Any "color-minded professionals" using a Macbook?

extraextra

macrumors 68000
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My friend is in the market to get a new Macbook and he asked me for help. He can't afford the MBP, but he's worried about the glossy screen on the Macbook because he's a photography major.

Is anyone who does photography-related work working on a Macbook, and ONLY a Macbook? (i.e. no external monitor, etc.) If so, how are your photos? Do they have fairly accurate colors when printed or viewed on other monitors? (I realize that each monitor is calibrated differently, but most photos shouldn't look too different between different monitors, right?)

I briefly played around with the calibration on the Macbook and I think I got it to look like the matte MBP, could he just use the Macbook calibrator and fix the screen that way? Or is it hopeless, and he should just find another laptop?

Any help/tips would be appreciated.

This isn't a question about glare, by the way. ;)
 

xfiftyfour

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Apr 14, 2006
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It probably ultimately depends on how nit-picky he is with his colors, but if he's any degree of a professional, and quality really matters, then I probably wouldn't recommend the MB. If he had an external monitor, that'd be different, but the MB's colors just aren't a true representation. If he has the right tools he could probably get them close, but not 100%.
 

CrackedButter

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Jan 15, 2003
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This is why the MBP have the option of either type of screen. It matters to some extent. If I was to buy a laptop, I'd buy the MBP because I need a matte screen as I study Photography as well.

In short, your friend should get a MBP with a matte screen.
 

extraextra

macrumors 68000
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My friend will not be too happy about this news. I guess I'll tell him to save up an extra $500 for a Macbook Pro.
 

yojitani

macrumors 68000
Apr 28, 2005
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I just got my MB and, yes, like everyone is saying, the glossy screen looks nice and all, but get a bit of light in the wrong place and the glare is pretty strong. Also, factory settings look a bit washed out... I haven't calibrated yet. In sum, probably not the right thing for your friend. ... That said, the MB is a great little machine!
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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extraextra said:
(I realize that each monitor is calibrated differently, but most photos shouldn't look too different between different monitors, right?)

Firstly, the colours on the glossy screen are too saturated.

Secondly, no LCD has proper colour calibration if you don't calibrate. Calibrate the LCD. They're like $100 right now and just ask him to calibrate his LCD. That should help solve what I said was a problem in my first point. ;)



And then there's the resolution......... Yes, I work only on my 1280x800 MacBook LCD, but I think that if you were studying photography, or you were making money off of your photos, that you'd need a higher resolution screen and likely a larger screen as well.

A MBP 15" isn't bad.

A 17" MBP is very good.

An external widescreen LCD is the best option. Dell has great deals on LCDs sometimes and they're great LCDs.

An external widescreen LCD that is NOT a Dell is even better, as Dell's screen quality isn't so great, even when calibrated. Check out Viewsonic or Samsung or other vendors.
 

extraextra

macrumors 68000
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CrackedButter said:
Is this with the higher education discount?
Yeah. He wanted the black Macbook, which is like $1449 with 1GB, and then the Macbook Pro with 1GB (low end one) is around $1900.

The 13" Macbook is fine for his needs (which is mainly portability), he was working off a 12" iBook before, so the screen resolution is actually like a major upgrade. He doesn't want an external monitor because he rarely works at home, it's always at school or somewhere else.

The Macbook Pro is somewhat expensive and bulky for him (we thought the 15" was a 17" in the store :eek: ), but since the glossy screen is not the right choice, I'll tell him to save up for one.

Thank you for all the help!
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
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Well again, if he calibrates his glossy screen, it won't be as much of an issue as you'd think.

I think a 15" MBP is better for photography needs, but a MacBook isn't a horrid option if the screen is calibrated.
 

extraextra

macrumors 68000
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Abstract said:
Well again, if he calibrates his glossy screen, it won't be as much of an issue as you'd think.

I think a 15" MBP is better for photography needs, but a MacBook isn't a horrid option if the screen is calibrated.
Would the calibration settings with the Macbook be alright? (Don't know if you have a Macbook, but they have like 7 calibration settings, which you can tweak.) Or should he buy another program to do it?
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
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With a $100-120 piece of equipment that you can buy at any decent computer store.

