Considering the Dell - UltraSharp U30 Monitor, what do you think?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Phoque, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I have two cheap LCD monitors I can tell colors are off. I would now like to be able to admire my pictures on a fine monitor.

    I am considering the Dell - UltraSharp U30. Any of you got experience with it?

    What would you feel is a better investment, if any (the Dell currently goes for 1400CAN$)?

    Here are some details:
    - IPS (in-plane switching) technology
    - 30" (76cm) display with 2560x1600 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio
    - 117% (CIE 1976) color gamut with excellent AdobeRGB and sRGB coverage

    Thanks!
     
  2. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Hmm, just saw the 27" at half the price: that looks like a good deal for similar specs.
     
  3. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    301
    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    I would be very surprised if there were sufficient numbers of m4/3 users who had spent $1400 on a Dell monitor to draw any reliable conclusions.

    There is probably a forum somewhere else where the members have more expertise in that particular field.
     
  4. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    The Dell ultrasharp series is great..I'm using the lowly 23" right now. You made the right decision to go for IPS. But yeah, thats quite a bit of cash to drop. Unless you're a pro with the highest needs, why not go to the 27" for a big savings and buy a nice lens instead. HP seems to have a decent 27" IPS too..but yeah this probably isnt the right place to ask..
     
  5. DDBazooka

    DDBazooka Mu-43 Veteran

    211
    Sep 3, 2011
    The Ultrasharp 30 is pretty much a top of the line monitor for photo work. If you have the money, you can't go wrong.
     
  6. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    We have quite a lot of Dell UltraSharps:
    1x 2209WA
    3x U2311H
    2x U2410
    1x U30

    These are all IPS or eIPS panels of varying generations. Every last one is absolutely gorgeous. If I remember correctly, the U30 uses the higher spec true IPS panel which can be a little on the slow side for response times, but has true 24 bit (non dithered) colors. It's always best to calibrate any monitor, ideally using a full colorimeter but at least by test charts. Once you've done that, the color accuracy is excellent and they are also very nice for portrait orientation.

    However, my personal feeling about the U30: it's too damn big and expensive. We use these monitors mainly for game development, and my colleague loves his but for the same price I can buy three U2412s. And I find that a much more useful configuration with many more pixels. Obviously having three monitors in any configuration is not going to be a very effective photo edit environment (well, maybe all three in portrait if you don't mind the bezels), and you cannot really buy a monitor at higher resolution than the U30 for sane prices. The only real alternative is the Apple 30" Cinema display, which is gorgeous but for one caveat that I cannot look past. Apple has been mirror finishing all of their screens, and I would like to see my photos and not my own face when I look at a monitor.

    Point is if you've got the money, you cannot do better than the U30. Pro displays are better still, but vastly more expensive (think $5k). I do recommend that you buy a proper calibration tool though, like the Spyder4Pro.
     
  7. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    224
    Jan 25, 2012
    Dells have always been low-end for photo work, and still are. Top of the line is Lacie/Eizo. Nec = good performance for the money. Dell = decent panels for poor. :smile:
    Your colors will always be off unless you learn some color management basics and calibrate/profile your displays. You'll probably have even more problems with a wide-gamut display like u3011/2711. First thing to decide on is whether you need ~AdobeRGB gamut or would be fine with ~sRGB. The decision depends on your workflow: if you print your photos on good modern inkjet printers or put them in some serious design/publishing work, you may benefit from a wide-gamut display (like Dell 2711 or Nec PA271). If all your photos end up on the web - then you'd probably be better off with a "standard gamut" (~sRGB) display (like HP zr 2740).
     
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    That particular Dell is awesome. If I had the $$$, that's the one I'd get.
     
  9. bryan

    bryan Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Feb 27, 2012
    I have a Dell U3011. Indeed, it's awesome. What do you want to know?

    I wouldn't call it a "top of the line" or "pro" monitor -- there are better monitors that are truly professional -- but you won't find many other monitors this size, with this level of quality, for anywhere near this price.

    If you wait for the Dell Canada Days of Deals sales, you can get one for under $1000.

    The 27" is a great value: you get 90% of the pixels for less than 70% of the price of the 30. The 27" uses the same IPS panel that's used in the Apple Cinema Display and 27" iMac, although it's not LED backlit like the Apple displays.

