CRT vs. LCD?

multimoogmultimoog Registered User regular
edited April 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm considering getting a new monitor, but I'm not sure which would be preferable. I'm moving up from a 15" Dell.

On the one hand, everyone loves LCD because of the form factor and brightness, as well as prices dropping making them more affordable. On the other hand, I mainly use my computer for graphic design and illustration, and I've heard that LCDs can be less-than-desireable for that kind of application.

I'd be looking at cheap models - in the $150 range, and you can find those all over NewEgg. But at the same time CRTs are much cheaper for the equivalent size and offer a better overall image quality for graphics work - or do they?

Does anyone have a lot of experience with the two different kinds?

multimoog on

Posts

  • TiemlerTiemler Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    multimoog wrote: »
    On the one hand, everyone loves LCD because of the form factor and brightness, as well as prices dropping making them more affordable. On the other hand, I mainly use my computer for graphic design and illustration, and I've heard that LCDs can be less-than-desireable for that kind of application.

    Is the work you are producing intended to be viewed on a computer? If so, then you can safely assume the finished product will be seen on an LCD screen. Seems like a good idea, to me at least, to do your work on a screen which most closely resembles the medium in which it will be viewed by the end consumer/client.

    You could cover all your bases by keeping one of each around, for comparison at various stages in production.

    Tiemler on
  • crakecrake Registered User
    edited April 2007
    I'm still not 100 percent happy with the lcd monitors yet, but they have improved enormously. Enough so that I think I'll go ahead and make the leap finally for my own graphic desgin stuff. I've been working with CRTs long enough to make the colour "translations" in my head.

    You've just got to go to a big store and check each one out on display. Choose what fits your eyes and sense of brightness/contrast/colour. When you're looking at one, move your head around a bit and see how the colour tones change from different angles. There are a few real nice ones out there that keep that effect to a small minimum.

    You could always keep the 15inch in reserve if you have the room. You can always hook it up for a double check when you're doubting yourself.

    crake on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    15" is hella small. ANYTHING will be an improvement.

    With LCDs, the color problems are mostly with low quality models or older models. You can also run into color problems if you max out your video card. For instance, if I use a single 19" or 17" LCD monitor on my mac, the colors are great. But if I run them at the same time, the colors are off, and I need to calibrate them. It's somewhat of a headache and it changes as the monitors warm up (the 17" is older and takes about 3-4 minutes to fully warm up), but since I don't feel like buying a new video card, I calibrate the main one to about 98% accuracy and get the other one within about 80% with the contrast/brightness a bit off.

    Again, with one monitor, there have been no color problems.

    That being said, typically CRTs have no problems with overall color balance. They can also run at higher resolutions compared to LCDs, simply because LCDs have a "locked" number of pixels. They can interpolate lower resolutions but work best at their native resolution.

    I personally love LCDs for the size, reduction in power use, lower heat, and lack of giant magnets. I run studio monitors (speakers) next to my computer monitors and the giant magnets in my speakers tended to wreak havoc on my computer monitors, leading to warbly lines and "pulling" of colors. I also really like that LCDs tend to look exactly the same for the life of the monitor -- there's often a "slow decay" for CRTs where they slowly become less sharp and colors are more muted, simply because the parts are gradually wearing out.

    But for $150, you can get a very nice CRT, but just an OK LCD. I don't think you'll have any problems with color reproduction on said $150 LCD, but you can get an older Trinitron that'll last you a good chunk of time.

    EggyToast on
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  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    If your current monitor still works you should save your money until you have $300 or so to spend on a nice LCD that will last you several years. $150 just isn't enough to play around with here.

    saltiness on
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  • robaalrobaal Registered User
    edited April 2007
    robaal on
    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra when suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath.
    At night, the ice weasels come."

  • sirSolariussirSolarius Registered User
    edited April 2007
    LCDs have come a long way... trust me. I remember my dad getting one of the first consumer-priced LCDs, and then promptly vowing never to own one again.

