Which to get - NEC PA series monitor or 4K monitor?

Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
6,239
Location
Meadville, PA
I know these questions can get old, but I'm thinking about updating my old general purpose monitor to something more appropriate for digital photography editing.

Currently B&H has a sale on the NEC PA272W-BK 27" 16:9 IPS Monitor (Black) which seems to be a pretty good deal. However, I'm not sure if I would be better off getting a 4k monitor instead?

I already own both the X-rite i1 display pro and the Colormunki calibration devices so calibration should not be an issue. I understand I will probably need to get the NEC Spectraview II software if I buy the NEC.

I shoot almost entirely raw images, editing in LR 6.6 and occasionally PS CS6 (perpetual, non-rent versions of both) on a Win 7 (soon to be win 10) Dell 8300 machine. It has an i7-2600 processor and 16 GB of ram with an older AMD Radeon HD 5700 series graphics card.

So am I better off with the well-respected NEC or with a 4K monitor from some other brand?

Or, if need be I can wait - I don't want to buy new only to find out some new, better standard is on the verge of being released.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
658
Location
Cape Coral, Florida, USA
I've had that NEC for a couple years, it's beautiful, it's big, it holds calibration well even if I go months. The Spectraview II software is great as well, simple and easy. I used it for a while with an old Spyder colorimiter but got one of theirs instead when I got my second NEC. Not sure I can see much difference, but I had two of the sypders which gave quite different readings, so I thought a better one might be called for. I can't comment on the 4K specifically but I'm quite happy with the NEC, FWIW.
 

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,385
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
I have heard at least one person say they wished they had not bought a 4K monitor because of the amount of software that doesn't yet support it well.

Of course Windows and OS/X themselves are fine with 4K monitors, but the problem is with any application software that has icons (e.g. on buttons) in it. These become tiny on a 4K monitor. Of course you can switch it but then you are losing the point of buying it. I can't remember which version of Photoshop was the first to provide 4K support, but I think it was probably later than CS6.

16:9 is not an ideal aspect ratio for photographers. Many people buy 16:9 displays, for example the standard 1920*1080 pixels, and that is perfect for watching movies. It is fine until you want to look at and edit portrait mode photos. My NEC monitor is 1920*1200 which is a much better ratio.

Those are just some thoughts, I suggest you do some more research first about these issues.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,889
Location
UK
NEC or Eizo are first rate choices for pro editing and the hardware calibration of both systems is a very good feature. Spectraview as you say is the one for NEC and your X rite should be compatible to allow internal calibration in 14 bit.

4K very nice particularly a wide gamut version from either NEC or EIZO.

If you do wish to look at 4K then be aware of 2 potential gotchas
1. I suspect graphics card may not be able to drive at the required pixel for HD
2. Photoshop CS6 does not scale well
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Moderator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
20,953
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
I bought an NEC PA301W SV in 2012. Love, LOVE it!!!! Fantastic for photo editing! I highly recommend the NEC Spectravision calibration s/w....both hw/ and s/w are specific to NEC.

I had to be very careful to get the correct graphic card so the PC could utilize the full capability of the NEC monitor. NEC can handle 1o bit look up tables....many monitors do not. So you need a graphics card that supports 10 bit....

I found this information on the NEC website (info is dated 2010....)

Using 10 bit video depends on the combination of display, video interface connection, video card, video card drivers, and application all being able to support 10 bits. Currently 10 bit support is only available on Windows with applications that use OpenGL. The application must typically be modified to request the use of 10 bits from the video card driver.
Supported Video Cards (unofficial list):
Nvidia
AMD
GT200GL Quadro FX 5800 Quadro FX 4800 Quadro CX Quadro FX 3800 G94GL Quadro FX 1800 G96GL Quadro FX 580
ATI FireGL™ V3600
ATI FireGL™ V5600
ATI FireGL™ V7600
ATI FireGL™ V7700
ATI FireGL™ V8600
ATI FireGL™ V8650
ATI FirePro™ V3700
ATI FirePro™ V3750
ATI FirePro™ V5700
ATI FirePro™ V7750
ATI FirePro™ V8700
ATI FirePro™ V8750
ATI FirePro™ V3800
ATI FirePro™ V4800
ATI FirePro™ V5800
ATI FirePro™ V7800
ATI FirePro™ V8800
ATI FirePro™ V9800
Note: Newer models not included in this list may also support 10 bit color.
NVIDIA, the NVIDIA logo and Quadro are trademarks or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, ATI, the ATI logo, FireGL, FireMV, FirePro and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, and DirectX® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other jurisdictions.


