As a photographer, what is it exactly that you look for in a computer monitor? Computer monitors and displays may be an under-emphasized important piece of tech that any serious photographer should invest in.
Color is one of the most crucial aspects of your identity as a photographer and your attention to how colors affect your work may define very well define it. Which is why investing on a good computer display is quite crucial especially for professionals who aim to establish consistency in the quality of their output.
The ProArt Line
Asus is very well known for their consistently innovative developments in laptops, PCs, and peripherals. In the past few years, Asus has really been developing distinct product lines geared towards specific types of consumers and their workflows. The Asus ProArt devices are made specifically for color accuracy, amazing work-ergonomics, and efficiency in multi-tasking. The ProArt series consists of PC motherboards, dedicated all-in-one PC setups, professional-grade laptops, and a wide variety of professional displays. In this article, we take a look at their most budget-friendly and space-efficient display, the Asus ProArt PA248QV.
Build and Design
The PA248QV is the smallest display in the ProArt Professional monitor line which comes in at 24.1 inches in a 16:10 aspect ratio. It features an almost bezel-less panel on both sides and on top while the bottom bezel serves as a platform for easy access to the onboard menu. The rim of the bottom bezel is also lined with measurement markings that serve as a ruler for previewing actual sizes of output to be made in print.
The display features a sleek brushed metal stand that allows for a 90-degree swivel to both sides. The panel height is adjustable between 0 to 130mm (height of the gap between the bottom bezel and the stand) as well as a 35-degree tilt up and a 5-degree tilt down. For added customizability, it can also rotate 90 degrees to the side to achieve a vertical orientation (to be set in the computer’s settings.) Alternatively, the entire panel is also wall-mountable with VESA compatibility.
The rear panel features an array of ports for optimal connectivity. At the bottom is a Display Port, an HDMI port, a D-sub port, 3.5mm audio in and out ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Another pair of USB 3.0 ports can be found on the side making it a handy USB hub. Installed on-board is also a speaker for instant audio, however not remarkably powerful. As a personal preference, it would have been more handy if it had a second HDMI ports for easy switching between sources if needed.
Resolution and Perception
The Asus ProArt PA248QV packs a 1920x1200 Frameless IPS display optimized with a matte anti-glare surface for a better viewing experience. A resolution of 1920x1200 may seem a bit underwhelming considering the availability of 4K and 5K displays however considering the compact size of the display altogether, the resolution makes perfect sense because of perception. Generally, displays of bigger sizes justify and perfectly resolve details at 4K, however, such high resolution in smaller display sizes would mean too much pixel density and consequently, a waste of resolution. Details that fine in a relatively smaller display at full-screen view would generally be too small to be perceived. Personally, it seems to be a great idea to have released a professional-grade monitor with this size and resolution which ultimately made a cost-efficient option for professionals on a budget.
The most crucial aspect of a professional-grade monitor apart from resolution would be color accuracy. For any kind of workflow for any digital creative, an accurate preview of your work is what the monitor should present to you. Whether producing something for a physical print, or for digital media screens, making sure that every tone is rendered exactly the way you intend it to be can make or break your final output. The ProArt 248QV is quite the cost-efficient option for such a need.The ProArt 248QV promises to render 100% of the sRGB color space and 100% of Rec. 709 color gamut for accurate color output preview whether for editing stills or movies for virtually any media output. Each monitor goes through a tedious pre-calibration process before they are packed individually in the factory and comes with their individual calibration report.
Calman verification is a guarantee on each piece of this monitor that they can deliver a high standard of color accuracy graded at ΔE of <2 pertaining to the variability of color display. It’s important to note though that just like any other monitor, this monitor has to be calibrated by the user at the specific spot and lighting condition wherein the display will be used. In the simplest sense, monitor calibration adjusts the color rendering to match the specific lighting conditions that would affect the user’s perception of the display’s output and is ultimately a very individualized process if done meticulously. It is, however, notable that variation from out-of-box and post-calibration was very minimal. For non-color-intensive work or for browsing and watching media, it also offers a blue light filter available in 4 different degrees to reduce the user’s eye strain.
The Asus ProArt PA248QV is a convenient option for a number of reasons. It is a professional-grade monitor based on resolution and color accuracy while at the same time is a cost-effective and ergonomic solution for individual creatives who may choose a relatively smaller display due to budget or space constraints. The entire setup takes minimal space even on a small desk which makes it a viable choice for a home workstation as well. The various adjustment options in height, swivel, and tilt allow for additional comfort of use. The resolution, color, comfort, and connectivity all considered, this consumer-sized professional-grade monitor appears to be an affordable choice for any photographer, filmmaker, designer, graphic artist, or any digital creative for that matter.
