I'm fairly new to photography, got a G3 in December 2011. Had nothing but compacts prior. Bought Lightroom 4 and started shooting RAW a year ago. Upgraded to a G5 last fall and just upgraded to Lightroom 5. I shoot family and vacation photos, and in particular a lot of photos of our toddler. I export to JPEG on a shared drive which I stream to a couple of HDTVs for viewing. I rarely print, and if I do, it's to frame a photo that came out particularly well at 4x6 or 5x7 or to stick it on the fridge. In short, it's all personal / hobby, nothing professional / paid / critical, although I like to do the best job I can with my limited skill set.
Historically I've been using my desktop PC w/ 23" 72% NTSC matte IPS monitor calibrated with Spyder4Pro and it's been fine. However, life changes when the baby starts walking, and I no longer have the time to camp out in the basement developing photos. After getting further and further behind, I started shopping laptops that I could use as a desktop replacement as I roam around the house watching my son, and also while traveling. Based on this, the laptop screen needs to be suitable for editing, and not rely on an external monitor.
I was looking at the Sagers with 95% NTSC matte panels. Then they released a Haswell-based model with IPS screen. I emailed Sager about color gamut, and it's only 60% NTSC. I thought that may be subpar since it doesn't even cover sRGB, so I ended up with a model with the 95% TN screen, which I've calibrated with Sypder4Pro which is stating 91% NTSC.
The laptop is nice, and has the nicest display of any laptop I've ever owned. However, vertical angles are still somewhat limited. I'm wondering how important 95% color gamut is when I don't know at exactly what angle I'm actually seeing the colors at their most accurate rendering. I believe that the slight shift I see within a reasonable range of viewing angle will probably not create any severe problems when the finished JPEGs are viewed on the TVs, but I'm wondering if the 60% NTSC IPS screen would have been a better choice.
I'm not making fine adjustments to color, I don't even know how to any real degree. I apply the Huelight Standard G5 profile on import. I might tinker with bringing out some blue in the sky on a landscape shot, or add a touch of vibrance, but that has to do more with the amount of color, not whether the color is accurate. I'm not moving tone curves around and stuff like that. I do adjust white balance, but I don't know if a reduced gamut would impact my ability to do that. It's more a matter of warmer vs cooler than whether this shade of blue meets aRGB specifications.
I've got a couple weeks of no-questions-asked return window left. On one hand, I've spent a lot of time getting all my programs installed and set up just the way I want, Lightroom is running fast, and an exchange and re-setup would be a fairly significant hassle. On the other hand, I'd like to make the purchase last on the order of 5 years, and I could justify an extra day or so if there's a compelling reason to do so.
So, does anyone have an opinion to offer? For my particular use, does a cheap IPS panel that doesn't cover sRGB make more sense than a high end TN panel that almost covers aRGB? My guess is that I could make either one work for what I'm doing, and there's probably not enough reason to switch at this point, but I'd like to hear from those who are more knowledgeable about it. Has anyone actually done any editing on a low gamut IPS monitor and what was your experience?
If you can return it, do so. Color gamut is really the least of your concerns - a good standard gamut display beats a mediocre wide gamut one any day.
I'm wondering how important 95% color gamut is when I don't know at exactly what angle I'm actually seeing the colors at their most accurate rendering.
You hit the nail on the head. This really sums up the whole question. TN panels are not suitable for photography work, they're for gaming and office use.
I have wide gamut at work and standard gamut at home, and I work between them without missing a step. Wide gamut is nice as an added bonus, but by no means necessary. The important thing is that you calibrate, so that the colors it can display are accurate.
Found an sRGB graph of the IPS panel in question.
I'm not that familiar with these color graphs but this doesn't look that great. I did have a chance to use the 95% NTSC TN panel, and it was workable. Some vertical color shift, but far better than any other TN screen I've ever used. Very bright, calibrated to 91% NTSC. I can buy a mechanical viewing angle gauge that attaches to the side of a screen to make sure I'm looking at it straight on.
So, with this additional info, would you still recommend this particular IPS panel, or would the 95% TN panel do better?
Viewing angle isn't about where your head is. It's about the top of the screen being too dark, and the bottom washed out. Don't even consider TN as long as you have a choice.
