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Author Topic: Using dual monitors versus one  (Read 19294 times)
SteveZ
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« on: December 05, 2008, 08:03:43 PM »
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I was planning on buying two new monitors and start using a dual monitor system for photo editing until someone suggested I go with one large 30" monitor instead. One good quality larger monitor would cost less than 2 good quality smaller monitors and and I'd save a bit of money by not needing a video card with dual output. Plus my desktop workspace would be less crowded to. Why do many photographers use two monitors and what are the advantages of using a dual system instead of one?
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2008, 08:25:12 PM »
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For still photographers, one view is that you can use a very high quality monitor for your image view, then put the boring dialog boxes, tool boxes, etc. on a cheap monitor off to the side, possibly reusing your old monitor.  Perhaps one high end, medium size monitor with one cheap monitor is less of an expense than a single, big, high quality monitor.

For film makers, several identical side by side monitors gives you a longer horizontal timeline.

For equipment hounds, several monitors just looks cool.
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SteveZ
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 08:51:01 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
For equipment hounds, several monitors just looks cool.


So other than looking "cool" there are no real benefits?
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Paul Williamson
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 10:06:54 PM »
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By putting the image on one monitor and the tool palettes (and your IM client and your webcam and your email, etc.) on the other, you can isolate the image and perhaps be less distracted by all the busy chrome that clutters up your screen.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2008, 01:20:11 AM »
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As Bill and Paul said, it is really convenient having the photo on the better monitor and the tools on the cheaper. My main monitor is slightly larger than my max. print size and I get an unobstructed view of the image. In Lightroom you can have the develop module open on the main monitor, and a grid view open on the other to keep track of where you are (no film strip cluttering up the screen), or another version of the same image open for comparison.
I get a lot of emails referring to web sites, so I have the emails on one side and the open web browser on the other. I also often have someone working on images on one screen from their laptop, while I'm on the other screen from my desktop. If I need access to the other screen, I just press the select button on the screen and I'm there. And in general, my cheaper screen is where I dump articles, notes and other general clutter and I often want access to this while having a program open on the other screen. Very handy. Cheers, David
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TMcCulley
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2008, 02:20:26 AM »
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Quote from: SteveZ
I was planning on buying two new monitors and start using a dual monitor system for photo editing until someone suggested I go with one large 30" monitor instead. One good quality larger monitor would cost less than 2 good quality smaller monitors and and I'd save a bit of money by not needing a video card with dual output. Plus my desktop workspace would be less crowded to. Why do many photographers use two monitors and what are the advantages of using a dual system instead of one?

There are some advantages to a single 30" monitor but price is not one of them.  A photo quality 30 is going to be in the 2K (USD) and you will need a more expensive video card (you still need the dual output and support for screen resolution higher than 1920x1200).  You can probably get a a pair of 24" monitors and wind up with more screen space for less money.

Tom

ps My dream setup is an NEC 30" and NEC 26" driven by a pair of NVidia 280 video cards
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2008, 02:40:35 AM »
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You simply cannot have too much screen real estate. I'd rather have have two 24" than a single 30". You can do more work easier and quicker with more screens - I even have a MacBook with a second screen sitting beside my PC for a total of 4 screens.
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Nick Rains
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rdonson
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2008, 08:45:29 AM »
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Quote from: SteveZ
Why do many photographers use two monitors and what are the advantages of using a dual system instead of one?

Hello Steve,

Its so much easier to use Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. where the image can be on the main monitor and the palletes on the other monitor.  The less obvious is that many of us rarely do only thing at a time.  So.... with your main monitor having your image you can also have a browser open in the other monitor, watch a video tutorial there, check your email, chat on IM, etc.

This wasn't as appealing before we gained the processing power of dual and quad cores and today's video cards.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2008, 12:30:22 PM »
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Quote from: Paul Williamson
By putting the image on one monitor and the tool palettes (and your IM client and your webcam and your email, etc.) on the other, you can isolate the image and perhaps be less distracted by all the busy chrome that clutters up your screen.

And you can turn off the secondary monitor when performing critical color evaluations on the main screen.

Peter
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Peter
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jjj
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2008, 07:00:45 PM »
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I love using dual monitors, much more efficient that a single large monitor. On a PC that is.
Macs sadly are far less efficient with multimonitor setups as the menu is only on one screen, not the one where you may have say your browser open. Plus, you cannot use the entire desktop as full screen, as 'full' screen mode on Macs fills a single monitor only, whereas on a PC, you can have progs fill a single monitor or span entire desktop. This matters as some programmes work well stretched out across two monitors and some are much better on just the one screen. Choice is a good thing, but annoyingly appears to be a forbidden word at Apple. YOU WILL USE GLOSSY MONITORS!!!!! .....for example.

