15" laptop suggestions for accurate color?

LiveAwakeLiveAwake Major grinsPosts: 263Registered Users Major grins
edited June 29, 2014 in Digital Darkroom
I'm getting lost in all of the information out there. First I thought I just had to limit my search to laptops that offer IPS displays (hard enough sometimes with all of the lingo), but now I'm also finding reviews of laptops like the HP Envy Spectre XT, which does have a full HD IPS display, but still doesn't cover sRGB or produce accurate colors. What gives?

So I'm feeling really stumped. I'm looking for a 15" laptop with GOOD color accuracy, and great viewing angles. I don't think I can afford HP's DreamColor options unless I can find a great deal on a refurbished one. Can someone recommend a few options that you can confirm will be good for photo editing - ie, color rendition that is close enough that I won't have to re-do everything on my big display if I process it on the road, IPS/large viewing angles, etc.

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,468Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 13, 2013
    I moved this to the Digital Darkroom forum, where we "discuss" the hardware used in digital photography editing and post-processing. (The Book and Gear Reviews forum is where you might post a "review" of books and other equipment.)

    As you might have guessed by now, accurate color fidelity "and" a wide viewing angle, which keeps the color fidelity even at strong, off axis viewing angles, is generally not cheap. These qualities, along with sufficient CPU processing horsepower and high-end GPU (which may or may not speed up some image processing operations) are generally only available in the very high-end "workstation" and "desktop replacement" laptops.

    Another strategy is to use color samplers in software to sample both known image colors and target image colors. Image processing "by the numbers" is a very good way to insure accurate and neutral blacks, whites and middle grays/greys, as well as acceptable skin tones, etc.

    In fact, image processing "by the numbers" is more accurate than direct viewing on a color accurate and color calibrated monitor/display because human vision is quite poor at gauging absolute color values. (Human vision is quite accurate at "comparing" colors between a source and a target color, but the samples really have to be side-by-side.)

    You also need to be in a color managed work environment in order to prevent ambient color from the editing space surroundings "poisoning" a color managed computer system.

    For instance, I use PictoColor iCorrect Portrait software within Photoshop to provide a level of color managed semi-automation. This software is, by design, able to deliver the qualities of accurate and neutral blacks, whites and middle grays/greys, as well as acceptable skin tones, etc.

    iCorrect Portrait is extremely fast in use and doesn't tend to throw off the entire image during color correction, with each color correction (typically a white or light color neutral gray, a black or dark color neutral neutral gray, plus a skin tone and/or memory color) because it uses intrinsic color masking so that each color correction is somewhat limited in scope to applicable regions of color tones.

    As long as you work on a monitor/display that is close in terms of color neutrality and luminance values (including gamut), you don't have to worry about what you see being absolutely accurate (which, for reasons I already explained, is both expensive and not always possible due to environmental lighting.) iCorrect Portrait works as a kind of digital color watchdog to help keep your images tonally in bounds.

    http://www.pictocolor.com/portrait.htm

    Other color correction software exists, but I haven't tested it as thoroughly as iCorrect Portrait.

    A quote from Joe Farace: "For color correction I love PictoColor's iCorrect Portrait and iCorrect EditLab Pro and find them indispensable in correcting color accurately and speedily."

    Source, second page of Joe's ShutterBug article, "The Tools I Use; What’s In My Gear Bag And Why"
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • LiveAwakeLiveAwake Major grins Posts: 263Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 13, 2013
    Thank you, Ziggy. This is helpful, and worth looking into . . . however what I'm after primarily in wanting a high quality display is consistency between monitor and print (or other output). I see the benefit of relying on software to help get colors right, but in my workflow I also need to be able to trust what I see to be true to the final result.

    I don't need to go overboard and spend several thousands dollars for 100% perfect color reproduction (if there even is such a thing), but I DO want to find a laptop with a display that can cover a wide gamut of colors with good accuracy, and minimal color distortion at moderate viewing angles. Can you suggest anything like that?
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,468Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 13, 2013
    As user "Newsy" said in your other thread:

    http://dgrin.com/showpost.php?p=1895131&postcount=19
    Newsy wrote: »
    There are quite a few [IPS screen equipped laptops] now and also some S-PLS models but unfortunately most of the models under $2000 USD have a backlight that only offers coverage of about 67% of the sRGB color space. To be clear... that is 67% of sRGB, not 67% of NTSC (which is often referenced as being about 100% of sRGB coverage). So a serious deficiency in gamut coverage. Beats me why.