Display port notice
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
6,239
Location
Meadville, PA
I've had that NEC for a couple years, it's beautiful, it's big, it holds calibration well even if I go months. The Spectraview II software is great as well, simple and easy. I used it for a while with an old Spyder colorimiter but got one of theirs instead when I got my second NEC. Not sure I can see much difference, but I had two of the sypders which gave quite different readings, so I thought a better one might be called for. I can't comment on the 4K specifically but I'm quite happy with the NEC, FWIW.
Thanks Feruson - most reviews of this monitor are pretty much what you say.

I have heard at least one person say they wished they had not bought a 4K monitor because of the amount of software that doesn't yet support it well.

Of course Windows and OS/X themselves are fine with 4K monitors, but the problem is with any application software that has icons (e.g. on buttons) in it. These become tiny on a 4K monitor. Of course you can switch it but then you are losing the point of buying it. I can't remember which version of Photoshop was the first to provide 4K support, but I think it was probably later than CS6.

16:9 is not an ideal aspect ratio for photographers. Many people buy 16:9 displays, for example the standard 1920*1080 pixels, and that is perfect for watching movies. It is fine until you want to look at and edit portrait mode photos. My NEC monitor is 1920*1200 which is a much better ratio.

Those are just some thoughts, I suggest you do some more research first about these issues.
Thanks Richard. I would prefer a 16:10 ratio monitor, but did not see one at this size. I think NEC still has one in the 24 inch version. Seems harder to find as most are 16:9.

NEC or Eizo are first rate choices for pro editing and the hardware calibration of both systems is a very good feature. Spectraview as you say is the one for NEC and your X rite should be compatible to allow internal calibration in 14 bit.

4K very nice particularly a wide gamut version from either NEC or EIZO.

If you do wish to look at 4K then be aware of 2 potential gotchas
1. I suspect graphics card may not be able to drive at the required pixel for HD
2. Photoshop CS6 does not scale well
Good point, a new graphics card will be needed. I have an HD5770 and I know that the max vertical pixels are 1600, and 4K requires 2160.

Tony - I think you are correct about the video card. I figured that would need upgraded soon regardless. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone (purchase); get a card that can drive whatever monitor I eventually purchase, and take advantage of LRs ability to use the graphic processor to boost the develop module. Right now my card is not compatible with that feature of LR.

Hadn't realized that CS6 would not scale well....

Much to think about - so many different standards on different components to consider as they interact.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
6,239
Location
Meadville, PA
I bought an NEC PA301W SV in 2012. Love, LOVE it!!!! Fantastic for photo editing! I highly recommend the NEC Spectravision calibration s/w....both hw/ and s/w are specific to NEC.

I had to be very careful to get the correct graphic card so the PC could utilize the full capability of the NEC monitor. NEC can handle 1o bit look up tables....many monitors do not. So you need a graphics card that supports 10 bit....

I found this information on the NEC website (info is dated 2010....)

Using 10 bit video depends on the combination of display, video interface connection, video card, video card drivers, and application all being able to support 10 bits. Currently 10 bit support is only available on Windows with applications that use OpenGL. The application must typically be modified to request the use of 10 bits from the video card driver.
Supported Video Cards (unofficial list):
Nvidia
AMD
GT200GL Quadro FX 5800 Quadro FX 4800 Quadro CX Quadro FX 3800 G94GL Quadro FX 1800 G96GL Quadro FX 580
ATI FireGL™ V3600
ATI FireGL™ V5600
ATI FireGL™ V7600
ATI FireGL™ V7700
ATI FireGL™ V8600
ATI FireGL™ V8650
ATI FirePro™ V3700
ATI FirePro™ V3750
ATI FirePro™ V5700
ATI FirePro™ V7750
ATI FirePro™ V8700
ATI FirePro™ V8750
ATI FirePro™ V3800
ATI FirePro™ V4800
ATI FirePro™ V5800
ATI FirePro™ V7800
ATI FirePro™ V8800
ATI FirePro™ V9800
Note: Newer models not included in this list may also support 10 bit color.
NVIDIA, the NVIDIA logo and Quadro are trademarks or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, ATI, the ATI logo, FireGL, FireMV, FirePro and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, and DirectX® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other jurisdictions.

Display port notice
Wow -thanks Karen. That's quite a bit of info. Video cards is one of the areas of computing that is a bit of a mystery to me. So many to choose from and it's difficult to determine what the actual differences between them are. I wasn't planning on getting the latest and greatest, just better than what I have. I just want to be sure it will work with LR as well as with the monitor.
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Moderator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
20,953
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
I use both LR and CS6.....never had a problem. Since I was buying a high-end monitor, it didn't make sense to me to cripple it by buying a graphic card that was not optimal. Yes, I did pay more for the graphics card. BUT....I have had the system for 4 years and still love it and see no reason to upgrade for many years to come!

