LCD screens for photography? Study of reliability and durability

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by ThomasH, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. ThomasH

    ThomasH Guest

    Nowadays probably we all use computers to make photography, but
    we lack any newsgroup devoted specifically to computer displays
    suitable to make photography.

    Let me thus post here a pointer to a study performed recently by
    Munsell Color Science Laboratory, which unveiled severe problems
    with longevity of life in some contemporary LCD screens.

    http://www.avvideo.com/2003/04_apr/features/long_live_dlp.htm

    The web page of the laboratory is:

    http://www.cis.rit.edu/mcsl/

    Critics or skeptics of the above LCD longevity study like to
    remind that it was contracted and distributed by a competitor
    of the LCD technology, who would like to promote its own DLP
    technology for displays and large projection screens. Thus as
    always, exercise your own judgment.

    DLP is being very nicely presented on http://www.dlp.com/ and is
    being promoted by TI (Texas Instruments.) In real life, these
    displays perform indeed splendid, thus I am sure that we will hear
    more of them in the future. Maybe this is even *the technology*
    which will replace slide projectors? Since this technology allows
    to use high quality white light lamps, best color filters money
    can buy, they might have long term advantage over any LCD
    technology in terms of color fidelity and color gamut. They can
    clearly outgun LCD in terms of luminance and of course, they
    do not have any problem with view angle.


    If the Munsell study has real founding, be careful with that
    investment in a contemporary megabucks LCD screen...

    Thomas
     
    ThomasH, Oct 13, 2003
    #1
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  2. Well, they tested projectors, not desktop screens. The focus was on
    the degradation due to intense projection lamps, e.g.:

    "The LCDs’ blue channel polarizers were hardest hit by the test’s 24/7
    intense light. The degradation resulted in large blemishes on screen."

    I don't think that applies to a large LCD panel backlit gently by a
    fluorescent lamp.

    More relevant is the (unfortunately old) report on LCD calibration:

    <http://www.cis.rit.edu/mcsl/research/reports.html#GibsonFairchild>.

    <snip>
     
    Stephen H. Westin, Oct 14, 2003
    #2
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  3. ThomasH

    ThomasH Guest

    You might be right about that, but like in Wilhelms tests of durability,
    we can probably extrapolate the impact of this lower intensity light
    on the polarizers based on the destructive impact of the high intensity
    light. Besides, the speculations here were at one time what will replace
    our trusty slide film and a conventional slide projector.

    Oh yes! Especially I love the paper:

    [...
    Colorimetric Characterization of Three Computer Displays (LCD and CRT)
    Jason E. Gibson and Mark D. Fairchild
    January, 2000
    ....]

    This is currently the only paper which I found on the web
    with some insights about color fidelity and gamut provided by
    the LCD screens. We should not forget that they make these
    screens having mostly text, financial and CAD applications
    in mind, and not photography with its demands on the color
    fidelity and coverage of the entire color gamut.

    Thomas
     
    ThomasH, Oct 14, 2003
    #3
  4. Really? What makes you say that? And even if some sort of reciprocity
    applies, the 5-year time frame they are talking about probably
    converts to 5,000 years or more at the intensities found with
    direct-view LCD backlights.
    Not in this thread.
    Right. That's the link I gave you.
    That is to say, the LCD screens of three and a half years ago.
    Have you seen a current Apple Cinema Display LCD? They look pretty
    impressive, though I haven't measured one. I think there's quite a
    range of LCD's these days. Trying to characterize them all is like
    including a cheapo CRT in the same class as a top-of-the-line Sony or
    LaCie.
     
    Stephen H. Westin, Oct 14, 2003
    #4
  5. Sorry to follow up my own post, but I asked Mark Fairchild, the
    director of the Munsell Lab, about LCD vs. CRT desktop displays. Some
    high points of his response:

    I use LCDs exclusively for all of our critical image and color
    perception research. That should say it all. The people sticking to
    CRTs are living in the past and holding onto myths about display
    technology. The most accurate color characterization we have ever had
    of a display in the lab was on one of the Apple Cinema Displays last
    year. CRTs have certainly improved as well, but I can't see why anyone
    would want to use one of those blurry, low-contrast, non-uniform
    displays! :)
     
    Stephen H. Westin, Oct 15, 2003
    #5
  6. I asked Mark Fairchild, the director of the Munsell Lab, about the
    subject. Here are some high points of his reply:
    I was surprised at the unequivocal tone of his answers.
     
