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02-10-2024, 10:59 PM   #1
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Monitor ideas dedicated to K-3 III Monochrome

I've read through recent monitor threads and all are based on color image editing ("... and it does pretty well with black and white, too."). My only camera now (barring the cell phone) is my K-3 III Monochrome. I'm using the new camera as an excuse to finally upgrade from my +/-15 year old NEC Multisync P221W (which included an X-Rite(?) calibration system). I can still calibrate it, but at about 5600 hours of use, well, I think it's time to get off my wallet. I'll keep it until it fries as a second monitor.

What monitor traits are important for B&W raw image editing- no color conversions. 100% sRBG, yes. How much % of ARBG will be important? Brightness rating suggestion? Contrast ratio suggestion? (I'm assuming contrast ratio would be quite important for B&W file editing.)

And... if there is a particular brand or model to look at, I'm all ears. Think mid-level price range. Vague, but I'm looking for better than base level quality, but I don't want to go into 4-digit pricing. Thank you for you input and ideas.

02-11-2024, 01:28 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Get an OLED. I have high end 4k gear; I look at all my Monochrome files on my 13" OLED. Going to replace my 43" desktop 4K unit with an OLED as soon as possible. There's no substitute for an OLED's true blacks when you're looking at black and white. Heck, I use it for all my color work too now. True blacks and 20 stops of dynamic range-accept no substitutes!
Hope that helps.
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02-11-2024, 01:51 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve T. Quote
Contrast ratio suggestion?
For monochrome, good contrast ratio and resolution (10 bits or higher?). Also , brightness intensity relatively constant across the frame.
02-11-2024, 01:52 AM - 7 Likes   #4
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Some mostly technical based thoughts ...

• Today computer software and monitors work based on the RGB Color Model.
• I don't know any computer / photo application that will work based only on a grayscale channel. At the end of the 1980s I worked on an Atari ST. The standard monitor was black or white for the pixels, the image was dithered. Because of the high densitiy of pixels the eye/brain combo created an image of 640x400 Pixels (if I remember right).
• The better monitors work at 10 bit per color channel, standard ones at 8 bit.
• For black & white in the RGB model the grayscale is build by R=B=G. So every channel (color component) is the same.
• If we want to be able to use colored grays, i.e. be free in choosing a monochrome tint, we need a color monitor.
• The camera delivers 14 bit max. for the one grayscale component, i.e. values from 0 - 16383 (max. value 214-1).
• The monitors theoretical ability is 0 - 1023 (max. 210-1).
• JPG format is only 8 bit, i.e. 0 - 255 (28-1).
• According to a medical article I read, our eyes/brain combo can distinguish only 60-80 graytones. And from the scale we are not able to distinguish at least the lower and upper 16 values of the 8-bit scale. So in reality we talk about a max. domain of around 220 values, where we are not able to distinguish direct neigbours. As medex reported in a post correct info is 700 - 900 gray values, a link to the medical data base shows how this info is obtained.
• Apart from that, our individual physical eyes/brain combo will determin what we are able to really distinguish. Main contributers for recognition grays are the rods. The cones that support color recognition are much less sensitive.

This means, if we do some work on our grayscale images like using gradation curve and burning and dodging we should use the 14 bit raw. This will prevent from banding in very smooth gradation areas. Your monitor will offer max. 1024 (grayscale) different values per pixel and from these values your eye will be able only to distinguish a small variety.

For print 8 bit should be sufficient. Do they ... after Medex's info about 700-900 graytones? - I don't know. When we talk about printing we mostly also talk about ppi and viewing distance. With growing viewing distance a pattern of points might merge to a clear image that shows us something meaningfull. So 8 bit still might hold as a rule for printing monochrome ... on the other hand I think it can't be wrong to go with 16 bit for monochrome prints, even if there's some waste of megabytes.

So, what are my conclusions about a monitor?

• a 10 bit monitor should be better than a 8 bit monitor since it gives some room for monitor adjustment / calibration - this seems even more critical to me than with color image development
• an optimal monitor for black & white needs brightness uniformity across the monitor area (remember, gray tones is about brightness values)
• the critical aspect IMO are the blacks. If a monitor cannot show differentiated blacks, which depends on physical properties, work on shadows in the images will be problematic
• monitors that are good at showing differenciated shadows need to be calibrated for optimal grayscale balance since you need to be able to seperate low graytone values as much as your individual eye/brain is able to
• the brightness of the monitor / environment in which we develop our monochrome images might play a bigger role than with color images

For the critical medicine area there should exist most advanced grayscale monitors for diagnostics. But they will be expensive I guess.

So, I think at the end the best solution seems to be a very good usual 10 bit color monitor for monochrome image development.


Last edited by acoufap; 02-12-2024 at 01:42 AM. Reason: Medex's info about 700 - 900 gray values added. Printing notes added.
02-11-2024, 05:59 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
Some mostly technical based thoughts
Great answer.
02-11-2024, 06:29 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
Some mostly technical based thoughts ...

For the critical medicine area there should exist most advanced grayscale monitors for diagnostics. But they will be expensive I guess.

