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MacBook Pro Retina Display— Beautiful and Looks Bad Too

I’m reporting this prior to being able to evaluate my own MBP Retina, because it might be a key point of consideration for buyers—

What I’m hearing is that the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display looks rather bad with applications not revised to deal with the higher resolution (basically almost all existing apps except Apple’s current ones)— other apps get “pixel doubled” and look pixellated, meaning blurry and coarse.

My understanding is that until/unless an application is upgraded to support the ultra-high resolution, it will think it has a 1440 X 900 display, and everything will be pixel-doubled, and thus BLURRY.

Photshop CS6 allegedly will have an upgrade, but when?

Meanwhile, what about all sorts of other apps? Think this through (choice of laptop), because not all software will be upgraded right away, and some software might take a while.

Anon writes:

I can confirm there is something strange going on with the image display in LR3.6, and not just in the interface elements. I ingested my first shoot since acquiring the new MBP last night. There is no critical sharpness in the rendered preview images on the MBP Retina. This is a major disappointment and rather unexpected. I'm going to install Aperture and compare. I suspect I'll immediately see a huge difference.

Clearly these companies just don't think about professional users anymore, productivity is not even an afterthought. I've stuck with LR3.6 because I expected bugs and processing speed problems in the early point releases of LR4 which has proven to be the case.

What's the bet that when the retina rendering issue is resolved by Adobe the fix will only apply to LR4.


I just gave the resolution control a try. It was set to the Retina display default. Switching to "more space" which appears to be the full res mapping of everything to the display resolution seems to be offer a little improvement. There's something going on but your more methodical testing of these things will be needed to get to the bottom of it.

The other reality at work here is the higher resolution on screen makes sharpening and noise reduction values far more critical. My guess would be that we'll need to reduce our noise reduction values as we can clearly see the softening effects it has. For sports shooters like me it is also going to reveal how few images ARE or CAN BE critically sharp.

DIGLLOYD: As far as I know, the image previews blasted to the screen would also also be pixel-doubled (or perhaps drawn at half-res), thus rendering Photoshop and Lightroom useless on the MBP Retina (until revised).

But I do think we need to cut Apple some slack— the transition had to happen sometime. Still, the problems result from the fanatical secrecy which no doubt meant that Apple could not give developers time in advance to update their programs.

I never use noise reduction, I invariably think the cure is worse than the disease. And I don’t think there is anything different about sharpening, etc, except that minor differences can be more detectable on some displays than others.

Just purchased and installed Apple Aperture.

There is an enormous difference in the rendered quality of previews between LR and Aperture. Aperture shows the real potential of the display (and it is stunning)... LR previews are significantly compromised.

I'm not sure I can actually make image selections in LR given the poor render quality. Adobe won't be happy about this because inevitably they're going to get some fallout. That said, I'm almost certain when this is addressed Adobe will only fix LR4 and that won't be good for photographers who value workflow speed and productivity (the original reason for LR's existence). Looks like another forced upgrade is coming if the MBP Retina potential is to be realized.

DIGLLOYD: Exactly what is to be expected— software not yet upgraded to support the Retina display, especially photo software, is essentially unusable in terms of making judgments on images.

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