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BenQ Reveals New 4K Photo Editing Monitor for Color-Critical Work

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BenQ has announced the SW271C, an upgrade to the photographer-favorite SW271, its latest color-accurate professional monitor designed for photographers. The company says that it brings top-tier professional monitor technology to a broad audience at an affordable price.

This particular monitor is an IPS panel that is LED edge-lit and offers a 1000:1 native contrast ratio, and 300 nits of peak brightness. While the monitor does support multiple HDR modes, that peak brightness is likely too low to offer strong reproduction of HDR content, however. Still, the 5-millisecond respond time and 60Hz refresh rate along with the promise of 10-bit color (8-bit via FRC).

The SQ271C uses BenQ’s proprietary AQCOLOR color accuracy technology, has a 16-bit 3D-LUT (up from 14-bit in the SW271), and covers 99% of Adobe RGB, 100% of sRGB, and 90% of DCI-P3 color spaces. The company says that this monitor assures confidence in color and has earned Pantone Validation, is Calman Ready, and is Calman Verified. It also supports video calibration with Light Illusion by LightSpace.

BenQ says its Uniformity Technology ensures that its color accuracy extends monitor-wide, is precise from corner-to-corner, and has consistency. The monitor is hardware calibrated which allows users to adjust the internal imaging processing chip without changing a graphic card’s output information, and images match the original content without impact from the graphic card setting. The company additionally ships each monitor’s unique factory calibration report in the box. On this note, the monitor additionally supports third-party hardware calibration.

At the base of the monitor is what BenQ calls its “Hotkey Puck G2.” This puck is for easy access to shortcuts that can be for different color modes. For example, the puck can swap quickly among Adobe RGB, sRGB, black and white, Rec.709, DCI-P3, and HDR.

These shortcuts are also, of course, customizable and BenQ has a specialized viewing mode called Gamut Duo which allows for comparative views in different color spaces. BenQ says that photographers can preview prints on-screen with nearly identical properties to hardcopies with the company’s Paper Color Sync Software.

The monitor can be connected via USB-C (and supports 60-watt charging), but also features two HDMI 2.0 ports and a single DisplayPort (v1.4). It also includes a USB-3.1 Hub for two USB downstreams and one USB upstream. It also packs an SD-card reader.

BenQ says that the monitor is also suitable for editing HDR video with support for both HDR10 and HLG (but as mentioned, the monitor’s peak brightness may have trouble properly displaying the brightest points of HDR content). It can additionally support 24p, 25p, and 30p (in addition to 60p) video in their native cadences, which is a notable improvement over the SW271 which could not. Another added benefit: select SDI to HDMI devices are compatible with SW271C, allowing videographers to transfer non-compressed content for improved image quality.

The shading hood pictured below ships with the monitor as well.

There are several little things that make this better-suited for hybrid shooters who are primarily dealing with still images but want the ability to edit some video. The support for native cadences from 24p through 60p is a great addition on the video front, and HDR support is nice even if you might not see it in all its glory. For photographers, the big updates are the 16-bit 3D LUT (up from 14 bits in the SW271), the new uniformity function (which should translate into more even brightness and colors across the full display, despite the fact that it’s LED edge-lit), and the support for 3rd party hardware calibration (previously you had to use BenQ’s own software if you wanted to hardware calibrate your monitor, all else was software calibration).

The SW271C is compatible with both Mac and Windows and is available for $1,600 starting today.

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