You can check the NEC website for more current info. I highly recommend the NEC monitors!
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
6,239
Location
Meadville, PA
I use both LR and CS6.....never had a problem. Since I was buying a high-end monitor, it didn't make sense to me to cripple it by buying a graphic card that was not optimal. Yes, I did pay more for the graphics card. BUT....I have had the system for 4 years and still love it and see no reason to upgrade for many years to come!

You can check the NEC website for more current info. I highly recommend the NEC monitors!
Karen - what card did you get to drive that beast of a monitor? I figure graphics cards have come a long way since you bought yours (at least I hope) so I should be able to find one that meets my needs without breaking the bank. Doesn't need to be the latest $600.00 plus model.
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Moderator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
20,953
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
At the time I bought an nVidia Quadro 4000 with 2 GB ram on it. My computer is a custom built one from Puget Computer Systems. I could have bought a similar card from ATI for less money.....but I've always been partial to nVidia.... Puget told me either one would work.

I sent an email to NEC with the model # of the card I planned to buy to get their confirmation that the card would be compatible with the monitor. It was - and is.

Whatever card you get, I suggest checking with NEC before purchasing.

I wanted a system that would serve me well for at least 10 years or more. I'm certainly a happy camper!

BTW - some folks use 2 monitors. Since I have a nice 30" NEC....I've never been tempted to deal with 2 monitors.
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Moderator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
20,953
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
Ah... come on...

That's like saying "I don't need any more lenses". You might say it, but you don't really mean it!!!
LOL! Actually, I don't need anymore lenses right now either! LOL!

But I do really need another body......both photographically and personally! LOL!
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
6,239
Location
Meadville, PA
Looks like there is more to getting the NEC working at 10 bit video than I realized. From what I can find on the web, it would seem that none of the gaming / enthusiast / desktop type graphics cards will support 10 bit output. Both Nvidia and AMD are surprisingly less than forthright about this. Only the workstation cards (Quadro or FirePro) will support 10 bit video output, and they are just shockingly expensive for what they do. Seems like they cost 3 or 4 times as much as an enthusiast graphics card while providing about half the performance.

I can't imaging that every user of the NEC PA monitors is running a workstation graphics card. Now the question for myself is wondering if I should still get the monitor, and drive it with a quality 8 bit output graphics card like the Radeon R9 or Geforce GTX 970? Either of those will support the Adobe PS and LR graphics acceleration.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
658
Location
Cape Coral, Florida, USA
I really wonder if anyone can visually see the difference. If you think of it as stops, 8 bits is 8 stops worth of data (in each color) and that's a LOT. (I realize they are not linear in how it scales but... kind of sort of like stops). While in theory the eye can see a few more stops than that (at one time), when you combine 3 channels each at 8 stops, I suspect you would need to seriously contrive an example to see the difference.

Of course, if you now run at 8 stops, you'll continually wonder "how would this look in 10 bit". :)

So don't think of pink elephants either.
 

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,385
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
The human eye is pretty hopeless at red differentiation and at blue differentiation. But it is amazingly good at green. I suspect that we could manage to see the 10 bits when the subject is green, but not blue or red.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,889
Location
UK
On the subject of 10 bit v 8 bit cards, under certain circumstances it is quite possible to observe banding with an 8 bit vs no banding when viewed via 10 bit.

It is important to realise that this banding is not (usually!) actually part of the image data but a result of the limits of an 8 bit system and therefore will not display this way when viewed for instance in print.

This link explains in better detail and also offers a test ramp pattern which highlights the banding in an 8 bit environment which will not be seen in 10 bit
http://www.imagescience.com.au/kb/questions/152/10+Bit+Output+Support
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
11,988
Location
Central Georgia, USA
I thank Bob Coutant for guiding me here today.
I see CS 6 has issues with 4 K. Does anyone run PHOTO MECHANIC on 4 K ?
I have been down two weeks after lightning got my computer. I have been looking for best bang for $, (aren't we all), taking to micro desktop builders. I need to make this one last, and gear it up for the coming years new demands. My Insurance company will pay 1800$.

So I have worked it down to this HP 17.3 " Touch screen. Any suggestions or thoughts will be appreciated. As an aside, it seems this time around buying, I have found it hard to give my money to folks, almost like they seem to be bothered by my questions. I will say HP has been very helpful, they are on commission, and I make sure I can get back to them for the purchase.
Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ (2.6 GHz, up to 3.5 GHz, 6 MB cache, 4 cores) + NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5 dedicated)
Microsoft home office, not trial.
Samsung m.2 512 GB, 16 GB ram, wanted more . DVD and Microsoft office.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom