LCD monitors: crisp but sterile looking

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by J. Tyler, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. J. Tyler

    J. Tyler Guest

    Many people say LCDs beat CRTs but I have yet to see one that looks as
    smooth and natural as a CRT with fine-gradient photos and other
    detailed images. LCDs, while certainly crisp, always have a pixelized
    look on close inspection and the colors don't seem as warm or "real"
    to me. Does anyone know what I mean here?

    It seems that CRTs (because of their lesser precision) blend the pixel
    edges in a way that looks much more like a photographic print. It's
    sort of like the effect of progressive scan on DVDs. LCDs produce
    unexpected jaggies in certain areas that look smooth on a CRT.
    Portions of an image that fade into soft focus can be too contrasty on

    I can't be the only one who thinks the sharply-defined pixels of an
    LCD monitor leave something to be desired in naturalness. I tested a
    21" $1300 "state of the art" model set to 1600x1200 and it still had a
    robotic look to it once I got past the initial impression of

    Any thoughts?

    J. Tyler, Oct 11, 2003
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  2. J. Tyler

    Paul H. Guest

    I feel exactly the same way about automobiles and horses: if it doesn't
    have poop coming out the back end, it can't be genuine personal
    transportation. And all these people I hear talking about their "cameras"
    and their "scanners", as if a fire-blackened stick and a cave wall wasn't
    all anyone ever needed to record images for posterity. Sheesh--they've just
    about taken the fingers out of "digital" photography, too!

    Nice to know I'm not the only one with his head screwed on straight!
    Paul H., Oct 11, 2003
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  3. I especially don't like small text on LCD screens. I agree
    wholeheartedly with your observations. I also can't understand why
    anyone would buy an expensive flat panel TV that has lousy contrast.
    I've never seen a single plasma screen with true blacks. Their pictures
    are always washed out, even the units near 10 grand. What's up with THAT??

    Bay Area Dave, Oct 11, 2003
  4. J. Tyler

    Mark M Guest

    I feel exactly the same way about automobiles and horses: if it doesn't
    Not all "progress" is a forward step.
    Mark M, Oct 11, 2003
  5. I especially don't like small text on LCD screens.

    While an LCD obviously is inferior regarding natural color reproduction,
    _here_ it should leave a CRT in the dust.

    If you see such an effect, either the screen is not in sync (try it's resync
    feature) or it's bad or the resolution of the video card is not set
    according to one of the resolutions supported by the screen.


    -Michael Schnell, Krefeld, Germany,
    Michael Schnell, Oct 11, 2003
  6. J. Tyler

    Paul H. Guest

    I understand that not all changes are for the better but, for me at least,
    getting an LCD monitor for photoediting was a liberating experience. The
    constrast was sharper, the monitor was easier to color balance, the ambient
    light performance was superior, and so on.

    Furthermore, I love the crispness of the display and if I do blurring or
    anti-aliasing on my pictures, I know that what I see on-screen is the result
    of my filtering and not due to the low-pass video filtering or
    retrace-blurring caused by the CRT display. In the past, I've worked with
    some *very* flat workstation-type CRT's but I've never seen any that equal
    the flatness of a good LCD screen. I suppose it's possible for some very
    busy pictures to show Moire-type distortion caused by interaction between
    the photo and the granular nature of the LCD display, but I've honestly
    never experienced such a problem.

    I hope my previous "answer" didn't sound too harsh--it was meant to be
    tongue-in-cheek, not particularly provocative.
    Paul H., Oct 11, 2003
  7. J. Tyler

    Mark M Guest

    You weren't harsh. :)
    I too have mulled the prospect of an LCD as I watch the slow decay of my
    high-end 22" CRT. I do love the flicker-free, rock steady light from an LCD
    too. As soon as angle, contrast, and blacks get just a tad bit better, I'll
    be happily making the switch.
    Mark M, Oct 11, 2003
  8. J. Tyler

    Rick Guest

    LCDs have recently made some major headway wrt angle. Contrast
    and color gamut are still inferior to CRTs. And blacks/grayscales?
    Still pathetic.

