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View Full Version : Are G5 iMac displays as crap as they seem?


dogbone
Sep 18, 2005, 10:53 PM
I bought an eMac because that was all I could afford and I have been astounded with the quality of the display and calibration. I used the inbuilt software to calibrate it and I can take a digital shot of a painting which looks as near as dammit to what it should look like on my monitor.

Then I can tweak it in photoshop and convert to CMYK and output to a Xerox commercial dotscreen laser from my local bureaux and it is as perfect as can be.

I recently wanted to get another mac and thought about getting a G5 iMac. I checked them out at the local Mac dealer a few times but although I could not bring myself to buy it as everytime I looked at the monitor it just looked blocky. I could see all the indivdual pixels and type looked really bad.

Is this because LCD's are generally no good for graphics or is it the the LCD's on the G5 iMacs particularly are not very good.

The LCD monitors on the PC's in my local library are woeful but I thought that Mac used really good LCD's. But they seem really poor quality on the G5 iMac

mad jew
Sep 18, 2005, 10:59 PM
I like the LCD on my iMac. I think it's probably more an issue of LCDs not being great for photography rather than iMac LCDs being particularly bad.

nightdweller25
Sep 18, 2005, 11:16 PM
You're a little confused, The iMac's have great screens, the thing is, LCD's show more of what's really there, they give you every little detail that CRT's hide, in other words, great screen, so great, you see all the imperfections.

mcmillan
Sep 19, 2005, 12:37 AM
I thought LCDs had better graphics. I used to have a huge (I mean deep, it was just 15" wide) MultiScan CRT with my old beige G3, now I have a slim 17" LCD, and I could never go back to CRT, everything is so precise. As nightdweller said, LCDs show every detail, if you see blurred in a CRT, that isn't right.

dogbone
Sep 19, 2005, 12:50 AM
Hmmm

I may have another appraisal then. Perhaps I should take some graphics and photos down and load them up to see how they look.

Savage Henry
Sep 19, 2005, 02:51 AM
I may have another appraisal then.I would, mine is just crisp with seriously good hi-res piccies.

macdon401
Sep 19, 2005, 03:06 AM
I agree with the rest, i have 2 friends, both professinal photographers and they swear by the iMac LCD's, as a matter a fact one takes his on location with a special carrying case to show clients instant proofs on screen!
Im a film Director and my screen stands up to screens in online editing suites as well! - and they cost thousands of dollars!
R

Voidness
Sep 19, 2005, 03:40 AM
everytime I looked at the monitor it just looked blocky. I could see all the indivdual pixels and type looked really bad.
It might not be set on its native resolution. LCDs look horrid when they're not set on the resolution they're made for.

IEatApples
Sep 19, 2005, 03:59 AM
I bought an eMac for the same reason as you (lack of money), but after having used it for a month now I'm satisfied with it. My concern about the LCD screen in general is the cleaning. I have cleaned my eMac screen several times already and I don't think that the LCD would be as simple to clean. However, there should be nothing wrong with the quality of the iMac screen.
Personally waiting for PB upgrades. I need a 12" for college. :)

Mac_Freak
Sep 19, 2005, 04:09 AM
When it comes to CRTs everything, including type, looks smoother on the screen, however; the image on the LCD is a sharp. iMac LCDs are just great and you shouldn't hesitate to buy one. Stock monitor profile is good, but if you are planning on calibrating it, I would be more careful while using the built-in, do it by eye, calibrator.

MUCKYFINGERS
Sep 19, 2005, 04:40 AM
iMac LCDs have always looked nice to me . . .

AlBDamned
Sep 19, 2005, 04:56 AM
iMac LCDs have always looked nice to me . . .


Ditto: The eMacs are good machines for the price, but an iMac has a much better screen overall. I'm amazed at the difference even between my Powerbook and and iMac screen. The laptop gets blown away by it.

dogbone
Sep 19, 2005, 05:53 AM
I had written off the iMac but in view of the comments here I will give it a serious test out and report back.

Peter Griffin
Sep 19, 2005, 06:10 AM
I switched over from a CRT to LCD a couple months ago. I can't see myself going back. Just the thought of having to put up with the constant flicker CRTs produce justifies the price jump of an LCD. At least for me, I feel like my eyes are a lot more comfortable now with an LCD monitor. I can't speak for eMacs or iMacs since I don't own either but I'm assuming they're similar to standard LCDs and CRTs.

