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    FALSE BIT DEPTH SPECS for MONITORS
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    Senior Member James0b57's Avatar
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    Recently purchased a monitor which claimed 10bit across all of their online material. Turned out to actually be an 8bit panel that utilized "frame Rate Control" to dither in more color information, or 8bit+FRC.




    Now, when it comes to viewing, or watching content, I don't even mind 6bit+frc sometimes. I don't mind 720p. I don't mind H.264 at 17Mbps. But when I buy a product for a specific reason, would hope that it does exactly that function.

    Seems like all of the monitor companies are often rating 8bit panels as 10bit because they are implementing FRC dithering, or because the panel can except 10bit signal.

    We have had similar "manufacturer claims" in resolution and especially dynamic range specs on cameras. But those are somewhat understandable.


    HD ready vs HD vs FullHD
    The term "HD" is vague already, so can't really Call anyone out there

    4K vs True 4K vs 4K RAW vs 4K red vs Super Sample 4K
    This gets a little more contentious. Yet, 4K raw is really a 4K sensor, even if it isn't resolving a 4K color image.

    Dynamic Range
    Similar to "High Definition", this is a vague spec. But in the opposite way. with "HD", the term or specs itself was vague. With DR, the actual rating can be base on aesthetic preference for actual DR or usable DR. So, in a weird way, Red and Canon DR specs are justified, even if their not reflecting "usable DR".

    But bit depth! 8bit vs 10bit is pretty measurable. If we are trying to work in a 24fps world, and getting additional frames thrown in for dithering, what does that do? probably not much. Yet it is still there.


    Is there some understandable reason for the discrepancy? I an't think of any at this time. It is like if a camera had a 1080p sensor, but shook around to capture for images and combined them into one frame for "4K". YOU'd want to know that , right? I would.


    Seems manufacturers are getting really lazy about specs. Anyone recall when Heinz ketchup started putting less product in their bottles? Some granny had a recipe that used the whole bottle, and she found out that the Heinz ketchup brand was no longer putting the correct amount in the bottles, and Heinz had to change back to putting the correct amount in.

    Even BHphoto and similar sites are running the risk of liability, as they grammatically state "specs" and not "Manufacturer Specs". So, are they taking on the responsibility for accurate listings? Or could they be sued for "false advertising" because they do not state that the specs are not their own? BH could help by being more strict with manufacturers and perhaps call their bluff, allowing the whole monitor industry to be ok with listing actual panel bit depth. One phone call to tech support from each company, and get a rundown of the accurate specs. Though, isn't really their responsibility, but they should clarify that the specs are from the manufacturer and not their own, even if we all know it is implied.


    I actually don't have much issue with 8bit+FRC, and prefer it to 8bit alone, but when I purchase a monitor because of a 10bit rating, would really hope to get a 10bit monitor. Especially when I pay extra for the feature.

    If time permits, and recently, time is permitting, I'll go figure out if there are any true 10bit monitors in the USD$1K range. Though, colour uniformity and other attributes are important too. I'd probably rather have consistent colour in 8bit, than warped innacurate 10bit, but that goes without saying. Just that some of these fake bit depth monitors are not better than other monitors, but just have "10bit" flag to get more money. So, in that sense, it feels like actual fraud. The only reason we can't do anything about it, is because all of the companies are doing it! And sellers are not worried about it either. Or is there some way to rationalize it, similar to DR specs?

    Any of you guys have a preferred computer monitor from recent times?


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    I've always said that advertising is 90% lying. I know that seems like a really cynical outlook, but it's warranted in this day and age.

    Are TVs any better? I thought HDR TVs were supposed to be 10bit, then again, they advertise TVs as HDR that only go to few hundred cd/m2 and lack local dimming.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Imamacuser View Post
    I've always said that advertising is 90% lying. I know that seems like a really cynical outlook, but it's warranted in this day and age.

    Are TVs any better? I thought HDR TVs were supposed to be 10bit, then again, they advertise TVs as HDR that only go to few hundred cd/m2 and lack local dimming.
    I donít see what you are saying. This is not advertising, but listed specs.


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    Listed specs tie into advertising. A sales person would emphasize "10bit" as a selling point. I think manufacturer specs count as advertising, as their website lists the features and specs, which is certainly a form of advertising.


