Recommended 30" monitors for viewing photographs

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by neutrino23, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I'm looking at getting a really good 30" monitor for displaying camera images.

    My main candidate is the HP ZR30W. Anandtech gives it a great review.

    Question: What are the top three or four contenders in the 30" category that are under $1,500. I'm not worried about having lots of connectors or speakers. I just want a really good image.

  2. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    You might also want to consider the more recent 27" offerings with 2560x1440 resolution. They are slightly smaller than the 30" screens but with the same resolution (save the aspect ratio change) and therefore will have slightly higher PPI, which will help make the images appear a little sharper. Dell offers a pretty good one I believe, Apple's 27" cinema display uses the same panel.
  3. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I'm in the same boat - looking for a decent 30" monitor (for graphics work). Have considered the Dell 27" but as I already have a Dell 24 would prefer a monitor with a similar resolution (but bigger) so I can use them side by side easily.

    There's a new Dell 30" (not around in the UK at the mo') - the U3011. Have you considered that one?

    I'd also be very interested in anyone's experience of the HP mentioned. If anyone's using one could they post their experience as I'm certain it will help both the OP and myself?
  4. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
    I would also recommend these 27" panels. My advice though is to steer away from the Apple and get the Dell U2711. The Apple uses LED backlight and the Dell uses CCFL.

    IMHO LED back-lighting is flawed until they can produce white LED's. Right now the solution is to take a blue LED and basically paint it with a yellow phosphorus. What you get is a nonconformity in the whites.
  5. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    How is this true? Cause I thought the problem with 27" is the less vertical pixels? how could it make the image appear a little sharper?

    You are right though, bout there is no white LED yet but I just wonder, if this is such an issue, why is it not addressed in 24" LED Cinema review? Just wondering :rolleyes:

    Btw, there is a U3011 and it says the panel is the same as the HP ZR30W
  6. Kronie macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2008
  7. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Well thinking about the width, a 30" monitor is wider than a 27" monitor, but both have 2560 pixels across. So the pixels on the 27" monitor need to be slightly smaller to get them all to fit. It has more pixels per inch. It can be a problem to some that the vertical resolution is a little less, but it may be offset by the higher PPI and use of a secondary display for some people.

    As "white" is really the presence of all colors, and LEDs can only emit in specified spectra, there will never be a true "white" LED. Currently I thought that the "white" LEDs were simply a red, green, and blue LED combined into one unit. You layer the diodes on top of each other and it becomes pretty white. For higher end monitors they use a separate red, blue, and green LED put in close proximity to each other. This is the best (but most expensive) option as you get both an increased color gamut, and better control over white point as you can tune each the red, blue, and green LEDs separately.
  8. neutrino23 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Thanks for the replies. Sounds like the Dell and the HP are the two contenders, unless I want to go all out for an Eizo.

    Based on the two reviews it sounds like the HP is a couple hundred dollars cheaper, uses less power and has a slightly better picture. It would be nice to try one out in person. Does HP have a showroom in the Bay Area?
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    That's not quite correct: there is no such thing as `white' unless you specify a color temperature. Essentially what we perceive as `the most natural white' are the emissions of a black body radiation source such as the sun (even then, the atmosphere absorbs different wave lengths at different rates so that the sun light we see does not follow Planck's black body radiation formula). The sun's surface temperature of 5,500~6000 Kelvin is also the most natural white to us there is.
    Any light source with a different spectrum, e. g. CRTs, CCFL-backlit displays and LED-backlit displays, that's why the different types of monitors and backlights will display colors slightly differently even after calibration. (Have a look here for a comparison of spectra of different light sources). For CRTs, for instance, blue and green pixels look relatively `smooth' whereas the pixel supplying the reds contains many small peaks at higher wave lengths:

    Compare that to a white LED:
    White LEDs are not different from CCFL tubes in that respect: fluorescent light bulbs use an electric current in a gas (e. g. mercury) to produce UV radiation. There are a few clear peaks
    in that spectrum that are due to mercury's particular electronic structure. Then a second layer on the surface of the glass converts UV radiation into visible light.

    This principle is also used in some types white LEDs: they are blue LEDs with a coating which converts some of the blue radiation to larger wave lengths. The other type of `white' LEDs consists of a red, blue and green LED where you can mix the color temperature at will.

    To be honest, I'm not sure which type of white LEDs is used in backlights (perhaps both?).
    There are several different types, the one you describe being the most sophisticated, because it can actually change the color temperature (if the electronics of the monitor support that).

    The other type is the one described above which is a blue LED with a coating that converts some of the short wave length light to larger wave length light.

    The end result is that monitors with different types of technology render colors differently. To my knowledge, LED-backlit monitors tend to have a harder time differentiating reds.
  10. dyn macrumors 68030

    Aug 8, 2009
    It has about the same resolution as the 30" but it is physically smaller. The ppi is a bit higher than the 30" displays. This means the pixels are smaller which causes the image on screen to be more crisp. It's like the iPhone 4's retina display.

    However, camera's are 3:2, 30" are 16:10 and 27" are 16:9. This means that the 16:10 displays are better suited for image stuff since it's closer to 3:2 than 16:9 is. In layman's terms this simply means you see more of the picture with the 30" 16:10 display than the 27" 16:9 display. This only applies when you're editing fullscreen. If you're not editing fullscreen you can make the windows as big as you want, you're not confined to 3:2, 16:10, 16:9, etc. regarding the display.
  11. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    NEC PA series ? get the SV if you are spending the coin !

    until Eizo can prove they are worth the price ? I say skip Eizo
    both though are the top dogs and when compared to a Dell or HP or any other brand they are nicer ! and nothing against Eizo ? just the price :)

    how are they better
    better luminosity across screen better shadow detail better color in the shadows etc..

    if you are the kind that like L glass for canon or the Nikon equiv ? I say get a NEC
    if its a hobby and you love photography a small handfull of Dell or HP are good bang for buck

    but remember the monitor is the one place you see and adjust your images that go to print so its really is the biggest part of the post process
  12. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    the new 27 vs 30 you basically just loose 160 or whatever it is vertical pixels ? its nice to have but is it worth the extra money ? only the buyer can answer

    our layout machine had dual 30s and its nice I am more a color guy so color accuracy is more important to me

    I am on the fence updating my 90 series SV to the PA want to see what the 30 price is but the 27 is quite a good deal compared ?

    the pixel pitch ? text will appear smaller etc.but I buy the monitors for color and images so not a big deal to me but good to know :)

    to those that ask how can they appear sharper ? as mentioned pixel density

    take a image in PS and zoom in past %100 then zoom back out

    take a image view it at %100 then at %50 which appears sharper ? :)
  13. mmoto macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2009
    The NEC PA series monitors offer something else that may be important to you: selectable sRGB emulation.
    Untagged images viewed on Wide-gamut monitors can look oversaturated. 95% of the images you'll encounter on the web are not tagged with a profile (sRBG or AdobeRGB). With an NEC PA monitor you have the option to switch to sRGB mode so that your wide-gamut look like a standard gamut display.

    Safari and Firefox are color-managed to different degrees. Safari will display the 5% of the web that is tagged correctly. Firefox will as well but more importantly, can be configured to display untagged images as if they are sRGB-tagged.

    Of course if you intend to do all your image viewing offline and in a color-managed environment the sRGB emulation feature may not be important to you.

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