    One downside to the 27" is that the dot pitch (pixel size) is noticeably smaller that the 30". Some users (including me) find it a bit too small for comfort.

    Anyhow, let me know if you have any specific questions about the U30.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  10. bryan

    bryan Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Feb 27, 2012
    Some friendly counterpoints :)

    I considered this exact configuration before buying my U3011. Unfortunately, I was looking for a display for my MacBook Pro, and for most notebooks it's usually difficult (if not impossible) to connect and drive multiple panels.

    I considered using an external extender like the Matrox DualHead2Go/TripleHead2Go, but when the price of one of these was factored in, I would have been at or over the cost of the single 30.

    I ended up buying a single U2412M for another application anyway, and found that it's not really comparable to the U3011 and U2711, as far as color depth and accuracy is concerned. The LED backlighting is pretty nice though, and I'd wager that 95% of users would never notice the difference.

    The 30" Cinema Display (discontinued in 2010) actually had an anti-glare coating. It's the newer 24" and 27" Displays (and the iMac) that have a glossy finish.

    Ironically, one of the biggest complaints about the U3011 (and other UltraSharps in general, including the U2711) is that the anti-glare coating is too aggressive, to the point where some feel it affects sharpness and vibrancy. Some feel so strongly about this that they have taken to removing the anti-glare, resulting in an Apple Display-like glossy panel.

    Apparently removal is not all that hard (the anti-glare coating is just an adhesive film), but it requires disassembly of the monitor and would obviously void your warranty. I'm not a big fan of the anti-glare, but I haven't yet found the courage to peel it off.
     
  11. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    310
    May 28, 2011
    First, an important question: Do you have a calibration flow? IMO having a calibrator is more useful hunting for a "accurate" monitor.
     
  12. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    224
    Jan 25, 2012
    No, they use different panels: LM270WQ1 in Apple (~sRGB) and LM270WQ2 in Dell (~AdobeRGB). Although they are probably quite similar, the important difference is that one is a standard gamut display, and the other is a "wide gamut" display. Working with a wide gamut monitor without some color management understanding will result in more color accuracy problems, images on the web are mostly sRGB and if the web browser isn't set up to deal with different color spaces of the images and the display, the topic starter will end up with some grossly over-saturated colors. The colors will be way "off", just like they're now. :biggrin:
     
  13. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    No. I don't feel I need that level of accuracy.

    I think a calibrator has the greatest impact for cheaper monitors. Color uniformity is already good on the Ultrasharp monitor series.

    Stepping from my Syncmaster 206BW to an Ultrasharp monitor will probably prove more than satisfactory without having to rely on a calibrator.
     
  14. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    It's a good monitor if you're willing to pay the price. It's also HUGE.

    The 27" might be cheaper, but it's 16:9, so you lose out on vertical space. I'm torn on that coming from a 24".

    As for all the LED backlit stuff... I will not buy them until they can figure out how to get wide gamut support. Luckily, my 2408 is still kickin so I don't need to look for a new one anytime soon *knocks on wood*
     
  15. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I think that's what I'll do, wait for Canada day to order one.
     
  16. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    David
    Go for it, although be prepared for two things - it's big (seriously consider wall mounting it) and very bright.
     
  17. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Have you tried to profile your monitors first? That could correct the color. You will have to color manage any monitor and so that would be the best place to start.

    It our lab, the Dell monitors tend to be shifted the most by a profile. I would not trust Dell monitor color.
     
  18. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    In my initial post, I complain about the colors of my current monitor (blueish tint), but my biggest incentive is to have a (good) big screen with lots of pixels to look at my pictures. The biggest of my two monitors is 20" @ 1680x1050. The 30" Dell has 2.3 times as many pixels! :eek:
     
  19. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    310
    May 28, 2011
    For a desktop monitor doing photo editing, pixel density is IMO more important than the number of pixels unless you want to stand back. If my math is correct, the latest U3011 is 100dpi. There are a couple of good monitors on the market that are 150.
     
  20. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    My current monitor is also 100dpi and I don't find it to be an issue. Note: I'm not doing any professionnal stuff, I never print my pictures, I do photography as a hobby for which I have not much experience. But I don't think you need much experience to appreciate your pictures on a decent 30 incher.

    I'll probably start doing some minor photo editing with LR4 (never owned a LR software), HDR, for my favorite pictures, but I don't plan to spend entire days doing that.