    Rick, Oct 11, 2003
  9. J. Tyler

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Probably true. LCDs have a very high contrast ratio, which leads to
    your observation of sharp edges. I still prefer the CRT display for
    text as well. I would love to have an LCD screen for the space savings,
    but none of them can come close to the display on my ViewSonic A70f+
    monitor, even as many times the price.
    Ron Hunter, Oct 11, 2003
  10. J. Tyler

    FOR7b Guest

    I can't be the only one who thinks the sharply-defined pixels of an
    Look at a Sony 16 inch laptop running at 1600x1200 and you'll see stunning
    photo detail. You need a higher running resolution on an LCD to really see how
    great they can be. Typical resolutions on stand alone LCDs are not high enough
    like on the Sony I mentioned.

    FOR7b, Oct 11, 2003
  11. J. Tyler

    FOR7b Guest

    Huh? Contrast is much higher in an LCD.

    FOR7b, Oct 11, 2003
  12. In general I agree, but I love my LCD monitor. I will also observe that
    they are getting better and the good ones today beat out the mid line CRTs.
    Joseph Meehan, Oct 11, 2003
  13. J. Tyler

    Rick Guest

    Nope, a few do, but they cost several grand. High-end consumer
    grade LCDs have contrast ratios in the range of 600:1. Even
    midrange CRTs, at 1/4 the cost, exceed 750:1. You won't see
    much of a difference except with near-blacks and near-whites.

    Rick, Oct 11, 2003
  14. J. Tyler

    Rick Guest

    Not relative to CRTs.

    What makes LCDs produce "jaggies" is their large dot pitches,
    which generally range from .26-.30mm for consumer models.
    Even midrange CRTs have a dot pitch of .22mm.

    Rick, Oct 11, 2003
  15. J. Tyler

    J. Tyler Guest

    Are you implying LCD monitors are an improvement just because they're
    newer? I wasn't coming at this from a luddite angle!

    I do like the concept of LCD monitors with their perfectly straight
    lines, low power consumption and low EMF, but I think they need to
    have some sort of variable "soft focus" so it doesn't look like you're
    seeing a tiled mosaic up close.

    Either that, or make the pixels so small you can't differentiate their
    abrupt edges (is it already being done?) I understand some LCDs can
    run at 2048x1536 but I haven't seen them yet. The most impressive LCD
    I saw was a 23" Apple Cinema" monitor, but even it had jaggies in
    areas that should have been smooth transitions. Also, program GUIs get
    very tiny at extreme resolutions. CRTs let you work at lower, more
    pragmatic resolutions without the jagginess.

    J. Tyler, Oct 11, 2003
  16. I've looked at countless LCD's. Not just a couple. They aren't out of
    sync. It's just the nature of the beast. If YOU like them, that's
    fine. Eventually I'll get one when they become more pleasing to my eye.

    Bay Area Dave, Oct 11, 2003
  17. but what about small text on a crowded internet page?
    Bay Area Dave, Oct 11, 2003
  18. J. Tyler

    J. Tyler Guest

    I'm sure when you run that resolution on a relatively small screen
    with smaller pixels, everything will appear sharper. But I'd like to
    see that level of sharpness on a 19"+ screen, and not at a resolution
    so high that program GUIs are impractical (how easy is it see program
    text at 1600x1200 on that laptop?)

    Also, others have brought up the inferior blacks and contrast levels
    of LCDs. I think I'll hold out until they get a lot better or maybe
    some new technology supercedes them.

    J. Tyler, Oct 11, 2003
  19. J. Tyler

    J. Tyler Guest

    I do agree with the above. But I've read that many Web designers
    prefer to test graphics on a CRT before uploading them. The "look" can
    be a lot different, and LCDs sometimes even impart a false sharpness
    to photos that look soft on a CRT.
    It wasn't too harsh, but you're still not addressing what I call the
    "sterile" look LCDs impart to photos and fine gradients. Look at a
    35mm print and you will never see sharply defined squares on close

    With the 17" flat CRT I'm using now (at 1024x768), I really can't see
    any pixel artifacts until I get about 12" away, and even then it has a
    blended, smooth look while still producing good sharpness. If I could
    get that in an LCD, plus deeper black levels, I'd spend the $1000 or

    J. Tyler, Oct 11, 2003
  20. J. Tyler

    J. Tyler Guest

    Another thing to think about is dead or hot pixels, which apparently
    plague LCDs as much as digital cameras. Does anyone have experience
    with buying what initially looked like a pristine LCD monitor, only to
    have several pixels die a few months later? At the current high
    prices, I'd want a $100 rebate per dead pixel. My eye is drawn to
    defects in things that should be flawless.

    J. Tyler, Oct 11, 2003
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