Digital Imaging Expert & Landscape Photographer/ Spain
Hugo Rodriguez is a landscape photographer and expert of color calibration and digital image.
The SW2700PT is a screen that shows that BenQ has taken very seriously the introduction of hi-end monitors for photography and design to the world. The most demanding photographers will appreciate their wide range of colors, very well organized menus and the easy handling with the innovative remote control. And its additional features: the monitor and the Palette Elements program. Excellent and with a very good price that will surprise many people.
In the modern photography all the information are digital. This is very good and has a lot of advantages, such as the fact that the photos do not degrade with time (on a hard drive, of course), the possibilities of manipulation are extraordinary or the fact that the copies are identical to the original.
But if we can ask the photographers: What aspects do they have in their photos? Or, more specifically, what color do they have? Surely many would hesitate to answer...
That happens because the digital system has brought the mathematical precision to the image but its visual representation is not something obvious, like when you used to take a slide in the hand and look directly at it with your eyes. There is no such thing in digital. It all depends on a "window" to this digital world. And if that window is not perfectly tuned, what is it really showing to you?
Hence the importance of having a good screen, a good range of color (preferably equal to or superior to that of a paper copy) and good contrast.
And, what is interesting about this BenQ screen? This manufacturer has stood out for its monitors with very competitive prices, but if we talk about high-end monitors, the photographers we are most familiar with names like NEC, EIZO or DELL.
Well, BenQ has seen an interesting market opportunity in the high-end segment, and wants to take advantage of it. It seems certain that the photograph will continues its 'boom' and is increasingly demanding more high-end screens, which offer very high levels of quality and at prices below 600€, something unthinkable a few years ago.
Among the medium-high range and the top screens (NEC, EIZO), there is a gap that perhaps only DELL covers (closer to the lower area than top one) and BenQ seems interested in covering this gap, but perhaps the area slightly above DELL. With the emergence of BenQ, NEC and EIZO are placed in a more difficult situation; DELL expects it to be a tough competitor...
The SW2700PT is a high-end monitor with a high quality IPS panel with wide viewing angles and wide color range, much more superior to that of the space Adobe RGB 1998. It has all the ingredients of a high-end monitor: a good panel, a wide range of color, great uniformity across the length and height of the screen and it can be calibrated by hardware. It has all the monitor settings in these ranges (height, tilt, vertical rotation...) and also comes with a standard and well-developed monitor, which helps to protect from stray lights.
In conjunction with X-Rite, the engineers at BenQ have developed software that uses its engine to do a calibration of both the white point and the gray response, and stores it in the monitor itself, which has several advantages, all of which are intended to get higher quality.
Furthermore, the monitor features a 3D LUT of 14bits, which enables you, for example, to model the range of color to reduce and adjust with great precision to the sRGB or Rec 709 (the standard of HD video). This is something that is normally reserved for the best monitors, and that until now was the exclusive territory of NEC, EIZO (and the defunct QUATO).
One of the things I have liked the most is the innovative built-in "remote control ". Usually the on- screen menus (the so-called OSD) monitors tend to be Spartans, little intuitive and very cumbersome to use. The BenQ menu not only is very well designed (it is much more intuitive than most menus) and is very easy to use, plus using it with the remote control is a pleasure. It is infinitely faster and convenient to use. And all this without losing capacity or becoming like a basic game menu.
It’s a great idea without a doubt. The menu is very well organized and does not duplicate controls that are confusing or unnecessary, as this happens in many mid-range models. Besides that, the range of color can be chosen directly and independently of other aspects (white point, gamma), with selections between Adobe RGB 1998 and sRGB, something that is very rare.
Besides that, you can adjust each one of the 6 primary settings to taste (both in hue and saturation) thanks to its 3D LUT, which allows a very fine adjustment, necessary for video calibrations.Very interesting, of course, is the black and white mode for those who like this type of image.
The BenQ software, Palette Master Elements, was created by the brand using the X-Rite engine, and is compatible with the majority of its calibrations.
The software allows you to calibrate virtually all possible parameters, and it is the only way to access the two internal and default calibrations, apart from the presets. These two calibrations enjoy a 3D LUT of 14 bits, which in principle guarantees a very high fidelity.
The panel is an IPS of large angles of vision and 10-bit color depth, characteristic of the orbit hi-end screens, as you would expect from a monitor of this category. The color range is as promised: covers 99% of the Adobe RGB color space but surprisingly is significantly higher.
And the color space covers the FOGRA, UGRA, and SWOP for offset printing, which makes it a very good candidate for those who direct their images to be printed. It is precisely due to the latter that it has received the suitability certification for soft proofing (color testing on the screen).
It has a screen brightness standardization system for those who do not appreciate "hot spots” or shadows along the length and width of the screen.
The monitor has been calibrated by the factory (not profiled; that is to say: you have to generate the ICC profile once you connect it to a computer) and comes with a certificate with the results, so that the gray curve is perfectly adjusted to the gamma 2.2 and the Adobe RGB and sRGB presets correspond faithfully with the representative standards. The deviation is less than Delta E 2, a pretty good value.
In short, SW2700PT is a screen that shows that BenQ has taken very seriously the introduction of hi-end monitors for photography and design to the world. The most demanding photographers will appreciate the wide range of color, very well organized menus and easy handling with the innovative remote control. And its additional features: the monitor and the Palette Elements. Well, and the price is so good that will surprise many people.