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Old January 21st, 2011, 05:28 PM   #1
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Apple 27" display thoughts?

Hey Everyone,

I'm in need a of a new monitor for my Mac Book Pro to replace a pretty crumby 24" HP monitor I bought last year in a pinch (you know the kind that look great dead-on but as soon as you lean back in your chair the picture brightness drops) The 27" Apple seems like an obvious choice with the Mac Book Pro, but I'm interested to see what others might have ended up purchasing.

This fall I'm planning on upgrading my old Mac Pro tower (assuming a new FCP release) so eventually this monitor will live with a tower. In the meantime I'm hoping to use a 27" for FCP and use a Matrox Mini to drive an external preview monitor (which will probably be that crumby HP until I figure out what to get it.)

My specific question is 10 bit vs. 8 bit panels and the real-life difference between them for viewing such things as the timeline, control tabs, audio faders, etc.? I know FCP doesn't support 10 bit natively (as well or at all???) as CS5 and there is no guarantee that it will get updated anyway. It seems like a pretty big price bump to get to 10 bit in the 27" range, right? With any luck, I'll get an Eizo or NEC or perhaps broadcast JVC or Sony monitor for previewing from the Matrox MXO2 (or whatever external card I end up popping the new Mac Pro).

The last thought is I'm a bit worried about the glossy front on such a large monitor. My edit area is pretty much light controlled but I can see where light reflections could be a pain.

Any thoughts or links to websites with some relevant reviews or comparisons would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all.
Jeff
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Old January 27th, 2011, 01:56 AM   #2
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If you are looking for a high quality LCD, then look at NEC's models in the $1000 and up range and for great quality, look at Eizo. From what I have read, NEC is very close in quality to Eizo but at a reduced price. I have an Eizo CG243W and love being able to get 10bit via Premiere Pro as I also have a Quadro and they are connected via Displayport. BUT, Premiere Pro CS5 and 10bit only work on Windows 7 if I remember correctly what the Adobe guy said when I asked about why my screen would flash every time I opened a project in Premiere - he said its due to the way they have their drivers setup to work with Windows.

I went and found the 5.02 update and YES, 10bit only works with Windows. Here is the line: "Added 10-bit DisplayPort support for NVIDIA Quadro cards on Windows.".

About glossy screens, I always thought that manufacturers used them to make the screen's display look better. That means the image on the screen is altered.

PS Stay FAR away from Sony's LUMA branded LCDs. I have never heard so many people hate something so expensive as the Sony LUMA LCDs.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 11:30 AM   #3
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Thanks Steve, I read a nice review on an NEC monitor with Colorview self-calibration a little while back so I am looking at NEC. It doesn't look like they offer much in the 10bit range but I'm unclear of the benefit of that using FCP anyway. I guess it is always best to future proof when possible but I'd hate to spend extra coin chasing the 10 bit spec alone if it doesn't add much for my workflow (editing 80% AE 20%)

Looking over the specs on your Eizo I see it is 1920x1200. If you full-screen preview HD video on that monitor is it one-to-one or does the picture aspect ratio get scaled up from 1920x1080 to 1900x1200 (does that make sense)? Finally, do you know if 10bit is necessarily or preferable for color grading regular 1920x1080 HD video? I currently could only feed it 8bit I think anyway.

Thanks in advance!
-Jeff
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Old January 30th, 2011, 04:55 PM   #4
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I have a decent BenQ 1920x1080 monitor attached to my MBP, and a 27" iMac that will also serve as a display for the MBP -- there is no comparison in working with the two, the Apple display is better in every way. Not least because it has vastly better resolution -- once you're used to a screen resolution of 2560x1440 it is hard to go 'down' to 1920x1080 -- but it also has better colour and contrast than the BenQ I use. I forget the model off-hand, but it was a high end screen that was discontinued in favour of cheaper (and poorer) alternatives -- point is, go for the Apple.

And take a look at using an entry level iMac as a screen -- you gain the benefit of a second computer should you need one, and the price difference between Apple Cinema and iMac is not extraordinary.

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 1st, 2011, 10:37 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info.

Geoff, I didn't realize you could use an iMac as a screen. I'll have to look into it.

