Photos look dark on Windows PCs, perfect on Mac?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NATO, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. NATO macrumors 68000

    NATO

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm currently in the very early stages of learning photography. I've bought a Canon 350D and have been spending the last few weekends out in the Northern Ireland countryside taking pictures to build a nice portfolio of pictures and to improve my technique.

    I'm having one problem however, which I can't figure out how to solve.

    Basically, when I take my pictures home and upload them into iPhoto, they look great, good exposure and colours etc. However, when I view the same photos from a Windows PC in work, the photos appear very underexposed.

    To give you an example, check out the following pictures:
    Giant's Causeway, County Antrim
    Silent Valley, County Down

    Could anyone with more experience please tell me why these pictures look very underexposed in Windows, but perfect on the Mac? What can I do to ensure it doesn't happen in future?
     
  2. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #2
    My first guess, and the most likely problem is that the Windows computer's display is not calibrated and so isn't reproducing the correct colors. Go into the display settings and mess around with the gamma, brightness and contrast, you should be able to get it to look good.
     
  3. Veldek macrumors 68000

    Veldek

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    I’m no expert at all (I’m not even an amateur, I would say) but I heard that Windows PCs use a different Gamma value than Macs, so this could be the reason.
     
  4. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #4
    Yes, that's the problem. Google "windows mac gamma" for a ton of ways to deal with it.
     
  5. NATO thread starter macrumors 68000

    NATO

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #5
    Thanks for the replies :) I suspected it had something to do with the Gamma difference between Windows and Macs, but what I don't understand is how other images displayed on the internet etc look fine on Windows and Macs. From what I've read from articles I googled was that you have to essentially create two images, one calibrated for the Mac gamma setting and one created for Windows. Isn't there a way the file format would tell the OS what gamma setting it was created on and allow the viewer/OS to make the adjustment automatically when it is viewed?
     
  6. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #6
    People who bother to look at the gamma at all usually just try to pick a happy medium that looks okay on both platforms. It also helps Mac users that most of the world is using Windows; a too-light image is usually less objectionable than a too-dark one, because at least you can see everything.

    Some browsers, not all, are good about using the gamma information in PNG images to correct automatically. JPEG can contain gamma info too, but it's generally ignored :(
     
  7. NATO thread starter macrumors 68000

    NATO

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #7
    Thats quite interesting, I didn't realise PNG could be utilised to perhaps allow some sort of gamma correction when viewed on the web. I'll experiment with that later as it could save some headaches, and ensure my photos look their best no matter what system is used. As a fall-back, I'll probably re-calibrate my monitor this evening set to 2.2 Gamma, rather than 1.8. I can't remember what it's currently set to, but from reading some articles, I'm told 2.2 is a happy medium as you suggest above.

    To be honest, my switch to the Mac was trouble free, this issue is the only real stumbling block I've come across, but as always, help is readily at hand!
     
  8. nate macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    #8
    I had the same problem so I went into my System Preferences/ Displays/ Colour menu and Calibrate. I clicked continue (no expert mode) and selected 2.2 Television Gamma (PC), instead of the 1.8 Standard Gamma (Mac). In the next selection I selected the Native Display (which is D65 also). On the next screen I named my new profile Windows.

    I found that many Windows users don't bother messing with their gamma/colour settings, and so their computers are often off -- sometimes way off -- when it comes to colour and brightness. No Windows computer, it seems, is the same. This is a pain. But, I know that most people wouldn't bother with the controls (heck, most people don't bother with Firefox and still use IE -- something that's also the bane of all things). So, I figured it would be best to darken my display to 2.2 so that my stuff looks decent enough. I know that it won't look perfect on windows, but I've found that the 2.2 gamma is close enough that it's negotiable.

    You get used to the darker Mac screen, and you end up correcting your pictures to match.

    It's a pain, but that's the easiest way I've found around it, rather than trying to convince to ton of people to change their colour/gamma corrections. If I didn't have to work with Windows users, I'd probably keep with my iMac settings (1.8 Gamma).

    Good luck,


    --nate
     
  9. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #9
    If you're happy living with Windows gamma on your Mac, I guess that's one way. Couldn't do it myself though. Mac gamma is so much nicer.

    Fireworks actually has a setting to toggle back and forth between gammas when you are exporting images. You could also download something like GammaToggleX to quickly jump back and forth between gammas and see what images will look like in both.

    Personally, I have a dual monitor setup. Main screen is Mac gamma, secondary is PC. Just drag the image back and forth to see the differences.
     
  10. NATO thread starter macrumors 68000

    NATO

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #10
    Thanks again for the new replies, I appreciate the help. I think my problem is being compounded by the fact the computers I am viewing my pictures on at work are really, REALLY old Dell systems (Pentium III 700Mhz running Windows 2000, you get the picture), as such they're very badly set up.

    Saying that, I've run SuperCal and created 3 Profiles, all identical except for the Gamma settings of 1.8, 2.0 and 2.2. I'm playing about with them to see if I can live with 2.2, or whether its just better to switch to 2.2 when editing photos etc.

    It's such a pain though. You'd wonder why computing in general hasn't agreed on a standard by now. It reminds me of the Hard Drive Manufacturers vs Computer companies in terms of storage (ie, 1GB = 1000MB to the Hard Drive manufacturers, 1024MB to the Computer Companies, hence a 60GB Hard Drive only holds approx 55GB of data etc).... infuriating to say the least.
     
  11. Senex Prime macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #11
    As a graphic designer and photographer who works on Macs, the very first thing you should do is make sure that you're working in the sRGB colour space when preparing images that will be viewed on the web. The sRGB colour space has the smallest gamut of any of the RGB colour spaces and more accurately reflects what cruddy PC monitors can show. Don't use Adobe RGB, it's far too bright for PC monitors. There's a huge difference between these two colour spaces!
     
  12. TheMasin9 macrumors 6502a

    TheMasin9

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    #12
    muhahaha

    yet another reason macs conquer windoze...
     
  13. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #13
    Are you sure it has nothing to do with the quality of monitors? Because I find this topic just silly. I have and use both and I don't think one OS is superior over another, but they have their advantages and disadvantages, but I think your color issue lays in the quality of the monitor.
     
  14. dubbz macrumors 68020

    dubbz

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    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    Alta, Norway
    #14
    This have absolutely nothing to do with how superior one OS is compared to the other, and everything to do with different gamma settings. I have had my 2005FPW connected to both my Windows PC and my Powerbook (*and* my Powermac), and there *is* a difference... and it had nothing to do with the quality of the monitor itself.

    OS X or Windows' gamma setting is not "better" or "worse".. just different. But it's still a problem.
     
  15. ScubaDuc macrumors 6502

    ScubaDuc

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    Europe
    #15

    I thought that with your experience you would have recommended a Pantone Huey for 80 bucks. Just calibrate the monitors and they will all show the same colors. It is not Mac vs PC but what the lab uses, otherwise when u bring your pics to get printed, your colors will never match your screen
     
  16. Arnaud macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    The Moon
    #16
    I started a similar thread some weeks ago, there are some posts with another set of possible solutions:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=182543

    Additionally, it's not a matter of "wrongly calibrated Windows" or "old Dell system", but indeed a difference of gamma settings between Macs and PCs from the very beginning. As far as I can remember, it was out at least 15 years ago, and Adobe Photoshop was delivered with a Gamma Control Panel so you could easily modify your own gamma.

    I just recalibrated my screen, and tried to find a spot between 1.8 and 2.2, so that the difference is ok. More contrast, a little darker.

    Calibrating with Pantone or Spider or whatever will not guarantee your results on websites seen from different OSs, only the print-outs, no ?

    A.

    NB: "55Gb for a 60Gb hard drive" is the usual formatting problem, you lose some of the promised data sectors by preparing the HDD, but 1Gb is still 1024Mb.
     
  17. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #17
    Ha, I have the same. I have 3 2005FPW, 2 for my pc and one for my mac, but to make it look underexposed as compared to another OS which is the point of this thread? Really?
     
  18. Senex Prime macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #18
    Well, I can hardly go out and calibrate every monitor in the world, can I? :) Unfortunately, when you're preparing web graphics (or photos that will be shown on the web), you have to go with what the majority of your viewers are using: and that's PC monitors with a gamma of 2.2 and the sRGB colour space... like it or not, it's about 95% of the people out there!
     
  19. janey macrumors 603

    janey

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Location:
    sunny los angeles
    #19
    You know, I'm not really getting what you're trying to say. This has everything to do with the physical display and the color settings on the computers used with the displays. neither OS is superior. What's superior to both in terms of matching colors is a calibrated setup, and those calibration devices can cost a pretty penny.

    (saying "macs conquer windoze" doesn't really make much sense does it...)
     

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