View Full Version : 4k 8k Ultra HDTV for photographers?

3-May-2013, 13:49
As someone in Silicon Valley close to the underground goings on of high tech, the couple years I've kept an eye on developments in 4k and 8k Ultra HD TV. Until last year there was little available publicly in part because consumers and broadcasters were making the change from NTSC to 1080p HDTV with TV manufacturers not wanting to discourage current sales of that golden goose. But now with 1080p mostly built out, the cat is out of the bag publicly so now some consumers are suddenly wondering why they spent mega bucks on huge 1080p sets if much better sets were soon to be available? That was followed by sober cautions that though some very expensive Ultra HD sets may soon be available, that media and content to play on them, much less broadcasted television won't be realistically available anytime soon. So for now enthusiasts are supposed to be mainly among rich home theatre users.

Before the economic meltdown I mothballed my emerging photograpic print sales business except for my website then went back to work in hi tech that has always been an easier way to make a decent living for this person. Within that process stopped accumulating large format Lightjet color prints in the sub 40 inch size that up front also required expensive drum scanning and expensive matting much less framing.

So a thought occurred to me that such larger monitor displays might be a better way for photographers to display their photography to an audience than numbers of framed and or matted prints. Not an issue for photographers with small prints but very much the situation for large format color print persons. And even 8k dimensions are well within the pixel range of higher end DSLRs so this is no longer a realm for just we LF enthusiasts. One reason the business I began a decade ago went to sleep was I realised the logistics of moving around dozens of large physical prints for any public displays or exhibitions was rather futile for a peon.

The last few months have seen several announcement of multi 4 figure buck Ultra HD sets either in development or production. And last month the first more basic model has appeared. At the same time LCD manufacturers have been able to manufacture displays such as the current Ipad's and Android tables that suddenly have pixel densities as great as the highest end printers are capable of printing at. If that doesn't turn a light bulb on in some of your noggins then it should. Obviously those marketing Ultra HD have not yet connected with the idea that those products might have special value to photographers. My own vision is that for those of us with rather extensive numbers of high quality marketable images, it will be much easier to effectively display them to either the public or commercial clients by hauling around a single monitor and pc versus a van full of heavy framed prints. The video driver and pc control interface in fact ought to be simpler than products targeted for video media so would expect lower price end products.

$1500 Ultra HD TV

David Senesac

QT Luong
3-May-2013, 14:05
Are you thinking about high-end screens as a way to offer (traditional) prints for sale or as a way to display photograph instead of prints ?

Daniel Stone
3-May-2013, 14:14
I don't really "follow" the current tech, despite being 25 and having grown up with it ;)
However, FOR ME; I personally prefer to hold a print in my hands, or see a print on a wall.
If you want to see more of a "backlit" appearance in photographs, find a lab that can output to the ra-4 transparency material:
I've seen photographs presented in this manner, and it can be quite an experience!
However, my budget dictates output to traditional crystal archive "standard" glossy paper. It works well, and with minor tweaks in digital post, it can make drum scans sing, sing sing!
just my experience


Daniel Stone
3-May-2013, 14:15
Are you thinking about high-end screens as a way to offer (traditional) prints for sale or as a way to display photograph instead of prints ?

or is he considering selling "display rights" instead of a traditional print?

It might be a hellish nightmare trying to make sure these screens are all properly calibrated for density and color gamut.


Drew Wiley
3-May-2013, 14:45
Apparently programmable image displays - nothing new, except in this case higher resolution etc, and analogous to backlit display transparencies. A completely different look than prints. I have personally found everything from old-fashioned slide
presentations to web content to be an almost worthless substitute for showing the quality of a real print. At best, you get
across some idea of the nominal subject matter and decor effect color-wise. One particularly tacky nature gallery franchise has largely switched to selling big backlit display boxes as an option to prints - but in this case, the clientele isn't exactly
known for their refinement in taste. It comes across like advertising glitz ... one almost expects to see a Coors logo somewhere beside the waterfall. Bill Gates was possibly the first to install big digital wall displays with programmable images of old masters paintings etc - I wonder what the "old money" types with the real paintings would say about that???

3-May-2013, 15:49
Are you thinking about high-end screens as a way to offer (traditional) prints for sale or as a way to display photograph instead of prints ?

Hi QT,

Obviously both would evolve as modes of display. Of course puny lcd digital photo frames have been around for several years now though to most of us they are as interesting as 5x7 snap shot prints. And there are all manner of screen saver slideshow aps to fill pc computer screens with everything Bill and Martha took on their vacation last month. So either concept is nothing new. How well such displays versus current best prints on a wall is really something we will all find out. What any of us that shoots slides already is all too aware of is, how our big color transparencies on a light table being transparent media always look more dynamic and powerful than reflective prints much like the comment about backlit displays.

Brian C. Miller
3-May-2013, 15:51
For the price of the display system, you could have a print display system to cycle through real photographic prints. In a gallery, several prints could thus occupy one section of wall space. For displaying something that faces outside, then it would be a great option. Everybody knows that it's not an actual print, and it does show the wares.

Drew Wiley
3-May-2013, 16:09
It's just a different kind of animal, period. Maybe if someone wanted the option of buying either a print or a backlit, but not
as a substitute. For my kind of work, a color print is just as nuanced and unique as any black and white print. Might as well take a slide of it and project that. Does the same thing, but still no substitute for the real deal, if quality rather than just
subject-matter is your interest. Makes more sense to develop something like this as a separate art form in its own right,
rather than as a wannabee color print. Maybe I'm just too much of this NorCal Zen mentality, with little patience for Vegas
or Miami glitter. I like my images stately and contemplative, not like something Donald Trump would hang in one of his

Randy Moe
3-May-2013, 17:24
You all will call me crazy, but this is all old news. Try thinking a little farther down our path. Physical displays of anything will be soon obsolete. Some sort of mind's eye imaging is coming faster than you imagine. Perhaps Google Glass embedded. The blind now see with hardwired cameras.

In the meantime, the digital race will continue to make manufacturer's oodles with continuous upgrades. Good for them.

Static Art on the wall is good enough tech for most of us oldsters, and it doesn't stop when the power does.

Science fiction leads the way, by imagination.