The Daily Ping

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February 28th, 2004

LCD v. CRT

When I got my computer a few years ago, one of my decisions was to replace my big ol’ CRT monitor with an LCD one. Since then, I’ve been consistently impressed with the image quality and, for what I do, the color works quite well.

At work I use a pair of CRTs, however, and find that my eyes just can’t handle them as much as they used to. I have to take pretty frequent breaks – I do some of the same at home – but these things really aren’t that good for my eyes. I can’t help but wonder if it’s just because I’m getting older, or because CRTs really aren’t that great.

Any thoughts?

Posted in Technology

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday February 28, 2004 -- 9:41:43 am
For me, my eyes handle the CRT monitors just fine. When I went monitor shopping a while back, I seriously considered LCD, but frankly, the tradeoff between the two just wasn't worth it. For nearly half the price, I got a much larger monitor (17"), Better resolution (1600x1200), and the color is better, too.

I think, within the next few years, the transition to LCD will make a lot more sense, as prices drop and quality improves. Right now, LCS is more of a luxury than a realistic choice.



FROM: Mario500 [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday February 28, 2004 -- 11:09:46 am
It's all in the eyes....

(continues typing while staring at 17-inch LCD monitor)


No wonder CBS was once known as "The Old Folks Home" because of their "Easy on The Eyes" promotions from long ago.




FROM: Mario500 [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday February 28, 2004 -- 11:12:35 am
^My goodness, it was CRT monitor!

Pardon that........ (and this extra post)




FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday March 2, 2004 -- 12:43:09 pm
CRT, LCD, I think the main difference is the amount of space the thing takes up on the desk. I hate staring at either one all day.
LCD's however, use the same plastic film in production as the film that's used for, well, camera film. The high demand for the film to produce LCD's has driven the price of film up, which sucks for me, because I like to use special black and white film produced in eastern europe called Efke. I like to use old cameras, and this film is great for them.

I do have a digital camera, by the way, in case I draw comments that I am a Luddite.

To me, the main difference between film and digital is the same as CRT and LCD. That digital camera is tiny, so it goes with me almost everywhere. The film cameras are more bulky, but more fun. The picture quality of film is still way better than the best digital cameras--but features and convenience will win the marketplace.

Not to get off topic or anything, but you could do a technology based ping to draw comments on Kodak's recent decision to discontinue selling 35mm cameras in the U.S.--unless you already have.

Unlike old cameras, CRT's are not more fun than LCD's. CRT's should be gone in a few years. What good are they anyway? I bet they waste a lot of energy compared to an LCD.



FROM: Marcus Mackey
DATE: Wednesday March 3, 2004 -- 2:17:54 pm
Joseph writes:

"CRT, LCD, I think the main difference is the amount of space the thing takes up on the desk. I hate staring at either one all day.
LCD's however, use the same plastic film in production as the film that's used for, well, camera film. The high demand for the film to produce LCD's has driven the price of film up, which sucks for me, because I like to use special black and white film produced in eastern europe called Efke. I like to use old cameras, and this film is great for them."


Gotta' love supply and demand. :)

"I do have a digital camera, by the way, in case I draw comments that I am a Luddite."

No way are you a Luddite! :) I love film cameras myself, although I just recently purchased a verrrrry nice Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10k 4.0 megapixel digital camera with a Leica-produced 12 optical lens. The more you delve into some of the digitals Joseph, the more you'll find that the better (more expensive) models tend to have a better grasp on trying to provide that quality and attractive analog feel that a finely crafted film camera (old or new) provides.

I attribute Panasonic's take on this to their collaborations with Leica; who also makes some extraordinary digital and some world renowned film cameras of very historic origins. Panasonic's latest 5.0 megapixel release (shown recently) actually I feel is very much just a rebadged Leica Digilux ([u]renowned[/u] digital camera by Leica)with some slight feature tweaks to set it apart. That's not at all a bad thing! Nor is having a 12x Leica lens at your disposal with a very nice digital interface and great quality and tactile feel in a digital like my FZ10k. For being mostly composite, I find the Lumix to feel as solid as my old metal Canon film cameras, and it feels much more solid than my EOS 850's plastic body.

