View Full Version : flat panel LCD monitors: resolution and pixel density
02-22-2012, 04:32 AM
I'm contemplating getting a new monitor, which I would use specifically for digital photography (editing my pictures, looking at other people's). I've been doing research about the different LCD technologies available and looking at product lines for a few days now, and I'm at the point where other people's experience could certainly enlighten my choices.
What I'm wondering is whether a higher pixel density on a monitor is desirable or not. 1920 x 1080 px monitors are available in sizes ranging from 22'' to 27'', which seems very excessive. I'm currently displaying 1940x1440 on a pair of 22'' 4/3 CRTs and have always been put off by what feels like the inferior resolution and pixel densities that flat panels have to offer; to me it has always felt obvious that higher density was better, as it meant more screen real estate. However, is it also true for photography and imagery ? How are so many consumers satisfied with resolutions like 1280x768 on 20'' or larger screens ? Could it actually be a drawback to edit pictures on a screen that is too dense compared to what the majority uses (given that I'm looking to produce for the web and screens, and not do more than occasional prints on special occasions) ? Are there admitted lower and upper bounds to density for photo edition ? Any experience sharing, insight, or external resource is appreciated.
Thanks for reading, and apologies if this is outside of the forum's scope.
02-22-2012, 02:20 PM
I am with you there! I am a sucker for high resolution screen. I am also prefer the 4:3 format than the 16:9 format for the computer or actually I would like it square. I like 16:9 for TV. I am in the process of buying a new computer system and it's the monitors that give me a hard time finding.
One monitor that I use and love is an NEC P221W with X-rite's MDSV sensor and software. It's a 22-incher and I've been using it constantly for almost 2 years now without a hitch. NEC provides excellent technical support, too.
If you really feel that your images appear soft on an LCD then don't use one. It is true, pixel density does affect sharpness but not so much that it's unworkable. Smart phones and tablets have much greater pixel density than desktop displays and images that are properly prepped for those devices will appear very crisp compared to a desktop monitor. But to suggest that due to their relatively lower pixel density desktop LCD displays are unsuitable is a big leap. If they really were so unsuitable then the thousands of professionals using them would be screaming at manufacturers to increase pixel counts or bring back high quality CRT displays. Neither of those things seem to be happening.
02-25-2012, 09:26 AM
The best monitors for photo-editing are supposedly ips, LEDs, with the greatest brightness, above 250cd/m2;)pith
Just a comment on monitor brightness when using a monitor for photo work - that is, where one is printing out photos that one sees and manipulates on his or her monitor: A white piece of digital photo paper normally (usually) reflects, under given (standard) light conditions, 90 candelas per square foot (cd/ft2). Therefore, if the monitor's brightness is set significantly higher than 90 cd/ft2, then one's prints are likely to come out too dark. The brightness of most monitors, when they come out of the box, is set too high for photo work. Indeed, in some cases, such as Apple's iMac, it is nigh impossible to set the monitor's brightness satisfactorily for photo printing. For that reason, many professionals who use Apple computers elect to buy either a Mac Pro or a Mac Mini because they can buy a third party monitor that they can properly calibrate. Hope this helps without being too pedantic. I'm just talking from experience.
02-25-2012, 09:54 AM
"...with the greatest brightness, above 250cd/m2"
From what I have read, bright monitors are the cause of ending up with dark prints - prints that are noticeably darker than the image you saw on the monitor. From those same sources, in order to approximate the reflectance of photo paper, monitors need to be calibrated to approximately 90cd/m2 (although I have seen figures between about 80 to 120 for this). While much editing may work fine on a bright monitor, at the very least any "soft proofing" and final adjustments should be performed with a brightness value that comes close to the reflectance of paper.
Edit: I was typing at about the same time as Ron.
Overly bright monitor settings are certainly "a" cause of dark prints. A significant one at that. Monitor brightness ratings aren't hugely important because, as Ron and Richard point out they'll be turned down quite a bit if properly calibrated.
02-25-2012, 10:37 AM
Well from my own research limited though it may be, it appears that whats good for printing, is not always good for the web. It seems that most people are still using LCDs which are back lighted by florescent tubes, which tend to be brighter than LED back lighted monitors. The result of this is that photos edited for places like POP will appear washed out to most people if they were edited with the newer LED monitors. Most likely these LED monitors will print better because they tend to be dimmer.
I guess when everyone switches to LED back lighted monitors eventually the point will become moot, although......... I could be wrong about all of this, because its just a theory I developed to explain my recent imbroglio trying to finding a proper photo-editing monitor.:Dpith
02-25-2012, 04:08 PM
I want high resolution monitor for CAD work and that I can have a lots of stuff on the screen and still read them. I want to avoid scrolling. But for image editing, color accuracy is much more important. If you want to check the sharpness of your image then zoom in and you would know if your picture is sharp or not.
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