The New Display



EDIT: When I started this thread, I wanted to know if there were any accurate monitors for colour grading under $1K, and if there was a difference between the brands.

1. Yes, I believe that the Eizo CS2420, which at the time of this post is a $850 monitor that is uniform and good color accuracy. Black levels are a little bright, and may require more ambient light to look black, versus an OLED or CG series. Even iMacs recent Glossy screens appear more black (though are not as uniform overall.

2. Yes, the underspec'ed Eizo CS2420 was better than the over spec'd BenQ of the same price.

The Dell's just over $1K are likely to perform similarly to the baby Eizo, but the DELL will likely have more resolution and contrast, at the. expense of total colour accuracy. The NEC should perform similarly to Eizo, but the calibration software doesn't seem to be as good, so for a colour grading person that may NOT matter if you are going through Blackmagic ultra studio, disposal, and Davinci Resolve. ....And lastly, I know the HP Z27x-Something-G2, monitor is maligned, but if you only need a monitor to last you a year or two, it could be a great value. Something about the calibration sensors going bad after a year or two and creating a color haze. But they are also said to have a good image when new, for under $800 online, they could be good deal. The reason I ruled it out, was that the beast weighs 26lbs. The Eizo CS2420 is 17lbs, and only 11 without the stand, so keeps my desk setup more clear while actually having possibly more accurate image too. But the HP has higher contrast and is claimed to be a 10bit panel....

Some premium consumer products may be good enough to compete with entry level pro gear, so Chris F has opened up the box on that side of things and will be reviewing an Apple LCD LG soon. The LG OLED tv screens have long been used by film makers as a budget monitor or client viewer.

So, while I set out to see if there was anything worth using under $1K, I kind of think that there are still not many good reliable options, even for SDR, not even talking HDR yet. I'm quite happy with the Eizo CS24020, but when using it at night, the black levels could be better for serious grading. I found I crush the fine details in some dark hair because of it. And it is actually one of the better matte surface LCD for black levels that I've seen. But feels more like a production monitor or a GUI than a cheap "reference" monitor. There are better monitors for black levels in this price Range at the expense of uniformity or colour accuracy, from what I have read. So, I feel there are still some advantages to this modest Eizo, but perhaps some of those advantages are lost in the grading site. But for casually looking at dailies in a bright room, it is amazing value.

1. cameras have continually gotten better, screens have to keep raising the bar to be able to properly view footage for analysis and grading decisions.

2. HDR is also upon us, and the changes

3. The Display world is a dark secret land where specs are surprisingly pointless on paper if the display doesn't deliver on quality. There are also so many loop hole hurdles in figuring out if your image chain is helping or hindering.

Going to start a running list of displays for camera people. There is no way to replace a specialist, but as camera people we also need to be able to see what our cameras are actually doing now more than ever before.
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Preliminary research or observations:

Colour grading monitors I am seeing are beginning to fall into some categories that I will try to organize here.

REC709 entry level accurate. $500-$1,000 price range
These are the entry level 8bit 1000:1 contrast ratio LCD monitors that give an accurate rec709 image when calibrated properly, but even these come in different classes.

1. Ultra low budget or hobbyist
Lower cost, comes with some of the fun pro looking features like a hot key puck and a shade. Slightly wonky, but totally usable for casual use that when properly calibrated gives above average usability. Dell and Asus also have popular models. in this class it isn't so important which one you get. They're all kind of good and all kind of not good for various reasons. If you don't want the Shade or Hot-key puck, there are many monitors in the $500-$600 range that are about as good. If Benq keeps improving, they could upset Eizo and FSI at the lower end, but that are still not there. recent iMacs seem to be on par with this level of monitor.

2. Graphics and colouring for the web
CS24020 (or Eizo CS models)
Excellent uniformity and accurate gamma cure, and highly accurate colours, but at $850, there are no frills, 1080p and 1000:1 contrast ratio, and the need to buy a shade. Dell and NEC have monitors of comparable price and quality, though they are generally higher resolution and a couple hundred dollars more.

3. Broadcast and field use
Another entry level, but perhaps the most unique class. This monitor has many exposure and image analysis tools built in. Is calibrated by FSI throughout its life for free. Has SDI or BNC connector for video specific use. Sony makes some similar monitors but they do not offer the support or calibration services. For broadcast or field use, there probably isn't a more confidence inspiring tool. Sony and Panasonic have similar offerings, but without the premium service and high standards, but generally lower cost. Should be able to handle pesky video formats like PsF and Interlaced.

