intrepidcase

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 13, 2019
40
12
Hi,

So I have had a weird experience with my new 16" MBP. When I first got it a few days ago, the colors were contrasty and saturated. Hadn't messed with any color settings (other than auto-brightness + true-tone). I then started noticing that sometimes the display would be more washed out ... and initially put it up to auto-brightness, perception, etc.

But then I was looking into another issue - why my MBP was always running on the high performance graphics card when doing simple tasks. I discovered that it was a single app - Oracle SQL Developer - that uses Java. Unfortunately this always forces the Mac into high performance mode for various reasons that I don't need to get into here. However, while constantly restarting various configs to try and solve this, I noticed that going from integrated graphics to high performance would often cause the display to go from deeper/richer to more washed out. And when I exited the app and the graphics went back to integrated it would stay more washed out. The only thing that would revert it would be full reboot. I could repeat this a number of times. And then of course, at some point it stayed "washed out" even if in integrated graphics mode after a restart. I have not yet been able to replicate the pattern.

So that got me researching as to what was going on. It quickly became clear to me that it was very likely related to the gamma setting. Sure enough, when I went into expert mode when using the color calibrator I could see the difference night and day. After several calibrations, my display keeps coming up with an estimated native gamma of somewhere around 1.69. This is what it looks like when "washed out". When I change the gamma to 2.2 then it has the deeper/richer/contrasty colors.

My concerns are two-fold:

a. why was my display automatically flipping between two different gamma levels when switching graphics modes. ? And why was it not reverting when going back to integrated from high perf?

b. why is my native gamma level 1.69? I thought that most modern panels were set to around 2.2 natively. And I have read that forcing the gamma off of it's native level too much can cause issues like banding etc. What is the native gamma level on other peoples screens? (to estimate it you need to go through some sort of calibration test like the one in ColorSync utility/display settings).

I am concerned I have a wonky panel. That said, it otherwise has no edge bleed and is very uniform. I am coming from a 2013 MBP so can't comment on relative brightness compared to 2016 - 2019 MBP's ....

Thoughts?? Thanks!
 

matram

Contributor
Sep 18, 2011
683
315
Sweden
As you probably are aware the gamma is defined in your color profile which you can inspect in your settings. The built in "Display P3" profile seems to be 2.4.

I believe the color profile is tied to a screen not to the GPU in use. I can not see a difference in the profile or gamma when I switch from integrated to discrete GPU.

I have calibrated my screen using i1Display from X-rite with a gamma of 2.2, 100 nits and a whitepoint of D65K. The difference to the native calibration was small. To be clear I was more focused on color accuracy and whitepoint. I have not saved the response curves before / after, but my memory is that they were essentially on top of each other.

Skärmavbild 2019-11-22 kl. 19.26.44.png
 
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intrepidcase

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 13, 2019
40
12
Right, so when I do the simple built-in color calibration I always end up getting an estimated native gamma of around 1.69/1.7. And if I use this gamma it is clearly way less contrasty than using 2.2. When I try using the "Display P3" profile, the screen is similar to when I try the native gamma of 1.7.

I assume you are getting the "2.4" gamma number for Display P3 from the RGB "parametric tone response curve" properties? That's the only place I see gamma numbers. But it should be noted that the default "Color LCD" and my calibrated profile also show "2.4" for those same properties. So I don't think those properties mean that the profile overall is using a 2.4 gamma. The standard these days is clearly 2.2 ... ?

Would someone else walk through the built-in color calibration? holding down option key when clicking on "calibrate" so that expert mode is available. Then you go through 5 cycles of adjusting sliders - the left one is most relevant - and then after that it will allow you to select the gamma level. If you click on "use native gamma" it will display what it estimates from the calibration. Curious to see what other folks displays are roughly suggesting ...
 
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matram

Contributor
Sep 18, 2011
683
315
Sweden
You are correct, these gamma values I got from the profile information.

