4K monitors for Photo editing?

Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
3,086
Location
NJ
Hi all,

I recently upgraded my workstation after 6 years of running with my last build. I went all out this time going with a core i7, 16GB ram, a very nice 2GB video card and solid state drives all over.

Anyway, the new video card supports 4K. I have been using my Dell U2412M monitor which is a wonderful monitor. I really don't have a lot of complaints about it. The color rendition on it is wonderful.

However, with 4K being the latest and greatest, I am wondering if it is worth upgrading my monitor to 4K. I know they are expensive, but am unsure of the availability of 4K monitors that will give me the same performance in terms of color rendition.

Does anyone here have experience using 4K monitors in their photography workflow? Would you recommend it?
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
15,253
Location
Marysville, WA
Drop AndreasB a PM. We saw him last weekend and he was telling us about the virtues of using 4K. He may see this thread and jump in. He is the only person I know personally using a 4K monitor at this time.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,889
Location
UK
I would suggest holding back on 4K unless you know you are using applications that can scale correctly. For instance Photoshop CS6 cannot the UI is very small and cannot be adjusted.

If you really feel the need for a new monitor then perhaps consider a wide gamut one such as manufactured by NEC and EIZO including hardware calibration. Currently I believe best bang for buck is the Eizo CS240 including the excellent Color Navigator software (then again I would I just bought one) under £500 in UK therefore likely to be less USA?
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
3,086
Location
NJ
Thanks for the tips. I'll drop Andreas a PM if he doesn't see this thread.

I'm using PS CC which I believe scales for 4K, but am unsure about the newest version of LR. Good tips, thank you.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
3,086
Location
NJ
Interesting. Based on Andreas' post there are a few benefits but the drawbacks seem to be a hindrance to really using 4K. Perhaps I will wait on 4K until it is (maybe) more widely adopted.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
15,253
Location
Marysville, WA
Well, as usual, Tony pops in with the details I ignored :ROFLMAO: Andreas was showing us the laptop he talks about in that thread this past Sunday, I have to tell you it did look very nice. The part that really surprised were the comments Andreas made about sharpening and noise, especially the "noise" part. It makes me really wonder, even more, what the value is of all the discussion over 100% viewing to determine "noise". If a simple difference in display resolution makes such a change, it just makes me wonder.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
3,086
Location
NJ
Well...realistically, 4K is nothing more than higher resolution 2160P or whatever we want to call it. I assume that is the reason noise and such would be less of a worry. I'm sure there is some scientific reason for it :)
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
15,253
Location
Marysville, WA
Well...realistically, 4K is nothing more than higher resolution 2160P or whatever we want to call it. I assume that is the reason noise and such would be less of a worry. I'm sure there is some scientific reason for it :)
Well, based on that, if we can get a monitor with some absurdly high resolution, then we can ALL shoot at ISO 1 million and everything will look great! Yeah, THAT's the ticket!

In all seriousness, I do have to say that on the laptop Andrea showed us tonal transitions were really smooth. I think the way to really tell would be to view on monitors with different resolutions at the same time with the same image to see if you could see the differences. Not an easy task to keep everything "the same".
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
3,086
Location
NJ
Definitely. If I do decide to go the 4K route, I would definitely pull up the same image on the 4K and my current monitor.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,889
Location
UK
Well, as usual, Tony pops in with the details I ignored :ROFLMAO:
Yes I am keeping an eye on you Bill. ;)
We seem to be posting within a minute of each other.

I recently went through the exercise of finding a new monitor and FWIW brief story below. My conclusion, to save having to read on was to leave 4K for now.

First on cost as I will only consider either NEC or Eizo at this time. Second was the scaling issues with software not least of which Photoshop - I am trying really hard to resist the call of CC and still use CS6 and LR 5.7

Anyway I really want a monitor with a resolution of at least 300 ppi (600 would be a little ambitious I think) and a colour gamut approaching the bits of ProPhoto that we can actually see. I think that will give me many years to save and will probably purchase when I buy my hover zimmer :cool:

....The part that really surprised were the comments Andreas made about sharpening and noise, especially the "noise" part. It makes me really wonder, even more, what the value is of all the discussion over 100% viewing to determine "noise". If a simple difference in display resolution makes such a change, it just makes me wonder.
Stand back far enough from the screen you already have a retina display.(y)

My new 24" monitor has a native resolution of 1920x1200 pixels and a screen width of approx. 20.5". Therefore near enough 93.66 pixels per inch resolution.

Wow, that is worse than my old 1600x1200 NEC with a screen width of 16" giving a resolution of 100 pixels per inch!!

Can I tell the difference sitting close to either - not a chance. But 4K a different beast

A typical 4K photo monitor will have double the resolution (4x the pixels) at 3840. Therefore taking a 24" monitor as mine with a 20.5" screen width leads to the conclusion that the pixel resolution will be 187 pixels per inch.

