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Weekly Chatter:Monitor Recommendation
Wednesday October 6, 2004

Section 1: Monitor Recommendation






Color Management/WorkFlow > Hardware and Software > Monitor Recommendation






















AuthorSubject: Monitor Recommendation  
Jacob Getz
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 1:26 PM

I am currently upgrading my computer to the dual 2.5 gig G5 and wondered which monitor would be the best fit and monitor profiler. I have read about all the great revues on the Artisan, but was a little hesitant about some of the things I read with respect to Sony may be discontinuing them, I had at one time a Radius Presview and this happened. No updates, no support etc. once they were bought out. I currently have a Lacie Electron Blue 22" with the blue eye calibrator and I need to keep that with my old workstation. I am looking for a better more accurate monitor as I do a lot of pre press. I am a commercial and art photographer and most of the time due to deadlines I do not always have the luxury of proofs. I also like the idea of the new 30" Apple display,but I just don't know if it is going to be accurate for my needs. I love the idea of such a large image space but my first and only concern is color accuracy and the best calibrator for that monitor. If I need extra space I can always get a 2nd monitor especially since 30 " is so costly. Are CRT monitors still the way to go for critical work? Any suggestions and advice?


Scott Martin
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 2:01 PM

When it comes to the geeky little details (like setting the black point to loose detail at a certain point in the shadows and setting the white point temperature to exactly match the color of paper) I'm a big fan of manually adjusting a CRT prior to software calibration. If LCDs or software would give me greater control I'd feel better about other types of displays.

The Barco, Artisan and LaCie BlueEye systems all include proprietary software, a sensor that rests on the monitor and a Direct Digital Connector (DDC). I like the automated, objective hands off approach these systems offer and feel that this will be the way to go in the future. However, these options are presently very expensive and do not have all the answers.

For example, I own a Sony Artisan display which is hyped by many as the only monitor for serious users. It produces gorgeous gradations with incredible highlight and shadow detail. 100% and 99% values are distinguishable from one another as are 1% and 0% values. However, the blacks on the system are lighter than most printing process and the software does not allow one to simulate the loss of detail that many printing processes have that can be simulated on a non DDC calibrated display. The end result is visable shadow and highlight detail that will never be seen in the final print.

Its amazing how people will stand up for their exorbitantly expensive monitors. With all the money they spent surely it must be accurate right? Not necessarily.

There are some new products (that I'm testing) on the horizon that may effect your decision soon so hold out if you can. I am looking forward to more accurate DDC controlled display calibration for LCD's. More details will be posted soon.

Here's some CRT vs. LCD thoughts from a previous post:

The CRT vs. LCD debate is a fun one. I see advantages and disadvantages to either. Like many things, this comparison is complicated and I don�t think this is as easy as saying one is definitely better than the other. It all depends on you are your priorities. Here are some of the issues:

Sharpness: The sharpness comparison is significant. For general computing work, almost everyone prefers the greater sharpness of a LCD. However, CRTs offer more accurate print sharpness simulation for 300 ppi images when viewed at 50% in Photoshop. LCDs can make previewing print sharpness difficult, as images appear much sharper than they will when printed.

Blacks: CRT�s have richer blacks than LCDs. Having a very rich black can be essential to soft proof maximum ink blacks for different printing processes. High quality CRT�s have a much richer black than any printing process, so LCDs lighter blacks is an advantage for users who don�t want to bother with software soft proofing.

Color Gamut: Exceptions aside, CRT�s generally have larger color gamuts than LCDs. This larger color gamut is a real plus for fine art print makers wanting to accurately simulate color before printing. Graphic designers are often frustrated with highly saturated CRT that wont match their final printed pieces. LCDs generally have a gamut closer to CMYK which makes them preferable for users who don�t want to bother with software soft proofing.

Hardware RGB controls: Adjusting the monitor�s white point color temperature via hardware is preferable to doing so via software. Few LCD displays have RGB controls but most CRTs do.

Cost: CRTs are much less expensive than LCDs hands down.

Contrast and brightness adjustments: All CRTs define the terms Contrast and Brightness constantly whereas Contrast is used to adjust the monitors white point luminosity and Brightness is used to adjust black point luminosity. LCD displays are inconsistent with this terminology so the user must experiment with these controls to determine exact what they adjust.

