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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

iMac - How is iMac 24" Sceen for Photo Processing?


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EORI

 
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I'd like to get input from photography enthusiasts/pros on the quality of the 24" iMac screen.

I currently use an Eizo FlexScan L887 20" monitor attached to a PC for all of my photo processing needs (running Lightroom & CS2).

I've been very pleased with the color accuracy and overall quality of the Eizo, and am wondering whether to get the 24" iMac or the Mac Pro for use with my current Eizo monitor.

The larger screen of the iMac sounds tempting, but I'm more interested in accuracy and quality.
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bryphotoguy

 
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That's a very high end monitor. The 24" Apple iMac isn't going to compare to that Eizo.
If you are most worried about color accuracy, the only think you can do is go to the Apple store and test the iMacs out.
The 24" iMac has a nicer, more accurate LCD than the 20" iMac.
My opinion, I wouldn't do photo editing on a glossy screen so I'd keep the Eizo and get the Mac Pro.
I am jealous. We have a 24" Eizo at work. It blows away the 23" ACD next to it.


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brian67

 
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I second the Mac Pro and keeping your monitor. I love my iMac screen but every review I have read has stated that it is NOT what you want for professional accuracy.
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There's no reason you couldn't use your own monitor as the primary display with the iMac.

The built-in monitor could still be useful for other tasks/applications.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technologist View Post
There's no reason you couldn't use your own monitor as the primary display with the iMac.

The built-in monitor could still be useful for other tasks/applications.
Thats a great point! I didn't think of that.
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EORI

 
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Thanks for all the quick feedback.

I suppose I can get the iMac 24" and use a dual screen setup with the Eizo, but at this point, I haven't a clue how that would work, and the benefits, so I'll need to do some more research. I'm also running out of desk space, so this may not be the ideal setup.

Coming from a highly expandable PC, I also like the possibility and ease with which I can add more HDs to the Mac Pro. I've currently got 2 external HDs connected via USB2 cables, but I also like to have data and backup drives inside the computer case connected by faster SCSI cables (I presume the Macs also use these).

The only issue I have with the Mac Pro is the exorbitant cost of the RAM memory. Hopefully, the 4GB kit will be sufficient for my needs.
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Cherokee

 
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I have a 20" iMac. The screen is not even close to what anyone would consider professional on any level. The 24" is much better, but still not something you can rely on for accurate color. It's perfectly fine for internet browsing, word processing, general tasks, CS2 palettes, etc.

Using the Eizo as your work monitor would be the way to go.

I have 4 GB of RAM in my iMac. It smokes on all CS3 apps. I often run Illustrator, Photoshop, Safari, iTunes, etc. at the same time. It's not an issue at all. So, you could definitely rely on an iMac in terms of speed if that's a concern.

Of course, 4 GB is maxed out for an iMac. Upgrading RAM isn't an option. That being said, I'm sure 4 GB will be more than adequate when CS4 is released in the future. I'm pretty certain that the iMac will be a capable machine for a good while.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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bryphotoguy

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EORI View Post
Thanks for all the quick feedback.

I suppose I can get the iMac 24" and use a dual screen setup with the Eizo, but at this point, I haven't a clue how that would work, and the benefits, so I'll need to do some more research. I'm also running out of desk space, so this may not be the ideal setup.

Coming from a highly expandable PC, I also like the possibility and ease with which I can add more HDs to the Mac Pro. I've currently got 2 external HDs connected via USB2 cables, but I also like to have data and backup drives inside the computer case connected by faster SCSI cables (I presume the Macs also use these).

