Do I need a new Monitor, or what?

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
Erik Ohlson
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Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
8 months ago

I recently posted a sunset photo for C&C:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3587183

The photo was meant to have the bottom, shadowed part, fully black, like this:

View: original size

But other viewers apparently could see buildings in that area which I couldn't see even when doing PP in PSE8.

I checked, by "lightening the shadows" a LOT and found that there were, indeed buildings there which I had not intended:

View: original size

So, evidently my monitor must be getting old (Intel Dual-Core iMac, several years old) I HAD noticed that pictures posted on the forums by others, were looking dark - adjusted my monitor to maximum brightness in System Preferences & thought it was OK, which tuns out to be wrong.

Any ideas as to what's best at this point?

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joel artino
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Erik Ohlson, 8 months ago

Erik Ohlson wrote:

I recently posted a sunset photo for C&C:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3587183

The photo was meant to have the bottom, shadowed part, fully black, like this:

View: original size

But other viewers apparently could see buildings in that area which I couldn't see even when doing PP in PSE8.

I checked, by "lightening the shadows" a LOT and found that there were, indeed buildings there which I had not intended:

View: original size

So, evidently my monitor must be getting old (Intel Dual-Core iMac, several years old) I HAD noticed that pictures posted on the forums by others, were looking dark - adjusted my monitor to maximum brightness in System Preferences & thought it was OK, which tuns out to be wrong.

Any ideas as to what's best at this point?

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"Measure wealth not by things you have but by things for which you would not take money"
www.flickr.com/ohlsonmh/ ohlsonmh@yahoo.com

Hi Erik,

I had an Imac very similar to yours and noticed the same thing happening over time, until last December when I decided I had gotten more than my money's worth with the machine lasting almost 5 years.

I went back and forth deciding whether to just get another 21" iMac, get a 27" iMac or get a Mac Mini and a nice monitor. New iMacs have 16/9 screens, which I think are not optimal for photo viewing unless you use that format when shooting. A new 21" iMac sells for about $1200, with a 27" costing about $1700. A new Mac Mini sells for ~$550, add an Apple keyboard for $65, and a Dell U2412 24" 16/10 IPS monitor (very highly rated with a 3 year warranty), `$260, so for about $875 you can have a Mac system that is definitely powerful enough for photo editing, with a monitor that is significantly larger than a 21" iMac, and actually almost as large as a 27" iMac.  The Dell monitor easily switches from landscape to portrait configuration, and is height adjustable, options you do not have with an iMac.

Being an analytical guy, I went with the Mac Mini package, and a year later am still quite pleased with it. You do need to add a mouse, a web cam if you need it and external speakers but even if you buy all of those items (assuming you don't have them around the house) its still a much more economical alternative, and you'll never be in a situation where you have to replace everything (all in one iMac) when one component fails.

Hope this helps.

Joel

P.S. I should add I sold the old iMac to a family who wanted an iMac for their 12 year old son, and were more than pleased to buy mine for $275. First caller from my placed ad on Craigslist.

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Darrell Spreen
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Erik Ohlson, 8 months ago

I suggest you do monitor calibration first. Macs provide internal calibration controls that can do the job. They're under system preferences>displays>color. You can check your calibration with one of the online websites like the following:

http://www.simpelfilter.de/en/colorman/gammatest_en.html

or

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

I recalibrate my NEC monitor about once a month.

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Kevin Coppalotti
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Erik Ohlson, 8 months ago

If you look at the original thread, the guy mentioned the 'first' unedited photo, which does have some buildings visible in it. In this thread the 'second' photo is shown which the foreground is completely black on my monitor.

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Erik Ohlson
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Kevin Coppalotti, 8 months ago

Kevin Coppalotti wrote:

If you look at the original thread, the guy mentioned the 'first' unedited photo, which does have some buildings visible in it. In this thread the 'second' photo is shown which the foreground is completely black on my monitor.

