Not all Monitor displays are made Equal, what you need to know to get accurate color!

Posted by Evan Lippincott is the VP of Technology at Aztek. Our Company Aztek is a Family business established over 35 years ago. It is my mission to provide the type of buying experience that would make the Founder of Aztek, my Father, proud. on 11th Mar 2016

Color critical applications are applications where user’s need to make color decisions based on what they see on their monitor.  This applies to various industries including motion picture, photography, fine art and graphic design to name a few.  Unfortunately the term “Color Management” has been so over used, it is now an ambiguous term.  There is a lot of misunderstanding of how to achieve color goals for these color critical applications.  However with the right professional display it is relatively simple and economically achievable.

There are multiple things that come into play with selecting a display, and I will break these up into segments.

Monitor Hardware:

Not only is the type of back-light technology used very important, but also the color temperature of the back-light, as it can bias the white point of the display.

The type of screen surface finish the display has can greatly change the appreciable color intent.  It is best to have a non-reflective viewing surface, gloss surfaces can darken or overly contrast viewing.

Speed of pixel refresh of grey, mostly important for cinema or studio work still photography not as much so.

Closed loop internal hardware level and profile generation with hardware Calibrator Sensor.Allows proprietary control of all the monitor’s Look Up Tables (LUTs) as well adjustments to perform a comprehensive calibration to the fullest fidelity possible.

Screen Resolution, standards such as 4k are becoming the norm.  Take into account the pixel dimension of the imagery you are working with as well the aspect ratio.  For both of these reasons alone it can make upgrading to a 4k monitor a smart move.

Color Standards, typically listed as the percent viewable of a certain color space which represents the ability to hit standards is greatly connected to color bit depth capability of the display itself

There are degrees of good of how I like to say it. The best solution is to go with a Display that offers the hardware calibration solution. This didn’t use to be able to be accomplished within a budget, however today there is one solution available in a 4k resolution 10bit configuration that is on the market that hits a bulls eye squarely in the center. Offering 31” viewing in a 4k IPS configuration, (Displays OVER 99.5% RGB and by supporting Adobe RGB over 99.5% as well the DCP-P3 DIGITAL CINEMA COLOR STANDARD @ 97.0% LG.  Aztek offers a LG solution from LG commercial displays which includes a sensor (upgrade sensor available on purchase) under $1,400.

The other alternative is to pair an external standalone calibration sensor to an existing monitor. This solution isn’t as accurate to the closed loop solution however can tame a not so accurate display to a reasonable color accuracy. Aztek offers a couple Xrite calibrator such as the Xrite Color Munki Photo andXrite Display Pro calibrator that include software and the sensor for this application. Due to some of the factors mentioned earlier, the hardware can limit the color response due to limitations. So please keep this in mind when deciding which solution best fits your needs.