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Hi

 

I have been using an iMac for a few months now.  I used to use a PC prior to that.

 

When I view my recently uploaded images on Alamy on my PC monitor (used to be calibrated regularly), they appear to be much darker and more contrasty than my intention.  Is this a common problem/issue with iMac?  Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

 

I am also curious about how my images appear on other people's monitors.  Can anyone spare a minute or so to look through my images and make a comment in terms of brightness and contrast?  The first few pages (120 images on a page) are done with iMac.

 

Sung

 

 

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I recall David K saying on the old forum that iMac screens are too bright even at their darkest setting. If your screen is too bright, then your images would appear dark on a well-calibrated monitor. I'm using a dual monitor setup with a Mac Pro. One of the monitors is an ageing 21-inch Apple with the brightness turned down as low as possible and gamma as high as possible in order to match my other monitor. Your Alamy images look slightly too dark to me as if the histogram has moved to the left but they are not too contrasty to my eye - the highlights appear a bit muted in fact - but not a lot overall and they probably look normal on many monitors. I would suggest checking the histograms in the first place to see if you are hitting the highlights.

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Thank you, John & Phil and for your detailed comment, MDM.  As suggested, I do watch the histogram while I work on them in LR.

Edited by SFL

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Sung, a Mac display is much brighter than others in most cases due to the way it's back lit. If you have the brightness level all the way up during edits, then images will look darker. I know that doesn't seem like it would be the case, but it is. Without calibration I had mine set around 60% all the time, yet still at times images would look a bit dark. Even watching carefully the Lr histogram. I got the Spyder Elite 4 calibration device, set my brightness to 100% and let it do it's thing. I edit in a fairly dark room, so setting to where the brightness was comfortable per Spyder didn't work as it should have. Thus why I set it to 100% during calibration.

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Sung, a Mac display is much brighter than others in most cases due to the way it's back lit. If you have the brightness level all the way up during edits, then images will look darker. I know that doesn't seem like it would be the case, but it is. Without calibration I had mine set around 60% all the time, yet still at times images would look a bit dark. Even watching carefully the Lr histogram. I got the Spyder Elite 4 calibration device, set my brightness to 100% and let it do it's thing.

I edit in a fairly dark room, so setting to where the brightness was comfortable per Spyder didn't work as it should have. Thus why I set it to 100% during calibration.

 

I found that even around 50% of brightness is still too bright.  My monitor is set at less than 50%. As you said, I also pay great attention to histogram when editing.

 

Sorry for being slow, but I don't understand what you mean by the last part of your reply.

 

I am considering getting Spyder 4, but pro or elite?

 

Sung

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I think the images look great. Lovely portfolio you have. 

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I think the images look great. Lovely portfolio you have. 

 

Thank you, Paul.

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Sung, my apologies as I've been busy and should've elaborated more clearly. Either Pro or Elite are good... I don't use Elite yet to its full potential, but thought in time I might want the top end version to have more control when I figured out it all. lol. That said in the instructions it states to set the brightness to your comfort level, then run the calibration. I did this numerous times and still didn't get the results I thought it should be. So I did some research, sent emails and was told to try putting the iMac brightness at 100%, then run the calibration. I think the thought process was since I edit in a fairly dark room and Macs are so bright, trying it this way would level things out. At present with Spyder Elite 4 calibration, my iMac brightness is set to 100% yet is very comfortable to my eyes and unless I wish my images to be a bit on the dark side, they are fine. 

 

More often than not many who edit leave their displays at 100% and that simply is not the best way to do it in most cases, as it will render dark images. If one edits with the brightest display setting then one like myself that has a calibrated display will see them as dark, because I don't have mine at 100% original brightness. Make sense?

 

Of course you could try it both ways and see which one works for you. Another thing is to be sure you watch for updates and to check immediately if you do get Spyder. For a time they were having issues with a reddish hue, which I battled with too periodically and an update fixed that. Hope this a bit more helpful.

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At present with Spyder Elite 4 calibration, my iMac brightness is set to 100% yet is very comfortable to my eyes and unless I wish my images to be a bit on the dark side, they are fine. 

 

More often than not many who edit leave their displays at 100% and that simply is not the best way to do it in most cases, as it will render dark images. If one edits with the brightest display setting then one like myself that has a calibrated display will see them as dark, because I don't have mine at 100% original brightness. Make sense?

 

Not really I have to say. I hope you are using a good sunblock  :unsure:. Everything I have ever read (e.g Martin Evening's excellent PSCS6 book) about modern Apple displays and personal experience suggests setting the brightness very low. 

 

EDIT: I should add that your Alamy images look fine on my Apple display which I have at lowest possible brightness.

Edited by MDM

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Thank you Charly and MDM for your comments.

 

Everything I have ever read (e.g Martin Evening's excellent PSCS6 book) about modern Apple displays and personal experience suggests setting the brightness very low. 

