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DHill

How important is an IPS screen on a laptop?

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I was wondering what people's experience is with IPS vs non-IPS screens with laptops ... 

 

I'm currently researching a new laptop. It will not be my main computer; it will only be used on aeroplanes, trains, in hotels, at relatives' houses etc, so budget is finite, which means compromises. 

 

Top contender at the moment (MSI GE40) has nice specs but not great reviews about the screen - it doesn't cover all of the sRGB colour space, never mind Adobe RGB - but that seems common in laptops in this price range. But I won't be doing much Alamy editing - perhaps checking for sharpness and selecting. The main photo editing is likely to be old scanned family photos. I would imagine that lack of colour gamut can be compensated for to some extent by keeping an eye on the histogram to ensure clipping is avoided ... My biggest annoyance with laptops is that they bog down very quickly - just a few browser tabs open is enough to make my current laptop (i5, 4GB RAM) slow down way beyond the frustration level - so I want to put some money into decent performance. 

 

Any thoughts on this? Is limited gamut and non-IPS a deal breaker for a secondary computer? Or do people cope quite well with this limitation? 

 

Another mad thought is to save several hundred dollars on even the MSI machine and just go with a Toshiba L50 and upgrade it to 16GB: standard i5 processor, but only 1366x768 screen which might be annoying. 

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I think editing on any laptop is a pain whatever the screen. So the screen, while not irrelevant, is definitely secondary to the amount of RAM (and processor to a lesser extent) - viz your frustration with your current machine. I would say max out the RAM above all. If you ever need it tfor proper editing, then you can connect it to a monitor - that is what I do in any case.

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When I use a laptop it is only to check the images are reasonably sharp and for content. I do not process the image, colour/sharpening/etc, and wait till I can do it on my desktop at home.

 

Allan

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I too do not ever use the laptop for editing any of the images. Sometimes I will scan through them and dump the obvious failures, but no sharpness checking or any kind of post processing until on the big monitor at home. Images just don't look the same on a laptop screen.  My laptop is a bottom of the line Acer. Does a good job for me, I added extra RAM and that has been the only necessary change.

 

Jill

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One of the problems of photo editing is ambient light.  Unless you like sitting in a windowless room with absolutely fixed lighting conditions, spending top whack on any monitor is probably throwing money away.  Now consider how many different lighting environments you will have with "aeroplanes, trains, in hotels, at relatives' houses etc".  A cheap IPS screen - for I think that is all you will get for the extra spend - might be a bit nicer to look at though.

 

Anyway, I'm not sure you need much colour management at the Alamy level.  I don't know about you, but some of the colour confections that appear on their home page (today's for example) make me nauseous.  If they are happy with that, and the customers too - and no wonder the fees are crap - then go with the Toshiba.

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One of the problems of photo editing is ambient light.  Unless you like sitting in a windowless room with absolutely fixed lighting conditions, spending top whack on any monitor is probably throwing money away.  N

I have to disagree with this (assuming you mean any monitor and not just a laptop monitor in which case I totally agree). Why spend on high-end cameras and lenses and then view the results on a low-end screen.

 

When I’m not out taking pictures, I spend most of my time in front of my monitor in a darkened room which may as well be windowless. Having a good monitor to view my images on is an absolute pleasure. My images look wonderful (to me at least) on my monitor - it’s the least they deserve having taken the time to take them in the first place :). Having a properly calibrated monitor means I can be confident I am getting it right on my end - I can actually see those details in the highlights and shadows that the histogram is saying are there but that I couldn’t see on a lesser monitor. I spent years looking at my images on lesser monitors and I have to say breaking open the piggybank last year and getting a decent monitor was one of the best purchases I ever made.

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Thanks, MDM, Allan, Jill and Robert, for confirming that I'm probably on the right track. But ... are there any contrary views out there? 

 

I'm edging towards paying the extra for that MSI machine over the Toshiba for the SSD in addition to the HDD, the higher screen resolution and the generally better performance (though it's hard to know how much different that really is).   

 

I completely agree that a good monitor for the main computer, for editing, is essential. At one point, my monitor was worth more than my (main, desktop) computer. 

 

Robert - at the risk of diverging from the topic - you weren't hinting at my Alamy portfolio, were you? I do get the impression that vibrant images sell better as long as it's not overdone, but, hmm, perhaps I am overdoing it?? 

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The main issue I find with checking images on a Notebook is the variation in contrast with screen angle. Some Notebooks are better than others. My old Toshiba was fine, but my newer Dell is awful. It's so bad that the contrast varies from the top of the screen to the bottom when viewed at normal distances. The best Notebook displays I've seen have been Retina displays on Apple Macs.

Edited by M.Chapman

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The main issue I find with checking images on a Notebook is the variation in contrast with screen angle. Some Notebooks are better than others. My old Toshiba was fine, but my newer Dell is awful. It's so bad that the contrast varies from the top of the screen to the bottom when viewed at normal distances. The best Notebook displays I've seen have been Retina displays on Apple Macs.

 

The retina screens are excellent but they make everything look supersharp which is actually not what one wants when judging sharpness. I can't judge sharpness properly at all on my 13 inch Retina MacBookPro (it is otherwise a fantastic machine with 16GB of RAM and an SSD internal drive).

 

David - if you can afford it, go for the more expensive machine - the SSD drive alone can make quite a difference to performance but, as you already know, lots of RAM is essential. It's often false economy to buy cheaper anyway - you can end up upgrading again too soon.