    Now I have a (by most standards) mid-low grade LCD and simply cannot go back to CRTs.

    sirSolarius on
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2007
    Yeah, LCDs are fine for design. Case in point, apple doesn't even sell CRT displays anymore, LCD only. Plus they are a lot more economical/environmentally friendly than CRTs.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • robaalrobaal Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Yeah, LCDs are fine for design. Case in point, apple doesn't even sell CRT displays anymore, LCD only. Plus they are a lot more economical/environmentally friendly than CRTs.
    All LCDs aren't equal.
    Judging by the viewing angles, TN+Film matrices aren't used on the separately-sold Apple displays, while OTOH they dominate in the OPs price range.

    AFAIK the better PVA/S-IPS matrices aren't used in anything smaller than 19", and at that size they cost as much as 22" TN+F ones :| (ie. ~$300).


    In the high-end you can get LCD monitors that can actually display more colours than CRTs, but those are very expensive.

    robaal on
    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra when suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath.
    At night, the ice weasels come."

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2007
    Fair enough, $150 is a bit on the cheap side for an LCD, but in terms of image quality it's a question of needs. If you're dealing with static graphics, you don't need a super-fast response rate for example. Colour reproduction is the main issue for designers, but even then you have to ask yourself what level of colour reproduction you really, absolutely need. A cheap LCD isn't going to do anything crazy like display reds as greens, you're more likely to have issues with dubious colours where they could swing either way and areas of the colour gamut that simply can't be reproduced (such as fluorescents and metallics) that a CRT wouldn't be able to handle either. For handling general design and illustration you'd be fine even with a cheapo LCD. If you're worried about accurate colour reproduction, you shouldn't be relying on your monitor anyway, no matter how good it is. What you should be doing is referring to colour charts, specifying spot colours where appropriate and checking pre-press proofs before going to print. Even the best colour calibrated CRTs can't guarantee colour accuracy with the final print anyway. The closest you would get would be the proofing booth at the actual press and even then, it's not 100%.

    You could argue a case for using a CRT to ensure that your blacks match as a cheap LCD might not reproduce variations of black (or other minor variations of shades of colour, but black is a common pitfall) well, but harsh experience has taught me to never rely on approving blacks by eye, only colour sampling them to make sure the CMYK values are consistent is fool-proof.

    My personal view is that the cost savings and improved comfort from working on an LCD generally outweighs any potential loss in colour accuracy, especially as there are much better ways to ensure colour accurate reproduction anyway. Things like screen real-estate are much more valuable to a designer - getting a bigger or widescreen monitor is going to be a lot more useful than getting proofing booth quality colour accuracy.

    Szechuanosaurus on
  • robaalrobaal Registered User
    edited April 2007
    If you're dealing with static graphics, you don't need a super-fast response rate for example.
    Actually, that's the main advantage of TN+Film matrices. I suppose older PVA/IPS-based monitors, which used to have too low response time for gaming, could be found for cheaper than the new fast ones...

    you're more likely to have issues with dubious colours where they could swing either way and areas of the colour gamut that simply can't be reproduced
    I was lead to believe that the main problem is that you couldn't differentiate between two close-but-different colours, rather than absolute colour reproduction.

    robaal on
    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra when suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath.
    At night, the ice weasels come."

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2007
    robaal wrote: »
    you're more likely to have issues with dubious colours where they could swing either way and areas of the colour gamut that simply can't be reproduced
    I was lead to believe that the main problem is that you couldn't differentiate between two close-but-different colours, rather than absolute colour reproduction.


    Yeah, most noticeable on blacks but theoretically any shade of a colour that the LCD can't reproduce. So a deep burgundy and a slightly less deep burgundy might look the same. You also can get colour changes - for example if you select what you think is Grey but it has a very light mix of cyan and yellow and comes out a pale green. But that's why you should religiously use colour charts and check your CMYK mixes. Not doing that is lazy and potentially very costly, no matter how good your monitor is. There are also issues with over mixing colours. If you set all four channels to 100% it looks super black on any monitor, but if you try to print it, it either comes out brown or just heavily over-inks the paper.

    Of course, this all assumes designing for print, but even if you are designing for screen, you should still be using a consistent RGB colour pallette instead of mixing colours by eye all the time.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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