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    Senior Member James0b57's Avatar
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    i suppose they get away with it, by not even having a “panel bit depth” rating. As the panel is just one part. But they sure are making money off that 10bit hype.

    EDIT: actually on BH it is mentioned as having a 10bit panel, which is false. It is an 8bit panel.
    Last edited by James0b57; 04-03-2020 at 04:28 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Imamacuser View Post
    Listed specs tie into advertising. A sales person would emphasize "10bit" as a selling point. I think manufacturer specs count as advertising, as their website lists the features and specs, which is certainly a form of advertising.
    Sure, when Coca Cola say they have a diet soda, the lack of sugar is a selling point, but if they are actually putting sugar in and calling it not-sugar, then it is fraud.

    McDonald’s actually made a company called “100% Beef”, so that they could claim their hamburgers are made with “100% Beef”, even when it was mix of beef with other things.

    So, yeah, advertising is related to specs, but when they are not accurate, it is false advertising.
    Last edited by James0b57; 04-03-2020 at 04:08 PM.


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    Actually, I am reading on the BH website that it states in the description, and I quote:

    "...provides smooth gradations with its 10bit panel..."

    ...sorry, it is an 8bit panel, BH.
    Last edited by James0b57; 04-03-2020 at 05:18 PM. Reason: Auto correct typos had to fix


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    Having done a little more online research, i have been looking around for a better option in that ~$800 range of prosumer/hobby monitor.

    Going to give the Eizo CS2420 a try. Will report back. Seems like other monitors in this price range are giving a $500 panel with $300 worth of features, whereas the baby eizo is just straight up a $800 panel.

    Normally, i never get the bottom line of a brand/series, as companies often try too hard to distinguish between their entry and highend tiers, but eizo may be one of those companies that is good all around. Also, nothing in their ColorEdge line is exactly their lowest. But sometimes i’ll go for the top tier of the underdog brand, as sometimes that gives a better buy.


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    The Monitor i previously purchased was the BenQ SW270C. Had glowing reviews across the web. Seemed like a no brainer.

    Firstly, the SW270C is not a bad monitor. It is actually quite good. But good for hobbyist. Not budget pro. If that makes sense. Also, the QC is not perfect. I got one with a noticeable green shift on the one side. And one of the corners I found was never not glowing unless I was way off axis, but then the rest of the screen had the off axis glow.


    I’ll explain. At first, the whole lying about “10bit panel” when it was an 8bit panel. No other company is bold face lying like that. The other companies insinuate, by saying 10bit capable. But i let go of it after venting here about it. I actually don’t prioritize 10bit as the main requirement, and some of the other claims were appealing.

    DCI-P3 was interesting. They claim ~97%(depends on what part of the website), and i found after calibrating multiple times that the red channel was great than delta e 7. Then after digging deeper i found a few more less popular but more thorough reviewers, that all of them stated in their tests that the sw270c was only capable of ~87% of DCI-P3! Strike two, so, again, i figure i don’t plan to grade for theatrical release on my home system. And the sw270c does rec709 well. Delta e averag for r709 was 2.5 ish.

    Next up was 24p/25p native refresh rates for better playback cadence... doesn’t work with Black Magic Ultrastudio Mini Monitor. So, while i can switch my OS to run at 24hz, i was particularly sad that i couldn’t get it to recognize the ultrastudio. As seeing the clean feed playback from that would be the one i would really want to preserve good motion cadence with. Strike three!

    Hdmi 2.0 standard is spec’d for 10bit input, however, the BenQ does not operate in 10bit mode unless using Display port..... so, if running Ultrastudio 10bit clean video feed, one would need an SDI to DP adapter... which are expensive, and this is a budget hobbyist monitor.... and also, it doesn’t work with the Ultra studio in hdmi.... strike 4!!!

    Ok, so i figure, maybe i’ll just use it as a GUI, since it has USB-C connectivity. But it won’t wake up with the Mac. Darn!


    Then the IPS glow was kind of annoying. A little worse than i think is acceptible, unless everything else were better. As long as it was viewed far enough away, it was at least not obvious, but one of the corners was always a little more washed out than the rest of the screen.