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mistybreeze
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2008, 08:50:32 AM »
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Back in CRT days, I could not function without two monitors. Once I switched to larger screen LCDs, I found less need for two. Currently, my main screen is 26" and I rarely feel a need to turn on the second LCD.

There are times when I love a two-screen set-up. Those times are typically when I'm multi-tasking and using several programs at one time (especially for web design).

On the wider LCD screens, it makes less sense (at least to me) to put your tools on another monitor. The back and forth of the cursor simply takes too long for my liking and slows up my workflow. If I hire outside assistance, chances are they have no experience working on two monitors and I've seen where the set-up can throw them off balance.

Sometimes, in Photoshop, I'm working from four versions of the same image. Here, it's more enjoyable to work with two monitors because it easier to keep track of your versions. But I have to admit, with the wider real estate of a single LCD, finding the four versions is not as painful as it was on a single CRT. Therefore, if money and desk space matter to you, one larger LCD screen ought to please you plenty.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 08:52:55 AM by mistybreeze » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2008, 11:09:28 AM »
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Quote from: mistybreeze
There are times when I love a two-screen set-up. Those times are typically when I'm multi-tasking and using several programs at one time (especially for web design).
And as multitasking is the norm.......
Very, very  few people have just the one programme open.
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mistybreeze
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2008, 01:31:59 PM »
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Quote from: jjj
Very, very  few people have just the one programme open.
Maybe that's true for the unenlightened. But every Photoshop user in my circle knows that Photoshop is far more stable and efficient if no other programs are running open.
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jerryrock
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2008, 01:42:51 PM »
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Quote from: jjj
I love using dual monitors, much more efficient that a single large monitor. On a PC that is.
Macs sadly are far less efficient with multimonitor setups as the menu is only on one screen, not the one where you may have say your browser open. Plus, you cannot use the entire desktop as full screen, as 'full' screen mode on Macs fills a single monitor only, whereas on a PC, you can have progs fill a single monitor or span entire desktop. This matters as some programmes work well stretched out across two monitors and some are much better on just the one screen. Choice is a good thing, but annoyingly appears to be a forbidden word at Apple. YOU WILL USE GLOSSY MONITORS!!!!! .....for example.

This statement is just incorrect. Apparently jjj is not familiar with Mac OSX which does support multiple monitors in both "mirror mode" as well as "extended desktop". The menu bar in extended desktop mode can be placed on either monitor. Stretching the menu bar across both monitors accomplishes nothing except distorting the screen resolution.

The display cards included in the MacPro and MacBook Pro can support two 30" monitors with no problem.

I own both the MacBook Pro and MacPro. My current setup is a 20" Apple Cinema Display that I use for my menus and a 20" Wacom Cintiq that functions as my editing monitor. Each monitor is calibrated separately which is a feat that Windows has not yet mastered.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 01:43:17 PM by jerryrock » Logged

Gerald J Skrocki
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2008, 02:31:46 PM »
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my experience is that dual is better than single and bigger is even more better. Just can't go back from a 30 inch to a 24 inch. A bigger monitor made task such as dust removal much more efficient.

My Combination is a Dell 30 inch with another 20inch ( vertical orientation) for tools.


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jjj
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2008, 07:41:29 AM »
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Quote from: jerryrock
This statement is just incorrect. Apparently jjj is not familiar with Mac OSX which does support multiple monitors in both "mirror mode" as well as "extended desktop". The menu bar in extended desktop mode can be placed on either monitor. Stretching the menu bar across both monitors accomplishes nothing except distorting the screen resolution.
Actually I was correct, you simply misread post or did not understand what I was talking about.  I know how to use OSX with dual monitors and more importantly, I also know how to use Windows with dual monitors and guess what?  You get more options and ease of use with Windows. I did not say OSX couldn't do multiple monitors, just that it wasn't very good.

I like to use programmes in full screen mode to reduce clutter, with OSX that means filling one screen only. On a PC that means filling one screen or across entire desktop depending on how you set your preferences, which is possible to do on a programme by programme level. How it is done depends on which graphics card you are using. You can even assign parts of a screen to limit programmes if you so wish, again depending on graphics card.
Mirror mode is completely pointless/irrelevant for dual monitor workflow,  though it is very handy for demostrations where you work on your laptop and the audience see a projected version.
Extended desktop on a Mac results in wasted space/blank area on the monitor where there is no menu bar and when you manually drag a programme to [almost] fit entire desktop. The full screen mode usually fills just the single screen, not the desktop, full screen mode on a PC can fill entire desktop, not half or most of it.  

