We’ve seen only one LCD monitor so far that could be said to truly challenge the colour ability of the CRT: Barco’s Coloris Calibrator. That model was withdrawn in December 2004 due to issues with the quality of components – making a space for high-end displays. Eizo is attempting to tackle the issue with its latest ColorEdge monitor for designers, the CG220. It offers the same focus on colour – being the first LCD capable of displaying the whole gamut of the Abobe RGB space – and has an equally high price.
For an LCD, the ColorEdge 220 is enormous – though it will still take up less desk space than a LaCie electron22blue, for example. The 22-inch screen is surrounded by a thick black bezel and supported by a tree-trunk of a base. Around the monitor sits a hood for stopping ambient glare. Set-up involves a complicated three-part structure, as the centre part slides off to allow a calibration device to be hung without having to remove the assembly.
For a monitor such as this, a calibration device is a must. Eizo ships the CG220 with its own ColorNavigator software, designed to work with GretagMacbeth’s Eye-One device. ColorNavigator is simple to use and offers a wide level of control – including both before and after calibration.
The quality of the CG220 is immediately obvious. To the naked eye, the level of colour accuracy and depth were markedly better than the LaCie Photon20vision II sitting next to it, which is our currently LCD of choice for designers. Assuming the rest of your workflow from input (camera, scanner, and so on) to output (proofer, press, et al) is properly calibrated, there’s no better way of making sure that what you see is what you get.
We examined the colour profile created by ColourNavigator and the Eye-One in Chromix ColorThink 2.1. The colour range available for output by the CG220 is the largest available on any currently available LCD display we’ve seen by quite a wide margin – though it didn’t quite completely cover the Abobe RGB gamut. It is also one of the most accurate we’ve seen.
The 1,920-x-1,200-pixel resolution allows a large amount of detail to be shown: an A4 spread – plus palettes – was perfectly readable in InDesign. The slow response rate of 37ms is a disappointment – but this model isn’t aimed at video professionals.
The CG220 is a fantastic monitor, but will be too expensive for many designers. However, it’s possible to cut costs by using TypeMaker’s Colour Confidence DisplayProof System bundle, which bundles the Eye-One calibrator and a colour-management guide for the same £3,189 plus VAT price. TypeMaker also says it checks the monitor to a higher standard.
Paying over £3,000 for a monitor created to match £700 CRTs may seem questionable, but if your clients demand colour accuracy then the CG220 is an exceptional product. Those on lower budgets may wish to wait to check out LaCie’s forthcoming 321 LCD Monitor, which also claims to match CRTs for colour but is more affordable, at just over £950 plus VAT.