Let's get the overall consensus once and for all - Alu iMac 24" & Photo Editing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Kuska, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Kuska macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2006
    Deep in The Weald, England
    Having returned two 24" iMacs already due to condensation issues and yellow and unevenly lit screens, and having read numerous threads, I thought it would be a great idea to get the overall consensus.

    So the question is :

    Is the new iMac 24" a competent machine for Photo editing or due to the reported and numerous screen/calibration issues, is it currently a bad choice?

    It would be interesting to get all views/experiences good & bad. At the moment I'm struggling to decide if I take another chance in the hope that I get a 'good one' or whether I wait for a rev B.


  2. Sam Spade macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2007
    It couldn't be more clear that the new iMacs are an extremely poor choice for any type of photo work. The panels are of poor quality and it's very unlikely that Apple will change this.
  3. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    Seconded – using one in work for photo work and I'm very disappointed with it. I'll be getting a Mac Pro instead of an iMac when I upgrade my home setup.
  4. Vidd macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    Remember that the 20" uses lower quality (TN) panels compared to the 24".
    Also, people are more likely to find forums to complain rather than post regarding good impressions.
  5. WBryan macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2007

    I work in an advertising agency and everyone that works on any art uses a Mac Pro and a Cinema Screen. I have the 24" 2.8ghz iMac at home and I have to say, I love it. The screen really is incredible.

    As for photo editing there seems to be a big divide. Is it possible for you to get a Mac Pro? I would say that is the best of the best for photo editing.

    I personally would no have no worries using mine for some photo editing, but I also don't do that for a living!

    It seems you are pretty worried about the screen and have had some bad experiences. Can you wait a while to get a Mac Pro?
  6. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Have a look at this thread on dpreview.com discussing the iMac screen quality.
  7. Jimmdean macrumors 6502

    Mar 21, 2007
    Personally I think it's fine, and I only have the 20". But I'm not the picky sort. One thing I know for sure though is you certainly don't need a Mac Pro for Photo Editing - that would be the worst advice ever. A Mac Mini (w) max memory would be a much better choice, and you could choose whichever panel you wish...
  8. Kuska thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2006
    Deep in The Weald, England
    Thanks - Great Link - Factual review of both the 20" & 24" machines - Very helpful.
  9. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    If you are looking to print, you are looking to either add an external monitor to an ALUMiMac or toward getting a Mini, a Pro or an older white iMac.
  10. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    i use my 24inch imac for photo and video editing and i have no complaints. I still use two CRT's at my office on a powermac for video editing and have never had a complaint about the "glossyness" of them, nor have i ever complained about the glossyness of my imac
  11. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Well you certainly don't need a Mac Pro to do photo editing. If you are on a tight budget an iMac + ACD would work fine.

    If you are going to be doing a lot of processing of the photos or are earning a living from the photos, then go with a Mac Pro + ACD.

    In the end you have to ask yourself if the Mac Pro is worth the extra $1000.

    Personally I would get the iMac. If you find that you simply can't do photo work on it, then get an ACD.
  12. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2006
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    my 2 cents... from one who uses it everyday

    Ok, I use the previous iMac 24" EVERY SINGLE DAY PROFESSIONALLY, and love it. The screen is great, and calibrated with ease with a Spyder2, turn the brightness all the way down and then run the calibration. I am not sure how "distracting" the glossy surface is (but then again I used CRTs for years and never whined about it then). I could be wrong but I would doubt these monitors on the new 24's are worse than the previous generation. Take comments and complaints with a grain of salt, because often some folks have alterior motives (or worse, don't even have the computer they are complaining about).

    I work extensively in Pshop, Aperture, iPhoto, Quark etc, and manage about 20k images. I was about to buy a MacPro for almost 7k when the 24" came out, for half the money it was a good deal and I have not regretted it once. Plus in 2 years I can buy another that will most likely be faster, more powerful, and have a bigger screeen for less than what I paid for the first one. Both would cost less than a MacPro would have. Would I like 4gb instead of the 3gb I have now? Sure, and if they came out with a 30" version I would have one sitting on my desk right now. I placed the order the day the 24" was announced, and it was a good day. Talk to folks who actually use one for photo editing (and not those who want to feel better about shelling out the bucks for the Pro, lol). IF you choose to buy the iMac, max everything out (especially the ram). Good luck in your decision, but take MY post with a grain of salt as well, as I have the previous version of the 24".
    cheers, michael
  13. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    I upgraded from a Powermac/20" ACD to the 24" iMac.
    My immediate impression in Photoshop is that the 24" IMac is not quite as good as the 20" ACD at displaying 25% previews.
    The 24" iMac allows more room for work, so I can actually work at 50% zoom, which looks essentially the same as the 20" ACD, except that it's larger.
    As far as I can tell, the screen color and brightness is uniform from edge to edge.

