I print using one system only and that is on a Fuji Frontier with Fuji Crystal Archive paper using three seperate labs. I've found that a properly calibrated screen will give print results that are 97% color accurate (I assume the differences are due to chemistry, etc) but are darker by quite a significant amount. This accuracy is no doubt due to built in calibration on the frontier for accurate results, I know the labs run color tests twice a day on each paper surface/size used which is then digitally analysed for calibration.
I don't and never have had to soft proof given that I have gotten a true WYSIWYG solution provided I darken the screen to match the print brightness. This was fine with my CRT, my desktop image is a target picture that I use, when a certain shadow is blocked up completely then my screen is 100% accurate both in color and brightness. I don't really doubt at all that this would also be true of any decent calibrated CRT.
With the LCD calibrated with the spyder 2 I've found that the screen is too bright even at the lowest brightness setting, the shadows are far too open, the highlights are blown on screen even when according to the histogram, the same image on the CRT screen and the print, there is plenty detail. It's the equivelent of saying there just isn't the same DR on the LCD screen or even the difference in highlights between digital and neg film!
The colors are, though technically accurate, rather stepped, the tonality is too sudden, not graduated sufficiently and contrast adjustments are shown far too exaggerated. That is before I've adjusted the video card software!
Even with a custom curve using the software as opposed to their brightness slider, the color and black/white graduations are too sudden, not anywhere as smooth as they looked on the CRT which incidently matched the print perfectly for tonality and graduation.
It has got to the point where a 2nd hand 21" Dell CRT (with 3 month warranty) which can be calibrated with my present equipment for perfect results is going to cost me another 25 pounds while the cost of this ACD plus a Monaco Pro calibration system will rack me up to approx 800 pounds so far and I still won't have what I had with my CRT, or at least I doubt it. I chose the ACD as I had assumed that it would be better than my CRT for photo editing and the best within the price range. Now I find that a CRT is cheaper and better without needing a lot of expense and heartache to calibrate, so to hell with saving desk space. It's the results that count and at present I do not feel that I can trust my screen to give me an accurate representation of the photos I am editing. That is a horrible feeling for a busy digital photographer especially one who has just spent more on his new screen than on upgrading his entire system. Yes I am proficient enough to work based on the histogram alone for highlights/shadows but I'll be damned if I'm going to have spent that much on a screen just to have to work by the numbers.
The problem, and one of the reasons why I decided to try the LCD is that CRT's are seriously on the way out. Finding a good monitor is getting harder and harder and they are technically obsolete. Will the new technology coming in the next few years prove to be more versatile for photographers than the present crop of super bright and over sharp/contrasty LCD's while being affordable and will the CRT's last that long?
Anyone want an Apple Cinema Display 20" in good condition for 390 pounds?
Anyone have a sony artisan for sale (I wish!)?
Seriously though, any suggestions for which CRT's from the good era are considered worthwhile? might be worth trying to look for a lightly used one in good condition.