With multiple displays and OSX, the problem is that your menu bar can end up nowhere near your programme. Specifically when using programmes on the monitor without the menu bar. This results in pointless mousing and potential confusion due to the complete disassociation of menu and programme window and the fact that the only indication of the live programme being used is sometimes the tiny bit of plain text on menu bar. Which is a very small area on a large extended desktop. OSX can be way too subtle at times, especially when different programmes can also look so alike. The Windows method of attaching Menu to programme, not fixed to top of a single monitor, is way superior when using multiple monitors. Can imagine how awful using OSX would be with say 6 screens and having to always go back to one for any menu options?
http://www.digitaltigers.com/images/image.gif  And don't make pointless comments about how that is not how you would use multiple monitors or the programmes being displayed as it is just an example of how you could use it.
OSX is far more painful to use than Windows with multiple apps on multiple monitors. The justification for the fixed menu bar that people spout regarding Apple's  decision, is better adherence to Fitt's law. Which sadly falls down as soon as you start to use multiple monitors. Plus it completely fails to take into account the ease of moving mouse a little way to hit menu as opposed to moving it a long to hit menu. Plus this concept was postulated in 1954 long before the GUIs we use were even though of. And theories don't always work as expected, especially with workflow.


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Each monitor is calibrated separately which is a feat that Windows has not yet mastered.
I recently calibrated both monitors individually on the Mac and ended up with 2 monitors with very different colours. The 'solution' from Colour Confidence was to use the profile of the more correct monitor for the other, so you end up with monitors with identical profiles and in fact no different from windows.
I'm not blaming OSX for this, just pointing out that things don't always work as claimed.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 08:05:51 AM by jjj » Logged

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jjj
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2008, 08:01:05 AM »
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Quote from: mistybreeze
Maybe that's true for the unenlightened. But every Photoshop user in my circle knows that Photoshop is far more stable and efficient if no other programs are running open.
And everyone who really knows how to really use PS and can actually see the light, doesn't use it on it's own I would say. Bridge/ACR or LR are an essential part of an efficient PS workflow [for photography], unless you work on a very, very small no. of files.  Like one!      
Many, many years ago multitasking was a bit more fraught, particularly if say using non-scsi CD writers, when writing to CDs was still a new thing. But those days are long gone, especially if using multiprocessor machines.
As for PS's stability, I cannot even remember when it last crashed/locked up even when testing beta versions. On Mac or PC.

Also have you never heard of the Adobe Creative Suite? It's a large package of applications that integrate very well together for a far more efficient workflow, but usually only if the applications are actually open!      p.s. PS is one of them. You should try enlightening yourself.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 08:02:43 AM by jjj » Logged

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jerryrock
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2008, 11:41:13 AM »
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Quote from: jjj
With multiple displays and OSX, the problem is that your menu bar can end up nowhere near your programme. Specifically when using programmes on the monitor without the menu bar. This results in pointless mousing and potential confusion due to the complete disassociation of menu and programme window and the fact that the only indication of the live programme being used is sometimes the tiny bit of plain text on menu bar. Which is a very small area on a large extended desktop. OSX can be way too subtle at times, especially when different programmes can also look so alike. The Windows method of attaching Menu to programme, not fixed to top of a single monitor, is way superior when using multiple monitors. Can imagine how awful using OSX would be with say 6 screens and having to always go back to one for any menu options?
http://www.digitaltigers.com/images/image.gif  And don't make pointless comments about how that is not how you would use multiple monitors or the programmes being displayed as it is just an example of how you could use it.
OSX is far more painful to use than Windows with multiple apps on multiple monitors. The justification for the fixed menu bar that people spout regarding Apple's  decision, is better adherence to Fitt's law. Which sadly falls down as soon as you start to use multiple monitors. Plus it completely fails to take into account the ease of moving mouse a little way to hit menu as opposed to moving it a long to hit menu. Plus this concept was postulated in 1954 long before the GUIs we use were even though of. And theories don't always work as expected, especially with workflow.

Both your "logic" and your link are flawed. As a graphic professional I often use keyboard shortcuts which negate your argument for having to move the mouse cursor waaaaay over to the other monitor. Most graphic applications allow you to position your tool panels on either monitor. Having one monitor dedicated to the image you are working on is the ideal situation. Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture are all configured for a dual monitor system for that purpose. The platform you use is irrelevant.




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Gerald J Skrocki
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2008, 02:27:48 PM »
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Quote from: jerryrock
Each monitor is calibrated separately which is a feat that Windows has not yet mastered.

You'd better come around to my place and explain that to my Windows Vista 64 system then, 'caues it's quite happily ignorant of that fact and has both my Eizo's calibrated separately.
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jerryrock
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2008, 05:21:41 PM »
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Quote from: Farmer
You'd better come around to my place and explain that to my Windows Vista 64 system then, 'caues it's quite happily ignorant of that fact and has both my Eizo's calibrated separately.

Good for you!  Now you can explain it to these people who have all experienced the "Vista monitor calibration problem".

http://www.jpdodelphoto.com/blog/?p=369
http://www.vistaheads.com/forums/microsoft...tion-issue.aspx
http://www.realgeek.com/forums/monitor-cal...ues-373488.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/235826-4...bration-problem
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Gerald J Skrocki
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