Are laptop screens accurate for color editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Luis Ortega, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    When I read about all the quality levels of lcd monitors with s-ips and
    cheaper panels in terms of professional color accuracy with photographs, I
    am now very curious about the quality of certain laptops sold as profesional
    tools. I understand that the Apple displays are S-IPS but I was wondering about the laptops.
    For example, is the screen on an Apple Macbook Pro 17 inch with 1920x1200
    resolution good for precise color editing?
     
  2. weazle1098 macrumors regular

    weazle1098

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  3. Virgil-TB2 macrumors 65816

    Virgil-TB2

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    #3
    Not sure about the Pros, but if you are a "colour professional" or anyone who needs accurate colour, then the current MacBooks and the iMacs are not capable of giving accurate colour on that level. The Apple Cinema displays for the MacPros are some of the best in the world for that purpose however and almost the definitive monitor for someone who has that need.
     
  4. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #4
    There isn't a monitor on earth that is perfect for color editing. You HAVE to make sure you know the boundaries of your screen, printer, camera, etc. and use the tools in Photoshop to get accurate color across the board.

    Monitors will change their tones but the numbers won't change no matter what.

    So, NO, there isn't a monitor on earth that will give you perfect color all of the time.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #5
    My three-year old Samsung 213T has a much larger gamut than my ProBook's internal screen (it has an MVA panel, I think). I could immediately tell the difference.

    I've calibrated both screen with a ColorSpyder.
     
  6. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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    #6
    The MBP screens have more limited gamut than the Cinema displays so yes, an ACD is far better for professional graphics work.

    However, I have a high-res 17" MBP and use it for photoshop / InDesign etc all the time - the thing is that I've gotten used to the limitation of the screen and am quite happy to be able to estimate the result of print output from what I can see on the screen. For ultra critical Photoshop work, though, I do go back to an ACD.

    The thing is that NO screen is ever going to be 100% accurate in terms of predicting your print output. The wider the gamut of the screen, the easier it gets, but with experience you can compensate for the difference fairly easily.

    Best compromise would be a MBP plus an ACD =]
     
  7. sonor macrumors 6502

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    #7
    The Apple displays are really long overdue for an upgrade though. I'm looking for a new monitor right now but I'll probably get an NEC or Eizo with an S-IPS panel.
     
  8. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #8
    Same here, the ACDs are great for color specific jobs, but they are long overdue for a price drop or upgrade. I am looking at a NEC 26" display whose gamut and % NTSC is much higher than the ACDs. The biggest thing keeping from grabbing the ACDs are the price, I just can't justify it anymore.
     
  9. sonor macrumors 6502

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    #9
    That must be the one I've just been reading about - the NEC 2690. It seems just about perfect for my purposes - 26", wide gamut, rotates for portraits, 12-bit LUT/hardware calibration...and a lot of good reviews.
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    Here's the only thing you really need to know about laptop screens:

    ALL laptop screens are 8-bit, and interpolate to 16-million colours or whatever they show. Desktop LCDs don't need to.

    It doesn't matter if you calibrate your laptop monitor. Nothing will change the fact that it's not made to show that many colours.
     
  11. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #11
    Amen brother.... that's the one. Priced at $1200 and it has been held in high regards in the graphics/video industry. My second choice was the Dell 27" but I can't get over the slightly consumer-ish build and the useless USB 2.0 card reader on the side.
     
  12. Hankster macrumors 68020

    Hankster

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    #12
    One factor is the angle of viewing. A half inch too high or too low and the colors are already odd. I do much of my graphic work on a desktop simply because of this.
     
  13. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

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    #13
    Thought some of you might enjoy this discussion of color accuracy, environment, desired output endpoint for viewing. Kind of makes you want to give up on any real notion of color accuracy :D

    http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=82126&page=4

    Anyone have Andrew Rodney's book "color managment for photographers"?
     
  14. RevToTheRedline macrumors 6502a

    RevToTheRedline

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    #14
    How do you figure a S-IPS panel in the 24" iMac isn't capable of accurate color? It's the same panel as the ACD, and don't give me that BS that the glass in front of the panel on the new iMac makes that big of a difference because it doesn't.
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #15
    The glossy screen is there for a reason: It makes the colors look more saturated and contrasty. If it did not have this effect I doubt Apple would have used this screens.

    There are several "levels" of color correction The simplest to to just looked at your (calibrated) screen and move some sliders around until everything looks OK you your eye. This is what most users do. If you screen "pops" colors then you will be making slightly flat files that will make for dull looking prints.

