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Thread: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

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    help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Help! With a new Mac pro on the way I want to update my monitor (currently an older Apple 23" circa '04/05) and calibrator (a Monaco Optix).

    I like the idea of a 30" for the resolution and real estate. After lots of research I think my best bet in that dept would be the HP LP3065, which I could get a refurb with an add on 3 year warranty for about $850 (add on another $200 for an Eye One). It's not as pretty as the Apple but with a new baby I am on a budget and the specs are actually better. Anyone have experience with this monitor?

    But everyone raves about the NEC 2690 with Spectraview. I could certainly swing this money wise (though not the NEC 30" unfortunately). I realize I will get better gamut with this monitor and LUT calibration and so on. But will it give me the real estate I need (and I guess I could always use my 23" ACD as a second monitor) and is the less resolution noticeable at all compared to a 30 inch?

    Please don't mention Eizo's. I'm well aware of them but very much out of my price range (unless somebody wants to sell me one cheap!).

    Thanks,

    Charles

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    I've never been comfortable in front of a 30" monitor. Just my own working style I guess, prefer to move my eyes rather than crane my neck. Others who work with them daily may have another view.

    I'd put my money on the most accurate monitor I could find, one that will calibrate well and easily and provide the best DR and smoothest transitions. The NEC has received excellent reviews and seems like a sure bet.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Charles,
    As Tim mentions, it is as much a personal call on things. I presently have dual 24" monitors that I used to love. I am probably going to spring for an Eizo 30", but have to come up with lots of bucks for that. I have looked at the NEC montiors, both their 30" and this 26". There are some big differences between a 24-26" and a 30" when you see them in real use. The NEC with Spectraview is probably close to the Eizo Flexscan models in appearance, and maybe price.....not sure, and either would be nicer than the Apple 30" HD ACD, which is now old tech. The HP and the Dell 30" monitors are probably close to each other, and another level below the NEC Spectraview. (Personally, I see things in tiers....Eizo CG at the high end, then Eizo Flexscan and NEC below that, then Samsung panels, which I think the HP, Dell and Apple use below that. Just my own scheme. Others may see things quite differently.)

    So, if you can get in front of some of these different sized monitors, please do. I was surprised just how different things look, what a more "normal" working distance may be, and how best to use the real estate on each. The 30" size would work for me now and the way I work, as compared to the dual 24" units I use now, since I find myself tending to use one or the other of the dual monitor set-up, and I cannot get the hang of just putting palettes or stuff on one screen. I think it is different if the two are different sizes, like I use a 20" ACD with my 15" MacBook Pro, and can get used to using them separately. But with my desktop machine, I have found I prefer one screen, and 24" is not enough.

    Also like Tim, I would rather have the best color and gamut in a display that I can get for doing more critical color work, but that may not be the same need that others have. The highest end Eizos are wonderful for this, but to the casual observer, they tend to look awful and dull compared to the next line down or others that actually have less gamut. So if you are going to use it for displaying to others also, you might want the mid-range units anyway, as they will have a brighter and sharper appearance, even if the gamut is not as full. Just my thoughts on this.

    LJ

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    I find that having the 26" NEC for the photo I'm working on and a second small cheapo monitor for stashing the toolbars, other windows, etc. works very well for me.

    Lisa

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Here's a question to add little confusion (sorry ):

    Have any of you found that using a wide-gamut display such as the NEC or Eizo as a multi-tasker, daily driver is a problem?

    I have read several times that using a wide-gamut display for non-color critical work can be frustrating in that they don't render sRGB web pages correctly, etc. It has been recommended that one should process images for web on an sRGB display and those for print on the wide-gamut display. So, LJ, do you plan to address this? And Tim, how do you deal with it? Lisa? The sRGB modes of the NEC (and perhaps others) is said to be of little use.

    My printing workstation is separate from my main office work, but I really prefer to do most of my editing at my main desk. This is also where I do my online reading, post images to my online accounts and sites, etc. I then move an image file to my print room to work and may make additional adjustments if needed. I'm told that I may not like the wide-gamut display for my primary use, web viewing, and processing images for web.

    Thoughts?

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Lisa, I'm thinking of adding an NEC 2690 for photo editing, but I'm wondering if I should expect disappointment with it for web and other daily use. Do I need a separate sRGB display?

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Hey, thanks for those opinions. I think I'm actually going to go with the NEC 2690WUXi2 now, esp now that I found out my older Monaco Optix puck will work with their software.

    I wish there was someplace like B&H in Seattle, but alas I know of no place to compare monitors, let alone see a single example of each.

    One concern is the amount of prepress people now using ACD 30" and similar, esp in magazine publishing. If I'm on a full gamut aRGB monitor, how will the files I send to them come across?