I assume you are getting the "2.4" gamma number for Display P3 from the RGB "parametric tone response curve" properties? That's the only place I see gamma numbers. But it should be noted that the default "Color LCD" and my calibrated profile also show "2.4" for those same properties. So I don't think those properties mean that the profile overall is using a 2.4 gamma. The standard these days is clearly 2.2 ... ?

With the X-rite SW you input your target values for the calibration, perform the calibration with the colorimeter and at the end you get various before and after comparisons. As I mentioned X-rite provides tone response curves before and after calibration, i.e. gamma in curve form. The difference was tiny and could in no way account for the differences you see.

If I switch between my own profile and the "Display P3" I get a small difference in brightness, probably due to that I have calibrated for 100 nits instead of the standard 120. Again I do not see anything like what you are seeing. And I see no difference due to the GPU.

I do not know how to get X-rite to directly measure gamma put if you know how I could do that.

Right, so when I do the simple built-in color calibration I always end up getting an estimated native gamma of around 1.69/1.7. And if I use this gamma it is clearly way less contrasty than using 2.2. When I try using the "Display P3" profile, the screen is similar to when I try the native gamma of 1.7.
 
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am2am

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2011
221
101
I have similar native gamma coming from apple advance calibration (~1.5-1.6), but do have doubts it is working correctly .. maybe it is just software bug..
Once I save calibrated settings screen is becoming really dark / contrasty like it would force 2.2 gamma despite calibration with native gamma. Not sure what to think about it.
Screen is great overall, no blending, uniform, no banding or anything else. It is just really warmer white than I'm used to - and I only notice it when do the comparison to iPad Pro which is my reference point.

Your first problem is weird indeed - no change in my case during GPU switch, display/colors are solid, no problems here.
 
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intrepidcase

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 13, 2019
40
12
I have similar native gamma coming from apple advance calibration (~1.5-1.6), but do have doubts it is working correctly .. maybe it is just software bug..
Once I save calibrated settings screen is becoming really dark / contrasty like it would force 2.2 gamma despite calibration with native gamma. Not sure what to think about it.

Ok so once you go through calibration, on the choose gamma screen are you selecting "use native gamma" or clicking on standard/2.2 to get the "really dark/contrasty" screen? because if i use standard/2.2 and save it i get a darker/contrasty screen, and if i click on "use native gamma" then i get a level of contrast the same as the default color profile. which all seems to make relative sense.
 
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am2am

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2011
221
101
I agree it make sense in your case.
I select native 1.7 after calibration, then give a name to the profile, once I click save button the screen is becoming dark/contrasty (it was OK before saving).. weird
 
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intrepidcase

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 13, 2019
40
12
It makes some relative sense in my case ... except that if the estimated native gamma is roughly accurate, then my default display profile is not using a standard 2.2 gamma. And yet i saw both cases on my display even before I started messing around with the color calibration. I think I will have to go into an Apple store and compare to another machine.
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,998
2,103
There is something going on with main display driver when using external monitor via eGPU with True Tone enabled after “ejecting” the eGPU. Colors become saturated, especially reds. Only happens several minutes after ejecting and is NOT instantaneous. Seems it’s only related to True Tone acting up. Restart and everything is 100% fine again.

Personally going to hold on calibration or third party tools for a few weeks. Think the next 5500M driver may improve a lot.
 
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intrepidcase

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 13, 2019
40
12
So I discovered that the default color LCD profile file is generated on startup if it doesn't already exist. So for most people that will be on first install. I deleted the current one and restarted to see what it would generate. It's the same.

Still struggling to understand why:
a) using the calibration tool my machine seems to have a native gamma much lower than 2.2
b) and why the default profile uses a gamma same/similar to this apparent native gamma. unfortunately, i don't see where one can find 'target' gamma in a saved color profile.

Either the tool is off and the native gamma is actually much closer to 2.2 or there is a problem with my default profile not being set to 2.2. I guess only a separate calibration hardware tool will determine that.