 

Does ME's CS6 book have any practical suggestions/advice on this issue of iMac monitor? 

 

Sung

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Thank you Charly and MDM for your comments.

 

Everything I have ever read (e.g Martin Evening's excellent PSCS6 book) about modern Apple displays and personal experience suggests setting the brightness very low. 

 

Does ME's CS6 book have any practical suggestions/advice on this issue of iMac monitor? 

 

Sung

 

Yes. Get the brightness way down and hardware calibrate is fundamentally what he is saying. A bit too much for me to condense here. The CS6 book is available as a Kindle download for around £17. I buy a hardcopy one about every three versions of PS to see what he is saying as he is very clear and knowledgeable. I don't claim any major expertise in the area of monitor calibration by the way. It's one of those things I got a practical working solution for years ago but have too much else to think about to boggle my brains with the theory.

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Thanks, MDM.  It sounds certainly worthwhile to get a copy of the book.

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Hmm how to articulate this….


 


 


Preface, no one should leave their display/monitor at 100% brightness out of the box


 


 


iMac (or any display/monitor) out of box brightness at 100% = bad, too bright, hard on eyes


 


Spyder Elite calibration at 100% on iMac = just right and cannot make any brighter (meaning you lose the capability to have a very bright display which you don't need/want)


 


Edit at 100% brightness out of box display + viewed on lesser% brightness display = dark image (you can test this yourself; edit at 100% to where it looks good, then start turning down your brightness and at lesser% it will look dark. And a good amount of people don't use their display at 100%, thus they will see an image that looks unexposed when it is not)


 


I don't edit at 100% iMacs original display brightness, so they wouldn't look dark to anyone. After I calibrated with Spyder, I had to rework all my images that looked dark and there were quite a few; not through them all either.


 


Before I calibrated and just had my iMac display set to 40-60% brightness, any dark image I came across I would up the brightness and mostly they would look ok or less dark anyways. Which told me that person edited at 100% brightness on their monitor. Unfortunately one of the drawbacks of my calibrated display is now I cannot up the brightness and a dark image will always look dark. Not a good thing for those photogs, as their images would be passed over. :(


 


Spyder's instructions is to first go through a checklist. One of those are set your display brightness to your comfort level; let's say 50% and when I did so it didn't give the results I thought it should have. But when I set the iMac brightness at 100%, then calibrated it was perfect for me. So anyone that views my images will either see it normal exposure to a bit overexposed if their brightness level is set high. Hopefully if one sees an image as overexposed they will think about turning down their brightness, yet many don't know how it affects images/graphics/etc.


 


If this doesn't clarify things, I'll have to give up. Sorry for not being helpful.

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I'm not familiar with the Spyder so don't really understand what you meant. As I said, I'm far from being an expert in colour management. I certainly didn't mean what I said to be in any way offensive to you so I hope you didn't take it like that - it's so easy to be misunderstood through this medium.

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This is a subject that was discussed ad infinitum on the old forum if I remember correctly, and never with any kind of definitive answer, unfortunately.

 

It would seem that everyone has a different setting when it comes to brightness.

 

My last two iMacs, and my present one, were set to about 50% +/- This seems to be more or less ok for me. I always pull the curtains and shut all lights off when I process. Touch wood, haven't come up against any problems. I only ever turn my iMac up to 100% if I have factor 50 handy.

 

It would be nice to have some kind of definitive answer, but seemingly displays within a make, whether Apple or otherwise have their own quirks. Add to that a photographers own preferences and that answer becomes ever more elusive. Perhaps one day all displays will be created equal.

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I also have an iMac, a couple years old.  I'm embarrassed to say I've never calibrated the monitor, although I know it's something I should do.  When I view my images on  a PC (at work), rather than dark, they seem a bit over-exposed to me.  I have my brightness set just under 50%, and my images print off similar to how they look on the screen.

 

SFL I really like the dramatic skies you have in many of your images.

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Sung, I don't think the issue is your Mac but you may have a slight tendency to prefer richer, darker images (Charlie Waite style) which has added to a new monitor and colour calibration to tip you over a certain line. However, I don't think that is the cause. I've studied the 'first few pages' with care and see that you have combined midwinter light with morning and evening shooting, and that you have used specific camera grads (or a raw process equivalent). You have the occasional image where the reflection of the sky in water is brighter than the sky itself. Add to this the usual effects of the (correct) AdobeRGB on Alamy screens and you get a combination of very warm colour and low contrast, with a particularly strong effect on sky blue. Many of your views don't really have a blue in the sky at all, it only looks blue because of the contrast with warmer tones. There is a lot of neutral density present in the S.France Nov/Dec images. I think you have some wonderful shots there, and my reference to Charlie Waite is appropriate.