    A friend of mine purchased a new 24" aluminum iMac and had SERIOUS issues with the video chipset. The screen would occassionally go black, requiring a hard reset.
    There was also an issue with severe graphics corruption on the desktop, also requiring a restart.
    The left side and back of the machine were always VERY hot, even when the machine was idling.
    My 24" Aluminum iMac is NEVER more than warm to the touch.

    IMO, some samples of the new iMacs have issues with the video chipset or HDD cooling efficiency (heatsinks poorly attached, etc...), which is probably the underlying cause for some of the visual issues on some of the machines.
    This is not surprising at all, given the extremely compact enclosure and high clock frequencies involved.

    I'd say that the 24" iMac is more than sufficient for professional photo editing (or any kind of pro media editing for that matter), provided you don't end up with a defect.
    Would I buy one again? If cost were no object, I would choose the MacPro/23"ACD without a doubt. I prefer the greater HDD and RAM expansion of the Mac Pro; the IMac has defects of its virtues in this regard.
    The display quality has not been an issue for me.
  14. Leon Kowalski macrumors 6502a

    Leon Kowalski

    Sep 20, 2007
    Gondwanaland Reunification Front HQ
    So, how'd you like to stare at this every single day?

    For more/larger iMac screen photos and photo tech info see:


    ...it's your nickel -- you be the judge,


    1) 24" ALU iMac, Background: "Solid Blue Aqua", L:R luminance ratio: 2.5:1
    2) 24" ALU iMac, Background: "Solid Gray Medium", L:R luminance ratio: 2.5:1

    Attached Files:

  15. Kuska thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2006
    Deep in The Weald, England
    Mine was similar - you could have drawn a line from top right to bottom left on the 2nd machine I had but the differential was almost identical.

  16. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    I'm trying to figure out how photo pros can not understand that the LCD glossy screens and CRT screens are not at all similar and shouldn't be compared like they are in this thread.
  17. headhammer macrumors regular

    May 15, 2007
    i ordered my 24" 2.8 ghz the day they were announced, 8 days later, received it, have been using it almost daily for print and video work with no complaints since then. my screen does not have this mysterious gradient that some people seem to be on a crusade against apple over.

    in addition, i sell these computers, at least one 24" every working day, (i sell them 5 out of seven days a week) and have not a singe one back yet for any reason whatsoever. a significant portion of people who buy from me are graphics professionals, and the company i work for sells apple gear to a rather large printing company in australia; it's the second biggest. my boss looks after the account for them. they ordered 7 imacs, 4 of which were 24" machines, on the day they were announced, to trial them. having no issues they have continued to purchase significantly more computers; some 20" imacs, but mainly 24" imacs, for their designers to use.

    again, not one of these machines has come back for any reason, although we have had about 9 or 10 mighty mouses (mouses? mice?) come back with dodgy scroll balls.

    ...and the display 24" in our store has no screen issue with uneven colour or backlighting either. even though it's never been turned off since we received it

    i'm not denying that some people have experienced issues, but it really represents a small number of computers. i don't understand why some people seem to have nothing to do but post about how terrible these screens seem to be, but i work full time as a salesperson and freelance design work in the evenings and don't have time to go around refuting every single one of their posts, but don't be deterred, the issue is not as big as some people would have you believe.
  18. quadgirl macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2006
    You're missing the point. Put the 24" white and the ALU side by side. Compare with ALL HONESTY which is the higher quality display. The most accurate. Without gradient. Without reflections/eye strain. Come on! If I spend over £1000 on an iMac the screen must be up to par, and be better or equal in all areas than the previous model. For photography? NO WAY. Will kids love to watch movies on the ALU iMac? Sure. Do Apple make their Cinema Displays glossy? Don't make me laugh. Will they ever give us the gloss/matt option? Probably not :( Why not? They need to sell Cinema Displays and Mac Pros to photographers, videographers, etc
  19. Leon Kowalski macrumors 6502a

    Leon Kowalski

    Sep 20, 2007
    Gondwanaland Reunification Front HQ
    Does ANYONE make pro or semi-pro glossy monitors?

