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LED vs LCD Monitor?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by runner girl, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 26, 2011
    I've had it with my little laptop monitor so will be getting a large flat screen. Any input as to which is better for photo editing LCD or LED? Apologies if this is not the correct forum.
  2. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    There's no such thing as a "LED" monitor. Well unless you consider the 11" Sony OLED or a big LED Jumbotron. There are LCD monitors with LED or CFL backlight. When you see people advertising LED with monitor, it only refers to the backlight on a LCD monitor. If you do want the Sony 11" OLED, it's dirt cheap right now refurb'd from Sony for about $600. It's absolutely beautiful.

    As for which is better... I doubt you would notice the difference if you were able to get the same monitor in both LED and CFL backlight and looked at them side by side. A big benefit to LED is if you get a LED backlit array, then it can dynamic turn on/off the LEDs to enhance the black levels. Those are pricier though. Otherwise the only other real difference is power consumption. LED backlight uses much less power than CFL.
  3. m0nsieur2

    m0nsieur2 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    Get an IPS LCD monitor

    There are 2 main LCD panel types: TN and IPS. TN are the cheapest to produce, and typically only have a good picture if you look straight into them. As you view off angle, the picture quality rapidly deteriorates (ever tried to watch a movie on a laptop screen with some friends? The person in the center gets a decent picture and everyone else sees a funky picture with strange black and highlight levels). If you want the best colors and largest viewing angles, get an IPS monitor. They are more expensive than the cheap LCDs, but most people who do professional graphics will attest to the value of a quality IPS monitor.

    You can find CFL and LED back-lit varieties of both monitors. The CFL ones will use more energy than LED, but may have better whites than an LED backlit monitor (this is because there is no true white LED, but most are based off of blue LEDs with a phosphor coating that extends its light spectrum into the red and green space, with gaps in the in-between light spectrum).

    here's an example LG brand IPS LCD monitor at Newegg.com:
    Newegg.com - LG IPS231B-BN Black 23" 5ms Height,Swivel & Title Adjustable Full HD IPS Panel LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 250 cd/m2 DFC 5,000,000:1 Built-in Speakers

    Dell, HP, BenQ, and others also make good IPS monitors. Good luck on the hunt!
  4. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    You can have good LCDs with CFL, bad LCDs with LED, as well as the reverse of each. Technology notwithstanding (it really doesn't matter all that much), you should look into the supported colour gamut of the display panel itself, black levels, and contract ratio.

    Most laptop LCDs are generally pretty crappy as far as reproducing an accurate colour gamut (maybe ~40-45%). The best LCDs are going to be upwards of 95% of the NTSC sRGB colour gamut, if not more. 80% gamut support would be considered pretty damn good. You can try digging around for AdobeRGB coverage if you work in that space primarily. This will get you to have a considerably more accurate colour display, though calibration is always going to be a concern (there are tools for that).

    Similarly, you want your blacks to be black (~0.50 cd/m2), and not varying shades of grey. Whites should be white (not gray or blue). Contrast (> 400:1) and brightness (> 300 cd/m2) should both be high and even throughout the display (reasonably equal at both the centre and the edges of the display), but not astronomic as those begin to get unrealistically vivid (look at some Android phones with Super AMOLED+ displays; look fantastic but not really accurate because of that).

    Ultimately it really depends on how colour accurate you want your LCD to be, and how much you are willing to spend to get there.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    So true. I kind of make fun of Apple Macbook users who proclaim that "professionals" prefer Macs because they have great LCDs. Apple LCDs have traditionally been no better than a Walmart special laptop. Even their new ones with 60% better color gamut only display 70-72% of full NTSC. Think of how bad their older ones were.

    That's one of the reasons I have a Sony laptop. The display on my Sony Z is 100% NTSC. It took some getting used to. It was too vibrant and bright coming from other laptops. Now I can't go back. Every other laptop looks dull now. Sony is the only 100% NTSC laptop maker I know of although Alienware(Dell) comes close at 95% on some of their laptops.
  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I loved my old Sony "laptop" (if you can call a 18.4" screen a laptop). It actually had 100% of the aRGB gamut (132% of NTSC) and it is stunning. I still have it connected to my printers. My Mac Thunderbolt display come nowhere near the Sony. The Thunderbolt is IPS and the Sony is TN. So the IPS argument doesn't always hold up.

    My new MacBook Pro has been independently tested and has near enough to 76% of aRGB and is very close to being a SRGB display. That's still going to be fine for most work, especially stuff going to the web. The Thunderbolt is better but I'm not sure by how much as I'm waiting for my newer puck to arrive. The old one is only OK for calibrating.

    If you have the money then Eizo or NEC monitors are the best. If not the Dells are decent panels for less money. With other brands I've found it hard to find accurate information on their capabilities.

    As everythingsablur already said, don't buy based purely on the advertised "benefits". That's like buying a camera purely base on the mageapixel count and nothing else.

  7. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    LED backlighting makes no difference to monitor quality, just power consumption. A high end panel will be good regardless and a low end one will suck regardless. Unless you're really worried about the power your monitors use, just ignore it.
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