Best monitor for beginner photographer

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Writergirl7, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Writergirl7, Aug 12, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013

    macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #1
    I've bee researching external monitors to go with my13" rMBP. I've narrowed it down, I think, to the Dell u2413, the Asus pa248q, and the Eizo Forris FS 2333. There are others but these keep on popping up. The Dell is on special at the moment for ~$540 AUD. The main issue is whether or not to get a wide gamut display like the u2413 or a standard gamut one (another option is the older u2412). At this stage I will be using it for about 85% writing, research/ normal office use and about 15% photography (I'm really just a beginner). I want to grow in the photography area and so would like a monitor with good colour accuracy but i don't want anything that will annoy me for general use. I'm thinking that good sRGB coverage would be fine for me but the u2413 is very tempting on special. Can anyone help me? Clear, easy to read text is very important to me but I also want to do a couple of digital photography workshops in the next few months. However it wouldn't be helpful to have great photo editing capability if general use is frustrating. I probably can't afford a colour calibrator as well as the monitor - that purchase would be a month or two down the track. So something that is likeable out of the box would be good. Thanks :)
    BTW I really don't have any any editing software yet (had an ancient version of photoshop on my old PC) so advice on where to start there would be good too (although at this stage the monitor is the priority).
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    #2
    Since you're not a prosumer photographer yet, you might not need the latest tech in monitors (unless you've got an unlimited budget). I'd recommend an older 24" Dell such as the U2412M. The reviews are pretty good:

    http://lawyerist.com/dell-ultrasharp-u2414m-monitor-review/

    Regardless, make sure whatever display you choose has the ability to pivot the screen from landscape to portrait. That's a huge advantage when retouching portrait format images because you get much more use out of the screen without constant zooming in/out.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #3
    Thanks :). That is a good review.
    That monitor has been on my short list for a while but at Dell this week it's around $420 and the u2413 is $524 (until Thursday).
    http://accessories.ap.dell.com/sna/...en&s=dhs&~topic=this-weeks-special&redirect=1
    They have different specials each week, I know, but this seems like a good deal. However if I have to pfaff around a lot to get the display looking right initially it may not suit. I spoke to a sales person at Dell and they were pushing the u2413... But as you say it is more of a pro-sumer model :).
     
  4. macrumors 6502

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    AK, USA
    #4
    They're cheaper from Amazon.com, especially the U2412M.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

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    Fukuoka, Japan
    #5
    If you're serious about photography, you need to get a hardware calibration tool such as the ColorSpyder. The entry-level models cost $60~$100. This is the most important step when you edit photos, because if you really want to edit in a certain mood (by changing the white balance and such), you need an accurate screen.

    When it comes to screens, many people who are on a budget buy Dell screens. They're ok, but I opted getting a used Eizo screen instead. Right now, I have my Eizo and a Dell right next to each other, and the Eizo is putting the Dell to shame in almost every respect. Also consider that good screens last you about 2 computers (6~8 years I would say).
     
  6. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

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    #6
    Is the Eizo the one the OP mentions? If you are going to go Eizo, I would look at the CG (budget permitting) or CX. You can get the slightly older SX24 range on special in the UK at the moment.
    Another brand to consider is the NEC PA or Spectraview range.

    I would also recommend a calibrator. Go with either a ColorMunki display or Spyder 4 Pro. Both easy to use.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #7
    My budget is about $550 max. I see the value of a specialised photo monitor but what I need now is a really good general use monitor which has good accurate colour. My aim is to learn on that and maybe get a more specialised monitor for photography later on. I have heard that there is only one calibrator that works properly with the Dells (x-rite pro I think) and they cost about $300 AUD so I would have to wait 3-4 weeks before I could get that as well. I realise there are cheaper calibrators out there but it would depend on the monitor I purchased :).

    I would really like to know how advisable a wide gamut monitor would be for someone like me or if I should stick to sRGB for the moment for ease of viewing. What are the pros and cons?
     
  8. macrumors member

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    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    Beauce, Québec
    #8
    I'm an amateur photog but passionate nevertheless. I use a Dell U2312HM and havn't outgrown it yet. My dream monitor would be a Lacie but, you now, she sings ;-)

    "Sweet dreams are made of this
    Who am I to disagree?
    I travel the world and the seven seas
    Everybody's looking for something"
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    Yes they are but Amazon don't seem to want to ship it to Australia... :)
     
  10. thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    The Eizo FS 2333 is a standard gamut gaming monitor that someone discovered has excellent colour reproduction.
     
