One of the hardest things I get asked to do is to recommend one monitor over another or to justify price differences between seemingly similar monitors. Quite often the specifications are very similar and the differences are qualitative and very difficult to put a value on as every customers needs and preferences vary. EIZO have four 24 inch ColorEdge monitors in their product line – the ColorEdge CS240, ColorEdge CX241, ColorEdge CG247 and ColorEdge CG248. Three of them are all based on the same high quality IPS panel with pretty similar specs on first glance but there are big price and quality differences. The CG248 offers full Ultra High Definition resolution in addition to the other usual features of a CG model. This article will try and explain the differences between models, pointing out the extra features and benefits of each level and what type of customer they might suit.
Don’t bother looking for differences in the basic specifications of the CS240, CX241 and CG247. There aren’t any. The resolution, contrast ratio, brightness, panel type, inputs, gamut and pixel pitch are the same. But the CG247 does weigh 400 grammes more and the CS240 uses less power so there must be some differences.
The CS240 is the base model. It comes with ColorNavigator software for easy and accurate calibration that adjusts the monitor’s look up tables directly and needs an external third party calibration device, such as the X-Rite i1 Display Pro. It has a different stand but otherwise it shares most of the same components with the other two.
The CX241 is the mid-range model and has all the features of the CS240 plus an internal self-correction sensor. After you have calibrated the screen with ColorNavigator and a third-party calibrator the self-correction sensor can periodically measure the brightness of the screen and make adjustments if it has varied from the brightness it was when calibrated. This means you have to calibrate the screen less often and is a useful feature if you’re the kind of user who may forget to calibrate their screen, but it is also very good for large companies who have many ColorEdge screens that may not be calibrated regularly by IT staff.
The CG247 was until recently the top of the line and has many features the CS240 and CX241. It comes with a shading hood and a cleaning kit, but most importantly it has a built-in full self-calibration colorimeter. The CG247’s colorimeter is matched in the factory to the individual screen and is very accurate. Every CG247 has to meet a standard for uniformity of less that 3 delta e difference from the centre.
The 23.8 inch CG248 does have one very major difference in its specs though. It is the sharpest EIZO ColorEdge ever. With a pixel density of 185 ppi the UHD 3840 x 2160 screen gives you a basically pixel-less image. You just can’t see the pixels at normal viewing distance. It’s perfect for UHD video editing and great for digital photography. Your images will never have looked so good, it’s very much like viewing an inkjet print rather than a monitor image. However, you do need to make sure your graphics card can output the correct resolution and you will have to use your operating system’s scaling options otherwise text will be too small to read. Check out these other posts for more details: Windows and 4K, Mac OS and 4K.
If you are thinking about buying one of these screens then you have already decided that colour accuracy is important. Is there any difference in accuracy between them? The CS240 lacks the CX241’s self-correction sensor, but also internal sensors for backlight brightness and temperature. This means colour could vary slightly more over time. The CS240 also doesn’t have the rigorous uniformity standard of the CX241. One factor with both the CS240 and CX241 is obviously the accuracy of the external colorimeter. In our tests an i1 Display Pro or i1 Pro 2 are both as accurate as the CG247’s and CG248’s built-in colorimeters. So if you are using one of those you should get as good a calibration, especially with the CX241. The CG247 and CG248 come with 3D look up tables to help them emulate other colour spaces and display better grey tones, and they also come with a shading hoods to stop unwanted ambient light. So accuracy will increase as the you go up the range, but you’ll have decide if the extra accuracy is worth the extra money to you.
One area where both CG level models do have very clear benefits is for professional video/film editing or grading. They have preset modes for many common industry standards: Rec709, EBU, SMPTE-C, DCI. For HDMI inputs they add film detection, safe area markers, safe area size, and border colour options. If you are working with HD video and need these functions then obviously the CG247 is the monitor for you. If you are working with UHD video then the CG248 is the obvious choice.
The warranty on all four models is the same – five years. Details can be found here. Because the warranty is so good you have to think of buying an EIZO as a long term investment. If you factor any price difference between models over five years then the differences in price don’t seem quite so much.
So, which should you go for?
I can’t tell you which one you should buy. I can outline the differences but the choice is up to you. Generally, if you are a professional photographer with the best lenses and camera bodies then I’d say you should think seriously about the CG247 or the CG248. The benefits of hood, ColorNavigator and built-in calibration will probably pay for themselves over time as you have to spend less time calibrating and can trust that your monitor is always accurate. Similarly if you are grading or editing movies the CG247 or CG248 could well suit you best. If you are a retoucher or in pre-press then again I think the built-in calibrator and the ease and automation of calibration could be very important. Whatever job you do the UHD resolution of the CG248 will give you an exceptionally crisp and sharp image.
If you are a serious amateur photographer or a semi-professional on a tighter budget then the CS240 is probably where I’d start. Likewise the CS240 is probably the ideal screen for a graphic designer. If you are concerned about remembering to calibrate your screen and then the self-correction sensor of the CX241 will be worth the extra, especially when you also consider the better uniformity and stability over the CS240. The CX241 would be great for many slightly less colour critical photographers, especially if you already own a good calibrator.
We’re always more than happy to help you through the decision making process over the phone so please call us (0845 5199 540) if you need help making up your mind or want any questions answered. As ever, we’d welcome comments on this blog if you want to share your questions or your own thought processes in choosing between three excellent monitors.