As I said, and I repeat it here, gamut is the least of your concerns. And that goes for any display.
Calibrate (and calibrate to a workable luminance, somewhere around 100 - 120 cd/m2), and you'll be fine.
Steve, can you let us know which display you finally opted for in the end, and if you're happy with your decision?
I am considering buying a Sager (NP7352 based on Clevo W350ST) as well with the 95% NTSC Gamut TN panel, it's the AU Optronics B156HW01 V.4, and I've heard good things said about it. Which Sager model offers the IPS display option? I only see the standard 60% gamut TN panel and this 95% NTSC gamut TN panel.
Based out of India, it won't be possible for me to return the product once I buy it, so I need to make a very informed choice.
Also, I am about to enter a design school, studying graphic design - so I'll be in the professional field after college. What would you guys suggest as a display for me? Low gamut IPS or high gamut TN panel? A very high quality (read - expensive) display is not in my budget right now.
Any and all help much appreciated. =)
I decided to try the IPS. Unfortunately, it had a problem unrelated to the screen, so I had to return it for repair and don't have it back yet. In the short time I had it, I took the time to compare to my desktop 72% NTSC IPS monitor. It was able to display red properly and without any calibration looked close to my calibrated desktop monitor. While I didn't get to use Lightroom with it, I don't believe I will have any problem doing so. There appeared to be sufficient shadow detail to be able to properly adjust the exposure sliders. I did try to calibrate it with my Spyder4Pro, two attempts, both resulted in extreme red push. It looked much better out of the box. However, I did find an article on using the Spyder4Pro with laptop displays, and some of the steps are different than what I did, so I'll be giving it another try once I have the laptop back. As far as gamut, the calibration results showed 78% sRGB, which I believe is somewhat less than 60% NTSC. However, as far as I can tell, this LG panel is the only one being made for 15.6" models, so it's what you're going to get for IPS no matter what make/model you buy.
I think for college you will be more satisfied with the IPS than with the TN. Having used the 95% TN panel, I can say it's the nicest TN panel I've ever used, great colors in managed applications and much better viewing angles than a typical low to mid grade laptop screen. However, there is still a noticeable shift in color/contrast when adjusting your seating position, and I had already bought a mechanical viewing angle gauge to attach to the lid before I returned the Sager w/ TN for the Asus with IPS. As a student you will be working in various places and at various hours, a great variety in lighting conditions and viewing angles, and the IPS panel will be more forgiving in that respect. If your professors are viewing your projects on laptops, they won't be using a screen any better than yours so there's no point in worrying about color gamut. By the time you graduate you'll be in the market for something newer. If you're doing it professionally you probably won't be doing it on a laptop at all.
The Sager NP4650 and NP6652 have 15.6" IPS panels. As I mentioned, I would expect these to be the same panels as in the Asus.
Thanks for the detailed reply, Steve.
I checked out the models. These do not allow RAM expansion beyond 16GB. One of my priorities was getting a model which has four DIMM slots, since I am also a digital artist and some big paintings that I might want to print need (probably) more RAM. I am currently using a 4-5 year old laptop with 4 GB RAM, and I have been having problems with it for two years now. When I do a brush stroke it generally takes 10-15 seconds to show on my screen. That's how bad it is right now. And the system is performing okay, I maintain the system properly - everything BUT Photoshop is smooth, so the resources I have are too low for my current usage of Photoshop. Since I don't have a desktop and see no point in investing in one right now because of unsurity of where I will be one year from now, I need a sufficiently powerful laptop.
I was just waiting for my undergraduate studies to finish before getting a new laptop, and now is the time. =)
But I digress. The other specs on the laptops are good, component wise, and the price is definitely within my budget, but reviews indicate that the build quality is poor - the body flexes very easily, even under light loads. There is a MAJOR heating problem. The chassis is very poorly dedsigned.
The IPS panel has a 35ms gray to gray response time (according to a user on a forum) which is VERY high, so ghosting might be discernible by the naked eye. I'm not sure if the same panel is used in your rig though.