  11. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

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    #11
    It wouldn't be one that I would recommend. The SX or CX are a better option for photography.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    Eizo monitors are great but often are expensive. Do You recommend I get a monitor like that initially or later on?
     
  13. macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Definitely NOT now. As a beginner, you shouldn't spend over $300 USD on a monitor.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #14
    sRGB won't make your viewing any easier.

    Out of the box you likely won't notice much difference between the U2412 and U2413. However, if you later get a color calibration device you can get much better results out of the U2413. If the price difference isn't all that much why not get the better monitor now? If you decide later that you want to work with a color managed workflow you won't have to purchase a new monitor.

    I'm currently using the Dell 3011 and it has been a fantastic monitor. While Dell doesn't make the best monitor in the world they are pretty darn good.
     
  15. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

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    #15
    As a beginner myself (Nikon D3200 for about 6 weeks) there are two ways to look at it.
    Buy cheap now, regret it and then have to buy again sooner.

    Buy better quality now and use it for the next 5 years plus.

    For example I will probably outgrow my camera in a while, but I needed a camera to teach me about ISO, Apertures, shutter speeds etc.

    With a monitor you don't need to learn anything as such. It kind of depends on how much you want to spend etc. As I said before, get the calibrator with whatever monitor you decide to go for. It makes the difference.

    Also don't forget to post some of your work here!
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1616907&page=8


    Not all pro's and give lots of helpful advice.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #16
    For the price I can afford - darn good is okay. I was leaning to the u2413 then I read that wide gamut monitors can be annoying for beginners - especially if it is a general use monitor as well. The article said that web surfing colours are way over saturated and can have way out colour balance. As over 80% of my use initially will be writing and research I was concerned - hence this post to find out from people who actually use this stuff :).

    ----------

    Thanks - will do :)
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Padaung

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    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #17
    For a person starting out, like others have already said, I recommend the Dell IPS monitors too (Google 'IPS monitor' if you don't understand what that means).

    They are good balance between quality and price. They come with a pre-set sRGB setting which isn't too bad. However, if you are wanting to start taking your photography more seriously I would strongly recommend a screen calibrator - Color Munki or Spyder 4 will do wonders for your screen. Both of these products have versions which calibrate printers too, but the price goes up a lot. Over the years I've found it more cost effective to send prints of to a professional printer rather than pay for an expensive Epson machine, all the inks and the time involved in trying to get the print to look right.

    I find 24" screen a good size to work at. Again, larger is nicer but costs more.

    Eizo screens are amazing, but cost a lot, lot more! Also, at this stage in your photography it is possible your eyes will not be tuned enough to the fine detail and colours in your photos to much notice the difference in quality now anyway. This sounds weird, but believe me - in years to come you'll look back at old work and think 'what was I doing, why didn't I notice...'

    Finally, don't forget the target audience (the wider public) will probably view your photos on their phone, tablet, and in the majority of cases, a cheap monitor which hasn't been calibrated - all your hard work is wasted on them. However, it is good extremely good practice to get your personal setup as accurate as possible. And if you get to the stage where you are showing your work to imaging professionals, you certainly want it to look good - their screens will be calibrated ;)

    I would recommend getting a reasonable quality monitor and getting a screen calibration tool and have cash left over to use to go out and take photos rather than spend a fortune right now on a very nice high quality monitor.

    My two cents :)
     
  18. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #18
    Thanks for this. The Dells do sound like a good option. Would you suggest the u2412m or the u2413 which is a bit dearer but a better monitor (on special until Thursday night)? From the above discussion it seems both could work and be fine for text too. That's very important to me :)
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Padaung

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    UK
    #19
    That's really only for you to decide based on your needs and your budget.

    For an in depth technical review of both:
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2412m.htm
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2413.htm

    And I also have a quick look at Amazon user reviews for an indication of any recurring long term issues users may have had with an item.

    Hope that helps.
     
  20. macrumors 65816

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #20
    I didn't have any issues with the 3011 out of the box. It was way too bright but that's easy enough to fix.