All in all, film cameras are an exquisite and enjoyable practice, but I feel digital is fast catching the experience for a far more enjoyable price point although it's a different perspective/animal if you will. After all, if you're a starving artist that can't afford to buy and develop film repeatedly, or buy the enlarger, chemicals, papers, etc. to do it *RIGHT*, digital becomes far more compelling and thereby enjoyable in that it is an option where other's are not.

Furthermore, many of the higher megapixel cameras, and especially cameras like Canon's 300D (Digital Rebel) are producing image quality that is impeccable. Is it the same as film? Obviously no, but then again to the naked eye most people can't or won't tell enough of a difference to see the minor pro's over the considerable con's and impracticalities of film. Even a lot of pro's won't unless you're printing out to extraordinarily large formats, and most amateur's and pro's don't print to poster size from film anyhow on a continual basis. To me it's a lot of the same argument that some have with the old-style film cameras vs. the 35mm style. Ansell Adams is a truist in that sense of producing much of his stuff very much true to the original idea of analog photography with 1:1 captures to photo paper moreso than film by cameras designed to do so. Many 35mm fans take the same sneering tendency to digital... but it's all really merely evolution and a similar disparity between them all. I'd love to do all of the types of photography on a continual basis... but if you think my digital was expensive. ::whistling:: Them old-timey antique-style cameras, even the "NEW" versions, are nowhere in the realms of affordable for my means. They have to be a blast to operate the more you get acquainted with them though! :)

I love film... but the practicality of digital wins out for me anymore in terms of costs over time. My camera can take 144 photos on a single 256mb SD card, and that's at like 2056 pixels width in high quality mode. I can print out only what I feel looks good and is worth printing. I don't have to buy multiple rolls and if I screw up on a shot, I can erase... something film can't remotely achieve. If I want to email it to someone... it's a simple connect to computer, load it like a hard disk, drag to drive, and drag into an email and voila! Sent. Otherwise I have to scan, crop, tweak, save, send. Doesn't seem like much, but if you try doing that with 144 photos like I can take with my digital... see how much time it takes you? ;)

There's definitely a romanticism in film, but I feel that there's a romanticism in digital too if you get the right camera for your desires/expectations. It's like comparing a Sureshot or Owl to an EOS 1 or EOS Elan. All are film cameras... but if you get the right camera for the job, it can make that much more of an enjoyable experience. No low-end Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, or Canon digital is going to fill the true professional or romantic hobbyist photographer's needs... but give them an EOS 300 D or 10D and they'll be more than content I feel. Granted for the $ this is largely out of reach to some in terms of justifying initial investment... but so are many of the exquisite Leica analog film cameras and some regard them as some of the most amazing pieces to work with that have ever been crafted.

To me, the main difference between film and digital is the same as CRT and LCD. That digital camera is tiny, so it goes with me almost everywhere.

Depends... my Panasonic isn't much smaller than my EOS 850, FT, or Bell & Howell/Canon QL; which I find as an asset because I hate the flyweight over-miniaturized camera phenomenon that produces cameras that are cumbersome to operate (too small, too few features) and hold. The Lumix is very much bordering on SLR size, although it's a fraction smaller than most. It's 4.0 megapixel which is pretty good in terms of being able to print to 8.5 x 11 paper (similar to 8 x 10) and produce exquisite shots. The manual controls are awesome, with complete control over F-stops and Aperture; not to mention the lens is image stabilized via gyroscopes. I can shoot at F 2.8 all day and night without much problem (all the way to 12x zoom, where most handheld or digitals require a tripod), provided I operate with the proper usage of a flash in low-light. Not to mention the hot shoe accepts my Canon Speedlite 200E and most other external flashes as well. It's far from perfect though, it could use an AF Assist lamp, it's EVF doesn't have the automatic gain increase of some digital models (Konica-Minolta DiMage A1 and A2 now) it's focus isn't as speedy as my EOS 850 unless you put it in sport mode or continous focus; but these are minor quirks on what to me is the preeminent digital camera right now for the hobbyist prosumer photographer. If you're a daytime photographer in foremost, this camera is about the best there is IMHO.

The film cameras are more bulky, but more fun. The picture quality of film is still way better than the best digital cameras--but features and convenience will win the marketplace.