After doing some research on color spaces and monitors, I found out that wide gamut displays on laptops are (probably?) a waste anyway. The 95% gamut TN panel that Sager offers (AU Optronics B156HW01 V.4), and most non-super-high-quality displays for laptops, are only 6 bit, without Hi-FRC, so they can only show 262K colours. The perception of 16million colours comes from dithering.
So if you get a high gamut display but it is a 6 bit panel, then you will see banding. Very clearly. And non colour managed applications won't look "right" anyway.
Keeping all this and my budget ($1300) in mind, if I go for a rig with 16+ GB RAM, then the budget doesn't allow me to go for an IPS display. If I go for an IPS display then I (probably) sacrifice the RAM. I don't need a high end GPU, the 750M on the Clevo model you mentioned will do (Sager NP6652 or Clevo W650SR).
I know this thread was about the display, but can I ask you guys for suggestions on laptops as well? Which Asus model did you buy?
I am mighty confused right now. I would love an IPS display but I might not be able to afford it with the components I want (need?).
Also, do you think I need 16+GB RAM? I use many history states and big PSD files, 1 - 1.5GB. I was thinking of making big artworks with PSBs with the new machine, that is why I thought I would need 16+ GB. Should I give priority to the display over the memory? Your thoughts?
So i was wondering is the 95% gamut screen on the Sager np 8265s (clevo 150sm) is the same as the one in the lenovo w530?
I ordered a p150sm as well, although the non special edition (np 8265) and without the high gamut display. Yes, the high gamut displays on the Lenovo workstation and the Clevos are the same - au optronics b156hw01 v.4.
thanks that is what i thought.
Very interesting information.
I ordered a Dell M4600 and a Lenovo W520 ... both were returned for different (non-display) reasons. Personally, I had a preference toward the Dell display.
I'm currently running a T60 with a 1400x1050 IPS. This was nearly the last of the 4:3 formats made, but it is obvioulsly constrianed by the platform OS/memory and cpu speed and has a rather low gamut compared to what is now available, so I am in search of a replacement laptop also.
I suppose the short question is simply ... for IPS displays, what are the highest gamuts (also 8 bit vs. 10 bit) available in laptops ... and, how do we decipher which mfr's are using which displays, given their proprietary terminology in their marketing info?
I'd like to find a current (3rd gen or newer i7 quad, 2nd gen @ ???) laptop with IPS, anti-glare/matte (which raises the question @ glossy w/anti-glare vs. matte) and best (or close to) gamut possible in IPS. I'd like to have it in something a little less "beasty" than the M4600 was ... 14" if possilbe, 15.6" is okay if that's what it takes to get a great display. I like the Thinkpad keyboard, but I wasn't impressed by the W520 display, so it sounds like the Sager won't be any diff. Who should I be looking at MSI, Dell, Sony, HP ???
for IPS displays, what are the highest gamuts (also 8 bit vs. 10 bit) available in laptops
Most laptop displays in the market right now are 6-bit, with or without HiFRC (achieves 8-bit via dithering). True 8-bit (16.7 million colours) and 10-bit (10 billion colours) will cost you a LOT, besides I don't know of any laptop that come with display panels with such high bit depths. This was why I shied away from opting for the high gamut display on my Sager.
Here follows a rather lengthy explanation, feel free to skip this paragraph. The visible spectrum of the human eye has a much wider gamut than what any display technology, at least for commercial usage, can reproduce right now. The next widest gamut you can work in is the ProPhoto, then comes adobeRGB, and last is sRGB. The standard panels that we get nowadays generally cover 95-105% of sRGB. Now let's consider these color spaces as triangles, the visible spectrum to the human eye being the largest (refer photo: in this the visible spectrum is a horseshoe shape instead of a triangle (which is how it should be)). The three corners of the triangle are the colours red, green and blue. The ProPhoto is a smaller triangle, adobeRGB inside that, and sRGB the smallest triangle fits inside the adobeRGB space. So, for example, the most saturated green in the adobeRGB space is greener than the most saturated green in the sRGB space. So, you can say that a higher gamut will have a higher colour contrast.
Note: in the image the "wide gamut RGB" is actually ProPhoto RGB.
