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Old April 21st, 2011, 05:01 AM   #1
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Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

A while back, someone traded me a Blackmagic HDLink as partial payment for some work I did.

Since then it's been sitting and waiting for a monitor.

I was hoping to get an HP Dreamcolor but just can't afford one just yet.

Then someone gave me an older Apple Cinema display. Perfect! It'll work with the HDLink.... maybe. well to shorten the story, I couldn't find the required DVI-ADC adapter. So rather than fork over the criminally inflated price for an adapter (up to 3x original retail!), I went to Costco.

They had a 23" Samsung S23A350H LCD/LED monitor for $200. It features controls for the RGB channels, gamma and, of course, brightness and contrast. Very lightweight. Low power draw.

I have it set up with my edit system now. Using the monitor's controls in conjunction with the HDLink Utility software, I think I got the display qualities more or less in line with a decent broadcast monitor.

Mind you, this is with a Mark One eyeball, but for the sake of full disclosure, I was a prepress color expert before I became a TV show producer. I passed the Ishihara color vision test for a pilot's license. And my opthamologist recently declared my eyes to be perfectly healthy (no cataracts). Color has always been of paramount importance, and I'm rather picky.

I prefer to use a hardware calibrator and have a Monaco Optix to calibrate my working monitor. It won't work with the Samsung/HDLink combo.

But considering the cost of this solution, $200, compared to the HP Dreamcolor ($2700 plus the calibrator) this will work quite nicely for now.

Some caveats.

While lateral viewing angle is somewhat forgiving, vertical viewing angle is critical. Ideally the monitor should be perfectly aligned with your plane of view. In my case, the monitor will be slightly elevated, right above the computer's working monitor. So it'll have to be angled slightly downward.

Be aware that if a client is sitting nearby, what you see might not be exactly what the client sees.

This is not a monitor for highly critical color work for a major motion picture. But if your budget is limited, and whose isn't? Then this could be the ticket. The red, green and blue channels can be individually adjusted to compensate for overall color cast. And if you're driving it with a Blackmagic HDLink, there is the option of making gamut adjustments in software.

I don't know how stable this monitor is. I have no idea if it drifts significantly over a period of time. But LED's generally remain stable for thousands of hours, as I understand it. Fluorescent tubes, which illuminate most LCD monitors, aren't nearly as stable.

I've only been using this for a few hours now, and from what I've seen so far, the monitor's ability to be adjusted as needed is pretty darn good.

If you only need a monitor to do basic cuts and sound editing, then you can't go wrong. This thing doesn't weigh much: about 7 pounds. And it doesn't draw much power: 29 watts. You probably have light bulbs drawing more than that in your bathroom.

And with a narrow bezel in basic black it'll easily fit in with your edit bay's decor.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 08:05 AM   #2
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

I have 24" model, BX2450, very thin very light, good for SDEs :), and the picture quality is very good
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Old April 21st, 2011, 11:49 AM   #3
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

I also bought the Samsung S23A350H (from Costco), but returned it a few days later because the illumination was noticeably uneven - the top of the screen was darker than the bottom, gradating about 10%. A call to customer service resulted in their opinion that I had a defective unit. However, the second unit also had the same problem - both were manufactured in Feb. 2011. It's possible that it was a bad production batch, so I will return this 2nd one later and try again.

It's a great inexpensive monitor for web surfing and watching HD movies, but not really acceptable for photo retouching in Photoshop. I'm using it as a second monitor with my iMac, and if the 3rd replacement also has the same problem, I'll probably just keep it and use it to park my palettes.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

The gradient from top to bottom is (or might) the result of the monitor not being perfectly aimed at your eyes.

If it's tilted slightly you'll see a difference between the top and bottom. In my case the monitor sits just above eye level and has to be tilted downward at a slight angle.

