What Is DCI-P3 Color? A Basic Definition
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DCI-P3, sometimes casually referred to as P3 or Display P3, stands for Digital Cinema Initiatives — Protocol 3 and is a color space, or set of colors, created by the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) and Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineer (SMPTE) in an attempt to standardize the colors used in the film industry. Advanced PC monitors, (including some of the best gaming monitors), TVs and other displays also use a form of the DCI-P3 color space known as DCI-P3-D65, but you’ll usually see this written as, simply, DCI-P3. As most home media today are still made in the smaller sRGB color space, DCI-P3 monitors are best reserved for HDR content and/or those who like their colors to look extra saturated.
If you’re buying a PC monitor, TV or other device, you may see the vendor claim that the product offers a certain percentage of DCI-P3 or P3 color space. This is how much of the DCI-P3 space the monitor can reproduce, (but whether it does so accurately is another story that requires testing for confirmation). A monitor’s color gamut tells you which color space or spaces the monitor can portray and how much of said color space(s).
sRGB is the most common color space and is used in Windows, as well as TV shows (broadcast in Rec.709, which sRGB is based off of) and video games, unless those TV shows and games are specified as being HDR (rather than SDR). But content made in the DCI-P3 will have access to a larger percentage of colors the human eye can actually see. In fact, the DCI-P3 color space is 25% wider than sRGB.
You can find the DCI-P3 spec defined here.
A color space — whether it’s DCI-P3, sRGB, Adobe RGB or any other — is dictated by its triangle on the CIE 1931 XY Chromaticity Diagram, which the International Commision on Illumination (CIE) created.
The CIE 1931 XY Chromaticity Diagram below, shared via BenQ, represents all the colors humans can see with different triangles marking off specific color spaces. DCI-P3-D65 (DCI-P3 in the chart below) is outlined in green.
(Image credit: BenQ)
Since this is a DCI standard, true DCI-P3 targets what you see in theaters. DCI-P3-D65 is what you’ll find in home products, but, again, it’s almost always listed as DCI-P3, omitting the D65 part. The difference between true DCI-P3 and DCI-P3-D65 is in the white. True DCI-P3 has a greener white as it favors projection systems.
Below are the coordinates for the red, green and blue primaries in DCI-P3-D65, DCI-P3 and Display P3, a very similar color space Apple created that’s mostly found in Mac devices.
Swipe to scroll horizontally
|Header Cell — Column 0||DCI-P3-D65||DCI-P3 (theater)||Display P3 (Apple)|
|Red x coordinate||0.68||0.68||0.68|
|Red y coordinate||0. 332||0.332||0.332|
|Green x coordinate||0.265||0.265||0.265|
|Green y coordinate||0.69||0.69||0.69|
|Blue x coordinate||0.15||0.15||0.15|
|Blue y coordinate||0.06||0.06||0.06|
|White point x coordinate||0.3127||0.134||0.3127|
|White point y coordinate||0.329||0.351||0.329|
|Color component transfer function — SDR||2.6 gamma officially but usually 2.2 gamma||2.6 gamma||2.2 gamma|
|Color component transfer function — HDR||EOTF||2. 6 gamma||EOTF|
As you can see, another difference between the three very similar color spaces is in their transfer functions. The DCI-P3-D65 spec’s official transfer function is a 2.6 gamma, but this more suits digital projection. Similar to the difference in white points, true DCI-P3’s 2.6 gamma takes into account the lamps used in commercial projectors, which need the higher gamma value to compensate for the bulb’s characteristics. Most DCI-P3 PC monitors opt for 2.2 gamma instead. (That’s why 2.2 gamma is the ideal we test for in our monitor reviews). That may more accurately be considered Display P3, but you’ll rarely see displays say they cover Display P3.
DCI-P3 vs sRGB
DCI-P3 offers a greater range of colors than sRGB offers. Because of the additional colors they afford compared to sRGB monitors, monitors that can portray the DCI-P3 color space are getting increasingly common, and even screens geared toward content made in sRGB are gaining DCI-P3 support, offering images that look extra saturated with color.
(Image credit: Apple)
So if most of the web, Windows and games were made in the sRGB color space, is there any point in viewing such material on a DCI-P3 monitor? If you like extra colorful content, yes.
If you view SDR content — or content made in the sRGB space and, therefore, with fewer colors than DCI-P3 offers — on a DCI-P3 monitor, colors may look deeper and richer than the creator intended. Some people like this effect, especially for gaming and movie watching, even if it’s not accurate. The best HDR monitors typically offer an sRGB mode too. This allows you to view Windows and any other content made in sRGB in its native color space for better accuracy with what the creator had in mind.
