BenQ SW320 Review

April 10, 2017 | Vincent Oliver | Accessory Reviews |

Colour Modes

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The BenQ SW320 has a 10-bit colour display which provides smooth colour gradations using over 1 billion colours. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) increases the overall dynamic range between black and white to provide a closer view to what the eyes see in a natural scene. The supplied HDMI cable or other high quality cable must be used to see the benefit of HDR. The 14-bit 3D LUT (Look Up Table) & Delta E<2 improves colour blending accuracy in both Adobe RGB and sRGB.

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The Colour mode offers several options including; Adobe RGB, sRGB, Rec 709, DCI-P3, B+W,  Darkroom, HDR, Calibration 1, Calibration 2, Custom 1, Custom 2, CAD/CAM and Animation. For photography work sRGB or Adobe RGB. sRGB will be the preferred choice if you are printing with an inkjet printer or intending to display photos/video on web sites and on screen presentation. Most inkjet printers and commercial labs use the sRGB colour space, some high-end printers use Adobe RGB. Adobe RGB has the wider gamut and will display more colours, the SW320 accurately displays 99% of Adobe RGB colours. However, the web does not support Adobe RGB so your photos may look dull when uploaded to the web.

DCI-P3 is a colour space for digital movie projection used by the film industry. It covers most colours albeit with drawbacks in the green-blue range. Rec.709 is an ITU Recommendation, that sets out the standards for HDTV. The Rec.709 RGB Colour Space is similar to sRGB colour.

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The Darkroom & B+W  settings are aimed at photographers. I was a bit puzzled as to why any photographer would want a B+W setting on a monitor as the output will still be a colour file. The advantage of this setting is that you can quickly preview an entire folder of photos and see instantly which will work as a B+W. The B+W setting has three levels to choose from, of course you will still need to convert the photos in your image editing application.

USB Puck

A USB puck is supplied with the BenQ SW320 monitor, this provides quick access to frequently used OSD (On Screen Display) settings.  Key 1 switches to Adobe RGB colour mode, Key 2 sRGB mode, Key 3 B+W mode, the Return key exits OSD menu, the central surrounding navigation key is for navigating the menus and the Centre OK key activates the selected menu. Keys 1,2 and 3 can be customised to your own preferred setting, just hold the key down for 5 seconds to bring up a list of options and confirm with the OK key to set the desired option. 

Calibration

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Out of the box the BenQ SW320 produced excellent colours with an even illumination from corner to corner. There’s no need for the monitor to have a warm up period before doing colour correction work. For the photographer who demands accurate colour calibration then the SW320 has a facility for hardware calibration.  This allows you to adjust the monitor’s image processing chip without changing the graphics card output data. The monitor is compatible with X-Rite Palette Master Software, this has to be downloaded from the BenQ web site. Use a Colorimeter to create a calibration/profile. The software supports the following devices X-Rite i1 Display Pro / i1 Pro / i1 Pro 2 & Datacolor Spyder 4 / Spyder 5. The two USB 3.0 ports are located at the side for connecting a colorimeter. The calibration data is stored in Colour Mode > Calibration 1. For image editing the recommended calibration brightness is 120cd/m2 or less.

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The BenQ SW320 monitor has a light sensor, this is located on the top edge of the monitor. This automatically adjusts the monitors brightness to match the ambient room lighting. If the ambient room light is high, then the monitor brightness is increased. If the light is dim, then the monitor brightness is decreased. This is a feature which may or may not suit your editing process, a consistent room light would be the better solution. The software for this can be downloaded from the BenQ web site. The Monitor hood has a small window so the sensor can still measure the ambient light.



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