    Stephen H. Westin, Oct 15, 2003
    #6
  7. ThomasH

    ThomasH Guest

    Me too!

    Thanks a lot, this answers a lot of questions not answered otherwise!
    This is the very first clear and obvious statement from someone
    who uses lab instruments and really, really knows the subject!

    Thanks again for asking him and posting here this quote, it lands
    in my "vault of most valuable messages."

    I wish they would perform than durability tests on the screen
    LCD's as well and frankly, I would like to see color gamut
    tests of all LCD screens.

    Its good to know that the aging problems were solved, we still
    have the nasty angular dependency, which is such a problem with
    rising size of the displays. For example now the upper corner
    of my VG171b is visibly darker than the lower edge of the screen.

    He also mentions the problem with black pixels: Some of the
    screens leak light very, very nasty. My VE175 Viewsonic at home
    is an example. I can read in the dark in front of this screen
    while it is 100% "black" in screen saver mode!!

    I have not seen the Apple cinema screen, except of looking at it
    on a display in iMac shop, I do not use Apple. The screen appeared
    great to me, but not any different to a few other large LCD's by
    Sony, Samsung or NEC, and if we should believe rumors, the LCD panel
    comes from Samsung. But, this shopping impression might be deceptive,
    I would rather see some serious test results done by our beloved
    computer magazines.

    Instead, they focus now rather on "testing" digital cameras,
    what they write and find out is so embarrassing...

    Thomas
     
    ThomasH, Oct 15, 2003
    #7
  8. Well, if you're willing to throw the proper number of thousands of
    dollars their way, contact Mark. TI obviously had an interest in
    knowing that the longevity of LCD projectors doesn't match that of
    their own technology.
    Well, the latest Apple screens, and presumably some others, have very
    weak angular dependency. They are viewable over a wide angle, but
    perhaps don't offer laboratory-grade consistency over that range.
    Well, I suspect that the Viewsonic might not represent the state of
    the art.
    Well, with a DVI adapter, it's usable with Intel stuff. There are rave
    reviews on Amazon. The only one less that five stars (for the 23-inch
    display) was because of the adapter requirement.
    Yeah, I don't know what other displays are in the same class as
    Apple's. I suspect there are some. But the Apple displays seem to be
    priced competitively; $1300 for the 21-inch, and $1900 for the
    23-inch.
    <snip>
     
    Stephen H. Westin, Oct 15, 2003
    #8
  9. ThomasH

    ThomasH Guest

    Well, than thanks for all the "wells" down below :)

    Its true enough that Apple screen should be usable on all
    computers operating properly on a DVI connector. Assuming
    that Apple is conformant as well, what they sometimes try
    to avoid for obvious reason... Actually they call it
    "Apple Display Connector," thus I will rather check on this
    issue before investing in this screen.

    I am just browsing the apple.com specs of their cinema
    screens and I agree with you: For the price they offer a
    magnificent piece of equipment. Especially that the 20"
    screen has 1600 pixels, what is my private mark for a
    "minimum horizontal resolution" for my next screen. The
    venerable Trinitron CRT deserves a rest any time soon...

    Thomas
     
    ThomasH, Oct 16, 2003
    #9
  10. Apple also sells an ADC/DVI adapter for about $100. ADC is not
    directly compatible; it includes USB connections for the internal hub
    in the monitor and, I think, power for the monitor.
    <snip>
     
    Stephen H. Westin, Oct 16, 2003
    #10
  11. ThomasH

    ThomasH Guest

    I just made a generic research of the current LED screens, and
    as I see the newest generation of 20" to 22" LED screens with
    1600x1200 cost around $900..1600, what makes the Apple screen not
    that extraordinary cheap, but sure still very competitive. For
    example Dell offers its 20" Ultrasharp for around $900-$990, but
    my impression is that this screen has been around for a while
    already.

    Despite all the LED euphoria, at least one company brought
    a new CRT with a precisely specified color gamut:

    [...
    NEC Mitsubishi Japan has announced a 22" CRT monitor which is
    calibrated to the Adobe RGB color space. The Diamondtron RDF225WG
    is capable of reproducing 97.6% of the color gamut available from
    Adobe RGB... (etc.)
    ....]

    See dpreview.com for the complete news note.

    This kind of specific designation of supported color gamut is
    precisely what we need to make a proper purchasing decision,
    and this is what I miss completely in the specs of virtually
    all LCD screens and also in all contemporary test reviews of
    these screens.

    Thomas
     
    ThomasH, Oct 17, 2003
    #11
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