Robert OToole Photography

Jun17

Example

There are some issues with the MacBook Pro Retina that you should be aware of and what you need to know

Yesterday a friend asked me about my thoughts on the new the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. My thoughts about some issues might be useful for other photographers out there that are considering buying one. For the record I have not seen the MacBook Pro with Retina display in real life but I hope to get out this weekend to check one out.

Here’s the important thing to understand about the MacBook Pro Retina, there is no way to see the full retina resolution of 2880 x 1800 so there is no way to see 1:1 or actual pixels, unless maybe you use Aperture which is the only editing program that is written to work with it so far. This is a huge problem for photographers until Adobe updates Photoshop and Lightroom.

Even though the Apple site tells you otherwise as I understand the MacBook Pro Retina ships with the display set to 1440×900 (which is what my 13 inch MBA runs) and not 2880×1800. What you get is the effective desktop resolution of the standard 15.4 MacBook Pro with a 1440 x 900 panel, but with four pixels behind every single pixel on the screen. This configuration should offer amazing detail but you don’t actually get any more desktop space. There is no way to actually see this actual 2880 x 1800 unless you run Windows 8 (see the anandtech link below).

Example

The MBP Retina is really running insane resolution then scaling down to display 4 pixels for every 1 pixel on a normal display. To help you understand the issue think of this like a the resolution of a print, lets say the normal MPB 15.4 display looks like a 72 ppi  8 x 12 print for example, the MBPR display is similar to a the same 8x 12 inch size but at at 220 ppi. This is based on what I have read I can’t actually say what it really looks like since I have not seen on in person.

There’s one other thing that shouldn’t be overlooked, images shown on a normal MBP will look exactly half the size on a MBPR since the display is showing them scaled down. You would have to resize an image to twice the size for a MBPR to show at the same size as a normal MBP.

Conclusions and recommendations?

I am keeping my 17 inch MBP and 13 MBA for awhile, although a 13 MBA with USB 3 looks interesting!

If you’ve have anything interesting to share can know something that isn’t mentioned here, be sure to share ‘em in the comments below.

Links for more info:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6008/windows-8-on-the-retina-display-macbook-pro

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5996/how-the-retina-display-macbook-pro-handles-scaling

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5998/macbook-pro-retina-display-analysis

This CNET tech blogger gets did get some of his facts wrong but his post makes for interesting reading:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-33620_3-57454551-278/forget-retina-look-how-much-the-new-macbook-pro-displays/?tag=mncol;cnetRiver

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10 Comments

  • Comment by Rhithyn — June 19, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

    I’ve been examining the display in-person, and there is an option to bump the OS resolution to 1920×1200 and although it’s non-uniformly scaled for the display, you can’t tell. This can be used to circumvent the problems of non-retina apps. 15″ with 1920×1200 is impressive indeed.

  • Comment by admin — June 19, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

    I’ve been examining the display in-person, and there is an option to bump the OS resolution to 1920×1200 and although it’s non-uniformly scaled for the display, you can’t tell. This can be used to circumvent the problems of non-retina apps. 15″ with 1920×1200 is impressive indeed.

    I still have not made it to the Mac store to see one in person. Thanks for sharing.

    Robert

  • Comment by LaurentB — June 22, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    Hi,

    You can use SwitchResX within OS X, in order to switch to full res.
    However, it’s totally nuts because everything is way too tiny in the interface. Great hack to impress, but pointless for everyday use.

  • Comment by Allan — June 24, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

    There is also a growing thread regarding screen burn in issues… https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4034848?tstart=0 One should keep an eye on this if they are considering this purchase.

  • Comment by glen — June 27, 2012 @ 12:38 am

    I’ve had mine for over a week now and I’ve settled on leaving it scaled to 1920. The main reason is that it matches the Cintiq 24HD native res and makes the duel screen transition seamless.

    I am a 3D artist and like having the space on screen that 1920 gives me.

    True retina (not scaled) looks good but after a while makes me think I’m still on my old machine :)

  • Comment by admin — June 27, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    I’ve had mine for over a week now and I’ve settled on leaving it scaled to 1920. The main reason is that it matches the Cintiq 24HD native res and makes the duel screen transition seamless.

    I am a 3D artist and like having the space on screen that 1920 gives me.

    True retina (not scaled) looks good but after a while makes me think I’m still on my old machine

    Glad to hear it is working out for you.

    I think there will be a Retina MBP in my future sometime after software producers get everything updated to work with Retina displays.

    I wonder how long that will take?

    Robert

  • Comment by blouis79 — July 16, 2012 @ 12:11 am

    MBP with retina display is not available with anti-glare screen yet. Presumably Apple will make ones with anti-glare screen and 17inch in time.

  • Comment by admin — July 17, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

    MBP with retina display is not available with anti-glare screen yet. Presumably Apple will make ones with anti-glare screen and 17inch in time.

    Lets hope they do.

    Robert

  • Comment by Ben — August 9, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    I’ve spent a bit of time with one and the nature of the display (the lack of glass surface over it) translates to far less glare than you might expect. I’m not sure they will be looking to produce an anti glare option and not sure that the technology they are using even allows it. I read recently that it appears to have 75% less glare than the standard glossy display and in practice that looks about right.

  • Comment by admin — August 10, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

    Good to hear Ben thanks for sharing. Anti glare has been my choice in the past so not having that option in the future is a concern to me and others I am sure.

    Robert

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