I am very happy to announce that I am now offering metal prints (in addition to paper prints) for both my Limited edition and Open Edition prints series. For years now, I have been looking for a print house that can produce metal prints that are color accurate and I have finally found Blazing Editions, based in Rhode Island, who makes glorious metal prints–as seen below.
In addition to printing on metal, they also have a wide variety of mounting and framing options, which means that if you order a metal print you can literally pull it out of the box and hang it on the wall straight away. This will save my clients a lot of money in framing costs–and it will be way easier to get a finished print instead of having to seek out a decent framer and work with them to create the finished product.
Blazing Editions is one of the premier printers here in the USA and works with a wide variety of artists and photographers. Among their clients are Jay Maisel, Robert Farber, and Seth Resnick to name just a few. I am very excited to be working with them so that I can offer this new print option.
As shown above and below, these metal prints come ready to hang right out of the box. There are a variety of options for how the print is mounted and/or framed. In the examples above and below, the images were framed using a white wood float frame.
The pricing for Metal Prints (for both Limited Edition and Open Edition prints) can be found on my website. The basic price for the metal print includes having it mounted as shown below with the “Inset Backing + Sintra” option. The inset frame allows the print to be hung on the wall straight out of the box.
As shown in the image above, the standard inset mounting allows the image to float off the wall making for a very modern and elegant presentation. And since these are metal prints, they are extremely durable and can be wiped off with a soft rag.
If clients would like a different framing option they can choose the Wood Float Frame shown below, or I can work with them to customize the framing. Below are a few images showing the black Wood Float Frame and a detail shot showing how the image is floating inside the wood frame. This is a very elegant framing option.
These metal prints are gorgeous. Of course, since they cost a bit more to create they will be a little more expensive than the standard paper prints I offer. Even so, in the end, after framing costs are factored in, the metal prints may actually be slightly less expensive than framing a paper print. I am excited to be able to offer an end-to-end option so that clients can get a finished product without having to worry about the framing.
For more information about my print pricing and options visit my main website. If you are interested in purchasing a print please drop me an email and we can get the process started.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that 2020 has been a crappy year. When Covid-19 came on strong in China in early January this year, it was certainly something to watch but it was so far away that it did not seem like a big threat at that time. By late January or early February, I was growing more and more concerned. The rate of spread worldwide was growing much faster than anyone had anticipated. I was still flying all over the place shooting assignments and giving talks for various clients, but all the while I was hoping we were not on the verge of a pandemic.
In mid-February, I was in the grocery store filing up a giant cart because for anyone who could do math (and extrapolate on the exponential growth of the virus), the writing was on the wall that the world would have to shut down and shelter in place sometime soon to avert catastrophe. Sadly, here in the USA, we didn’t shut it down soon enough and have dealt with the virus extremely poorly. Countries like Mongolia, New Zealand, and Taiwan have shown the world what good governance looks like. The USA has been a total shit-show since the start of this pandemic and remains so even now.
On top of the pandemic, we here in the USA have been watching our democracy melt down since the very beginning of 2020. I don’t often get political here on the blog (in fact this may be a first) but politics in the USA have been all consuming, and dire to say the least. The last four years I have been on the Trump apology tour when traveling internationally. As I write this our democracy is not yet out of the woods and won’t be for quite some time to come even though Biden won the election. The dark politics hanging over our country, mixed in with a pandemic, thousands of people in dire straits, and rapidly worsening global climate change have all conspired to make 2020 one of the most anxiety ridden years in my lifetime.
On the flip side, the fact that we have come up with a viable vaccine in such a short time is absolutely remarkable. Hopefully by mid-2021 we will be somewhat back to normal. For me personally, I have to say that it has been a blessing to spend so much time at home. I haven’t spent this much time in one place since I was in University twenty-five years ago. Our dog, a husky mix named Yuki, actually thinks I live here now. The last few years she had this quizzical look on her face everytime I came home asking, “Who is this guy who shows up every few weeks and stays with us for a couple of days and then takes off again?” 2020 also makes the first year in my 25 year career where I have not travelled internationally. Hell, I have only left the state of New Mexico a handful of times this year and most of those trips were before the pandemic got rolling here in the USA.
On the photography front, as with all of my peers, work shut down in mid-March and through the summer there were basically no assignments at all. This fall, I did start to get assignments here in New Mexico with New Mexico Tourism and a few others that took me out of the state. But once the Covid numbers started to climb once again we were in lockdown. Luckily, I have been blessed with a financial cushion (i.e. savings) so the lack of assignments isn’t the end of the world. During the lockdown, I have also taken advantage of Zoom and taught several online workshops–which surprisingly paid out quite well.
In terms of images, there won’t be a ton of work from 2020 that I can share here. Below are a few images from assignments early in the year and a few other portfolio shoots. Honestly, I have not created that many images this year. All of the above has conspired to put photography in the backseat. I have talked to quite a few of my photographer friends who also just didn’t have the inspiration to get out and shoot much this year. I haven’t lost any of my passion for photography but it is quite clear that a lot of my passion is rooted in adventure travel and exploring new and exciting areas with world-class athletes.
I know that these “Year in Review” blog posts are a dime a dozen – and I have seen a lot of them over the last few weeks – but I hope you find this blog post at least entertaining. Without further ado, here are what I consider to be the best images I have created this past year.
Note: There are a several images from my biggest assignment of the year that happened this fall that I cannot share yet. Those images are still under embargo. Stay tuned to see those and hear about my most exciting assignment of 2020.
Ouray Ice Park Ouray, Colorado — USA
In January 2020, I had a great one-day assignment shooting for FUJIFILM North America with their new GF 45-100mm large format lens. For this assignment I worked with Marcus Garcia and Hayden Carpenter. The day of the shoot turned out to be a wild, stormy day with sideways snow flurries and full-on conditions. The storm made for exciting shooting conditions and a lot of wet snow on all of our gear. Regardless, we still camera away with some cool images. The top image here, just below this paragraph is certainly one of the best images I have captured this year.
For more on this assignment, and to read my review of the FUJIFILM GF45-100mm lens check out my Spring 2020 Newsletter.
Reimer’s Ranch Austin, Texas — USA
In late February, I was one of several Red Bull photographers to teach a photography workshop in Austin, Texas for Red Bull, which was attended by some of Red Bull’s up and coming photographers. Since I used to live in Austin, and attended University there, it was great to get back there and hang out in a city close to my heart. As part of the workshop, we went to Reimer’s Ranch, which is one of the areas where I learned to climb. I have spent hundreds of days rock climbing out at Reimer’s back when I lived there–and it was a ton of fun to get back there and see some of my favorite climbs. For this day, we had Claire Buhrfeind, a world-class Red Bull sponsored rock climber, with us. One of the classic areas at Reimer’s is the Sex Cave and since it has a great shooting position right next to the climb we had Claire crank up a wicked steep route named Liposuction (5.12a).
