PetaPixel

I Replaced My Dual Screen Editing Setup with a 34-Inch 3440×1440 LG Monitor

And I haven't regretted that decision for a moment

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As a photographer, I’ve long been an advocate of a dual screen set-up for a more efficient workflow. After all, what is better than having the ability to spread out all your applications palettes across multiple screens? For a couple of years now, I’ve had a Dell U2412M 24” (1920×1200) and Dell U2713HM 27” (2560×1440). That is no longer the case…

Monitors with a 21:9 aspect ratio (2560×1080) are nothing new; they’ve been out in masses for over a year and can be had for very little money. They seem to appeal a lot to gamers who want the ultra-wide field of view to take advantage of in games as well as movie lovers who want a cinematic experience without the letterboxing you get on standard 16:10 and 16:9 aspect ratio monitors. For photo editing, however, the 2560×1080 resolution wasn’t too usable because of the low vertical resolution, and so a dual monitor setup still made more sense.

before

So why are things different now? Well it’s thanks to LG releasing their new ultra wide monitor, the 34UM95, which supports a resolution of 3440×1440. I was keen to see what this was like ever since I learned of its existence.
The LG panel was the first to come out, and with no sign of Dell’s version or any other brand on the horizon, I decided to bite the bullet and imported one from Germany.

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The biggest selling factors for the 34UM95 for me were the resolution and hardware LUT to store colour calibration data into the monitor directly so I had accurate colours from all input sources.

What I’ve found is that 3440×1440 is truly excellent for all manner of uses. I have now sold my dual screens, which reclaimed desk space, one free power socket and less heat generated around the workstation.

The other benefit of this resolution on 34” is that the PPI is the same as a 27” 2560×1440 monitor at 0.23 mm. This is a very nice combination to have for both legibility of text and on-screen real-estate.

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I photograph panoramic landscapes quite often, and editing them has never been better. Being able to see and edit the whole photo without having to zoom around is very useful. Additionally, having Lightroom and Photoshop side-by-side allows for sharing edits between both applications without losing out on some colour shift often found with dual screen configuration, even when both screens are the same model.

Speaking from the calibration side of things, LG provides True Color Finder with the 34UM95 which talks to the monitor, takes full control over the OSD functions during calibration and saves them to the monitor. I found the software worked very well, and a calibration run took around 7 minutes with the i1 Display Pro. The software comes with drivers and supports the most popular colorimeters.

LG True Color FInder

At the time of this writing Dell still has no news on its version, which is rumoured to use the same LG panel, although AOC has released information on their new 3440×1440 34” monster (the U3477Pqu), which is similarly specced minus a few features like Thunderbolt 2 connections and the hardware calibration additions.

This LG monitor is not cheap. At £830 it was a risky leap to take on import. AOC’s model will no doubt be cheaper and I should imagine the ultra-affordable Chinese third party scene will kick off soon with this aspect ratio just as it did with the 27” 1440P monitors.

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So who would I recommend a monitor like this to? If you’re like me and love to edit on as much screen real-estate as possible, then this may be just the ticket. Multiple Photoshop and Lightroom windows open at the same time without much sacrifice on the screen workspace, less power consumption, less heat generation and a sleeker looking workstation are just a few of the benefits to be had.

There is one major downside, of course, and that is the cost. Not everyone wants to spend over £800 on a monitor and some will argue that a 4K monitor offers a higher resolution at a cheaper price point. On the one hand, they’d be right… but those monitors don’t offer the size and in turn the PPI to make use of that resolution. For 4K to match a 34” 1440P ultra-wide monitor it would need to be larger than 34”, and that simply doesn’t exist… yet.


About the author: Robbie Khan is a photographer, tea drinker, explorer. He specializes in wedding and portraiture, and has photographed from the -32 degree temperatures of the Arctic Circle to the beautiful architecture of Belgium and the heat of Pakistan and beyond. You can find his work on his website, Twitter, Facebook, 500px and Flickr.


 
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  • KNIVEZ

    so cool….

  • ThatGuy

    Goodie for you.

  • Ken Elliott

    Agree. Also, Windows 7 can “snap” windows to take up the entire monitor, or 1/2 the space. I use a quad-24″ setup and it is wonderful. The two center monitors are landscape, and the outboard monitors are portrait (vertical). If I’m editing landscape shots, I put Lightroom on the center right monitors, and LR’s second window takes over the entire center left monitor. When I’m editing portraits, I put LR on the center left monitor, and LR’s second window appears on the far left monitor. I wish LR would let me move that second display window. As it is, I have to dismiss the window, move LR to a different screen, then re-enable the second window.

