As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve recently been upgrading my primary digital darkroom machine, and I was happy enough with how cheaply I was able to get a machine that really met my needs that I decided to take a better look at upgrading my monitor. I’d been using a decent but much older 21″ Dell “Ultrasharp” monitor, and with calibration it was more than good enough for me to get a lot of my work done, but I still felt that something a little bigger might be of value, so I started looking at bigger (24-inch), and perhaps better LCDs for my system. I hoped to find something a little better in gamut size and viewing angle than the (perfectly nice) Dell, but a lot more affordable than the high-end ::amazon(“B0012RZK1Y”, “EIZO”):: monitors in the same size range. I ended up with the ::amazon(“B001FS1LLI”, “HP LP2475w”)::, and I thought I’d share some of my initial impressions with you here.
While most LCD monitors out there are TN (twisted nematic) panels, for photographers these panels pose two challenges, limited color gamut and narrow viewing angle. The color and brightness shfits (as you change viewing angle) pose a real challege for photographers and other professionals with real colors. The HP panel uses IPS (in-plane switching), which can provide a much wider gamut and a much wider usable viewing angle (rated at 178 degrees), and that was one of the first things that attracted me to it. Those expectations were met, the 2475w is quite bright, has a wide gamut, and color constancy with viewing angle is excellent. A few reviewers have noted mild color shifts across the panel but I haven’t observed that to be the case for my unit.
There are a few drawbacks to IPS LCD panels worth noting, they’re the wrong choice for high-end gaming because of slow pixel response times. Also, the wide gamut can be a drawback in non-color managed applications, where colors can end up looking overly saturated. I’m not a serious gamer, and I wasn’t personally bothered by the saturation.
The unit calibrates consistently and well using my Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display 2 (an older version of what’s now called the ::amazon(“B000JLO31M”, “X-Rite EODIS2 Eye-One Display 2”)::. With the “basic” calibration the Eye One software made use of the monitor’s enormous brightness, producing a result in the 300 cd/m2 range, far, far brighter than usually recommended working levels. An advanced calibration targeting 120 cd/m2 brightness worked great.
The build quality seems quite good, the HP is a little bulky and a bit heavier than I expected, but it feels solid, the controls are understated (save for an overly bright power LED, which can be turned off) and flush with the monitor bezel. The thing has a mess of ports–a pair of DVI-I ports, one each HDMI, DisplayPort, Component, S-Video and Composite Video, and it also serves as a hub for six USB ports.
There are certainly other excellent monitors in this category. Dell’s current 24″ Dell UltraSharp LCD, the 2408WFP, is similarly priced and gets great reviews but doesn’t quite have the gamut and viewing angle of the HP unit. The NEC LCD2490WUXI-BK looks great as well, but is significantly more expensive. Both are worth a look if you’re buying something in this category, but I’m very, very pleased with my HP.