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Recensione del monitor wide gamut da 24’’ BenQ SW240 con calibrazione hardware

Keith Cooper
2018/06/01

Fotografo di architettura e tipografo d’arte / Regno Unito

Keith è un fotografo commerciale e tipografo d’arte con sede a Leicester, nel Regno Unito, che si occupa di architettura, interni e fotografia industriale. Le sue foto sono spesso utilizzate in varie pubblicazioni in tutto il mondo.

Keith ha provato il più recente monitor BenQ rivolto ai fotografi e ai professionisti della grafica che desiderano un display con una gamma più ampia e calibrazione hardware. Con i suoi 24’’ è più piccolo dei monitor da 32’’ o 27’’ con cui preferisce lavorare, ma è l’ideale per lavorare in un ambiente con spazio più limitato o con un laptop come display principale. Ulteriori informazioni a BenQ

Il BenQ SW240

Ok, forse sono troppo abituato ai grandi monitor, ma il mio primo pensiero nel vedere l’SW240 è stato quanto è piccolo...

Poi ho capito che non stavo cercando un sostituto per i grandi dispositivi che ho sul desktop, ma un monitor di alta qualità adatto a spazi più piccoli o come display esterno per il mio laptop.

Le funzionalità del monitor

Il nuovo monitor è destinato al mercato del fotoritocco, a complemento dell’SW2700PT QHD da 27 pollici, dell’SW271 UHD da 27 pollici e dell’SW320 UHD da 32 pollici. I collegamenti portano alle mie recensioni

  • Hardware Calibration with Palette Master Element calibration software
  • Colour Mode HotKey for colour mode switching
  • Advanced Black & White mode
  • Optional shading hood

I’m looking at the standard version without the hood.

The monitor is well packed, and on opening you get the monitor’s own calibration certificate.

Assemblaggio e test

Assemblare e connettere il monitor richiede solo pochi minuti.

First up a quick check of the box contents.

You’ll note that I’ve used the bag for the display to protect it and the table from marks.

The stand comes in two parts.


The two slot together.


The screw can easily be tightened by hand.



The panel mounting plate then simply clips into place at the back of the screen.


A good set of leads – even if I have to swap the power lead I’ve got for a UK plug version.


All the connections at the base.


There are two USB-C sockets at the side, along with an SD card reader.


I just need the DisplayPort lead and the USB lead for my MacBook.

Here it is set up and working (in black and white mode).

The whole process would take not a lot more time than it has for you to read this.

(BTW, the room is orange because of the halogen lighting – I’ve white balanced shots to the screen)



The display worked just fine with my oldish MacBook Pro, whether in landscape or portrait mode.

You’ll notice the device to the left – this is an X-rite i1Display Pro calibrator [review] that I used for initial screen calibration and profiling.

Profilazione e calibrazione

Prima di utilizzare qualsiasi nuovo monitor mi piace assicurarmi che sia impostato correttamente e ciò significa profilarlo e calibrarlo.


Remember that profiling is measuring the characteristics of the monitor (how red its deepest red is for example) whilst calibration involves setting it to a known state (its whitepoint or maximum luminance for example). These two terms are often used interchangeably, but remember that they do actually refer to different things.

BenQ fornisce un software gratuito che consente di configurare la calibrazione hardware interna del monitor. La calibrazione dell’hardware tende ad essere superiore in quanto consente una regolazione molto più precisa delle caratteristiche del monitor e può dare un risultato più uniforme e coerente.

Questa è una caratteristica limitata ai monitor di fascia alta, ma si sta facendo strada anche in monitor più economici (di migliore qualità).


The Palette Master Element software (Mac and PC) supports a number of different measuring devices.

No ColorMunki support I’m afraid – You’ll need to complain to X-rite, not BenQ about that though, since they don’t make drivers available to third parties.

The software has basic and advanced modes. The main difference is that you get more options for the advanced mode.

I’m using the i1Display Pro device – the software will let you check that it’s connected.


There are default groups of settings such as the ‘photographer’ one here.

I can change the white point as I see fit.

I’ll come back to a discussion of my personal choices for settings later.

I can choose how bright I want the screen too.

Once I’ve decided on the settings, I move to measuring the screen characteristics.

I need a name for the ICC profile generated – the suggested one contains the various settings and will do just fine.

I’m actually saving this calibration set to one of the custom ones (I’ll come back to these choices).

Once I’m ready to take the measurements, I just hang the sensor over the monitor.

With the MacBook Pro I need to set the screen brightness manually, but on other systems it’s automatic.

Once the brightness is set, the screen displays various greys and colours, whilst the the i1Display measures them.

After a few minutes, the process is finished.

You can run a validation check – some more measurements are taken and you get this report.

I’ve used the Adobe98 gamut setting of the monitor here.

Modalità avanzata

Il processo di calibrazione/profilazione è lo stesso anche in modalità avanzata, ci sono solo alcune opzioni in più e il flusso di lavoro è leggermente più lungo.



If you’re new to setting up such monitors, don’t get too concerned about all the options.

I’d suggest that if you take the approach that a ‘default setting you don’t understand is one that probably doesn’t need changing’, you won’t go wrong to start with.