    The good, is it is an overall nice looking monitor that handles srgb and rec709 well. Has a bunch of trending features. I think it will make a lot of people happy. A monitor hood alone can cost $100 or more, so, have to factor that in, as well. It is one of those purchases that makes you feel like you got a bargain. Like when you buy a Manfrotto tripod on sale, then you realize how much better sachtler and oconnor are. Like i’d rather spend $1500 on a Miller rated for 20lbs, than a Manfrotto for $1000 rate for 26lbs. Just different design choices. And that is what the sw270c is, it is bringing a lot of bang for buck to the whole package, but the panel quality itself is not much different from $500 ones. And some of the more exotic features may not even pan out. So, cool that their listed on the specs, but not cool that they don’t necessarily get you the results.

    I can see why the monitor is popular, and i can see why people like them. But i’d write this to caution any budget minded professionals, to not waste your time getting it, if your main goal is panel quality. As you may be better off saving money and going with a Dell or Benq’s next model down if budget is the main concern, and then maybe opt for the Eizo CS if strictly inage quality on a budget is the number 1 priority.
    Last edited by James0b57; 05-16-2020 at 03:22 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by James0b57 View Post
    The Monitor i previously purchased was the BenQ SW270C. Had glowing reviews across the web. Seemed like a no brainer.

    Firstly, the SW270C is not a bad monitor. It is actually quite good. But good for hobbyist. Not budget pro. If that makes sense.


    I’ll explain. At first, the whole lying about “10bit panel” when it was an 8bit panel. No other company is bold face lying like that. The other companies insinuate, by saying 10bit capable. But i let go of it after venting here about it. I actually don’t prioritize 10bit as the main requirement, and some of the other claims were appealing.

    DCI-P3 was interesting. They claim ~97%(depends on what part of the website), and i found after calibrating multiple times that the red channel was great than delta e 7. Then after digging deeper i found a few more less popular but more thorough reviewers, that all of them stated in their tests that the sw270c was only capable of ~87% of DCI-P3! Strike two, so, again, i figure i don’t plan to grade for theatrical release on my home system. And the sw270c does rec709 well. Delta e averag for r709 was 2.5 ish.

    Next up was 24p/25p native refresh rates for better playback cadence... doesn’t work with Black Magic Ultrastudio Mini Monitor. So, while i can switch my OS to run at 24hz, i was particularly sad that i couldn’t get it to recognize the ultrastudio. As seeing the clean feed playback from that would be the one i would really want to preserve good motion cadence with. Strike three!

    Hdmi 2.0 standard is spec’d for 10bit input, however, the BenQ does not operate in 10bit mode unless using Display port..... so, if running Ultrastudio 10bit clean video feed, one would need an SDI to DP adapter... which are expensive, and this is a budget hobbyist monitor.... and also, it doesn’t work with the Ultra studio in hdmi.... strike 4!!!

    Ok, so i figure, maybe i’ll just use it as a GUI, since it has USB-C connectivity. But it won’t wake up with the Mac. Darn!


    Then the IPS glow was kind of annoying. A little worse than i think is acceptible, unless everything else were better. As long as it was viewed far enough away, it was at least not obvious, but one of the corners was always a little more washed out than the rest of the screen.

    The good, is it is an overall nice looking monitor that handles srgb and rec709 well. Has a bunch of trending features. I think it will make a lot of people happy. A monitor hood alone can cost $100 or more, so, have to factor that in, as well. It is one of those purchases that makes you feel like you got a bargain. Like when you buy a Manfrotto tripod on sale, then you realize how much better sachtler and oconnor are. Like i’d rather spend $1500 on a Miller rated for 20lbs, than a Manfrotto for $1000 rate for 26lbs. Just different design choices. And that is what the sw270c is, it is bringing a lot of bang for buck to the whole package, but the panel quality itself is not much different from $500 ones. And some of the more exotic features may not even pan out. So, cool that their listed on the specs, but not cool that they don’t necessarily get you the results.

    I can see why the monitor is popular, and i can see why people like them. But i’d write this to caution any budget minded professionals, to not waste your time getting it, if your main goal is panel quality. As you may be better off saving money and going with a Dell or Benq’s next model down if budget is the main concern, and then maybe opt for the Eizo CS if strictly inage quality on a budget is the number 1 priority.
    Incredibly helpful - thanks for sharing this information. Appreciated!


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