The device itself is like a 2D array of sensors.........or like a camera, I guess.......and you place this in the middle of your screen so that the sensor picks up the colour output coming from your monitor.

A piece of software that comes with the hardware will make your screen flash very specific colours. The software knows exactly what colour the screen is being told to output. The sensor will pick up the colour that's coming from the screen and report what it sensed to the software. If the colour picked up by the sensor is not the same as the colour that the software KNOWS it told your screen to output, it'll adjust the output of your screen for that colour so that it outputs what it should be outputting.

It does this for quite a few colours, and so your screen is now colour accurate. You should do this in the room in which you do most of your work. You should also do this every month or so, because LCDs become more dim with age. Mind you, I think colour calibrators work better on matte screens, but a calibrator would still allow you to use a MacBook knowing that the colours are quite accurate. :)

I forget the names of the companies who sell these things, but GretagMacBeth is one of them. DPReview, the biggest camera review website on the web (probably), mentions using a GretagMacBeth colour checker or something in every review they give. ;)
 

theyoda3

macrumors member
Sep 27, 2006
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What if your friend were to use an Apple Developer Student Discount? You spend $99 to become a developer for a year and as a student you get 1 hardware discount for your life as a student. For the base MBP the price starts at $1599. So, total, with the registration, you are paying about $1699 to start and then upgrades are disconted too. You'd also get your $99 back in the end because you will get Leopard when it is released in 2007 for free. So that kind of leads to a savings of $200 + whatever you save on RAM. You should buy AppleCare using the regular Education store though, because it is not discounted at the developer store.
 

2ndPath

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Feb 21, 2006
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This is my question to the graphic professionals: Can you actually use laptop LCDs in a reaonable way at all, when it comes to color accuracy. I have a MacBook Pro and still have the impression that colors and contrast of the display already vary significantly with only small changes of the viewing angle. This effect is still much bigger than with any desktop LCD I have ever used.
 

CrackedButter

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Jan 15, 2003
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theyoda3 said:
What if your friend were to use an Apple Developer Student Discount? You spend $99 to become a developer for a year and as a student you get 1 hardware discount for your life as a student. For the base MBP the price starts at $1599. So, total, with the registration, you are paying about $1699 to start and then upgrades are disconted too. You'd also get your $99 back in the end because you will get Leopard when it is released in 2007 for free. So that kind of leads to a savings of $200 + whatever you save on RAM. You should buy AppleCare using the regular Education store though, because it is not discounted at the developer store.
Getting the higher education discount works out better. I'm not talking about the education discount here either.
 

Abstract

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2ndPath said:
This is my question to the graphic professionals: Can you actually use laptop LCDs in a reaonable way at all, when it comes to color accuracy. I have a MacBook Pro and still have the impression that colors and contrast of the display already vary significantly with only small changes of the viewing angle. This effect is still much bigger than with any desktop LCD I have ever used.
I guess it really depends on the viewing angle of the screen. If I move my head side-to-side using my MacBook, I don't see any changes of any sort. However, if I move my head slightly up or down, it affects everything. :eek:

You really should always use an external monitor, but if he's not making money off of it, or if he's not planning on printing any photos at all, then a calibrator and/or external monitor doesn't really matter, I guess. The colours may be a bit off, but not enough to annoy most people.

But anyway, I'm not a professional photographer, graphic designer, or in publishing or print work, so I generally don't care too much about colour accuracy. My friend had my LCD calibrated, but I don't do it on a regular schedule like I'm supposed to. Anyway, my point is to not listen to me. :p I'm just telling you what I know for sure, as well as my opinion, but definitely don't take my word as gospel. Just telling you now. :eek:
 

extraextra

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X5-452 said:
How do you calibrate the MacBooks' screen?
Go to System Preferences -> Displays -> Colors. (if I remember correctly)

I'll tell him to check out a calibration thing, and it looks like he will have to get an external monitor regardless, since I think he plans on "going pro."

Thanks for all the help guys!