27 Feb 2015

This may be the best "affordable" 4K monitor we've seen. If you make films, you should read this.

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Eizo CG318 4K Monitor Eizo CG318 4K Monitor Eizo / RedShark News

Index

Field-ready?

With the ability to upload LUTs using Eizo's supplied software, the CG318 is also more or less ready to go as an on-set monitor, suitably flight-cased and with an SDI converter to suit its HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces (there are two of each, both supporting 10-bit pictures, although the HDMI is a slight disappointment being limited to 30Hz updates). Outdoors on a bright day, the black performance versus OLED might hurt slightly more, although it's hard to see this as a huge problem, given that the CG318 has at least as much contrast as many of the TFTs that are being used for this sort of work at the moment. The lack of an SDI input is a bit of a shame, although the overwhelming majority of Eizo's customers are still photographers and graphic designers for whom the feature would be utterly superfluous.

Calibrating output

Saving the most interesting for last, the thing that makes the CG318 look like a really good deal is the inbuilt calibration. Various people have claimed calibration for their displays in the past – the Dell UP2414Q we looked at came with a calibration sheet – but the ability for a monitor to actually observe its own output is fairly rare. The CG318 includes a mechanical device which swings a sensor boom into position over the display, allowing it to genuinely measure the output from the panel and perform a proper calibration.

Now, we have to reign in our enthusiasm just slightly here: a really good calibration probe is worth more than this entire display and there may be some question over exactly how good the CG318's inbuilt probe can really be for the price. Ultimately, without access to an advanced optical lab, it's difficult to qualitatively assess the situation, so I won't, but at some point, this is likely a better solution than calibrating once at the factory and hoping. Perhaps most significantly, the demo monitor is naturally brand new and the real value of a calibration probe is in ensuring that things remain in trim as they age. Comparison against a really good probe after a few years' hard use might be in order (Eizo warrants ten thousand hours or five years); shall we meet back here in, say, 2019 to discuss?

Conclusion

Overall, the CG318 is spectacular. It is impossible to avoid the comparison with OLED; the CG318 isn't one, but then it's something like two thirds the price of even an HD OLED, and it has inbuilt calibration. There will always be a market – high end film finishing in particular - in which the only fashion dictates that the only acceptable monitoring is either projection or a Sony OLED, but outside that area, in places where purchasing decisions are based on capability not branding, really good 4K monitoring is made a lot more accessible by the existence of this display.




Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes is a Cinematographer, Technologist, Writer and above all Communicator. Never afraid to speak his mind, and always worth listening to, he's a frequent contributor to RedShark.

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