Dell 1905FP (AUO panel) tonal range and colour problems

  • Hello,

    This is my first posting, and the Dell 1905FP that I just bought second-hand is my first TFT. It has the AU Optronics M190EN03 P-MVA panel, as described here:

    I am using the D-sub connection.

    Usage profile: 75% web/email/text editing, 20% viewing and editing digital photos, 5% video, 0% gaming.

    I find the text quality fairly good for office applications, but I am not so impressed with colour rendition and tonal range, in comparison with my old Iiyama Vision Master Pro 410 CRT. Particular issues:
    (1) Highlights are burnt out. E.g. grays in the RGB range fefefe-f3f3f3 appear white.
    (2) Pale grays in the RGB range f2f2f2-e8e8e8 have a small but definite cyan tint, and are too light. E.g. my email program lists messages on an alternating white / light gray (eeeeee) background, but this appears as alternating white / "white with a hint of mint"! This problem is particularly noticeable in highlight areas on grayscale photos: the highlight burns out to white, surrounded by a minty-white halo.
    (3) Subtleties of skin tone are missing: subtle gradations are replaced by exaggerated colours.

    I have tried adjusting contrast, brightness and colour levels on the monitor, but the problems remain. Adjusting the graphics driver's gamma levels helps a bit: it allows me to reduce problem (1), but with the side-effect that dark colours become too dark or black.

    Are these common problems with the AUO panel on the 1905FP? I'd be grateful for any suggestions. Is it likely that DVI would make much difference with these issues? I don't have DVI on my PC but I would consider getting a new graphics card if this was likely to bring a big improvement.

    At the moment I feel like selling the 1905FP and either sticking with the Iiyama CRT or possibly trying another TFT. Any suggestions for a budget TFT that might meet my needs?



  • Sounds like a faulty monitor unit. If you can, try to exlude that it might be the output of your graphics card or D-Sub cable by replacing them just to see if there's any difference. If this doesnt help, I'd sell the 1905FP and look into some Eizo models with 10bit lookup table, which are generally recommended when it comes to color fidelity. I'd also recommend to set aside the idea of going back to the Iiyama CRT. Your user profile with 75% of reading / typing texts suggests to avoid CRT monitors as their flickering results in eye-strain and therefore earlier exhaustion at work.

    good luck

  • Thanks for the reply, tetsuo. I tried using a different D-sub cable, no difference. I don't think the graphics card (actually onboard) is the problem, as the image quality is fine with the Iiyama CRT. Unless some cards have problems with TFT displays?

    I looked at some of the same test images & pages today on a friend's Samsung 913N, connected to his Mac mini. Different computer, room & lighting, so not a direct comparison, but they all looked better on the Samsung than on the Dell. The Samsung reproduced a wider range of grays on my grayscale test page (which has 256 shades), only losing the lightest 2-3 shades as white whereas the Dell loses the lightest 8-12, depending on gamma. Grayscale images maintained subtle shading on highlights that were bleached out on the Dell. No minty tinges! Pretty good subtlety of skin tones on highlights where the Dell was burnt out and oversaturated.

    In general images on the Samsung looked more like those on my Iiyama CRT. I was surprised by how good the tonal range and colours were, considering that it has, I believe, a 6-bit panel. I'd like to evaluate it more carefully in better lighting conditions and side-by-side with the Dell, but first impressions were favourable.

    I found a review of an Iiyama TFT where image quality in general, and tonal range in particular, was said to be much better with DVI than with D-sub:

    - Follow link "CRT v LCD". Maybe I'll try the Dell on the DVI connection on my friends Mac. Perhaps, as you say, I just got a sub-standard unit.

    Thanks for the Eizo recommendation, sadly these are out of my price range unless I find a secondhand bargain. Bit wary of those now, though!

    Re eye strain, I haven't noticed the Dell being any better than my Iiyama CRT. I run the latter at 85Hz and don't see any flicker.

    Thanks again for your response.

  • I see that another user here was unhappy with the Dell 1905FP's colour rendition:

    Dell 1905 FP


    I got the dell and i love the look and the ergonomics; amazing for working.

    But I dislike the colors; they are washed out and I couldn't tune it to get better picture so I am thinking to return it.

    It seems strange that users have such different experiences of this monitor. Maybe there have been sub-standard batches?

  • On CRTs, x (hz) Pictures per second are redrawn line by line, it's like a soft yet persistent electron cannon constantly shooting at your face. Whereas with LCDs, pixels just remain as they are until there comes a signal that actually carries different information and tells them to change. So its more like looking at an illuminated still picture and only moves when it is supposed to.
    True, one can't observe eye-strain when looking for it at a given moment. It's just that you will find yourself being able to work much longer hours (especially word processing) in front of the computer without tiring out unconsciously. The positive effects are not too obviouos, but happen rather subtly and gradually, like the benefit of not needing glasses all of a sudden ten years from now.

  • I tried the Dell 1905FP on my friend's Mac Mini and it was fine, both with DVI-D and with VGA via a DVI-I to VGA adaptor. So I bought a new graphics card for my PC: an nVidia FX5200 with DVI output. With the VGA output, the problems were reduced but not eliminated. With DVI, the problems disappeared.

    I'm guessing that the VGA input on my Dell is poorly calibrated or difficult to drive. The Mac Mini through a DVI-to-VGA adaptor was able to drive it well, but my PC's old VGA output was not, even though it worked fine with my Iiyama CRT. Which just goes to show that these things are more complex than one might have assumed!


  • glad to hear you've worked out this issue.
    There are a lot of things that can get messed up along the interference-prone analog signal path. DVI should generally be preferred over D-Sub.