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Author Topic: Viewing distance for dual monitors  (Read 1518 times)

Miles Flint

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Viewing distance for dual monitors
« on: June 16, 2017, 05:16:35 PM »

I have two 27" NEC monitors. Up to now it has only been possible to use them in a dual monitor configuration on a desk where the viewing distance was too close to be comfortable at around the 'one arm's length' rule of thumb. It was OK for one monitor but uncomfortable for twin monitors. I ended up having each one in a different location.

I am now able to specify a new desk and within reason can have any depth I like from the front of the desk to the wall. So I'd like to get back to a comfortable twin monitor setup. The main use is for Capture One and Photoshop.

Has anyone found an optimal viewing distance for such a setup ? 
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donbga

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 06:42:31 PM »

that's something you will need to experiment with since it depends on the status of your vision.

I will say you should adjust the height so that you aren't elevating your chin up or down when you are looking the monitors.

I have one of my NECs directly in front of me and the other to port. You might prefer a different configuration though.
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Farmer

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 07:12:49 PM »

Most people are not attempting to view the entirety of their multi-monitor setup at the same time.  Essentially, your viewing distance should remain unchanged, and you just move your head from side to side to view the different monitors as you need to.  Placing them at a slight angle on the sides so they are "flat" to your plane of viewing when you turn is normal and preferred.

If you actually moved them back far enough to view them all in one view, I think you'd find that it would be too far for normal use.
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Phil Brown

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 07:13:29 PM »

Oh, and 1.5 - 2 times the width of the screen is the usual ideal viewing distance.
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Phil Brown

rdonson

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2017, 12:22:47 PM »

My experience is in line with what Phil says.   I've been using 2 monitors for quite some time for my photography.  I've never tried to see both monitors at once.  As Phil says I just turn my head from one monitor to the other.  I already know what I've put on each so there are no surprises that require me to be able to see both. 

I also concur that preferences are often driven by your vision capabilities and if you wear glasses getting some that enable you to see each monitor properly. 
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graeme

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2017, 01:46:19 PM »

I work on a 17" iMac. My viewing distance is 1x the screen width or slightly less. I have a 23" display to the right of it which I use for PS palletes  / Adobe Bridge. I have dedicated computer glasses with a prescription slightly longer than normal.
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graeme

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 06:14:51 AM »

Oh, and 1.5 - 2 times the width of the screen is the usual ideal viewing distance.

Maybe the arrival of 4 & 5k displays mean we should rethink this?
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Kiwi Paul

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 11:38:10 AM »

Maybe the arrival of 4 & 5k displays mean we should rethink this?

I have a 27" 5K monitor in front of me and a 24" 1980 x 1080 to the left of it, I have them just over an arms length away and both are fine, the 5K monitor shows more detail but doesn't need to be further away because of it's high resolution.
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Joe Towner

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 12:17:10 PM »

A drawing of the space constraints may help, especially with dimensions.  Between sit/stand desks & monitor arms, you can really adjust your workspace depending on what your eyes are telling you.  Plus, at what point will a larger/higher res screen come into play and screw up all your variables?  Are you someone who would do well with a control surface w/ knobs & trackballs & need to fit them on the desk as well?
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graeme

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 12:36:22 PM »

I have a 27" 5K monitor in front of me and a 24" 1980 x 1080 to the left of it, I have them just over an arms length away and both are fine, the 5K monitor shows more detail but doesn't need to be further away because of it's high resolution.

I actually meant that it's probably acceptable to sit closer to one of these displays in order to take advantage of their higher resolution.
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Miles Flint

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2017, 02:39:34 AM »

Thanks for all the comments here which are very helpful.  Perhaps naively I had thought there would be a simple rule of thumb but it seems not.  That alone helps.  Perhaps I need to persevere and I am thinking that the discomfort I felt with the previous dual monitor set up was that I didn't use it for long enough.   I had the monitors side by side and perhaps having them at an angle to one another will help also.

I do have the Tangent panels so need the depth to accommodate them and a key board for, in the main, Capture One and Photoshop.  I also want to be able to use the space for matting prints from time to time.

That lead me to a depth from front of desk to the wall of around 40 inches. I can always move the monitors forward if necessary but not backwards of course.  If, over time, I move to a 4k/5k monitor then that may need to be positioned differently but i'd rather risk having too much space than too little.

Thanks again for your comments and suggestions.
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BobShaw

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2017, 08:42:50 PM »

I actually meant that it's probably acceptable to sit closer to one of these displays in order to take advantage of their higher resolution.
For me I find that I deliberately down res my monitors so that I can read them and they are more comfortable at a distance.
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Farmer

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Re: Viewing distance for dual monitors
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2017, 05:54:14 AM »

Maybe the arrival of 4 & 5k displays mean we should rethink this?

That distance has nothing to do with resolution.  It's to do with being able to see the entire width of the view without having to move your eyes or head.  If you want to "chimp" in on some image portion, you lean forward :-)

Sitting so close you can't see all the screen without moving your eyes/head means you've got screen real estate that you're wasting.
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Phil Brown
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