New 4K & 5K iMacs support 10-bit screen color for improved image accuracy

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited November 2015
Apple's latest Retina iMacs support 10-bit screen color, something that may be especially useful for professional photo and video editors in the future, reports said on Friday.




The technology is supported through new driver software in OS X El Capitan, wrote Cinema5D, citing German publication Mac & I. It's not clear whether the code might support an external 10-bit monitor.

Not to be confused with the bit-depth of files, 10-bit screen color helps eliminate banding artifacts while restoring gradient detail. Most external and built-in device displays are still limited to 8-bit color at most, and accordingly, OS X didn't offer compatibility until now. Windows has had 10-bit support since 2009's Windows 7.

Even on a 4K or 5K iMac, 10-bit color is reportedly only useful in Apple's own Preview and Photos apps. This excludes popular professional software, namely Adobe titles like Photoshop and Illustrator, or Apple's Final Cut Pro. The companies might be able to release compatibility updates, but neither has commented on the matter.

Apple updated the iMac lineup on Oct. 13. As well as improving display options, it upgraded the computers to Intel's Skylake platform.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Are we sure it's only the iMacs? I have a 2015 Macbook Pro 15" running El Capitan plugged in to an HP z27s 4k monitor and it says it is receiving a 10-bit signal.

    When I boot up my Ubuntu box the same monitor display panel says it is receiving an 8-bit signal, so it's not the case that it just says that all the time regardless.

    [IMG ALT=""]http://forums.appleinsider.com/content/type/61/id/64806/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]
  • Reply 2 of 74
    just got this bad boy. It's dang good.
  • Reply 3 of 74
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    Wonder why no matte screen option given the 4K resolution is perfectly suited for professional photographers who prefer glare free displays.
  • Reply 4 of 74
    Mac and I links to this test site: http://www.imagescience.com.au/kb/questions/152/10 Bit Output Support
  • Reply 5 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by satchmo View Post



    Wonder why no matte screen option given the 4K resolution is perfectly suited for professional photographers who prefer glare free displays.



    My time machine, it worked!  Its 2009!

  • Reply 6 of 74
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Too bad the new drivers do not affect last year's iMac 5K. I have El Capitan but the bit depth is only 8/8/8

     

    Actually this may not be the case. I was running a script to parse Open GL libraries but it apparently was working differently than I expected.

     

    If I go to About this Mac and inspect the display characteristics it reports Pixel Depth:    CGSThirtyBitColor. So it looks like the new drivers do update last year's iMac 5K to my delight.

  • Reply 7 of 74
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,341member
    joelsalt wrote: »

    My time machine, it worked!  Its 2009!

    Haha Good one.
  • Reply 8 of 74
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    satchmo wrote: »
    Wonder why no matte screen option given the 4K resolution is perfectly suited for professional photographers who prefer glare free displays.

    Because a matte screen effectively remove resolution and sharpness. Why would Apple ship an incredibly high quality screen and then smear honey all over the screen? Seriously why? To keep a few idiots that don't understand the technology happy, I think not. I can honestly say that buying a matte screen was one of the worst things I've done in my years of purchasing technology. Anybody that actually thinks a matte screen is the right solution to a problem is grossly out of touch.
  • Reply 9 of 74
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

     



    My time machine, it worked!  Its 2009!


    Why? Did we had 10 bit iMacs in 2009?

  • Reply 10 of 74

    you need current OSX 10.11.1

  • Reply 11 of 74
    As long as Logic Pro X Supports 10bit color, that's all I care about.
  • Reply 12 of 74
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

     



    My time machine, it worked!  Its 2009!




    Just in time to see the Apple people defending Macs with 6 bit displays and dismissing monitors with higher bit depth.

  • Reply 13 of 74
    joelsalt wrote: »

    My time machine, it worked!  Its 2009!

    But is it a DeLorean?
  • Reply 14 of 74
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member

    Mmmm....  honey-smeared screens.

  • Reply 15 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

     

    Mmmm....  honey-smeared screens.




    Didn't Steve Jobs once describe the OS X interface as "lickable"?

  • Reply 16 of 74
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by satchmo View Post



    Wonder why no matte screen option given the 4K resolution is perfectly suited for professional photographers who prefer glare free displays.



    Because a matte screen decreases contrast as opposed to increasing it. Glossy polished surface with anti-glare coat will reflect photons from light sources only in one direction, whereas matte display surfaces tend to reflect those in all directions. That offsets black point of the screen and makes it less black.

    The main point is that you can get rid of those reflections on a reflective surface by placing light sources in a proper position because there is a direct connection between direction from which photons are coming, and direction in which those photons will bounce off, however, for matte screens it is not a viable option because of the way they reflect light in all directions.

  • Reply 17 of 74
    indyfxindyfx Posts: 321member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by satchmo View Post



    Wonder why no matte screen option given the 4K resolution is perfectly suited for professional photographers who prefer glare free displays.



    I am a profesional (motion picture) compositor, in my experience professionals don't want matte screens. (I know I don't want one) Matte screen case a phenomenon called luma bloom, problem is, if you screen is causing luma bloom you don't really don't know if it's you source or your screen causing it, IOW it makes you blind to bloom in your source, not a good thing, luma bloom is used strategically to "mate" composites and also to create "atmosphere" but if you can't see it, you are screwed.

    So again I see a lot of apple haters proclaiming that pros want matte screen, well I can tell you most pros (doing critical work) work in darkened rooms (with hoods sometimes) and so the specific reflectivity of the screen is secondary to artifacting (like luma bloom) Virtually all of the "matte" PC screens I see out there suffer terribly from gross artifacting (like luma bloom) and are unsuitable to a professional.

     

    You do get that Apple's screens are better (more accurate) than 99% of PC screens. yes?

  • Reply 18 of 74
    satchmo wrote: »
    Why? Did we had 10 bit iMacs in 2009?

    More like that was the time when there was this big nothing to do about "omg! Reflections! Pros need matte!"

    ...which then proceeded to be offered and sell so poorly that Apple couldn't justify continuing in that direction.

    The time machine comment is the quote of the day.
  • Reply 19 of 74
    mbmcavoy wrote: »

    Didn't Steve Jobs once describe the OS X interface as "lickable"?

    Yeah. He did. And it was somewhat awkward then just as it sounds now.

    But the UI at that time was pretty dang awesome for its day. Nothing was like it. And it spawned an entire era of "glossy" design over the world.
  • Reply 20 of 74
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    I think for mobile devices you want some kind of anti-reflective coating, because people will try and use them outside in the sun. Apple in fact have increased the anti-glare properties of their mobile devices over time.

     

    But for desktop computers that are mainly used inside, glossy is bearable. I have used glossy iMacs in the past and they were ok, though currently I have a matte display.

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