The image above of Claire on Liposuction isn’t necessarily Earth-shattering but it is still a cool climbing image. Since I was teaching and we were crunched for time it wasn’t possible to craft an image with my normal lighting techniques. Regardless, it was a blast to hang out with some of my peers, including my good buddy Lucas Gilman, and also hang out with the incredible photographers taking the workshop. This was also my last workshop before the lockdown in March. I flew home the day after creating this image, and then New Mexico locked down the day after I got home.
Daniel Coriz — Motocross Santa Fe MX track, Santa Fe, New Mexico — USA
In July, after the Covid number settled down here in New Mexico, I set up a personal shoot with Daniel Coriz at the Santa Fe Motocross track. The track is literally five minutes from my house, and I have had in mind a certain image for years now using two strobes to light up the rider. Daniel was up for the shoot and we spent just a few hours out at the track creating a variety of images. As can be seen below, I wanted to light up a lot of flying dirt using a light trap (i.e. two lights on either side of the subject pointing at each other).
For this shoot it was one of the first times I shot raw + jpeg with the FUJIFILM GFX100. I opted for the wild “Classic Chrome” Film Simulation mode to see how that wold look. In the past, I typically just captured raw images and dialed in the color after the fact. For this shoot, I used the jpegs as a reference and worked up the raw image files with an eye towards the cool “Classic Chrome” Film Simulation. Up until this shoot, I am normally trying to remove any color cast from my images. Since this shoot I have played around a lot with adding color casts to images to create a new look. This is partially just trying to be creative but it is also a result of the new Color Grading tools in the latest version of Lightroom Classic CC.
San Francisco de Asis Mission Church Taos, New Mexico — USA
Earlier this fall, I shot quite a few days on assignment for New Mexico Tourism. For those assignments I was traveling all over the state going to new locations I had never been to before. The first assignment I had for NM Tourism was up in Taos. Living in Santa Fe, only an hour or so away from Taos, I know that town fairly well. The evening I drove up I made sure to make some time to go to the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church just south of town. I have photographed the church before, which was made famous by Ansel Adams in one of his most iconic images, but since he captured that image more than sixty years ago, there have been a lot of homes built all around the church making capturing interesting images a lot harder. On this evening, I elected to isolate the iconic architecture and eliminate the clutter around the church. The resulting image seemed to work better in black and white as shown below.
Evenings with the Masters George Nobechi – Nobechi Creative
One of the major highlights of this year was being a part of the Evening with the Masters program that George Nobechi cooked up early on in March. Being the genius that he is, he saw that we were all going to have a lot of time on our hands this year and through incredibly hard work he got together a group of legendary photographers including Sam Abell, Gerd Ludwig, Greg Gorman, Stephen Wilkes, Nevada Wier, Jamey Stillings, Amy Toensing, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Arthur Meyerson, Erika Larsen, Ibarionex Perello, Kate Breakey, Keith Carter, Laura Valenti, and the co-creator of Photoshop Russell Brown. I was very lucky indeed to count myself among this group of presenters.
The idea behind this series of presentations was that the photographers would give their presentation for free. All the money the participants paid to tune in went to charity. At the beginning, I thought it was a novel idea not knowing what it would grow to become. Over the course of 17 weeks, making up most of the spring and summer, every Wednesday night there was a social hour get together and then a masterful presentation on the career arc of some of the best photographers to ever pick up a camera. It was a true honor to be a part of this and all kudos to George Nobechi, who had the vision and put in a ton of hard work (for free mind you) to put this all together.
Honestly, some of the folks who presented are my heroes in the photography industry. Just to be on a Zoom call with them (as shown above) was enough to give me butterflies. The fact that I got to have in-depth conversations with many of them beyond the presentations was a serious honor. I even took screenshots of some of the presentations as I couldn’t believe my good fortune to be sitting in on these talks, much less giving one. What started out as a rather small group of people at around 75 participants by the end expanded to nearly 300 participants–many of whom were world-renown photographers, art directors and luminaries of the photo industry. In the end, George raised over $50,000 for a wide variety of charities–and in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century. Luckily for readers of this post, George is setting up the second season of Evening with the Masters. Head to Nobechi Creative to see how you can tune in and help support a wide variety of charities.
Just before the USA largely shut down, in mid-February, Katie, Yuki and I headed up to Ouray, Colorado for a change of scenery, some ice climbing and some cross-country skiing. Looking back that little trip was a total blast. Yuki, our husky, went crazy for the cold temperatures and the deep snow. I am very much looking forward to stabbing some ice here soon once the Covid case counts come down from their crazy levels right now.
So long 2020. My thanks to Red Bull, Fujifilm, New Mexico Tourism, National Geographic and all of my other clients with whom I worked this year. Thank you also to those select clients that have helped me get through the year as well with assignments and speaking engagements I could do from home.
Thank you for taking the time to check out some of this years highlights. Feel free to comment on any of these images and tell me which one you think is the best of the best from this year. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all. Here’s hoping your 2021 gets back to normal and is again filled with adventurous travels and amazing experiences!
Earlier this year, at the beginning of the Covid lockdown here in the USA in March, I watched a documentary entitled “Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool” on Netflix. In one part it talked about how Miles spent a few years early on experimenting with a lot of different techniques to find his sound. That part about “finding his sound” hit me and made me think hard if I have found my true sound with my photography. After 25 years as a professional photographer, in some ways I feel like I am still trying to find it.
Obviously if you see my work, or have been following me for any length of time, you would think I have found my voice and my look but as a working pro there is a constant move to adapt new and different technologies, techniques and concepts to keep pushing the work in a new, exciting direction. Of course, over the last 25 years I have massively incorporated a variety of artificial lighting techniques in my work–and that has revolutionized both my images and my client base.
Interestingly, also during this Covid-19 pandemic, because I have been home more than at any other time in my career I have also picked up the guitar again. I used to play two to three hours a day back when I lived in Austin, Texas during and after University. It is great to pick it back up and crank up the amp and the distortion. I have always found it to be a great release. Somehow the sound of a distorted screaming amp feels like a warm blanket of consolation in these strange and scary times.