Would love to see what others get for native gamma when they try the color calibration process. (again, hold down option key when clicking calibrate ... and click on "use native gamma" on the last page to see what it says).

[edit: I also think this is interesting from apple news release ... https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019...nch-macbook-pro-the-worlds-best-pro-notebook/ .... "Each display is individually calibrated in the factory for accurate gamma, white point and primary colors."]
 
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leman

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2008
13,592
9,244
What you describe sounds very much like a software bug to me. I think this is also what we all observe as somewhat darker panel. Since you already collected a lot of info on this, would you be so kind to pass it along to Apple so that they can patch it?
 
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Nacho98

Suspended
Jul 11, 2019
729
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Only thing I can really add is I run the Color LCD profile and it lists a gamma of 2.4.

Also, is there even a difference between the Color LCD profile and the Display P3 profile?

Also, the Generic RGB and the sRGB profile at the very bottom are very contrasty/saturated.
 
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intrepidcase

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 13, 2019
40
12
Only thing I can really add is I run the Color LCD profile and it lists a gamma of 2.4.

Where does it "list" a gamma of 2.4? Are you talking about in the RGB "parametric tone response curve" properties? Those properties seem to be 2.4 across the board no matter what profile you use or create. I don't think that is the "target" gamma. Which should be 2.2 by default. And then your native gamma will be something else. (which you can estimate using the calibration tool).
 
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Nacho98

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Jul 11, 2019
729
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Where does it "list" a gamma of 2.4? Are you talking about in the RGB "parametric tone response curve" properties? It seems to be 2.4 across the board no matter what profile you use or create. I don't think that is the "target" gamma. Which should be 2.2 by default. And then your native gamma will be something else. (which you can estimate using the calibration tool).

That's where I saw it. If that's neither the target, native (actual), then what gamma is it?

I'm assuming that gamma is the native/actual gamma, not sure what else it would be.
 
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intrepidcase

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 13, 2019
40
12
That's where I saw it. If that's neither the target, native (actual), then what gamma is it?

I'm assuming that gamma is the native/actual gamma, not sure what else it would be.

I don't know a lot about color profiles but I do know that:

- those properties remain at 2.4 even after doing a calibration with a target gamma of anything else.
- the calibration tool will say "target gamma = xxx" after you go through the process.
- 2.2 is the standard gamma setting these days (which again you can see using the calibration tool).
- All displays have a slightly variable native gamma setting. This is what one is trying to estimate/measure using the calibration tool (or a more sophisticated hardware device).

On my 16" MBP, when do a calibration it says my native gamma is around 1.7 which seems way off, so when I then set the (relative) gamma to 2.2. it generates a very contrasty/saturated display like the genericRGB profiles you mentioned. Going to an Apple store today to try some other machines.
 
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eXCore

macrumors newbie
Dec 12, 2019
1
0
I don't know a lot about color profiles but I do know that:

- those properties remain at 2.4 even after doing a calibration with a target gamma of anything else.
- the calibration tool will say "target gamma = xxx" after you go through the process.
- 2.2 is the standard gamma setting these days (which again you can see using the calibration tool).
- All displays have a slightly variable native gamma setting. This is what one is trying to estimate/measure using the calibration tool (or a more sophisticated hardware device).

On my 16" MBP, when do a calibration it says my native gamma is around 1.7 which seems way off, so when I then set the (relative) gamma to 2.2. it generates a very contrasty/saturated display like the genericRGB profiles you mentioned. Going to an Apple store today to try some other machines.

