Using Lenovo W530 when travelling, but considering MBP retina - but over saturated colours?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by tomO2013, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Hi Guys,

    As part of my day job, I am required to travel and bring my laptop with me.

    At the moment I use a Lenovo W530 with a factory color calibrated screen that supposedly gives me supports 98% of the Adobe RGB gamut, based on user reports over at photography-on-the-net forums.

    However, I am aware that the retina macbook pro is a very highly regarded laptop by many photographers and users of these forums and it does have a very high resolution screen. I enjoy many of the fine art quality images that I have seen you guys create

    I was about to take the plunge on a MBP retina 15", for the additional resolution which I figured would turn out to be handy when sharpening and getting a relatively good idea of print output.

    HOWEVER - today i was looking at my flickr account on both my W530 and my girlfriends retina macbook pro and it felt like many of the colors were over saturated on the MacBook Pro retina screen - or at least the color range was much more compressed. I had wondered if this was perhaps one browser interpreting the images as Adobe RGB and another not interpreting the wider color gamut and instead interpreting as sRGB (used chrome on both). I believe chrome on mac does not presently support adobe rgb.

    I've downloaded the TIFF's to both laptops and opened both in windows viewer and Mac OS X preview - same thing the out of the box lenovo looks more accurate according to what I am intending to create than what I am getting from the MBP retina which makes many of my images look pretty badly over-saturated and possibly over sharpened.
    Comparing with print output, the Lenovo at the moment looks to give me a much wider dynamic range of colors and what I am seeing on screen is closer to the print output so I am sort of answering my own question here.

    However, I don't have a Spyder color calibrator with me at present and I have an option on a cheap mac book pro retina - My question is , if I buy the mac book pro retina, is there much scope to color calibrate the screen and still use adobe RGB.
    Have any of you guys here noticed what I have noticed with the out of the box color profiles for the MBPr screen ? After color calibration how do you find the screen?
    It looks to be a phenomenal laptop in terms of OS, hardware, screen, etc... I just got a bit of a surprise when I checked out my images today online and they did not look good at all on the Apple screen.
    Perhaps if I just switched back to sRGB when editing on the Lenovo I just wouldn't have to worry about such crap :/. Or maybe as a hack, I should just export at the last moment converting to sRGB (I know this is a badly idea overall) and how far off my aRGB the image is before deciding to rework the photo again or not in sRGB from scratch.


    EDIT : just remembered, the in built color calibrator on my W530 may actually be out of whack / maybe the mbp is better callibrated out of the box (even without a hardware callibrator ) ?!
  2. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    The retina screen is close to, but not quite sRGB. So there's no way you'll get aRGB gamut displayed on it. With the execution of the W series Lenovo's, the dream colour HP's and the AW series Sony's, there's very little been made with an aRGB in a laptop. And none of those are available anymore. So essentially if you're upgrading then you'll be using no better than a sRGB panel.

    When I moved from my Sony AW to a 17" MBP, I immediately noticed the difference (and still do. I still have the AW as a print server). However after a while I got used to working in the smaller gamut again and now it's not an issue, especially as 90% of the images I shoot are for on-line use where sRGB is the better option anyway. I also have a full aRGB screen at the studio.

    Hardware calibration is a must. Apparently Macs are calibrated at the factory. I'm just not sure what they're calibrated to. Certainly not accurate colours. I guess they're calibrated to the "I must stand out in a computer store display" standard. Hardware calibrating makes a huge difference to the usability of the Macs. On the plus side, while the MBP panel has a narrowish gamut, compared to what you're used to, they're pretty good for a modern laptop (most (90~ percent) of the sRGB space) and they have decent viewing angles because of the IPS panel.

    If you're putting aRGB images up on Flickr the 99.8% of the population are not seeing the images as you intended.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    What is highly rated by some, can be poorly judged with a different take on it. You are the only one who can decide which color screen suits you. My guess is you have to adapt to your tool, unless you have a perfect lcd IPS on your laptop, and I doubt it even exists.
    The IPS on my X230 suits me fine and I adapted to it to process shots with LR5. I guess going the Mac route will get you other shortcomings with software that you didn't even imagine could have existed before.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 28, 2013
    Generally I use ARGB because I shoot for my own personal print collection - not necessarily for flickr, but I do upload to flickr/facebook quite a bit to let friends and family see what I am up to when I am travelling. But my main goal for most of my more recent shots is to actually ultimately print them - where a very secondary goal is to upload to flickr. I completely understand what you are saying about sRGB and web publishing. It probably would be good for 90% of work like you said.

    The rMBP, I was genuinely surprised when I loaded my flickr account - I wanted to make sure that it wasn't just that particular laptop so I visited a local Apple store and found the same problem. My photo's looked terrible, and some of the effects that I was going for when I shot and edited them were completely lost.
    For example, this shot :

    I deliberately used a Fuji superia color profile (looks nothing like the real Fuji superia!) but I thought it was an interesting effect regardless (and yes I'm aware that using film simulation software often times I'm deliberately clipping the color range given that I'm simulation an old film type so probably doesn't matter using argb or srgb). On my w530 the background does not look too over-saturated, and the wolfs face and snout has detail in the shadows.
    The same image viewed on a retina macbook pro looks crap. It is way WAY over-processed, there is no tonal differences in the snout, face etc.. and everything has gone far too close to black - it looks nothing like what I see on the W530 and a calibrated NEC monitor.

    Similarly the shot of the white wolf on my flickr who is licking his lips - just looks crap on the retina macbook pro. The snow and ice on the w530 using argb just shows a much whiter white and gives the effect much better that I was going for. There is more colour detail on his tongue etc...

    I think part of the reason that I use Adobe RGB, is because of my workflow.
    I use peka pokka's ETTR method to capture as much information as possible the RAW, then use Rob Knight's based OV3 export workflow to keep the Oly color signature and use ARGB to retain as much of the RAW color information as possible in the exported TIFF to lightroom.
    This has landed me in to a more or less pure ARGB workflow. I *could* convert back to srgb once I import the TIFF to Lightroom and once I've done any basic exposure adjustments necessitated by ETTR. But I figured best to keep as much color information as possible all the way through to print.

    On an aside, I'm in the process of eyeing up a new printer for home printing - Canon 9500 or Epson 3880 (unless you have a better suggestion or something up to the 2k mark for home printing). These printers do support the full adobe rgb and more. It would appear to be overkill to invest in a printer of such quality and throw away quite a bit of the color information by using sRGB - but you guys do this day in day out for a living and I would genuinely listen to your advice on this regard.
    The best solution of portable workstation, retain Oly color signature and get best quality prints possible may require a sacrifice in my workflow... or a newer W540 instead of a rMBP!
    Perhaps export two TIFFs from OV3, one with sRGB for web and another with ARGB for print - but this is a pain in the ass if I make corrections to one in plugins I have to run the same recipe on the other and vice versa.