This is where the display bit depth kicks in. A higher bit depth will be able to show more number of colours on the screen. 8-bit means it can show 2^8 = 256 colours per channel. That gives you 256^3 = 16,777,216 (16.7 million) colours as a combination of the RGB channels. 6-bit, on the other hand, can only show 2^6 = 64 colours per channel, or 64^3 = 262,144 colours as a combination of RGB channels. So if you buy a high gamut display with, let's say, a 6-bit colour depth, then you will see banding very clearly since a higher range (of the high colour gamut) is represented by a fewer number of colours. Gradients will look like bands, sort of like cell shading.
A high gamut display (in my humble opinion) would only be useful if the display can reproduce a 10-bit colour depth. Then, the higher range will still be divided such that banding won't be discernible by the naked eye in normal circumstances. So if I need a high gamut display I'd look for a dedicated monitor for the same (and make sure your laptop has a display port connection for video output, that is the only port which outputs 10-bit colour).
An analogy can be established with the display size and the screen resolution. The display size (in inches) is analogous to the colour gamut, and the screen resolution (in pixels) is analogous to the display bit depth. If you buy a 40" screen with 800x600px resolution, you will be able to see pixels on the screen very clearly. If, on the other hand, you buy a small screen (let's say a smartphone) with FHD, then there is no way you would be able to distinguish between individual pixels. There is a sweet spot in the PPIbeyond which you can't distinguish between individual pixels, I think this is 300PPI. This gets me thinking, if a similar sweet spot exists for the colour gamut and bit depth as well. =)
how do we decipher which mfr's are using which displays, given their proprietary terminology in their marketing info
Well if you have the laptop with you, you can use a system info software and look under the display in hardware info. If you don't have the laptop, then I guess Google is your best friend. You might not be able to find out the display panel for some laptops, you might have to crawl forum posts, and you must know which forums to look at. For gaming laptops you have NotebookReview. Notebookcheck.net lists the display model generally IF they review a laptop - but they generally do so for gaming laptops and ultrabooks, I'm not sure about workstations.
Who should I be looking at MSI, Dell, Sony, HP ???
MSI makes gaming laptops. All the gaming laptops use the same screens (most of the time), from what I found out from two months of painstaking research. The 17" default is a ChiMei, the 15" and all high gamut displays are AU Optronics. I don't know about 14 inchers though. If you want a good display, don't look at gaming rigs.
I've personally had a bad experience with HP myself. But it might have been a one-off case. They do generally have battery / heating / power brick failure problems.
I've never owned a Dell or Sony so can't comment on them from first hand experience, but from what I've learned from friends, Sony is good but expensive. If I were you and these were the only four companies I had to choose from, I'd go with a Dell. Although I would've also had a look at Lenovos and taken that for the durability - you already own one and you know how rugged they are. I'd rather have an okay display with a tough rugged body which would last, than a good display (since awesome displays don't exist for laptops) which might not last as long. As for Sager, I've heard they're tough as well. I haven't yet seen one though (my Sager will be delivered to my brother in the USA who will bring it along to India in December), so I can't compare them to a Thinkpad.
Your priorities might of course be different though, so make up your own mind. =)
Hope this helps you out in making an informed choice.
The standard panels that we get nowadays generally cover 95-105% of sRGB.
And there are at least two ways to report this:
"Percent Area" and "Percent Coverage".The "Percent Area" is simply the area in CIE xy of the display gamut vs the reference gamut, with no consideration of how much of the gamuts actually overlap. This value can be > 100%. The "Percent Coverage" is the overlapping area of the 2 gamuts expressed as a percent of the total area of the reference gamut. The maximum possible value for this is 100%. So when evaluating the spec's, see if you can find out which is used (NEC reports Percent Coverage FWIW).
Now let's consider these color spaces as triangles, the visible spectrum to the human eye being the largest (refer photo: in this the visible spectrum is a horseshoe shape instead of a triangle (which is how it should be)). The three corners of the triangle are the colours red, green and blue. The ProPhoto is a smaller triangle, adobeRGB inside that, and sRGB the smallest triangle fits inside the adobeRGB space
These RGB working space are theoretical for one. Built with simple math defining primaries, white point and TRC gamma. You can build them in Photoshop's Color Settings if you wanted to. And ProPhoto RGB has two primaries that fall outside the horseshoe 'gamut' of human vision so we need to be very careful in calling these "colors". If a human can't see them as such, I'm hard pressed to call them colors!