I have also spent more money than I care to admit on new guitars, amps, pedals and the like in search of new and exciting sounds to envelope myself in. I am not looking to play in a band again or in public, the music is just for me–an indulgence. Guitarists in general seem to spend enormous amounts of money just to get a certain tone that echoes their guitar heroes–or helps them express themselves. Just as musicians, and especially guitarists, are always seeking a gorgeous tone or sound, it seems a very apropos comparison to photographers finding their look–or their voice. Hence, after this long-winded intro, I thought I would discuss how to go about finding your voice in the photographic realm.
It’s Not about the Gear–Unless it is
It is very easy, both in music and in photography, to get wrapped up and obsessed with the gear. There is a well-known way of thinking that good gear equals good images. Sure, excellent gear can make technically higher resolution, wider dynamic range images. But guaranteed, crappy images can be made with any type of gear, even with a medium format camera that costs more than a very nice car.
One analogy I have always found interesting is looking at top chefs. No one says to a 3-star Michelin chef, “Wow, look at those amazing, expensive, high-end pots and pans you use. Your food must taste incredible!” I could certainly use that same cookware and make something so horrible the dog would turn up her nose. It is the same in photography, a good photographer can adapt to the limitations of whatever gear they have at their disposal. I have had assignments where I shot with prototype point-and-shoot cameras and cell phones and we captured some pretty amazing images. The sea kayaking image shown below was captured with a Nokia mobile phone way back in 2014. Sure, it would have been easier to use a modern DSLR with interchangeable lenses but the assignment was to shoot with that mobile phone camera to create marketing images for Nokia.
On the flip side of this is the fact that in some cases you have to have the right gear to even make a certain type of image. I am thinking about a lot of my lit adventure images where I was using cutting-edge advanced lighting techniques to create the image I was after (as shown below). An image like this involves a lot of forethought and a serious amount of gear to pull off. Sure, I owned the gear (since I use it all the time) but it could have been rented for a much cheaper price. Sometimes you need wicked-fast autofocus, or fast frame rates or whatever it may be to create the image you have in your mind’s eye. But that is just part of the game.
It has never been easier to rent just about any piece of gear. The internet has a million options and anything can be shipped directly to you with the click of a mouse. Gear should not the be limiting factor in your photography. As a great example, check out Russell Preston Brown’s amazing work and realize he captures all of his images these days on cell phones. On a mobile phone!!! Look at those images! Incredible. He is perhaps one of the most creative photographers I know. He also happens to be one of the co-inventors of Photoshop. Photography is his passion and his side gig.
Find your Passion
Who are you? What makes you tick? What gets you excited? Who you are will impact what you create. Who you are will show up in your images. You may not know what your aesthetic is but your images will show it. I was passionate about art, and creating images long before I got into adventure sports and climbing in particular. But when I did get into climbing, I realized very quickly that I wanted to create images of this wild and fantastic sport and share those with the world. Putting those two passions together is what started my career and keeps the fire burning.
I grew up in the rolling hills of Wisconsin and then the flat lands of west Texas. As a kid I was dying for an adventure. I had found one passion in art, another in science, and lastly a third in photography. I was a dreamer as a kid. I wanted to be a pro tennis player or an astronaut and if those didn’t work out a career as a professional photographer was alluring. But I chased the science dream, thinking that was my ticket to NASA. Studying physics taught me logic, and how to teach myself essentially anything. In the end, after graduating with a B.S. degree, while taking graduate level classes and working in a lab, I realized physics wasn’t my passion.
About that same time rock climbing and the outdoors came into my life–and changed my future radically. Climbing changed my worldview. I wanted to share that worldview with as many as possible, which is where photography came in. Photography was also my ticket to adventure–and adventurous travel. If I had to create images in a studio day in and day out I would do something else. I wouldn’t be a photographer. I realized this early on in my career and it was fundamental to understanding what drives me to create the types of images I create.
I am fascinated by nature and our place in it. I am also fascinated by the human mind and how we choose to live our lives. How does a world-class athlete overcome their fear, deal with the risk, and pull off what to outsiders seems impossible? Practice. Dedication. Commitment. Obsession. When you look at my images, you realize the athlete doesn’t only have to condition their body but also their mind to be able to do what they do. It takes years and incredible effort to get to a high level in any discipline. The reality is that once you find what you are passionate about you will work hard to create images of that passion–and it will show in your work.
The secret to great photography is Hard Work.
There are no shortcuts. This is the reality that no one wants to hear. The secret to being great at anything is hard work. You want to be an amazing musician? Get to work, learn the instrument and music theory. Get obsessed. Play it all the time. Miles Davis put the work in. John Mayer played guitar all the stinking time as a kid. He was totally obsessed. I don’t know if it the 10,000-hours rule or the 50,000-hours rule. It doesn’t matter. Get to work.
From the outside, success seems to be overnight success–all of the sudden you are aware of whomever is now at the top of their game. In almost all cases it is more likely the 20-year “overnight” success meaning that they have been toiling away for two decades in obscurity until their work matured to the point that they became well-known. Very few if any musicians, artists, athletes or scientists achieve greatness without a ton of hard work and elongated periods of dedication to that craft. While photography is not as difficult to learn as say quantum mechanics, it is still a complex craft–even more so in this digital age. To create top-end, incredible imagery requires some study of the craft and years and years of capturing images to become a master.
Do your Research
Just as playing songs from different artists requires careful study of how they crafted the song, learning how to create images that resonate with yourself and others takes years of learning and research. I could have just as easily entitled this section “Learn the Craft.” By studying the craft, and how a photograph was made, you will then be able to take those techniques and use them to create new and different images that speak to your aesthetic. By studying the craft, I also mean look at the history of photography, not just the latest Instagram images rolling by on your feed. There is a lot that can be learned by looking at the work of the masters.
Limiting yourself to just a single genre or a single look is also a one-way ticket to squelching creativity. By all means, especially when starting out play around with all kinds of different techniques and see what resonates. Likewise, photograph a wide variety of things to see what is interesting and fulfilling–and what is challenging. This is all part of learning the craft.
Going back to the guitar and music analogy, most young guitarists learn classic rock songs or whatever music inspired them at the time. Learning those songs is not just for the sake of copying the artists who created them but a way to see how the sausage was made so to speak. Similarly with photography, it isn’t as if you need to re-create an image exactly but learning to use the same techniques goes a long ways to finding your own voice.
What do you want to say and how do you want to say it?
This might be the most important aspect of finding your unique voice with photography–or any art form. This is also one of the toughest questions to answer. In the beginning, I was just learning a craft. I was interested in photography–and then became obsessed. There is an intense learning phase–perhaps the first two years–where one gains a significant portion of the basic knowledge. And then after that phase, you can start to ask these types of questions and continue to push on the learning front and on the artistic front.