Most LCD monitors share this same problem -- image brightness shifting if the point-of-view shifts. Some are more tolerant than others. I suspect the very expensive monitors are significantly better in that aspect as well as in their ability to present accurate and consistent color.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:00 PM   #5
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

It doesn't matter at what angle I view the monitor - the top is always relatively darker than the bottom, even though the overall brightness changes.

I'm using the Samsung as a second monitor, connected to an iMac. To verify, I created a window in Photoshop filled with a solid middle gray tint (equal R,G and B), then spanned the window across both monitors - the iMac image is uniform while the Samsung is noticeably not. I then created three windows, solid R, G, and B, and the B is noticeably worse than the R or G.

If you really don't have this problem, then the two I've tried definitely are defective.

FWIW, neither the iMac or Samsung are IPS panels.

Last edited by Tsu Terao; April 22nd, 2011 at 12:17 AM. Reason: typos
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 02:16 AM   #6
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

"FWIW, neither the iMac or Samsung are IPS panels."

Good point. Some of the Apple Cinema displays are. And so are some of the Dell's and Viewsonics. There's a lot of them.

However, while there is a major improvement of color consistency with wider viewing angles, there is also a significant difference in price.

The H-IPS and S-IPS LCD's are absolutely better than this cheap Samsung but IPS monitors that can display a full 1080p image cost anywhere from three to 15 times more.

If I could afford it, I'd get at least the HP Dreamcolor. With the calibrator, that comes to $2800 or more. And any truly serious color grading system requires a reliable hardware calibrator. I've always used one to do a weekly calibration of prepress monitors.

This Samsung is an economical stopgap to allow me to see both color and detail in a way my 14" Sony CRT couldn't do.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

Dean - Is your sample uniform in brightness, or does it exhibit the tonal gradation that I describe?
And could you share the serial # and manufacturing date on your sample? The ones I have are:
- Z31BHCKB203084H
- Z31BHCKB205707H
Both manufactured in Feb. 2011
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 07:46 PM   #8
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

Tsu....

This one has that slight vertical gradient as you described. SN is Z31BHCKB300997.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 10:59 PM   #9
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

As an inexpensive alternate, the $415 HP ZR24 (1920x1200) and $279 ZR22 (1920x1080) both have IPS panels and provide good quality for the money. There are also a couple good LCDs from Dell: Ulltrasharp U2311H for $319 and the U2211H for $279 (both are 1920x1080). AFAIK, Dell uses the same panel in their U2211H as HP's ZR22. I have the U2211H sitting next to my Eizo CG243W and even after calibration with an i1, the image is noticeably different between the two.

I also have 2 Dell 2007WFP on my home workstation and can get fairly close with calibration to my Eizo. However, none of my monitors can come close to the quality of the Eizo's blacks. Also, I cannot get any of my Dells' color as accurate as my Eizo. No matter what I do, they have either slightly more red or slightly more blue. I noticed this after color correcting footage on the Dells and then checking it with my Eizo.

FYI, Dell has coupons quite often for their LCDs and I have seen the U2211H as low as $215 and maybe even $185 but I can't recall for certain. Usually, their coupons are 25% off.

One of my favorite reasons to buy a Dell Ultrasharp is their 'No Dead Pixel' warranty for 3 years. Most manufacturers require a minimum number of dead pixels before replacement but Dell requires just ONE bad pixel. This reason is also why I don't buy LCDs from newegg because they require a certain number of bad pixels in order for a replacement within 30 days or charge you for a restocking fee.

Dean, what device do you use to get the SDI signal into your HDLink? Have you tried connecting a camera to it and using a regular monitor? If so, what are your impressions? I have been wanting the HDLink DisplayPort model for a while to use with my Eizo because both can give me 10bit and my Panasonic broadcast monitor is only 17" & 1280x720. (although I already get 10bit with my Quadro and Premiere Pro CS5).
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 04:43 AM   #10
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Re: Samsung S23A350H LED monitor

Hi Steve... I have a Blackmagic Decklink Extreme HD card. It's HDSDI out to the HDLink.

Thanks for the listing of monitors. You sure did your homework!
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