Monday, September 27, 2010

Gamma and mid-tones

I was taught years ago that photos will generally look darker on PCs than on Macs, because Macs had a built-in correction of "gamma", which lifts the mid-tones, but PCs didn't. Does anybody know if this difference is still in place with modern machines?

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, September 27, 2010   11 comments links to this post


At 27 Sep 2010, 16:07:00, Anonymous Bruce said...

Apple changed the gamma in Snow Leopard to match most PCs. Any Mac running Snow Leopard will have the gamma set at 2.2. Macs running OS X 10.5 or earlier will run gamma 1.8 by default.

In System Preferences: Displays: Color: Calibrate, it is easy to created profiles with either gamma for comparison's sake.

Apple has been recommending gamma 2.2 for Aperture users and photographers in general, for a few years.

At 27 Sep 2010, 16:13:00, Blogger eolake said...

Yes, and that's what I have had it set up for, for that reason.

I didn't know it was default in SN, thanks.

At 27 Sep 2010, 17:11:00, Anonymous nonst said...

In as neutral a way as possible, I wonder how many readers of this blog would rate themselves as proficient photographers, and how many of those own AND use some form of color reference? Any kind of grey card qualifies, provided it was intended for the purpose it is being used.

At 27 Sep 2010, 17:18:00, Blogger eolake said...

Personally I think that color reference systems are mainly for product photography, and particularly product photography for print. Otherwise, even just the variations in monitors out there makes the point pretty moot.

At 27 Sep 2010, 18:41:00, Anonymous Bruce said...

In following up to the comment by nonst, I wonder how many readers have color calibration equipment for their monitor. Something like an eyeOne Display or Spyder.

The Apple support article I linked to also recommends a white point of 6500. I'm not quite there yet, having recently moved from 5000k to 6000k. I think that white point is the biggest difference between Mac and PC now, and in fact between one PC screen and another one.

Displays with higher temps tend to look better on a showroom floor, although they can quickly get tiring to use on a day to day basis.

At 27 Sep 2010, 19:42:00, Blogger eolake said...

I'd hazard that less than 1% of machines are used with color calibration equipment. Maybe less than 0.1%.

At 27 Sep 2010, 20:46:00, Anonymous Bruce said...

I agree, very few people know about color calibration of any kind, much less use it. It's good that Apple has a built-in software tool for calibration. It's far from perfect but at least you can get a gamma and temperature.

Windows 7 includes a built-in software tool for calibration as well, which is a nice change.

At 27 Sep 2010, 20:50:00, Anonymous nonst said...

"...just the variations in monitors"

As an exercise in practical logic, try to think of reasons why the variations in monitors might make it MORE important to color manage.

HINT: [0+1=1] but [1+1=2]

At 28 Sep 2010, 06:19:00, Blogger Ray said...

@ Eolake -

The default Gamma setting for my Acer LCD flatscreen is 2.2, and I'm using Windows 7, so it seems this is the industry default setting for everybody.

At 28 Sep 2010, 06:33:00, Blogger TC [Girl] said...

I miss my Acer. Had it for 6 YEARS! Bought an ASUS, on the advice of an Applehead dude and the fricken hard drive just died...after only 5 MONTHS!! :-( How is yours doing, Ray?

At 28 Sep 2010, 10:33:00, Blogger eolake said...

Thanks, Ray.


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