Way back in October 2004, David Lyman (the former director of the Maine Media Workshops) wrote an article entitled, The 8 Keys to Success: An Essay And Thoughts on What It Takes To Reach Your True Potential. I encourage everyone reading this article to go read David’s piece. It is by far the most realistic, honest and informative article I have ever read on what it takes to make it in any endeavor. In that article, he says, “It will take at least two years to acquire 70 percent of the craft you will need to work in your medium. It will take another eight years to acquire the next 20 percent of your craft. At 90 percent, you will have mastered your craft, but there is that 10 percent that will take a lifetime to acquire.” In my experience it is after ten years that you start to ask the questions like “what do I want to say with my work?”
In many ways what you want to say with your work will change as you progress–and as opportunities come about. For example, even though my career has been mostly about documenting adventure sports, perhaps the most important images I have created were during the filming of the documentary Tribes on the Edge with Céline Cousteau (see images above). On that project we went deep into a closed off portion of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil to document recently contacted tribes. These tribes are struggling to stay alive in a world that encroaches upon their land and their way of life. Global warming, greed, and governmental power struggles are all conspiring to destroy their way of life. The documentary and the still images are a powerful way to bring recognition to their plight–and hopefully to help change the outcome.
What am I trying to convey? What do I want to say? These are the two questions I ask myself before any assignment where I want to make meaningful images. As a working pro, not every assignment is one where you expect to create images that speak to a higher calling. Sometimes it is just about getting the images the client needs to promote their product or tell their story. That is just part of being a working pro. We all have to pay the bills and support our families. But even on these “run of the mill” assignments there are opportunities to add your voice and to create something that fits within your pantheon of work. Often, as with your look or style, you may not know what you want to say but you see it afterwards, years later, when you look back at your work.
Never stop Learning
I am continually looking at great photography, gleaming from it what I can about how the images were created and how that might influence my work going forward. At the same time, technology helps to shape my current and future work as new options pop up in every new camera model and lens. Recently, I have been playing a lot with color grading and adding tints and off-kilter colors to my images. That is a radical departure from my past work where I sought to remove any color cast or artificial color grading from the image. Who knows if this will last but it is fun to play with and the birth of these new techniques came from seeing the “Classic Chrome” color simulation in my Fujifilm cameras.
Finding your voice with any craft doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years and years of work, dedication and love of the craft. Gear will come and go, your passions and interests may change slightly, but the dedication and experimentation has to continue to keep pushing and perfecting the results. I still take workshops, read vociferously, and continue to push my own images to learn new ways of doing things. There is always something to learn. That is the beauty of a craft like photography, which is innately complex by its nature.
To get the ball rolling for the fall holiday season, I am happy to announce a 25% off sale on all of my fine art prints until December 31st, 2020. How this works is very simple, just take 25% off my standard fine art print pricing, which can be found here, and contact me to order the print.
All of my images are available as Fine Art Prints. You can see which of my images are in the Limited Edition category on my website. Any images that are not shown on the Limited Edition page are considered Open Edition prints. Please note that these prices do not include shipping. If you have any questions about print sizes or available images please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will work with you to make sure the final print is the best it can possibly be and will look great mounted on your wall.
These archival prints are painstakingly created by yours truly on some of the finest papers available. I do not outsource printing to a third party printer because I want to have tight control over the quality of the final print, and I have not found a third party printer that can achieve the same level of quality that I can produce here in my office. The prints are made on Epson printers using a variety of papers including both fine art matte papers and baryta photographic papers. The printer and paper combination is chosen specifically for each image so that image will be rendered with the highest possible resolution and the widest color gamut. Our main papers are Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, Ilford Gold Cotton Textured and Ilford Fine Art Smooth papers.
Below are a few sample prints that I have made in the last few months to give you an idea of just how stunning these turn out when framed up.
Please contact me with any questions or if you would like to look at a wider range of images than are featured on my website.
The Summer 2020 issue of the Michael Clark Photography Newsletter is now available for download. If you’d like to sign up for the Newsletter just drop me an email and I’ll add you to the mailing list.
This is the largest issue of the Newsletter I have ever produced. It includes an editorial entitled Social Distancing Edition, a full review of the brand new Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 high-end Adobe RGB monitor as well as a review of the “holy grail” Eizo ColorEdge CG319X monitor, an article detailing my photographic adventures in New Zealand last year after speaking at the NZIPP photography conference, an extensive interview with legendary photographer Arthur Meyerson, an editorial entitled A Bumpy Ride, and much more.
The Michael Clark Photography Newsletter goes out to over 8,000 photo editors, photographers and photo enthusiasts around the world. You can download the Summer 2020 issue on my website at:
If you’d like to check out back issues of the newsletter they are available here.
Please note that the newsletter is best viewed in the latest Adobe Acrobat reader which is available for free at www.adobe.com.
Also, if you are a subscriber and you have not already received the Newsletter, which was email out a few days ago please send me an email with your current email address and/or check your spam folder.
Disclaimer: Though I am not sponsored by Eizo, I was supplied this monitor to test out and review. I have owned an Eizo ColorEdge CG243W for a decade and have been continually impressed by Eizo’s monitors in terms of their color accuracy, build quality and the ColorNavigator software. I have found Eizo monitors to be the most color accurate and reliable monitors on the market for photographers looking to take their color management to the highest possible level. I was supplied the CG319X along with the slightly smaller CS2740 to test out. You can find the review of the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 here on the blog. Note that I was also profiled in an Eizo Case Study a few years ago on the Eizo website.
The Eizo ColorEdge CG319X is the holy grail of Adobe RGB color accurate monitors. After working with the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 (which I was also testing) for a week, I traded it out for the GC319X. The CS2740 was so good I was asking myself, “How much better can the CG319X be?” When I turned on the CG319X, I wasn’t prepared for just how much better my images looked on this giant monitor. Viewing my images full screen in Lightroom made them look like they were hanging on a gallery wall. Zooming into 100% the images made them look larger than life. The images already looked incredible on the CS2740, but the CG319X took that even further. My images looked magnificent!
In short, the CG319X is the most incredible monitor I have ever seen!!! I pulled up image after image and this is the first monitor that really shows the 102 MP images from my GFX 100 as it seems they should be displayed. I stared at the screen mouth agape for several seconds looking at a few 102 MP images full screen at 100%. I was seeing details in my images I have never seen before—and I didn’t think that was possible.
