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We all live in a colourful world surrounded by a huge variety of hues, shades, tints and tones. Our moods vary depending on the vivid or dull views our eyes experience, we simply cannot imagine a monochrome world devoid of any colours. Besides the colours which nature has provided, we spend quite a long time on looking at the colours reproduced in photographs and graphics appearing in books, computers and personal devices.
For a photographer colours have a different meaning altogether, every colour tells a story. The nature, flora & fauna, people, architecture, food, still life etc are beautifully captured on the camera and many a times bring out a totally different perspective which the naked eye may have ignored to see. Majority of photography is about colours and there is a journey which photographs undertake which start from pressing the shutter release button and end at either on a print media or on a display screen. The success of this journey depends on the accurate depiction of scene in the final output, accuracy of colours and tones play a pivotal role.
Reference Space: Most of the colour management softwares use a device-independent space defined by Commission International de l’ éclairage (CIE) in 1931 as the reference space. This space broadly describe all colours visible to the human eye and is based upon an average response from a set of people with no vision issues.
Adobe RGB 1998 space was designed by Adobe Systems Inc. with the basic purpose to include nearly all the colours achievable on CMYK printers, but by using only RGB primary colours on device like a computer monitor. This space encompasses approximately 50% of the visible colours specified by CIE.
sRGB space was introduced by HP & Microsoft and has become the standard colour space because it approximates the colour range (gamut) of most common computer display devices. sRGB colour range is approximately 35% of the visible colours specified by CIE.
It can be seen from the above figure that Adobe RGB improves upon primarily in cyan-greens.
JPEG images can contain up to 16.7 million colours and different colour spaces allows to use a broader or narrower range of those 16.7 million colours used in a JPEG image.
Most of the computer based devices, applications, internet, video games, smartphones have adapted sRGB as the standard colour space.
Typically an average monitor will display about 97% of the sRGB space and only about 76% of the Adobe RGB colour space.
Our DSLR cameras give us the option to choose a colour space in the shooting menu settings.
The end use of photographs is a major factor in choosing the colour space. If the photographs are to be used only on Web, sRGB is a good option because any photograph uploaded on internet even if with Adobe RGB colour space will get converted into sRGB space.
But when it comes to Professional photography, the end use is not restricted to internet, quite a number of photographs are printed and for printing Adobe RGB colour space is a better option as most of the good printers are capable of printing more colours than encompassed in sRGB space.
In short, Adobe RGB space provides not only a wider range of colours compared to sRGB space but also more vibrant and accurate colours for printing. A photograph clicked in Adobe RGB space can be converted into sRGB but reverse is not possible. As far as the camera settings are concerned,Adobe RGB space is the preferred option.
The Photography monitor
Most of the monitors available are mainly sRGB colour space monitors, which means that all the colours available in Adobe RGB space will not be visible on these monitors, roughly 76% of Adobe RGB space is displayed. This is one of the reasons that prints look different than the screen display. This difference comes as an element of surprise to many photographers, wysinwyg- what you see is not what you get.
To get the accuracy in colours, Adobe RGB space monitors are better placed than sRGB ones and BenQ SW2700PT is a competitively priced good option.
The 27 inches monitor looks impressive and stands tall with a sturdy stand, shading hood & an external circular On-Screen Display (OSD) controller which connects via mini-USB.
The assembly and installation was easy and in less than 10 minutes the display was operational, that too without the help of instruction manual or any tool.
The first thing which came to mind was to check the colours, USP of the monitor. There are various options available in Colour mode but the real test lies in Adobe RGB vs sRGB.
And for this test, selected some photographs of Japanese food which has lot of texture and most importantly is very colourful. The initial editing of these photographs which were clicked in RAW mode/Adobe RGB space was done on a 27 inches iMac using Adobe Lightroom and saved as Tiff files.
To start with, just opened the file with the standard viewer. Even in the standard viewer the change was noticeable. The colours look much more vibrant, bright and crisp with lot of details, could see some extra tones with the Adobe RGB mode vis a vis sRGB mode. The monitor gives 99% Adobe RGB coverage.
Though in Adobe RGB space the range of colours is wider in cyans and greens as compared to other colours in sRGB space, the difference was quite obvious in reds and oranges also.
These photographs were clicked and edited in Adobe RGB colour space, opened the files again in Photoshop and tried the option of proof setup with gamut warning activated. This step can also be tried on sRGB monitors but all the colours will be displayed only on Adobe RGB monitor. This helps to identify the colours which are there in the photograph clicked in Adobe RGB colour space but not visible in sRGB space.
The IPS (in-plane switching) technology in the monitor offers viewing angles close to 180° without any changes in the display of the image in terms of contrast and luminosity. It doesn’t darken or change colours when there is a change in viewing angle or when two people are looking at the same screen while editing the photographs.
For calibration of monitor in order to maintain the colour performance to its optical performance basically for colour management, BenQ monitor comes a software “Palette Master Element” which can be used with most of the external calibrators available in the market.
Even with the calibration, best of the monitors cannot reproduce a colour space perfectly, there will surely be a deviation, Delta-E. There is nothing in the universe with a Delta-E of zero. For the accuracy and uniformity of colours, the best monitors will have a Delta-E of less than 3 and BenQ SW2700PT has Delta E≤2.
The shading hood or the visor is bundled with the monitor which has to be separately purchased in case of many other brands. This helps in avoiding reflection and glare on the screen while working in the ambient light especially in the environments where it is difficult to control the ambient light. The reflection or glare can sometimes obstruct the eye’s ability to perceive colour on the monitor. The non-glare or matte screen of the monitor and the shading hood together makes the working on it a wonderful experience.
The Black and White mode can only help in previewing the effects at a macro or a broad level but the details which can be brought out during actual conversion in editing may not be visible here in this mode.. The process of converting to B&W involves working with various colour channels and a simple press of button may not depict or display the desired shades of grey.
The monitor has QHD (Quad High Definition) resolution which is standard for high-end monitors, (2560×1440 pixels at a 16×9 aspect ratio, four times that of 720p standard HD) and 109 ppi (Pixels Per Inch) density which display photographs with extreme details and clarity. This surely is helpful for advanced image editing.
Advanced image processing has become an integral part of photography after the shift to digital technology from Film era. It is essential to get the accuracy of colours and tones, especially if the photographs are going to be printed. The SW2700PT is a perfect solution at an affordable price, the build quality is remarkable, image sharpness and accuracy of colours are outstanding. The simple switch over from preset sRGB to Adobe RGB in the Colour Mode option summarised the capabilities of the display. It is a delight to actually see all the colours on the monitor which the camera captured, something which was lacking in the sRGB monitors used earlier.
Overall an impressive monitor for both photography enthusiasts who may choose to work at factory settings without calibration and for professional photographers who need extreme colour accuracy.
Click here for technical specifications: BenQ SW2700PT