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Reader Comment/Question: Retina Displays, 30-Inch Displays

Richard J writes:

Last week I had the opportunity to visit your site using a MacBook Pro with Retina display. Wow! I could immediately see the difference between the retina images and ones that were not.

have also experienced the benefits of looking at my own work on my iPad 3 and realizing elements in the image that I missed by viewing on my regular monitor.

Is this the right time to buy a new desktop monitor, are Retina desktop monitors just around the corner? How does viewing an image on a 30" screen measure up to viewing it on a retina screen? Will a web browser take advantage of this monitors 2560X1600 res in the same way it does with the retina screen? I suspect the first retina screen may come out on an iMac. iMac screens are not terribly good for color reference so professionals might have to wait longer, however seeing some of your images on the Retina was a very nice experience.

DIGLLOYD: The MacBook Pro with Retina display is fantastic for viewing quality, but it is actually more difficult to assess images critically, so I greatly prefer my 30" wide-gamut color-calibrated display for that purpose. But for pure viewing pleasure, the ultra high pixel density of the Retina display is like looking at a 'chrome', and it is the Future.

As for the iPad it is very nice but sadly the retina-grade images on this site are not presented at full quality (Apple iOS forcibly downsamples them to below the actual screen resolution). Still, they do look very nice.

The perceived quality of the Retina display derives primarily from its high pixel density, which erases all perception of there being a display; one cannot see pixels or edges. This is what makes it look like an 8 X 10 'chrome'. A desktop display does not have this pixel density, at least not yet.

It might be a long time before we have a 30-inch Retina display; for similar perceptual quality this means something on the order of 5120 X 3200 (twice linearly the current 2560 X 1600). That’s 4X the pixels, which means the video card has to be 4X as fast with 4X the bandwidth and memory, just to keep performance at the existing speed.

For professionals needing a wide gamut display that is color calibrated, yes, this is the right time to buy. My display of choice has been and remains the NEC PA301W and now the NEC PA302W.

The 4K displays are coming, but they will be very expensive and they have yet to prove that the color gamut and grayscale and uniform illumination will be at the same level. Or that they are free of glitchs (display, video card, performance, etc) Also, the pixel density might make them troublesome for general purposes work. I would let the 4K market mature for a year or more before investing in the bleeding edge.

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