I didn't want too much time to pass before I followed up on my LCD replacement saga. I haven't calibrated my new monitor, yet, so I'll probably write more later.
Given Dr. Karl Lang's limited but helpful input, I decided it wasn't worth investing over $1000 in a new LCD right now. The technology is changing so fast in this interim CRT-to-LCD transition period, it doesn't make sense to get all excited about a $2000+ LCD that will be dramatically cheaper and possibly broken or obsolete in two-to-three short years. My current minimal printing needs don't justify the gotta-have-perfection-now ulcers. I'm really tired of transition technology.
Getting ahold of the "great bargain" NEC 1980SXi BK was more daunting than I ever expected. No retailer in NYC carried stock on this machine. Further research revealed that BK stands for "black" and the SXi (with no BK) is their brushed-silver edition. Black doesn't go with my Mac workstation so I decided I preferred the brushed-silver, which looks light gray in dim studio light. I called NEC-Tech and was assured the stats on both machines were identical.
Now, get this: B&H was Out-of-Stock on the BK version and could not say when new stock would arrive. The SXi (silver) version was "Special Order" only: available in 3-5 days but Special Orders can't be returned or exchanged.
I called NEC again and asked where in NYC could I go to see this machine. Nowhere.
It's very difficult to believe, as fastidious as I am, that I would ever consider purchasing a new LCD sight unseen. That's the power of my 20 minutes spent with Dr. Karl Lang at PhotoExpo. I'll follow him anywhere. My little chat with the NEC techie helped, too: it provided the courage I needed to take the final plunge.
CDW ended up being the online store choice for sales. Apparently, NEC has a relationship with CDW that dates back further than any man in my life. (That was far enough for me.) I know places like pricegrabber give poor consumer reviews to CDW but I've never had any problems with this company. I've had the same service rep for four years and she's one smart cookie who really delivers service. The only downside for penny-pinchers, CDW charges sales tax, no matter where you live. They service the government and big business and were one of the first online retailers to fight sales tax fraud.
I opted for overnight delivery service to minimize on/off truck issues from Illinois, which brought the price point to $870. The box arrived the following day and appeared to be in great shape. The LCD is up and running and boy is this baby nice. I needed no adaptors to connect it to my G4 and set-up is straightforward, although NEC needs to work on better directions.
Without calibration or any adjustments, this LCD looks good to me. Even though it seems the screen is leaning towards magenta, which was pretty common on LaCie crt's, I'm confident calibration will fix this. I love the base swivel feature, the up/down adjustment, and the screen's tilt feature. And nothing beats the fabulous portrait mode! This LCD has the look and feel of truly sophisticated design. I'm impressed.
I have my broken Cinema Display connected as second monitor. Granted it's broken, but the quality differential is amusing to ponder. Apple clearly needs to make more money.
My NEC 1980SXi comes with a three-year warranty. One and two year extensions are available (up to 90 days before the 3 years expires) at prices that don't come anywhere near Apple Care's insanity. Any tech company that's willing to warranty their product for five years gets my vote and my dollars.
Thank you, Dr. Lang, for posting on this thread. In this culture of greed, your willingness to shine light, free-of-charge, does not go unappreciated. This photographer sincerely appreciates your knowledge and your generosity.
Blowing kisses your way,
ps For what it's worth, none of my million-dollar+ photography friends think any Apple Display under 30" is worth its flaws. The 30" model requires a G5 and I have no pressing need to upgrade. Plus, I'm not sure I like so much screen.
Too bad MacWorld isn't more reliable for professional photography advice. Their audience is too broad for my liking.