Photography News Issue 28 absolutephoto.com
Monitor test 56 Screen test Monitors are a vital part of every photographer’s set-up, but they often don’t get the consideration they deserve. Let’s have a look at three 27in models – at three different price points – all of which are aimed at discerning photographers
already have a decent monitor you may also be able to forma two-screen set-up, with the newmonitor used as the main screen and your old one for other windows and palettes. Youmay also be considering going for a 4K (or even 5K) screen, but even if your computer’s graphics card supports 4K, and you buy a very large monitor so you can see what’s on your screen, it is early days for this technology. You might be better off waiting for the rest of the world to catch up first. For imaging, buy an IPS (In Plane Switching) screen. TN (Twisted Nematic) screens are cheaper than IPS models but are more suited to gaming than imaging. An IPS model will also show a larger number of colours, which will not distort when viewed at different angles. The latest imaging monitors feature wide-gamut IPS screens so you’ll see around 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space.
When it comes to the home digital set-up, most keen photographers will probably spend more time researching their next computer than their next monitor. Yet a monitor is an important link in your imaging workflow and deserves serious consideration given the variety of models available. To be fair, there is a great deal of techno-babble to wade through. So what exactly should you look for in a photo-quality monitor? Size does matter so, unless desk space or budget is at a premium, you should aim for a 24in screen with a native resolution of at least 1920x1200 pixels. In this test, we’ll look at three 27in LED backlit monitorswith2560x1440resolution. A 27in screen lets you enjoy your images at a decent size with room for tool palettes to one side. If you
Finally, don’t forget a monitor’s physical characteristics – not just size but also how much height, tilt and lateral adjustment is available, and whether the screen can be rotated upright. Also consider what connections it has – are there enough to mesh in with your peripherals? The monitors on test here are at three key price points. All are wide-gamut IPS-type monitors with 2560x1440 pixel resolution and allow horizontal or vertical use. Testing was done using an Apple MacMini computer using itsminiDP and HDMI outputs. What should you look for in a photo- quality screen?
BenQ SW2700 PT £499
It might be the cheapest of the three screens triedhere, but don’t be fooled by the price. The SW2700PT is very good and so certainly impresses on the value-for-money front. The price also includes a viewing shade to block light and Palette Master Element calibration software. It’s not as robust as the other two models on test – being much lighter you can see where some money saving has been made as you adjust its height. Sliding the screen up and down is not as smooth as it could be, but it works and the monitor stays put once in place. The height adjustment range is 130mm, from 45mm to 175mm (when measured from the work surface to the base of the screen in horizontal format). Adjustment controls are tucked under the bottom edge of the screen with no indication what they do, apart from a small on/off icon on
the far right. Some random button pushing reveals all though, and the on-screen display is simple enough to navigate. There are plenty of options to fine-tune the image too, including colour space, colour temperature and gamma settings, plus a black & white mode. Three customkeys are available to dedicate functions for one-click access. In use, the BenQ showed no problems at all. Image sharpness and colour rendition were impressive, with no glare or reflections seen on the screen. In fact, in this test, the BenQ’s image sharpness seems to be the best of the trio by a tiny margin. Using a reflected lightmeter to take readings across the screen showed that there is a 0.3EV difference between the centre and the edges – more variable and noticeable than the other two screens, but not significant.
Type AHVA (IPS), backlight LED Aspect ratio 16:9 Native resolution 2560x1440 Viewable image size 596.7x335.6mm Pixel pitch 0.2331mm Pixel density 109ppi Display colours 1.07 billion
Viewing angle 178° vertical/178° horizontal Height adjustable 130mm Brightness 350cd/m2 Contrast ratio (typical) 1000:1 Wide gamut coverage (typical) 99% Adobe RGB Typical power consumption 65W Power savingmode 0.5W
Inputs DVI-DL, HDMI 1.4, DP1.2, USB 3.0 (2x downstream, 1x upstream) In the box DVI-DL, miniDP to DPI, USB 3.0, Palette Master Element CD, hood Dimensions (wxhxd) 653x445.x323mm (landscape) Weight 8.3kg Contact benq.com
For the money, this screen is an absolute bargain. It has enough control features for many photo enthusiasts and image quality is very good, particularly in terms of sharpness. This is a monitor that will certainly stand up to critical use, despite its extremely affordable price.
Pros Price, comes with hood Cons Underside buttons a little awkward, but not much else
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