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Eizo CG210 (CG211) LCD display review
A high end LCD monitor for colour critical applications
Not all LCD monitors are created equal - not by a long way.
Keith was recently lent an EIZO CG210 and has written this brief overview of some of its functionality.
Eizo make a range of monitors including some for the high end graphics and photography market, -- so, what do you get for that extra cash?
Note that the Eizo CG211 is now listed as a replacement for this monitor - the specifications are very similar and you might be able to get a good deal on remaining CG210s
Eizo make a range of high end monitors where the emphasis is on image quality, and performance to match the demands of professional users.
OK, that sounds like a bit of marketing speak - what do you actually get with a CG210 (or as of Nov 2006 a CG211 ) to make it worth while?
I'm going to mention some of the features and specifications of the CG210 from Eizo themselves, since apart from checking the evenness of the screen with my Eye One spectrophotometer (which it passed very easily), I've not got the equipment (or a long enough lifetime) to measure it all :-)
Some key features:
"Incorporates a powerful new EIZO-developed ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) with 14-bit colour processing capability (16 times more accurate than 10-bit)"
Effectively this means smoother gradations in tone on your screen - or less chance of showing any banding. It's one of the reasons that it can be better to set LCD displays (especially laptops and cheaper monitors) to a native colour temperature, rather than a particular value.
You trade the ability to accurately set the temperature, for a better looking display. For most users, this -really- doesn't matter (my laptop uses 'native' settings), but when it does, you will want to look at higher spec monitors.
Factory Adjustment of Gamma
"To ensure the most accurate and consistent colour gradations possible, EIZO carefully measures and sets every shade of R, G, and B from 0 – 255 on the production line with the monitor's 10-bit Look-Up Table (LUT), to produce a monitor gamma value of 2.2. If a different value is preferred, the bundled ColorNavigator software can be used to assign a value ranging from 1.0 – 2.6 in increments of 0.1 or L*"
As before -- if accuracy matters...
ColorNavigator Calibration Software
"This EIZO-developed software comes bundled with ColorEdge models and offers 10-bit hardware calibration when used with a GretagMacbeth, X-Rite, or ColorVision measurement device."
Although I tested the monitor both on a Dual G5 Mac and my PowerBook, the pictures of it sitting on my piano look a bit better and also show the quality of the light in the room with the curtains closed :-) The pictures are white balanced to show the screen accurately. As before, better bit depth helps produce better results, but you do have to use the Eizo software to get the best results.
After plugging in, the monitor was immediately recognised and worked with both machines.
Monitor type was autodetected
A default profile was also available
The start up for the Colour navigator screen - could we have a bit better use of English please?
The 'Minutely' option is actually what would better be described as 'Advanced' mode...
The default mode gives you two options:
5000K for printing
6500K for photo
'Minutely' mode offers far more...
Note also the L* mode which I found gave an excellent greyscale, and might well be my choice for B/W work (although my Apple 23" is just fine at native/G2.2)
The ColorNavigator software supports a number of hardware calibrators - only one I didn't try was the OPTIX (send me one and I'll include it ;-)
I've got reviews and articles on some of these devices if you are not sure what they are and what they can do for ordinary monitors
Multiple monitors are supported with no problem.
Note that I've looked at the Mac version of the software -- PCs are supported just as well
The software knows what shape your devices are...
Eye One Display
Calibration with the Eye One Display
Note Keith in background, playing piano, waiting for calibration to run - all devices took about the same time
Calibration with the Spyder
Although you should use the supplied calibration software to make optimal use of the CG210 hardware, I tried out the Eye One Match software just to get these graphs showing the much larger gamut of the CG210 than my laptop - not terribly meaningful, but you get the idea...
Hardware-Based Portrait Mode Support for Macintosh and Windows
"Provides built-in support for portrait mode with the EIZO’s exclusive ActiveRotation II technology."
Now here is a function I've not used since the old Radius Pivot (about 15 yrs ago on Macs)
Look at the three pictures of the monitor connected to my Apple laptop. Rotating the display switches back to the small screen for a few seconds and then back to the portrait view.
Useful, but I do like bigger screens (Apple 30" next time for me :-)
The sample looked at, came with a robust three part monitor hood that would be useful in ensuring that surrounding lighting minimised the influence on what you see. The environment shown here is not adequate for accurate colour work - if you don't know why, then either you are not doing that sort of work or you -really- ought read up on it some more! :-) See Why my prints don't match my screen for some references
Monitor hood - image is the Northlight Images Black and White Test Image
My own temptation would be to make such a screen with black card, felt and a hot melt glue gun, but then I do stuff like that ;-)
A very nice monitor, that in terms of evenness of illumination and overall image quality was superior to my Apple 23" Cinema display. However, the Apple display is bigger (size matters) and just looks nicer on -my- desk.
The Cinema display even looks good from behind, where the Eizo could not be said to be attractive even by its greatest fans.
That's all good and well, but you get an Eizo screen like this because you want colour accuracy and performance - you have to decide what is important to you for your work and whether the difference -really- matters from a business point of view.
The monitor is also part of "the SWOP-certified Remote Director -- a monitor-based proofing system from Integrated Colour Solutions, Inc. SWOP certification means graphics professionals can use this system in place of hardcopy proofs and perform all colour checks on-screen." Once again, if you know that this is important for your work, it should make a difference.
Not the best view :-)
What it comes down to, is what kind of work you do and how much care you want/need to take in getting colour as accurate as possible.
Don't forget that to make the best use of this monitor (or one of the latest even higher spec ones) you need to understand why the features/functionality make a difference and all the other factors that make a come into play -- such as the colour of the paint on the walls of your office.
When looking at a range of monitors, consider what meets your needs - not having used Eizo top end monitors before, I was impressed by the image quality. Certainly one I'll be suggesting that clients might want to consider (Note that we do not sell hardware or software at all)
Our monitor was lent to us by Eizo UK who can provide more details on their entire range of monitors.
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The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
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