Edited by MDM
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One of the problems of photo editing is ambient light. Unless you like sitting in a windowless room with absolutely fixed lighting conditions, spending top whack on any monitor is probably throwing money away. N

I have to disagree with this (assuming you mean any monitor and not just a laptop monitor in which case I totally agree). Why spend on high-end cameras and lenses and then view the results on a low-end screen.

 

When I’m not out taking pictures, I spend most of my time in front of my monitor in a darkened room which may as well be windowless. Having a good monitor to view my images on is an absolute pleasure. My images look wonderful (to me at least) on my monitor - it’s the least they deserve having taken the time to take them in the first place :). Having a properly calibrated monitor means I can be confident I am getting it right on my end - I can actually see those details in the highlights and shadows that the histogram is saying are there but that I couldn’t see on a lesser monitor. I spent years looking at my images on lesser monitors and I have to say breaking open the piggybank last year and getting a decent monitor was one of the best purchases I ever made.

All I meant was: there isn't much point in going over £1K for a wide gamut monitor unless you work in controlled viewing conditions.

 

I use one of the ASUS ProArt series (IPS) which does the job for me. Even if I spend £3k on a screen, I won't overcome the inherent problem of matching screen image to print output (C-type and silver gelatin) that occurs simply because screens are illuminated and prints are not.

Edited by Robert Brook

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The main issue I find with checking images on a Notebook is the variation in contrast with screen angle. Some Notebooks are better than others. My old Toshiba was fine, but my newer Dell is awful. It's so bad that the contrast varies from the top of the screen to the bottom when viewed at normal distances. The best Notebook displays I've seen have been Retina displays on Apple Macs.

 

The retina screens are excellent but they make everything look supersharp which is actually not what one wants when judging sharpness. I can't judge sharpness properly at all on my 13 inch Retina MacBookPro (it is otherwise a fantastic machine with 16GB of RAM and an SSD internal drive).

 

The pixels on a retina display are about 1/2 the size of regular display pixels. So, if you stay with the same viewing distance, what happens if you inspect at 200% instead of 100%?

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The main issue I find with checking images on a Notebook is the variation in contrast with screen angle. Some Notebooks are better than others. My old Toshiba was fine, but my newer Dell is awful. It's so bad that the contrast varies from the top of the screen to the bottom when viewed at normal distances. The best Notebook displays I've seen have been Retina displays on Apple Macs.

 

The retina screens are excellent but they make everything look supersharp which is actually not what one wants when judging sharpness. I can't judge sharpness properly at all on my 13 inch Retina MacBookPro (it is otherwise a fantastic machine with 16GB of RAM and an SSD internal drive).

 

The pixels on a retina display are about 1/2 the size of regular display pixels. So, if you stay with the same viewing distance, what happens if you inspect at 200% instead of 100%?

 

 

Good thinking. That does actually give a better idea of whether an image is sharp or not than at 100%. I was doing that for a while when travelling but I was getting eye strain from it - the images are not properly sharp but it could be used if there was no other option. Before I got the retina Mac, I had an early 11 inch MacBookAir which was even worse on the eyes - great for carrying because it was really light and small but not powerful enough for image processing. I usually wait until I get home to sort images properly although if I've got my car on a trip, I bring a monitor along.

Edited by MDM

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I have a laptop without an ips/sips etc screen now (plenty of RAM) but there's no way I could use that for Photohop or any other editing program. Before I had a IPS panel on my tiny Sony Vaio and it was perfect for Photoshop icw a Bamboo pad. The 17 inch Macbook was fine too, wit it's A4 Intuos. (Just much too big for modern air travel.)

 

So if you want to do any post, a ips screen, calibrated of course, is a neccesity.

If you just want to check if you got the image and if it's in focus, then anything will do.

 

wim

 

edit: typo

Edited by wiskerke

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The main issue I find with checking images on a Notebook is the variation in contrast with screen angle. Some Notebooks are better than others. My old Toshiba was fine, but my newer Dell is awful. It's so bad that the contrast varies from the top of the screen to the bottom when viewed at normal distances. The best Notebook displays I've seen have been Retina displays on Apple Macs.

 

The retina screens are excellent but they make everything look supersharp which is actually not what one wants when judging sharpness. I can't judge sharpness properly at all on my 13 inch Retina MacBookPro (it is otherwise a fantastic machine with 16GB of RAM and an SSD internal drive).

 

David - if you can afford it, go for the more expensive machine - the SSD drive alone can make quite a difference to performance but, as you already know, lots of RAM is essential. It's often false economy to buy cheaper anyway - you can end up upgrading again too soon.

 

 

I agree. The MacBook Pros are great for processing and I've been able to match the screen to the calibrated colours of my main monitors through ColorMunki but as far as sharpness goes, you only get a rough idea. Some say the retina screens represent the true sharpness of an image and softness highlights the weakness in older monitors not being able to resolve images correctly. That maybe so but it makes no difference if the majority of Agency Editors are reviewing images on non retina screens.

 

Personally, I'm not sure if that's the case and would always have a non-retina 27in + screen for reviewing images for sharpness. I wouldn't buy a iMac retina for that reason (as a main computer), I wouldn't know if I could trust what I was seeing.

 

Now I just use the dual graphics card 15" macbook pro to power the two 27 screens instead of an iMac.

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