Eyestrain: Most people prefer the reduced eyestrain of a LCD. CRTs generate Cathode Ray radiation which could be harmful in large amounts at close range.

Viewing angle: Most LCDs color and density appears radially different when viewed at any viewing angle other than directly perpendicular. Although they are not as good as CRTs, high quality LCDs like those from Apple and Samsung have a very wide 170� viewing angle. This acceptable viewing angle is perfectly acceptable for single person viewing but can be frustrating when many people are viewing a single display simultaneously.

Heat generation: In small rooms swapping a few CRTs for LCDs can make the difference between hell and heaven. In hot climates the energy and heat savings is a big deal, but persons in colder climates might prefer to have nice toasty CRTs in front of them.

White Luminosity: If we had a display with a 256 cd/m2 luminosity then every 8-bit tonal value would have a 1 cd/m2 increment. If we had a display that was 64 cd/m2 then every 8-bit tonal value would have a 0.25 cd/m2 increment and these increments would therefore be harder to see visually. Just like it�s nice to look at a good print in high ambient light (instead of a very dark room) it helps to view images on a high luminosity display, and LCD�s have an advange in this respect.

Gradients: LCD�s have problems with gradients. Gradients are never perfectly smooth and it�s partly due to the 8 bit LUT�s in the video card. CRT�s require less LUT adjustments and thus have smoother gradients. Few people look at gradients enough to require perfection. This can be an easy trade off. Barco, Artisan and Eizo displays have some internal hardware that yield perfect gradients.

Neat-o factor: LCDs are cool. Not bluish or cold-cool, cool as in way-cool, man.

Determine what your priorities and needs are for a display and pick what is best for you.


Bruce Fraser
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 2:15 PM

I can only relay my personal experience.

I use a LaCie Electron22BlueIII with BlueEye, a LaCie PhotonII18 with Monaco Optix, a Sony Artisan, and an EIZO ColorEdge CG21 with Color Navigator doing the calibration, then Monaco Optix building a profile.

The Artisan is the one I trust more than any of the others. I generally agree with Scott's post with the exception of his comment about shadow detail on the Artisan. When I use Photoshop's Proof Setup to preview printed shadow detail, some output profiles require editing to display accurate shadow detail. This doesn't seem to be the Artisan's fault.

Also, you can control the black point of the Artisan�you can explicitly set black luminance. You can't do that with LCDs separately from white luminance�they have a fixed contrast range.

If I didn't have the Artisan sitting right next to the EIZO, I may not notice the EIZO's pink cast as much as I do. The Electron 22blueIII is about 85% as accurate as the Artisan. The Photon is good for email and web surfing...


Scott Martin
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 4:26 PM


> I generally agree with Scott's post with the exception of his comment about shadow detail on the Artisan. When I use Photoshop's Proof Setup to preview printed shadow detail, some output profiles require editing to display accurate shadow detail. This doesn't seem to be the Artisan's fault.

Really? So when you enable soft proofing with US Sheetfed or a custom press profile do 1 and 2% highlights loose detail and do the shadows 96%+ plug up? How about the shadow details on inkjet profiles - does it not display more shadow detail than what is visible when printed?

I've always found Adobe's Proof Setup capabilities great for darkening the whites or lightening the blacks but not the opposite.

> Also, you can control the black point of the Artisan�you can explicitly set black luminance.

This is one thing I'd like to see GretagMacbeth add to their process. I just wish the Artisan's black luminance would go lower! I've set my target to 0.18 but get 0.38 in a dark room.

FYI, I have found that I can get better results with the Artisan if I calibrate with the Artisan software and profile with OptixPro (even though the gamma in OptixPro is a little low IMHO). Same goes for Barcos. One would think one pricey package could do it all.


Bruce Fraser
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 5:06 PM

-->Really? So when you enable soft proofing with US Sheetfed or a custom press profile do 1 and 2% highlights loose detail and do the shadows 96%+ plug up? How about the shadow details on inkjet profiles - does it not display more shadow detail than what is visible when printed?