    The HP btw uses the same panels as the ACD and Dell but has better backlight to give a true 92% aRGB. It's also a lot cheaper (and uglier frame but I don't really care about that). My desk is a corner set up so I have lots of room to push a monitor back. But then it gets really difficult to read anything.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Keep in mind that if you add another monitor and want it profiled differently, you will have to add another video card to your computer. This may or may not be true with the 2690 because you are adjusting the LUTs, but I don't know. But, yeah a separate small monitor for palettes, email, etc would be a nice way to go.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    This might be a good option for a second cheap monitor, the Dell Ultrasharp 1908WFP. It pivots so it would be perfect for palettes. It's $129 refurbished at the Dell outlet store.

    http://www.dell.com/content/products...=22&l=en&s=dfh

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Dale re: sRGB and a wide gamut display... that's the first I've heard that there's an issue. Which makes me kinda nervous, it never occurred to me that there could be a problem. I use my Eizo CG 24 for everything, pre-press, photography, and preparing the little photos I upload here (which are saved in sRGB before posting.) They all look 100% OK to me and, with minor differences from compression (not the monitor's fault) look the same in PS as they do when posted here and viewed through Safari.

    Yikes! Have I been missing something all along? Do my sRGB files all look off? I've always assumed that since the sRGB gamut was smaller than the Adobe RGB or ProPhoto gamuts that there was no problem. Sincerely, I've never heard of the issue before now. But then again, I live in the outback.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Tim,

    Thanks for your response. Your images always look very nice to me.

    The topic comes up in monitor discussions on color management sites and at LL. Andrew Rodney addresses it at times, as do many others.

    To be honest, it can be a task sort out the theoretical techno-talk from the practical daily-use and application concerns. That's why I asked here. My concern is always first and foremost a workflow which produces good prints. I have read that processing files for web in sRGB color space on an aRGB display will produce less accurate results for the web presentation, but I can understand if that is not commonly observed in the real world by reasonable "normal" people.

    I'm in need of at least one new display and still sorting out what to choose. Your feedback is helpful.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    I guess I don't consider online viewing to be an environment that requires uber exactitude. Especially when you consider the enormous variety of displays on which an image is likely to be displayed. Most of which have never even been in the same room with a calibration device. My rule of thumb is that if I'm correctly calibrated on a quality monitor, the differences others might see are likely to be so minimal that I can't be responsible and honestly, don't care.

    Now if they were saying that certain monitors wouldn't allow me to produce results that would hold up on an offset press, then there would be a problem. But a tiny corner of the green gamut that won't show correctly in sRGB? Nah.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post

    My concern is always first and foremost a workflow which produces good prints.

    I agree with that, same direction I went when it was time to get a monitor. My concern was getting things right for printing. As far as the web goes, I figured I could spend endless dollars to get it right and someone in an internet cafe will be looking at my stuff on a monitor with a dead blue channel. It reminds me of how quality audio LPs were edited and mixed -- expensive elaborate amps and speakers, but the final stereo mix was done using only super cheap Aurotone speakers, a little 4-in speaker, because the Aurotones represented the sound system most people listened to music thru.

    I ended up with an Eizo. Something I had not expected, noticed was how bad the rest of my monitors are. I mean really bad, as in they can't get close to what the Eizo can do. I also see a lot of defects on other folks work that's online, that I didn't see with the Dell or NEC.

    I tried a NEC 2690, it was too big for me. I much prefer the 24-inch Eizo. Also, the 24-inch just feels like the right size for use with a medium-sized Wacom tablet.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Dale,
    Not sure there would be a problem. If the monitor can display a wider gamut, you will see the subtle colors that get compressed or eliminated when going down to sRGB. That is really not that different than what folks now see when processing in aRGB or ProPhoto color spaces, and then saving them as sRGB JPEGs for Web display. If the file has a posted color space, like sRGB, that is what the monitor will post it as, and not interpolate it to something else, like aRGB or more. The color profile should travel with the image file and the monitor will display it correctly for that color space. At least that is how I have always understood things to work. Because a monitor is capable of displaying a larger than sRGB color space, does not mean it will if the color profile of the file is sRGB.

    So, once you do your corrections in the larger color space, you would convert the file to sRGB and 8-bit for posting work anyway, and you should see if there are any differences in that conversion/compression. I would just expect some of the out of gamut (sRGB) colors to be either compressed or eliminated, depending on whether you are selecting perceptual or absolute rendering. In either event, some color may shift or be lost. That happens now when you process files, but you do not really see what is lost or compressed as much because most monitors are displaying an even smaller than sRGB gamut most of the time anyway.