As shown above the CG319X is a huge monitor. With a 31.1-inch (78.9 cm) diagonal display, it takes up some serious desk space. The CG319X has a DCI 4K native resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels with 17:9 aspect ratio. What that means is the monitor has incredible clarity, not unlike the Apple Retina screens but with slightly lower resolution. [Note the Apple Retina monitors have a pixel destiny of 220 pixels per inch.] The CG319X has a pixel density of 149 pixels per inch, which makes it one of the higher pixel densities on any of the Eizo ColorEdge monitors.
Having such a huge number of pixels makes it feel like you really have two monitors in front of you, especially if you have the monitor set to its native resolution. I find that I have to physically turn my head to look at either edge of the monitor, but that has more to do with the depth of my desk than the monitor.
The CG319X also displays 10-Bit color, which means that it can display a significantly wider range of tones than most monitors that display only 8-bit color. What this means is that tonal transitions are much smoother and the images displayed on the monitor are closer to how they would appear in an actual print, which would show the full 14-Bit or 16-Bit color captured by the camera.
Of note, not every computer can output 10-bit color to the monitor. Most high-end PCs will be fine in this regard, but only the latest Apple computers will be able to output 10-Bit color to an external monitor. To see if your computer is outputting 10-Bit color to your external monitor go to the System Report (as shown below) and check the Graphics/Displays section. If your computer and external monitor are capable of showing 10-Bit color then under the Framebuffer Depth it will say “30-Bit Color.”
To make sure Adobe Photoshop is displaying images with 10-Bit color go to Preferences > Performance and select the Advanced Settings button (circled in red below) and then choose “30 Bit Display” as shown below. This will make sure that all images viewed in Adobe Photoshop CC are displayed with 10-Bit color. Note that the 30 Bit Display simply means 10-Bit in each of the RGB color channels [10-Bit Red + 10-Bit Blue + 10-Bit Green = 30 Bit Color].
As a side note here, all of the Eizo ColorEdge monitors display 10-Bit color so the CG319X is not unique in this feature. I just thought I would point this out here in the review as I did not discuss it in my review of the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740.
4K MONITORS AND SCALING
As with the Eizo CS2740, if you have never used a 4K monitor, you may be shocked at how tiny text appears when the screen is set to use the native 4K resolution. As can be seen below, with the screen set to the full 4K native resolution it is incredibly sharp but the text is quite small. The text can still be read, but it might lead to eye strain, especially if you already have poor eyesight. This native resolution mode has the monitor and the image in the highest resolution possible, which is great for looking at images. This is the mode I prefer for editing and working up images in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC–even though the text is small.
In the Preferences panel, under Displays on an Apple computer, you can adjust the scaling of the image shown on the monitor simply by clicking on “Scaled” and then choosing among the five options as shown above and below. Note that the actual number of pixels on the monitor do not change, the scaling just interprets those pixels to look like a monitor with fewer pixels. The actual image and text remains crisp and sharp. When using the monitor for other tasks, not related to still image or video post-production, this middle option (i.e. equivalent to approximately 3840 x 2160 pixels) is the one I use to check email, browse the web, and do all of my other work. It offers readable text and the benefit of a big workspace that almost feels as if you are working on two monitors.
With the Apple Retina monitors on my laptops I have noticed over the years that when culling and editing images, I can’t actually 100% tell if an image is truly sharp on those high resolution screens. If an image is really out of focus then that is easy to spot, but if it is just a hair out of focus the resolution of the Apple Retina monitors hides the slight focus issue. Hence, one of the first things I checked on the CG319X was if I could still tell if an image was critically sharp and also if an image was just slightly out of focus. I am happy to report that I can certainly tell when an image is critically sharp and also when it is slightly soft. When editing images–and choosing a monitor–this is a critical factor. The CG319X, with 149 pixels per inch, seems like it has the perfect pixel density for photographers that need to critically examine their images, make sure they are sharp and also see how any additional sharpening affects the image.
Monitor Stand Adjustments
The Eizo CG319X is a beast of a monitor. Thankfully, the back of the monitor has a built-in carrying handle to lift it and the stand that it comes on is very easy to adjust. You can easily rotate the monitor thanks to the rotating base (shown below) and also raise and lower the monitor with one hand.
The monitor comes with a hood that snaps on magnetically making it very easy to attach or remove as the situation requires. This new monitor hood design is vastly superior to the hood that came with my Eizo CG243W. And because the CG319X has a built in monitor calibration device there is no need for the monitor hood to have a slot that allows a monitor calibration device to be slung over the top of the monitor making for a very clean design.
On the front bezel the monitor has a series of six glowing touch sensitive buttons that allow you to change the monitor settings easily. I found these buttons and their associated menus to be very intuitive–and a massive improvement from my older Eizo ColorEdge monitor.
COLOR MANAGEMENT WITH COLORNAVIGATOR 7
One of the major advantages of Eizo ColorEdge monitors is the ColorNavigator software that works with the monitor. I have been using ColorNavigator 6 for years now and with the new ColorNavigator 7 software it is better than ever. From the Eizo website, “The proprietary software performs hardware calibration by directly utilizing the LUT (look-up-table) of the monitor for higher precision and better gradation characteristics compared to software calibration.” Hence, with hardware calibration the CG319X can can calibrate all of the various settings for sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec. 709, Print Profiling and more all at the same time. I have never seen a faster, easier calibration process with any other monitor.
Of note, I calibrate my monitor to the Adobe RGB color space (since this is an Adobe RGB monitor), and my calibration settings are a Gamma of 2.2, a Luminance of 120 candelas per meter squared and a color temperature of 6,500 K. When printing images, I switch the color temperature settings depending on the paper I am printing on to match “paper white.”
The CG319X has a built-in monitor calibration device that slides out and calibrates the monitor for you. As shown below, when you open up the ColorNavigator 7 software that comes with the monitor and select “Calibrate” the screen turns black and the built-in sensor rotates out and runs through a series of colors and tones to calibrate the monitor. All in all, because it is a hardware calibration it takes only a minute or two to calibrate the monitor, which is a lot faster than using an external monitor calibration device and software to calibrate the monitor.
In addition to the easy calibration process, it is also possible to schedule calibrations whenever you want (as long as the monitor is on). This is an amazingly easy way to make sure your monitor is always calibrated and ready to go. Typically before calibration most monitors need at least 30 minutes to stabilize but with the CG319X it is up and ready to calibrate in an incredible 3 minutes. This is just another time saver that helps keep the monitor calibrated. Lastly, switching color modes is as easy and pushing a button on the front of the monitor and you can easily switch between Adobe RGB, sRGB or Rec. 709 (or any other option) without having to recalibrate the monitor. Hence, if I am working up video I can easily switch to the Rec. 709 color space and jump into Adobe Premiere Pro CC to start editing and color grading my motion footage.