Eluon
Sep 19, 2005, 08:01 AM
besides its speed, beauty, coolness, etc... my iMac G5's biggest selling point is its screen. Most people are so shocked by the clarity of my screen. Maybe you were looking at a demo model that has been messed up?

Curtis

Chaszmyr
Sep 19, 2005, 08:24 AM
iMac G5 screens aren't top notch, but they are definitely high quality nonetheless.

Abstract
Sep 19, 2005, 09:08 AM
I can't see myself going back. Just the thought of having to put up with the constant flicker CRTs produce justifies the price jump of an LCD. At least for me, I feel like my eyes are a lot more comfortable now with an LCD monitor.

Yes, the flickering, heat production, and size of CRTs are the only reasons not to get a CRT. When it comes to brightness and clarity and colour and such, CRTs are better than LCDs. I'm not saying that LCDs are crap or anything. I love LCDs and prefer to use one, but lets face it, everyone who says that LCDs produce great colour accuracy and such and such don't know much about CRTs. ;)

If you're going to use your iMac LCD and still claim that its brightness, clarity, and colour is great, at least use SuperCal first and calibrate it. The default calibration on LCDs is generally crap.

Lord Blackadder
Sep 19, 2005, 09:22 AM
I must be blind because I don't have problems with flicker on CRTs, and I don't have problems with blocky text on LCDs.

I have noticed how much color varies between LCDs though - just go to a store that sells LCDs and look at how different the color comes out on the different panels.

Since I'm not a graphic designer I'm not too worried about the color reproduction of the LCDs. To me, the LCD is better because of its small size and the fact that it won't go soft over time.

Still, where I work we have some high-end CRTs that cost thousands of dollars and you can definitely see why.

londonweb
Sep 19, 2005, 09:32 AM
I recently upgraded to a Sony X-Black LCD, and the image quality is absolutely brilliant- so brilliant in fact that scans and pics off a digital camera that haven't been balanced or anything look amazing, when in reality they're flat and horrible! My problem therefore has been trying to adjust it so the contrast and brightness are low enough to make the image on the screen look anything like what it will actually print like. Detail-wise it's amazing too, and very revealing. I have managed to calibrate it to a reasonable degree now and have been using it for print and web design with success. I still do tend to check things on the Lacie monitors in my office before I send them off to proof though- for sheer print accuracy I still don't think you can beat a high-end CRT.

If anyone else is having colour accuracy problems, I recommend trying a Gretag 'Macbeth' calibration spider. Costs about £150 and accurately measures the white on your screen and also accounts for ambient light as well, and then produces a very accurate profile for your monitor. You still need to calibrate your printer as well though, and Epson do this for a fairly reasonable price.

DaftUnion
Sep 19, 2005, 10:42 AM
Try making sure that 20 inch is at 1680 by 1050. (not sure what the 17 inch's native resolution is at) Second of all, before I bought my iMac I was having second thoughts because of the screen brightness. Try turning the brightness up all the way or close to all the way. It seems the Apple store turns this setting down in system preferences. Anyway, the screen's great, and is one of the best LCD's I've ever used at any price.

alexprice
Sep 19, 2005, 12:03 PM
I would just like to point out that the 20" iMac G5 has a MUCH MUCH better quality picture than a 17" iMac G5.

Honestly!

Alex Price

alexprice
Sep 19, 2005, 12:08 PM
Forgot to mention that CRT's will flicker if the refresh rate is too low.

jkandell
Sep 19, 2005, 04:57 PM
I would just like to point out that the 20" iMac G5 has a MUCH MUCH better quality picture than a 17" iMac G5.

I noticed this too, in a few ways. Colors better on 20", contrast greater, and text and pictures scroll smoother too (they flash on/off when scrolling the 17").

My question is why there is a difference. The graphics card is the same; the RAM is the same, the pixel pitch is the same. So from whence the difference?

jkandell
Sep 19, 2005, 05:07 PM
I must be blind because I don't have problems with flicker on CRTs, and I don't have problems with blocky text on LCDs.

