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How To Check The Quality Of Your LCD Display

How To Check The Quality Of Your LCD Display - Here's the first part of a thorough check you can complete to check the quality of your LCD display.

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Category : General Photography
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By looking at how some simple test items and images are displayed by your LCD, you'll be able to grasp how good the basic display quality is.

The test items, which are available further down the page, use colour and monochrome patterns to check  the gradation expression and a few simple images to check the brightness / chromaticity variation of your display.

Once downloaded, the test items need to be viewed in  photo retouching software or a viewer that can reproduce colour accurately. Please don't use your web browser to view the items in as not all browsers can display colours accurately enough.
 

Getting Started

Your LCD display's settings need to be returned to default and if you can, select Adobe RGB or sRGB as the image quality mode. If they are not available select a colour temperature of 6500K and gamma to 2.2. If you don't have either of these options, simply adjust the brightness and contrast so that they are distinguishable.

Most monitors take a while to stabilise after switch-on so it's worth waiting 30 minutes or so before completing this test. It's also important that room lights aren't reflected on the screen as when ambient light is reflected, it makes assessing the patterns / images more difficult. If possible turn off the room lights and exclude as much ambient light as possible. It's worth considering doing the test at night.
 

Gradation Expression: Check 1 

By displaying colour and monochrome gradation images, it's easy to check whether the whole image is smoothly reproduced. When viewed, if the dark areas of the gradation show blocked-up shadows or blown-out highlights in light areas you know there's a problem with the gradation expression. Banding (vertical or horizontal stripes) appearing in the middle of the gradations and colour casts should also be looked for as again, this will highlight a problem with the display's gradation expression. 

The following test images are prepared for three resolution levels (1280 × 800 dots / 1680 × 1050 dots / 1920 × 1200 dots). You need to download the images in the resolution which matches that of your current display. When you find the thumbnail image that matches the resolution of your current display, click on it to open up a larger image you can use. 

It's also worth rotating images to a vertical position as well as looking at them horizontally as when viewing as gradation expression can vary according to whether the image is viewed horizontally or vertically.
 

1. 16-Level Colour Gradation

Here is a gradation pattern where the colours red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow go through 16 gradients as they change to white or black. This test shouldn't prove to be a problem and in most environments it should be easy to see that each colour bar is split into 16 blocks. 
 

16-level colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
16-level colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
16-level colour gradation (1680 × 1050 dots)
16-level colour gradation (1680 × 1050 dots)
16-level colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)
16-level colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)

 

2. 64-Level Colour Gradation 

Here, the colour bars are divided into 64 rectangular blocks and with this many gradients, it may be hard for some displays to make distinctions in the dark areas or the areas that are close to primary colours.

64-level colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
64-level colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
64-level colour gradation 1680 × 1050 dots)
64-level colour gradation (1680 × 1050 dots)
64-level colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)
64-level colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)

 

3. Smooth Colour Gradation 

With 265 gradients, you can't distinguish between adjoining colours from a distance but if you look closely the individual blocks should be visible.

Smooth colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
Smooth colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
Smooth colour gradation (1680 × 1050 dots)
Smooth colour gradation (1680 × 1050 dots)
Smooth colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)
Smooth colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)

 

4. Monochrome Gradation

Each of the following gradation patterns that change from black to white are divided into five horizontal bars. From top to bottom they show: smooth, 128 gradients, 64 gradients, 32 gradients and finally the bottom bar contains 16 gradients.

Differences are easier to distinguish between the 16 and 32 gradient patterns which are near to the bottom but it probably becomes slightly harder to see the parts in the 64 and 128 gradient patterns where it is hard to see the boundaries between adjoining colours. It's also worth checking if any unnecessary colours are mixed with the gray.

Monochrome colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
Monochrome colour gradation (1280 × 800 dots)
Monochrome colour gradation (1680 × 1050 dots)
Monochrome colour gradation (1680 × 1050 dots)
Monochrome colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)
Monochrome colour gradation (1920 × 1200 dots)


On an average LCD gradations of gray that are close to black tend to appear as blocked-up shadows (gradations of gray that are close to white are displayed comparatively accurately).  If you can, gradually turn down the contrast of your display as this often makes it possible to see gradations that were subject to blocked-up shadows or blown-out highlights.

On most displays, users will be able to detect some degree of banding and colour cast in the middle gradations. This banding means that gradations are missing and this, alongside a colour cast means that the RGB gamma curves are unequal. Unlike blocked-up shadows or blown-out highlights, this is an area that it is hard to improve with adjustments made by the user.

A second check can also be carried out to check the display quality of an LCD and we'll be looking at this next week. 

Visit the EIZO UK website. 

View Directory Page : EIZO Limited

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