    The other correction method is precises and does not depend on your eye and can be done even on a black and white monitor. Studio photographers sometimes work this way. Before you take the "real" shot you take one with a Mcbeth color chart in the scene. Later when it comes time for color correct you know the RBG values for every square in the chart. You are working with numbers and a spread sheet not, just eyeballing it. I've used a crude version of this technique where I place a Kodak 18% Gray Card in the scene. I can get the white balance and exposure spot on if I know there is an exact 18% gray in the frame and it is lit by the main light.

    In summary, I think the glossy screen can work well enough. If you have very precises requirements you will not depend on just looking at the screen. You will measure the color so even a very poor screen would be good enough. If you were using the eyeball the screen while moving a slider method then I think with practice you could learn to compensate for the extra "pop" of the glossy screen.

    I plan to answer this once and for all. I plan to go to the local Apple store where we will hook up a 24" iMac and a 23" ACD. We will calibrate both screens and then drag an image across the tow screens. The Apple sales guy was willing to set this up if I'd make an appointment. What I suggest is that anyone here who really cares make an appointment with your local store.

    But even after a direct A/B compare we can argue like the typical audiophile about how speaker wire that is braided sounds different than wire with twisted strands.
     
  16. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #16
    According to James Duncan Davidson, LED-backlit screen on MBP is very good. Needless to say, you should definitely profile (calibrate) the display using hardware calibrator.
     
  17. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #17
    I very much disagree. I have calibrated the LED backlit screen of my 15'' Macbook Pro and it is still very inaccurate compared to my S-IPS LCD that I hook up over DVI. It looks nice but it is not accurate.
     
  18. maestrokev macrumors 6502a

    maestrokev

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    #18
    I think you need to ask yourself what you'll be doing with the image after editing.

    If you're creating images for a big company and getting paid professionally then yes that extra bit of colour accuracy is required. If you're doing home printing then you'll learn to tweak your settings to get a better match - or maybe you can't see the difference or don't care as it is close enough. If you're sharing images on the web then it's more than accurate enough - how many internet users do you think know what hardware monitor calibration is or are using ICC profile aware browsers?

    I get a kick out of people who go on about their expensive displays and all the calibration they've done only to tell me that they're printing at some cheap place like Costco or Wal-Mart :)
     
  19. jrichie macrumors regular

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    #19
    I was talking to a pro photographer the other week and he was saying he won't get an imac due to the screen and innacuracey with colour.

    I have a 20 inch new imac and and also an 20 inch ACD. Usually I have been just working on the imac with the ACD gathering dust, but yesterday I hooked up the ACD to see the difference and it was amazing.

    conclusion - the ACD is much better to review / adjust photographs than the imac. This is the way I would go, and intend to stick with it now, having seen the difference.
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #20
    He's right, although an iMac is still much better than your laptop screen, which isn't made to show more than thousands of colours.

    How did you draw this conclusion on colour accuracy?
     
  21. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #21
    Many people would be surprised to see how accurate the iMac display actually is for color printing or output. My girlfriend has one and she has made plenty of adjustments in Lightroom that match once printed. Even with the added saturation of the glossy coat, it's pretty dead on. But then again, she knows how to use the numbers ;)

    The ACDs are the best looking monitors I have ever used. I had to go back to a 23" ASD from my 30" ACD and it was unbearable, although not as bad as using now dim and small 20" ACD at my home. Can't wait to get that 30" on my tiny desk.
     
  22. jrichie macrumors regular

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    #22
    I had the image I was adjusting spanning the 2 monitors to see the difference,before print and the ACD was more accurate, and there was quite an obvious difference, with the imac a lot brighter and showing colours where there wern't in the ACD.

    I do not know the CMYK / RGB numbers though and am not a pro graphics guy so of course my set up may be wrong.

    I suppose the same argument applies to glossy or matte displays on the MBP too.

    I was never that worried about it until the photographer mentioned it. Now I am thinking of amending my pics on the ACD only.
     
  23. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #23
    If you have both, then use the ACD, but yes, there will be a color difference from what you see, there always will be because our eyes and monitors are constantly changing. Color calibrators recommend re-calibrating at least every month or more.

    The numbers are what your printer (if available) say they are, or what looks good in print for your tastes. I pretty much use the exact numbers that PS gives me for CMYK/RGB values. I will see what the blackest part of my image is and see the color value, then set that as black, do the same for white, and if available do the same for grey. Just that simple step helps do about 70% for the tonal adjustments you will need. The rest is personal preference.
     

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