    That said, I’m considering using a 4K monitor to replace the two center screens.

  • Ken Elliott

    It is for me. I run quad 24″s, with the outboard monitors rotated to portrait. Frankly, a 3 screen setup is about as good. I don’t use the right-side monitor much. I’m thinking of using a 4K in the middle, and flanking 24″ portraits.

  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor-dennis/ Trevor Dennis

    I use a 30inch 1920×1200 Dell main screen, and 24 inch 1920×1200 LG second screen in portrait mode. Having enough pixels is key for Photoshop as you can’t fit all the panels into the usual 1920×1080 screen in portrait mode. With 1200 pixels width, you can have large thumbnails in all the panels, large swatch, room for long layer names. I even have room for the Dmonzon Tools panel in my standard workspace. I can’t match your fantastic display area for panoramas, but that second screen sure looks good with a high res portrait mode image on it. It’s a bit of a worry that WUXGA screens are becoming rare, and particularly so with laptops, that all come with 16:9 1920×1080 displays. This is causing serious issues driving WUXGA projectors in duplicate mode, as they have to be driven at 1680×1050 wasting heaps of resolution.

  • tguy

    What kind of keyboard and mouse do you have? And what is the big mat under it all? Looks great

  • Robbie Khan

    Hi it is a Logitech K750 and Logitech G602.

  • FreedomWitnesser

    What desk space do you need when editing digitally? I completely disagree with this article. I want my images to be as large as possible when work with them. The aspect ratio is completely bonkers with this screen as well. The monitor might be great but I’d want one for each application, not split screen. I suppose this would be good for simple retouching but for what I do there’s zero chance I’d prefer a setup like this, zero.

  • Robbie Khan

    Did you happen to read the digitaltrends review of it? They bunked the review and it’s been heavily discussed on various forums. They used a Spyder probe (which are known to have contrast ratio adjustment issues with accuracy, i1Display probes are the best for this) and they kept going on about AdobeRGB on a screen that’s purely sRGB… All other proper reviews got rseults inline with what’s to be expected of this panel and what LG spec it for.

    For what it’s worth my own contrast ratio measurement gave 859cd/m2, that’s at my desired brightness of 11 which equates to 80cd/m2 and for your second point about brightness not being able ot be lowered below 120cd/m2, well it can as I have that.

  • Robbie Khan

    It’s a shame that we see more 16:9 displays than 16:10 but it was always to be expected given that all TV shows are 16:9 currently and many movies too/ I think 21:9, especially with 1440P vertical resolution will kick off big time and provide a happy medium for many people out there. you get vertical freedom with the bonus of that cinematic experience with movies and people watching TV episodes won’t be any worse off because the video window will be the same size as any 27″ 1440P monitor.

  • http://shareme.in/ Gavz

    damn! thats so frigging expensive monitor,i wish i could buy one too, my mouth is gonna drool on this for now but i will definitely have one soon if its envitablly necessary :)

  • kacoooper

    Yes, it was, so thanks for expanding on that, although the latest Spyder hardware is much better.

    If i just worked on web and smaller gamut stuff, I’d give it more of a look, but it looks as if I’ll just have to wait for a higher spec one. Wide gamut isn’t an issue for me since I’ve no non colour managed apps in use.

  • http://www.korioi.net/ Korios

    With a quick search I found that the panel is IPS and it supports a true 10 bit color space (not 8 bit + FRC or other dithering). Great purchase, I hope you get even more productive with this. I wonder if you see any color banding at all in very difficult shots, such as dark ones with various gradual shadows; and whether this is dependent on the source as well.

  • Robbie Khan

    Hi and thanks for your comment :)
    On photographs I’ve shot before I did notice some banding on gradients (night time photos of sky where light pollution feeds into the darkness especially) on my old primary monitor the Dell U2713HM but on this LG 34UM95 I notice no banding.

    I also have the new LG 29EB93-P which also has a hardware LUT but on an 8bit AH-IPS panel and notice no banding on that either. My old Dell was an AH-IPS panel too but it had no LUT so I am guessing that the lack of banding on the new LG monitors is due to the hardware LUT being more accurate and this helps eliminate banding.

    It appears that all of LG’s new displays like this support hardware calibration which is nice to see.

  • Sang Lee

    Thanks for a great article. What’s the monitor stand do you use?
    *Just saw the comment underneath. Thanks anyway!

  • Frogonastring

    Ah yes indeed – I’d actually noticed that error right after I posted, but my comment had disappeared so I couldn’t edit!
    My bad.

  • Daniel Shortt

    because of the Apple badge on it.

  • johnny corcoran

    :-O ohhh! love it! So any idea what cable to get if using this LCD with Apple mac Pro 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7?

