Sales Pitch

Max Yuryev joins the chorus of fellow YouTube influencers iJustine, Jonathan Morrison, Marques Brownlee and others in extolling the picture quality of Apple’s XDR to the skies, going seriously overboard in his most recent video comparing the 6K display to LG’s 5K Ultrafine display. Blooming “is only visible in extreme, unrealistic scenarios,” he claims, explaining that “if you turn the brightness down a bit, it does go away, and in rooms like this, you would never have it above maybe twenty-five or thirty percent brightness.”

My own display has 1,152 dimming zones compared to Apple’s 576 – but let’s charitably assume for the time being that the two monitors behave broadly similarly when it comes to blooming: it is unmistakably present when viewing bright text against a dark background and becomes very disturbing when seen off-axis. Haloing becomes gradually less noticeable as display brightness decreases; ambient light levels increase; or both. However, in order not to utterly obliterate all visible detail in the shadows, ambient light in a grading suite should not exceed five nits. And to the best of my knowledge, not only is there no option to reduce display brightness when editing HDR, it would be highly undesirable to do so. Consequently, setting the screen to 25% brightness as Max suggests is not only unrealistic, but defeats the whole purpose of acquiring a 1,600 nit monitor*.

If you want the ability to accurately edit HDR, which is the main reason  we bought our display, you have to go with the XDR. – Max Yuryev

Opinions on blooming and how much if any is acceptable vary widely. The FSI XM310K, with 2,000 dimming zones, is leagues better than Apple’s XDR, as is their XM311K, which utilizes LMCL technology (effectively one backlight for each pixel); and Sony’s BVM-X300 OLED has no blooming whatsoever. But true reference monitors running $35,000 and up are out of reach for most of us mere mortals, while affordable microLED grading monitors are well into the distant future. So setting aside 100% fidelity, which isn’t remotely possible with consumer-priced monitors, is the $6,500.00 Pro Display XDR really the only option? Far from it! Rather than investing heavily in technology that was already dated the day it was released, my suggestion for those just wanting to upload the occasional HDR video to YouTube would either be to get something like the $1,200 Asus ProArt PA32UC or an OLED television.

*According to Apple’s documentation for HDR video (P3-ST 2084):

Use this mode for 4K or ultra high-definition video production workflows up to 1000 nits (full-screen sustained) using the wide color P3 primaries and the high-dynamic-range SMPTE ST-2084 EOTF. This mode is designed for controlled viewing environments set up per ITU-R BT.2100 (ambient light 5 cd/m2 and peak luminance of display ≥ 1 000 cd/m2).

2 thoughts on “Sales Pitch

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  1. I think you are taking my comment on HDR out of context. This was meant specifically between the LG 5K and XDR display as that was the theme of the video and every comparison was made between them and didn’t include other displays.

    The HDR mode for dim controlled rooms take the brightness down from to somewhere around 30% and lock it just like the other reference modes. Thanks for the suggestion on that ProArt. I’ve seen it before but as far as I can tell it will have that same blooming issue that is plaguing both your higher-end one and similarly the XDR. Sure its a good alternative to the 5K LG at a slightly higher price and your trading HDR for a much lower PPI.

    I think Apple had a tough choice to make and they wanted an aesthetically pleasing Mac-like display that was larger but maintained sharpness and provided accurate enough colors and high sustained brightness for HDR while staying super slim and silent and also costing much less than the reference grading displays that don’t have blooming issues. (or still do, but less like the XM310K at a current 22,000 but once almost 50K).

    Also, keep in mind our audience on Youtube. It is not the ultra-high-end pro’s. Yes, maybe 5% of people watching are actually interested in buying but 95% are watching just for entertainment and we have to balance the videos to make them easy to understand and fun to watch while at the same time teaching people things they didn’t know and being helpful.

    It’s hard to balance all of that and at the same time learning new things and making mistakes.
    Anyway, thanks for your viewership!

    1. While at $1,200, I do think the Asus PA32UC would have been a much fairer comparison to the $899 LG display, I really think the XDR must be compared to other HDR monitors, as is generally done in television and monitor reviews – and not to SDR displays. I’m guessing when a direct competitor to the XDR is released – I’m thinking here of the PA32UCG – we’ll see one or possibly even two comparison videos!

      Eugene Belsky has uploaded a handful of spectacular HDR videos to YouTube shot with the Pocket 6K and graded on the lowly PA32UC – leading me to believe that unless you’re a post-production facility based in New York or LA working on projects with six-figure budgets, that is all most of us need – at least, until the technology matures. Which is just one reason why I took issue with your assertion that if you want to accurately edit HDR, you have to buy the $6,500.00 XDR. As I’ve already noted, aside from the PA32UC, other less onerous alternatives exist, such as waiting till Apple releases a miniLED laptop (possibly as early as Q4 2020), or connecting to an existing OLED TV with an I/O box (space permitting!)

      Lastly, as nearly all mirrorless cameras now feature hybrid log gamma, I would think that many of your viewers would be interested in uploading HLG HDR videos directly to YouTube, but as far as I can tell, HLG is not yet supported by Apple’s display.

      Anyhow, I watch all of your videos, they’ve helped me a lot with purchasing decisions over the years, and I was just deeply disappointed that your assessment of the XDR did not seem to be as rigorous as your other product reviews.

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