Scanned stuff on new iPad?
April 22, 2012 4:06 PM   Subscribe

How do scanned comics and PDFs look on the new iPad?

I've got a fairly sizable library of scanned comics and PDFs. I've been mulling over an iPad purchase for quite a long time now, but the "retina display" on the new one gives me pause.

None of the comics or PDFs that I have were scanned in anything close to the 1536x2048 res of the new iPad, so I have to imagine they would look kind of like crap on it, but I don't know anyone who has one, so I can't confirm, and some Googling hasn't really led me to answer. An Apple booster friend of mine says "I'm sure they thought of that," but I don't see how it even has a solution.

So, do you have a new iPad, have you loaded up some scanned comics/PDFs that have drastically fewer pixels than the screen, and if so, how did it look?
posted by adamdschneider to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
I have an iPad 2 (the new iPad is 3; before the new one came out, they called what the 2 model had a "retina display," Apple has been diligently retconning the term). Comics look very sharp on it, and iPads do zooming very well in my experience, so at the resolutions we're talking about you probably won't notice much of a difference. I don't have a 3, and don't know what your expectations are, so I can't say for sure.
posted by JHarris at 5:02 PM on April 22, 2012

They never called the display in the iPad 2 a "retina" display, don't let that confuse you. Your concerns are somewhat valid, based on my own viewing of lower-res documents scaled up (I've owned all 3 iPads, so I have good reference points). However, even somewhat hi-res documents (I'm thinking like typical desktop resolutions) should look pretty good.

If you post a link or something to the type of document you're talking about I could give you a better answer
posted by Patbon at 5:05 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Comics look amazing on the 3rd gen iPad screen. I had no complaints on the old screen either, but it is a marked improvement.
posted by Aznable at 5:36 PM on April 22, 2012

To be perfectly clear, I am talking about the new iPad only, with the 1536x2048 display, not the first or second generation iPads with the 768x1024 display.

Comics look amazing on the 3rd gen iPad screen.

Are you talking about scanned comics that you provided in, say, CBR or CBZ format, put into an app like Comic Zeal, or bought comics through an app like Comixology? I am talking about the former.

If you post a link or something to the type of document you're talking about I could give you a better answer

I don't have a linkable PDF, but for images, you could consider something like this or this representative. I'd mainly be concerned with portrait view, i.e. without scrolling.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:40 PM on April 22, 2012

Yes, I am talking about CBR files viewed in Comic Zeal. I looked at the two links you provided and the first one looked great. The second was a little bit pixely in some areas, but not so bad that it would be an impediment to reading unless you were super sensitive to that sort of thing.
posted by Aznable at 7:26 PM on April 22, 2012

Seconding Aznable -- scanned CBR files in Comic Zeal, or Stanza, etc. look absolutely fantastic. It's almost print resolution, so sometimes you can see the texture of the paper -- in a good way. Lower quality images in general don't look any more pixelated than they would otherwise, and in any case you're definitely getting a better viewing experience than on the previous iPads -- or any other laptop/desktop screen, for that matter.
posted by suedehead at 7:52 PM on April 22, 2012

Maybe it's just because it's late, but I'm trying to figure out how having more pixels on the screen could possibly make it look any worse. Any image that was exactly the same resolution as the old ipad should look identical (since 1 pixel on the old screen equals 4 pixels on the new screen), and anything that has been scaled bigger or smaller should look much better on the new screen, since there are more pixels to smooth out transitions. Think of it this way: If something didn't look great on the new ipad due to scaling, it would certainly look worse on the old one, since it will have to do the exact same scaling, but has fewer pixels per inch to use to do the scaling.

So, imagine if you had a screen similar in size to the ipad, with a resolution of 10 pixels by 12 pixels, and another screen of the same size with a resolution of 1000 by 1200 pixels. There isn't any situation in which the old screen is going to give you a better looking picture, because the new screen is able to recreate the old screen exactly, but is also able to show you much more detail. With higher resolution images, or with images scaled from one size to the other, the old screen will be unable to accurately show you much of anything, since it has fewer pixels to work with.

Since you are keeping the screen size the same, there is no downside to a higher resolution screen. If your images won't look good on the new ipad, they also won't look good on the old ipad.
posted by markblasco at 11:28 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Another way to look at it: If you watch a standard definition TV show on a 1080P HD TV screen, it's not going to look any worse than if you watched it on a 720P HD TV. The added resolution is beyond the source signal, so both TV's are going to show you the defects in the signal (assuming the same upscaling is used for both, which is the case in your situation since you are comparing 2 ipads). However, if you watch a 1080P movie on the 720P TV, you are going to lose resolution, so it will not look as good.

Lastly, the resolution on the new ipad is so good that at a comfortable distance, you can't really make out the individual pixels. This means no matter what kind of scaling is going on, lines should appear smooth, unless your original image resolution is so low that each dot takes up a whole bunch of pixels on the screen. If that is the case, you'd still have the same problem with the old ipad.
posted by markblasco at 11:35 PM on April 22, 2012

Just to chime in, comics through Comic Zeal on the new iPad are pretty. Perfectly readable, slightly smaller than a comic book, but still great.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:26 AM on April 23, 2012

Maybe it's just because it's late, but I'm trying to figure out how having more pixels on the screen could possibly make it look any worse

The concern has to do with how LCD screens scale things due to the shape of their pixels and stuff. I'm not an engineer, obviously. To see this in action, just set your desktop display (assuming you have an LCD screen) to a lower resolution. Blury cityHowever, the iPad 3 (and iPhone 4/s, really) has a screen so dense that this effect is mitigated, at least to my eye.

OP, the linked comics you provided look great on the new iPad
posted by Patbon at 6:37 AM on April 23, 2012

« Older Facebook - business or personal?   |   Manually installing Disqus on Tumblr Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.