Post-processing is an essential part of the photographic process to help us stand out among the ever-growing high standard of images we see. Your computer monitor plays an essential role in this final, but most vital, part of the creative process, explains David Lazar.
Some people might think a high quality, professional monitor is necessary only for those who make prints of their images. But if you are creating and editing on a lesser quality monitor which shows an incorrect representation of colour and light values, how will your work look to everyone else when viewed on their screens?
People make their editing decisions based on what they are seeing on their monitor – if it’s too cool and blue, any edits will make the image file way too warm. If the monitor is too bright, the final edited file will be too dark. The result is that the print comes out unsatisfactorily or looks wrong on everybody else’s monitors or phones when they view the image online. So it’s very important to see your image file accurately during this editing stage.
Eizo monitors are known in the industry for producing some of the best photography and videography monitors. I have been using the newest Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 monitor which has some impressive specs – it’s a 27-inch 4K resolution monitor (that’s 3840 x 2160 pixels) which means for photographers the ability to view the full sharpness of printed images on your monitor.
It comes with a high contrast ratio and is elegant and simple in design, with a screen that’s easy to rotate to 90 degrees, useful for viewing and editing vertical photos on a larger scale. But it’s not in these specs where I found Eizo excelled, rather it was in the level of colour accuracy, uniformity and the software colour management features provided by the ColorNavigator software. There’s also a five-year warranty on this monitor, and after using it to edit my latest travel photos from South East Asia I don’t think there’s a better quality monitor for under $3,000.
I found it very easy to set up the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 straight out of the box. It can take either Display or HDMI ports, making it straightforward to plug into a PC’s video card, which will detect it and work instantly. It also has a USB C port, making it simple to connect for laptop users, which is important because editing on a laptop screen is not recommended as colours often show inaccurately and they are always over-luminant in order to look good to the average consumer.
For a photographer who wants to have full and accurate control over the details and subtleties of the light and colour of their image, the Eizo monitor is most superior.
It’s also easy and a very good idea to download and run the ColorNavigator software and install that to your computer in order to calibrate and work with the monitor settings via the ColorNavigator program. There are discreet control buttons on the monitor, too, but it’s nice to be able to access all the settings and various colour profiles you might create through the computer software There’s no inbuilt calibrator on this monitor so you must use an external colour calibrator device, which simply plugs into a USB port on your computer, and you place it on the monitor when prompted during the ColorNavigator software calibration process, which is very quick to run.
There are useful and accessible videos on using this software on the Eizo website that assist in this process of colour calibration. It is important to do in order to have your screen at the correct colour and brightness levels for your working environment. If you’re in a dark room, the monitor’s candela setting (the measure of light intensity) needs to be less high than if you’re working in a bright room, for example. The software calibration process measures this for you, and it can still be tweaked any time.
When I was sitting in front of the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 monitor I really appreciated how much fine control I had in the editing of my work. I could see a wider than usual range of highlights (for example, in white clothing or a bright sky) and lowlights (shadowy areas, or in a night scene). I also experimented making subtle changes which gave me more fine control over the edit.
I could edit my colours to be strong and vibrant and witness a wider range of the colour spectrum when doing so. For the price of a good camera lens, this monitor is an excellent investment and I can create works that will print just as I see them onscreen and know they will look good no matter what device or platform they are being viewed on.