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Thursday, 30 October 2014


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What do you do for vertical pictures?

Ordered mine last Friday; it will be here Monday, November 3! FWIW, this is the first desktop computer I've purchased in 10 years.

Ordered the 4 GHz i7 Quad-core/16 GB RAM/3 TB Fusion drive configuration so I have adequate horsepower when running Lightroom, Photoshop and Capture One 8 simultaneously.

Really looking forward to working with that glorious 5K Retina display, but I'll also be using my NEC PA-series display for color management for soft-proofing and making prints (the NEC has a larger gamut than the iMac's display).

Mike, when I hovered over your iMac image, a little yellow descriptor popped up that reads: "imacretina." Which my silly mind read as "I'm a cretina," which would be Italian feminine gender for "cretin." I thought, for a brief moment, that you are sending us a not-so-subtle message for drooling over it, given they use of "crack" in the title. Totally silly of me, of course. Then again... ;-)))

[With me, you never know. [g] --Mike]

I've seen it in person (and loaded some of my photos onto it from my website, full resolution) and this display will easily show you any image quality issues that you have (chromatic aberration, noise, blurriness, missed focus, camera shake etc.) that lower resolution screens and even large prints will miss.

This is my new standard target for image capture. Soon enough screens like this will be everywhere and it takes a lot of technical chops to look perfect on this display.

While the iMac 5K certainly boasts a high resolution, it appears that its color gamut is not as good as NEC and other monitors that can display 98% or so of Adobe RGB. This may matter to those doing serious photo editing:


I've been an Apple desktop user since buying an iMac in late 1999. However, their latest iMacs (sold in the past two years, of which I've had two) have shown a disturbing trend towards increasing software, OS & hardware problems. Plus, they removed the cd/dvd drives, you can no longer add memory to the new iMacs (have to take it in to a store) and Apple seems to have cut back customer service hours (and increased phone wait times significantly).

Don't get me wrong, I still like my iMac - just wish Apple would go back to relentlessly pushing for better quality instead of focusing solely on eye candy.

I've seen one, and to me, it was amazing the way a 36mp camera sensor is amazing compared to a 16mp camera sensor. That is, a 16mp sensor is amazing, and the bigger one is more amazing, I guess, but I'll wait until the old one doesn't work before I buy the more amazing one.

I've also seen one and they are stunning. Currently I believe the price is the same as a Dell Hi-res monitor but the iMac has a computer attached.

It's pretty glorious for regular viewing, but troublesome if you need to see pixel boundaries to check on your focusing. Not everyone needs to do this, but for those that do, Retina displays make it more difficult since zoomed in, everything looks soft because of the interpolation.

You can set the display to 1:1 mode with no scaling: Option-click (hold the Option key and click) on the Scaled radio button in the Display preferences dialog, and you can pick the numeric resolution instead of Apple's qualitative descriptions of resolution.

When you do that, you can indeed see individual pixels very well --- I brought a stitched 71MP file and a regular file to my local Apple store to check on that in Preview --- but then it becomes very easy to lose your mouse because it's so small. Anyway, I'm holding out for the 2nd gen because I don't want to be a guinea pig.

Uhmmmm, where's the computer part? ;)

This is why your giant DSLR is relevant and future facing. High res is the future. Right now we are so enamored of our smart phones that we forget that one of photography's strengths is rendering details and subtly. Someday soon there will be a way to inexpensively display your high mega-pixel photos in all there glory. I wonder how an iPhone 6 photo looks on this monitor?

Minor correction on BWJones's comment: The 5120 x 2880 display is almost 15MP, not 25MP. Still very impressive.

Mike, I use a 21 inch I Mac and I find the size perfect for my needs. Is the 5 k screen only going to be included with the 27 inch screen or don't we know yet?

25MP? 5120 x 2880 Native Resolution = 14.7MP surely?

I'm confused by the comment about 25 Megapixels, when I look up this screen online I see it is a 5120 x 2880 display, which is just short of 15 megapixels. Still sweet, but not 25 megapixels.

The screen may have a different aspect ratio than my Nex7, but even then the Nex7 image has a greater number of pixels in both dimensions.

What this puppy really needs is a front-facing 25 MP camera and bulit-in ten hour battery, so I can carry it in the field instead of my ancient wooden 4x5.

A cherrywood and brass exterior would really be icing on the cake!

Ok, I know I am over analyzing this, but the Nex6 shooting in 16:9 mode makes a 4912x2760 image, this would result in less than a half inch border around the edge of the screen. So bringing in aspect ratio, a widescreen image from a 16 megapixel camera comes very close to being the size of this monitor.

BWJones rather overestimates the number of pixels in the iMac 5K display. It's a 5120 x 2880 pixel display. That's about 14Mpx not 25MPx.

The downside of this is every time you tweak something in the image the computer has to reprocess 14Mpx of pixels. Almost four times more than with a previous 2,560 by 1,440 pixel 27" monitor. For the same reasons your 100% view is not much "bigger" than your normal view.