I generally need to edit the forward (PCS-to-device, Lab-to-CMYK/RGB, B2A) tables to get accurate display of shadow detail�that's what I meant by it not being the Artisan's fault. Part of the problem is that monitor profiles, in order to work reliably with the current ICC architecture, need to report black as absolute, no-light-escaping, black-hole-event-horizon black, where the real monitor black is of course something lighter. Hence the shadow detail gets exaggerated.

How are you determining the black of 0.38? Bear in mind that black luminance and white luminance are directly related to contrast ratio, and the last of the three that you set is the one that wins. FWIW, I've checked my requested black of 0.17cd/m2 with a (borrowed) Minolta CA-100, and it was dead-nuts accurate with the display set to white =85cd/m2 and contrast ratio at 500:1.

A little undocumented tweak I find useful is that if you enter --- in the gamma field, the Artisan software doesn't tweak the gamma but uses the native display card + CRT gamma instead, which makes for very smooth gradients.


Jacob Getz
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 5:08 PM


> There are some new products (that I'm testing) on the horizon that may effect your decision soon so hold out if you can. I am looking forward to more accurate DDC controlled display calibration for LCD's. More details will be posted soon.
Thanks Scott and Bruce for the info. Scott, when do you think you will have results on the new tests? Also, is the Artisan going to be around and supported for a while? Is there a way of tricking the Artisan calibrator to give you the densities that you want? ie: setting the numbers you want while calibrating in a lit room with an ambient setting while knowing later that your working conditions are darker or vice versa. How accurate are the profiles when working with a larger color space ie: lamdas or inkjet prints at high resolution? Does GreytagMacbeth make the Artisan calibrator? Thanks for the help.


Scott Martin
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 5:57 PM


> How are you determining the black of 0.38?

By running OptixPro (without calibration) after calibration in Artisan. So there are two different sensors involved and potentially a problem there.

> A little undocumented tweak I find useful is that if you enter --- in the gamma field,

Yeah, I use that too. I'd never seen gradients like that previously. It should be the default in the Artisan software, IMO.

> I generally need to edit the forward (PCS-to-device, Lab-to-CMYK/RGB, B2A) tables to get accurate display of shadow detail�that's what I meant by it not being the Artisan's fault. Part of the problem is that monitor profiles, in order to work reliably with the current ICC architecture, need to report black as absolute, no-light-escaping, black-hole-event-horizon black, where the real monitor black is of course something lighter. Hence the shadow detail gets exaggerated.

Well said. Even without soft-proofing there is an excess of shadow and highlight detail visible on the Artisan in comparison to what will print on press. Would you agree? It's very easy to manually blow out this detail on CRTs other than the Artisan. I see users purchasing Artisans for prepress work and complain about seeing more on-screen than what shows up on press. The 0-100% detail range of the Artisan is great for photo labs but less than ideal for prepress users. I'm looking for an elegant solution for the common user. I think there needs to be an easy to use software solution addressing this loss-of-detail phenomena so that users don't have to edit the profile or call someone like myself.

Sorry, I'm moving away from Jacob's original questions.

>Scott, when do you think you will have results on the new tests?

Hard to say. Depends on arrangements with manufacturers. Probably within a month.

>Is there a way of tricking the Artisan calibrator to give you the densities that you want?

Although it has excellent, white and black luminosity, contrast ratio and white color temperature adjustments my complaint is with simulating the loss of detail most processes have in the shadow and highlights. I find you can control this better on a far less expensive monitor.

> How accurate are the profiles when working with a larger color space ie: lamdas or inkjet prints at high resolution?

Lambdas, lightjets and most photo paper printers actually have a pretty small gamut, contrary to popular beliefs. What is interesting about these devices is that they show detail along the entire density range. You can see the difference between 0% and 1%, 99% and 100% and the artisan shows these subtle differences incredibly well. With inkjet and prepress work detail is lost in the extreme highlights (1 and 2%) and shadows (~96-100%) so I like to manually adjust a CRTs brightness and contrast controls to simulate this. It's an easy workaround that anyone can do.

Because the gamut of photo papers printers fall within the gamut of most monitors, they are able to softproof very well. Inkjet printers' gamuts are often larger than a monitor's so the colors on the final print may be more saturated than what the monitor can display.