    You could always treat things like a "soft proof" and have the display show what things will look like after conversion. I really do not see having a larger color gamut as being a problem, except when there are significant colors that go out of gamut for other devices (display or print), and that is why you soft proof them, I guess.

    On a separate note, most of the monitors being discussed here, except Tim's Eizo CG, have higher refresh rates, which are going to be better for things other than image retouching only, such as watching videos, etc. The larger the gamut on the monitor, and the smaller the pixel pitch for fine shading, the slower the refresh rate may be. It may not matter for most folks, but it may be worth thinking about for those considering wide gamut, high definition large monitors.

    LJ

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post

    On a separate note, most of the monitors being discussed here, except Tim's Eizo CG, have higher refresh rates, which are going to be better for things other than image retouching only, such as watching videos, etc. The larger the gamut on the monitor, and the smaller the pixel pitch for fine shading, the slower the refresh rate may be. It may not matter for most folks, but it may be worth thinking about for those considering wide gamut, high definition large monitors.
    I can attest that as beautiful as an Eizo CG is for photo editing, it is horrible for watching DVD videos -- the ghosting/image latency will drive a blind person crazy. I don't know why but I don't see the same image latency with video editing. I've only done a little, playing with video files from the little Ricohs.


    ETA: just thought of something -- must use the VGA input to watch DVDs, video editing can be done with the DVI input, and there is big diff in display quality between the two. The Eizo is HDMI compliant, meaning it spits out a copy protection signal using one of the DVI conductors. That will shut down any contemporary DVD software, prevent the DVD from playing unless there is an HDMI compliant path all of the way from the disc drive (DVD) to the application software to the display. Hence the need to watch DVDs via the VGA input -- no HDMI scheme for analog displays.
    Last edited by Oxide Blu; 23rd March 2009 at 11:37.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesphoto View Post
    Keep in mind that if you add another monitor and want it profiled differently, you will have to add another video card to your computer. This may or may not be true with the 2690 because you are adjusting the LUTs, but I don't know. But, yeah a separate small monitor for palettes, email, etc would be a nice way to go.
    This may only apply if your are needing and using dual DVI for a 30" monitor that uses both channels. For anything else, you can profile each monitor separately (as it should be) and that profile gets associated with that device. I have my 20" ACD profiled quite differently from my 15" MBP LCD and both look proper for their display. Same for the dual 24" monitors with my desktop machine. Each is profiled separately and those profiles stay "attached" to those devices on the desktop. That is how it works on Apple systems as far as I know. No need for separate video cards for two monitors. Now, If you are putting together a display of 4 or more monitors, then you will be stuck with needing additional cards in order to profile separately.

    LJ

    P.S. One last thing to consider with multiple monitor setups. If you are pushing them from the same video card, you will halve the vRAM for each. So a 256MB vRAM card with dual outputs, will only be using 128MB for each of the two monitors. This is why it is good to get better video cards that have more vRAM. It improves refresh rates and a bunch of other things. And this matters if you are using apps like Aperture that use CPU, GPU and RAM from both for some of its Core Image processing. Folks may recall the early video card requirements when Aperture was released. It mattered than and still does, though all newer cards being offered have enough horsepower. That changes when you start doubling up on displays.
    Last edited by LJL; 23rd March 2009 at 11:50.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Thanks for the additional input, folks. I've read that if one is editing photos on displays such as the Eizos and the NEC wide-gamut displays that they'll see a visible difference in how the images look on the sRGB displays. This is suggested as important mostly if on-line galleries are important to the user. Tim's attitude is similar to mine, in that my feeling is that we can't be responsible for the displays of others. I'm just hoping to learn if the NEC 2690 or similar Eizo is comfortable for use as an "all around" display for most tasks, or if it is best used as a photo editing monitor only. I'm getting from this discussion that they are fine for most daily use.

    As for editing for print and then posting to web, I'm already guilty of this, and often don't get back to fix an image for web display in a timely fashion. One sees compressed colors that can "bloom" or minor color casts, etc. I should address this lazy streak before getting too worried about the gamut issues of my displays I guess.

    I typically have other Macs and additional displays around, which allow for viewing on-line images to see if they're looking okay on different machines. Again, having read of those who use an AdobeRGB and sRGB display side by side made me interested in learning how urgent is was.

    Thank you.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Well, I went to my dealer today and looked at an Eizo CG222W. Great looking monitor but.... I ordered an NEC LCD2690WUXI2 instead. Price was about the same (once you throw in the Spectraview software) but the NEC gets such rave reviews everywhere and the extra bit of real estate will be nice. Looking forward to it.