    ...

    ... and as I said just above:
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    ... As you might have guessed by now, accurate color fidelity "and" a wide viewing angle, which keeps the color fidelity even at strong, off axis viewing angles, is generally not cheap. ...

    I'm afraid that a very wide-viewing-angle and color accurate display is only currently available in very expensive laptops. At least I have not found anything inexpensive or more reasonable than what I consider expensive.

    Many laptops have a port for an external monitor/display, so it's possible that you could do general image work, including the color correction using the "by the numbers" methodology plus assisting software, and then verify your results before printing using an external, color calibrated monitor and in a controlled environment.

    You might also consider using a service or partner for final color correction prior to print, for really critical work.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • NewsyNewsy Major grins Posts: 605Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 13, 2013
    For about $1100 - $1300 there is ASUS UX32VD-DH71 13.3" Ultrabook with a 1920x1080 IPS panel, about 96% sRGB color space coverage, and a discrete Nvidia GPU. Good enough for light work in the field and fast enough that at home hooked to a monitor you won't know you're not on a desktop. The RAM is upgradeable to 12G I think and the hybrid drive (500G disk + 24G SSD) can be swapped out for a 256 or 500G SSD. Blazing fast then. It's not perfect but a solid compromise. I've played with one a fair bit - liked it a lot. Should have bought it for my work laptop.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Asus-Zenbook-UX32VD-Ultrabook.75591.0.html

    .
  • LiveAwakeLiveAwake Major grins Posts: 263Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 13, 2013
    That could be just the thing! Thanks Newsy, I'll give it a closer look.
  • LiveAwakeLiveAwake Major grins Posts: 263Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 14, 2013
    I found an HP Elitebook 8540w that is in my price range on Craigslist. The seller got it used, and does not know if it has the DreamColor display. Aside from visually looking at the viewing angles, is there some way for me to confirm on sight whether it has the DreamColor or not? Does this come labeled somewhere, or indicated in a serial number?

    Thanks.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,468Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 14, 2013
    While a serial number or other product number might show you what the laptop had at the time of manufacture, unless you are buying from a source you know and trust you may not know the history of the laptop and any repairs/replacements applied.

    I think that using the criteria of "measured" off-axis illumination and color (a visual and even a photographic comparison of the display at rather extreme angles) is probably your best method to determine the "current" display properties, which should indicate the display type.

    Otherwise, you would probably need to disassemble the top half of the laptop to examine the display markings to be absolutely sure. (Probably not going to happen, nor should you expect that level of accommodation.)
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,468Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 14, 2013
  • LiveAwakeLiveAwake Major grins Posts: 263Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 15, 2013
    Thanks!
    I also found another way: there is a program called HWiNFO64 that can give tons of details about system properties, including the LCD model number. Google the number or go to panelook.com, and you can see if it's TN or IPS, 6-bit vs. 10-bit etc. The one I was looking at turned out to be an LG LP156WF1-TLF3, which is not the DreamColor display (darn).

    Just fair warning: the site where I found HWiNFO requires you to stay on your toes in order to avoid installing adware instead of this program (their "ads" look like the download button). But HWiNFO itself is awesome!
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,468Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 15, 2013
    Thanks for that. thumb.gif I was not aware that HWiNFO could correctly identify panel displays.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • NewsyNewsy Major grins Posts: 605Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 16, 2013
    Sony VAIO Pro 13

    13.3" 1920x1080 IPS panel
    94% sRGB coverage

    max 8GB RAM :(

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Sony-Vaio-Pro-13-SVP-1321C5ER-Ultrabook.98624.0.html

