PRODUCT: PV270 27-INCH REC. 709 / DCI-P3 MONITOR
PRICE: MSRP $899.00
- Technicolor Color Certified
- Has a large viewing angle of 178 degrees without too much loss in contrast and color
- 100 percent coverage of Rec. 709 color space and 96 percent coverage of DCI-P3 color space
With the introduction of the free version of Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve a few years ago, there has been an explosion of would-be colorists. It’s great to see so many people caring not only about the offline portion of content creation, such as writing and editing, but now the finishing stage in color correction and online work as well. Unfortunately, this also means you will need the proper equipment to view your content or else you could be color correcting...incorrectly. In a barebones environment, this typically consists of a higher-end computer system and a color accurate viewing monitor. More often than not, this means multiple displays, a color accurate output display, a scope, maybe color correction panels like the Tangent Elements or Blackmagic Design Mini Panel, and multiple other expensive pieces of hardware. But at the end of the day, one of the most important pieces of hardware you need to accurately color correct and grade material is a high-end color critical monitor — which typically costs thousands of dollars.
AN AFFORDABLE OPTION
BenQ, a provider of visual display solutions, has come to the rescue with an affordable 27-inch color critical video and post production-focused monitor for $899. While the cost is right, there are a few drawbacks. For instance, the BenQ PV270 does not support 4K resolution, and does not have SDI connections. While some people argue the differences in quality and color fidelity between HDMI vs. SDI connections — most often SDI is considered a professional connection while HDMI is still trying to be that — it’s a discussion for another time. Once you get past those shortcomings, the PV270 is actually a great monitor when used for video, post and image manipulation.
Out of the box, you’ll notice that the BenQ PV270 panel does not weigh all that much — about 12 pounds. However, the stand is sturdy and increases the total weight to about 17 pounds. Moreover, the shading hood adds a little over two pounds. The monitor stand allows for a large rotation to angle the monitor to where you are sitting, but if you or your client is off to the side, the panel still has a large viewing angle of 178 degrees without too much loss in contrast and color. The stand has a maximum height adjustment of a little over five inches. It has two USB 3.0 ports, as well as an SD card reader built into the side and connects via HDMI 1.4, DVI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort. One of the lacking features is the under 4K resolution this display offers at 2560x1440. While this is still a 16:9 aspect ratio, it would have been nice to see at minimum 3840x2160 (UHD). The lack of resolution, however, doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t love this monitor.
The BenQ PV270 is a 10-bit color, IPS panel with LED backlight, 27-inch work area. What sets this apart from other non-video and post-focused BenQ monitors is the 100 percent Rec. 709 and 96 percent DCI-P3 color space coverage. Also, it has a very uniform brightness across the display, from corner to corner. For a 27-inch monitor that retails for $899 and covers 100 percent of the Rec. 709 and 96 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, the BenQ PV270 is a steal. In addition, for still image-based artists, the PV270 covers 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color space. For anyone that doesn’t know what color space is or buzzwords like Rec. 709 and DCI-P3 refer to, simply Rec. 709 represents roughly 35 percent of visible color where DCI-P3 represents about 50 percent. The more color that is represented in the monitor means that more shades are visible, meaning the “richer” the color fidelity is. Even if you have different monitors, as long as your monitors have been calibrated in the Rec. 709 color space, color should be consistent between them.
Calibration is an interesting skill and requirement among color critical projects that has been around for forever. More recently, it has been popping up more and more since different color spaces on different televisions and monitors have been sprouting up. The BenQ PV270 has many features that are geared towards us video and post nerds, but up first is the compatibility with X-rite Palette Master, i1 Display Pro, i1 Pro and i1 Pro 2 monitor calibration tools.
The PV270 allows for two custom calibration presets from your X-Rite colorimeter to be stored in the monitor itself. However, if you want other options, there are a total of 11 color modes: Standard, Adobe RGB, sRGB, DCI-P3, Rec. 709, D50, D65, Calibration 1, Calibration 2, Custom 1 and Custom 2. These can come in handy in a pinch by getting you close to the color space you need to view without doing a full calibration. Beyond this, you can also adjust features like brightness, contrast, sharpness, color temperatures (2800K to 9300K, custom in 100K increments and user defined), gamma, color gamut, hue, saturation and black level. All of which can be saved. When in Standard Color Mode, you have a variety of choices in color temperature and color gamut while the gamma can be customized between 1.8 and 2.2, in DI-P3 2.2/2.4/2.6, in Rec. 709 2.2/2.4 and so on. A feature I would typically turn off is the Eye Protect mode, which essentially adjusts the backlight automatically depending on the surrounding light conditions.
An interesting feature on the BenQ PV270 is the PIP/PDP menu. PIP allows for a picture in picture while the PDP allows for two different video sources to be placed side by side in the monitor. What is cool about the PIP is that you can select a different color gamut, gamma and color temperature on the inset picture than what the larger picture is displaying. Us post users can keep in mind that there is an option called “HDMI RGB PC Range” which allows you to select video levels or full range labeled as RGB(0~255) and RGB(16~235), respectively.
In the end, the BenQ PV270 is a great monitor for color critical users. Even Technicolor has thrown its Color Certified seal of approval on it. All that being said, this is not a Sony Trimaster OLED. You will pay quite a bit more for that level of equipment. But for those who need a color critical monitor without SDI connections or 4K resolution, the BenQ PV270 deserves a serious look. Combined with the X-rite i1Display Pro colorimeter, the PV270 priced at $899 is a great monitor that you will be happy with as a color accurate user interface workstation display. With the supplied hood, you can even double this up as an onset monitor loaded with a 3D LUT.