Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why a high quality screen matters

This post stems from an interesting comment I got in my "Colorado Wonders" thread on dpreview.com.
I figured what I explain below may be of interest to several of you.
Basically it boils down to this: is a high quality screen really worth it? Does it really make a difference versus a cheap TFT screen?
My answer is: YES, YES and YES!
Here is my story:
I used to have a somewhat cheap LCD screen before (that I had calibrated using a spider 2). I was pleased with the results on screen. However, when I was making prints of my photos what I saw on screen didn't match the output on paper at all. Not in terms of colors, but in terms of brightness: all my shots were at least 1 stop under-exposed on paper and there were much much more contrasty than on screen! Therefore, every time I wanted to print a photo, I would make a "print" version JPG which had +1 EV applied to it and I applied a contrast reduction as well. It really annoyed me.
After some time, I was fed up with this discrepancy, so I decided to invest in some high quality screen. I settled on a Dell U2311H IPS screen (awesome deal for the price - probably the best value at the time!). The difference with my old screen was simply unbelievable! This screen now matches very closely what I see on prints. I noticed that an image that looked right on my new IPS screen looked much more dull and blown out on my old screen. Typically, on the old screen it looked less contrasty and much more washed out!
To give you an idea, something black on my new screen looks more like dark grey on my old screen. The great thing is that now I know what I see on my screen matches closely what I'll obtain in prints.
I suspect some people are experiencing this when looking at my photos on their screens. My wife's laptop has also the same problem. My pics look over exposed on her screen. That sucks.
Before buying this excellent IPS screen, I've never imagined there would be so much difference.
The bottom line is this: if you want to get prints that look closely to what your'e seeing on screen, I encourage you to buy a high quality IPS screen, you won't regret it :)

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