This will make a difference to perceived sharpness and noise. You are sitting quite close to your screen and I can certainly see the ability to register images with more detail than a 2k monitor. Similarly with noise perhaps the higher resolution enables imaging of closer to the actual size rather than recording over fewer pixels?

Regarding viewing at 100% particularly noise is mostly not of too great importance if you think that you are actually looking at in most cases 300-360% print size! More pixels on display the closer you can get to seeing how an image appears in print.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
8,119
Location
Maple Bay, Duncan, BC, Canada
Real Name
Andreas Berglund
OK so I'm on this thread now..... All your points are correct there is only one thing you guys missed:

This is bar none the best upgrade I have ever done to my images, they ALL look so much better on a 4k screen, it is an unbelievable difference! When I say all I mean all. All my old D2X, D3 and D300s images (12mp) look dramatically better, even the images taken with my old Panasonic LX-5 (10mp, slightly below 4k resolution) look much much better.

Now specifically what do I mean better?
  • The 4k resolution is less then 12 MP image and slightly more then 10 mp, so it shows off detail in the old images I didn't know existed. I had no idea my 24-120 F4 was that good, I know now.
  • The 4k resolution makes all images look both smoother and sharper at the same time. Smoother means an Ansel Adams approaching look and feel for BW images, sharper means stunning detail.
  • The 4k resolution makes all images look less noisy (!) This was the big surprise but when I think about it we have all known that printing an image at 300 dpi makes it look less noisy, and it is the same for viewing them on a screen with more DPI, is the simplest explanation I can come up with. I have images that I thought where very noisy especially D300s images, that look much better on the 4k screen. Go figure that a higher resolution screen is the best noise reduction I have ever seen.....
What about issues?
Yes there are scaling issues on windows 10 (and I assume 7), for viewing images and on the web as outlined in my post, I have gotten round them by using Photomechanic as a browser and PS CC and Lightroom CC has fixed the font scaling so that is no issue.

Screen size and DPI
My laptop has a 15.6 screen, not sure how many DPI that is, but for my eyes that is a a bit to much dpi to be appreciated see this definition of the issue , I find my 28 inch screen to be perfect for me on the desktop shows great details at that size. I'll figure out the actual screen DPI's later

Costs?
If you have a later desktop you would have to buy a new graphics card, if you want a laptop, don't skimp, I got a 4gb card in my laptop, and you will need it to.
Monitors? Yes if you are going the best route they will be VERY expensive. I didn't do that I bought last years Dell 28 inch for $400 anticipating that next year 5k screens will come down in price. Make sure the monitor supports 60hz if you do video, mine is 30HZ and is just fine, a very nice monitor.

Further implications
You cant really say anymore that an image is noisy, it all depends on the camera it was shot with, what ISO, what processing, what magnification and what screen dpi it is viewed on. And then we have the viewers opinion what constitutes noisy and opinions varies all over the board.

Summary
Consider doing yourself a favor and upgrade all your new and old images by getting a 4k res monitor system, probably the cheapest way to upgrade all your images...
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
15,253
Location
Marysville, WA
Summary
Consider doing yourself a favor and upgrade all your new and old images by getting a 4k res monitor system, probably the cheapest way to upgrade all your images...
Thanks a lot for jumping in Andreas. One thing has confused me since you showed us your laptop and we talked about this "noise" issue. First we all agree with the same definition of "noise" for this discussion. Let us make the presumption the you had an older D300 image that showed some noise. Now you view on a 4K monitor, no noise. But what happens when you print? Do you see the noise? And, of course, viewers without 4k will see noise. If that is the case, then the "noise" is still present in the image, so how do you process to remove it if you can't detect it on your 4k monitor?

Most likely I am just missing something obvious and will feel really dumb when you explain it, but it sure won't be the first time for me!
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,889
Location
UK
Excellent summation of 4K advantage Andreas :D. And the perils of screen interpretations.

Basically confirming more ppi, closer to how an image may look in print. But there is still the issue of too few monitor pixels in relation to printing when we view at 100% regardless of monitor

If we send an image or allow printer driver to interpolate we end up with 300/600 ppi being sent to the printer, optimal for Canon/HP or 360/720 for Epson.

Trying to view on a 'standard' resolution monitor we may have around 100 ppi which means if we view at 100% we are looking at a zoom of 300% - rather unrealistic view of how a print may look! And importantly we must make sure to have configured PS to the correct ppi of our monitor which will probably not be the standard 72 ppi often quoted.