Cheap CRTs may flicker a bit when still ("refresh rate"), whereas LCDs don't flicker when still but can flicker when scrolled ("pixel redraw rate"). But many CRTs have a smaller pixel pitch than the Imac LCDs. My ancient 2001 cheap Hitachi CRT for instance has a pixel pitch of .23mm, much more fine than the Imac's .269mm; so everything looks nicer on the CRT. I can actually see the pixels on the LCD!

However, like many of you, I prefer the LCD because of its thinness.

Peter Griffin
Sep 19, 2005, 07:03 PM
IMO, you can't really go wrong with an iMac. Apple wouldn't crank out a lemon that would potentially be used by professional graphic designers.

Sorry to hijack a bit here, but does anyone know where I can find information on the width of LCD pixels in iBooks/PBs?

IEatApples
Sep 19, 2005, 08:31 PM
I noticed this too, in a few ways. Colors better on 20", contrast greater, and text and pictures scroll smoother too (they flash on/off when scrolling the 17").

My question is why there is a difference. The graphics card is the same; the RAM is the same, the pixel pitch is the same. So from whence the difference?
I actually called Apple and asked about it. They were quite clear on that there was no difference, the screens are the same. :confused:

MattG
Sep 19, 2005, 09:29 PM
I just got a 20" iMac at work and quite honestly, it's got the most beautiful, brightest, sharpest LCD screen I've ever seen. Far from "crap."

jkandell
Sep 21, 2005, 01:47 AM
I actually called Apple and asked about it. They were quite clear on that there was no difference, the screens are the same. :confused:

They may say that, but your own eyes will tell you differently. Take Kandell's Challenge: Scroll down the NYT home page using a mouse (not arrows or page down) on a 20" (imac or cinema plus mini) and compare it to scrolling down using a mouse on a 17" imac. Stuff flickers on and off as you scroll on the 17" but is much smoother on the 20". Compare grey tones and diagonal lines, especially. Right?

IEatApples
Sep 21, 2005, 10:57 AM
The reason I called them was this (link (http://www.apple.com/imac/specs.html) ):

Display
Built-in 17-inch (viewable) widescreen or 20-inch (viewable) widescreen TFT active-matrix liquid crystal display
Millions of colors at all resolutions
Typical viewing angle:
17-inch models
120° horizontal
90° vertical
20-inch model
170° horizontal
170° vertical
Typical brightness: 200 cd/m (17-inch models); 230 cd/m (20-inch model)
Typical contrast ratio: 400:1

This seem to be differences to me, but maybe I'm wrong? :confused: :o :confused:

dmw007
Sep 21, 2005, 11:33 AM
I happen to think that the LCDs on the Apple iMac G5's are of a very good quality. I use one at college everyday (typing this post on one right now) and have always thought that they looked great.

Would highly recommend an iMac G5 as they are extremely nice Macs.
A perfect balance of power & price. :) :)

Dave00
Sep 21, 2005, 12:22 PM
I have an iMac, and the graphics are simply beautiful. Images on LCD are just as crisp (actually, usually more so) than CRT. However, you have to be viewing at the native resolution, otherwise you get interpolation and resultant blockiness. The drawback of LCD's is the depth of black and the fine differentiation of color, which is inferior to CRT. However, LCD's are much easier to look at for long periods of time. I can't imagine going back to CRT at work.

Dave

Snide
Sep 25, 2005, 02:15 PM
I used an ATI Graphics eMac for a year and a half, and have been using a 20" iMac since May.

Side by side, the iMac screen utterly, absolutely, and unequivocally blows the eMac
out of the water in every way––the increased brightness, sharpness, and overall
clarity is astonishing! Plus the LCD is much easier on the eyes when using for extended periods.

ATD
Sep 25, 2005, 06:11 PM
You're a little confused, The iMac's have great screens, the thing is, LCD's show more of what's really there, they give you every little detail that CRT's hide, in other words, great screen, so great, you see all the imperfections.


WOW, I been seeing post after post about how great LCDs are. When it comes to accurate color, a high end CRT is much more accurate than a high end LCD. If you compare the same file on a Barco Reference Calibrator (CRT) and a Apple Cinema Display (LCD) you will see one big difference. The Cinema Display will show good sharpness and good color but the Cinema Display will have a big drop off of detail in the brightest highlights and the deepest shadows. What looks like clean 100% whites on the LCD will show up full of unwanted tone on the Barco. You can claim a monitor is accurate but unless you have a way to measure and control this (a hardware calibrator that measures the Delta E, built into the Barco) the claims are a bit useless.

LGRW3919
Sep 25, 2005, 08:11 PM
as you may see, i have a 20" iMac G5, Rev B and i absolutely love it. The design is wonderful and somewhat more importantly, it MOVES. The display is also great, I've tested the viewing angles and it's crisp until about 170? as the specs say. My sister, as a matter of fact, has a 17" Rev A and not only does it look like a dwarf, the display just doesn't have the brightness/contrast of mine. not crap by any means.

alangyssler
Sep 25, 2005, 08:55 PM
Apple LCD displays are one of (if not the only) LCD displays approved by SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications - not Sex Workers Outreach Program).

If it's good enough for SWOP, it's good enough for me. I've been using dual 2.0 g5s with 20" al. displays for the past year and a half, as well as new 17" iMac g5s and they're both fantastic!

as a side note, I only wish my 15" Apple LCD would turn into a 20" magically overnight... much like my iBook turning into a PowerBook.

oh the disappointment. the display still ROCKS!

dogbone
Oct 5, 2005, 03:26 AM
Well I've just come back from the local shop to have a closer look. I checked out my web site which had text and pictures and graphics that i was well used to looking at.

My conclusion is that nearly everyone is suffering from some mass hysteria.

Reading between the lines I get the feeling that everyone loves their iMac and the screen is a part of that. But I'm not concerned with the computer or the sexiness of the LCD.

I want an image to look like on my monitor what it will look like when printed either web or laser.

I don't know what resolution the monitor was set in the shop and certainly it wouldn't have been calibrated. However it was still unusable IMHO.

I was astounded at the small viewing angle on the x-axis. The colour was ghastly.

But the resolution was impossible to work with. I could bearly read some of the words on my website that are clear on the eMac. I have my eMac monitor set to it's maximum res of 1280 x 960 it only refreshes at 72Hz at that res but I notice no flickering, apart from some flickering caused by the speakers if they are too loud but that is now fixed as I have external speakers.

I do not exaggerate when I say that if I had the opportunity to have my eMacs replaced with G5 iMac (and I wasn't allowed to sell) then I would not want the iMac. Simply put I could not carry on my business.

I have concluded that the LCD on the iMac might be as good as or better than most LCD's but nevertheless from the simple perspective of a usable monitor they are rubbish.

I used to use a 21" apple studio monitor and apart from the size I prefer the eMac's shadow mask screen over the trinitron.

I've worked in professional colour labs all my working life and have got used to judging colour to very high tolerances and I can say the the shift in an LCD's colour caused by the tiniest shift in viewing angle would have me in a psychiatric ward very quickly.

MontyZ
Oct 5, 2005, 03:34 AM
.

dogbone
Oct 5, 2005, 03:36 AM
Cheap CRTs may flicker a bit when still ("refresh rate"), whereas LCDs don't flicker when still but can flicker when scrolled ("pixel redraw rate"). But many CRTs have a smaller pixel pitch than the Imac LCDs. My ancient 2001 cheap Hitachi CRT for instance has a pixel pitch of .23mm, much more fine than the Imac's .269mm; so everything looks nicer on the CRT. I can actually see the pixels on the LCD!

However, like many of you, I prefer the LCD because of its thinness.

Well there you go, .27 is a very poor dot pitch isn't it?

I used an ATI Graphics eMac for a year and a half, and have been using a 20" iMac since May.

Side by side, the iMac screen utterly, absolutely, and unequivocally blows the eMac
out of the water in every way––the increased brightness, sharpness, and overall
clarity is astonishing! Plus the LCD is much easier on the eyes when using for extended periods.

Well is more always better? My eMac screen is the perfect contrast and it can go higher. In every way but you have not mentioned colour accuracy. I have also heard LCD's are easier to look at but I've never had a problem with CRT's and I look at them far to much.

Many people will prefer and oversharpened image from photoshop and the average client always prefers a "punchy" image. But this doesn't really address objective issues.

WOW, I been seeing post after post about how great LCDs are. When it comes to accurate color, a high end CRT is much more accurate than a high end LCD. If you compare the same file on a Barco Reference Calibrator (CRT) and a Apple Cinema Display (LCD) you will see one big difference. The Cinema Display will show good sharpness and good color but the Cinema Display will have a big drop off of detail in the brightest highlights and the deepest shadows. What looks like clean 100% whites on the LCD will show up full of unwanted tone on the Barco. You can claim a monitor is accurate but unless you have a way to measure and control this (a hardware calibrator that measures the Delta E, built into the Barco) the claims are a bit useless.

Yes things like subtlety and shadow detail are crucial to some but just get in the way of a "snappy" image to others.

I suppose in the end it is horses for courses, do you want a sexy monitor or do you want an accurate monitor.

MontyZ
Oct 5, 2005, 03:43 AM
.

SmegFirk
Oct 5, 2005, 06:31 AM
I've had my 20" G5 iMac for 2 weeks and the screen burned in. It's going back for a refund.

I had it set to turn off the screen after 30mins of inactivity and the machine was always shutdown every night. Yet, i moved the HD icon by accident 2 days ago and you could see the 'ghost' where it had been. I then moved the dock to the left and at the bottom there was the top edge of the dock as a dark line. I took some screenshots which did not have the fault on them so it wasn't a rendering issue. Also, when i restarted and you see the apple logo on the grey background you could see the fault then before osx had loaded.

I wonder how common this is without imac users even realising it. If i hadn't moved my HD icon i'd not have noticed.

mkrishnan
Oct 5, 2005, 06:36 AM
...they removed that wording from their website, but keep selling the defective displays.

Well, I don't think Apple displays are necessarily perfect myself, but the ACDs are still SWOP certified, aren't they?

Capt Underpants
Oct 5, 2005, 06:59 AM
Did you even check to see if the display was set to its maximum resolution, as another poster suggested? This is very important!!! I'm sure you don't want to make another trip up there, but if you do, make sure the display is set to its optimum settings.

To do this, (1) Go to System Preferences, (2) Click on Displays, and (3) Make sure the display is set to 1680x1050 resolution.

One time I went to Frys and they had a 30" display set up at 1280x1024. It looked like crap.

dogbone
Oct 5, 2005, 07:58 AM
I will do a final check on the resolution tomorrow.

Something that no one has brought up yet except me, is the incredibly small tolerance on the x-axis that is the sweet spot for viewing. ("sweet spot" being a relative term in this case)

I was under the impression in the early days of steam operated LCD screens that unless you locked your head into a special clamp that kept your eyes at the right angle you wouldn't see much.

But I have been led to believe that, that was the bad old days and on the newer LCD's you can see nice bright colours even if you stand behind the screen.

Yet to my astonishment if I tilted the screen only a few degrees around the x-axis, ie up and down, the best viewing angle was very very small.

Surely this is more important for viewing comfort (not to mention colour accuracy) than non existent CRT flicker is.

freddiecable
Oct 5, 2005, 09:11 AM
agree - LCD on the iMac is quite good. use a high quality picture to compare LCD versus CRT. My impression is that the eMac is a really crappy screen and that it doesn't really show the imperfections.

www.istockphoto.com - is a great and cheap place to get hi-res pictures.

Sutekidane
Oct 5, 2005, 09:52 AM
The 20" iMac G5 uses a different LCD screen than the 17", which uses a cheaper screen. The 20" iMac has an LG-Philips Korean screen, and I'm not quite sure what the 17" has. Anyone with a 17" want to enlighten us? :)

theanimaster
Oct 8, 2005, 02:25 AM
DogBone... i get the impression that you're a professional who has a very good reputation with image quality on CRTs... but you also seem to have some crusade against iMac LCDs.

I myself have been using CRTs for the heckest of a long time. When my girlfriend got her Powerbook I swore I would never touch it for working on my digital photos, art, etc. My trusty ol' Apple 15" CRT seemed to give so much better colour accuracy.

That was until I got "used" to viewing LCD.

