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Digital photos and colour!


pablophotographer 3 464 185
26 Feb 2013 1:10AM




Hello everybody.

I am having an issue understanding and evaluating colour from digital pictures. I grew up when film was the only massively available medium and once you had the picture printed (I didn't have facilities to print my own) your colour would look roughly the same, light was coming from the front and colours didn't seem to change a lot (if my memory serves me well).
Less than 8 years ago, while still using film, I had a picture of sunrays from a late evening, print looked too dark from the front, not what I had remembered seeing when capturing the moment, but the moment I placed it against a bright window, the picture was transformed, the colours looked closer to teh ones I remembered wanting to capture.
Not very long ago, and while living with a long term illness which has affected my vision, I moved to digital, a different viewing game, with pictures being seen mostly backlit on the screen of the camera or on the computer - laptop.
Prints are sparce and the very first lot was worryingnly different when seen on paper, colours were darker compared to what they seemed on the screen. I knew from a printing point of view, having contact with the people doing the printing, worked to the benefit of the prints, but this can happen only when you come face to face with people doing the job, which is not possible all the times.
I uploaded earlier a picture, Felix the Cat, which I had chosen to shoot because it was a favourite cartoon and because it contained strong red colours. They looked vivid in reality and vivid as I had the (borrowed) laptop screen tilted all the way back. When I went to the critique gallery I came along with a pictuer which looked dark on the foreground (too dark to pick details) and dark at the back. Reading the text below not mentioning the darkness i was seeing I tiltlted the screen forward and the picture became more natural, foregroung was visible, details could be picked. I returned to Felix, which under this screen angle, had lost its punch and looked "washed out".
How do you determine the actual value of the colours when you look at the pictures?
What is the angle of the screen you use to review them? 90degrees? 85? less? (I think laptop screen goes to about 80 when tilted away from the user.

Thanks for your time to read this, input and your thoughts.

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mattw 10 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2013 1:29AM
Ideally, you should look at your monitor straight on, with the height of the monitor adjusted so that 'eye level' is about 2/3 up from the bottom of the screen.

however, if a mere 5 degrees is making a difference, then you may need a new monitor (if using a laptop, consider an external screen for colour accurate work) .

Also, highly recommend you calibrate your monitor
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
26 Feb 2013 7:53AM
Matt has it right, Pablo; virtually every laptop in existence is constructed with a TN panel, which for the purposes of this thread means relatively poor viewing angles.

If you connected up to an IPS desktop monitor—even a cheap one—you'd see a significant improvement over the laptop screen.
pablophotographer 3 464 185
26 Feb 2013 9:14AM
Thank you both kindly. Do you see in your monitors Felix as a "colour washed out" picture then ?
Newdevonian 2 439 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2013 9:24AM
All the colours are well saturated both on my iMac screen and also my 19" Dell / nVidia GeForce 7800GTX 256MB combination. The Dell whites are now yellowing, but it is coming up 7 years old. I would guess the Dell has + / - 20 degree acceptable viewing angles and the iMac around + / - 30 degree acceptable viewing angles.
pablophotographer 3 464 185
26 Feb 2013 9:56AM

Quote:All the colours are well saturated both on my iMac screen and also my 19" Dell / nVidia GeForce 7800GTX 256MB combination. The Dell whites are now yellowing, but it is coming up 7 years old. I would guess the Dell has + / - 20 degree acceptable viewing angles and the iMac around + / - 30 degree acceptable viewing angles.


Thanks Newdevnian, could you please clarify if you see the colours at a stable vividness despite the tilting of the screen then?
Newdevonian 2 439 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2013 10:01AM
Simple answer - Yes.
franken e2
12 3.2k 4 Wales
26 Feb 2013 4:07PM
All the colours are well saturated on my screen also.

You've not mentioned if you've calibrated your screen?

EPZ did a review of a free one and I use it on my netbook with good results. Here's a link:

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/calibrize-2-0-monitor-calibration-software-review-17182

Ken
GlennH 9 1.9k 1 France
26 Feb 2013 4:17PM

Quote:Thank you both kindly. Do you see in your monitors Felix as a "colour washed out" picture then ?


No, because I'm using an 'IPS' monitor, which isn't prone to poor vertical viewing angles in the way that almost any laptop screen is.

Many desktop monitors use the same technology as your laptop (i.e. they're constructed with a TN panel), and as IPS monitors are now available at all price points there doesn't seem much purpose in choosing anything else for photo editing - except for people that like gaming more than they like photography.

If you're going to shop around look for 'IPS' in the specifications, and a 178/178° viewing angle.
pablophotographer 3 464 185
26 Feb 2013 6:17PM
Thanks Ken, I use a loan laptop at the moment, I could see the grey scale in mine... not sure if I can't see it on this one due to my degradation or vision or the screen. I need uproval to download software on this one..
pablophotographer 3 464 185
26 Feb 2013 6:21PM

Quote:If you're going to shop around look for 'IPS' in the specifications, and a 178/178° viewing angle.[/quote Thanks Glenn, I've searched it and I knowmore now, thanks to all your help fellow members. I am keeping the page up in case someone wonders about the same things.

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