Laptop for serious amateur photographer

Started Mar 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
NewsyL Veteran Member • Posts: 5,736
Re: Laptop for serious amateur photographer

The weak point with laptops has always been the screen in terms of matrix type, gamut coverage, and bit depth.

A screen with an IPS panel, full gamut coverage (either standard sRGB or wide gamut sRGB + AdobeRGB), and at least a true 8bit color depth is preferred.

Many, like the two you have focused on, have the guts to process images and video reasonably quickly and enough drive storage to get you through a good period of time until you have to archive images to external drives.  Almost all Windows laptops, and until the Retina displays - Mac laptops, have had screens that were not ideal for image editing. (There was a period about 6 years ago when a few laptops had better quality screens but they vanished recently.)

They usually use a TN LCD panel matrix which has poor viewing angles such that what you see on the top and bottom of the panel is shifted in gamma & color from the middle - users will fiddle with the angle of the screen to try to get it right.  Ditto left to right but usually not as noticeable in laptop screens as on large desktop monitors that use TN panels.

Then their backlight's usually did not offer even a full gamut coverage.  For about 18 months now we've seen an influx of laptops with IPS LCD matrices.  These offer much better viewing angles but still quite a few of them offer poor gamut coverage - 67% of sRGB is not uncommon.  So an IPS panel is not guarantee of full gamut coverage.

Another point with laptops is that often the screens were not offering a true 8bit color depth (16.7 million colors).  They were actually 6bit (262,144 colors)  and used a basic form of Frame Rate Control (FRC; often referred to as a dithering technique) to simulate an 8bit color depth.  Recent budget priced IPS desktop monitors also do this but they typically use an Advanced FRC.  Both have potential to produce banding in gradients and artifacts in dark areas though the curent AFRC is actually quite good.  The older FRC could be quite bad in some laptops.

So.... if you're really serious and you want accurate color on the laptop screen with full sRGB coverage and maybe even wide gamut coverage (sRGB + AdobeRGB), you're going to have to put out about $2000 USD to get what is sometimes known as a mobile workstation.

If you can live with a substandard screen while mobile and can use the (calibrated?) external back at home base then the ASUS models will suffice.

Here's a web site that I use for reference because they check the gamut coverage of the screens:


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