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27 inch monitor, the Dell u2711

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Thread started 08 Dec 2011 (Thursday) 04:23   
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Moppie
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Who else has a Dell 2711?


I got my first one today, I say my first because there are plans for it to get a friend.

I've never been a huge fan of LCD's, for years I've been using old Sony Trinitron CRT's, either IBMs or Dells.
They have been fantastic, awesome quality, massive resolution and second hand, really cheap.
But, being old and used a LOT they have had a habit of dying on me, and one of them died yesterday, leaving with me with just one monitor (which is never enough).


I had a feeling it was going to happen, so have been looking at replacement LCD's.
What I want is an NEC or Lacie, but they are just way out of the budget.

So I went out today and got a Dell u2711 (27inch), which gets consistently top reviews.
A 3011 (30inch) would have been nice, but costs twice as much and I can't fit two on my desk.
The 2711 gets similar results for image quality, has the same horizontal resolution and only 160 pixels less vertical res.


So, after 8 hours, what do I think?


It needed calibrating.
Forget about the BS bit of paper that comes with it saying it's been calibrated.
I don't know what Dell use to do the calibration, but I suspect it's an old blind man who calibrates by eye.

After calibration it looks VERY good. In fact colours are very close to those on my remaining IBM P275 (CRT), which is the first time I've ever had two different monitors calibrate nearly the same.

The blacks are good, the whites are very good and colours and saturation look great.
The extra horizontal res is nice, but I am noticing the difference in vertical res.

How does it compare to the old school CRT?

Well the Sony Trinitron is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, monitor screens ever made. I've gone through about 6 of them now, and once calibrated they have all been amazing to look at.
I've spent hours working on LCD's, but always enjoyed coming home to my big pair of Trinitrons. They were just so nice and natural look at.
And the resolution, oh! the resolution!
Two 21inch screens each running at 2048x1536, a total of 4096x1536 pixels of screen real estate to play with.

I'm one of those people who likes to edit at the highest resolution possible, as close as I can get to 100% the better, and bigger I can get it the better still.

Well the Dell definitely lets me get it big!
The 2560x1440 native res is really nice, and the screen is physically a lot wider than the old CRT, while being roughly the same height.
Being larger, the pixel size is also bigger, so text is actually easier to read and the screen is a noticeably sharper.

Currently I do notice the missing 100 vertical pixels, but I don't think it's a big deal and will get used to it.
I'm running my last CRT beside it at 1920x1440 to match, and it works (although more on that later).
After a couple of days I expect I'll be used to the different res and won't notice the missing few as I take advantage of the massive increase in horizontal res.
(and it's nice to play games in 16:9, some just don't work in 4:3, like COD MW3)

Quick note on gaming, it works very well. CRT's are regarded as gaming gods because they have zero input lag and can run at massive refresh rates. I haven't noticed a difference.


So hows the colour and are all the blacks and whites there?

The colour is very good, almost as good as the CRT. It's sort of so close you can forget the difference, but sometimes I see it and it catches me out.
Contrast is excellent, and along with the brightness once properly set looks better than the CRT (yes I said that).
I did have to reduce both values from factory default though.

The white tones are all there too, not as clearly defined as they are on the CRT, but I can see all of them in the Spyder Pro test screen.
Of course they lack the pure white that the CRT does, the bulb in the back is always going to mean they are never as white as the CRT can be.
Fortunately the brain adjusts for such things :)

The blacks are a different story. The very last 2 blocks on the gradient chart are easily visible on the CRT, but merge into one on the 2711.
So while LCD's have come a long, long way, they still can't match a really top CRT.
Does this really mean anything?
Well I have yet to actually notice it in use, but it's there. If your really anal about black and whites then it's something to consider. Although unless your already using a nice CRT, or something as good as the 2711, then chances are it will be an improvement.
I've been through some of the black and whites in my library and I'm happy with the missing black tone.

Design?
Who cares, its functional, has a thin bezel and it fits on my desk (just)

Connection?

To get the most out of it, i.e. make full use of it's 10bit display, you need to connect the 2711 via Displayport.
If you have a Mac, that's easy as they all have display port connections now.
If you have a PC, it could be an issue, although most of the mid to high end cards released in the last 18 months have display port connections.
If you don't have display port it will run of a DVI'd connection which is now common, even on computers with internal graphics.
It won't support a full 10bit work flow, but it will run at full res and to be honest, I doubt you'll notice the difference.