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WOW ! what a great response! Thanks, all.

Yes, Kevin,  my vision of this scene was with the foreground completely black with no shadowy distractions, and that's how it appeared om my monitor.

I got exactly Zero response to this same thread when posted on the Mac forum, and here I get several good suggestions.

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Erik Ohlson
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Darrell Spreen, 8 months ago

Darrell Spreen wrote:

I suggest you do monitor calibration first. Macs provide internal calibration controls that can do the job. They're under system preferences>displays>color. You can check your calibration with one of the online websites like the following:

http://www.simpelfilter.de/en/colorman/gammatest_en.html

or

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

I recalibrate my NEC monitor about once a month.

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Darrell

Thanks, Darrell,

You did lead me to some adjustments I didn't know about and things are at least somewhat better - very much appreciated.

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Erik Ohlson
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to joel artino, 8 months ago

Wow, Joel,

An extremely succinct and insightful dissertation on this problem.

I actually can't see sidelining my present computer although a Mac Mini would be my choice if that were the case.

Your suggestions as to Monitors, though are great - and although I could shop around, it is better to take the suggestions of someone who actually has the equipment.

I may just have to "assist" Santa......

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kkardster
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Kevin Coppalotti, 8 months ago

Kevin Coppalotti wrote:

If you look at the original thread, the guy mentioned the 'first' unedited photo, which does have some buildings visible in it. In this thread the 'second' photo is shown which the foreground is completely black on my monitor.

Agreed - I had a question mark pop into my head when I first read Erik's post because what I saw was exactly what Erik thought he saw.  Erik - unless you need a bigger/better monitor, save your money for the next ZS!

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Bruce
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manthasfamily
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Kevin Coppalotti, 8 months ago

Kevin Coppalotti wrote:

If you look at the original thread, the guy mentioned the 'first' unedited photo, which does have some buildings visible in it. In this thread the 'second' photo is shown which the foreground is completely black on my monitor.

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I'm so glad you said that Kevin because I thought my monitor was going bad.  All is black for me also. {{{wipes sweat from forehead.}}}

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Karen
If it pleases you then to hell what everyone else thinks!

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tree11b
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to manthasfamily, 8 months ago

I had exactly the same thing on my computer, the original thread showed the faint buildings but not the second. I concurr, save the bucks for the next ZS.

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Jim

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joel artino
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to tree11b, 8 months ago

tree11b wrote:

I had exactly the same thing on my computer, the original thread showed the faint buildings but not the second. I concurr, save the bucks for the next ZS.

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Jim

Guys,

If the primary way that one views their images is barely adequate or worse, buying a new, bigger, better monitor sure seems to me to be the way to proceed. What's the point of more camera equipment if the viewing of the output from the camera is barely adequate?

I know I have received far more enjoyment looking at my images from my LX7 and ZS19 on a 24" IPS monitor than shooting with a $1000 camera and an expensive prime lens if the monitor I am viewing the output on is small and of poor quality.

Seems like a no brainer to me! But of course, to each his/her own.

Regards,

Joel

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kkardster
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to joel artino, 8 months ago

joel artino wrote:

tree11b wrote:

I had exactly the same thing on my computer, the original thread showed the faint buildings but not the second. I concurr, save the bucks for the next ZS.

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Jim

Guys,

If the primary way that one views their images is barely adequate or worse, buying a new, bigger, better monitor sure seems to me to be the way to proceed. What's the point of more camera equipment if the viewing of the output from the camera is barely adequate?

Well, since Erik never stated he was unhappy with his monitor [except under the guise of this misguided post] and never implied that it was "barely adequate or worse", I simply suggested that he needn't upgrade just for the sake of upgrading.  As per saving it for the "next ZS", that's more of an inside joke as Erik loves that camera series.

Don't get me wrong - viewing images is the primary end-game when it comes to photography, so I entirely agree that however you prefer to view your images should be as pleasing as possible.

