The curse of the retina screen?

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Ces1um

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So I've been taking film photos, scanning them and viewing them on my MacBook air, or on my blackberry phone, or on the computers at work. I've never really seen much of a problem.

Then I bought an imac with the retina screen. Now my photos looks soft, or out of focus. Most of my photos no longer look crisp. Is this the fault of viewing them on a very high resolution screen? Were my photos being "scaled down" when viewed full screen on my laptop?

Has anybody else noticed this? I find it's absolutely ruining my enjoyment of photography. I was going to print out some photos which I thought looked great on my laptop but after viewing them on my imac, I now feel like my photos are terrible.

I rarely print anything these days, but I think I should print a few of these photos to convince myself one way or the other that I wasn't drunk when focusing my camera and taking these pictures.
 

Kino

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Try lowering the resolution on your Imac temporarily and look at the same photos.

or...

Print one out and look at it.

Might need to calibrate your monitor.
 

bdial

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What sort of resolution are you using for the scans?
The retina screen can display quite a bit more data than a "normal" monitor, it's pretty close to print resolution, as I recall. If your scans are low resolution and you are displaying them to fill the screen, or even in a window that's larger than the file's saved horizontal and vertical sizing it will be interpolating to add the needed pixels.
 
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What sort of resolution are you using for the scans?
The retina screen can display quite a bit more data than a "normal" monitor, it's pretty close to print resolution, as I recall. If your scans are low resolution and you are displaying them to fill the screen, or even in a window that's larger than the file's saved horizontal and vertical sizing it will be interpolating to add the needed pixels.
So typically I would scan 35mm at 600dpi. That roughly works out to be around 1800x1200. My macbook can't display 1800x1200 so it must be scaling my higher res photos down to be viewed full screen on the laptop- which may be why it's looking crisper. My imac can display quite a bit more 4096x2300 so it's probably more accurately displaying my photo. I think it honestly means my focus isn't very sharp. I just never noticed it before because I couldn't view the photo at full size. Printing is much more forgiving. Looking at some 8x10/12 photos that I've printed I can't notice the issue.
 

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To determine if your negatives are sharp or not look at them on a light box with a 4x to 8x loupe.
600dpi scan resolution is a proof resolution good for previewing. For best detail scan at the scanner's optical limit which varies by make.
What scanner and software?
 

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So typically I would scan 35mm at 600dpi. That roughly works out to be around 1800x1200. My macbook can't display 1800x1200 so it must be scaling my higher res photos down to be viewed full screen on the laptop- which may be why it's looking crisper. My imac can display quite a bit more 4096x2300 so it's probably more accurately displaying my photo. I think it honestly means my focus isn't very sharp. I just never noticed it before because I couldn't view the photo at full size. Printing is much more forgiving. Looking at some 8x10/12 photos that I've printed I can't notice the issue.
What software are you using to display your images? If it is the Apple default "Preview" app, go to the menu bar under "View" and select "actual size"--if you image still looks soft, then either your neg or scan is soft. 1800x1200 should show sufficient detail to judge sharpness.
 

MattKing

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So typically I would scan 35mm at 600dpi. That roughly works out to be around 1800x1200. My macbook can't display 1800x1200 so it must be scaling my higher res photos down to be viewed full screen on the laptop- which may be why it's looking crisper. My imac can display quite a bit more 4096x2300 so it's probably more accurately displaying my photo. I think it honestly means my focus isn't very sharp. I just never noticed it before because I couldn't view the photo at full size. Printing is much more forgiving. Looking at some 8x10/12 photos that I've printed I can't notice the issue.
That sort of scan resolution will give you good results in a 4"x6" print.
Anything larger - on screen or paper - will be blurred.
A good 8" x 12" print would be best served by a 2400 dpi (actually ppi) scan, which would lead to a 3600 x 2400 (pixel) file. Which might very well look good on your retina screen.
 
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Ces1um

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To determine if your negatives are sharp or not look at them on a light box with a 4x to 8x loupe.
600dpi scan resolution is a proof resolution good for previewing. For best detail scan at the scanner's optical limit which varies by make.
What scanner and software?
It's an Epson v600 with Epson's software.
 
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What software are you using to display your images? If it is the Apple default "Preview" app, go to the menu bar under "View" and select "actual size"--if you image still looks soft, then either your neg or scan is soft. 1800x1200 should show sufficient detail to judge sharpness.
I do use apple's preview app. When it opens on my imac it will display the entire file at 1800x1200 on it's much larger screen (it doesn't "fill" the screen, just displays it full size in a window).
 
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That sort of scan resolution will give you good results in a 4"x6" print.
Anything larger - on screen or paper - will be blurred.
A good 8" x 12" print would be best served by a 2400 dpi (actually ppi) scan, which would lead to a 3600 x 2400 (pixel) file. Which might very well look good on your retina screen.
I thought print resolution was usually about half of what I scan at, or normally 300dpi?
It does seem like I need to scan at a higher resolution though from what I'm hearing here. I just find it weird that the photos look fine on my MacBook or on a standard monitor. They just show their flaws on a hi-res retina screen.
 
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I thought print resolution was usually about half of what I scan at, or normally 300dpi?
It does seem like I need to scan at a higher resolution though from what I'm hearing here. I just find it weird that the photos look fine on my MacBook or on a standard monitor. They just show their flaws on a hi-res retina screen.

Print resolution is something you calculate when you know print size and pixel count, example you want to print 8x10 at 300ppi then you need 2400x3000 pixels or you got a file with 5600 on the long side and for 20 inch print the ppi will be 280 on the long side.