Hello, interestingly enough, I've got 1.8 native gamma on my MBP 15 2014 as well, after going through calibrating tool. Same thing happens if I choose target gamma to 2.2, it's well more dark and contrasty than default settings. Also, on either profile I still have "very low" gamma if looking on chart images in browser, BUT, when downloading image and viewing it through a program like Preview, the default profiles stays exactly on 2.2, when calibrated one(and targeted 2.2) goes a bit higher for 2.4. I don't know is it intended or not, but it seems more like a bug in calibration tool and maybe web renderers. One thing though, maybe it's me but default profile has a bit more red than it needs to, calibrating tool equalises it pretty well. Best option I found is calibrate through tool normally, including color calibration, then uncheck "native gamma" but leave the target on it, so the gamma will be perfectly on 2.2 (for me), but colors will be more accurate (for me again). Name it differently and save, then compare them and choose best :D.

The picture I used to check gamma is attached. Make sure to download it and view through something that's not browser. Also, it's best viewed in "original size". Preview has this option (View - Actual size).

UPD: Lol, now this tool just doesn't care what target gamma I choose, it just puts whatever in there when I try to save the profile. It's definitely buggy, need to wait an update.
 

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am2am

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2011
221
101
UPD: Lol, now this tool just doesn't care what target gamma I choose, it just puts whatever in there when I try to save the profile. It's definitely buggy, need to wait an update.

That's my experience as well. As soon as I change gamma and try to save it - it keeps 2.2 and the final profile is very dark/contrasty. I tested it in apple store on another machine and it is behaving exactly the same way.
I assume it is software bug.
 
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am2am

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2011
221
101
btw - thanks for sharing the test. I've looked at this webpage with different test images - really interesting - you can verify the quality of the display and calibration (as you've mentioned you need to download picture not looking at it through browser).
After few brief tests it looks MBP16 screen looks really good..
 
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nikster0029

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2010
634
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I’ve been worried about the washes out colors of my pro too. Not sure what to do but wait for an update
 
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dpatriarche

macrumors newbie
Dec 14, 2019
1
1
I’ve been worried about the washes out colors of my pro too. Not sure what to do but wait for an update

I might be able to add a data point. I have observed that my display is sometimes, but not always, "washed out" after the MBP wakes from sleep. When this has happened to me, the MBP is always using the discrete AMD GPU (as indicated by iStat Menus). If I quit the apps that iStat Menus lists as "GPU dependencies" (e.g. Photos), then the MBP switches to its integrated GPU and the wash out corrects itself. I can then restart the GPU-dependent apps with no further problems.
 
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Sanpete

macrumors 68030
Nov 17, 2016
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I might be able to add a data point. I have observed that my display is sometimes, but not always, "washed out" after the MBP wakes from sleep. When this has happened to me, the MBP is always using the discrete AMD GPU (as indicated by iStat Menus). If I quit the apps that iStat Menus lists as "GPU dependencies" (e.g. Photos), then the MBP switches to its integrated GPU and the wash out corrects itself. I can then restart the GPU-dependent apps with no further problems.
Sounds like something worth reporting to Apple as a bug. If you don't have a developer account with them, you can use the second link.

https://developer.apple.com/bug-reporting/
https://www.apple.com/feedback/macbookpro.html
 
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konqerror

macrumors 68020
Dec 31, 2013
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Display P3 keeps the sRGB gamma curve that nearly all modern displays are designed for. In fact, despite the name, Display P3 is merely sRGB with the color primaries taken from DCI-P3. True DCI-P3 has a different gamma, white point and luminance.

Apple did it this way so that you'd get reasonable results for color-unaware interchange with sRGB, and because DCI-P3 was intended to match film projectors being viewed in a very dark movie theater.

The sRGB gamma curve cannot be described by a single number, it is a piecewise function. Rather, it starts out linear (gamma=1) and approaches gamma=2.4. The closest fit to a single gamma function is 2.2, which is why people call it 2.2, but it really isn't.

So to keep it closest to native, you should calibrate to the sRGB gamma curve, which every program will know about. If you are using a colorimeter, it must also know about the spectral curves from the display, which is not RGB-LED or BY-LED, but rather PFS-LED.
 
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