Choosing a new display. (Wide gamut usability / 8-bit bottleneck?)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by jconly, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. jconly macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2007
    New York, NY
    Hey everyone.
    I'm about to be pulling the trigger on a new MacPro :))) for my graphics work, and my 20" ACD is getting a bit dated. I'm starting to notice some color and luminance inconsistencies across the panel, and I think it's time to upgrade the monitor too.
    I've been doing a bit of reading, and have come up with some interesting info.

    First of all, I was looking at a few different displays. Both the Eizo CG 241W and the CG 221W, as well as the NEC 2690-WUXI-SV (And 2490-WUXI-SV, albeit it's smaller gamut than the 26) and the 2180-WG-LED-SV.

    So, the smaller displays from each manufacturer are substantially more pricey, and a bit out of my range. However, the larger displays have less PPI capability (larger panel, but same pixel dimensions), and smaller color gamut's.

    So, my question is...
    Just how useful is a Wide Gamut (High bit depth monitor)? I came across this post by Karl Lang. Although slightly dated (2006), he goes on to discuss how these high bit depth, wide gamut displays are really technology ahead of their times, as the channel from Photoshop to the monitor is not yet 10 bit across the board. Basically, we're still stuck at an 8-bit bottleneck. (The exception being the more expensive and smaller Eizo and NEC's actually have a 10-bit DVI capability, but none of the computer components do yet).

    However, what I don't understand is how people are able to profile these displays to show a large gamut, if the software can't push the 10-bit data to the monitor. Then again, I guess the gamut is only really showing the color spectrum, not the subtitles in tonality.

    So.. Will it be money wasted to invest the high-gamut technology, or even the less expensive (but not COMPLETELY Adobe 1998) monitors? I do all of my editing in ProPhoto regardless, but since I'm still outputting to devices with gamut's close to and smaller than Adobe 1998, there is still color data there that I could be potentially missing in Soft Proof.

    EDIT: What role does contrast ratio and maximum brightness play in my decision? I'll most likely be calibrating the monitor to 180cd/m regardless, but what about the contrast ratio? Seems like all the HIGH end ones have much smaller ratios in comparison.

    EDIT: Upon further reading, I've come to conclude that the higher bit depth LUT's are still of advantage even if the entire channel is not 10 or 12-bit. It helps with profiling by adjusting the LUT of the monitor instead of the graphics card, preventing posterization of tones.
  2. jconly thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2007
    New York, NY
    Does anyone have any input?

    Perhaps some other monitor suggestions?
  3. Random Chaos macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2008
    I've never heard of Ezio, so I know nothing of them. NEC's I have not been happy with recently - poor color quality on them. The older NECs were nice; they may have fixed the issues on the two my company got a year ago.

    I know nothing of 10-bit monitors...never looked into them. As for normal monitors, I've been buying all Samsungs at home and work - not had any issues beyond some backlighting issues and they aren't calibrated out of the box. A nice spyder takes care of that, though. I've also heard good things about the high end Dell monitors - I know two people that have them and find them extremely good, but I don't have any personal experience with them. However, Dell uses Samsung panels with just better backlighting and more connector options, so I'd expect them to be good.
  4. Gloor macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007
    I'm amazed when someone who doesn't have a clue tries to help with very specific things. I'm sorry, but if you haven't heard about EIZO then you are not the right person to give advice about monitors, sorry. It's not an insult just an honest friendly opinion. We have other experts for these things (I mean on the LCD advice thing :) ) so let's leave them to sort it out.
  5. TFT macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    I have an Eizo CG241w.
    A fantastic monitor and the wide gamut render photos much more realistic.
    There is an issue on all graphics and photos which are not profiled, but honestly it is not an issue.

    Only issue with the Eizo is that the wideangle is limited since it is not an IPs panel, but its gray scale and black are amazing! Way better than any IPS I saw so far.
  6. jconly thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 12, 2007
    New York, NY
    Would you mind elaborating on IPS?

    That's not a term I've dug up yet, aside from reading that the NEC's include this feature.

    I had assumed it had something to do with cross panel consistency, being referred to in the Eizo line as ASIC.
  7. kittiyut macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2007
    I concur ! They used to be very popular, especially in ASIA but they seem
    to have faded. Didn't it used to be EIZO-NANO or something like that? :rolleyes:
  8. alfogator macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2005
    Florence, Italy
    The NEC UXi series are very good monitors for doing photo work, the supplied spectraview software does a very good job in calibrating the monitor LUT and supplying the associated profile. I have one and I'm completely happy with it (considering the price).

    A nice review of one of these units can be found at this link:
    which also covers some basic concepts that you might want to learn about.

    Regarding the wide gamut: it mostly depends on what you plan to use the monitor for. As the article of Karl Lang correctly points out, lacking an increase in bit depth in the signal, picking a wider gamut represents a tradeoff with current technology: if you extend the gamut your tonal resolution will decrease. If you need the extended gamut, for pre-press work for example, then you might not care much about the loss, but if you do photo editing for web display or printing on a sRGB device then maybe you might not want it.

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