  • Marius Budu

    I was also considering it would be a major plus for Lightroom since they still don’t allow a proper two-display set-up of tools.

    Lately I’m thinking of getting a laptop to replace my desktop station and I think this bad boy might just be what the laptop will come home to. That way it’s a super-simple set up that also allows me to be mobile.

  • http://caiok.at Caio Kauffmann

    Wow! Thanks a lot for taking the time, @disqus_UqA2AyPyRm:disqus! Do you have any suggestion on the tip of your fingers of where I could read more about it (real industry’s standards)? Thanks a lot again!

  • Robbie Khan

    I guess Thunderbolt is the way to go as you’re on a Mac :)

  • narucy

    Good advice for you.

    1) Push Windows Key
    2) Input “taskbar” and select “Taskbar and Navigation”
    3) Checkbox “Auto-hide the taskbar” checked

    Get more wide workspace.

  • Robbie Khan

    I know how to do this already, I just don’t like a hidden taskbar and with 3440 pixels of horizontal resolution it really does not need to be hidden anyway :)

  • deF

    That’s great theory but in practice native white point for almost all monitors is above D50, even for Eizo CGs it’s about 5800-6200K. What means setting D50 forces monitor to correct native backlight with panel’s cells. What in effect gives yellowish whites. What doesn’t give match to lightbox. From my practice (over 15 years in retouching, some CM background) depending of monitor, purpose etc the best effect gives one of settings: white point native, D65 or slightly tuned down (like 6200-5800K).

  • PaKo Fotografy

    I read in several articles:

    - That the LG screen is a 4K model.

    - 4K screens that are not compatible with all applications. what about Final Cut pro, LR & Photoshop?

    - Even compatibility windows & OS environment, text are not displayed in HD or are blurred

    - Have you seen display defects focntion applications ??

    thank you

    (sorry for my english)

  • PaKo Fotografy

    With a windows or OS environment ??

  • Robbie Khan

    This LG monitor is near 4K, not quite 4K. 1440 vertical pixels vs the 2160 of a 4K one. Currently 4K screens are too small to be useful outside of media use such as gaming. The pixel pitch is too small to make use of reading text without strain and high quality 4K screens cost closer to the £2000 mark and that’s a poor show considering that a high quality IPS panel that is almost 4K is a better and cheaper monitor all round for more uses at present.

    Once 4K monitors come into a more desirable pixel pitch range (around 0.23 mm) then we can start talking fair comparisons vs ultra wide monitors like this LG and AOC’s new 34″ but as it stands 4K is too new. It demands high end graphics hardware to run games at 4K (the LG 34UM95 has something like 34% horizontal resolution increase compared to a 27″ 1440P monitor which is easier to utilise with existing graphics hardware in games).

    By defects what are you referring to? Reading text? Glitches in software? I don’t really understand that question sorry!

    4K is just a resolution. If you’re using the recommended connection (DisplayPort in most instances as that has the bandwidth for it) then any application in theory should work fine at that unless it’s so old it doesn’t scale well beyond a certain resolution.

  • renambot

    running MacOS Mavericks

  • Andrew Rose

    Am loving the monitor stand. Can it move vertically up and down? and did you put the backlighting in or is that included on the stand?

  • Jake

    Hi, really enjoyed the article, looking into buying this monitor.
    Can you please tell me how you achieved that look of the wall behind the display? Wallpaper or sth. else?
    I also noticed, you have some kind of backlighting between the monitor and the wall, care to reveal how you did that please?
    I will be really grateful, thank you!

  • Robbie Khan

    it’s wallpaper!

    The lighting is just 2x USB LED lighting strips that stick behind the monitor. You can find them on Amazon for £6 or so each.

  • Jonas Sjödin

    Which mousepad is that?

  • Robbie Khan

    Hi it is the Boogiebug XL Surface.

  • Tsais

    I much prefer the Seiki 40″ @ 3840×2160.

    This thing is nice and wide but has no height.

    Ok, so an HDMI 1.4 connection to a TV tops out at 30 Hz @ 3840×2160, but I see no flicker and there’s no input lag. I know some people who use it for gaming with high end Nvidia cards in SLI configuration, but I’m just happy being able to see all of a large spread sheet, or being able to see all mixer channels and all audio tracks in Sonar at the same time, with enough room left to open editing windows, audio filters etc.

    I’m sure this LG being manufactured as a computer monitor rather than a TV can achieve better color calibration for photo work, but for video editing, we got it set close enough to our old professional editing monitor. Well ok, that one is really old, like from the late 90′s, but it was designed for video editing :)