Nowadays we’re finding more and more screens, including PC monitors and, especially, high-end laptop displays, cover over 100% of the sRGB color space and getting closer into DCI-P3 territory, if not outright claiming to cover the color space.
If you want to enjoy HDR to its fullest, DCI-P3 is definitely the way to go over sRGB, and the more DCI-P3 coverage the better. This will allow you to enjoy the extra colors HDR content can possess. Additionally, DCI-P3 can use 10-bit color compared to sRGB’s 8-bit, which is essential for HDR without banding.
This article is part of the Tom’s Hardware Glossary.
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Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.
Why is the Display P3 Monitor Important for Mac Creative Work?
What is Display P3? Display P3 is a combination of the DCI-P3 color gamut with the D65 white point together with the sRGB gamma curve. It originated from the DCI-P3 color gamut’s implementation in digital cinema projectors, as this standard offers more vibrant greens and reds than the traditional sRGB color gamut. The white point of the original DCI-P3 is tinted green, and the gamma curve is 2.6. These parameters made it suitable for theater viewing, but not for closer viewing, such as on monitors. Hence, Apple® proposed changing the white point to D65 and the gamma curve to the sRGB curve, and named the new set of attributes “Display P3.” Since its color gamut is larger than that offered with sRGB, Display P3 is considered a wide color space.
Why should this matter to designers? For one, it is important for them to consider how their work is published and viewed in real life. Twenty years ago, creative works were mainly distributed through hardcopy prints. Today, illustrations and photographs are mainly delivered electronically. So it makes sense to craft artworks on a display that reflect the conditions where end-users will actually be viewing them. If a work will be printed, designers should view their works on an AdobeRGB monitor to best simulate CMYK printing. However, if artworks are mostly being viewed on Display P3 compatible devices, then they should be previewed on a Display P3 monitor.
Why is a traditional sRGB monitor not up to the job? An sRGB monitor may not deliver the vibrant colors a Display P3 device can produce. An example can be seen in Fig. 1. On the left are colors a Display P3 monitor can reproduce, on the right are those an sRGB monitor can reproduce. It can be readily seen that the colors on the Display P3 monitor are more vibrant, in particular the greens and reds. Looking at Fig. 2, a similar observation can be made concerning the u’v’ chromaticity diagram where the Display P3 and sRGB color gamuts are plotted together. The Display P3 color gamut captures more of the red and green areas, and extends further. This means that Display P3 is capable of displaying more variations of red and green shades, and of exhibiting stronger reds and greens.
Therefore, if images are edited on an sRGB monitor and look right to a designer, then they will appear oversaturated on mobile devices. Skin tones, for example, could be disastrously misleading if overly saturated in a picture.
There is another important incentive for designers to utilize Display P3 monitors in their workflow. In CSS 4, a wide color gamut such as Display P3 is supported and is being implemented by browser vendors right now. This means that web browsers will finally support a color gamut larger than sRGB! This is very encouraging news, and a major step in color communication over the Internet. We will no longer be restricted to the sRGB color gamut when posting photographs or designing websites, as Display P3 can be used to showcase more brilliant, true-to-life colors. So there is ample reason for designers to begin utilizing Display P3 monitors in their work. It is simply not possible to view the saturation and colors of hues the Display P3 color gamut is capable of on an sRGB monitor. For these reasons, it is time to step up the color gamut on your monitor!
Display P3 is a wide color gamut used extensively in mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, notebooks, and certain late-model desktops, such as iMacs® and Surface Studio desktop computers. Compared to sRGB, Display P3 features more richly saturated red and green colors. More and more devices are incorporating Display P3 panels in their devices, so it is reasonable for designers to use Display P3 monitors when creating their art. An sRGB monitor cannot reproduce the vibrant colors Display P3 intends. Therefore, now is the time to swap your old sRGB monitor for a Display P3 monitor!
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The 8 Best Monitors for Photo Editing
If you’re working with digital photography and trying to seriously edit your photos, be it print or the web, you need a monitor that displays colors correctly. While many manufacturers advertise simple things like display panel type and resolution, a typical monitor rarely claims its color ability or other factors important in photo editing .
When purchasing the Photo Editing Monitor, there are several different factors to consider. An IPS LCD is essential as they provide good color reproduction, acceptable uniformity, and good viewing angles so viewing from a different angle won’t drastically shift colors or brightness levels. Supported color gamuts are another issue: sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec.709, Rec.2020 and DCI-P3 are a few important standards.
For the web, you’ll likely focus on how much of the sRGB color space your monitor supports. For printing, the focus will be on Adobe RGB; Rec. 709, Rec. The 2020 and DCI-P3 are both TV and video oriented, but it’s worth considering if you’ll be doing more than just taking photos and need highly accurate color reproduction for your intended display environment.
