Cinema Display


For the past year, I have been shooting primarily with a Nikon D800e and a Hasselblad H4D-40.  Both of these cameras are relatively high megapixel cameras (36 and 40 respectively) and allow for large beautiful prints.  The "problem" with making large prints is not only are they expensive, but imperfections in the source image become more apparent.  You also start thinking more critically about brightness and color as you spend more money on larger prints (for yourself of for clients).  

I've always liked the Cinema Displays from Apple.  I have two older 20" Cinema Displays, one 24" LED Cinema display, and one 27" Thunderbolt Display (NOT to be confused with the 27" Cinema display, which connects via mini-display port ant lacks thunderbolt).  The monitors themselves look sharp from a form factor perspective and always display rich, vivid, colors.  There are a couple issues I have with them though.  Lately my issues with them are growing and growing.  First, they are expensive.  Second, they lack modern connectivity.  The Thunderbolt display does in fact have a thunderbolt port which is nice (and I believe at the time of writing is the only thunderbolt monitor on the market....LG announced one at CES back in January but it has not been released yet) and allows for the monitor to function as a dock so to speak, but the inclusion of USB 2.0 ports vs USB 3.0 ports is ridiculous.  Third, I always find that they have a slightly yellow/greenish tint to them.  The 24" Cinema Display I have I even had Apple replace the display because of the tint issue at a cost of >$600 (thankfully it was under Applecare and I didn't pay a dime).  Last, they are very reflective...I find it hard to do some things in lab with my 24" because of how reflective they are.  

For all of the above reasons I looked into different monitors for my new 2013 Mac Pro.  I wanted wide color gamut monitors with a matte display and even backlighting that were amenable to calibration.  I found two that really peaked my interest: the NEC PA272-BK-SV and the Eizo CG277.  In the end I went with the NEC simply because it was cheaper (and on sale when I bought it...the Eizo is BRAND new but I expect prices to come down in the future).  Unlike the Eizo, it has an external calibration sensor (basically an NEC-branded X-Rite i1display pro from what I can tell), but otherwise shares similar specs.  So far I really like the monitor.  It plugs in to the Mac Pro with a [supplied] mini-display port to display port cable (mini-display port plugs in to thunderbolt port on mac, display port plugs in to monitor).  After plugging it in, installing the supplied SpectraView II software, and plugging in the [supplied] colorimeter, I had it up and running and calibrated in about 5 mins.  Very quick and painless.  So far I'm a big fan!  I was hoping I could use the supplied software and colorimeter to also calibrate my other displays, but unfortunately only certain NEC displays are supported (minor bummer).  The only other downside is that I imagine I will have to run a USB cable from the monitor to the computer if I want to use any of the USB ports (also USB 2.0 unfortunately) on the monitor itself.  I will amend my thoughts in the future if I experience any issues.  

I bought my NEC monitor here

Disclaimer:  I'm not endorsed by any companies or websites mentioned herein.  All equipment was purchased by me personally and I received no compensation from anyone for writing this post.  

Applecare: Yes/No/Maybe?

Most of you out there are familiar with the extended warranty.  Whether you're talking about electronics, appliances, cars, you name it, most stores are more than happy to sell you an extended warranty as well.  Most of the time I think that extended warranties are completely worthless and just a way for the retailer to increase its profit margins so avoid them like the plague.  That being said, for some reason, when buying Apple products, I have always plopped down the extra dough for Apple's extended warrantly: Applecare.  Why I do this when normally I avoid extended warranties??  Other than the fact that I basically enjoy signing paychecks over to Apple, who knows.  I've never taken advantage of Applecare until recently.  To give you a little backstory, my 24 inch LED Cinema display had been wonky lately....the lower half of the screen (lower left corner especially) was "warmer" than the rest of the screen.  This translated to a yellow/brownish tint and aside from being annoying, plopping down $900 for a monitor with a varying color temperature across the screen is unacceptable.  The monitor was out of warranty, but low and behold I had purchased Applecare with the monitor, so I brought it in to Apple.  The genius at the bar was a little skeptical of my complaints, but took them seriously and logged the monitor in for repair.  I was without the monitor for about a week, but then got a call saying it was ready.  So far after a little calibration and white balance adjustment (via display preferences in OS X), it's looking pretty good.  Can't tell if it's perfect but certainly better than before.  Was the $80 for the Applecare (for displays) worth it??  Take a look at the iphone grab of the bill and judge for yourself (look at the "amount due".  hint: yes).  In this case I can certainly say from experience Applecare for your Apple products is worth it.