PREVIEW: THE DELL ULTRASHARP U2410 LCD DISPLAY

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A Shutterbug reader, Tracy Valleau, e-mailed me suggesting I take a look at the Dell Ultrasharp U2410 LCD display. I did and found it to be one I can recommend for digital photography. I purchased one to test and for my own personal use. This Dell U2410 is a 24 inch widescreen LCD display with 1920x1200 pixel resolution. What makes it suited to digital photography and professional graphics is its wide color gamut of 96% of Adobe RGB and its white luminance is adjustable to 80-90.0 CD/m2 providing a high reproduction screen image quality. Its 12-bit internal processing assures a smooth rendition of tones on-screen that’s in a bezel and stand that is sturdy but light with an excellent design that’s carefully manufactured. In all respects this Dell Ultrasharp U2410 is much more affordable at a list price of $599 while entirely competitive with more expensive brands favored for a color managed digital photography workflow.

In addition the connectivity support includes a full range of connectors from traditional D-sub, two DVI, an HDMI and Display Port, and also includes a powered USB hub and media card reader. Equally significant the Dell U2410 can be adjusted, calibrated and profiled using all the popular systems including ColorEyes Display Pro (www.integrated-color.com), DataColor Spyder3 Elite (www.datacolor.com), or X-Rite iOne Display 2 (www.xrite.com). However, if a user has a profiling colorimeter and software over a year old they may need to upgrade the hardware to a colorimeter that has a wide band width that will read the 96% Adobe RGB color reproduced by the U2410 LCD display. As part of the fine design of the U2410, Dell has positioned the adjustment control button on the vertical bezel at the lower-right corner and it has an on-screen control dialog that is adjacent to the control buttons. This makes the entire adjustment procedure with a color management application on-screen, accessible at all times and very easy to read and manipulate to set the U2410 up for digital photography work. Some of my readers have complained that at a brightness with the white luminance at 90.0 CD/m2, their screen is darker than they would like when used for other than photography computing. With the handy access to the controls and on-screen readout adjacent to it, a user should set the top control to Adobe RGB for photographic work, and then could switch to another mode for a brighter setup for home/office computing very easily.

WORKING WITH THE DELL ULTRASHARP U2410
From the moment after the Dell box with the U2410 arrived, the installation and setup was a gentle breeze. But then I’ve done this bit how many times? Regardless it should be easy even for the inexperienced. I already had a DVI cable connected to the Display Port adapter Apple supplied with my computer, so it was quick connecting the power, the video to a year old Mac Mini, and USB as well. I booted up, and found the display worked fine reproducing the desktop I had been using with my Mini, so I left it running to warm up the U2410 thoroughly while having lunch. After that respite, I quickly re-booted and was set to use the ColorEyes Display Pro with a new Spyder3 colorimeter I had gotten a few months ago (I now have two, an old sRGB Spyder3 I now use with my office computer and LCD HD TV).

After using the top control button and setting the Dell to run in Adobe RGB mode, adjusting to obtain a 90.0 CD/m2 white luminance readout with ColorEyes, was really simple, just moving the Contrast % lower until the ColorEyes readout went a bit below 90.0 CD/m2 (Brightness adjustment was at 50% and not adjusted). Then I clicked on ColorEyes’ Profile button with my aim points set at gamma 2.2 and a color temperature of 6500K, and the U2410 was calibrated and profiled in just a few minutes. The resulting screen appearance looked even and clean and not as dark as some might expect at less than half the white luminance many who leave the settings at default would find. In fact my environment lighting for the desk the U2410 lives on, is a Fobsun 90 LED Downlight I wrote about in my Blog not long ago. It is mounted on an old Century stand with an arm that holds the Fobsun LED about a foot above and six inches behind the U2410, and the lamp is turned to shine down and back on a wall 3 feet behind the display. The result is plenty of illumination for the desktop ideally balanced in brightness and color with the display.

This was all done almost a month ago, and since, I have used the Dell Ultrasharp U2410 to edit and process a large digital camera shoot, scan dozens of slides, E-6 and Kodachromes, as well as negatives. Each image was fully color corrected, adjusted and edited including cleanup and retouching, and I even took a spell to build a layered composite image from two slide scans in Photoshop. Working with the Dell U2410 almost every day for a month I was fully assured by the experience, if I had no other display available I would be quite happy and satisfied. The Dell Ultrasharp U2410 LCD display has all the essential qualities needed for color managed digital photography computing and provides very good print matching between the screen image and an Epson R1900 13x19 print on fine art paper. My conclusion has to be nothing less than exuberant that there is finally an affordable, full 24 inch LCD display that fully meets the needs of photographers in all dimensions of performance.

The details of my tests including screenshots and finished images with captions and detailed comments will be included in the article I will submit to Shutterbug for publication in the paper edition.

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