by Mike McNamee Published 01/10/2011
Today, many people work graphics in front of two monitors, some people even work in front of three or four! The additional area (or 'real estate' as it is termed by geeks) provides space for the panels and palettes so that more area is left free for the image, giving a friendly, uncluttered space to play in. Many people move an older monitor to one side and install a shiny new one in the centre of their desk but what if you are starting from scratch? This brings in a confusing myriad of choices. The situation is further complicated by the presence in the market of monitors which are in 16:9 or 16:10 format. They are unequivocally intended for the home cinema and gaming markets, as usual photographers don't have enough clout to influence the designs. This leaves us with an ever-present problem, we never have enough pixels in the vertical direction! The ability to rotate today's screens to the portrait format is a nod in this direction but there are some issues with this. The hood, which is vital for quality judgement, looks a bit silly on the cant (although the CG245W may be rotated). The available height has gone from a bit small to massively over-large; we found it a bit of a strain looking top to bottom over a distance of almost two feet. The final nail in the coffin for us is that once the (rather stiff ) trailing wires have pushed the third cup of coffee onto the carpet, things are getting a bitty sticky on the domestic front! Although we have had rotatable screens for many years we have never used them for long.
How much flat space do you need?
Everybody agrees that more is better, a bit like RAM! However, for spectacle wearers the field of sharp focus might be limited as indicated in the diagram - this is real measurements from your editor's eyes! This places a limit of around 23 inches of width. Here we run into trouble, monitor-makers, in a desperate attempt to hood-wink us, always quote the diagonal size - it gives the advertising copywriters a bigger number.
A 30-inch monitor in 16:10 format has 'dimensions' of about 25.5 x 16 inches (thank you Pythagoras!). Finding the actual size of what you are paying for is rather difficult from manufacturers' specifications; the best you can do is to take the physical dimensions and subtract the width of the bezel to give you the area of screen that you actually see. For a 30-inch and 27-inch monitor the sizes are roughly 25x16 inches and 23.6x14 inches. With NEC, that additional two inches of height is going to set you back an additional £1,640, almost doubling the cost per diagonal inch. To add insult to injury the additional couple of inches of width is only marginally focused by your editor.
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