Art and Photography

Recommendation for a budget laptop for basic photo-editing

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  • Mar 4th, 2020 2:38 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2005
518 posts
210 upvotes
Saskatoon

Recommendation for a budget laptop for basic photo-editing

My wife opened a flower shop a few months ago and is doing a fair amount of simple photo editing. She is finding that her laptop screen produces colours very differently than her phone. Can anyone recommend a budget or mid-range laptop with a screen that produces colours similar to phones? Obviously, Macbooks are an option, but we'd prefer a cheaper option. Do you think that any 1080p (or higher) IPS screen do the trick?

Thanks for any suggestions.
5 replies
Deal Fanatic
Feb 16, 2006
5086 posts
2081 upvotes
Vancouver
rbanow wrote: My wife opened a flower shop a few months ago and is doing a fair amount of simple photo editing. She is finding that her laptop screen produces colours very differently than her phone. Can anyone recommend a budget or mid-range laptop with a screen that produces colours similar to phones? Obviously, Macbooks are an option, but we'd prefer a cheaper option. Do you think that any 1080p (or higher) IPS screen do the trick?

Thanks for any suggestions.
To answer your question "Do you think that any 1080p (or higher) IPS screen do the trick?" .... NO.

Odds are that the phone screen is not accurate and is in a vivid mode. If you get a decent IPS screen in an external monitor, it may be accurate but still won't match the phone. Furthermore, simply attaching the new monitor to your laptop is no guarantee it will be accurate. You have to ensure the monitor is detected by the OS and sets up the correct ICC monitor profile.

Most inexpensive laptops under $1000 have terrible screens offering less than 80% coverage of the smaller sRGB gamut. Some expensive laptops today offer specifications with sRGB coverage as low as 57% and some of these less than ideal screens have IPS panels. With some laptops the profile for the built-in screen is skewed to a garish 9000K color temperature - much too blue; 6500K is standard. Often the laptop uses a cheap GPU chipset that does not allow for the external monitor and the built-in monitor to be used - "accurately" - at the same time as it can only apply a single ICC profile to both ensuring one of the two will appear "off". So panel type alone does not guarantee accurate colours.

Furthermore, some better phones offer screens with a wide aRGB or DCI gamut. Inexpensive external IPS monitors ($250 to $400) are typically 95 to 100% of sRGB. You can visibly see a difference between a sRGB and an aRGB image on side by side monitors. You can buy a wide gamut monitor to try to match the phone but then when editing you have to ensure the software you are using is "wide gamut aware". Not all software is. Even Lightroom was not for a number of years but I believe it is now. Odds are this is not the right approach.

Most websites to this day still use the smaller sRGB gamut for images. Hence, you should work in that gamut. If you edit the image and do not save the image into the correct colour space (tag it as sRGB), when you view it on a wider gamut screen it may appear overly vivid. This could be what is happening with your wife's phone. The reverse can occur as well where an image appears washed out and dull. But remember, the vast majority of desktops or laptops at home and in the office have screens that are only SRGB in colour gamut. If you edit on a sRGB screen and forget to save the sRGB tag, typically when viewed on a sRGB screen it will look fine.

Basically it gets down to this. You want to edit images on a system that is calibrated to the industry's colour standard using software that works for that standard. Then when people with properly set up computers, tablets, and phones view the image, the chances it will appear normal are much higher.

As to laptops with colour accurate screens regardless of panel type, I highly recommend this next web site as its' reviews typically show measured results of the screen's colour accuracy and brightness. It is a European site but there is some cross over to North American models. North American laptop review sites are increasingly including gamut charts in their reviews.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that.... if you edit on too bright a screen as versus the ambient light of the room you are in, you can unknowingly adjust the image so that if printed, it appears too dark. And vice versa. It is a perceptual issue with human vision.

>> https://www.notebookcheck.net/

I'd love to be able to tell you, buy a Lenovo XYZ model costing $1400 to $2100, but that model may offer 3 different panels in it, one being a champion and the other two being dogs. This industry changes so fast it is difficult to stay on top of all the changes.

.
Deal Addict
Jul 30, 2003
2032 posts
410 upvotes
Toronto
Cheapest option is to get a decent external monitor and connect laptop to it.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 5, 2010
1530 posts
880 upvotes
Even if you're happy with your screen, it'll look very different for everyone else. Screen, software, profile, everything will have an impact.

Take a picture with a neutral white card in the 1st picture and just trust Lightroom or Photoshop for the white balance.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2006
7738 posts
1628 upvotes
I am on multiple photography groups and this is a problem many photographers battle with even with top end equipment.

First thing you do is calibrate her screen, tons of resources online on how, usually with a device (purchase/rental), so we know at least that isn't the problem.

Second, just realize there is nothing you can do about mobile devices, you can't calibrate your own phones/tablets, let along other peoples devices. You edit to your screen, then look at the photo on as many other devices you can and find a happy middle ground that works for most and stick to that.

And yes, save in sRGB as mentioned.
The Devil made me buy it - RFD. :twisted:
Member
Sep 30, 2015
372 posts
126 upvotes
York, ON
I use an ipad pro. The screen is excellent. Not sure cheaper ipads have the same screen. Your wife should visit Apple store and bring her iphone with her to try it out.

App store has many free apps for simple editing, such as Snapseed.

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