New laptop screen options

RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,938 moderator
edited January 31, 2020 in Digital Darkroom

I'm in the market for a new laptop. Although the Apple tax has gone down somewhat since the last time I looked (the 16" MacBook Pro is only around 500 Euros more) I'll probably get another Lenovo 15.4" ThinkPad. They are offering a new Dolby Vision HDR 400 option that I hadn't heard of. Apparently it is 12 bit color (equivalent) with expanded dynamic range. Or something. Has anyone ever used this? What format file does this require and what software can produce those files? How many bits is CS5 or LR6 sending to the monitor while editing in Adobe ProPhoto RGB?

Another (pricier) option is a UHD (3840x2160) but without the HDR. I tend to think that I prefer greater dynamic range to greater resolution, but since I've never used anything beyond 1920x1080 I guess I don't really know. Unfortunately, I have no way of comparing the two actual machines side by side.



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    kurzvorzwoelfkurzvorzwoelf Registered Users Posts: 339 Major grins

    The UHD displays in Thinkpads are usually very good, with a great coverage of/trueness to color space (100% sRGB, 98% or so AdobeRGB) and it's not just the resolution. I have a Lenovo 17" mobile workstation with such a display and it's fantastic. I'd prefer these over HDR displays (which I think are overrated) any time. But yes, they're also quiet a lot pricier.

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    bfluegiebfluegie Registered Users Posts: 763 Major grins

    Richard, I know that as of a year or so ago you were one of the holdouts for the Adobe subscription (as I am). If you have since upgraded, this info may no longer apply. But a little over a year ago I got a Dell XPS 13 laptop with the UHD display. I found that using standalone Lightroom 6.0 and Photoshop CS6 with this display comes with a few difficulties. For Lightroom, some of the cursors (for example the + in the middle of a brush) are extremely small, and in Photoshop in addition to small brushes all the menus are very small. I currently use a workaround that is functional but annoying. I use the magnifier function (windows key and + to open, windows key and + or - to magnify or reduce screen). But that means that what I have on the display is constantly moving which is kind of a pain. I only use this workaround for Photoshop and I don't go into Photoshop that often, so I am living with it for now. But I personally liked this better than changing the resolution of my display back and forth.

    I wanted the UHD, thinking I would get an external display that is also UHD but I haven't so far. My current external display is FHD and I have only used it a couple of times and I don't think I have set it up right (but that's most likely operator error).

    So, my experience is that the UHD display looks great for a lot of things, but if you use Adobe programs and don't have the subscription you may need some kind of a workaround. Maybe there are better ones than the one I am using, and maybe the 15" laptop will be large enough that this isn't a problem. I don't know anything about the Dolby Vision HDR so I can't comment on that.

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    RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,938 moderator
    edited February 2, 2020

    Thanks for the comments, @kurzvorzwoelf and @bfluegie. Barbara is right that I'm still trying to avoid assimilation into the CC subscription galaxy (are we the only ones left, Barbara?), and I am concerned about how old software is going to play on a UHD screen. PS and LR subscriptions cost about $160/year in Spain--I've been doing so little photography lately that I'm not sure it's worth it. I'm also running an ancient version of Microsoft Office--while the text size can be changed, I seriously doubt that the UI icons are scalable. The other thing I realized is that with the five hundred dollars or so that the UHD upgrade will cost, I could buy a 27"-32" UHD external monitor from Samsung or LG. I'm guessing there's a way to put the previews on the external monitor while keeping the controls on the laptop. So I think I'm going to pass on the UHD screen and see what the HDR thing is like.

    BTW, I looked at the MacBook Pro 16" yesterday. I had always thought that the touch bar was just a gimmick, but seeing it in action made me reconsider--once you get used to it, I think it could be quite useful. OTOH, I absolutely hated the keyboard (ThinkPad users are kind of like Bernie Bros when it comes to keyboards--we accept no substitutes) so I've ruled it out.

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