Take these ‘photographer’ settings for example…



Nothing too bad about selecting D65 and Adobe98.

Personally, I find 160 cd/m2 a bit bright for my editing choice. I’d prefer ~120 or even 100 if I’m working in a darker room and editing for prints.  It does depend on just what sort of environment you’re working in, but remember that having your monitor too bright is one of the most common reasons for dark prints.


You can also set the RGB primaries to the best the display can do (native) or other specific settings.

You can specify a larger set of target colours to measure.


The measurement process is just the same and when completed you get the chance to run the validation step.

Note how I’ve saved this particular configuration to ‘Calibration 2’.

The validation report (info as above) can be saved as well.

Le mie preferenze di configurazione

Come ho già detto, le impostazioni predefinite “per i fotografi” non costituiranno un problema per la maggior parte delle persone.

However, my own preferences are to fine tune things a bit for my work.

D65 at 120 is fine for my day to day editing, where I’m often supplying images for web use. I use the panel’s native gamut settings to get the best range of ‘real’ colours it can manage.

I generate the 16 bit LUT versions of profiles since they give a marginal benefit on my Mac.

One of the features of the SW240 is that you can quickly switch between stored calibrations via the on-screen display.

The quick selection button offers three settings to be used.

The standard setup includes a B&W mode for the screen – I do a lot of B&W work, so prefer to do conversions from colour to B&W under my control. That lets me cut out that one.

My own set of three ‘quick select’ options are:

  • Calibration 1:
    D65 120cd/m2, native gamut, G2.2
    – Day to day use
  • Calibration 2:
    5500K, 100cd/m2, native gamut, G2.2
    – Print preparation and soft proofing
  • sRGB
    160cd/m2
    – ‘Quick check’ of what images will look like to many web users

With my Macs, there is one thing to note about swapping calibrations on the monitor. Swapping the calibration does not change the active ICC profile for the screen. The ICC profile is what applications (such as Lightroom/Photoshop) use to ‘know’ what to display.

This means that if I swap from C1 to C2 I need to swap the active profile in my System Preferences – this is why meaningful profile names matter.

For the ‘quick sRGB check’ I don’t bother, since web display colour management still remains an area of unpredictable mystery (made worse by phones).

For video, you might want different settings groups, but the nice thing is that you have all the options.

Conclusioni

Un monitor molto bello da usare.

The matt screen surface is good at handling extraneous light, as you can see from the print frame and glass behind the screen (note a bit of moire on the screen – a camera artefact).

The IPS screen is pretty even, with only a slight falloff along the very bottom of the screen I tested. Even that is much less noticeable if you’re properly square on to the screen.

I use  a monitor hood with the main monitors in my office, so did wonder if I’d notice the lack of one with the standard SW240.

Not too much actually – reminding me that I never used one for the first 25 years of my image editing history.

The BenQ hoods fit very easily (see my other reviews) but I’m sure that if you’re really on a tight budget and wanted to use the SW240 in a bright environment, you could make one from black art board ;-)
(Note – At the time of writing, I see the SW240 being offered in the US with a free hood)

In these days of super high resolution screens, I’m going to say that for general working I prefer the lower PPI of this 1920 pixel wide screen. I don’t do 4k or 8k video and have no desire to watch video/TV content on a screen that close to me.

I need glasses for screen use and find that current implementations of content scaling for high DPI screens don’t work well enough. I know that when Karen tested the 4k SW271 (see my SW271 review) on her Mac she found that at 27″ she preferred to set the resolution to 1920 wide (with super fine 4k HDR as and when actually needed).

I suppose I’m saying that you don’t need to jump on the 4k bandwagon just yet – at least not at 24″ width.

It’s difficult to show the real benefits of a wide gamut monitor in a web article, but the image of the cactus flowers in our conservatory made it really clear

The insides of the red flowers show almost no structure when viewed on my laptop screen, or with the SW240 set at sRGB.

Move to A98 (or ‘native’ as I had it set) and there is clear detail in those intense reds.

A different view (slightly different white balance) shows some of the detail, but for both these examples I’ve had to turn down the saturation when processing the images for display here, on the web.

The use of a larger gamut also brings out more detail and depth in those dark background greens/browns.

As you’d expect, printing this image raises all kinds of issues.

Update: I’ve written another article covering the editing and printing of bright colours in photos.

The monitor has a useful range of inputs, with the two USB sockets and SD card reader at the side being helpful, although a little tricky to reach without access to the back of the monitor.

The screen is quite elegantly styled, and it was only when I looked at some older monitors I realised just how thin that edge was.

It’s interesting to see what were once the specifications of really high end monitors making it into the broader market. If you take care with your approach to colour management, stepping up to a monitor like this can make a real difference to your photographic output and print quality.

It’s a monitor I’d be happy to take with me when explaining the benefits of colour management to clients, if just to show the clear difference between the MacBook display and the SW240 for those red flowers.

Monitor per fotografi da 24,1 pollici e Adobe RGB | SW240
  • 99% Adobe RGB Color Space with IPS technology
  • 24.1 Inch 1920x1200 Resolution
  • Hardware Calibration with accuracy color

 

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