    almost identical) for (at that time) $7,000 in a 21" LCD monitor or
    $5,000 in a CRT ... OK, I'll pass on that action ... but for under
    $1,000 (now under $800) you can get a LaCie or NEC 19" LCD that
    displays say 69-72% of AdobeRGB's gamut, which is about what most
    "good" calibrated CRT's can display (though at cheaper prices).

    So anyway that's why I was eyeing one of these two brands ... also, I
    asked about the Gretag Eye-One ... turns out NEC bundles the Eye-One
    with a version of their monitor and LaCie uses the Eye-One hardware and
    their own software with *their* bundle (these cal bundles cost about
    $150 extra, but since I have the Eye-One I'll skip that). So they are
    both basically giving their seal of approval to this device.

    Here's another article comparing these two LCDs that may be of interest
    to those looking for monitors in this class for Photoshop (they are too
    slow for gamers, too expensive for office desktops) ...

    http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/07/06/nec_and_lacie_lead_on_professional_lcd_gear/page7.html

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Jul 11, 2006
    #6

  7. I'll put in another good word for the Samsung 213T.

    As far as I can tell, it's been discontinued.

    If/when the time comes I'll certainly consider another Samsung
    monitor. Unless the OLEDs have come way, way down in price.

    Mine is profiled with a Gretag Eye-1.

    Only caveat is to turn the brightness *way* down before profiling.


    rafe b
    www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Raphael Bustin, Jul 11, 2006
    #7
  8. Bill Hilton

    Bill Hilton Guest

    I'm pretty sure these are the ones that give you near-100% gamut for
    AdobeRGB but cost around $7,000 for a 21" screen back when the article
    I linked to came out ... "looking" is about all I can afford to do with
    one of these babies ...

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Jul 11, 2006
    #8
  9. Bill Hilton

    One4All Guest

    Bill,

    Just an observation on profiling LCD monitors. I have a Dell 2005FPW
    LCD monitor that replaced an 8-yr old Sony CRT (Which, to my mind,
    still looked pretty good. I'm saving it as a second monitor.). Using
    Eye-One Photo w/ Match 3.6 software, I found that the Dell's luminance
    value was double the target value (280 vs.140). The parameters I gave
    Eye-One were: Color temp., 6500K; Gamma, 2.2; Luminance, 140. I reduced
    Brightness to zero, but still got a Luminance reading of 205, far above
    140. Color temp. & Gamma were spot-on.

    Contrast control is not available on the Dell. The LaCie & NEC monitors
    may have better hardware controls than the Dell, so you may have better
    luminance control than I do.

    Anyway, you may have a problem getting luminance down to 140 with your
    LCD monitor. Talked (via email) w/ a Gretag rep. re: this & he said the
    luminance value is not a problem, unless it is a problem for you,
    meaning (I think) whether the display is hard on your eyes. Apparently,
    there is no technical reason for an lcd monitor profile to be built at
    luminance 140.

    I'm no expert re: building profiles, just read some books on color
    management, and I suggest you do, too. But, from what the Gretag rep
    said & what I came to realize from reading is that you get your device
    (monitor, camera, scanner, printer, etc.) calibrated as close as you
    can to the ideal parameters. That's all you can do. Build the profile
    on that. At least you have something to pass on to the working space
    and the output profile.

    So, since I can't get my monitor's luminance value to the target
    luminance value of 140 in Eye-One (Luminance is the only problem. Color
    temp. & gamma are ok.), I'm going to change the target value to match
    my monitor's value, so that, in Eye-One, my monitor's value will meet
    the "target" value.

    The resulting profile will describe the actual parameters of my
    monitor, which is only what a profile can do, better or for worse. You
    may not have this problem. Good luck.

    David
     
    One4All, Jul 11, 2006
    #9
  10. Bill Hilton

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Thanks David, I've heard from several people that it's hard to get a
    good black point with most LCD monitors, which I *think* is the point
    of your post. This is another reason I've been zeroing in on the LaCie
    and NEC models ... it looks like they've attacked this problem by
    reducing the contrast, so the photo-editing monitors might not look as
    bright as other LCDs but they are now easier to characterize and get a
    solid black.

    The "Tom's Hardware" link in my other post has this to say about these
    monitors ...

    "Brightness isn't dazzling, but the black level is excellent ... Even
    though (LaCie 321) delivers a contrast level well behind most
    generally-available monitors, it offers impressive dynamics, especially
    in the darker colors. We've said already that, in the end, contrast is
    determined by the screen's dynamics. For example, a black and white
    photo includes lots of dark gray shades that would be revealed on the
    LaCie 321 but would be invisible on general-purpose displays"

    So I think that's how this generic LCD problem is finessed by these
    monitors ...

    Thanks for the informative post.

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Jul 11, 2006
    #10
  11. Ah, that "scans" for me! My problem with my (low end Samsung LCD) is in
    judging luminance and the gradations of colors, one reason I got the
    LaCie CRT.

    Brightness and contrast in monitors can be overrated, perhaps even
    counter productive, no?
     
    John McWilliams, Jul 11, 2006
    #11
  12. SNIP
    That's not exactly the way I view the matter.

    The blackpoint can be adjusted on the LaCie 321, but the black end of
    the luminance range is still compromized by the fact that we need to
    attenuate a constant lightsource in these LCDs. That'll make it hard
    to get the blacks really uniform.

    However, what they *have* done is use more bits in an internal
    lookup-table to get more gradual/less posterized shadow steps.

