BenQ SW2700PT 27 inch Adobe RGB Color Management Monitor - Is it Worth Buying?


DSolZ

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Mar 6, 2010
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BenQ SW2700PT 27 inch Adobe RGB Color Management Monitor - Is it Worth Buying?



The monitor has a QHQ 2560x1440‎ screen covering 99% of Adobe RGB color space. It competes directly with Dell UH2716D. The full specification is available on Benq website.

Summary
Pros

  • Value for money - official Retail price is SGD 999 (you can get it for less)
  • 99% Adobe coverage
  • High contrast of 1000 (I could calibrate it to 900+ maintaining less than 2 Delta E under D50 standards)
  • Comes with Hood and OSD (This is a god send for a Adobe RGB 27 inch monitor at this price)
  • Strong monitor stand
  • Allows custom calibration

Cons

  • Uneven uniformity
  • No uniformity compensation feature.
  • Requires separate calibration devices (pre-calibrated preset is useless)
  • Unable to run calibration on presets
  • Does not allow other 3rd party color management software to write to LUT (oh well even Eizo does not)

For the price, Benq SW2700PT is indeed an option for photographers who are looking for an enthusiast level monitor for post processing, print matching and color grading.

Why is there a need for an Adobe RGB monitor?
An Adobe RGB monitor allows you visualize more colors from your photo then on limited sRGB or sub sRGB monitor. If you shoot in RAW format, which I think everyone should, the color space of the raw file is much bigger than Adobe RGB. Lightroom and Photoshop support ProPhoto RGB which is a better match to RAW file color space bigger than Adobe RGB.
The color space of professional printing paper is approximately Adobe RGB. This means you get to visualize better what the output from your print will look like.

Feature
  • 27”W 2560x1440 QHD Resolution - To me this is sufficient for my use.
  • 99% Adobe RGB with IPS technology - Adobe RGB is essential for print matching
  • Hardware Calibration with accuracy color - You will need to separately purchase a Hardware calibrator.
  • Palette Master Element color calibration software - You will need X-Rite i1 Display Pro / i1 Pro / i1 Pro 2 & Datacolor Spyder 4 / Spyder 5 calibrator to use the software. This is a very basic software which does basic validation of the calibrated profile. At least it allows validation of calibrated profile for the entry level Spyder express and professional.
  • Calibrated Preset Modes - I don't find this usable as the monitor comes in at max brightness setting, I have no idea what is the brightness setting used for these calibrations hence making these preset unusable, there are also no way for me to re-calibrate these preset
  • Black-and-White photo mode - This is a cool feature to have thought not necessary.
  • Shading Hood / OSD controller - I can't complain about freebies. Dell UH2716D does not provide hood.
  • 10 bit monitor - This a True 8 bit+2 bit simulated monitor. You will need a graphic card capable of displaying 10 bit color in OpenGL to take advantage of this in Photoshop. Only the workstation level cards have 10 bit OpenGL unlocked.
  • Calibration Report

I calibrate the screen to D50 Standard, (Luminance 100 cd, White Point 5000k, Black Point 0.4) this should technically give me a contrast of about 250 which is close to what one will get from printing paper.

We can see from the validation report below that the Average Delta E is 0.69. The max Delta E is 1.39. Hence we can see that the monitor does calibrate well at the center of the panel.
$Benq_SW2700PT_CalibCenter.jpg

The gamut volume ( (1) wired) is higher than Adobe RGB ((2) solid) thought it does not cover it 100%. But SW2700PT is really close losing out to Adobe RGB sightly in the reds.
$Benq_SW2700PT_D50_vs_aRGB.jpg

For the sake of comparisons, here is the difference in Gamut volume when comparing SW2700PT ( (1) wired) against sRGB ((2) solid). We can see that the monitor native gamut covers 100% sRGB.
$Benq_SW2700PT_D50_vs_sRGB.jpg


Uniformity
This is where the monitor performs less than idea. First up, luminance uniformity, as we can see below the left and center column of the panel is excellent. But the right column of the panel range from a 9-11% difference in luminance when compare to the center. To me for a panel without uniformity correction and for this price, an acceptable luminance differential should be less than 7%. Eizo screen usually has a difference of 1% with uniformity correction turn on.




Next up is white balance uniformity. As shown below, the white balance max white balance of approximately 126 K warmer than the center. Considering that Eizo screen shows a white balance differential of approximately 60k, the Benq panel is actually a good performer.



So far, uniformity isn't too bad for a sub SGD 1000 Adobe RGB monitor.

What kills the deal for me is I am seeing magenta color cast on the left and right columns of the panel. This is not acceptable for me. Using the calibration based on the center of the panel, I validated the panel on the left and right columns of the panel where the color cast can be seen. Delta E ranges from 1.53 - 3.8 at these locations!

I got Benq to sent me another copy of the monitor. Again uniformity and color cast is an issue and it is notably worst than the first copy I received from Benq. I heard good things about Benq SW2700PT. It might be I am just unlucky to receive sets with uniformity and color cast issue. Dell UH2716D is seemingly plagued with such problems as well.

If you intend to buy Benq SW2700PT, do make sure you buy it from a reliable store. This is to reduce the chance of you be given refurbish or return sets which probably have these issues. Make sure the store allows returns if the worst case scenario happens.
 

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