The CG319X is also one of the few Eizo monitors that has the ability to display video in HDR (High Dynamic Range). Eizo has a whole section of their website dedicated to explaining what HDR is and I encourage you to check that out if this is something of interest. Essentially, HDR creates a wider range of tones from dark to light that can be displayed on the monitor. This is not to be confused with HDR photography, which is a way of combining different exposures.
From the website, “The ColorEdge CG319X is equipped with HLG (hybrid log-gamma) and the PQ (perceptual quantization) curve for displaying and editing HDR (high dynamic range) video content. The optimized gamma curves render images to appear more true to how the human eye perceives the real world compared to SDR (standard dynamic range). This ensures professional creators can reliably display HDR content for editing and color grading. HDR has drawn attention as a next-generation high-quality imaging technology, and content produced in HDR is now available through video streaming services like Netflix and on UHD Blu-ray discs.” Below is a chart outlining the specs for HDR.
At this point there are not that many monitors that can display content in HDR. There are some TVs out there that have this capability but it is still relatively new. As technology marches on I have a feeling the number of displays that offer an HDR mode will increase and this may become the new normal. HDR is a new video specification and color space. For still photographers HDR displays create a new paradigm, which might force us to re-process images so they can be displayed properly on HDR monitors. As the general public is not quite there yet with HDR this is not a huge concern for still photographers but something we will have to watch out for as this new display specification becomes more common.
Who is this Monitor for?
The Eizo CG319X is an epic monitor for working up still images, but with that said Eizo has a plethora of other ColorEdge monitors that are equally capable for still photographers–like the CG279X and the CS2740. The CG319X obviously offers more screen real-estate, which is very nice to have. But where the CG319X really shines is in video post-production. Working with this monitor for the last month I have worked up some video clips in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, and the large DCI 4K screen really helps to see all of the adjustments and the footage itself in all it’s glory–as long as you have a computer that can play back the full resolution footage in real time. The CG319X is used by a number of high-end post-production houses including Netflix and Skydance Media, which goes to show who this monitor is aimed at. Skydance Media produced the latest Terminator movie using the Eizo HDR monitors as shown in the YouTube video below.
Top end Hollywood level color accurate reference monitors, like Eizo’s own ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3146 cost upwards of $30,000 USD. In comparison the CG319X is a bargain offering many of the same features as these ultra-expensive options. With a price tag just shy of $6,000 USD, there are not many still photographers that will even consider this monitor but those that will know who they are–and are at the top-end of the industry pushing the quality of their images to the bleeding edge. As with expensive medium format cameras that capture incredible resolution, like my venerable FUJIFILM GFX 100, working those images up on a top-end display like this helps to craft the best possible final image.
Why does this monitor cost so much?
I realize there are a few other brands out there offering slightly less expensive options that Eizo’s ColorEdge series with nearly identical specifications. There are only two other brands that I would mention in the same breath as Eizo’s ColorEdge monitors and those are the NEC PA series monitors and the BenQ Adobe RGB monitors. In the first case, the NEC PA series monitors are quite good. I don’t have much experience with them but I have heard from several photographers that they can be hard to calibrate–especially with third party monitor calibration devices. In the last few years, BenQ has come on the scene and offers what appear to be very similar monitors as Eizo’s offerings but at much cheaper prices. While the BenQ prices are very attractive and the BenQ monitors are vastly superior to most non-Adobe RGB monitors, my experience has been that the BenQ offerings are not nearly as accurate edge-to-edge in terms of brightness and color accuracy as the Eizo ColorEdge monitors.
In comparison, the 32-inch 4K BenQ SW321C sells for $1,999.99–one-third the price of the Eizo CG319X. NEC also has their venerable PA series monitors and the 31.1-inch NEC MultiSync PA311D sells for $3,249– just over half the price of the Eizo CG319X. Both of these are respectable monitors but the Eizo is still the most color accurate of the bunch from corner-to-corner. But at twice the price of the NEC option and three times the price of the BenQ what is the deal? Why is the CG319X so much more expensive? The answer lies in the color accuracy of the monitor. With every percentage point of color accuracy the effort and technology required to get to that higher level of accuracy increases exponentially and hence the cost also rises exponentially. For example getting to 95% color accuracy is not crazy expensive, but increasing the color accuracy to 97% or 98% increases the cost of that monitor significantly. Hence, the Eizo CG319X is the cream of the crop, with incredible color accuracy from corner-to-corner, which is perhaps two percent better than the NEC PA311D and four to five percent better than the BenQ SW321C. Whether or not you are willing to pay for those extra few percentage points in color accuracy is up to you and your needs. The CG319X is the Ferrari of color accurate monitors, and comes with a Ferrari price.
Over the last month, having tested out the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 and the CG319X, I have really been able to compare these two top-end color acurate 4K monitors head-to-head. The CS2740, as discussed in my prior review is a stellar monitor and an excellent deal, especially given its level of color accuracy. As I said at the beginning of this review for the CG319X, it is the top of the high-end in terms of color accurate monitors for still photographers. It is also a dream monitor for those producing top-end motion projects.
I have been drooling over this monitor for years, and now that I have actually been able to try it out there is no going back. This gorgeous monitor was so nice that I opted to buy it instead of sending it back to Eizo. I suppose that is the ultimate recommendation I can give. I liked it so much I kept it.
Disclaimer: Though I am not sponsored by Eizo (pronounced A-zoh), I was supplied this monitor to test out and review. I have owned an Eizo ColorEdge CG243W for a decade and have been continually impressed by their monitors in terms of their color accuracy, build quality and ColorNavigator software. Note that I was also profiled in an Eizo Case Study a few years ago on the Eizo website.
The brand new Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 monitor is a high-end Adobe RGB monitor designed for photographers, cinematographers, graphic designers, and anyone needing a highly-tuned, color accurate monitor for working up images, color grading motion footage or laying out content for reproduction. After ten years, my older Eizo ColorEdge CG243W is starting to show signs of its demise and it is also not covered with the latest software upgrade to ColorNavigator 7, the latest version of Eizo’s color calibration software. Hence, it is time to update my monitor–in fact, it is well past the time I should have upgraded my monitor.
Before we dive in here, I want to add a note about choosing the right monitor for your needs. I consider the monitor you workup images on to be one of the most important–if not the most important–piece of equipment in any digital workflow. I would also say the monitor is more important than what camera and lens were used to capture the image if you really care about the color in your images. Because we work up images by looking at them (on a calibrated and profiled monitor) and we are not adjusting color by the numbers so to speak, having a monitor that can show accurate color from edge-to-edge is critical. I consider an Adobe RGB monitor, as are all of the Eizo ColorEdge monitors, to be a critical piece of kit for any photographer looking to take their images to the highest level. If you have ever taken a workshop with me then you know I am pretty harsh when it comes to monitors. There are very few companies that produce monitors that are up to the task for critical color management–and Eizo’s ColorEdge series monitors are hands-down the best on the market.
