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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Laptop Monitor Editing
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06/16/2010 08:29:00 PM · #1
I only have a laptop computer so, editing on these monitors becomes a difficult chore because what seems "great" on the laptop monitor, looks completely different on an LCD or LED screen. Does anyone else work exclusively on a laptop for editing? Can you share any ideas on how to overcome this as I do not see the blow-outs or over contrasts or lack of detail or noise that others can see on different desktop style monitors (on the laptop).

On the good side of things....I often miss these same elements when scoring other's photos because I am viewing them all from my laptop monitor and that makes me score them equally and perhaps, higher than others might. :)

Any tips would be much appreciated. :)

06/16/2010 08:45:07 PM · #2
I edit on a 24" or 30" monitor connected to my laptop. But...when I travel, which is too often, I am restricted to editing on my 15" MacBook Pro monitor. The images always suck in comparison to what I can do on a good monitor. I just submitted to Boats using the laptop to edit and it is doing not as well as it could have.

First, make sure you calibrate your laptop monitor using a good tool like Spyder, and remember at which brightness the calibration was done. Best thing is to calibrate at full brightness and then make sure you edit at full brightness. Calibrate often. Save the profile and make sure you always use it.

Once you submit it to DPC, try logging on with a regular monitor and see how it looks. But, yes, at the smaller resolution you will not see the fine details. Edit at high magnification to compensate.

But, I should say that I only own a laptop, but I plug in a full size (24 or 30") monitor to it for everything I do when at home. I have a USB keyboard I use and just shut the laptop. So just because you have a laptop does not mean you have to be restricted. You can get a good monitor for $300 and treat your laptop like a desktop. It works great for me. Just make sure you calibrate the external monitor separately - and often. And do not fool with the brightness once you calibrate.

Good luck.
06/16/2010 09:02:50 PM · #3
Thank you! That is most helpful!

I was looking into buying a separate monitor but the guy at the store (computer expert apparently) said that if my laptop does NOT have a separate RAM dedicated to the video card itself, the extra monitor would actually make it worse??? I'm not sure how that works but, I would assume that if the laptop monitor is turned off (not sharing), the added monitor should take over where the built-in screen would. Does that sound right? (I'm such a nerd when it comes to this type of thing).

I have an HP (bought last year) laptop and should look into the specs for this model to see if it does have extra memory dedicated to the video card.

I guess the worst that can happen is that I purchase a monitor and try it and if it doesn't work, I can return it.

I also have a separate keyboard so, I can do what you suggest! I HATE using the laptop keyboard and prefer the separate keyboard and mouse instead (wireless) so, I think I might be able to try this! Thank you!!! Your answer is much appreciated and I will look into a calibration software for both monitors. :)
06/16/2010 10:03:34 PM · #4
I've done all of my photo editing exclusively on my laptop. I should note that my laptop has built-in calibration, though. Be very careful with your viewing angle, as that can be very detrimental. As Ken said, you can get an external monitor (which I'm considering).
I did a couple test prints, and test viewed my photos on other monitors to see if it was good from the beginning, which it was. Since then, I check periodically.
06/16/2010 10:18:05 PM · #5
Originally posted by J-Me:

I was looking into buying a separate monitor but the guy at the store (computer expert apparently) said that if my laptop does NOT have a separate RAM dedicated to the video card itself, the extra monitor would actually make it worse???

That's just stupid. Any 1 year old HP laptop with a connection for an external monitor should work just fine for all but 3D work or high end games. Without a dedicated graphic card, your laptop will use a portion of main memory (typically 128MB or 256MB) to drive the display, but RAM is cheap. Make sure you have at least 2GB (ideally 4GB or more) and edit away.

PS- decent monitors can be cheap, too. Just be sure to check your laptop's specs to confirm it will handle an external display at that resolution.
06/17/2010 12:45:02 PM · #6
Thank you all for your responses! It all helps a lot.

I think that I will go looking into a separate monitor since I cannot seem to see the details that others seem to see in my shots.

Shannon, I agree with what you've said about the video card and memory. I was thinking about it when I came home and the guy had talked me out of a monitor right there and it didn't make a lot of sense to me either. I could see it *if* I were "sharing" the monitors ie: keeping both the laptop and separate monitors on at the same time but, not if I set the settings so that only the added monitor is displayed. That shouldn't take up much more (if any more) memory than the laptop monitor.

I also have to get some calibration software as I know that is important too.

This guy also talked me out of getting one of the $100 and something range monitors as he said that they would be a disappointment so, unless I had this separate memory for the video card and paid a small fortune for another monitor, I'd be no better off.

Any opinions on the monitor and quality? I really would only be using it for my own personal photos and in here so, I really don't have the money to spend a fortune on a monitor...especially, the $300 + range!
06/17/2010 12:46:49 PM · #7
If you're lucky your laptop might have a HDMI and VGA port, if so, you may be able to run two monitors.

My 1330 Dell laptop runs two 28" LCD's @ 1920x1200 just fine, as you may imagine, I almost never use it as a laptop..

ETA: Here's what I have, and I seem to do OK in challenges.. :)

Message edited by author 2010-06-17 12:48:50.
06/17/2010 01:12:59 PM · #8
Good 24" monitor, $172 shipped.
06/17/2010 02:42:16 PM · #9
You can definitely get quality monitors for a reasonable amount. Any salesperson that says otherwise is trying to upsell you. Is it cream of the crop? No, but you weren't asking for that. Plenty of great options out there. Consider watching newegg or tigerdirect for some monitor deals. They come up regularly, and both dealers are highly reputable.
06/17/2010 03:01:51 PM · #10
Thank you!

This is really helpful! I think I will be doing some searching this weekend for one! :)

Thank you Shannon, Derek and Cory for the links. They also give me ideas as to what to look for.

It seems that Dell offers quite a bit. I should take time this weekend and look further into their monitors. I'm in Canada so, I'll look at the Canadian sites as well. :)

Message edited by author 2010-06-17 15:03:12.
06/17/2010 03:03:47 PM · #11
If it makes you feel any better I've only ever had this one crappy laptop with a two-tone screen (the bottom half is about twice as bright due to heat damage). I've never seen most of my shots on a decent screen as I never seem to have enough cash to splash on a screen.
06/17/2010 03:11:26 PM · #12
I work only on my laptop screen, i find it the most accurate for print and web.
06/17/2010 03:17:44 PM · #13
Originally posted by J-Me:

Thank you!

This is really helpful! I think I will be doing some searching this weekend for one! :)

Thank you Shannon, Derek and Cory for the links. They also give me ideas as to what to look for.

It seems that Dell offers quite a bit. I should take time this weekend and look further into their monitors. I'm in Canada so, I'll look at the Canadian sites as well. :)


Memory Express is a good place to look if you have one near you. www.memoryexpress.com
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