>Does GreytagMacbeth make the Artisan calibrator?

Nope, no relation.



Jacob Getz
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 9:11 PM


So to recap this:

If I am working in Adobe RGB 1998 and I then convert to my CMYK space let say US coated sheetfed v2 " the work detail is lost in the extreme highlights (1 and 2%) and shadows (~96-100%" upon when I go to press and the Artisan will show more detail than what will actually be printed. And the only way to compansate this is to manually change the monitor. There is not really a profile that I can load up to compansate for the different mediums. And if you enter --- in the gamma field, you will get a more accurate reading through the colorimeter because it uses the native display card + CRT gamma instead. Is this right? I would think that the colorimeter calibration would be more accurate if you use the target setting of 1.8 for print and Mac than not setting a target value. How does this work or am I just splitting hairs. Thanks for all the info and I think I may wait to see what Scott comes up with in the next month and see if anything pans out to be the next best thing for pre press, sharpness, large workspace with minimal realistate needed, and last but not least the "cool factor".


Bruce Fraser
Posted on Mon Oct 4, 2004 9:37 PM

-->If I am working in Adobe RGB 1998 and I then convert to my CMYK space let say US coated sheetfed v2 " the work detail is lost in the extreme highlights (1 and 2%) and shadows (~96-100%" upon when I go to press and the Artisan will show more detail than what will actually be printed.

What happens in the highlights will depend very much on the press. It's not at all unusual nowadays for a sheetfed press to hold a 1% dot. On the shadows, it depends on how far the Artisan black is away from L* 0, and how accurately the profile describes the press behavior. US coated sheetfed 2 is a generic profile. Skilled press operators with good process control can print very close to the conditions modelled by the profile, but it's still a generic profile.

--> And the only way to compansate this is to manually change the monitor.

Noooooo! You never want to do that.

--> There is not really a profile that I can load up to compansate for the different mediums.

That is the job of the output profile when loaded in Photoshop's Proof Setup. My experience has been that I usually need to edit the profile to get an accurate display of printed shadow detail, but it's much better to do that than to break the monitor.

-->And if you enter --- in the gamma field, you will get a more accurate reading through the colorimeter because it uses the native display card + CRT gamma instead. Is this right?

No, it has no impact on the accuracy of the colorimeter.

-->I would think that the colorimeter calibration would be more accurate if you use the target setting of 1.8 for print and Mac than not setting a target value. How does this work

It's a matter of where the correction is done. If you ask for a gamma adjustment, that must be done in the video card's lookup table, which is invariably 8 bits per channel. So any adjustments result in fewer available levels on the monitor.

If you profile the monitor at native gamma, the correction is done instead by the color management system, which typically operates at 16-bit or higher precision.


Stephen Scharf
Posted on Tue Oct 5, 2004 12:11 AM

Interesting discussion...I can follow most of it. Scott's comments explain why I think I am seeing what he talks about with respect to the Artison on my EBIV 19....more shadow and highlight detail oncsreen than I see in print; been struggling with this a bit in particular with a profile from IR. I know part of the problem is my I1 Display's inability to allow me to set monitor luminance, but it also explains that I may never get the detail in print (2200 Inkjet) that I see onscreen.


Robert Craige
Posted on Tue Oct 5, 2004 7:27 AM

>
> >Does GreytagMacbeth make the Artisan calibrator?
>
> Nope, no relation.
>
>
>
The Artisan calibrator is indeed made by Gretag Macbeth's Sequel division which makes the Artisan calibrator, the Eye One Display 1 and 2, the LaCie calibrator and several others as well.


Scott Martin
Posted on Tue Oct 5, 2004 9:02 AM

> Scott's comments explain why I think I am seeing what he talks about with respect to the Artison on my EBIV 19....more shadow and highlight detail oncsreen than I see in print;

I hear that again and again from just about every Artisan owner.

>The Artisan calibrator is indeed made by Gretag Macbeth's Sequel division which makes the Artisan calibrator, the Eye One Display 1 and 2, the LaCie calibrator and several others as well.

My bad! I knew it was made by Sequel but didn't know they were owned by Gretag Macbeth.





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