If I don't do the 27" apple display then I'm leaning towards this a 27" NEC for the editing screen:
NEC MultiSync PA271W-BK-SV 27" Widescreen PA271W-BK-SV B&H

and maybe the smaller 24" as the external NTSC display driven with a Matrox MXO2 mini.
NEC MultiSync PA241W-BK-SV 24.1" Widescreen PA241W-BK-SV

This may be more of a Matrox forum question, but I'm a little in the dark in regards to the color calibration puck (in case of NEC it is the Spectraview). Since the color puck uses software to control and calibrate the monitor will it still work even though the monitor won't be driven by the computer's graphic card but instead driven by the MXO? Obviously the main display will use the graphic card but the external won't. This is hard to articulate.

Alternatively, I could use a high quality LCD TV as the NTSC preview or cough up the big bucks for a pro monitor.,

Thanks in advance,
Jeff

Last edited by Jeff Krepner; February 1st, 2011 at 10:40 AM. Reason: question
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Old February 1st, 2011, 02:09 PM   #6
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Hi Jeff,

That is a healthy budget but I would focus the money on the Matrox connected LCD as this is your color critical display. Maybe the Dell 27" for the main display and the NEC for the MXO2.

For calibration, you need a monitor that can be 'hardware' calibrated where the info is stored in the monitor itself like my Eizo CG243W. This hardware calibration lets you move the monitor to any connection, but you must first connect it to a computer to run its calibration software. Then, every 1-2 months, re-calibrate it.

I presume your Mac can output dual-link resolution which is anything over 1920x1200.

Let me head off your next question: the NEC calibration puck & software should work with a non-NEC LCD such as the Dell. I haven't checked, but you might be able to save money by getting the NEC LCD without the puck and buy the $120-140 i1 LE, which is what I use with my Eizo and Dells. NEC usually has 2 ways of buying their LCDs: just the LCD and both the LCD & Puck.

OK, I just checked and the 27" with puck is $410 MORE expensive.

Hurry: there is a 25% off coupon for the Dell U2711 that ends Feb 6.
25% Coupon Dell UltraSharp U2711 27-in 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) LCD Monitor - LogicBUY

At newegg, the Eizo CG243W is only $2249. Newegg.com - EIZO CG243W-BK Black 24.1" 5 ms Height,Swivel,Pivot & Tilt Adjustable IPS Panel Widescreen LCD Monitor w/USB Ports 270cd/m2 850:1

So, that is $824 + 2249= $3073.

Then add an HDMI to DP converter and you can possibly get 10bit as the MXO2 outputs 10bit. http://www.amazon.com/DisplayPort-HDMI-Video-Adapter-Converter/dp/B0017K6BDW
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Old February 1st, 2011, 04:25 PM   #7
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Steve, this is excellent advice. The 17" MBP does drive up to 30" dual-link monitors according to the Apple site. I'm hoping to upgrade to a new desktop machine later this year since my laptop is faster than my 5 year old Mac Pro at the current. Anyway...

(edit, new question): Do you any idea how the EIZO CG243W-BK stacks up against broadcast monitors?

Last question: is the Dell better than the 27" Apple display? I don't like the glossy apple surface, but it does play well with the laptop and it is a sharp looking display--aesthetically speaking .

Thanks

Last edited by Jeff Krepner; February 1st, 2011 at 06:46 PM. Reason: new question
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 10:41 AM   #8
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(Got to love replying to your own post / talking to yourself online)

Ok, so looking at the Dell 27" I see it gets great reviews, as does it's larger brother the 30", however the HP ZR30w seems to be a great option vs. the Dell 30" and only a couple hundred more than the 27" Apple I was leaning towards originally and about the same price as the Dell--assuming the current sale posted above.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the HP ZR30w?
HP / Hewlett-Packard ZR30w 30" Widescreen LCD VM617A8#ABA

It doesn't have HDMI in, speakers, or OSD -- but the review below seems to prefer it over the Dell in terms of picture quality and build and frankly I just need a display port in and maybe a DVI input just in case.

