Do you like getting your hands dirty? Well, photo editing isn't quite the same as Pro Hart throwing buckets of paint around the studio, but there is certainly something rewarding about using a pen on a screen and shaping your photographs as you edit.
Of course, I'm aiming these remarks at photographers who enjoy using Photoshop to make selections or masks, where the process of drawing in, on or around your subject is as much an artistic process as applying paint to a canvas with a brush. A mouse is a great navigator for pressing buttons and menus, but it is problematic for drawing shapes and lines.
Wacom has announced two new Cintiq models, the Cintiq 27QHD and the 27QHD Touch. Featuring a large 27 inch screen (the previous model was 24 inches), the QHD offers 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution and displays up to 97% of the Adobe RGB colour space. This, according to Wacom, equates to 1.07 billion displayable colours, on the assumption you're using the DisplayPort connection and a video card that supports 10-bit colour (HDMI output is also available).
The screen has a contrast ratio of 970:1, which is good for contrast and displaying (or not displaying!) deep shadows and black. Viewing angle is 178° which is possibly more important in a work environment where several people are viewing the screen at the one time.
This is not a small unit. Sold without a stand, it weighs around 9 kg. With a stand, add another $400 and 16 kg. Personally, I think you will need the stand unless you're happy to work with the Cintiq positioned flat on a table, or just slightly raised. I use the stand on the 24HD and find it really useful in different positions, depending on the work I'm doing and how my back is feeling at the time!
Cintiq displays have a number of customisable 'Express Keys' or buttons which you can program to do whatever you wish. They are a useful alternative to a keyboard (although I find I still need my keyboard nearby for most of my work). On the new Cintiq 27QHD, the express keys come as a separate remote panel which you can sit on the screen itself or on the desk as you choose. It offers similar functionality to other Cintiq and Wacom products, with a few improvements of course. And the pen is pressure and angle sensitive, with 2048 pressure levels and it's battery free.
The Cintiq 27QHD is a very cool looking unit, so if you want to spoil yourself or rationalise the need for an essential ergonomic studio tool, you'll find more information at www.wacom.com.