So, I think at the end the best solution seems to be a very good usual 10 bit color monitor for monochrome image development.
Holy smokes! Thank you very much for the objective and insightful explanation, and answer, quite helpful.
-------------
So, the *best* monitor to buy for use with the Monochrome is one that does not exist at the consumer level- a monitor that shows only tones of black and white. My first new TV set was black and white... Pong looked great on it. I knew I should have held on to it.

(edit)
That 13" BW TV cost me $60 back in about 1979. Things have changed! But now I'm curious and I'll keep looking. BW monitors for the medical field-
http://https://www.monitors.com/collections/screen-type-grayscale

Last edited by Steve T.; 02-11-2024 at 06:55 AM.
02-11-2024, 07:15 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
Some mostly technical based thoughts ...


• According to a medical article I read, our eyes/brain combo can distinguish only 60-80 graytones.
Human observers are able to discriminate between
700 and 900 simultaneous shades of gray for
the available luminance range of current medical
displays and in optimal conditions. Therefore, it
has no use to simultaneously display more than 10
bits of gray (1,024 gray shades) because this
already exceeds the capabilities of the human
visual system.

Cited from "Increasing the Number of Gray Shades in Medical Display Systems—How Much is Enough?" Tom Kimpe and Tom Tuytschaever. Journal of Digital Imaging, Vol 20, No 4 (December), 2007: pp 422Y432

02-11-2024, 07:18 AM   #8
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Is A Colour Managed Monitor Important in Black and White Photography Workflow ? | BenQ US

May be helpful despite it being color camera oriented.
02-11-2024, 07:19 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve T. Quote

What monitor traits are important for B&W raw image editing- no color conversions. 100% sRBG, yes. How much % of ARBG will be important? Brightness rating suggestion? Contrast ratio suggestion? (I'm assuming contrast ratio would be quite important for B&W file editing.)

And... if there is a particular brand or model to look at, I'm all ears. Think mid-level price range. Vague, but I'm looking for better than base level quality, but I don't want to go into 4-digit pricing. Thank you for you input and ideas.
I use Benq SW270C, it has monochrome mode. Did not test it for picture editing even I shoot mostly monochrome cameras last 2 years
02-11-2024, 08:56 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medex Quote
Human observers are able to discriminate between 700 and 900 simultaneous shades of gray for the available luminance range of current medical displays and in optimal conditions
Hi Medex, thank you - very interesting!

My numbers are from an Wikipedia (German) article, where we can read "... das menschliche Auge kann jedoch nur ca. 60 bis 80 Graustufen unterscheiden." I was looking for such numbers some time ago, but only found this source. I was really surprised that we shouldn't be able to differentiate more graytones.

And surprising that the Wikipedia articles about Retina / Netzhaut doesn't mention any numbers for graytone recognition.

Is the article you mentioned available on the internet? Are you able to post a link? - I'd really be interested in reading it!

@pschlute, @"Steve T.": many thanks for your kind words!

Last edited by acoufap; 02-11-2024 at 09:02 AM.
02-11-2024, 09:37 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve T. Quote
So, the *best* monitor to buy for use with the Monochrome is one that does not exist at the consumer level- a monitor that shows only tones of black and white.
I remember there were greyscale monitors from by example Siemens for PCs, like there were green and amber ones from a variety of brands.
02-11-2024, 10:50 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by acoufap Quote
Hi Medex, thank you - very interesting!

My numbers are from an Wikipedia (German) article, where we can read "... das menschliche Auge kann jedoch nur ca. 60 bis 80 Graustufen unterscheiden." I was looking for such numbers some time ago, but only found this source. I was really surprised that we shouldn't be able to differentiate more graytones.

And surprising that the Wikipedia articles about Retina / Netzhaut doesn't mention any numbers for graytone recognition.

Is the article you mentioned available on the internet? Are you able to post a link? - I'd really be interested in reading it!

@pschlute, @"Steve T.": many thanks for your kind words!
Try this link
Increasing the Number of Gray Shades in Medical Display Systems—How Much is Enough? - PMC
02-11-2024, 11:13 AM   #13
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Great, link works - many thanks!

I‘ll read this article.

Update.

Read it! - Exactly what I was looking for some time ago. The reason was that I wanted to understand, if it would be true, what a fine art printing service told me. They said that 8 bit data would be sufficient for black & white prints. This article tells me I should deliver 16 bit tiff, even if it‘s a black & white image.

Last edited by acoufap; 02-11-2024 at 11:34 AM. Reason: Update added.
02-11-2024, 11:12 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve T. Quote
And... if there is a particular brand or model to look at, I'm all ears. Think mid-level price range.
I am a BenQ fan. I have had their 32" 2K PD series monitor for about 6 years now and very happy with it. I do mostly color work but recently I have taken a liking to black and white and square format photography. PD line covers 100% sRGB but not AdobeRGB. I went with the PD line because it is mid-priced. Their 32" 2k is $599 or so.

If you want a higher end monitor you have to go with their SW line ($1,500 and up). The SW covers Adobe RGB 99%. It has hardware calibration. Medex mentioned the SW line.

Both PD and SW lines come in either 2K or 4k varieties. Check them out before you buy. Also on Youtube check out ArtisRight channel. He is a BenQ guru and has many videos explaining the different models and how to calibrate them.
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BenQ has a 14-bit grayscale medical monitor - it's probably really, really expensive as they don't give pricing information:
Medical Diagnostic Series Monitors
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