This post is an in-depth review of our experience of using the BenQ SW320 monitor. To read about colour calibration and the first part of this monitor’s review, click here
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a brief review about the BenQ SW320 Photographer Monitor that we had recently received in our studio. We also spoke about colour calibration and its importance to us as wedding photographers. This post goes into a little more detail about our experience of using the SW320 monitor for the past few months. Though we’ve had it for a brief period of time, we’re already impressed by what it can do. The BenQ SW320 monitor is perfect for us since our work involves visually intensive tasks and the SW320 has been made especially for the professional photographer.
Moreover, wedding photography now requires much more colour accurate deliveries with the advancements made in album printing technologies. At Twogether Studios, we usually proof all our albums before they to print – which is why it’s very important to ensure that we have 100% colour accuracy in the work we do!
We’ve tried to break down our review of this monitor into the features that made the most sense to us.
#1 Switching between Adobe RGB and sRGB on the fly rocks!
For as long as we can remember, we have relied on colours displayed on our Apple monitor (which has it’s own calibration). It could display colours in the sRGB mode with fantastic accuracy, but wasn’t fully accurate when in Adobe RGB and Profoto RGB. But with BenQSW320, we could move a step further. The BenQ SW320 monitor supports Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB modes, and switching on the fly. And the colours and the viewing experience in these modes has been incredibly eye-opening for us! With 99% Adobe RGB, BenQ offers a far greater range of reproduction of blues and greens. When in Photoshop, if the colour space was set to Adobe RGB – we could see the difference between the display on BenQ and our iMac. The colours on the BenQ monitor were richer and vibrant looking and gave our images an extra edge. BenQ’s SW320 massive 31-inch monitor also made an impact with respect to the viewing experience. Our 27 inch iMac’s looked smaller in comparison.
Although almost all photographers usually use sRGB, as it is the standard colour profile for sharing of images online. But Adobe RGB provides a wider colour gamut. It also has a wider range of data with respect to the colours in an image. The HotKey puck made it easy to switch between different colour modes.
#2 It changed our workflow process
The HotKey puck (a little shortcut key device that attaches to the monitor) made it super easy to switch between colour and B&W modes. We didn’t need to switch back and forth between two windows to decide which looked better. The GamutDuo feature made it possible for us to see both colour spaces on the same screen. We realised how convenient this feature was when we found ourselves with a folder full of images to decide from. It was possible to go through thousands of images and immediately decide with the press of a button if it worked in black and white. The monitor also gave us the option of viewing our image in three different black and white presets. Post that we could process and make adjustments to the image in our editing software (=Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop!).
Working on BenQ’s portrait mode was really fun – being able to swivel the monitor to a portrait orientation without disconnecting the wires is a really cool design feature! Fine editing bridal portraits were so much better with the clarity and details the monitor provided us with. Zooming in to edit the fine details was pretty rewarding because of the 4k resolution of the monitor. The height adjustable stand made it easier to find a comfortable viewing position. The images were free of any outside manipulations courtesy of the shading hood. Basically, we were in our own cosy editing nook, unaware of the outside world.
#3 Quality and colour accuracy
In a typical set of wedding pictures, at least 60% of all pictures receive basic colour correction. The rest of the images require a little more fine-tuning and detail editing.
Working on the images that require a little more attention on BenQ SW320, everything looked exactly as it should. Its Brightness Utility function made the screen brightness consistent all over, no matter which angle you viewed it from. And the matte screen helped us avoid any glare or reflections. Often, the surroundings we work in, effect the images we see on the screen (especially the glare and reflections of indoor light sources). The monitor’s matte screen kept any glare and reflections out and our work remained unmanipulated from the outside world. We were also sure we wouldn’t have to worry about colour accuracy with the monitor’s inbuilt hardware calibration. It keeps image display consistent and true to the original. That unusual shade of pink popped just right in our bride’s lehenga. And thanks to the monitor’s colour accuracy, the images looked just right when we printed them as well.
#4 Dual monitors and more workspace
When working on software like the Lightroom, we often have multiple windows open. Having the BenQ SW320 side by side with our Mac made it easier to manage our workspace. We now started working on a multi-monitor setup – had the Lightroom library module open on the Apple display with the develop module open on the BenQ SW320. The set up helped us work with more efficiency and in distraction free mode. Having the option to view multiple programs across different screens actually increased our productivity. We could keep regular everyday work tasks like the social media, our work emails, other documents etc on the second monitor and focus solely on images on the BenQ.
#5 Pairing the Epson P5000 printer with the BenQ SW320
A few weeks ago, we were writing about the importance of printing photographs and reviewing the new Epson P5000 printer. It was a stroke of luck that we had the BenQ SW320 monitor and the Epson P5000 printer in our studio at the same time. We decided to hook up the printer to the BenQ SW320 in hopes of getting some great colour-accurate prints. Thanks to BenQ’s factory calibrated monitor, the results were exactly what we’d hoped to see! The colour and resolution of the images were incredible (pretty much because they printed exactly as they looked)!
A good monitor not only helps you make great looking images but also reproduce high-quality colour-accurate prints. As a photographer, your knowledge about printing technology and correct colour calibration can only enhance your credibility as an experienced professional in the field. So if your monitor is producing accurate prints, you know it’s definitely colour-calibrated.
Most wedding clients visiting our studio recently have been curious to know what the impressive big monitor actually was or did. It was a great conversation starter – and everyone who saw it felt reassured that they’d get colour accurate albums and didn’t have to worry about inaccurate colours ruining their precious memories.
You should definitely think about buying the monitor if you want superior quality images and colour-accuracy in your prints. Priced at approximately a lakh and fifty, it is no doubt an expensive buy. But in the long run, it is worth for your business and improvement as a professional photographer. Think of it as a one-time investment that will bring returns for years to come. There are a couple of online websites, where you can place your order. You can see the available options on BenQ’s website here.
Is there anything you’d like to know more about the monitor? Let us know in the comments!