While looking at new Eizo ColorEdge monitors, I got in touch with Eizo just to check in since they did a case study with me for their website a few years ago. I found out they had a new monitor coming out–the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740. It is a 27-inch 4K UHD monitor and they offered to send me one to test out. Since I was looking for a new monitor, this seemed like a good option. The CS2740 is 3840 x 2160 pixels, on a 26.9-inch diagonal screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9. This makes for a pixel density of 164 pixels-per-inch (ppi), which is at the upper end of what I would want for editing and processing still images. The CS2740 shows 99% of the Adobe RGB color space and as such it is one of the few monitors on the market that shows pretty much the entire Adobe RGB color space. The CS2740 is also Eizo’s first monitor that can connect to a computer with the USB Type-C connection. This makes it very easy to connect this to any of the latest Apple computers. Since I already have a DisplayPort cable that I have been using for my older Eizo monitor I connected it to my 2019 MacBook Pro laptop with a DisplayPort cable via a CalDigit TS3 Plus Dock. [Note that a DisplayPort cable comes with this monitor as well.]
As can be seen above the CS2740 has a stand that is easy to raise, rotate and tilt and the monitor can rotate vertically. It also has an easy to grab handle on the back of the monitor. The frame of the monitor has electrostatic switches on the front bezel that are touch sensitive and make for easy adjustments. This is also a non-glare panel, so reflections are not an issue you will have to worry about.
Eizo ColorEdge monitors are typically a bit more expensive than other lesser monitors, as you would expect for a top-end wide gamut monitor. Amazingly, Eizo’s CS range, which sits just below the more expensive CG range, offers a wide variety of options for very reasonable prices. The CS2740 sells for $1,789 USD. The monitor hood for the CS2740 is an additional $189 USD. I would highly recommend purchasing the monitor hood in addition to the monitor. Considering that my older CG243W cost $2,400 when I bought it over ten years ago and is a smaller, lower resolution monitor, the price for the CS2740 seems incredibly reasonable–especially give that the CS2740 is more advanced than my older monitor in just about every way.
Color Accuracy and Neutrality
The entire reason for the extra expense of an Eizo ColorEdge monitor is because they are the most color accurate and neutral monitors on the market. Those looking at these types of monitors are counting on them being uniformly color accurate from edge-to-edge. As shown in the screen shot below, the CS2740 is incredibly uniform in brightness. If the edges of this screenshot look dark for any reason, I can assure you that is your eyes playing tricks on you because of the white background of this blog. I used the eye dropper tool in Photoshop to measure the gray backdrop from edge-to-edge and found it to be perfectly uniform from corner to corner.
Having worked with this monitor for the last month, and having worked up images and printed them here in my office, I can assure anyone considering this monitor that is has excellent color accuracy once it is calibrated and profiled using the ColorNavigator 7 software that comes with the monitor.
Color Management with ColorNavigator 7
One of the major advantages of Eizo ColorEdge monitors is the ColorNavigator software that works with the monitor. I have been using ColorNavigator 6 for years now and with the new ColorNavigator 7 software it is better than ever. From the Eizo website, “The proprietary software performs hardware calibration by directly utilizing the LUT (look-up-table) of the monitor for higher precision and better gradation characteristics compared to software calibration.” Hence, with hardware calibration the CS2740 can can calibrate all of the various settings for sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec. 709, Print Profiling and more all at the same time. I have never seen a faster, easier calibration process with any other monitor.
ColorNavigator 7 works with a wide variety of third party monitor calibration devices including most of my X-Rite devices. My newest X-Rite i1 Pro 3 device was not an option–probably because it is brand new and just came to market–but I am sure at some point soon it will be added to the list of approved devices for ColorNavigator 7. The CS2740 does not have a built-in monitor calibration device like the ColorEdge CG series monitors but even so, it is a quick and easy process to calibrate the monitor.
Of note, I calibrate my monitor to the Adobe RGB color space (since this is an Adobe RGB monitor), and my calibration settings are a Gamma of 2.2, a Luminance of 120 candelas per meter squared and a color temperature of 6,500 K. When printing images, I switch the color temperature settings depending on the paper I am printing on to match “paper white,” which can range from 5,500 K up to 5,800 K.
4K Monitors and Scaling
If you have never used a 4K monitor, you may be shocked at how tiny text appears when the screen is set to use the native 4K resolution. The CS2740 has a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. What that means is the monitor has stunning clarity, not unlike the Apple Retina screens but with slightly lower resolution. [Note the Apple Retina monitors have a pixel destiny of 220 pixels per inch.] The CS2740 has a pixel density of 164 pixels per inch, which makes it the highest pixel density on any of the Eizo ColorEdge monitors.
As can be seen below, with the screen set to the full 4K native resolution it is incredibly sharp but the text is quite small. The text can still be read, but it might lead to eye strain if you already have poor eyesight. This mode has the monitor and the image in the highest resolution possible, which is great for looking at images. This is the mode I prefer for editing and working up images in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC–even though the text is small.
In the Preferences panel, under Displays on an Apple computer, you can adjust the scaling of the image shown on the monitor simply by clicking on “Scaled” and then choosing among the five options as shown above and below. Below is a screenshot showing the middle setting which scales the screen to look the same as it would on a monitor with 3008 x 1692 pixels. Note that the actual number of pixels on the monitor do not change, the scaling just interprets those 3840 x 2160 pixels to look like a monitor with fewer pixels. The actual image and text remains crisp and sharp. When using the monitor for other tasks, not related to still image or video post-production, this middle option is the one I use to check email, browse the web, and do all of my other work. It offers readable text and the benefit of a big workspace that almost feels as if you are working on two monitors.
As shown below, the largest scaling option, which mimics a 1920 x 1080 monitor (but with much better resolution), makes the text and the Lightroom interface appear quite large. I pretty much never use this setting but I wanted to present it here to show the power of the scaling options.
With the Apple Retina monitors on my laptops I have noticed over the years that when culling and editing images, I can’t actually 100% tell if an image is truly sharp on those high resolution screens. If an image is really out of focus then that is easy to spot, but if it is just a hair out of focus the resolution of the Apple Retina monitors hides the slight focus issue. Hence, one of the first things I checked on the CS2740 was if I could still see if an image was critically sharp and also tell if an image was just slightly out of focus. I am happy to report that I can certainly tell when an image is critically sharp and also when it is slightly soft. When editing images–and choosing a monitor–this is a critical factor. The CS2740 seems like it is at the upper edge of pixel density for photographers that need to critically examine their images, make sure they are sharp and also see how any additional sharpening affects the image.
