24" glossy iMac screen - suitable for pro imaging work?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by DHart, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. DHart macrumors 6502


    Jan 17, 2008
    As a full-time professional photographer, I use 20" iMac Intel 2GHz Core Duo machines (the original Intel iMacs), with the matte screens and maxed out with 2 gb of ram for Photoshop editing daily (CS3). I have found that the matte screens are awesome for imaging work... very accurate colors, no perceptible undesireable variation in color or brightness at different viewing angles. I've been verrry happy with these iMacs for production in my portrait photography studio.

    NOW... recently I've considered upgrading one of my original 20" Intel iMacs to a current production 24" iMac for the larger screen area, 4 GB ram capability, and faster processor (filter processing!!!), but have been hesitant because of all the bad press I've read about using the glossy screens for professional color work. Complaints I've seen refer to distracting reflections of room/ambient lighting, a false, over-exagerated color saturation, un-even color/brightness across the full area of the display, light leaks, and dead pixels. What has happened to our beloved iMac?

    If these criticisms are valid, I think Apple made a big mistake going from matte to glossy screens with the iMacs. I understand that Apple targets iMacs as just consumer machines... but the fact remains that a LOT of professional imaging people have chosen matte screen iMacs for professional work and the older matte screens were perfect for that...

    SO, I'm asking pro users of the glossy screen 24" iMac now, what about using the machine for professional image editing??? Is the 24" glossy screen iMac truly up to the job of displaying color images evenly, consistently, and accurately... as the older matte screens were? Is the over saturation a problem in judging color accuracy? Is your screen consistent from edge to edge? Any light leaks?
  2. hdsalinas macrumors 6502


    Aug 28, 2006
    San Pedro Sula, Honduras
    I use a new 24" incher at work and I must say that I have not noticed any reflections or problems.
  3. mojopixel macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2007
    Somewhere in Time
    maybe Apple want to shift pro users of the iMac towards the MacPro...:apple:
  4. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Thats true I think.

    To OP: 24" iMac has a great screen. It uses IPS-panel that is very good and has accurate colors (unlike 20" iMac's TN panels). You can calibrate it for even better results. The only complaints I've heard about 24" is that it is showing a lot of reflections. But this is dependant on the room. If you do not have a light source behind you, you'll be fine
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    When people say "I don't notice any reflections." they may be right BUT reflections are not the problem. The whole point of a glossy screen is to enhance contrast and make color look more saturated. The glossy screen "tricks" the eye. This is why they are popular with people who use the computer as a consumer media player, games or office work. With audio equipment many consumers also like those big boom-box like speakers that have "anything BUT accurate" bass sound. These speakers drive musicians and audiophiles nuts. I think this screen is like those speakers. consumers may like them but they are NOT intended for use inside a recording studio. When a professional who is creating images uses a screen that distorts contrast and color, he may make adjustments to compensate and as a result make some dull and flat prints

    That said I think you could learn to live with the screen. After some time you'd learn to compensate. Still would be best if Apple had not gone cheap with the screen
  6. tsd macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    I actually have a slightly different perspective. I completely understand the argument that using a matte screen for final print output work is better, but I believe, and have found personally that after professional-level calibration of a glossy display, that the colors are much more natural and true than a matte screen. In truth, a matte screen is simply an LCD with film applied which diffuses light. A glossy LCD is the same product, minus the film. Therefore, if properly calibrated, the same display in both glossy and matte will produce more accurate colors in glossy. For many years, color correction was deemed to be impossible on anything but a glossy CRT monitor. The anti-reflective film was one of the reasons for that. The glossy LCD more closely re-presents the look of outdoor light reflecting off of the world around us.

    I would recommend the 24" Aluminum iMac, and the GretagMacbeth (aka X-Rite) i-1 (aka Eye-One) display calibrator.
  7. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 17, 2008
    My main issue with the 24" screen is that if even after calibration it produces a more saturated look that output devices produce, I would always have to make a mental adjustment to compensate for the false saturation I see on the screen. I confident the accuracy of color can be excellent. When editing my work, I pay a lot of attention to getting the saturation I want. But I want the saturation I see on the screen to closely reflect the saturation I will see on my prints.
  8. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Print a few proofs


    I would print a few proofs from your lab that you use (small photos to save you money) before you do any for clients so that you can get your colors just how you want them to turn out. I'm sure this was on your mind already but I just thought it would help. Also if you can, try taking one of your photos to an Apple store and seeing if you can edit it on a 24" and save it to a jump drive. Then send that out for a proof to get an idea of the color issues that might be happening. I understand that the store iMacs get everyone playing on them so the color would be off but if you make a few adjustments to get it "close" to your liking you'd have a better idea for the future.
    Good luck :D

    PS: a few have given feedback somewhere on MR about color after using a color calibration tool so give that a search to further help your iMac decision.
  9. 4God macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2005
    My Mac
    You could always add a second display via the mini dvi output. Maybe a 23" Apple display (or a 24" Dell or maybe even a 24" Samsung like mine) to view your output and/or final product.
  10. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 17, 2008
    Good ideas, all, thank you.

    I think I'll take an image I've already edited & printed... take both the edited digital file (on a Jump Drive) and a printed copy to a MacStore, load up the digital file and compare what I see on screen to the print in my hand. Granted, the set up of the in-store machine may be wacked out & need a little tweaking, but hopefully this will answer my concerns.

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