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NEC PA302W LED-Backlit 30-Inch Wide Gamut Display

I take a first look at the new NEC PA302W LED-Backlit 30-Inch Wide Gamut Display, which should be available for sale this month.

A wide color gamut (range of colors) is a major reason to use a wide gamut calibrated* display; so many photographers throw away superb color from their digital cameras because they are unable to see it!

See for example The Color Gamut of Fruit and in the DAP workflow series, see Why a Wide Gamut Color Space Matters and Wide Gamut Colorspace Reduces Noise, Avoids Posterization.

I’ve been using the NEC PA302W for the past 4-5 days and I like it a lot already; the screen is both sharper and smoother (more pleasing to the eye), and the color gamut is even wider than the NEC PA301W which I have used for several years.

NEC PA302W LED-Backlit 30-Inch Wide Gamut Display
NEC PA302W color gamut extends far beyond Adobe RGB for reds and blues

Adam S writes:

I don't see any difference when I switch between the images having various colorspaces using your fruit example.

I'm using a Late 2011 MacBook Pro 15", calibrated with a Spyder 3. Is the built-in LCD so atrocious that the colorspaces look the same? That doesn't seem right.

DIGLLOYD: calibration can’t make a display show colors it is incapable of making any more than someone who is color blind can see color with corrective glasses: the capability is not there. Take an extreme example: a monochrome (no color) display can be calibrated. But it cannot display color, calibration or not.

Human vision is also a factor. The ability to discriminate color ranges from severe color blindness to vision that can detect the finest nuances. Based on tests for color discrimination where I generally have scored near perfect, I know I have unusually good color vision. Not the best, but unusually good.

See the (publicly available) examples on the Web Browser Display of Image Color (Color Space) page.

Note also that “calibrating” a display with an add-on-later “puck” is almost never true calibration; the process in effect modifies the 8-bit video signal in an attempt to send values to the display (modified) that then match known values (much like converting an image between color spaces). The result is generally modest quality often with banding and other issues (I did this for years and gave up because of the mediocre to bad results, the built-in profile was better overall). True calibration as with the NEC PA302W actually alters the display behavior internally in hi-bit resolution without warping the video signal (14-bit internal LUTs for NEC). This is a vastly higher quality approach. With the display in a known (calibrated) state, the display profile then has very little work to do; the video signal need hardly be altered when sent to the display.

Most laptops of 2012 and earlier have an especially restricted color gamut in the reds and magentas and blue (a huge section of that plot above is chopped off). Also, the older Apple Cinema displays were truly awful in that regard, being incapable of more than a wimpy orange-red. The 2012/2013 Apple MacBook Pro Retina is far better than prior laptops, and perhaps some of the newer non-Retina models are too.

Press release

As per


CHICAGO - September 6, 2013

Outstanding Color with Reduced Power Consumption

NEC Display Solutions of America, a leading provider of commercial LCD display and projector solutions, announced today the 30-inch MultiSync® PA302W color accurate display and color critical PA302W display solution with SpectraViewII™ calibration software and sensor. The models come in both white and black cabinets, which have been redesigned and are now 34 percent slimmer than previous models.

Built using a cutting edge GB-R LED backlight, the PA302W provides a wider color gamut and more color control than a conventional white LED backlight and consumes 44 percent less power than comparable CCFL backlights. The display can be seen in Booth No. 4238 at Print 13, a graphics communications industry event running September 8-12 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The MultiSync PA302W monitor is designed with a fully ergonomic stand for added comfort during use. It also features a 2560 x 1600 resolution and 10-bit wide color gamut AH-IPS LCD panel that provides the accurate, vibrant colors professionals require.

In addition, the MultiSync PA302W display showcases the time-saving features common to the MultiSync PA Series displays, including the ability to load ICC profiles to emulate custom color spaces and easily match image prints.

“The PA302W gives graphic designers, pre-press operators, photographers, video editors and other professionals a greater color gamut and even better color control,” said Art Marshall, Product Manager of Professional and Medical Desktop Monitors at NEC Display Solutions. “In addition, users can now update the factory calibration using an external sensor when they have SpectraViewII.”

Meanwhile, the free MultiProfiler software, exclusive to the MultiSync P & PA Series, provides easy-to-use control over most display settings, including print matching with Picture Mode presets as well as Picture in Picture (PIP) and Picture by Picture (PBP) window configuration. MultiProfiler also allows users to manage the monitor’s USB hub and enables keyboard shortcuts for changing inputs and Picture Modes. MultiProfiler can also use ICC profiles to offer MultiSync PA302W users an easy way to match prints.

The MultiSync PA302W and PA302W-SV include the following features:

  • 10-bit active matrix AH-IPS panel with GB-R backlight and no-sparkle, antiglare coating
  • 2560 x 1600 resolution
  • 340 cd/m² brightness and 1000:1 contrast ratio at 44 percent less power than CCFL
  • Near perfect (99.3 percent) coverage of Adobe RGB and 100 percent of sRGB color space
  • Internal 14-bit programmable 3D lookup table (LUT)
  • Comprehensive input panel, including DisplayPort, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D
  • Built-in USB hub (2 up, 3 down) with DisplaySync Pro to control two computers with only one keyboard and mouse
  • 4-way ergonomic stand (150mm height-adjust with locking base, tilt, swivel and pivot) with quick-release capability
  • AmbiBright™ ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts the displays’ brightness based on external lighting conditions
  • SpectraViewII Color Calibration Solution, which includes software and colorimeter to provide automated monitor matching and calibration for accurate, consistent and repeatable color performance (included with PA302W-BK-SV and PA302W-SV)
  • Optional accessories, which include a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable (PA-MDP-CABL) for connecting devices using Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt technology, display hood (HDPA30-2), SpectraViewII software (SVIISOFT), NEC custom colorimeter (MDSVSENSOR3), complete SpectraViewII Color Calibration Solution (SVII-PRO-KIT) and 2W USB sound bar (SOUNDBARPRO)
  • The MultiSync PA302W-BK and PA302W-BK-SV (in black), and MultiSync PA302W and PA302W-SV (in white) ship with a 4-year limited parts and labor warranty, and will be available in September 2013 at an estimated street price of $2,399, $2,649, $2,399 and $2,649, respectively.
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