If you've still got a computer with only a VGA connection forget about it. Spend the money on a new computer first. It will connect over VGA (and comes with the VGA cable connected, I suspect this is how it was calibrated and explains the shocking factory results).
But, VGA has a limited on horizontal resolution of 2048 pixels, so it will not run at it's native resolution, which just looks really, really ugly (I tried it).

The built in USB ports are nice too. I've connected my calibration puck to them, which frees up space on the back of my comp and helps with cable management.

There's also a card reader, but no CF slot, only SD etc. Great if you have a 60D, not so good for those of us with 5D's and other older Canons.

Running more than one?

We all know 1 is never enough, Cameras, Lenses, cats and girlfriends. The more the merrier.

Well it's a physically BIG screen. You need a wide load sign to carry it down a hallway.
That said, I like to have the extra space of a second screen, I'm used to working with massive res, and I've kept my remaining CRT connected.

If your currently working with a pair of 19, or even 24inch LCD's, the step up to a 27inch might give you enough space in one screen.
Of course if working on two different monitors is part of your workflow (using the grid in LR, having mail open etc) then your going to still need a second screen.

I'm going to get another 2711, but I have a huge desk. My office space is a bedroom at home, and fully 1/3 of the wall space is taken up by my desk.

But what you really want is another 19 inch screen sitting beside it in portrait orientation. Something with 1440x900 res.
Ideally you have an ATI Graphics card with eyefinity, then you can put two 19inch monitors beside it for a 3 screen set up. Awesome for gaming :)

Quick note, mixing LCD and CRT doesn't seem to work very well.
With the 2711 connected via DP or DVI, and the CRT via VGA one of them will flicker and do weird things.

I believe the graphics card is having a hard time outputting a both a digital and analogue signal.
This is with an ATI 5870, a pretty high end card with lots of grunt.
I expect a second 2711 also connected via DP will resolve this.

Any questions ask away, there is a lot more to the 2711 than what I've covered, but hopefully it gives you some idea of how it compares to one of the best monitors ever made, and what it's like to use.

I've also got a lot to learn about it yet :)

Post #1, Dec 08, 2011 04:23:38


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FlyingPhotog
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I knew you'd come to terms... ;)

Post #2, Dec 08, 2011 04:27:13


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Moppie
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FlyingPhotog wrote in post #13512409external link
I knew you'd come to terms... ;)

Writing about it helped, but I still have a long way to go :~(

Post #3, Dec 08, 2011 04:33:56


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dynamitetony
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people talk about the anti glare coating on these, is it noticeable ?

giving a fuzzy looks to whites

Post #4, Dec 08, 2011 04:36:14


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dynamitetony wrote in post #13512423external link
people talk about the anti glare coating on these, is it noticeable ?

giving a fuzzy looks to whites



It's there, but it's not noticeable.
In fact I only just noticed now that you mentioned it.

I know once I stop thinking about it, I won't notice it again.

If you happen to sit really close to your monitor it could be more of an issue, but then your sitting too close :p

Post #5, Dec 08, 2011 04:38:19


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Moppie
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Quick note on the blacks:

This post: http://photography-on-the.net ...p=13511338&postcoun​t=5348 with photos by m.shalaby, highlights exactly what I was afraid of.

If you look in the corners of each image there is a really nice black into grey graduation.

On my Trinitron CRT this is buttery smooth, and it should be same in print.
On a cheap LCD it would be graduated, with lines demarcating each change in graduation.,

On the 2711 its 99% buttery smooth. Most of it is very smooth, but, if you look at it closely there is one line of graduation.
It's enough to show that it's not as good as the CRT, and enough that someone really into their black and white processing might be put off.
But it's not enough that you won't notice unless your looking for it, and I think most people will subconsciously make an adjustment for it and not see it.

Post #6, Dec 08, 2011 04:43:55


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Hopefully I should be receiving mine next week sometime.
I do alot of black and white work, interesting to hear this.
I'm sure I'll be blown away from the screen though.

A quick question have you also noticed that the frame is not straight when sitting?
I have read a few reviews and people have complained alot about this happening, wondering if mine will be one of them??
( the screen being on an angle when sitting on a desk )

Post #7, Dec 08, 2011 06:55:47


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René ­ Damkot
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Moppie wrote in post #13512431external link
Quick note on the blacks:

You could try calibrating with black point setting of about 0.2 instead of "0" (if your software allows that).

Post #8, Dec 08, 2011 09:15:42


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Good writeup! By far.. My favorite monitor to edit on. We have a 27" iMac and I like the u2711's matte screen so much better.. Even with video.

Post #9, Dec 08, 2011 09:29:34


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I've had a U2711 for a few months and absolutely love it. It's a huge step past the U2410s I had before.