Scanning at higher res simply gives you more pixels to print bigger (or make the image look better on hi-res screens), I would scan at least 2400dpi (depending on what the scanner can give you, max resolution of the scanner might be beyond the actual optical resolution of the scanner and just gives you bloated file)
 

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So typically I would scan 35mm at 600dpi. That roughly works out to be around 1800x1200. My macbook can't display 1800x1200 so it must be scaling my higher res photos down to be viewed full screen on the laptop- which may be why it's looking crisper. My imac can display quite a bit more 4096x2300 so it's probably more accurately displaying my photo. I think it honestly means my focus isn't very sharp. I just never noticed it before because I couldn't view the photo at full size. Printing is much more forgiving. Looking at some 8x10/12 photos that I've printed I can't notice the issue.

Use whole multiples of 100% to display the image, like 200%, 300% etc, otherwise interpolation on display could introduce artifacts. This could be a problem if the image does not fit the window properly unless the fractions in between are used. As others have pointed out, the scanning dpi is a little too low. At 600 dpi you must be getting about 3"x2" image if my math is correct on the display at 100%. At 1200 it will go to 6"x4" and so on.
 
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RalphLambrecht

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So I've been taking film photos, scanning them and viewing them on my MacBook air, or on my blackberry phone, or on the computers at work. I've never really seen much of a problem.

Then I bought an imac with the retina screen. Now my photos looks soft, or out of focus. Most of my photos no longer look crisp. Is this the fault of viewing them on a very high resolution screen? Were my photos being "scaled down" when viewed full screen on my laptop?

Has anybody else noticed this? I find it's absolutely ruining my enjoyment of photography. I was going to print out some photos which I thought looked great on my laptop but after viewing them on my imac, I now feel like my photos are terrible.

I rarely print anything these days, but I think I should print a few of these photos to convince myself one way or the other that I wasn't drunk when focusing my camera and taking these pictures.
No, have not noticed that but ,I don't judge a photo until it's printed. You may want to try Nik Software's out put sharpener; or consider that you are operating sharpness as an image criteria.
 

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A 35mm negative scanned at 600 dpi is good for about a 1.34" x 2" print at 300 dpi. If you want to go larger (and who would actually print something this small?), then you'll definitely need to scan at a lot higher resolution.

Also, keep in mind that any scanned image will need sharpening. It's just the way scanners work (including dedicated film scanners and DSLR scanning setups). Without it, they'll always look soft and out of focus, no matter how sharp or large the negative is. Some scanners have built-in sharpening included in their software. So it's possible to get a sharp photo without being aware of the sharpening step, but if you want a sharp photo from a scan, sharpening is a must.
 

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That 600dpi scan is far too low i.e pixels 850W x 567H @300 I have the same scanner and even scanning at half the claimed resolution for that scanner the images do look unsharp and needs quite a lot of USM to get some life into it.
See this article and note that this scanner the effective maximum res is only 1/4 of the claimed 6400:
https://www.filmscanner.info/en/EpsonPerfectionV600Photo.html
 

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Manufacturers use one test target, likely a ISO12233 https://www.graphics.cornell.edu/~westin/misc/res-chart.html and a test procedure that is undisclosed, while 3rd party testers use a USAF1951.
Despite test means or target the manufacturers Optical limit is the highest setting at which the sensor, lens, mirror, glass of the scanner are all that influence the scanned image, above that its a software interpolation producing the higher numbers.
All scanning software resolution settings are based on manufacturers numbers not on third party testers.
To achieve the 3rd party testing max resolution you must scan at or near the manufacturers optical limit.
The optical limit of the V600 is 6400dpi. To achieve the 3rd party testers max resolution you must scan at 3600 or higher.
 

MattKing

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I thought print resolution was usually about half of what I scan at, or normally 300dpi?
As others have pointed out, while that is true, if you want a print that is more than twice the size of your negative (more than 2"x3") you need more scanning resolution.
 

removed account4

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the answer is easy
get rid of your crappy retina screen
and get something different. fancy screens
are useless, like a multi coated high contrast modern lens
who wants that .. i certainly don't want that or what it means...
have you turned your brightness down to 3 ticks maybe 4?
sunglasses help too ...
i have a cinema screen if you want to buy it
good price for you, my friend, very cheep...
 
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Ces1um

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Thanks everyone- that has made quite a difference. I rescanned a few negatives and it really has made a substantial improvement in the images as they display on my iMac. @jnanian Maybe instead of all that, I could just stare directly into the sun? For like 10 or 15 minutes? :laugh:
 

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Thanks everyone- that has made quite a difference. I rescanned a few negatives and it really has made a substantial improvement in the images as they display on my iMac
Now that you've played with it for a while EpsonScan default is to give a good picture, not the maximum detail or best rendering from the film. You have to do some work to get that.
When you do a preview click on the Histogram. Reading a histogram the bottom is no information with usually the left edge 0 for pure black and the right edge 255 for pure white, any rise above the base line is information from the scan/detail in the film.
Notice that the ends are clipped slightly by the software, and there are sliders so you can manually set the white and black points (color or B&W) but if you change them and do another preview the software sets them back to where they were as auto exposure is default. Click on the Configuration box at the bottom of the manual/professional settings page to access the controls to turn auto exposure off and make so other changes to the software's behavior.
To see what each one does turn it off or on, make a scan, and evaluate the results. Selecting NO Color Correction gives as close to a raw scan as is possible that will need adjustment in post to look good.
A raw scan contains all the detail from the film with NO software manipulation.
 
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