    .
  • LiveAwakeLiveAwake Major grins Posts: 263Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 19, 2013
    Hm. Maybe. Weak WiFi and flexible chassis are both turn-offs . . . was looking at some of the comparable Asus Zenbooks, which seem better in most respects, but THEY max out at only 4GB RAM!!! WTF people??
  • alaiosalaios Major grins Posts: 668Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2014
    I am also intrested for a very good laptop with a good screen but with 16Gb of ram.. and nothing less.. Acer produces models with that memory but I am not sure about their monitor quality.
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 19,059Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited June 13, 2014
    alaios wrote: »
    I am also intrested for a very good laptop with a good screen but with 16Gb of ram.. and nothing less.. Acer produces models with that memory but I am not sure about their monitor quality.
    Check out the Lenovo ThinkPad W series. I bought a W530 last fall w/ 16GB RAM, FHD screen, SSD, i7 and built-in color calibrator for under $US 2K. I've been very happy with it. The newer W540 has an ultra-high definition screen, but apparently still has some kinks that need work. You might be able to get a really good deal on the W530, if you can still find one. Be warned--it is not thin and light. The T series is more manageable and uses many of the same components, but has fewer upgrade options.
  • alaiosalaios Major grins Posts: 668Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2014
    Hi thanks,
    sound like a very good suggestion!!!
    How one should rate screens for photography in general? What is this integrated calibrator and how reasonably work?

    regards
    A
  • alaiosalaios Major grins Posts: 668Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 13, 2014
    does anyone also know a 17inches premium screen laptop ? Lenove suggestion looks really good but it is only a 17 inches laptop...
  • NewsyNewsy Major grins Posts: 605Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 16, 2014
    alaios wrote: »
    does anyone also know a 17inches premium screen laptop ? Lenove suggestion looks really good but it is only a 17 inches laptop...

    Premium screen... what is your $$ budget?

    The best premium screen 17" laptop is the HP Elitebook 8770w workstation with the "Dreamcolor" option.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-HP-EliteBook-8770w-DreamColor-Notebook.88367.0.html

    Note: full gamut coverage of AdobeRGB and sRGB and IPS LCD panel

    Dell used to have a similar workstation laptop, the M6700/M6800 and again there is an option for the highest quality panel.



    If your budget is limited, consider the new Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series. 1920x1080 with 98% coverage of the sRGB space and 16GB RAM as an option. You need to option up to get the premium screen and RAM. There is a similar 17" 7000 series model available with a 1920x1080 IPS panel but I have not found a review with this option as yet.

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/laptop-reviews/dell-inspiron-15-7000-series-review/


    Take a browse through the two websites I've linked to. The key for a good screen for photo editing is full gamut coverage of at least sRGB, and IPS or PLS type LCD panel for consistent color/gamma rendition at most viewing angles, and preferably a matte screen to limit reflections.

    Btw, my latest ultrabook has a 14" 1920x1080 matte IPS panel but I find the icons a little small in some applications and usually increase the font/icon size by 25% when I'm travelling. At home/office I attach it to a 1920x1080 IPS monitor.

    .
  • alaiosalaios Major grins Posts: 668Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 28, 2014
    Hi,
    I downloaded the hwinfo and my laptop screen is mentioned as:
    Monitor Name: LG Philips LP173WD1-TLA1
    Monitor Name (Manuf): LP173WD1-TLA1

    and my graphic card is the
    Video Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce G210M
    Video Chipset Codename: GT218M


    I am trying to figure out the srgb coverage of my screen and if it could support external monitor and up to what size

    Alex
  • NewsyNewsy Major grins Posts: 605Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 28, 2014
    alaios wrote: »
    Hi,
    I downloaded the hwinfo and my laptop screen is mentioned as:
    Monitor Name: LG Philips LP173WD1-TLA1
    Monitor Name (Manuf): LP173WD1-TLA1

    and my graphic card is the
    Video Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce G210M
    Video Chipset Codename: GT218M


    I am trying to figure out the srgb coverage of my screen and if it could support external monitor and up to what size

    Alex


    From the TFT Central Panel Search....

    Acer Aspire 7736G (Intel C2D T6600) ... 17.3"WS LG.Display TN Film (LP173WD1-TLA1)



    Your Acer has a TN film and most likely around 65% sRGB coverage.

    .
  • alaiosalaios Major grins Posts: 668Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 29, 2014
    darn.... Thanks for the info
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