I agree holding a nice mechanical crafted old piece is still something magical. On image quality, for the naked eye it slowly becomes arguable to some degree if you know what you're doing in terms of operating the modern digital cameras. Yes, there's a tradeoff, it's not as good as 35mm (nor is 35mm film as good as a 1:1 classic-style photo camera, nor will it ever be if you operate it right)... but unless circumstances work perfectly to your favor on every photo you take with an analog... there's still a tradeoff no matter what in dealing with things as fate deals them. To me it's more a convenience issue though with digital than compact size or necessarily "features". Film is expensive, it costs a lot to be developed, the equipment to do it yourself isn't cheap, and many times you send stuff off and it gets cropped poorly, the color matching is abysmal at times at different camera shops, and black and white is far more expensive than color and is more of a hobbyist element that rewards if you buy all of the equipment to develop the film and photos on your own. For that amount of $, I could buy a middle-top-flight digital SLR and over time the initial investment will recoup itself nicely and we're fast hitting the stage where the higher the megapixels the more of an overkill it's going to become for most.

Higher megapixel digital, especially via CMOS (most D-SLR's) vs. CCD censors is like bringing home color developing to the masses. Armed with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and a 3.2 - 8 megapixel CCD (mind you with digital, bigger isn't always better... the larger the megapixel on a 2/3" CCD, the more noise you get... so 4-5 megapixel in some ways can look as good or better) or any 3+ megapixel CMOS censor-based camera (preferred)... you can do things in color that for the most part for the hobbyist photographer, is only practical with black and white in film. To me it's all like comparing apples, oranges, and pears. They're all fruits... but one's the odd fruit out of the bunch (citrus, non-fibrous), and all have their veritable place in the food chain, all have their fun elements, and there's pro's and con's to each one depending on which camera or model you purchase.

Digital to me though is rapidly becoming the choice for the modern hobbyist that doesn't want the sheer expense but longs for the same level of enjoyment and ultimately, prefers to have input into what their camera does, and input into how their photos are processed and furthermore, prefers color. Many of your better digitals are slowly adopting more and more manual controls, or at the very least manumatic, rather than full-on program settings. This doesn't mean that they're a replacement for a good analog film setup for someone that's a fan of film photography, but... they're a different animal altogether that appeals to a different hobbyist prosumer photographer's mentality. You can make arguments on either side... but in the end, it's more a matter of preferences and opinion rather than right vs. wrong; and in most ways they accent each other quite nicely. It's like painters arguing over acrylic vs. oils... both are tremendous mediums, but each has their own advantages and disadvantages based on what you want to do.

Not to get off topic or anything, but you could do a technology based ping to draw comments on Kodak's recent decision to discontinue selling 35mm cameras in the U.S.--unless you already have.

Hmmm, I didn't know that? Apparently it's probably a case where Kodak's stake in film cameras was slipping far enough that digital overtook the need? I think most people in film would likely go for a Canon, Konica-Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, or Pentax outfit before Kodak which to me hasn't been near the peak of the film camera segment for awhile. They've been strong in film manufacturing and sales, and I don't see that slipping, but I feel that digital camera sales have done so well that Kodak probably sees little need to spend manufacturing on film cameras? Just speculation, but I feel that Kodak's film production will continue for some time, although I do know they took a hit to competitors awhile back. Kodak doesn't hold the name in modern film cameras that a Leica or another low volume but high margin manufacturer holds. So if their sales slip... they probably shift to a market where volumes and thereby profits boom. Digital is likely that market.

I agree though, it'd be a very cool topic to discuss in future pings, not that we've not more than we should've under an LCD vs. CRT debate. LoL I know Paul is an avid digital photographer, although a bit hampered as technology has passed him some, and I believe he's got some film-based experience as well, maybe at the H.S. or Collegiate level I think?

I know I miss shooting in black and white, but I also know that it's impractical to do so unless I can afford an enlarger, the chemicals, film, paper, and can afford to do this on a continual basis. For me, digital provides a lot of the same enjoyment but in a completely different medium of photography. Initial investment for my camera wasn't cheap necessarily, but my costs are largely taken care of right now, rather than accruing down the road. That's what makes this far more of a tangible option, and I love my decision thus far.

Unlike old cameras, CRT's are not more fun than LCD's. CRT's should be gone in a few years. What good are they anyway? I bet they waste a lot of energy compared to an LCD.