    I guess I don't get where these "difficult for a beginner" quotes are coming from. I mean it is a monitor and I expect that the majority of the Dell's are not being purchased by people that use a color managed workflow. If they were so horribly garish I think the bulk of the user ratings would reflect that.

    In any case I expect you would be happy with either one.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #21
    What's the difference between software and hardware callibration(in real terms)?Apparently the Dells only let you use one specific colorimeter for callibrating the screen itself. Something to do with their software. Also the 2412m can't be hardware calibrated at all - only software calibrated. What does this mean for picture quality?
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #22
    My Dell calibrated just fine using the Spyder 4.

    To be honest I am not sure what all of the advantages and disadvantages are between "hardware" and "software" calibration. I can, however, touch on the subject.

    My understanding is that what they are calling hardware calibration is where the Color Look Up Table (CLUT) is stored on the monitor itself. The software calibration is stored as a file and then loaded into the CLUT of the video card.

    What the CLUT does is adjust the color performance of the display. When you calibrate the monitor the CLUT is used to correct the colors displayed. Say you display red and your monitor is a bit cool then that red will have a bit of blue and green in it. The CLUT for that color is adjusted until the colorimeter says it as close to the desired red as possible.

    Does the quality change between a hardware and a software calibration? I don't see where it would be any different, it is just a different means to the same end. Where it could be significant is if there is a difference in the hardware behind the scenes. Say the video card has a 10-bit CLUT but the monitor supports a 12-bit table. Your video card is still only going to deliver 10-bit performance but the monitor can, in theory, handle a higher color fidelity.

    Another possible issue is if you have two monitors plugged into one video card you will only be able to calibrate one of them. Video cards typically have a single CLUT so it will only be able to be calibrated to one display - unless you switch back and forth between profiles.

    Now go way up to the chart to the top of the line Eizo monitors and some of them have built in colorimeters. These do benefit from the hardware CLUT. In the middle of the night these monitors will self calibrate. This is great because it is automatic and the computer doesn't even need to be on. The down side is the multi-thousand dollar price tag.

    Will you have any issues with the 2412 or the 2413? No. Which would I pick? The 2413 for the 99% Adobe RGB color space opposed to 74% on the 2412. (The 2412 doesn't even cover the entire sRGB space.)

    As a beginning or casual user will you see a difference? Probably not. As you advance the wider color space might become important to you. With that in mind if the two displays are close in cost then I would strongly recommend the better display.

    Now this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Your display, printer and even the specific paper you use will all have their own color gamut and they probably won't overlap each other 100%. At this point you can spend years studying color theory to fully master the color work flow.

    If you will be selling prints in a gallery for $10,000 each then go for the Eizo. If not then be happy with the Dell for a long time to come. I am still refining my profiles for monitor and printer but I was still getting good prints before I calibrated the monitor for the first time.

    Reading too much can make it seem like a difficult decision where the slightest mistake will haunt you. Don't sweat it too much. Take a look at the wonderful photography to be found on this very forum. I am willing to bet that many of the photographers here do not calibrate their monitors and yet they still produce outstanding work. A good monitor will get you 90% of the way there. A good, calibrated monitor 96% and a top of the line system might bring you to 98%. (Yay for internet stats.)

    A monitor and a print will never look 100% identical. This is because a monitor produces light and a print reflects it.

    Take a deep breath, pick a monitor and make some wonderful art. :)
     
  23. macrumors 6502

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    AK, USA
    #23
    I know just how you feel. Amazon has some products that they won't ship to Alaska. :)
     
  24. Writergirl7, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013

    thread starter macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #24
    Is there any issue for the average person with the fact that OSX only supports 8 Bit colour but the u2413 monitor is 10 bit? I could Imagine the pros would get pretty annoyed at that ;)
    More of an issue... TFTcentral say that the hardware callibration of the Dell u2413 only works with Windows operating systems - not OSX. So you only can do the software calibration anyway. That's a bit annoying as I went with Mac as I had heard it was better for photography/ art work, etc
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2413.htm
     
  25. thread starter macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #25
    Sounds like good advice :). So there is no real issue with the fact that the u2413 can't currently be hardware calibrated on a Mac as opposed to a Windows system?
     

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