Selecting a Monitor for Fine Art and Photographic Reproduction

LaCie's 700 Series uses RGB-LED Backlit, which allows the monitors to achieve a significantly larger color gamut. This is a crucial ingredient in photographic and fine art reproduction.

There are three major factors that a photographer or fine art reproducer should consider when selecting a monitor: Color gamut, bit depth and calibration ability. There are other things to consider as well, such as viewing angle, contrast range, refresh rate (if doing video work), and others, depending on your business model.

Color Gamut: The rule of thumb when it comes to color gamut is that bigger is better. You can find this information by checking the spec sheet of the monitor. It should provide you with percentage of sRGB, Adobe 1998, or NTSC (similar to Adobe 1998).

If you are a photographer whose workflow only exists in sRGB, then a monitor that hits 100% of this color gamut is the best. If you primarily work in Adobe 1998, then a monitor that displays 100% of this color space is recommended. If you are using ProPhoto as your color space, then the largest color gamut technology allows is your best option.

Bit Depth: The more bit depth a monitor has, the more accurate it will render your 16-bit files. A 10-bit monitor is the bare minimum with today’s technology, with 12 being a better option. Higher bit depth improves smoothness in transitions and gradients, whereas a lower bit depth might make them appear banded. You can also find this information in the spec sheet of a monitor.

Calibration Ability: It is imperative that you can adjust three parts of a monitor’s appearance. The first of these is brightness. You should be able to adjust how bright a monitor is according to the ambient light of your studio. 120 candelas per meter squared is a good LCD starting point. The second of these is contrast. This helps the monitor achieve a desired gamma setting. Today’s standard is Gamma 2.2, and I recommend this setting. The final calibration is white point. You must be able to adjust the individual red, green, and blue channels to create custom white points. A preset white point of 6500K may, in fact, be 6300K or 6800k. You cannot trust these preset options because they many not be accurate to begin with, and may shift over time.

A great monitor choice is LaCie’s 700 series. It uses a technology called RGB-LED – Backlit. Because it is RGB-LED, it can achieve significantly larger color gamuts than any other monitor available. The 724 (24 in.) and 730 (30 in.) can achieve 123% of Adobe 1998. Also, the bit depth is now 14 bit. This is the best option for the Adobe 1998 and ProPhoto color space user.

If you are interested in getting a new monitor, please feel free to contact a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538 and we can figure out the best solution for your needs. 

New Website Clarifies Monitor Calibration and Other Workflow Issues

Has your digital imaging workflow become more work than flow? If you’re looking for ways to improve, check out the new website  produced by the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). In the “Best Practices” sections, you’ll find dozens of practical ideas for developing a workflow that can make your studio more efficient, effective, and profitable.

For example, if you don’t understand why investing in a good monitor matters, read some of the detailed information in the site’s section on Monitor Calibration and Profiling.

Not only does Project Director Richard Anderson clarify the difference between calibration and profiling, but he also explains different types of monitors, including spec-sheet terms such as illumination type, DDC-enabled, bit depth, pixel-response time, and gamut.

 He points out that if you don’t calibrate and profile your monitor, then the picture you see the screen “can mislead you about the actual colors in your image.”  Anderson also emphasizes that “The monitor is the one place where you really do get what you pay for. The best systems are precision-engineered for added fidelity and evenness across the screen.”

The dpBestflow site also recommends best practices for cameras, computers, color management, image editing, metadata, file management, data validation, file delivery, and copyright registration.   

Part of the funding for the site came from the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress to help ensure that many of the images being digitally captured today will be properly preserved for future generations and historical records. Senior Project Manager Peter Krogh notes that, “dpBestflow helps translate the intricacies of preserving digital images into useful information that can be incorporated into everyday working habits.”

Anderson adds that,“Through dpBestflow, we are striving to make best practices in digital photography readily accessible to all professional photographers,  no matter what their level or working style.”

At the 2010 WPPI Conference, two other experts involved in ASMP’s dpBestflow project, Judy Hermann and Jay Kinghorn, gave an excellent presentation entitled I Need a Workflow that Works for Me. They used information from the dpBestflow project to outline “good, better, and best” practices at all stages of a workflow including:

  • capture and ingestion:
  • image editing and organization;
  • image correction, printing or output;
  • file delivery;
  • archiving and storage; and
  • finding archived images.

 Hermann, Kinghorn, and others who participated in developing the dpBestflow website will be making additional presentations in cities throughout the US.  For information on when a session will be held in your area, visit the Seminars section of the website.

 Note that at LexJet, we heartily agree that a high-quality, calibrated monitor is important for every photography professional who wants the utmost accuracy in image editing and efficient, money-saving, on-screen proofing before they print.


LexJet offers a selection of high-quality monitors, including the new LaCie 526 Wide-Format Wide-Gamut Display with blue-eye colorimeter shown here.  If you have specific questions about monitor selection, calibration, soft-proofing, and inkjet photo printing that you’d like to discuss with a live person, call one of our highly trained account specialists at 800-453-9538.