This is where the display bit depth kicks in. A higher bit depth will be able to show more number of colours on the screen. 8-bit means it can show 2^8 = 256 colours per channel. That gives you 256^3 = 16,777,216 (16.7 million) colours as a combination of the RGB channels.
Again, this is all theoretical math! Yes, on paper you can define 256^3 = 16,777,216 colors be we can't see anything like this number of colors. It's simply math, not reality. It makes for interesting marketing too. Who would want to buy a display that can divide up numbers to present a spec that works out to 16.7 millon colors when the spec sheet can advertise billions of colors? Despite the fact we can't possibility see or use that?
The benefits here are encoding, not anything else we can see. The wider the gamut, the higher the precision with more bits. Think of sRGB as a half inflated balloon with 16.7 million dots printed on it. Now you inflate that balloon to twice it's size to suggest ProPhoto RGB. What happens to the distance between the dots? They grow farther apart. The dE values between dots raise with the distance between them. The colorimetric distatnce between the two dots raises. Having more bits simply 'fills in' more data (values) here. It doesn't give us more gamut. Bit depth and gamut are two separate things.
The point is, be careful expecting more bits (greater encoding precision) to be either useful in terms of what you'll actually be able to see and use. In a wider gamut space, subtle colors you might edit, say the white dress of a bride, will be more difficult to edit with in a wider than narrower bit depth. But more bits doesn't mean more color gamut.
A high gamut display (in my humble opinion) would only be useful if the display can reproduce a 10-bit colour depth. Then, the higher range will still be divided such that banding won't be discernible by the naked eye in normal circumstances.
To some degree yes. But keep in mind there's an entire display path! On the Mac, there isn't as yet a full 10-bit path thanks to Apple. We have high bit displays and cards but the application and the OS must support this! That's possible on Windows but not on Mac OS. Having a partial high bit path (say in the panel) is useful and restricts banding but only to a point. I don't know of any wide gamut displays I'd even consider (NEC or Eizo) that don't provide high bit panels.
Going back to bit depth and gamut and color spaces, a few items:
It IS true that the wider the granularity in a color space, the harder it is to handle subtle colors. This is why wide gamut displays that can't revert to sRGB (some current LCD technology doesn't allow this.) are not ideal for all work (ideally you need two units). If you purchase a wide gamut display system, you want one that can also emulate sRGB when you are handling subtle color editing.
The output plays a role as well. There are way, way more colors that can be defined in something like ProPhoto RGB than you could possibly output. But we have to live with a disconnect between the simple shapes of RGB working space and the vastly more complex shapes of output color spaces to the point we're trying to fit round pegs in square holes. To do this, you need a much larger square hole. Simple matrix profiles of RGB working spaces when plotted 3 dimensionally illustrate that they reach their maximum saturation at high luminance levels. The opposite is seen with print (output) color spaces. Printers produce color by adding ink or some colorant, working space profiles are based on building more saturation by adding more light due to the differences in subtractive and additive color models. To counter this, you need a really big RGB working space like ProPhoto RGB again due to the simple size and to fit the round peg in the bigger square hole. Their shapes are simple and predictable. Then there is the issue of very dark colors of intense saturation which do occur in nature and we can capture with many devices. Many of these colors fall outside Adobe RGB (1998) and when you encode into such a space, you clip the colors to the degree that smooth gradations become solid blobs in print, again due to the dissimilar shapes and differences in how the two spaces relate to luminance.
Lastly, for anyone interested in color gamut in terms of working space and images (capture devices and the scene we photography themselves have a gamut), there is this video:
Everything you thought you wanted to know about color gamut: A pretty exhaustive 37 minute video examining the color gamut of RGB working spaces, images and output color spaces. All plotted in 2D and 3D to illustrate color gamut.
High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/ColorGamut.mov
Low Res (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0bxSD-Xx-Q
Andrew, thanks for the detailed explanation!
I laid out what I knew in layman terms, not to make it simple for the layman, but because I am one!
Although, just to clear some stuff out:
be we can't see anything like this number of colors.
Actually this is exactly what I meant.