Here we take a look at a range of monitors that provide accurate color reproduction, plenty of room to work, and crisp resolution for your editing needs.
Best overall — BenQ SW320 monitor
If you’re looking for a monitor that’s ready for just about any of your photo or video editing needs, take a look at the BenQ SW320. This monitor features a 31.5″ 4K display with an IPS LCD panel for wide viewing angles. It also supports HDR10, so you can enjoy videos on it when you’re not busy taking photos.
You get a lot of good features for the price. But when it comes time to edit, things get even better. The 10-bit panel can display over a billion colors and supports 100 percent sRGB and Rec.709. It also covers 99 percent of the Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 color space.
There are also some handy extras. It comes with a hood so external light sources don’t interfere with the view on the monitor. The control puck on the monitor stand also allows you to easily switch between sRGB, Adobe RGB, and black and white modes. The BenQ GamutDuo mode even lets you view content from two computers at the same time in different color spaces for comparison.
Best Budget — BenQ GW2765HT Monitor
If money is tight, but you still want a crisp monitor with enough screen real estate, high enough resolution, and accurate enough colors for photo editing, then the BenQ GW2765HT is a good option. It’s a 27-inch QHD monitor, so you don’t have to worry about images being too small or blurry to work with.
The BenQ GW2765HT supports over a billion colors and provides 100% coverage of the sRGB color space. It is not rated for Adobe RGB, so it may not be suitable for editing photos intended for professional printing, but it should be well suited for editing photos that will appear on the web.
When you’re not editing photos, the BenQ GW2765HT features an eye-saving low blue light mode, and height and tilt adjustments let you position the monitor for comfortable viewing. While this monitor isn’t as versatile as the others on the list, it’s very affordable while still offering the features you need to confidently edit photos suitable for sharing online.
Second Best Budget — Acer ET322QK
The Acer ET322QK is a massive 32-inch 4K monitor, so you have enough screen space to organize your images and editing tools while keeping everything sharp.
Despite its budget positioning, the Acer ET322QK retains aspects important for photo editing. It has a 10-bit panel for over one billion colors and covers 100 percent of the sRGB color space. Unfortunately, Acer doesn’t mention how much of the Adobe RGB color space is covered, so it might not be ideal if you plan on printing your photos.
The Acer ET322QK does not have the most comfortable stand as it is not very adjustable, but it can be replaced with a VESA mount. Also, when you’re not editing photos, this monitor can come in handy for AMD FreeSync-enabled gaming for a smooth gaming experience on Xbox One S, Xbox One X, or a gaming PC with AMD graphics.
Runner-up DELL UltraSharp U2518D Monitor
The DELL UltraSharp U2518D is a 25-inch QSD (2560×1400) IPS LCD monitor. This size gives you plenty of room to spread out your images, while crisp QHD resolution keeps details sharp without the extra cost of upgrading to a 4K monitor.
When it comes to color accuracy, the Dell UltraSharp 25 UP2516D is a great choice. It supports over a billion colors and can reproduce 100 percent of the Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces. If photo editing isn’t the only thing you plan to do, then you can take advantage of its 100 percent Rec.709 coverage.and 98 percent DCI-P3 coated. In other words, whatever color space you need to work with, the Dell UltraSharp 25 can help.
This is also a smart monitor design. The stand is tilt, swivel and height adjustable. It has several options for connecting computers, including HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort, and mini-DisplayPort. Plus, it has multiple pass-through USB 3.0 ports so you can have a clean workspace.
Best 4K Monitor — Eizo ColorEdge CG319X
The Eizo ColorEdge CG319X is a serious 4K photo and video editing monitor. It’s not the standard 4K you see on most monitors and TVs, but actually DCI-4K, which has a higher resolution of 4096×2160. And its 31.1-inch screen delivers crisp 149ppi so you’ll clearly see the details in your images while editing.
ColorEdge CG319X supports 10-bit color and can reproduce 98 percent DCI-P3 and Rec. 2020, as well as 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color space. So whether you need to edit photos, videos, or both, you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re seeing colors exactly as they should be displayed.
The ColorEdge CG319X also has a range of tools to help you plan your content based on output media. It can display a diagram showing how your content will fit on different display devices and can help you predict how colors will appear on different types of devices or when printed.
Second best 4K monitor — Dell UP3216Q
The Dell UP3216Q may not be as good for video as the others on this list, but it’s good for photography and a lot cheaper. It has a 31.5-inch 4K (3840×2160) resolution display. There is enough space on the screen to work with clear images. And since it’s an IPS LCD panel, you’ll be able to share your creation with others without color or lighting changes.