For those of you wondering "So where is the 5K monitor from Apple?" The answer is the Thunderbolt 2 (Displayport 2) interconnects don't have enough bandwidth to support a 5K display at a reasonable refresh rate.

You'll need to wait until the Displayport 3 spec comes out before you see a 5K external monitor. Along with hardware that uses Displayport 3 that can drive that 5K display.

For the same reason this iMac doesn't support target display mode (aka Thunderbolt display mode) so you can't use the iMac as a monitor if you get better hardware later.

Finally this iMac uses Intel Haswell CPUs. Intel Broadwell CPUs (a tick upgrade - a 14nm die shrink of Haswell so faster/cooler) are expected to be released in "late 2014". The next major CPU upgrade ( tock upgrade) is Skylake which will come in 2015 very soon after Broadwell. Apple seems a little out of sync with Intel right now especially for hardware with an expensive display.

Just to temper the lust :-)

BWJones: I'm sure the new iMac screen is impressive, but it's closer to 15 megapixels than 25, so it still won't allow for pictures from even ordinary cameras to be seen in all their detail. Even 8k won't be equal to D800 resolution.

That should make some decent contact prints.

Hmmm. No thanks.

More pixels doesn't mean better pixels. Haven't we learnt that from the camera resolution wars? It certainly does look stunning in the store/ But it's still a narrow gamut screen. Bit depth is average at best and I'm still not convinced the stock graphics card can run it properly.

I think I'll stick to my Mac Pro hooked up to a very sweet NEC panel, thanks.


The 5k iMac is indeed a thing to behold and actually quite a bargain compared to other 4k displays.
Aimed at the ability to display 4k video with tool palettes as well, it really is amazing to see.
Like Crack it feels REALLY good but is not so good for us--in the same way that recording studio monitors strive for accuracy above musicality in order to reveal flaws in the mix, for Photographers who print, the display is a tool.
The glossy screen and sRGB gamut is less than Ideal for print matching. For web based work, it's the bomb.
I am sorely tempted, because I have been waiting to replace my aging MacPro with dual cinema displays with true wide gamut displays, but no Mac OS yet supports a 10 bit color path.
So the Retina iMac has a better gamut than my old Cinema displays, but not nearly what is available from Eizo & NEC.
(albeit without all that intoxicating resolution.)
As far as I have been able to discern, the lack of 10 bit support continues in Yosemite. (Windows supports 10bit)
Also if you work with dual displays you will be frustrated. My wife uses a Retina MBP connected to an Apple Thunderbolt display--the only choices Apple offers are "Best for Retina" or Best for External-- one screen is always less than Ideal.
However, it may still be the best AVAILABLE option.

It's actually equivalent to 14.7 mp of full color pixels though so for best results a Bayer image needs to be downsized to this screen. A straight 15 mp Bayer capture will display interpolation softening and a lack of color resolution on this screen.

This is how you edit 4K videos. Waiting for the Dell or an off-brand Korean panel to come down in price.


Ken is wrong about the inability to add memory. I purchased mine the day it was announced, an i7 with 16GB ram and 3 TB fusion drive, knowing I would order a 16Gb kit of Crucial memory from Amazon at $136 with a few pennies. You simply lay the iMac face-down on a blanket, push a button on the back, which exposes the Ram carriage, slip the memory in, replace the door, stand the computer up and reattach the power cord, power it up and check the Apple logo in the top left to show you have 32GB of ram, and begin the set up process and migration from your previous computer, if that's the route you're choosing. Also, a $70 superdrive provides the CD/DVD reader/writer eliminated in order to create the slim and aesthetically stunning design.

Oh yeah, the screen's pretty impressive.


Yeah, 15 MP. I wrote it fast and submitted the comment before noticing the fingers hit a "2" instead of the "1". No edit possible after submitting the comment apparently...

[Well, there would have been, but a number of people had written comments already that would have made no sense if I had merely changed it. The vagaries of real time.... --Mike]

I'm sure it is stunning... But, is it ACCURATE? I've seen my share of "eye-catching, popping-out " colors that are also totally fake...

15mp? Not exactly. See the article I wrote about why we're getting more megapixels in cameras still, and how that doesn't align with displays.

The display isn't actually 5120 x 2880 pixels. It's 15,360 dots by 2880 lines. So a camera producing 5120 x 2880 pixel JPEG images is actually generating only half the luminance data it needs per line, and even less color information.

Put a different way, if camera makers designed cameras to match displays, you could get EVEN BETTER, more accurate images displayed.

it's a working tool to raise the bar of image quality for some photographers. cool

"Soon enough screens like this will be everywhere and it takes a lot of technical chops to look perfect on this display."

Now I know what I've been missing when I go out photographing with my film cameras: hi-res technical chops.

the retina thing is wonderful if your output targets are others retina devices, but if your target is the paper this is the worst screen you can have.

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