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Bruce
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joel artino
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to kkardster, 8 months ago

kkardster wrote:

joel artino wrote:

tree11b wrote:

I had exactly the same thing on my computer, the original thread showed the faint buildings but not the second. I concurr, save the bucks for the next ZS.

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Jim

Guys,

If the primary way that one views their images is barely adequate or worse, buying a new, bigger, better monitor sure seems to me to be the way to proceed. What's the point of more camera equipment if the viewing of the output from the camera is barely adequate?

Well, since Erik never stated he was unhappy with his monitor [except under the guise of this misguided post] and never implied that it was "barely adequate or worse", I simply suggested that he needn't upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. As per saving it for the "next ZS", that's more of an inside joke as Erik loves that camera series.

Don't get me wrong - viewing images is the primary end-game when it comes to photography, so I entirely agree that however you prefer to view your images should be as pleasing as possible.

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Bruce
You learn something new every time you press the shutter

Bruce,

Understood. it was actually more of a general response, since the "norm" in viewing camera output has significantly changed over time from prints to monitors. And i would wager that there are many photographers out there that have spent $$$$ on their photographic equipment and $ on their monitor(s). As an example, i have 2 good friends who shoot with Nikon DSLRs and lenses that are quite expensive, with neither having a monitor larger than 20" or less than 4 years old! When they view their photos they have sent me on my monitor, they are consistently amazed how great they look, and they keep on buying more photo equipment, but not new monitors.

Happy holidays,

Joel

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kkardster
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to joel artino, 8 months ago

joel artino wrote:

As an example, i have 2 good friends who shoot with Nikon DSLRs and lenses that are quite expensive, with neither having a monitor larger than 20" or less than 4 years old! When they view their photos they have sent me on my monitor, they are consistently amazed how great they look, and they keep on buying more photo equipment, but not new monitors.

Happy holidays,

Joel

I see what you mean.  Their old monitors may actually provide a benefit by discouraging obsessive pixel-peeping while promoting excellent imagery to overcome their shortcomings!

I admit I was very impressed with the 4K television I saw in the store the other day.  I didn't think we needed better than HDTV, but I must admit it looked awesome.  (They did not display it side-by-side with a good HDTV - if so I might have just as easily said the HDTV was good enough [especially considering price!])

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djddpr
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Erik Ohlson, 8 months ago

Erik,

Sorry to hear of problems with your monitor.

Useful sites:
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/
http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/s-ips-lcd-list.php

My preferences:
1. NEC (I still use my trusty NEC 2140, 7 years old).
2. Dell

Good luck.

David Dollevoet

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bolador
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to djddpr, 8 months ago

Hi,
I have but don't use for photo a core dúo iMac too. And yes you probably need to upgrade it. In mine After five years you can see the vertical light tubes behind the screen.. awfull !

But if the processing power is still enough for you... then first check the screen calibration..
I use mainly a PC but I think this with help you.
In this page there are some calibration pictures and instructions that you can use with your browser just to check how good or bad is your monitor.
http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

Then you may ask and decide what to do with your next hardware....

The DELL is a good suggestion BTW..

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Zindanfel
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A rogue angle on the monitor?
In reply to Erik Ohlson, 8 months ago

Hi Erik.  I went back and looked at your original post again, using my laptop.  By varying the angle of the laptop monitor, I can make the buildings almost disappear in blackness, then reappear as the angle of the monitor is returned to a plane more perpendicular to my eyes.

Any chance that an unusual angle on your monitor could have contributed to your perception of a darker foreground?

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Zin

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Erik Ohlson
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Re: A rogue angle on the monitor?
In reply to Zindanfel, 8 months ago

Zindanfel wrote:

Hi Erik. I went back and looked at your original post again, using my laptop. By varying the angle of the laptop monitor, I can make the buildings almost disappear in blackness, then reappear as the angle of the monitor is returned to a plane more perpendicular to my eyes.

