PROFESSIONAL IMAGING CONFIDENCE

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CG2420 REVIEW

17/02/2017  |  Reviews

Review: Australian Photography Magazine, July 2016

Eizo’s new 24-inch photo-editing monitor is all about seeing your images in their best light – and colour – writes Anthony McKee 

I think most photographers have a better understanding of deep space than they have of colour space; in fact, I reckon most photographers would rather be abandoned in deep space than have to explain colour space to a friend. So let's change the subject for a moment; let's talk about sound!

Imagine spending an entire day in a world-class recording studio listening to your favourite artist record their next album. You are surrounded by insanely expensive microphones, mixing desks and recording equipment, and everyone and everything can hear the minutest details in the music. Through the control room monitors you hear rich bass notes and ethereal harmonies, and by the end of the day you are intimately familiar with the music.

Now imagine hearing the same music a few weeks later on a cheap car stereo or pocket radio.

The tiny amplifier and speakers fail to reproduce the range of tones you experienced during your day in the studio; the beautiful bass notes and harmonies are lost in a mishmash of tinny mid-tones. You know it is the same music, and yet you also know it is a bad reproduction of that music.

Good tonal reproduction is as important to photography as it is to music, and yet most of us are better at hearing when music is being poorly reproduced than we are at seeing when our photographs are being poorly reproduced.

And the reason for this is simple; we are exposed to music almost every day on our car radios, home stereos, personal music players and televisions, and yet we hardly ever get to see our photographs reproduced on a variety of monitors.

Most of us use the best cameras and sharpest lenses to make photographs in 14-bit RAW mode. We are literally recording billions of different shades of colour across a 15-stop dynamic, and yet when we go home, most of us are blissfully reviewing our photos on cheap computer monitors that only display a fraction of those tones and colours. In audio terms, we are using the best recording equipment, but we are remastering our work with dodgy speakers from the $2 shop!

Most home and office computer monitors are designed on a budget for people who simply want to check emails, browse the web and watch movies, but some computer monitors are designed specifically for photo editing, and one of the best brands for the task are Eizo graphics monitors.

A significant number of Australia’s best photographers use Eizo monitors for editing, but until now these monitors have been rather expensive.

Now, Eizo have released two new 24-inch graphics monitors that have been designed to be more affordable to budget-conscious photographers.

The ColorEdge CG2420 and ColorEdge CS2420 are a new generation of Eizo monitors that have been designed for both professional photographers and keen enthusiasts. Both monitors feature a 24.1-inch with IPS (in-plane switching) panel technology that allows you to view images on the screen from almost any angle (178º) without an apparent loss of image quality. The displays have a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and can accurately reproduce 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space; this is the colour space recommended by both the AIPP and ACMP for creating fine art exhibition prints. The ColorEdge CS2420, which is being pitched at enthusiasts and prosumer photographers, has a contrast range is 1000:1 which is ideal for editing photography while the ColorEdge CG2420 has a 1500:1 contrast range that enables it to also be used for professional video editing.

The CG2420 and CS2420 also share a new cabinet design; the bezel around the screen is just 18mm wide which is about 39% slimmer than previous Eizo monitors. Discreet electrostatic switches marked by subtle LEDs along the lower right edge of the cabinet provide fast access to the monitor’s menus and preferences. Both monitors are mounted on a circular 24cm wide rotating base that can turn through 344º; the display can be raised or lowered by 6cm to suit your preferred eye-line, and it can also be tilted forward 5º and backwards 35º.

A deep handgrip behind the top of the display makes it easy to carry the monitor between desks.

The CG2420 and the CS2420 monitors both share the same control interfaces; you can connect either monitor to a computer using DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D input terminals. There is also a USB upstream port that feeds a three port USB hub on the left side of the monitor; one of these USB ports can be used as a charging port. The power cord and cables can be discreetly managed behind the display’s support column by a small loop.

As with all Eizo monitors, the main standout feature is the extensive in factory calibration that goes into every display, combined with the built-in hardware to support these calibrations.

Unlike some brands of monitors where the gamma is calibrated at the centre of the monitor using the combined RGB channels, the gamma of every Eizo monitor is calibrated in 256-steps across the individual red, green and blue channels. And rather than just make this measurement at the centre of each display, the gamma is calibrated at multiple points across the entire screen; the entire calibration process of calibrating an Eizo professional graphics monitor takes about a week.

The results are then stored in a 16-bit LUT (Look-Up Table); this is like a permanent library of corrections that are specific to every individual monitor. As imagery is sent from computer to monitor (usually in 8-bit form), the 16-bit LUT is constantly referenced and corrections applied to every pixel before this updated imagery is sent to the display in 10-bit form to create an image that is as close to perfect as technology allows.

Over recent weeks I have been working with the ColorEdge CG2420 and it has been a very enjoyable experience. Compared to some of the earlier Eizo monitors the industrial feel has given way to a refined elegance.

The CG2420 is supplied with a shading hood that helps eliminate glare and increase our perception of deep shadow areas within an image. Being part of Eizo’s professional range of monitors, the CG2420 also has a colour sensor built into the top edge of the bezel. This can be used to calibrate the monitor by itself, but most photographers will probably use Eizo’s proprietary ColorNavigator 6 software to fine-tune the monitor to their own viewing requirements. The software is very easy to use, and profiles can be set up in less than three minutes to suit the screen brightness, black level, white point and gamma that you prefer for a particular work environment or editing task. Once calibrated to your liking, it is hard not to like the Coloredge 2420; solid colours are absolutely even, and gradations appear smooth without banding or “colour seepage”. You experience all the tones without flatness or flaw.

The CS2420 shares the same styling and similar display performance as the CG2420 but the shading hood is an optional extra and you do not get built in colour calibration. You do get the benefit of ColorNavigator though (which will work with most good colour calibration tools) and you also get the benefit of Eizo’s five-year manufacturer's warranty, which includes the LCD panel.

As someone who occasionally has to rely on mid-range monitors for editing photographs, I really enjoyed the opportunity work with the new Eizo ColorEdge CG2420 monitor. Given that nowadays most of us will spend more time looking at and editing our photographs on a monitor, it makes sense to invest in a screen that is going to give us the best visual experience. And if you ask many of the serious photographers who have been working with an Eizo for more than a decade, they will tell you that one of these monitors will outlast most of your camera equipment.

So as a wild idea, the next time you think your camera might need upgrading, give thought to upgrading your monitor instead. Chances are your camera is better than you might realise, and you just need a better monitor to really appreciate what it (and you) can deliver.

 

BELOW

The Eizo CG2420 and CS2420 displays can accurately reproduce 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space, much more than a regular monitor.