What information technology is:
How finely levels of color tin can be displayed.
When it matters:
Details in shadows, heaven, and skin tones. Matters more for HDR content.
Gradient handling is an important part of picture show quality. Information technology helps deliver amend details in the shadows and minimizes banding, especially if you want to game in HDR, view HDR content, or create content. Agreement color depth can help you make a better buying decision or even help y’all save some money. This article discusses why it matters, the differences between 8-bit and 10-bit colour depth, and how nosotros score slope handling in our monitor reviews.
When Information technology Matters
Slope handling is important when viewing scenes with different shades of the same color, such equally a blueish, sunny sky, where the blue would become lighter the closer information technology is to the light source. Bad gradient handling makes the transition from 1 shade to the other more visible. This happens when two shades that are supposed to be similar look very unlike, or when two shades that are supposed to be different finish up looking the same, resulting in banding. Below, you can see clear banding on the LG 32GK650F-B, while the Dell U2718Q is most entirely smooth.
Good gradient handling at 10-bit (viii-fleck+FRC) (Dell U2718Q)
For our test, nosotros only use a Nikon D750 photographic camera and a PC continued to the monitor being tested. We ensure that the monitor is in SDR style with local dimming off (if applicable), and we set up the camera with an F4.0 discontinuity lens, a 1/xv sec. shutter time, and an ISO of 200.
The first footstep is to determine whether a monitor has an eight-bit or 10-bit console. Nosotros practice so by verifying in the NVIDIA Control Panel whether the color depth can be set up to anything other than 8-bit. If the control panel allows us to prepare it to x-bit, nosotros consider it 10-chip, even if it’s 8-fleck+FRC.
The second footstep is to take a photo of the screen in a dark room displaying our gradient paradigm. The image is displayed through the NVIDIA ‘High Dynamic Range Display SDK’ program. For 8-bit monitors, we display the image at 8-bit without any other process. However, for x-bit panels, nosotros beginning open the gradient image, so alter theTonemap Mode to ‘Linear’, which is essentially a passthrough mode. Before taking the photo, we adapt the brightness then the brightest part of the prototype is at 100 cd/m² (on the right side of the second row). After taking the photo, it’due south uploaded into Adobe Lightroom, where nosotros apply a custom preset and crop the image to a 16:nine format.
To score the gradient, we run a batch file that divides the photo that we took into smaller sections. These sections are then presented to two testers, one at a fourth dimension, who then determine whether there’southward banding or not. Iii points are awarded if there’s no banding, two points if unsure, and ane point if at that place’south banding. These points are then tallied and translated into a score out of x. If the testers’ scores differ, a 3rd tester is brought in to perform the exam over again. Nosotros deduct a point for an 8-fleck console, which means the highest score for an 8-bit monitor is nine.0. That said, an 8-chip monitor can still score higher than a ten-bit one, as some x-chip monitors don’t handle gradients well, and some 8-bit ones are very skilful at it. We don’t make any distinction between 8-bit+FRC and native 10-bit since score co-ordinate to how smooth the gradients look.
8-scrap vs 8-scrap+FRC vs ten-scrap
The main departure between an eight-fleck and 10-flake panel is the number of colors they can produce; an eight-bit console tin display 16.7 million colors, while a ten-bit panel tin can brandish ane.07 billion. However, many modern 8-bit displays use a technique called ‘dithering’, allowing them to produce as many colors as a native ten-bit panel. ‘Temporal Dithering’ (also known as Frame Rate Command or FRC) produces sure colors by cycling between the side by side shades. This type of flickering isn’t visible nearly of the fourth dimension, but when it is, information technology’due south usually in the darker shades. The other technique is called ‘Spatial Dithering’, which places the two adjacent shades very close to each other to trick the optics to see an intermediate shade, merely it isn’t used as frequently as FRC. Every bit you tin see below, in that location’due south less banding on the Dell U2718Q than the LG 48 CX OLED, even though the Dell has an 8-bit+FRC panel while the LG is true 10-scrap.
While gradient treatment is an important part of picture quality, you lot don’t need to have a 10-scrap monitor if you lot’re only using it for general productivity, web surfing, or viewing videos online since most content is even so in 8-bit. However, if you’re a content creator, sensitive to the flickering on an 8-bit+FRC panel, or want a better HDR experience, it might be worth getting a true 10-bit monitor.