The Samsung SyncMaster 244T And 214T LCD Displays; Sometimes Bigger Is Better Page 2

The Samsung SyncMaster 244T LCD Display In Use
With the computer turned off I connected the SyncMaster 244T and plugged in the power cord and booted up the computer. I immediately found that the default monitor profile had been switched to the Samsung profile provided on connection, so was able to go straight into launching Photoshop CS2. I opened my composite image print test file to get an idea of how the Samsung display was reproducing a typical range of photographic values. At the default setting, as expected, the display's high brightness and contrast was noticeably washing out detail in the photo image's highlights. So, being logical I thought, I pressed the button controls on the display and began lowering the brightness until sufficient detail in the highlights was visible on screen. But then, looking at the shadows, the tones were merged together and too dark to see detail. So, I hit the display buttons again and lowered the contrast until the shadows opened up adequately to see detail.

Now I was ready to use my ColorVision Spyder2PRO to calibrate and profile the monitor to parameters consistent with my Photoshop work space, which is Adobe RGB (1998), with a color temperature of 6500K and a gamma of 2.2. That went smoothly, and the result with Photoshop running was a slightly cleaner on-screen image. To test critical Photoshop functionality I opened a raw 16-bit and unedited scan file and went about color correcting it. My goal is always to fine-tune the image so that the on-screen image matches and yields a good print. So I turned on my Epson R2400 and made a print. Oops, too dark compared to what I would obtain doing the same thing with a CRT in place of the Samsung SyncMaster 244T.

OK, again trying to be logical, I assumed I was misplacing the midpoint gray because the display was too bright, so I again lowered brightness. Did that work? Well, a little, but not enough. So I tried dulling the brightness more. But this was to no avail, as the display was beginning to look really dull and muddy. Going back to square one and putting logic aside, I began by lowering the contrast control on the SyncMaster 244T significantly and the brightness down just a little, and again for the umpteenth time calibrating and making a new display profile. Ah! Looks good, and after color correcting yet another file and making a print, I was almost there. With just one more tweak--lowering the contrast just a bit more and increasing the SyncMaster brightness setting a nudge--I again profiled the display. After again doing yet another raw file and making a print, I was dead on, obtaining a just about ideal print that matched the display image. In addition, I was then able to make easy and accurate color correction and image adjustments.

Panorama Pleasures

The Samsung SyncMaster 244T LCD display provides a depth and richness of color that makes for critical image adjustments. And although it will display two full portrait mode photographs side by side and leave room for application control windows, it should be a must for photographers working with panoramic format images.

Although this seems like a lot of effort and time just to get a display to function ideally, it is a one-time thing and very much worth the effort. But because this involves individual perception, and there are bound to be differences in digital darkroom environments and perceptions, that may influence the perceived effect, I won't be more specific about what the final settings adjustments were; it just might lead you astray.

On To Work

I must note that I'd always experienced all this before with LCDs, and never satisfactorily resolved it. But now that I had the SyncMaster I was eager to get on with all the other things I do with my computer to accomplish digital photography tasks. This includes downloading raw digital camera files and processing them, scanning slides and film, and color correcting and editing images. During the time I was testing the SyncMaster 244T I was also in the midst of calibrating and profiling different papers as part of a beta test of a new color management system. And the result of all these tasks entirely confirmed that I had gotten to a point with an LCD that worked in every respect as well as what I have been used to with CRTs.

But I also learned from the experience with the Samsung SyncMaster 244T that its rather extreme screen width compared to its height provided a real bonus. In the past I had tried using two monitors side by side, using one to display the image I was working on full-screen and the other one for all the tool dialogs and control windows. For some reason I never found using dual monitors was comfortable or an entirely advantageous way to work. So the next time I needed a new monitor I just decided to afford a bigger one. But the Samsung SyncMaster 244T's extreme-wide format provides plenty of room for a large landscape image or two quite large portrait images open side by side, and still has room at the sides for all the dialogs and control windows I needed open to work--the best of both worlds.

But I was getting too comfortable, as it was about time to pack up the Samsung and send it back. If my CRTs didn't have at least close to a year's more good life, I'd have just sent the company a check instead. But I've already purchased as many of the products I've tested during 2005 that I can afford.

Evaluation And Recommendation
On the basis of my experience, the 244T, and by extension its slightly smaller relative, the 214T, have to be among the best LCDs for photographic computing of any displays offered at a competitive price. Frankly, that doesn't leave many brands left to try. The Samsung SyncMaster 244T I worked with is a solid, finely-crafted product that reproduces photographic images with a beautiful richness of color. It also provides the means to adjust the image attributes to individual perception that allows for a close match to what you would expect from the image on screen.

Now that the CRTs photographers and graphic pros relied on for years are gone, I and a lot of fellow digital photographers I've talked with have been concerned whether any LCD from the general computer marketplace could do the job that CRTs handled in the past. I'm happy to report that this newest Samsung SyncMaster model meets the test in all respects.

Technical Specifications
Samsung SyncMaster 244T (214T)
Type
: a-si TFT/PVA
Size: 24" (21.3")
Native Resolution: 1920x1200 pixels (1600x1200 pixels)
Pixel Pitch (mm): 0.270
Brightness (cd/m2): 400 cd/m2 (300 cd/m2)
Response Time: 6 ms [G to G] (8 ms [G to G])
Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (900:1)
Viewing Angle: 178Þ/178Þ
Interface: Analog/Digital
Input Video Signal: Analog RGB, TMDS Digital Link, S-Video, CVBS
Input Connectors: 15 Pin D-Sub, DVI-D, S-Video, CVSB, Component
Power Consumption: 100w [Max] (65w)
Stand Type: Four-way adjustable [pivot, tilt, swivel]
Dimensions: 22.9x19.9x10" (18.5x18.4x9.0")

For more information, contact Samsung Electronics America, Consumer Electronics, 105 Challenger Rd., Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660; (800) 726-7864; www.samsung.com/products/monitor/index.asp.

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