Category Archives: Photography

Windows Display Scaling

I needed a new laptop (have not had one for years) and a nice Dell was just announced at CES 2015 – the XPS 13 2015 model.

Dell XPS 13It has a super thin design, three processors to choose from and a super high resolution display option with a maximum resolution of 3200 x 1800. Their base model has a resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Got the new laptop a couple days ago, it defaults to a resolution of 3200 x 1800, it needs to use Windows desktop display scaling at 200% or everything on the screen is so small you can’t read anything unless you are superman.

At this point I don’t see the advantage of a high resolution display and then having to boost everything up by 200%. Essentially you are reducing your screen resolution though the enlargement process. What happens if you try and enlarge a photo, have you ever tried it? You loose resolution of the photo, you can’t create something out of nothing.

When an application does not specifically support display scaling the application ends up looking very blurry. My main text editor for development is Suplime Text, the latest non beta is version 2… it does not support display scaling so the text is blurry and impossible to work with (it is supported in the newer beta builds).

I tried explaining this to a friend but he did not get the point, suggested I may need glasses. So here are a couple screen shots to demonstrate the problem, without using display scaling. A firefox browser is on the screen, sized to 1024×768 on both screen shots so you have a point of reference on both images.

1920 x 1080 No Display Scale

1920 x 1080 No Display Scale

This resolution may actually be a little small on a 13 inch screen for some. I still have 20/20 vision despite my age and decades of 8+ hours of computer usage every day so the resolution seems about right for me.

3200 x 1800 No Display Scale

Notice how much smaller the firefox window is in the second screen shot – and look at the desktop icons and the icons in the toolbar on the bottom. On a small 13 inch screen they are impossible to see, even with 20/20 vision.

There is nothing wrong with the product itself, the issue is putting a high resolution display in such a small screen. If you take a high resolution display and need to zoom everything up 200% so you can see it, why bother with the high resolution display?

I paid a premium to get this model laptop, but in the end it is not worth it. A native screen resolution of anything higher than 1920 x 1080 in a 13 in inch display just seems wasted.

Focal Length

Going bird hunting this weekend, so I got myself a big gun. The Canon 70-200mm f/2.

I also got the 2x tube (or whatever it is called) to get as close to the birds as I can.

So how close is close?

All photos were done on a Canon 7D, which uses a 1.6x crop sensor so the photos should be 1.6x more zoom than if it was shot on a full frame camera.

I snapped some shots at different focal lengths to see. My target for these sample photos was a construction crain, specifically the driver control box. Here are the results (click for larger image).

Construction Crain @ 15mm

Construction Crain @ 15mm

Construction Crain @ 50mm

Construction Crain @ 50mm

Construction Crain @ 70mm

Construction Crain @ 70mm

Construction Crain @ 200mm

Construction Crain @ 200mm

Construction Crain @ 360mm

I’ve always thought 200 x 2 would be 400, but apparently not. With the 2x adapter on the 70-200mm lens the EXIF data is reporting the final shot is actually taken with a focal length of 360mm.