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NEC’s Color-Critical Displays Bring Accuracy to Chicago Nonprofit Digital Arts Lab

When the 1990s-era monitors at a digital arts lab in Chicago began to fail, the staff knew they had to find a replacement that met standards for color correction and soft proofing while also being affordable for the nonprofit facility.

Latitude is a volunteer-run, 501(c)3 organization located in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood and supported by a number of arts grants and public support

For several years, Latitude depended on decades-old CRT monitors to soft proof and color correct digital images for printing output. “The CRTs were great at the beginning, but eventually they logged enough hours that they were beyond even the help of our X-Rite calibrator,” says executive director James Pepper Kelly. “Our old monitors were failing, and we really needed new ones to maintain our commitment to high-quality editing.”

Latitude required displays that covered as much of the Adobe RGB color gamut as possible, but that were reasonably priced for this small, donation-dependent lab.

When Kelly learned about PA271W monitors from NEC Display Solutions, it seemed the lab had found a fit. The 27-inch, 2560 x 1440 monitors can display 1.07 billion colors when using the 10-bit DisplayPort input, and they cover more than 97 percent of Adobe RGB.

A 27-inch PA271W NEC display was installed at all four workstations in the lab. The NEC displays have integrated well with the rest of the equipment. A fifth monitor, a newer NECPA272W display, was recently added, bringing the digital lab to five workstations and allowing it to continue to meet its goal of serving the arts and photography community with a high-end production space.