It sounds really stupid (seriously), but after using the Powerbook and several other LCD screens for a long period of time, I just couldn't go back to CRT. For one thing, slight colour shifts weren't that apparent to me anymore in LCD. My eyes seemed to have "learned" how to compensate for it so much that - it seems it's not there (but looking really really closely, I can still catch it). You mentioned that working on LCD would drive you insane because of the colour shifts you get - TRUE - I felt EXACTLY that way with the Powerbook. I would always be annoyed or paranoid that I wasn't seeing the true colour that was being shown on screen. It was as if the LCD was "blasphemously lying" to my eyes. Again - it sounds stupid, but if you just give it a try you'll see that LCD is the winner and in time you'll be thinking back to when you said such harsh things about LCD. It'll be like "wtf was I THiNkInG!?"

Back to the topic of iMac LCD - I have a 20" revB iMac. No problems, and the quality if much better compared to the G4 867mhz Powerbook, which has a crappier viewing angle. On the iMac, I couldn't get the same washed out view I get from the Powerbook without hitting the sides of the iMac.

So whether or not you think the lot of these people are silly amateurs who are in denial about their purchase that's up to you. You're great with CRT, but you need to "learn" how to work with LCD - whether you like it or not - because the majority of computer users are seeing things on their LCD screens, not your spiffy CRT. Printing proofs are another thing - but even CRT hasn't been 100% accurate in that area no matter how much money you've shelled out.

gekko513
Oct 8, 2005, 06:32 AM
The iMac LCD is fantastic. I have it next to a Hercules 17" LCD. Next to the iMac I see that the white on the Hercules is actually yellow, almost like the teeth of a heavy smoker and coffee drinker.

Abstract
Oct 8, 2005, 08:21 AM
....i get the impression that you're a professional who has a very good reputation with image quality on CRTs... but you also seem to have some crusade against iMac LCDs.
He probably has nothing personal against iMac LCDs. I'm sure he doesn't care either way, but just wanted to point something out.


I myself have been using CRTs for the heckest of a long time. When my girlfriend got her Powerbook I swore I would never touch it for working on my digital photos, art, etc.

You shouldn't. Definitely get an external LCD if you insist on using an LCD for print work, because the PBs LCD is garbage. Gar. Bage.


Back to the topic of iMac LCD - I have a 20" revB iMac. No problems, and the quality if much better compared to the G4 867mhz Powerbook.... Yeah, probably. ;) I'd trust the iMacs screen before I ever trust the colour accuracy on a PowerBooks screen.

Dogbone is right about the viewing angle of an LCD. However, I think there are LCDs out there that are more forgiving in terms of the colour and what angle you're viewing from. Some LCDs have a small viewing angle, and the colour shift you get when changing angles, lets say a 15 degree change, on an LCD with a small viewing angle is probably worse than on a screen with a very wide viewing angle.

I can't say much about these Apple LCD claims. Some people here also pay 2x more for Apple's Cinema Displays because they're nicer than Dell's, although not as good spec-wise.

Also, people tend to defend the item they just (semi)recently bought because they don't want to feel like they bought something poor and wasted their money. That's why reviews given by users don't mean squat unless they have 3-5 competitors products to compare with and run identical tests or something. I don't know. Just ranting.

carpe diem
Oct 8, 2005, 08:31 AM
They seem great to me.

MontyZ
Oct 8, 2005, 10:14 AM
.

Jigglelicious
Oct 8, 2005, 03:07 PM
I noticed this too, in a few ways. Colors better on 20", contrast greater, and text and pictures scroll smoother too (they flash on/off when scrolling the 17").

My question is why there is a difference. The graphics card is the same; the RAM is the same, the pixel pitch is the same. So from whence the difference?

Because the specs between the 17" and 20" LCD's used in the iMac are worlds apart. The specs of the 20" are similar, if not the same as the 20" cinema display. They have great brightness, contrast, pixel response times and viewing angles. The 17" by comparison is just terrible - far worse colors, very slow response times (which is why you see the text "flash" on and off as you scroll), and poor viewing angles which causes the colors on screen to tint when you look at it from any other angle other than a straight on 90 degrees.

The reason text looks poor is because OS X has rather poor font smoothing. I have done comparisons between WinXP's cleartype and OS X, and cleartype is always cleaner, crisper and easier on the eyes.

pknz
Oct 8, 2005, 03:52 PM
iMac screens are beautiful. Looking at a 20" right now. I hate going to school and squinting at there 15" CRT screens next to those big heinous windows boxes.