Any chance that an unusual angle on your monitor could have contributed to your perception of a darker foreground?

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Zin

Hi, Zin,

That would certainly seem possible, but just now I tried moving my head and the screen and it didn't show any difference - I know what you mean, though - both my daughters coincidentally own similar Dell laptops (one in California & one in Tasmania) and I see that happen when I use them.

The adjustments that Darrell and Bolador have suggested seem to have helped. But suggestions such as Joel has mentioned may well lead to a different monitor attached to my old iMac. Right now I am PP'ing a dozen assorted photos for our family calendar and won't be taking time to pursue any monitors until the new year - when hopefully an "EVF TZ/ZS" will be announced - nirvana !

I have NO interest in "upgrading" my computer - every time I am forced to "update" software it brings on weeks of frustration. I'm an old fashioned 'seat of the pants' photographer, not a 'computer geek'  

It is absolutely fascinating to watch my just 4-year old granddaughter breeze through a new Sony Tablet which her Mom is still struggling with even though she is  much more of the computer generation. I am really struggling to learn the Android phone I bought on purpose to try to catch up.

Thanks, all - I'm blown away by the thoughtful responses!

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bolador
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Re: A rogue angle on the monitor?
In reply to Erik Ohlson, 8 months ago

Zindanfel wrote:

Hi Erik. I went back and looked at your original post again, using my laptop. By varying the angle of the laptop monitor, I can make the buildings almost disappear in blackness, then reappear as the angle of the monitor is returned to a plane more perpendicular to my eyes.

Any chance that an unusual angle on your monitor could have contributed to your perception of a darker foreground?

-- hide signature --

Zin

Hi, Zin,

That would certainly seem possible, but just now I tried moving my head and the screen and it didn't show any difference - I know what you mean, though - both my daughters coincidentally own similar Dell laptops (one in California & one in Tasmania) and I see that happen when I use them.

The adjustments that Darrell and Bolador have suggested seem to have helped. But suggestions such as Joel has mentioned may well lead to a different monitor attached to my old iMac. Right now I am PP'ing a dozen assorted photos for our family calendar and won't be taking time to pursue any monitors until the new year - when hopefully an "EVF TZ/ZS" will be announced - nirvana !

I have NO interest in "upgrading" my computer - every time I am forced to "update" software it brings on weeks of frustration. I'm an old fashioned 'seat of the pants' photographer, not a 'computer geek'  

It is absolutely fascinating to watch my just 4-year old granddaughter breeze through a new Sony Tablet which her Mom is still struggling with even though she is  much more of the computer generation. I am really struggling to learn the Android phone I bought on purpose to try to catch up.

Thanks, all - I'm blown away by the thoughtful responses!

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"Measure wealth not by things you have but by things for which you would not take money"
www.flickr.com/ohlsonmh/ ohlsonmh@yahoo.com

Erik,
Your your priorities are well stated!
Viewing angle may be a problem in any non IPS monitor. You can search for your less bad angle with this test http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/viewing_angle.php

That is what I very done with my monitor and laptop specially white this last as the viewing angle may vary greatly...

Best regards

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Cyril Catt
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Re: Do I need a new Monitor, or what?
In reply to Erik Ohlson, 8 months ago

Erik, my nearly 5 year-old 24" Intel dual-core iMac running OS 10.9 showed your original posting with an almost completely black foreground, but could be adjusted to show the foreground buildings and equipment, and clumps of trees on the background hill.

That had me wondering about updating. So thank you, Joel, for the Mac mini suggestion. I was  unaware that current screen offers included swivelling screens - 25 years ago I gloried in a swivelling Radius screen that added a full sized A4 (monochrome) page in portrait or landscape format to my SE Mac's limited display.

Erik, I am also struggling with the widely divergent and rapidly changing systems on different Android tablets I have been looking at as conveniently-sized low cost aids for travel, including checking and backing up photos.

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Cyril

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