There are a slew of cheap monitors coming up offering all kinds of video and film making features at crazy low prices. But so far, reviews on their failing or not being accurate make them not viable for colur accurate viewing. Some of them may have tools built in, but this thread is dedicated to being able to trust what the image onscreen looks like, so I am not going to cover those things.

The Next level up is the higher contrast and 10bit LCD monitors. $1000-$5000
Maybe higher resolution or larger screens, and they are angled at film makers and more critical broadcast or GFX work. Here we leave all the mass market brands and new comers out of it. But welcome the unlikely OLED TV.

1. the low budget catch all. Home film maker or stdio client monitor, it does it all. and you can watch Netflix on it.
The recent 48" CX OLED from LG seems like an amazing monitor for movie style grading on a budget

2. Entry level colorists, DP at home, or colour critical VFX
EIZO CG series
In a way, the CG2420 represents the lower end of this tier. It is about as cheap as one can go and still get an industry standard piece of gear that inspires some confidence and has somewhat black blacks for more cinematic image evaluation. Though this tier belongs more to the CG247X and CG279X type.

3. Higher end post work and professional applications that have specific goals in image making where critical decisions are made.
FSI and Sony High contrast 10bit LCD and OLED series.

HDR reference grade. $5,000-$30,000:
Monitors for those who's job is to stare at them and make pretty images. If one thinks about it, just from an image maker's stand point, it is in some ways more beneficial to get a $5K camera and a $30K monitor if trying to get monitoring confidence.... however, that isn't how things play out, and it is not exactly a business model that people might readily accept. I am never going to spend this money on my home studio setup, so I won't go into these at all. But they are amazing to see in person. I can tell you that. More and more life like these screens get, the less real these images look. Viewing off axis or seeing the camera clip or blow out and it all gets very uncanny valley.

-in progress-
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Most Monitors under $2500 are not generally recommended for dedicated colour grading work, and typically are designated as: graphics, hobby, field productions use, or for editors. So, keep that in mind when considering I'm looking at monitors in the $500 to $2000 range. I feel, serious DP's should work with a colourist, and perhaps a iPad or OLED TV is the thing to have at home for reviewing grades or dailies. But so many of us don't have that option, and most money spent on camera gear uses up the budget for a good monitor. Anyone shooting raw should have a moderately good monitor and ability to calibrate. Colourists tend to speak highly of LG OLED TV's for anyone on a budget. I've not seen any computer monitors under $1,500 recommended for coloring work. Eizo gets recommended quite often, but the brand actually goes so far as to list that most of their colour edge monitors are not for colour grading specifically. Even though they are very uniform and colour accurate.

Prior to 2010, the idea of having a "broadcast spec" monitor was generally the way to go, but with so much content going straight to the web, and smart TV's streaming more and more content, a lot of creatives can forego a specialized broadcast monitor.

Main brands in the Colour critical fields:
FSI - Specialized and higher tier service solutions for field and post work.
Sony - Film and Broadcast industry veteran (Panasonic and Canon play a little in this field, but not quite as wide a product range?)
Eizo - Best warranty, And the ColorEdge range is well regarded.
NEC - Make a wide range of monitors, and seem to have less clear branding, but are generally well regarded.
Dell - current champ of the modest quality for a modest price, they also make a few that tread into the Eizo and NEC tiers.
LG - Primarily known for OLED TV's, they make GUI monitors for Apple too. Chris F reviews one in this thread.
Apple - re-entered the market with their semi-prosumer XDR screen. Coloursists have panned it for any serious work, but people say it is pretty, if you have $6K to spend on this Pseudo HDR screen. Apple also has laptops and iMacs that end up being used in all sorts of critical work to mixed results, but hey, better than that Toshiba monitor at the office that no one uses. Apple has seemed to have improved their screens over the years, and they really do look nice and have that Apple confidence.
HP - plagued by quality control
BenQ - over stated specs, but low prices, seem to be pushing hard into the "bang for buck" internet reviews, yet never fully delivers after real world reviews come out. Lacking in QC.
(Samsung is making stuff, but I don't know much about what is theirs and what they are making that gets rebranded. They are making movie theater screens too. And Panavision and other companies sometimes have their own custom screens)

Reviews and links:

Eizo 2740

Eizo 2420
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Waiting on the Eizo CS2420 to arrive. Want to spend some time with it. Figure it will make a good bench mark, as it is solidly between the low end and higher end.

