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Author Topic: Another Reason Why 4K Matters  (Read 987 times)

Chris Kern

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Another Reason Why 4K Matters
« on: August 26, 2013, 08:18:19 PM »

Coincidentally, just before reading Michael's essay this evening I visited a retail appliance dealer in an exurb of Washington D.C., where I got my first look at a 65" Sony 4K TV.  Even with a recent $1500 (U.S.) discount, apparently offered by Sony in anticipation of a number of competing 4K product introductions that are expected within the next few weeks in North America, it was still more than I was willing to pay for a television receiver.  (Full disclosure: it was more than my wife was willing to pay; I might just have been tempted.)

But what intrigued me wasn't the prospect of 4K video, but rather the possibility of using the UHD TV as a medium for displaying still photographs.  Obviously, you couldn't achieve the resolution of a print on a 4K 65" display.  But some still pictures I saw in the showroom looked remarkably good even at a close viewing distance—and the dynamic range of a transmissive medium certainly would beat that of any printer-paper combination I'm aware of.

Has anyone out there tried this?  What was your experience?  As I say, I found the idea rather tempting ... and the retail prices will surely soon be rapidly coming down.


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Re: Another Reason Why 4K Matters
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 09:07:55 PM »

Look at photos with HD resolution on a small screen like a phone or tablet.  It's the pixel density that gives the benefit, not the nominal number of pixels.  Those screens have such a high pixel density that the detail visible in still images is vastly superior to a standard computer screen. 


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Re: Another Reason Why 4K Matters
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 05:46:16 PM »

I heartily agree. I saw some images displayed from a USB stick on an 84" Sony 4K TV and I was floored by the clarity and dynamic range. The impact was bigger than what I felt when I saw my first glossy Ilfochrome print years ago :-) I routinely print large images with a Canon iPF6100 on good papers like Photo Rag Pearl and Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique and they are no match for what I saw on the Sony display, even though the prints have higher intrinsic resolution from 24 Mpixel images. It's due to the combination of dynamic range AND size. The Sony throws you a 41"x72" image at 52ppi. I also have a 27" 2.5k monitor which has a display area of about 13"x23" at 109 ppi and yet it nowhere has the impact of the Sony image which is 9X larger (area wise).

The bottom line for me is that large 4K displays may replace fine art prints when cost is no issue. And you can change the image being presented at the push of a button, so it's a one time cost compared to printing each image in large format :-). And 4K TV prices can only go in one direction...


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Re: Another Reason Why 4K Matters
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2013, 02:59:03 PM »

Yep, looking at photos on a good display is kinda like looking at really big transparencies on a really big light-table. My attitude used to be that an electronic photograph didn't really exist until printed. But I've changed my mind. I'm okay now with the largely non-physical nature of 21st century imagery.

Pixel density is one reason why I went for two 22" 1920x1200 desktop monitors rather than a single larger one. (Lack of vertical room, though, with the family heirloom table/bookcase I'm using in my computer workspace is the main reason.)



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Re: Another Reason Why 4K Matters
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2013, 06:21:12 PM »

About 20 years ago, before I'd even bought my first computer, I discovered that Kodak was providing the service of scanning one's slides and transferring the digital files to a CD, which they called PhotoCD. They also marketed a PhotoCD player which could connect to a Standard Definition TV.

So I sent in a few hundred of my slides for scanning, and took some joy in the convenience of being able to view these old photos on the TV without the hassle of setting up a projector and screen.
However, the novelty soon wore off as a result of the low resolution and small size of my TV. I recall around that time, that it was claimed certain models of inkjet printers were reaching 'near' photographic quality, so I set about investigating what quality of computers were available for photographic work.

Whenever I visited a computer store in search of the best computer system I could afford, I took a PhotoCD disc with me so I could view the results on the monitor. I was always disappointed in the results. Most of the video cards in those days didn't produce 24 bit color, and the monitors were generally low resolution.

I recall being both puzzled and disappointed that none of the systems available were capable of displaying the full resolution of a Kodak PhotoCD scan, which was a mere 6 mp, or 18 MB.
Well, finally, 20 years later, we now have a monitor or TV that can display the full resolution of my PhotoCD images. That's progress.  ;D
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 06:38:12 PM by Ray »
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