    ... how can that be?

  20. D ROCK macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2007
    I edit videos semi pro with FCS 2 and use Pshop daily...
    I dunno what you would say is "professional"
    but I make good money on the side to use this computer and I would never I repeat never trade my 24" Alu iMac for my brothers mac pro with 23 " cinema.
    that's just my 2 cents but I love the space saving and mobility features of this little guy.
    I guess little is not really the right term but its smaller than all the gear and crap my brother has to haul around with his.... speakers tower screen etc....
    I have no gradient issues... I was worried about that but try as I might noone can see anything remotely like a gradient on the screen...
    and it has never frozen the screeen requiring a hard reset.....
    I might be lucky but this is my 6th?
    mac total and I love each one better than the last.
    I had 2 17 " iMacs. one was the original G5 ordered the day it came out and the other was ordered 2 months before the most recent refresh of the iMacs.
    it was a c2d but I love em all.

    I do feel bad for those who have had a bad experience with them though...
    I am in Toronto Canada......
  21. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    Seemingly image pro's (certainly any I know) won't use glossy screens, because they don't give a true image. The contrast ratio is far higher than photo prints (or so I've been told)
  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    99.9% of Mac users are very casual photographers at best. The way I look at it is this: Back when everyone used film how many people cared which brand of film they used and how many took the effort to match the film brand with the subject. Did you have strong preference for Agfa potrait film over Fuji. Did you like Kodachrome and put up with the jassle involved with getting it processed. If you were one of these kinds of photographers then you will not want a 6-bit dithered glossy monitor. Even if you could get a pristine perfect example of one. The design specs of the new iMac are just not what you'd want.

    On the other hand if you were happy to shoot consummer type negative film and have it processed at the drug store then the imac is "good enough" and you don't need a color calibrated workflow.

    It is the same with music. Most people are happy with those little "computer speakers" and the Apple iPod earbuds. How many people
    spend $1,000 on a pair of speakers? Same reason Blue Ray is not taking off -- most people are happy with 480p.

    OK bottom line: Good enough for most causel users bu not good enough
    for critial use. For those few people, find an older white iMac or buy
    a second LCD modit for a new one. Buy a Mini or spring for a Mac Pro.

    I imagine may pro photographers are using MS Windows because
    Apple keeps refusing to sell a mainstrean desktop machine. For
    someone who wants a good photo editing system and runs Photoshp
    and has a $2K budget, Windows is it. Apple just does not have a
    product to sell.
  23. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    While I know you do good work. It's funny about videos like for weddings. The couples buying them almost never complain about poor video quality, blown out highlights or blocked out shadows. It just think it is normal. Heck as long as there is no bad camera shake they like it. But if there is the least problem with audio the shoot appears very amateurish. The general public seems to be very non-critical of video quality. Selling to studios is different Motion pictures and even TV commercials seem to have higher production standards.

    I think when people say "pro quality" they mean "selling to a professional" where the buyer is an art director or producer. Consumers will buy crap.
  24. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    My 24" iMac display looks pretty much identical to my 20" ACD in terms of contrast and overall image quality.
    There might be some minor differences, but nothing that would preclude the iMac for professional graphics or photo work.

    Commercially printed CMYK brochures, business cards, and menus I have completed in the past month on this machine have matched very closely to the display images.
    In fact, I haven't had a single nasty color surprise with this machine yet!

    The one thing that would preclude this machine from professional work is the lack of fast secondary internal storage for scratch disks and video capture.
    using dedicated drives and controllers is paramount for high-end multimedia authoring.
    For Photo editing and DTP in a small home office, this machine is awesome.
  25. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination

    Professionalism isn't based on the clients perception and standard of work, it's based on the producers. A wedding photographer that thinks it's okay to have blown highlights and no shadow detail is not a professional and has very low standard for their own work. Even if the client won't notice, the videographer/editor should care very much about the work that goes out to the public with their name on it. Trust me, when my cousin got married I examined every inch of the photogs shots. He put out his best work because he knows that anyone could see his work, even a photo editor.

    I understand that some clients don't have high standards for their products, so I get you when you say that, but professionalism is a measure of the creatives standard of work.

    I like what this guy says about Apple's new keyboard. It may be comfortable for light users and macbook users, but it's a terrible design and the placing of the keys is horrible. Makes me think a younger less experienced team of Apple product designers fresh out of undergrad made it.

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