Connecting the Monitor to a Computer
The CS2740 has a few different options for connecting the monitor to your computer. Cheif among those options is the venerable DisplayPort, which is how I connected it to my computer. Along with the DisplayPort to calibrate the monitor one is required to connect the included USB cable as well. Most computers do not have a DisplayPort built into the computer. As I said above, I have a CalDigit TS3 Plus dock that has a DisplayPort connection option, which is why that is my normal monitor cable (and because I have had an Eizo monitor before that required a DisplayPort cable).
In addition to the DisplayPort option, the CS2740 is Eizo’s first ColorEdge monitor that can connect to a computer via USB-C, which makes this monitor very easy to connect to any of Apple’s latest computers. One of the cool features of this monitor is that you can plug-in the monitor and by connecting your computer via USB-C to the monitor it will also power the laptop as well.
I realize there are a few other brands out there offering slightly less expensive options that Eizo’s ColorEdge series. There are only two other brands that I would mention in the same breath as Eizo’s ColorEdge monitors and those are the NEC PA series monitors and the BenQ Adobe RGB monitors. In the first case, the NEC PA series monitors are quite good. I don’t have much experience with them but I have heard from several photographers that they can be hard to calibrate–especially with third party monitor calibration devices. When you add in the cost of purchasing the NEC monitor calibration device with the PA series monitor the price comparison with Eizo’s offerings are fairly similar. The NEC PA271Q-BK-SV, which is not a 4K monitor, with their monitor calibration device sells for $1,549.00 USD at B&H. That is only a few hundred dollars less than the CS2740, which is a 4K monitor. As NEC does not offer an Adobe RGB monitor with the same specs as the Eizo CS2740 this is an apple-to-oranges comparison.
In the last few years, BenQ has come on the scene and offers what appear to be very similar monitors as Eizo’s offerings but at much cheaper prices. For example, the BenQ SW271 has almost identical specs as the Eizo CS2740 and it sells for $1,099, nearly $700 less than the CS2740. BenQ has another even larger 32-inch 4K monitor, the BenQ SW321C, which sells for $1,999.99–only $111 more than the Eizo CS2740. While the BenQ prices are very attractive and the BenQ monitors are vastly superior to most non-Adobe RGB monitors, my experience has been that the BenQ offerings are not nearly as accurate edge-to-edge in terms of brightness and color accuracy as the Eizo ColorEdge monitors. I have also heard recently from several photographers that have purchased a BenQ that they could not calibrate their monitors due to a SNAFU with the latest MacOS operating system and the BenQ software. Hence, if you are looking at this category of monitors–those that show the entire Adobe RGB color space–and are looking to get a monitor that can show the most accurate color from edge-to-edge, I think it is worth the few hundred extra dollars to get the best in class display.
When I consider monitors, I think of it as the price-per-day of looking at that monitor. My Eizo CG243W has lasted me a decade. It still works but I am ready for a new monitor. To calculate the price-per-day, let’s just say I was in the office six months each year (I typically travel for assignments anywhere from five to nine months per year) so that makes for approximately 180 days each year in front of the monitor. Over the course of ten years that equals 1,800 days total in front of the monitor. So over the course of 1,800 days the $700 difference in price between the BenQ option here and the Eizo CS2740 comes down to $0.39 per day. Is it worth it to pay an extra 39 cents per day to have a higher-end, more color accurate monitor? That would be a resounding yes for me. If you need a monitor like this with the best possible color accuracy and just can’t afford anything above $1,000 USD then I would direct you to the Eizo ColorEdge CS2420, which goes for $849. That monitor is more color accurate than any of the BenQ offerings and is a very affordable Adobe RGB monitor.
Those looking at these types of monitors know it isn’t how great the monitor looks that differentiates these high-end monitors. We can not differentiate the minute differences in brightness and color accuracy with our eyes that are needed for a top-end monitor to work up images on. All of these monitors from Eizo, NEC and BenQ “look” great but it is the technical details and the level of color accuracy that matters–and that is where Eizo rises above the pack.
I want to reiterate here that I am not sponsored by Eizo. Even though they have loaned me these monitors to test out, I will have to pay for a new monitor. I have come to trust my Eizo displays more than any other monitor on the market. When making fine art prints, I rarely have to make more than one print and that is mainly due to my Eizo monitor and the excellent ColorNavigator software.
In the course of reviewing the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 I have learned a lot about 4K monitors and it has also realigned some of my preconceptions. The thought of it being a “lower-end” CS ColorEdge monitor instead of the “higher-end” CG ColorEdge monitors has pretty much been eliminated. What I have come to realize is that the CG ColorEdge series is not that much different from the CS series. The CG series just has the built-in colorimeter to calibrate the monitor on the spot without the need for an external calibration device like my venerable X-Rite i1 Photo Pro 3 device. Of course it is very nice to have the built-in calibration device as found in the CG series monitors, but if you already own a monitor calibration device (as you should) then it is a non-issue.
After working with the CS2740 for the past month, I can say that it is a massive upgrade from my old ColorEdge CG243W. Images look incredible on this monitor, especially the 102 MP images created by my FUJIFILM GFX 100. I was blown away at how sharp my images looked fullscreen on this monitor when working them up in Lightroom. I didn’t even need to zoom into 100% to tell if they were tack sharp and I was able to see details in the images that I couldn’t see on my old monitor.
For the price, the CS2740 is a stellar deal and it is just about the perfect monitor. If Eizo had a 4K 27-inch monitor with the built-in calibration device that would be even better–and I suspect they may be working on that. If you are looking for a 27-inch 4K top-end Adobe RGB monitor then the CS2740 is the best one on the market and at just under $1800 USD it is a great price for a monitor that sets the standard in the industry.
I’d say the only monitor better than the CS2740 is the 32-inch Eizo ColorEdge CG319X, which is their premiere top-end Adobe RGB 4K monitor–and it costs nearly $6,000 USD. In addition to testing out the CS2740, Eizo also sent me their top-of-the-line ColorEdge CG319X monitor as well to check out. The 31.1-inch CG319X is a massive monitor–and one I have been drooling over for years. Look for my review of the CG319X coming soon.
My thanks to Eizo for letting me test drive the new ColorEdge CS2740. For more information on the Eizo ColorEdge CS2740 visit the Eizo website.