    Charles

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Congrats Charles! Good decision. May it serve you well.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesphoto View Post
    Well, I went to my dealer today and looked at an Eizo CG222W. Great looking monitor but.... I ordered an NEC LCD2690WUXI2 instead.

    You are going to be a happy girl when that critter arrives.

    Btw, the only way you can get your hands on the NEC calibration software is to either buy a Spectraview (includes the software and sensor) or pay way too much for the software as an option with a non-Spectrview (Multisync) NEC monitor.

    Oh, now that you bought your monitor, a couple of things that don't matter anymore:

    - NEC was a 3yr, now a 4yr warranty, including backlight, but limited to US only.
    - Eizo is a 5yr, international warranty -- 3-yrs on the backlight.

    - The NEC box is 1-inch bigger than max size for checked luggage.
    - The EIZO box is 1/2-inch smaller than max size.

    Both of those issues are important me, I travel with my monitor. The factory boxes for any LCD monitor is very good, excellent for taking your monitor with you, so keep it.

    - A plastic hood (expensive!) for an NEC is on optional accessory item.
    - A steel hood is included with the Eizo.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Yeah, I had to order the software separate from NEC which brings it right to the same price point as the Eizo. I guess more if you figure in the hood. Oh well...

    I rarely travel with a laptop let alone a monitor so never even thought of that.

    Anyway, I'll report back what I think of the NEC.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Congrats. Charles. I'm thinking about the same display. Let us know what you think once you get it set-up and dialed in.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    Here's a question to add little confusion (sorry ):

    Have any of you found that using a wide-gamut display such as the NEC or Eizo as a multi-tasker, daily driver is a problem?

    I have read several times that using a wide-gamut display for non-color critical work can be frustrating in that they don't render sRGB web pages correctly, etc. It has been recommended that one should process images for web on an sRGB display and those for print on the wide-gamut display. So, LJ, do you plan to address this? And Tim, how do you deal with it? Lisa? The sRGB modes of the NEC (and perhaps others) is said to be of little use.

    My printing workstation is separate from my main office work, but I really prefer to do most of my editing at my main desk. This is also where I do my online reading, post images to my online accounts and sites, etc. I then move an image file to my print room to work and may make additional adjustments if needed. I'm told that I may not like the wide-gamut display for my primary use, web viewing, and processing images for web.

    Thoughts?
    I've noticed no issues with using the 2690 (as-is, in wide-gamut mode) for everything I do. I'm very happy with it for everything.

    I edit and save photos in Adobe RGB for printing and archiving, then save a second copy after converting to sRGB for use on the web (using the command in PS that's something like Edit -> Convert Profile), and it just works.

    Lisa

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Yeah, I talked to the owner of my lab about the gamut issue. He said there is none. Essentially the srgb file will just drop what it can't show but that's fine because srgb profiled browsers, printers etc couldn't deal with that extra color anyway.

    Will find out soon enough....

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    This sounds good, folks. Thanks for the additional follow-up. It seems that the discussions are (once again) geared toward the theoretical and not the practical application.

    Of course, I can see the differences when converting from ProPhotoRGB to sRGB, but I was reading of people complaining that they couldn't reliably process images in sRGB color space for web on the wide-gamut displays. I'm getting from you (and a few others) that this is nonsense and simply fuel for the academic discussions on the web.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Dale,

    This display is wonderful. I'm using it with the Spectraview software and an Optix XR calibrator I already owned. I have it dialed down to 90 nits and it matches up with my prints nicely. Real even across the screen, no dead pixels, all as it should be. I also got the add on hood (an extra $100!) which is real worth it and to my mind as nice if not better than the Eizo. The Eizo 22" runs about the same when all is said and done but I like the extra bit of space and I doubt anyone could tell the difference in quality between the two.

    The only thing I regret is not having gotten this monitor years ago instead of another dumb camera body or lens which have probably been long sold.

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Charles,

    Thank you for the update. I think I'll be adding one of these (NEC) to my print station. I have read some great reports from people whose opinion I value. It seems that many owners of this display are happy, as are the Eizo owners.

    Cheers,

    Dale

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    Re: help in choosing a monitor: HP 30" or NEC 2690

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesphoto View Post
    Keep in mind that if you add another monitor and want it profiled differently, you will have to add another video card to your computer. This may or may not be true with the 2690 because you are adjusting the LUTs, but I don't know. But, yeah a separate small monitor for palettes, email, etc would be a nice way to go.
    Ummm... I don't think that the above is generally true - even my old midrange GeForce 6600-based card can handle two monitors with different LUTs in the card (Windows, i1Match). I'd say do your research make sure your card can handle individually profiled monitors.
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