The only issue I have with the Mac Pro is the exorbitant cost of the RAM memory. Hopefully, the 4GB kit will be sufficient for my needs.
To do screen sharing on a iMac, all you do is go to System Preferences> Display> Arrangement. From there it gives you a nice little image of the two monitors and you can drag the menu from the iMac screen (i guess) and drop it to the Eizo screen. I say I guess because I didn't know it was possible with the iMac to not use its monitor as the primary screen. But if iMac owners say it does, they would have a better idea. I do it on my Mac Pro all the time. It works like a charm.
I had an iMac before I upgraded to the Mac Pro. I am not going to deny it is fast or that it can't handle anything you throw at it. It certainly will. But its level of expandability is quite slim. For me, the lower level graphics card without the ability to be swapped out really got to me. I can't wait till the new Mac Pros come out. I hope they keep using the express 16x slot so I can use a new card from one of those machines.
As for SCSI, you would have to buy a PCI card. I think there are some SATA HD's that run at 10,000 RPM's these days and they're cheaper and more reliable than SCSI.
As for RAM, prices have significantly dropped. Don't use Apple's pricing for RAM. TigerDirect is where I used to shop for computer stuff before I switched to Mac. They have 8GB for $300 and 4GB for $179. Newegg.com has similar pricing. 4GB of iMac RAM will run over $100 so the price difference isn't that significant.
I liked the iMac but I like the Mac Pro more. Transfer speeds are a lot faster when the HD's are internal. Having multiple external HD's can get in the way when the desk is full.
Plus, the resale value on the Mac Pros is quite high. Barring some sort of significant processor upgrade (I am not sure how fast the Penryn's will be) I will still be a year or two till the iMac catches up performance wise to the current Mac Pro.
It's been 4.5 years since the first gen G5 PowerMacs were released and they can still fetch $800 on eBay. To me, that's a major plus. I can spend $2500, buy AppleCare for an extra sum of money and I won't have to worry about it till 2010. It will still be a great machine then and still be worth a ton of money. It could still be worth $1200 in 2010 so if I decided to sell it, I could use the money and get an iMac very little to no out of pocket expense. Looking at it that way, one could have a viable computer for the next six years for $2500. Buying the latest iMac to keep up with your demands will be a bit pricier over time.


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EORI

 
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Bryphotoguy, thanks for your additional detailed response.

I just helped set up my father's 24" iMac (my Christmas gift to him), and while I love the simplicity and ease of setup and use, I was not impressed with the screen quality.

My father does a lot of professional writing in Japanese, and if you know anything about Japanese kanji characters and fonts, it's numerous strokes in every direction can readily reveal the clarity or softness of the monitor on which it appears.

Although we were both excited when the iMac booted up for the first time, and thrilled with its vivid colors and presentation, we were equally deflated when we opened one of his manuscripts on the screen for the first time. Where the Dell CRT monitor on his 6 year old PC showed sharp, crisp characters, the same characters on the iMac were fuzzy and lacking in contrast.

Since we were running MS Word on both machines, I can only presume that the iMac's screen quality just wasn't a match for the older CRT monitor.

I'll probably make the jump to an iMac Pro once they become available with the Penryn processor next Spring, but I'm definitely keeping my Eizo (or upgrade to the 24" variant).
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EORI

 
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Cherokee: Thanks for the advice.

I don't exactly need all of the bells and whistles of the Mac Pro, but Apple doesn't seem to have just the right machine for me.

The Mac mini is way too limiting and underpowered, whereas the iMac's specs are just right except for the monitor. I wish Apple offered the iMac's feature set in a compact desktop like HP's super compact Pavillion Slimline.

Others have suggested a dual screen setup, but I don't have the deskspace for a second monitor, and I'd prefer to have my primary data HDs contained within the computer (I already have two 500GB external backup HDs connected by USB to my PC that are cluttering my desk space).
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I read somewhere on these forums that Apple uses a different way to display text than Windows does. The result is a less than crisper image when displaying text.
I would see if you can bring your Eizo to the Apple store and hook it up to the Mac you're most interested in and see if does what you're looking to achieve.
Is the dot pitch on the older CRT significantly smaller than that of the 24" iMac?


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scottyk617

 
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well i'm no major league pro,
I have a 24in imac, just post processed 456 images from various christmas functions in Lightoom.

no problems with the prints, however, editing on a 24in screen, well worth it
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Cherokee

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyk617 View Post
well i'm no major league pro,
I have a 24in imac, just post processed 456 images from various christmas functions in Lightoom.

no problems with the prints, however, editing on a 24in screen, well worth it
I don't think anyone is really bashing the 24" necessarily. In terms of accurate color, it can't compare to an Eizo monitor though. The 24", if properly calibrated, would suffice for most people. The OP mentioned he already uses an Eizo monitor. I think he'll notice a big difference if he plans on switching to the 24" iMac screen exclusively.

I'm glad you are enjoying your 24" iMac. I really wish I had gone with it over the 20".

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I just checked with the Eizo web site, for the FlexScan SX2461W 24" model (looks like a newly intro'd model). It says that it can reproduce 95% of the Adobe RGB color space, which puts it head and shoulders above most monitors. I am guessing it is pretty pricey, given its compelling specs.

The 24" iMac should work fine for the non professional hobby photographer, provided you regularly calibrate it with a hardware tool such as Huey or Sypder2Pro.

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Calibrating any monitor is important, as well as using the correct printing profiles (for at-home or lab prints). Most labs, and even places like Costco make their profiles available free for download. Check out Dry Creek's website for info on profiles and calibration. Without profiles, you're just guessing at what the print will look like.
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