David, I need to get a desktop monitor to add onto my laptop. Later on I will get a new desktop computer and getting a monitor now will also make that later expense easier for me to swallow. In my research, I keep running across specifications indicating contrast ratio TYPICAL (ie, 1000:1) and contrast ratio DYNAMIC (ie, 3000:1). What is the difference and how (and when) does this work. My budget is limited and I've been looking at monitors from HP, Dell, and some others trying to keep it at $250.00 and under. I just cannot find out what the typical and dynamic contrast ratio will mean to me. Thanks. Ron
Nearly all of the specifications LCD display maker publish are useless hype, and are like horsepower in a car - how often is a normal car ever running at maximum horsepower? Nearly all of the home/office LCD displays you will see are derived from TV production with a few minor differences in the electronic setup to accommodate computer use. The brands you mentioned like Dell, HP do not manufacture LCD displays - the great majority are made by LG Electronics and Samsung and the computer makers just put their brands on them - there are few actual manufacturers of LCD displays for the consumer market, nearly all of the popular brands just market a product someone else makes for the OEM market.
About the only specifications that most publish that really mean much in terms of what is required for digital photography computing are size and resolution. Contrast and brightness figures are the maximum levels at which the display will probably never be used practically.
The only LCD displays I test and review in Shutterbug are those that are made for pro-graphics by smaller specialty companies like Eizo, NEC and some sold by LaCie. Most home/office LCD displays are too bright to be used to reproduce digital photographs for accurate editing and adjustment that result in files that make color matched prints.
But I am repeating myself, I've covered all of this ground in numerous articles in Shutterbug, and notes in both my digital help column as well as in my blog.