Thanks for posting a link. What are your thoughts?

A lot of these monitors are more geared towards colorists and post houses or bigger productions. And as expensive as they are, most of them aren't even true HDR. I was at an HDR event in Burbank, and it was funny hearing the manufacturers, because you'll find out that only a couple of these are even capable of true HDR. These are $20K-$40K monitors we are talking about.

So, for a camera person to analyze footage at home or smalls studio, the steep price of early adopter half ready HDR reference monitors for SDR workflow.... I suppose we can dream. They do look great in person. And HDR is a game changer for all. Just not there yet, and only barely there at the highest levels.

We are still primarily in an SDR world, and HDR is simulated, and standards are available, but still forming in the real world.

Would be interested in you thoughts, any of those monitors you interested in for your setup? I didn't have a chance to go through them all, but just saw a few models that I had seen at demos and trade shows.
only the screens marked by Dolby as "gradeing" are HDR, and they really are capabile of mastering anything for home consumption, and yea anything in that group is 20k +

the rest of the screens, marked by Dolby as approprate for on set, QC and editorial are not HDR even if they can be bright to a point, they cannot be callibrated beyond 100nit, or can't show anything near .005nit blacks, or both... i just would not go to play HDR land unless i had accurate monitoring, full stop, and i would not go near a half baked "HDR", there's far to many pitfalls...

i am a colorist, so yea, accurate screens are a big deal to me ;-)

for on set, i'd not sweat the HDR, if you capture specular highlights, and can see them in on your scopes/histo.... time to move on to the next setup... HDR workflow is really dependant on the delvierables contracts in many cases, i prefer to grade SDR first , then run a trim pass for HDR, going the other way is kinda painful for everyone watching SDR after seeing the same images in HDR, but if deliverables call for Dolby you have no choice than to work in HDR first
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oh cool! Welcome! your experience is invaluable!

I find as video pros, we have to at some point go home, and work off the clock looking at our footage and figuring out whatever the hell new camera that just came out. To complicate things, we now have HDR on the horizon to keep an eye on.

So, the game has really gone up for video pros. we have to have something that does us some good in our quest to master the camera. Obviously, for work, we leave colouring and mastering to the pros. And when it comes to HDR, we don't even really have a choice.

We end up flying blind into these monitor setups for our own use. We get the idea that a 10bit system is not as simple as buying a 10bit monitor. But something as simple as contrast ratio might get us. For example, the BenQ SW270C has a high contrast ratio listed.... but they also mention uniformity technology. BOTH great things, right? Nope. Well, sort of. The uniformity tech has to lower the contrast ratio in order to improve screen uniformity. So, the contrast ratio numbers on the BenQ are rather theoretical. In use, they are just ok. And trying to find how accurate a monitor is with gamma curves...

Needless to say, the display chain is a video pros next "dark room in the bathroom/closet/basement" to be able to make sense of all these cameras, and aid in developing our own style, or just keeping up with standards.

I see so many video guys/gals excited to share some footage on social, and the levels are off, and it is no wonder some just broadbrush some lifted shadows and orange/teal the whole thing.
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the simple answer is to get a 55" LG c9, or the upcoming cx in 48" or 55" + callibration
larger = increased linearity issues
really no cheaper or better answer untill serious coin gets dropped
but not production / set friendly (understatment) and useless for HDR as the "w" in woled is white and a bit past 100nit there's no saturation to be had, as only the woled is in play
i know of a number of DP's who have this set at home for screening dalies, they present images that are pretty close to the hero in my suite
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the simple answer is to get a 55" LG c9, or the upcoming cx in 48" or 55" + callibration
larger = increased linearity issues
really no cheaper or better answer untill serious coin gets dropped
but not production / set friendly (understatment) and useless for HDR as the "w" in woled is white and a bit past 100nit there's no saturation to be had, as only the woled is in play
i know of a number of DP's who have this set at home for screening dalies, they present images that are pretty close to the hero in my suite
The 48" OLED sounds pretty great.