Dell UP3216Q is great for photo editing — full coverage of sRGB color space and 99.5% Adobe RGB coverage. Also hits 100 percent of Rec. 709, but only 87 percent of DCI-P3. However, it works well for print and online photography. The display has 10-bit color for over a billion colors.
The design is also comfortable to work with. It can tilt and swivel and you can raise and lower the screen. It supports DisplayPort and HDMI connections, as well as pass-through USB 3.0 and even a six-in-one memory card reader, so you can pull the card out of the camera and insert it straight into the monitor.
Best Premium (above 4K) — Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
As if 4K wasn’t enough, the Dell UltraSharp line includes an insanely premium 8K (7680×4320) monitor in the UltraSharp UP3218K. This 31.5″ Dell 8K 31″ monitor delivers an incredible 280ppi. You can really see the details of your photos on this monitor thanks to its 33.2 million pixels.
Like other UltraSharp monitors, this one is still ready for serious photo editing with 10-bit color and superb 100% coverage of the Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces. It also has full Rec. 709and 98 percent coverage for DCI-P3. So, whether you’re trying to work with photos or videos, you can be sure you’re seeing accurate colors.
The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K also shares the user-friendly design of other models in the line with tilt, swivel and height adjustment options. You also get pass-through USB 3.0. You will need to use DisplayPort on this monitor, so make sure you have a computer with a graphics card that supports multiple DisplayPort connections in order to achieve 8K.
Best QHD Monitor BenQ SW2700PT
The BenQ SW2700PT is not only a good monitor for photo editing but also a good price. It has a 27-inch QHD (2560×1440) display, giving you a large workspace and clear images. And, thanks to the lower resolution, it’s a bit cheaper than the 4K monitors we’ve chosen. But in terms of color accuracy, it’s still competitive.
BenQ SW2700PT can cover 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color space and 100 percent of both sRGB and Rec. 709. This means that it is well suited for editing content for distribution in print, on the web, or on HDTVs. It’s also a 10-bit display with over a billion colors.
Beyond the specs, the monitor has a smart design that can rotate, adjust height, and even switch to portrait mode. You can even swap it out for a VESA mount if you like.
The built-in controller allows you to easily switch between Adobe RGB, sRGB and black and white modes. Plus, a protective cap is included so nearby light sources don’t interfere with editing.
BenQ PD2720U: DCI-P3 professional monitor
- Accurate color reproduction: DCI-P3, sRGB and Adobe RGB
- Simple and efficient creative process
- DualView mode and new G2 remote control
From BenQ’s wide range of monitors, the DesignVue PD series has focused on color accuracy and other features that CAD/CAM and Photoshop designers have come to rely on. They usually include 4K resolution, and of course a top-notch IPS panel. The BenQ PD2720U additionally offers a sleek design, Thunderbolt 3 interface and a plethora of professional modes to improve productivity and simplify work tasks.
|Approval||3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz|
|Viewing angle||178º (H) / 178º (V)|
|Response time (grey to grey)||5 ms|
|Color rendering||96% DCI-P3|
|Interfaces||2 x HDMI 2. 0, Display port 1.4, Thunderbolt, 3 x USB 3.1, audio jacks|
|Stand|| Tilt -5/+20 degrees
Height adjustment 150 mm
|Audio system||2 x 2 W|
Accurate color reproduction: DCI-P3, sRGB and Adobe RGB
Since the BenQ PD2720U is designed specifically for professionals, accuracy is paramount. Including color accuracy. The novelty supports the latest P3 and DCI-P3 color rendering standards to ensure a consistent color palette for all designers. As more applications, devices and websites use the Display P3 color space, this monitor is fully compatible with this new color standard, allowing design professionals to effortlessly load and display images imported from various sources.
BenQ PD2720U covers 96% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB, 100% Adobe RGB and Rec. 709. In addition, the display is certified by Verified by CalMAN and Pantone Validated to ensure true-to-life color performance to meet industry’s stringent requirements.
A simple and efficient creative process
A designer’s workspace is full of cords, note paper, pencils, erasers and rulers. In such an environment, it is difficult to concentrate in order to capture important thoughts. But you can organize your workplace differently. With the BenQ PD2720U cable management and thoughtful port layout, keeping your workspace in order will be much easier.
DualView and the new G2 remote control
Thunderbolt 3 interfaces allow you to display images on two screens at once. DualView mode helps streamline workflow and increase productivity by displaying images in two modes at once (for example, sRGB and CAD/CAM) in two side-by-side windows without the need for a second monitor.
New comes with the new G2 control panel. It allows you to customize keyboard shortcuts according to your preferences. The remote control has three separate function keys, as well as a rotation key. With it, you can adjust the brightness, contrast and volume of the monitor speakers depending on your preferences using the dial on the remote control.