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.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I also bought this screen a few weeks ago and I’m also very happy with it!

  2. I have had this screen for quite a while now and I really love working with it, although I too often find myself just using my laptop on the sofa.

    When I do eventually wander into Office Land I find my workflow gets that much quicker. All my stuff’s plugged into the USB ports on the back (ipod cable, card reader, wacom tablet) and I just have to plug in one USB and the video cable and I’m off.

    Working with the screen in portrait mode is killer. I can turn the Wacom Intuos 4 vertically to match the screen and it makes working on portrait pictures in PS a real dream. The only thing I need to figure out is a quick toggle for changing my screen rotation in Mac OS X.

    The wide color gamut can be a bit problematic. I work in Aperture, and if my screen goes to sleep I have to quit Aperture, launch ColorSync, reset the HP to default display and relaunch Aperture. If not, the image on the HP goes totally whack, but only for Aperture. What a pain in my hole! Also I’ve noticed that in Safari (I don’t know if it’s the same in Firefox) that most thumbnail images have no colorspace embedded and they become WAY over saturated. Looking at images on Flickr and whatnot is fine when viewing in the stream or on the image page though.

    I bought the Eye One Display 2 with this as well and it calibrated both the HP screen and my MacBook Pro screen with no problems. Speaking of which, I should probably do that again soon.

    See ya!

  3. Chris, Roger: Thanks for your comments!

    Chris: Yeah, the untagged color files are a pain with the big gamut. No real solution for that, I’m afraid, but i only really use the Office Computer for image editing anyway, so my few forays into general web browsing tend to be brightly colored but rare enough to not be a problem.

    My HP is on a Windows desktop machine, I’m surprised that your screen going to sleep bites your monitor as badly as it does, that’s… really harsh. I would have assuemed that ColorSync could keep the monitor in sync. Yow, that’s painful.

  4. The ColorSync problem isn’t so bad. It’s just like a whip, keeping me working so the monitor doesn’t go to sleep, ha! No, typically I’ll turn off the screen sleep if it gets too annoying. I’m holding out for some sort of fix when I upgrade to Snow Leopard.

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