 

But when you compare these images - dawn/last light in the high humidity of that region, especially the coastal locations, winter light with its lower colour index - against your earlier daytime, mid-year British views the white balance starts to look dirty simply because the PC-processed shots generally don't start with the same soft, golden light. The weakness of winter sun means that at the season you travelled in this area, the best time of day for photography is probably mid-day - the reverse of the old advice. It's the only time that the colour content of the light will give an RGB sensor enough to play with.

 

I find that in these conditions I may need to drop the WB/K setting to as low as 4000. Even in summer I often drop the ACR WB to 4900K (no longer possible in the new ACR - GRRRRR! along with countless other negative changes) when the camera has recorded 5200-5300 or so. It just cleans up the sky without removing warmth from sunlight.

 

The dilemma is that if you follow Charlie Waite's methods (as I think you may) you end up with images tending towards warmth and darker than normal rendering. I have reproduced his work several times and from the film days on, it's always been a stop darker than anyone else's typical output. This looked great as it used to be sold, mounted in black masks and seen on a light table as a real transparency 6 x 6cm. Put the same general look and feel of shot on a computer screen, at 35mm frame preview thumbnail size, against a white background and you're working against the odds.

 

I would understand how your (latest) images work and not be put off, but some buyers may only be attracted to Disneyland colour. Seen as your own portfolio, they look good but mixed in with much brighter and more garish work they are only going to appeal to the more discerning picture editor. Bad thing or good?

Edited by David Kilpatrick
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I find that in these conditions I may need to drop the WB/K setting to as low as 4000. Even in summer I often drop the ACR WB to 4900K (no longer possible in the new ACR - GRRRRR! along with countless other negative changes) when the camera has recorded 5200-5300 or so. It just cleans up the sky without removing warmth from sunlight.

 

I

David - what are you referring to when you say it is no longer possible to drop the ACR WB? I just downloaded it to see what you mean and can't see any change in the WB control in ACR (at a quick glance in any case). For the first time in many years I've stuck with my existing version of PS (CS6) rather than move to subscription and I'm not keeping up to date with developments.

Edited by MDM

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What looks good is in the eye of the beholder. Sung, I see nothing "wrong" with your thumbnails or your exposures; you don't want to correct interesting lighting. It ain't really broke, so don't fix it.

 

David K and all: The Charlie Waite that David referred to is a British landscape fine-arts photographer, and on his site that's what you see. Good stuff. But here's another aspect of his work in a video ad, done for the Panasonic LX5.  http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/popup/lx5_gallery/charlie_waite/

 

Although the title of this video is "A Landscape in My Pocket" Mr. Waite is shooting abstractions. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I find that in these conditions I may need to drop the WB/K setting to as low as 4000. Even in summer I often drop the ACR WB to 4900K (no longer possible in the new ACR - GRRRRR! along with countless other negative changes) when the camera has recorded 5200-5300 or so. It just cleans up the sky without removing warmth from sunlight.

 

I

David - what are you referring to when you say it is no longer possible to drop the ACR WB? I just downloaded it to see what you mean and can't see any change in the WB control in ACR (at a quick glance in any case). For the first time in many years I've stuck with my existing version of PS (CS6) rather than move to subscription and I'm not keeping up to date with developments.

 

Cancel that... while other things have changed, the WB scale does indeed remain as it is. I was working with an overlay (grad) and that is just given as a shift, not a K figure. It's still in K and I didn't mean you could not - just that I thought they had changed the way it was controlled. My main frustration with 8.2 is that the program no longer remembers your output size settings uniquely for each camera, and has dropped the set menu of sizes in favour of a Lightroom-style infinitely variable output rescaling. Problem is, once set it is remembered and applied to the next image (and on and on until changed) - before, it was a setting uniquely remembered for each serial number of camera, like the CR defaults (if you request that).

 

Actually thinking about it maybe they should have changed the WB scale to a plus-minus shift, as this would have allowed the same offset to apply to all files from a camera, based on Auto WB but applying a fixed shift.

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Glad you cleared that up David and that Adobe have not restricted us all to the red end of the spectrum. I tend to be careful updating Photoshop as it can be difficult or impossible to go back sometimes. II use Lightroom now mostly for my raw conversions and have stayed with version 4 for now as I'm not clear there is any benefit for me upgrading to 5. But I like to keep the ACR versions in sync to prevent getting annoying messages when going from LR to PS. Multiple camera type settings are not a problem for me but I can see how they would be for you.

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Thank you everyone for the replies.  Especially, as usual, David's in depth analysis of my images.  I do appreciate your spending time on my issue.

 
I do admire Mr Waite's work. I met him a couple of times in the past.  I have to say he is such a genuine guy. Although I don't consciously follow his style, his influence may be seen in my image making process in some cases.
 
David, you said "Many of your views don't really have a blue in the sky at all, it only looks blue because of the contrast with warmer tones."  Would you be kind enough to give me a couple of image references?  
 
Many thanks to everyone again.
 
Sung
Edited by SFL

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