Monday, June 25, 2012


Not long ago a photographer reader asked me why, considering most home/office computers are not capable of handling advanced, color managed photography editing, some companies do not make and sell a computer model that does. Well some PC makers back in the 90’s did, but apparently the volume of demand was not sufficient for them to be a viable, profitable business, so photography/imaging PC workstations have become a thing of the past.
I don’t expect most of you were paying much attention to personal computing when it was just beginning to get into the consumer marketplace in the mid 1980’s. But with a few long-gone rare exceptions, computers then did not have any graphics capability, the monitors were only capable of producing lines of text and numbers. They couldn't reproduce pictures. It wasn’t till the early 90’s that PC’s got a graphic user interface (GUI) , and the first version of Windows was very limited. It took a little more time before graphics paint and draw programs, some of which would support photographic images were generally available. In the industry graphics color was and still is largely unregulated; color devices were described as being color independent. In other words no standard of color was regulated and applied to any computer or image reproduction device that required them to be consistent with any color standard. But some companies got together and formed the International Color Consortium and did develop a standard color format, that is now the basis for the color management industry.
Even so, today the computer industry is the result of a free market that developed helter skelter and grew like topsy. Not even Sony one of the founding CRT monitor  companies, even makes displays today for their own computers. They dissolved their partnership with Samsung, one of the two largest manufacturers of LCD displays, the other being LG Electronics. So today, none of the popular computer manufacturers actually produce the LCD displays they sell as part of their computers. And the market that dictates what displays are and will be is dominated by their largest consumer segment, buyers of TV’s.
Today the individual photographers who wants a computer and display that supports high performance in digital photography reproduction is such a small market segment it is neither identified or acknowledged. In other words each photographer is on their own to put together a custom system that will do the best possible with digital photography. Fortunately there are companies like Eizo Nanao  and NEC as well as marketers like LaCie who produce and sell high graphic performance LCD displays. As well as Dell Computer has Ultrasharp (U2410) LCD display models that meet professional graphics performance requirements. Choosing a personal computer brand and model that also provides good support for digital photography is a bit like looking for a needle lost in a haystack.

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