    Bart
     
    Bart van der Wolf, Jul 12, 2006
    #12
  13. Bill Hilton

    One4All Guest

    I've recently made acquaintance with a fellow who works with color
    management for a living. He told me that "consumer" displays (my Dell
    2005FPW) are "crap" when it comes to critical color work. He said, (& I
    believe him) consumer displays are fine for games & office use, only.

    I believe him because I ran a test print, after profiling my monitor &
    Epson 1280 printer with Eye-One, and the print was nowhere near what I
    saw on the monitor. Not even close. Colors were accurate, but the print
    was duller and had nowhere near the tonal range of the display. So, my
    question to him was, "Then the display lied to me?" He said yes.

    So, I'm considering buying an Eizo, NEC, or LaCie display costing in
    the $1,500 range. As I understand it, the 21" models of the NEC & LaCie
    are made by NEC, both at the same price. The only thing I'm not getting
    is why, in books on color management, the pictures of publishing
    photographers show them working at "consumer" displays, i.e. Apple
    Cinemas, which use the same panels that my Dell 2000FPW uses.

    Of five books I have on color management, there is only one that says
    buy the best display (not the best display you can afford). The rest
    are silent on this issue. Like I told my friend, "In color management
    there is no free (cheap) lunch." Of course, that's always been true of
    post-production color photography.
     
    One4All, Jul 21, 2006
    #13

  14. So you're making judgements on the monitor based on
    what came out of your printer?

    Do you not see the folly there? Is the printer profiled?

    (The Eye-1 system that can do that is quite pricey --
    well beyond the $200 or so for the monitor-only version.)

    Did you check the Profile Preview in Photoshop prior to printing?

    Display gamuts -- even LCD display gamuts -- generally
    are far larger than printer gamuts. Try printing the
    Grainger rainbow and you'll see what I mean.

    FWIW, I'm using a $750, 21" LCD and getting great results.

    No offense, but your "friend" sounds like he's full of it.

    rafe b
    www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Raphael Bustin, Jul 21, 2006
    #14
  15. Bill Hilton

    One4All Guest

    Well, it was a surprise to me when he questioned the monitor itself,
    rather than the accuracy of my profile. It would be folly to buy a
    $1,500 LaCie, etc., rather than try to get the printer's output closer
    to the monitor. As I said, I did carefully profile the printer with the
    Eye-1 Photo.

    I neglected to say that the test print was printed on matte paper. It's
    the first time I've used matte. Maybe I ought to work with glossy
    paper, which might reflect the monitor more. I realize there's no
    perfect match, but I think my prints should at least approach what the
    monitor shows.

    I still need to go back & check all settings in PS & I think I'll
    reprofile my printer just to make sure. This was my plan until the
    monitor issue came up. Assuming you profiled your LCD, what luminance
    value did your profiler indicate? The OSI standard for LCD luminance is
    140. Mine came in at 205 with brightness set to 0. BTW, thanks for your
    time.
     
    One4All, Jul 21, 2006
    #15

  16. I did not set the luminance according to any metric
    or calibrated scale.

    I set it to a comfortable brightness level. My work space
    is relatively dark. The factory-default luminosity on my
    Samsung was way, way too bright. So I just turned it
    down to where it was comfortable -- ie., at about the
    same level as my old LCDs used to run at.

    Don't screw with the luminosity setting once you've
    made the monitor profile.

    Gamma 2.2 and white point 6500 K when you profile.

    If you have made a monitor profile, you can inspect it
    in 3D at this site. Very cool:

    <http://www.iccview.de/>

    You'll need to download a VRML viewer if you haven't
    already got one, and upload your monitor profile to the
    site. Then you can compare it in 3D space to any
    profile you can name -- eg., Adobe, sRGB, etc. --
    or any device profile. There's a link for VRML
    viewers at the site.


    rafe b
    www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Raphael Bustin, Jul 22, 2006
    #16

  17. D'oh. I meant, "my old CRTs...."


    rafe b
    www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Raphael Bustin, Jul 22, 2006
    #17
  18. [snip]
    Another option, if you have WinXP, is this:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/prophoto/colorcontrol.mspx

    You can compare different profiles, zoom in, resize, wire-fame model,
    mesh model, solid, model, opacity adjustment, etc.

    I'm pretty sure the Macs have something similar.

    I'm still pretty shocked at the size of the PhotoPro gamut! I've just
    switched to that in Photoshop CS2, and just need to be a bit careful
    to convert profiles to sRGB when saving for web photos, etc.
     
    Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Jul 22, 2006
    #18
  19. OK, so I have WinXp SP2, yadda yadda. I download
    the file, run the exe, click through the installer, and then...
    the sound of crickets chirping.

    Nothing new in control panel.
    Nothing new in Start menu.
    Nothing new when I right-click Properties on an ICC or ICM file.
    Nothing new in the "Add or Remove Programs" list.

    Not ready for prime time.

    What physical output device can handle the PhotoPro gamut?
    How much of PhotoPro can you even see on your monitor?
    And if you can't see it on the monitor, how can you guess
    what your prints will look like?

    I worry about these things.


    rafe b
    www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Raphael Bustin, Jul 22, 2006
    #19
  20. [snip]
    That's unfortunate. All I can say is that it works perfectly on my
    system. There's an icon called "Color" in Control Panel.

    Are you in "Category View" or "Classic View" in Control Panel?
    See here:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/prophoto-rgb.shtml

    Photoshop CS2 has good colour management features to control things
    like these.
    I worry about a lot of things!
     
    Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Jul 22, 2006
    #20
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