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Gear & Apps

LG’s Just Released Monitor Is a Photographer/Retoucher’s Dream

By Kishore Sawh on October 31st 2014

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There are certain companies that do certain things better than others. Stating that is always going to be figuratively drawing a line in the sand, but keeping that in mind also helps to identify who is good for what, and hopefully promote those companies to just keep getting better and better at those things, with focus. LG, is a good example. They’ve had a little time out of the spotlight when it comes to monitors for the masses, but they’ve recently released a new IPS monitor yesterday, with you the photographer in mind, and we’ve spent some time with it here at PhotoPlus.

The model number is the 31MU97, which is not something I’d drop into conversation at parties for fear of boring all other guests. That said, that gobbley-gook of a name represents a sleek new cinema 4k IPS monitor with a 17:9 aspect ratio.

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Many 4K monitors don’t actually give you 4K. They give you close, but usually a little less, but this monitor actually has a bit more. It’s also got 10-bit color depth which is 64 times richer than 8-bit displays. This means less banding, and more accurate colors. Combine this with Adobe RGB support over 99% means there’s less color loss, and again, more true representation.

[REWIND: What is an IPS Monitor? A Practical Guide to Understanding Display Technology]

Already with just these specs, LG has presented a formidable piece of kit for any photographer and videographer. Going even further, the first thing you notice when looking at this monitor is how strange of a form factor it is. It’s because of the 17:9 aspect ratio. Was it a mistake? Not quite. When we shoot, it’s typically in a 16:9 aspect ratio, and this means when you’re editing, you give up some screen real estate either to sidebars pushing the image in and making it smaller, or covering part of the image. This 17:9 lets you actually have space for that without affecting your image. So you’re not giving up any part of your image. This is absolutely brilliant for a retoucher. Additionally for retouchers is the ability to swivel the monitor to portrait orientation letting you edit that way.

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For those even more technically inclined, and videographers, you may be happy to know this monitor only requires one input cable. 4K monitors usually require two cables which means the graphic signal is divided, and then merged at the screen. This can cause distortion and quality loss, neither of which happens in the case of this monitor. As HDMI doesn’t actually support 4K, and only up to about a frequency of 24, you can use Thunderbolt or Displayport to achieve the required higher frequencies of 50 or 60, etc.

All in all, it’s extremely cool, and in person, it’s slim, and easy on the eyes. Sitting at $1399 it’s not at the lower end of the spectrum, but may just be ticket for those of you looking for a powerhouse. Find out more about it here.

**We’d like to give a special thanks to B&H for making this trip possible, allowing us to bring you the freshest and best from PhotoPlus 2014.**

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About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. mugur ic

    Interesting product. Very useful in studio

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  2. Pye

    This looks fantastic. Need to get one of these!

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  3. Will Conway-Isaacs

    Pretty amazing piece of gear

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  4. Daniel Thullen

    If anyone is interested, I’ve been exceptionally good this year and would love to see a 31MU97 under the tree at Christmas. Santa Claus, are you out there?

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  5. James Blake

    I feel like LG is going backwards on their LG PC Monitors. They had the wonderful 34″ monitor 34UM95 I wish they would go back to 34″ monitor with the same features of this new monitor.

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  6. Kim Farrelly

    Interesting screen idea and $1100 cheaper then a 27′ iMac with 5K (although you do get a whole computer with that price). Would be a nice addition to any studio set up

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    • Joseph Wu

      Main thing isn’t the resolution. But rather the factory LUT calibration on the actual panel.

      Factory LUT calibrations are much better than ANY ICC profile you can get out of your standard calibrator which only “calibrates” your display signal, which is essentially changing color output from your display card to mimic real colors.

      In reality and in widegamut scenarios, you’ll actually lose color gamut.

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    • Kim Farrelly

      I far as I remember Apple’s retina screens are factory calibrated to a very high standard and the software supports 3D LUT calibration.

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    • Joseph Wu

      They have a good factory default calibration, but each individual display isn’t individually profiled AFAIK.

      I doubt apple supports 3D LUT calibration. But I don’t mind being proven wrong. Time to play!

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    • Kim Farrelly

      Two quick google searches and some reading on calibration and 3D LUT with Apple, if you feel like informing your self a bit more into how they set up things at Apple:

      http://applemagazine.com/apple-unveils-new-macbook-pro-and-super-thin-imac/2241

      https://documentation.apple.com/en/color/usermanual/index.html#chapter=6%26section=3%26tasks=true

      I do like the size and ratio of the LG screen made all the better because of the pixel density.

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