When ePHOTOzine member Joanne Mead's CRT monitor started showing signs of failure it was time to consider a replacement. As someone who lives in a flat where space is a premium, Joanne decided to buy a LaCie 120 LCD monitor. Find out if it lived up to expectations.
View Area: 20in
Maximum Resolution: 1600x1200 (UXGA)
Dot Pitch: 0.255mm
Color: 16.7 million
Active Area: 16x12in
Brightness: 250 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio: 700:1
Response Time: 16ms
Viewing Angles: 170° / 170°
Connections: 1x DVI-D, 1x VGA D-Sub
Compatibility: PC and Mac
Warranty: 3 years
Supplied: LaCie 120 LCD Monitor, DVI video cable, VGA video cable, Power cable
My old monitor was three years old, so even if I got it repaired, it was still getting on. As someone who lives in a flat, space is a premium. Not only that, but our computer desk was struggling under the weight of a 23kg CRT. I decided to look at LCD monitors, the technology has moved on and a look at the Warehouse Express website showed that apart from a 22in LaCie CRT, all the other monitors they had were LCD screens. One in particular caught my eye, it was the new LaCie 120. A 20in active matrix TFT with a dot pitch of 0.255mm, a native resolution of 1600x1200. The contrast ratio of 700:1 and good viewing angles of 170° made this monitor good value at just under £500, so I placed my order.
It duly arrived and unpacking was easy. The first task was to attach the monitor to its stand. This simply clips into position with minimal effort. All I had to do then was remove the protective covering from the LCD screen, place the monitor on the computer desk and attach the power cord. The monitor comes with both DVI and analogue leads, my ATI Radeon 9700 Pro graphics card supports DVI, so I used that. It's very straightforward.
The monitor is plug & play with no drivers to install. I just set the resolution to the recommended 1600x1200 and that's it. I had a play with various programs, looked at sites on the internet and what was immediately very clear – the monitor is very clear and crisp. The large 20in display is a pleasure to use.
Setting the screen up for the digital darkroom was the next step. The OSD controls on the LaCie monitor are on the right side of the bezel near the bottom. I quick check of the manual and navigation through the menus was easy. The top button is used to switch between analogue and digital sources. The menu button is at the bottom, above the blue LED showing the power status. Above that are the navigation buttons to move through the menu options and to adjust the actual settings. Above that is another button that functions as an ‘Exit’ button within the OSD menus.
I have a Colorvision Spyder 2 for creating monitor profiles. The LaCie 120 has adjustments for RGB, I tried using these then using the OSD controls to get the three channels balanced, but it wasn’t as easy as with my CRT. I couldn’t get to the target, but settled for the best I could and went ahead and created the ICC profile. My colour temperature was closer to 7000K than 6500K, but there’s plenty of time to get more advice on the fine tuning. I used my Kodak Colour Management Check-up kit to check the colours and they were spot on. I suspect the job will be easier if I abandon my Spyder and purchase the LaCie calibration device, but for now, I have a system that's more than acceptable.
Test prints using the Epson profiles for my Epson R800 printer give excellent colour matching. I’ve so far tested both premium glossy and premium semi-gloss and both work very well. Digital image files, when viewed on the screen, are bold and crisp. There's plenty of detail and it seems just as good as the CRT monitor it replaced. I have some recent images of black horses and these retain all the details that were visible on my CRT. The monitor is a pleasure to work with, it’s bright – there's plenty of workspace in Photoshop too. It’s early days, but the dull and wet weekend gave plenty of opportunity to test it out. The stand allows height, tilt and swivel adjustments, the slimline LCD screen certainly creates plenty of space on my desk to allow optimal positioning of my scanner, external hard drive, graphics tablet, card reader and speakers.
Moving from a CRT has other advantages, LCD screens use less energy. At a time when energy prices are far exceeding inflation, such considerations are very valid ones. I just need to find the most environmentally friendly way of disposing of my old CRT.
At £500, the new LaCie 120 monitor offers bright, crisp performance. The monitor looks good with its narrow bezel and simple but functional stand. The only criticism, a lack of Kelvin slider or presets of specified colour temperature, a colorimeter, profiling software and great patience are a must.
In summery, the positive points of the LaCie 120 are:
Simple design/control layout
E xcellent performance/specifications
The negative points are:
Lack of hood
Colour temperature settings
Check the latest price of the LaCie 120 here
test by Joanne Mead