Trying to compensate and see 1:1 on monitor requires image to be set to 300 ppi and in PS view print size selected (resulting in a zoom of 33.33%). Now the problem is that 1" on screen only contains 1/3rd of the pixels you are sending to print device. So once again you cannot really make an accurate assessment other than test printing. The situation is much worse if you are sending 600/720 ppi to your Canon/Epson printer

A 24-inch 4K display offers approx 183 pixels per inch (depending on aspect ratio), therefore you are still not looking at even 2/3rd of minimum (300 ppi) printer requirement. You can do the maths for 360/720 ppi :)
At larger screen sizes 27 and above you will be reducing the ppi count again and be far out from real size print viewing 1:1

Still there is no doubt that 4K monitors are getting there and a definite step in the right direction to appreciate what delights your files may be hiding or, in the case of noise exaggerating.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
8,119
Location
Maple Bay, Duncan, BC, Canada
Real Name
Andreas Berglund
When you print it it shows even less noise if you print at 300dpi.
If you print it at 150dpi the printwill show more noise than when viewed on a 4k monitor resolution, if and only if the DPI of the 4k monitor is more then your printed images DPI (if you have a huge 4k monitor say a 50 inch TV and a to close a viewing distance eye to monitor, then the viewed DPI could be less than 150 dpi )

The last point: IMO You truly cant make up for the difference. Downsizing the image will reduce the perceived noise (and I guess you can do Noise reduction on a downsized image to optimize, but that is to much work for me). So if I downsize the image from original D300s to 4k (a very modest reduction) one will see a very modest reduction of noise, from 12 MP to 1080DPI, a bigger and to 1280 an even bigger noise reduction.
Ideally the images would be original size on the web hosting site and on the fly the forum software would recognize what monitor resolution this was viewed and in the case of 1080p downsize to that for ideal viewing resolution, but that is of course not going to happen any day soon,

Thanks a lot for jumping in Andreas. One thing has confused me since you showed us your laptop and we talked about this "noise" issue. First we all agree with the same definition of "noise" for this discussion. Let us make the presumption the you had an older D300 image that showed some noise. Now you view on a 4K monitor, no noise. But what happens when you print? Do you see the noise? And, of course, viewers without 4k will see noise. If that is the case, then the "noise" is still present in the image, so how do you process to remove it if you can't detect it on your 4k monitor?

Most likely I am just missing something obvious and will feel really dumb when you explain it, but it sure won't be the first time for me!
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
8,119
Location
Maple Bay, Duncan, BC, Canada
Real Name
Andreas Berglund
Yes agreed.

And now I feel good about buying the cheap 4k monitor, when 5k and above become cheaper I'm buying that!

That said you guys should bring your own laptops with you and go into a shop and check out the 5k IMac, bring your own re-sized images on a stick, then you will know what I mean, it is a shocking difference!

Excellent summation of 4K advantage Andreas :D. And the perils of screen interpretations.

Basically confirming more ppi, closer to how an image may look in print. But there is still the issue of too few monitor pixels in relation to printing when we view at 100% regardless of monitor

If we send an image or allow printer driver to interpolate we end up with 300/600 ppi being sent to the printer, optimal for Canon/HP or 360/720 for Epson.

Trying to view on a 'standard' resolution monitor we may have around 100 ppi which means if we view at 100% we are looking at a zoom of 300% - rather unrealistic view of how a print may look! And importantly we must make sure to have configured PS to the correct ppi of our monitor which will probably not be the standard 72 ppi often quoted.

Trying to compensate and see 1:1 on monitor requires image to be set to 300 ppi and in PS view print size selected (resulting in a zoom of 33.33%). Now the problem is that 1" on screen only contains 1/3rd of the pixels you are sending to print device. So once again you cannot really make an accurate assessment other than test printing. The situation is much worse if you are sending 600/720 ppi to your Canon/Epson printer

A 24-inch 4K display offers approx 183 pixels per inch (depending on aspect ratio), therefore you are still not looking at even 2/3rd of minimum (300 ppi) printer requirement. You can do the maths for 360/720 ppi :)
At larger screen sizes 27 and above you will be reducing the ppi count again and be far out from real size print viewing 1:1

Still there is no doubt that 4K monitors are getting there and a definite step in the right direction to appreciate what delights your files may be hiding or, in the case of noise exaggerating.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
8,119
Location
Maple Bay, Duncan, BC, Canada
Real Name
Andreas Berglund
BTW when I say you need a new Graphics card I mean it:
  • Most current laptops with 1080p and lower do not support the new HDMI standard required ( or Display Port)
  • Buy the monitor first then check the interface needed, then buy the card with the right port (HDMI or Display port)
  • BTW Also buy a better HDMI cable, I had trouble at first withthe monitor randmely turning off and finally clued in and bought a $30 High speed cable at Radio Shack and it all works perfect now.
  • I have 4GB graphics memory, don't skimp on memory a lot of pixels to pump out!
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
3,889
Location
UK
Just to add if you are intending to use a true 10 bit pipeline path then only DisplayPort will support this currently

Edit: Firgot to add you will have to also purchase either Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro to take advantage 10 bit
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom