Grayscale, Gamma & Color
Not only is calibrating the VP3881 unnecessary, there's no real gain to be had. While we recorded better numbers after adjustment, the difference is minute. We measured the Custom mode, along with sRGB and Rec.709.
We describe our grayscale and gamma tests in detail here.
Custom is the VP3881’s default mode. It runs a tiny bit blue at the brighter end of the scale. The errors are almost imperceptible, but in the professional realm, you're better served selecting either sRGB or Rec.709. Neither allow calibration in the OSD, but as you can see, no changes are necessary. It’s some of the best out-of-box performance we’ve seen recently.
It’s important to note that gamma is different in each mode. Custom can be set anywhere from 1.8 to 2.6. We used 2.2 for our tests. sRGB also follows a fixed 2.2 curve. Rec.709 uses the power function at a value of 2.4. The very best grayscale accuracy comes from a calibration in the Custom mode. There, we achieved near-perfection.
Regardless of mode, the VP3881 delivers excellent performance here.
As you’ll see in these next two tests, the VP3881’s accuracy doesn’t stop with grayscale tracking. These results suggest that adding ViewSonic’s Colorbration package probably isn’t necessary; the OSD seems to have everything a professional could desire.
Gamma is the key to everything. A flat trace means high perceived contrast and color saturation accuracy in all parts of the gamut. The Custom mode tracks flat both before and after calibration. sRGB shows a dip at the 10 percent level, which runs too light. Otherwise, it's right on target.
Rec.709 tracks the 2.4 power function quite closely. We would prefer to see BT.1886 for that mode since the industry moved to that standard a few years ago. In the meantime, we'll hope for this from a future firmware update.
Our calibration shows that the OSD’s gamma labels are correct. Set 2.2, and you get 2.2.
The above charts represent the VP3881’s Custom mode.
With tight tracking in a small .07 range of values and an average of 2.16, ViewSonic nailed this metric.
sRGB and Rec.709 generate similar results and are equally accurate in this test. Even though the VP3881 finishes third here, it truly can’t get much better.
Color Gamut & Luminance
The VP3881 is an sRGB monitor, so we compared against that gamut only. If you’re curious about extended color support, that information is on page five in our HDR tests.
For sRGB and Rec.709 accuracy, this monitor has few peers.
For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.
The differences between all four pairs of charts are quite small. We were careful to apply the correct gamma compensation for each mode during our measuring runs. Custom stays at 2.2. You can see that before and after calibration luminance levels are near-neutral and saturation targets are spot-on. Not a single point is out of contact with the 1dE square except for 100 percent red, which is slightly oversaturated. That error just cracks the 3dE line. We doubt anyone will see such a small aberration.
sRGB also follows a 2.2 gamma while Rec.709 uses 2.4. Those modes deliver equal accuracy., so there's no fault to be found here.
We would expect any professional screen to achieve the kind of numbers shown above. But the VP3881 is slightly above the rest. Only the NEC gets close, and that’s post-adjustment. The Dell lags a little because it relies on a software calibration for ultimate performance.
While the ViewSonic sells for a premium price, it’s not the most expensive professional display out there. Still, it offers performance superior to just about every other product.
The gamut volume comparison is slightly unfair to the VP3881 since it's not advertised as a DCI monitor. It nails the sRGB gamut with an almost-perfect 99.34 percent. But the HDR-capable screens we’ve reviewed come closer to DCI. 71.94% is well short of the mark.
Users working in sRGB and Rec.709 are set, but if you need a larger gamut, the EW3270U is the current leader.
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