I've been keeping an HD plasma as my "viewer" for the last several years. Though beginning to want a 4K version of that. Trying to hold out and see how ABL performs. I love these OLED's but after my experience with plasma, I was a little thrown off by the brightness limiter. Doesn't bother me when watching something, but when evaluating footage or building LUT's, etc, is nice to have something that doesn't make me second guess. But they are gorgeous. Was about to pick up one of those 55" when they were on sale below a grand.
yea, better reliable HD than dodgy UHD.. the last gen PanaPlasma can callibrate well, no way around ABL tho, but the c8 has the same issue, have not worked in a room with a c9, reports say they are much the same..
I’ll keep an eye on the LG 48”. Seems like the perfect home “studio” viewer for dailies, etc.

Oh boy, i shipped the SW270C back a while ago, but fedex has been swamped and it took them a few days before even taking the package from the drop off location. I acctually went back to the drop off location to see why it hadn’t gone out yet, and turned out the box was still there! (Apprently the fedex pickup driver didn’t want to lift a big box) The kind person there put a note on the package and it went out the next day with a 5/04 ETD. Now the ETD is 5/06. So, i was hoping to have the Eizo here by now, but i also can’t complain with USA based companies’ return policies. Really takes the risk out of buying. Which... encourages more buying. Anyway, i can tell you, having a BenQ is better than not having anything, that’s for sure. Haha.
While waiting for this return...

Looked into the Eizo line up a bit more, and trying not to get pulled into spending more, because after this lock down, I'll be able to work with a colorist again, and will regret not putting my money towards more specifically camera related expenses.

But here is what I noticed about the Eizo ColorEdge line up.

HDR reference is still new, so, they have one but is fantastically expensive, so will ignore that for us camera shooters and DP's.

CGX series seems to be the flagship line up. 3Dluts, good contrast ratios, HDR input (not reference), all the things. Eizo only seems to recommend the top two monitors in the ColorEdge line up for colour grading. The 31" DCI 4K CGX models. One of which is the new HDR reference monitor called "Prominence"

CG is the mid tier ColorEdge. 1Dluts, but good contrast, comes with a hood and built in probe. (the extra contrast is sought buy photographers that intend to print)

CS is the budget minded model. 1Dlut, lower contrast, no hood, probe optional.

Screen sizes 24" 27" and 31"
Resolution options:
WXGA 1900x1200, 16:10 (24")
QHD 2560x1440, 16:9 (27")
UHD, 16:9 (27")
4K(on select models) 17:9 (31")

Seeing the CS2420 at approximately $900 and the CG2420 at roughly $1500, it would seem that is a lot to pay for a little extra contrast or deeper blacks. However, the CG series includes the $200 hood and a built in probe, so, it really is only about $300 more, but you are forced to get the hood and probe. Additionally, the matte finish on the CG is said to be better than the CS series. Something to do with details. The CS matte finish may slightly dither the pixels.

EIZO recently announced UHD and QHD 27" models in the CS series, but I cannot find them for sale anywhere. It might actually be a great option for some. I'm trying to stick with simplicity, and the lowest price of entry.

Side note, the CS2420 is smaller and more portable, so I can possibly use it for DIT at some point. And it has an aspect ratio of 16:10 that better fits my wacom pan tablet. AND, I am still using a Black Magic mini monitor, so if I ever send signal, it would only be HD anyway. AND, 1920x1200 seems good for GUI text, should I just keep it as a GUI. The extra screen height may be good for editing timelines with a few audio tracks. IDK really how I am going to end up using it after the pandemic lock down is over.

I really have no new practical experience the last two weeks because of the delayed return shipping.
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EDIT: LG now offers the ability to turn off ABL in the CX series!

LG CX series OLED also suffer from ABL. Maybe next year.

One would think, that is not at peak brightness it could chill on the ABL? Ah well. Still an incredible image. And the prices are actually lower than OLED’s used to be, it seems? 48” OLED looking like a June release, at least in the US.
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Looks like the Eizo CS2731(QHD) and CS2740(UHD) are available for preorder now, for ~$1,250 and ~$1,800 respectively. Interesting choices. They are the only “2K+” and UHD options under $2,000 in the Color Edge series.

LG OLED C9 still dims when a static image is displayed. No way to turn that off. But is a gorgeous low cost display.
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yea, the dimming is true PITA when gradeing and stopping on a bright frame, it takes half of forever to un-dim once playing again

30k is still the entry price for a low compromise solution

cross fingers for LG to sort it sooner than later, apperanlty LG know about it, and are working on a fix, slowly working on a fix it seems....
One would assume at 100nits that auto dimming might not be needed? Or maybe would require a cooling system? Haha, i am totally just speculating here.