Not just that but LCD's also have a longer life span to the best of my understanding. You'll also slowly see LCD's replace Plasma TV's on the high end simply because Plasma has a limited lifespan as well. Currently plasma produces a much more vivid picture in terms of brightness and angle viewing, but LCD is quickly improving in this regard (many LCD-based HDTV's have multiple angle LCD's in use today), doesn't suffer from burn-in to the best of my knowledge, and has a longer lifespan compared to Cathode Ray Tube's which deteriorate over time, and Plasma which burns off it's gas over a period and doesn't promote lasting longevity.

With that said...

I might be the only one to feel this way, but for some things I feel like the increased image quality of HDTV combined with an LCD or plasma monitor can actually be a bit disturbing at times. I say this not in regards to your average movie, but more in regards to sports. I find it almost the opposite of what Paul says is true with regards to my eyes hurting.

I've gone to Best Buy and Circuit City on a number of occasions, and when I see their HDTV displays on the flat panel LCD and Plasma displays; if there's a sports broadcast on, the speed of the coverage and the sheer amount of data covered for my eyes to process hurts my eyes. With a CRT there's a lower resolution and therefore my eyes can take it all in-stride and I'm never forced to blink like I am in viewing a High Definition version of the same footage. Don't get me wrong, I loooooove HDTV, I just find that the legibility and increased detail levels are harder for my eyes to process at those speeds without blinking repeatedly or looking away. I feel like if I was to watch it for a prolonged period, even from 20-30 feet away, I'd likely get a headache from it.

CRT's do still have some minor advantages for computers. For gamers, the framerates on most CRT's are still a bit faster than LCD which has some lag/motion trails. There's also the problem that LCD's have long since been designed to work at an optimum resolution and not resize very well. There's been some advancement in this arena but it's mostly a form of emulation, sort of akin to digital zoom in a digital camera (a joke at best) to my best understanding. For image sharpness... LCD's can't be beat, but for color management in the print industry, CRT's still hold a slight advantage. All of this is liable to change over time... but there's no argument, LCD and/or flat panel-based alternatives down the pipe, are likely the future heir to the throne of monitor/television technology. It's just a matter of time.



FROM: Josh McCormick
DATE: Saturday February 26, 2005 -- 2:35:31 am
Who knows the future? But I have to take on this comment...

> I've gone to Best Buy and Circuit City on a number of occasions, and when
> I see their HDTV displays on the flat panel LCD and Plasma displays; if
> there's a sports broadcast on, the speed of the coverage and the sheer
> amount of data covered for my eyes to process hurts my eyes. With a CRT
> there's a lower resolution and therefore my eyes can take it all
> in-stride and I'm never forced to blink like I am in viewing a High Definition
> version of the same footage.

I was just in Best Buy. And Circuit City. And Wal-Mart. And I have a take on the CRT vs LCD vs Plasma argument. You say the CRT image actually looks worse? That's tough to believe, especially since CRTs currently are STILL the standard for top picture quality. When Consumer Reports ran a bake-off between CRT, LCD, Plasma, and projection HDTVs, CRTs came out on top, with the exception of size/weight, and maximum screen size. Was given the best video quality.

The thing I found, going into the stores and (as shocking as it was to one Wal-Mart employee) turning around the TV and looking at what was plugged into it... the expensive Plasma screens will have HDMI, DVI, or component video hooked into it. Allowing it to actually get HDTV resolutions. The CRT based monitors? 100% of the time, they were either hooked into coax cable or composite video. And you wonder why they look so much worse in Best Buy? It is because Best Buy does not want to spend the money to push the CRT based monitors like they do the exotic and more expensive technologies.

Back to computer screens.... for the past few years, I've been using a Sun Microsystems 24" wide screen (16:10 ratio) high resolution monitor. I'm currently at 2048x1280 resolution inside of Windows. Refresh rate will depend on how high you push the resolution (when you get to the extremes, there begins to be a tradeoff between resolution and refresh). Yes, if I had this at a 60hz refresh rate, I think my eyes would bleed in pain.

I'd still paint the March '04 Consumer Reports as mostly accurate. (They've got some inaccuracies at the time of publish, like trying to claim that DLP based rear projection TVs are high resolution than CRT. Silly!) As of today, CRT is tried and true and top image quality. But I'd agree that the future is likely to bring something better. Which technology? Who knows.



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