If I had one complaint it would be that the pixel size is a bit small for the default Windows fonts and when set to 120dpi a lot of apps don't look correct because their devs didn't bother to read the chapter of their Dummies book on scaling...

Post #10, Dec 08, 2011 10:10:03 as a reply to Drozz119's post 40 minutes earlier.


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my name is always taken wrote in post #13512644external link
A quick question have you also noticed that the frame is not straight when sitting?
I have read a few reviews and people have complained alot about this happening, wondering if mine will be one of them??
( the screen being on an angle when sitting on a desk )


Nope, it's nice and square.
If you have an imperfections in your desk, or the base is sitting on anything not totally level, then it will show up though, simply because it's so wide :)
Enjoy it!

René Damkot wrote in post #13513098external link
You could try calibrating with black point setting of about 0.2 instead of "0" (if your software allows that).


Cheers Rene, I don't I can though I'm only using a Spyder 2.
I know you can with the Elite, but not the Pro.

Drozz119 wrote in post #13513170external link
Good writeup! By far.. My favorite monitor to edit on. We have a 27" iMac and I like the u2711's matte screen so much better.. Even with video.

Ironically it was editing video on an iMac that convinced me an LCD could be acceptable.
I believe they both use a similar panel, except for the matte coating of course.

jasonlitka wrote in post #13513332external link

If your used to smaller monitors, or much lower resolution monitors with larger pixel sizes, then yes the 2711 will appear to have very small text.
But they are actually larger than what I am used to. The Trinitron screens are the same height, but display more horizontal resolution.
So this is an improvement for me :)

I run large icons in windows, I don't adjust the text DPI, but I do use the zoom feature in chrome on some web pages.
I also use the "larger text and more spacey" forum style here :cool:

Post #11, Dec 08, 2011 14:38:59


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You recommend using DisplayPort, is this similar to HDMI? I'm pretty sure my Radeon HD 5850 card has DisplayPort but I've never heard of/used that format. Generally just used the DVI cable.

Post #12, Dec 09, 2011 20:08:21


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bmurf wrote in post #13520920external link
You recommend using DisplayPort, is this similar to HDMI? I'm pretty sure my Radeon HD 5850 card has DisplayPort but I've never heard of/used that format. Generally just used the DVI cable.


The 5850 does have display port, I think it has two, one mini and one full size.
I used to have one (before it went pop) and I'm pretty sure it had two.


Displayport, like HDMI is a digital connection, but HDMI has a bandwidth limit and currently does support higher resolution than 1920x1080, well below the 2560x1440 of this monitor.
It's also only 8bit and to get the most out of it you need a 10bit workflow (software, graphics card, connection and monitor).
Although, most people will not notice the difference.

DVi-D is also digital, and like HDMI is only 8bit, but it does support the full resolution of the display.
So if you don't have display port it is a viable option.


The monitor comes with a display port cable, if you look at the out puts on graphics card, it's rectangular female connection with one corner cut off. Looks like HDMI, but is not symmetrical.

Post #13, Dec 10, 2011 03:44:07


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Moppie wrote in post #13512431external link
Quick note on the blacks:

This post: http://photography-on-the.net ...p=13511338&postcoun​t=5348 with photos by m.shalaby, highlights exactly what I was afraid of.

If you look in the corners of each image there is a really nice black into grey graduation.

On my Trinitron CRT this is buttery smooth, and it should be same in print.
On a cheap LCD it would be graduated, with lines demarcating each change in graduation.,

On the 2711 its 99% buttery smooth. Most of it is very smooth, but, if you look at it closely there is one line of graduation.
It's enough to show that it's not as good as the CRT, and enough that someone really into their black and white processing might be put off.
But it's not enough that you won't notice unless your looking for it, and I think most people will subconsciously make an adjustment for it and not see it.

Good review, thanks.

I'm another CRT holdout, running a 21" G520 rescued from the dumpster at work! As you related in another thread, the poor thing was initially grossly out of whack, but responded brilliantly to a good reset and running of the 'image restoration' function.

Have you given http://www.lagom.nl/lc​d-test/external link a look on your new LCD?
How does it fare?

Post #14, Dec 26, 2011 22:25:56


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Been using mine for the past week, catching up on editing.
Must say that I'm impressed with the monitor. It is a masive step up from a 14.5 " laptop.
Just waiting now for a calibrater to be delivered and then I'm set.

Has anyone got a hood for their monitor?
S.

Post #15, Dec 31, 2011 00:17:13


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