A New 30" Contender: HP ZR30w Review - AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News
Dell U3011 Review: Dell's New 30-inch Flagship - AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News

Maybe I'll step up to a 30" for editing, roll with the MX02 mini connecting to my older 24" HP for a few weeks while I decide if the Ezio is in the budget.

Thanks.
Jeff
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 03:50 PM   #9
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This is the color puck that I use. It works with Eizo's calibration software and includes its own software to calibrate non-Eizo monitors such as my Dell Ultrasharp LCDs.
X-Rite i1Display LT Color Management Solution EODLT B&H Photo

Eizo CG243W vs Broadcast monitors: I really only have one to compare it to, a Panasonic BT-LH1710W, and the Eizo is definitely better. The Eizo is designed to compete against the HP Dreamcolor, which was designed to replace CRT broadcast monitors under $5,000. I chose the Eizo because it got better reviews compared to the Dreamcolor; it is a newer design whereas the HP is 3-4 yrs old; and the Eizo doesn't have all the requirements of progressive & rgb inputs in order to get the full benefit of its color engine.

Dell vs Apple: the Dell includes a 3yr warranty vs only 1yr on the Apple. The Dell's warranty is the best as it covers a single dead pixel within 3yrs. The Dell has several inputs (HDMI, DVI, DP...) whereas the Apple has only 1 (mini-DP).
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 06:57 PM   #10
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Again, Steve thanks! I ended up ordering the X-Rite puck and rolled the dice on a 30" HP. The Mac display loses because the screen is glossy and doesn't have a very flexible stand. Does look sexy though...

I bought this:
HP / Hewlett-Packard ZR30w 30" Widescreen LCD VM617A8#ABA

It seems to best the Dell in a few reviews but people complain it doesn't scale inputs up and it doesn't have HDMI in nor speakers. Like I said in an earlier post, I just want the displayport in and wouldn't feed it anything less than its native resolution and have no need for audio in it anyway. I'm excited to get this thing calibrated and working and look forward to more screen real estate.

Next up will be the MXO2 mini w/ max and probably the Ezio you have since I'll already have a X-Rite.

I'll report back once it arrives -- unless someone can speak now and convince me to buy Dell.

Thanks again,
Jeff
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 11:23 PM   #11
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The main problem with the HP is no OSD for changing certain settings. I can't recall exactly what I read about that monitor when it was first released, but I do recall something about not being able to adjust settings. In order for the X-rite to work, you must have access to color and contrast/brightness settings in the monitor.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 03:26 PM   #12
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I'll find out tomorrow! Good thing B&H has a pretty good return policy if need be.

The HP does have brightness and contrast control buttons, but like the Apple displays they are moving away from having the monitor do anything other than just being a panel filled with pixels. I guess I'll find out, eh? They said in a review that it even helps latency and lag issues which probably only helps with gaming more so than video editing (though I wish I could edit so fast that the display struggled to keep up--I'd be able to get to the bar an extra hour or two earlier!)
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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:34 AM   #13
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Hi all, I just wanted to follow up to say that I am extremely pleased with the HP ZR30w. 30" (+17" for Bins, Effects, Scopes) is really a terrific way to edit in Final Cut and the monitor looks brilliant. I'm very happy I spent the extra couple of hundred to get this instead of the 27" Apple Cinema Display. The matte finish, the wonderful and fully adjustable (unlike Apple) stand, and 10 bit panel seals the deal.

The monitor doesn't have OSD as discussed above, but i1Display2 did a great job of calibrating it anyway. Looking at the bars through a blue filter that came with a calibration DVD some years back, I feel pretty confident that I'm getting a display I can trust for color correcting and levels. I still want to get an Ezio, or other, for external preview from a Matrox box, but at this point I can safely edit since the preview window in Final Cut is 12" wide!

I'd add this to the list if anyone is shopping around and looking at the 27" Apple Cinema Display.

Thanks all.
-Jeff
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Old February 8th, 2011, 10:47 AM   #14
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In case you didn't know, FCP requires an external I/O for accurate color representation. Apple states in the FCP manual that the canvas cannot be used for accurate color.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #15
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Now that you mention it I do recall reading that. I'll be sure to not trust the canvas too much as I wait for the external I/O device. I hope I can get it sooner rather than later.

Thanks again Steve.
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