What I Liked:
- Good resolution
- Great color accuracy
- Adjustability for comfort
- Affordable price (199 USD)
What Can Be Improved:
- Only one HDMI Port
- No USB-C ports
- Low volume speakers
I've got the 27" version and love it, but I'm a bit confused by the color accuracy stat. I recently printed (professionally from a print shop) a photo that I edited on this monitor and when I compared the colors on the print and the photo, they were quite different (especially the blue in the sky). I was going to get one of those monitor calibration tools - will that make a difference or am I completely off on my expectations?
Think of monitor calibration as precision and verification as accuracy. It's calman verified supposedly to make sure that it can display the right colors. The monitor calibration you should do at home is to make sure that it is adjusted depending on the he light conditions in the area where you will be using the screen as those conditions affect your perception of colors. So the calibration/verification at the factory and the one you do at your workspace serve two very different but both crucial purposes. So yes, you still need a calibration device. I personally use a Spyder Pro X
Get it Calibrated, and insert the Monitor profile created by the calibration to a test file in Photoshop and ask your print house can they do a small test print. Accurate colors are only accurate if your out source can match it to your satisfaction, and believe me many of todays print houses are different, Many don't even print 16bit files, they convert to 8 bit using a raster program.
It is important to find a good lab that provides profiles for their print processes. A calibrated monitor is essential but will not, by itself, protect you from variations between print and screen image. Part of the calibration of the monitor should include brightness calibration within the environment in which it is used.
I used a German lab for a large exhibition in Houston a few years ago because its profiles required little to no adjustments when viewing each file from within the profile.
The profile was easy to download and worked within Photoshop for effortless soft proofing of each file. The resulting prints were dead on.
Profiles from domestic labs skewed the image color so much that they would require extensive new post processing to get an accurate image in print.
Not using a specific lab’s profiles to soft proof files before printing is playing a dice game with your final products.
You're absolutely right! A calibrated screen is just half of the equation when it comes to print.
Bit depth of the panel itself?
It is only 8bit. That makes this monitor a second choice only for photographers who process raw files. The difference is huge, i.e. in the shadows.
One of the reasons for the low price point, too. I guess. The bigger, more expensive ones like the PA32UC has higher bit depth.
Rec 709 and sRGB are essentially the same color space and 100% sRGB is the bare minimum a monitor should have these days. I like Asus for quality and design but I think this monitor with only 74% Adobe RGB coverage is far from its ProArt name.
Well that’s not true. The ProArt name is indicative of a color accuracy and QC standard the brand holds for themselves. It doesn’t guarantee certain coverages across the range. Believe it or not, there are plenty of monitors in the market that don’t cover sRGB, and others that have the color volume for it, but don’t accurately display it at all. Color volume and color display accuracy are two very different things. ASUS’s ProArt line starts with sRGB/Rec709 monitors, but as you go up the line, you get AdobeRGB, DCI-P3, and eventually majority coverage of Rec2020 at their highest end.
sRGB doesn't offer a wide enough gamut to satisfy modern professional artists. That is what I'm saying. Whether you're a designer, photographer, or video editor sRGB is extremely limiting in your potential output in everything except the web. It is the Pro in 'ProArt' I question. Color accuracy in a color space that can't take advantage of the final output medium is not very professional. The entire purpose of wide-gamut color spaces like you list is for professional output.
Pretty much false. Not all professionals need wide gamut. Just like everything else, it just depends. Unless wedding and event photographers and the like are not professional enough for you?
I wasn't debating what any professional chooses to use or need. Lots of professionals use non-professional gear. But you wouldn't call it Pro gear just because a professional uses it.
Second If you are a wedding or event photographer and you are printing your work you are missing out on not having a wide-gamut. All modern ink printers especially fine art printers take advantage of wide-gamut color spaces. If all your work is web-based you're still missing out since more and more new phones, tablets, and laptops are coming standard with the DCI-P3 wide-gamut color space or a variation. So as more and more of your clients moving into the future will see your work on a better screen than you are editing on.
--- "If you are a wedding or event photographer and you are printing your work you are missing out on not having a wide-gamut."
Most likely not. Pay attention to a lot of their color grading styles. Again, it depends.
--- "If all your work is web-based you're still missing out since more and more new phones, tablets, and laptops are coming standard with the DCI-P3 wide-gamut color space or a variation. So as more and more of your clients moving into the future will see your work on a better screen than you are editing on."
Unless the web browser or app supports it, it'll make no difference. sRGB is still the standard, especially for web.