Dan Desmet came by today with one of the new FSI 2470W LED backlight monitors today so I could compare it to our 2450Ws.
So right off the bat, this unit features an RGB LED Matrix backlight vs. the fluorescent backlights of the 2450W. This makes the display lighter, use less power, run cooler and makes it basically "instant ready." The 2450W has to warm up for at least 30 minutes to be fully accurate in color. In addition, the LED backlights are even more precise giving you a wider and more accurate RGB display.
Now before we go any further, no I'm not saying the 2450W is inferior to the 2470W. In fact with the two monitors side by side, feeding the same 720p / 60 ProRes material, they look identical. Cannot tell the difference and of course this speaks to the superior quality of the FSI brand.
What the 2470W represents is FSI's answer to those who absolutely positively must have a 10 bit monitor. Telecine, Film Color Correction and very high end post production processes where an 8 bit panel simply will not suffice. And for those who are cost conscious, and today who isn't, they brought panel in at under $10,000 AND they include the 3G (Dual Link) input STANDARD.
I'm not sure any of the other panels out there today offer this as standard equipment and certainly nobody can offer this for under $10k.
Dan brought up a gradient ramp to show the me the difference between the 2450W and the 2470W. There is slight banding visible on the 2450W. None on the 2470W.
For 90% of us out there, including me, the 2450W is the monitor you want in your edit suite. We don't need that extra $4,000 of features or quality especially if you're working in video production. I'm designing a new facility and in 8 of the suites we'll have a combination 2450W's and 1770W's because the image quality is superb and the 8bit quality of the panel suits our needs.
But I will admit that after seeing this panel today, I just may have to pony up for one in our new Color DI suite. Depends on where the budget falls.
See that's one thing I love about the entire FSI team. Even though this new monitor is out and it's pushing $9,000 they're not in a hurry to sell it to you just to make a profit. When you call or live chat with these guys, the first thing they want to know is what are you going to do with the monitor. If it looks like you really don't need to spend the extra $4,000, they're the first to tell you. And of course with the 30 day money back guarantee, you can always return one monitor and purchase the other.
My edit suite runs two 25' DVI extenders, VERY heavy duty extenders that were about $120 each. This suite has run with the G5 Quad 2.5, the Mac Pro Quad 3.0 and the Mac Pro Octo 3.2 with zero issues running two DVI monitors and the extenders.
Now I get the $7,000 top of the line Apple Octo Core machine with the ATI 4870 graphics card which of course Apple mandates with one regular DVI port and one Mini DVI port. I got the adapter that allows me to run two standard DVI monitors. The one connected to the Mini DVI port is not coming on. We even switched the cables in the back of the machine and only the regular DVI port is putting out an image to the monitors.
Now we're going to have to come up with another workaround. If you have a "special monitor" (i.e. Apple LED Display) that requires a "special DVI port" because you don't want to pay the licensing fees for regular DVI, why don't you create an adapter cable the OTHER way around? Regular DVI to the Mini DVI required by the Apple monitor?
I spent the day at the FSI offices last week getting a chance to really chat with Dan, Bram and Johan about the monitors and learning about all the features. Their offices are also in the Atlanta area so I took the opportunity to get some instruction on these monitors at their offices.
I knew these things were full of features but I didn't realize just HOW many features and how much end user control they have. I really don't expect the feature set at the price point, but these guys are doing it and it's great for all of us in need of a good LCD monitor.
Scopes are becoming a standard now on the LCD panels, but how would like those scopes and audio meters displayed? There are something like a dozen choices from the type of scope you want to see, the values you want to see (Luma, RGB, etc), where you want it on screen and even how many channels of audio you would like to see. Oh and embedded audio via SDI which is really sweet on a field shoot. You don't need to tie into the sound guy's audio output, you can just plug a headphone into the monitor and get the clean sound from there. (you can also do this with analog). Oh and how about scopes that are active via all inputs including DVI?
Markers that can be displayed in pretty much any frame size and either as lines or transparent or solid mattes.
Pixel Mapping so you can see your image pixel for pixel, on any of the displays.
Control over pulldown, as in you can have the pulldown smoothed out or you can see it frame for frame with the judder.
Classic Blue Only mode for those who just don't want to give that up when switching out from CRTs. :-)
I'm especially loving the 5 user preset keys now that I'm figuring it out. Basically 5 user controlled On/Off buttons to activate my 5 most used features, such as Scopes and Markers. AND 5 user profiles so when we start having more editors using the suites, each person can have those function keys pre-set however they want.
And I saw just how ridiculously easy the Auto Alignment procedure is to re-calibrate the monitor at any time. Turn On Monitor. Let it Warm Up for 30 Minutes. Connect the Probe to the FSI Alignment Converter. Connect the Converter to the Monitor. Hit "Auto Align." Grab a coffee and come back 20 minutes later.
Can you tell I'm really liking these monitors? A true color accurate monitor that we can all afford? And best of all, the 30 day money back guarantee, which is one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable recommending them to anyone reading this. If you truly don't like it, then return it and you're not out any money so you can go get something else.
If anyone out there needs / wants a Dual Link to 3G Converter, AJA Video Systems has a nice little mini-converter out there.
What's 3G you say? The replacement for Dual Link HD. Instead of two cables, you get the full 3G HD signal down one cable. I honestly had never heard of it until we ordered our new Flanders Scientific monitors and they were talking about how their monitors offer only 3G and not Dual Link because Dual Link will be replaced in the near future.