LaCie 526 LCD Monitor with Colorimeter
Large, wide-format display with blue eye calibration software
With a loyal user base, LaCie’s LCD displays have a reputation for excellent color balance, accuracy, and contrast. Their latest offering, the LaCie 526, is an extraordinary 25.5″ model with all of that plus some connectivity options and calibration tools, so your output looks as good as your input for digital photography, design, and layout. The smooth precision still has a few bumps in its road to monitor nirvana, however.
Out of the box, the 526 factory defaults look reasonable but aren’t even close to what I’d call a desired setup. The blue eye colorimeter and software (included) install easily to provide a simple calibration technique. The software automatically detects connection type (VGA/Analog/DVI) and presents a small zone to overlay the sensor during the process. For our test model, proper calibration took several attempts, and “eyeball” adjustments to the display’s onscreen settings were required for best results. After comparing LaCie’s calibration results to results from the Apple factory ICC for the 526 and from another third-party calibration tool, the blue eye did the best job for saturation, density, and overall accuracy. In particular, grayscale is outstanding and appears to be spot-on.
The only hurdle was with the blue levels (or absence of yellow) in the initial setup. After receiving fast and patient support from LaCie’s staff, I actually found that my manual adjustments were most helpful; but reducing the display’s luminescence target to 100–150 produced greatly improved clarity. With additional use, the white balance required recalibration as well.
The LaCie 526 is more expensive than its competition from Samsung, Planar, and NEC, but the accuracy and performance of this display produced better results from digital photos without that hard contrast and excess black level often plaguing most LCDs.—Daniel East
FOR: Mac and Windows
HOT Excellent color balance, contrast, and neutral tones
NOT Expensive; calibration requires multiple attempts