Update - Part I - TFT LCD Monitor Info Summary

Started Aug 6, 2009 | Discussions thread
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NewsyL
NewsyL Veteran Member • Posts: 5,739
Update - Part I - TFT LCD Monitor Info Summary

Updating the summary.

What follows is a summation of information that has been posted in the PC Talk forum and elsewhere.

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In terms of image quality for photo editing, these are the TFT LCD panel types from best to worst:

IPS (newer variants are S-IPS, AS-IPS, H-IPS, e-IPS, etc)
PVA (newer variants are S-PVA, c-PVA)
MVA (newer variants are A-MVA, P-MVA, S-MVA, etc)
TN

If you would like some background on these panels, read this article:
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/panel_technologies.htm

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Your resolution is going to be related to the panel size and H:W aspect ratio.

Most 20" 4:3 monitors have a 1600x1200 resolution
but a 20" 16:10 monitor is likely to be 1680x1050

22" 16:10 typical... 1680x1050
24" 16:10 typical... 1920x1200

etc.

LCD's are specified as having a "native" resolution; this is the resolution at which the image on screen is displayed at its' sharpest and in correct proportion; trying to display a larger image will likely give you an error message on screen; displaying at a lower resolution will give an image that is not as sharp (may show jaggies) as at "native" and may not be correctly proportioned

(ie: displaying a circle at 800x600 (4:3) on a 1680x1050 (16:10) monitor will show a less than sharp oval)

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The following are typical sizes you may find on the shelf at big box retailers:
30" .... IPS variant
27" .... S-PVA but may be a TN panel soon
26" .... IPS variant (though the NEC 2690 is really a 25.5")
25.5" ... TN's have arrived, some IPS
24" .... IPS, PVA, MVA and most of the inexpensive ones are TN
23" .... 16:9 1920x1080 are almost all TN

22" .... almost all TN but several PVA and and eIPS have been introduced recently
21" ... most IPS/PVA monitors smaller than 22" are no longer in production

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Wide Gamut?

Be aware that many of the monitors now offer what they call a wide gamut colour space. If you use one of these monitors you may find that if you that you are not satisfied with the image on screen - many colours appear too saturated. You need to have a colour managed workspace which will include the browser you use for surfing and the software you use to edit and print your images.

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Contrast Ratios

-you'll find a lot of manufacturer's promotional literature claim 10,000:1 or higher contrast ratios but a little research will show that these are mostly for less expensive TN paneled monitors. There is a new generation of monitors coming to market with 1920x1080 resolution that is targeted to gamers and HDTV video watchers on a budget ( ie: university students) and the newest all have absurd contrast ratios. (30,000:1)

-check out the latest monitor reviews at http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/reviews.html

Take note of their "after calibration" contrast ratios for the monitors that are rated "very good".

Almost all are between 500:1 and 800:1 - that tells you something about what you need versus the marketing sizzle.

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How to find out what panel is used in a monitor.

http://www.flatpanelshd.com/panels.php
-or-
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/panelsearch.htm

-change the filter to "Panel" and then type in IPS or PVA to find all IPS or PVA monitors

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A visual site to show what off angle views look like (also some other great info such as default and after calibration results):

Here's a view showing an eIPS panel versus a TN panel:
http://www.digitalversus.com/duels.php?ty=6&ma1=88&ma2=88&mo2=218&p2=2098&ph=8

A pop-up will appear - select "Continue"; do not select a country else it will take you away from the Face-To-Face comparison page.

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MORE reading..... The Anand LCD Thread

http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=31&threadid=2049206&enterthread=y

-read the first two posts in this thread; find the section where they recommend monitors for specific tasks

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Best two review sites:

http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/reviews.html
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews.htm

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Tip: budget for a hardware calibrator - many say they're not required but once you've used one you'll wonder why you waited. Essential for print matching as typically most people run their monitors too bright and the calibrator nails the brightness as well as colour balance.

TFT Central has a list of calibrators on their reviews page.

Until you get a hardware calibrator, this web site may help a bit:

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

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