There is a sweet spot in the PPIbeyond which you can't distinguish between individual pixels, I think this is 300PPI. This gets me thinking, if a similar sweet spot exists for the colour gamut and bit depth as well. =)
There should be a sweet spot for every gamut for the bit depth, going beyond which will yield no better results. This is mainly why I compared it to the PPI of the screens we see on the smartphone market today - anything beyond 300, and you can't discern the individual pixels. Sure you have 400+ PPI screens available, but you don't really need them cause it's just not pragmatic.
We have high bit displays and cards but the application and the OS must support this!
Yes, I absolutely forgot to mention this. As of now I think only Photoshop from the Creative Suite can output 10bit depth images. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know about Mac though. Also, the high gamut of colours can only be seen in colour managed applications. Creative Suite, Firefox being two applications that are definitely colour managed.
But more bits doesn't mean more color gamut.
I realise that, and that is why I compared the gamut to the display size and bit depth to the resolution. A larger display doesn't automatically mean more number of pixels on your screen - think about 17" monitors from the last decade with 1024x768 resolution (or conversely, if you have a large resolution monitor it doesn't mean the monitor itself has to be big - think smartphones with full HD displays).
Bit depth is to do with precision, and the gamut has to do with range. If you have a wide gamut display, the display can show a wider range of colours, and a higher bit depth monitor will be able to show colours more accurately, or, more number of colours between two given extremes. This is what I meant too. Sorry if my language was ambiguous, thanks for clearing it up.
Also, I stand by what I said about it being a bad choice to go with hwide gamut displays with low bit depths (6-bit for example). I can see banding in subtle gradients on my (rather old) HP laptop, which by no means has a wide gamut display.
So a wider gamut with the same bit depth will almost certainly cause banding in gradients. I've never seen such a display, I'm just speculating from my experience with my own laptop.
And of course the display gamut and the working space are two entirely different things. The working space can be set to adobeRGB on a standard gamut monitor as well, but you just won't be able to see the colours that lie outside your monitor's gamut. So there will be clipping, only on your standard gamut display. If you view the same image on a wide gamut display you'll see the true colours that the image has.
If I've got anything wrong, feel free to correct me. =)
Sorry for the delay in response.
The info was a bit overwhelming (good stuff) for me to digest, so I had to step away from it for a bit. I still need to digest it, but wanted to say thanks for the info guys.
Even without going through the volume of info yet, I'm wondering if I simply need to be looking for an antiglare, IPS with a gamut approximatley equal to aRGB (rather than the need for 95% gamut) ... wondering at available 14" IPS, antiglare laptops options. Again, I still need to digest the info, but wanted to say thanks, lest you think otherwise.
Okay ... so I got through the video and it would seem that it still suggests that if we are working in ProPhoto, we aren't able to necessarily see what we are doing if our display is only sRGB capable with regard to ProPhoto areas that are outside of sRGB. This puts me back to the perspective of 95% gamut for display in order to see what we are working on in "full".
Also, the concept that gamut can be greater than 100% (DreamColor reports 120%) is also confusing. The short of it is that I'm capturing RAW, in my case from Kodak SLR/C most often and bringing it into PS. What display targets/parameters @ gamut will most show me the full color of my image? I spoke with Lenovo earlier today, they said they make no 14" anti-glare IPS displays. But then, the rep also said the T430 had no gamut.
Why does this issue of IPS and gamut have to be such a secretive parameter. Add to that the % Area vs. % Coverage vs. NTSC vs. ??? this is a pain to figure out.
Why can't it be simple like 100% of CIE = human vision, 90% of CIE = ProPhoto, 70% of CIE = aRGB, 50% of CIE = sRGB (or whatever the numbers actually are). This is such a convoluted issue, I don't know how anyone can discern from one mfr's data to another. if they are using differing parameters @ Area vs. Coverage vs. NTSC vs aRGB, etc.
Anything that can provide objective/equitable clarity would be appreciated. It seems as there has been no industry standard established and they can spec (or largely omit spec) without specifying which reference spec they are actually using.
Anyway, thanks, but I'm still no closer to really knowing the objective diff @ one MFR's monitor than another. All I want to have is a display that I can trust (once calibrated) to show me what I'm working on accurately ... is that too much too ask?