Calibrated Performance: Color Accuracy And Gamut
As ColorEyes Display Pro explains, absolute rendering the black point produces the most numerically accurate results, and works well for high-quality monitors. But doing so could also easily generate plugged shadows (dark regions where detail is lost) on a lower-quality monitor. If matching two displays is critical, absolute rendering is the best choice, assuming both monitors can handle absolute black. Relative rendering maps the darkest values on your monitor relative to its ability to display them. This isn't as accurate, but provides detail in dark areas where your monitor has difficulty.
Since we are trying to compare the color quality between monitors, we choose to calibrate for an absolute black point. These values represent the best we can achieve with our monitors, but they add another variable to consider when judging color performance.
The DS-277W continues to struggle with poor blacks. Until there's a fix, this will continue to be its Achilles' heel.
The range of colors doesn't change when you calibrate a monitor. A wide-gamut monitor still behaves like a wide-gamut monitor, even when you turn down brightness. However, calibration changes color perception as colors become more accurately represented.
Even without calibration, NEC's PA271W has an average delta E below 3. It's incredibly accurate right out of the box.
After calibration, we evaluated the profile against a GretagMacBeth's color palette.
As mentioned earlier, delta E is a measure of color accuracy. However, this only gives a small perspective of color performance because we interpret colors within a spectrum, not from individual points.
Absolute Color Gamut
It's harder to perceive the difference in gamut when you’re inspecting individual delta E values. With 3D images, it is best to examine the graph as a video, which is why we use Chromix's ColorThink Pro to illustrate how color gamut is affected.
The wire form outline in each video represents the total gamut volume of AdobeRGB 1998. The solid red gamut map represents the gamut of each monitor.
This is not just an examination of how one color profile maps to a reference, nor is it only about how much can be rendered (in this case AdobeRGB 1998). Rather, it's an absolute comparison of gamut volumes, which can be used to help identify strong and weak points in a color profile.
All three monitors fail to achieve full green production in the AdobeRGB gamut, but there are some differences when you look at other traits. The Dell U2711 does surprisingly well with red, yellow, and orange highlights. Shadows are another matter, because the U2711 shines when it's presented with blues, cyans, and greens, many of which it renders outside of the AdobeRGB gamut.
NEC's PA271W produces the most out-of-gamut colors, and it does particularly well in blue highlights, midtones, and shadows. It also excels in red, yellow, and magenta shadows, as well as green highlights.
DoubleSight's DS-277W is more of a middle-of-the-road performer. It loses in every area when compared to the PA271W, but it does better than the U2711 in green, yellow, and cyan highlights, as well as blue and magenta shadows.