Pic: Leopard’s blurry Preview - Macenstein

Pic: Leopard’s blurry Preview

Not to get all down on Leopard here, but in addition to the 2 recent reader-submitted Leopard gripes, (see Aperture problem and Mail issue), I thought I might throw my own issue with Leopard into the mix.

Last night I was going through some photos in Preview on my new Leopard-equipped MacBook, and I noticed that everything looked just a bit softer than usual. Preview had never been the “sharpest” tool in the shed under past OS X’s, but Leopard’s Preview seemed (to my mind) undeniably softer than Tiger’s. Since nothing good was on TV, I decided to do a quick test of the same photo viewed on my wife’s old PowerMac running Tiger vs. the Leopard MacBook.

Click to embiggen.

Above is a side by side comparison of a 2,959 x 2,115 photo I took seen in both Leopard’s Preview (left) and Tiger’s Preview (right). Both are approximately half size, scaled using Preview’s “Zoom to Fit” command. If you click the above image, you will see that Tiger’s Preview shows a decidedly clearer picture than Leopard’s.

Can anyone say 10.5.1? Let’s hope the update brings a few more tweaks than the rumored Two Dozen fixes.

[Update:] Ok, well, i just did another test, and the results will BLOW YOUR MIND!
Ok, they won’t, but I DID find something interesting. Stay Tuned!
-The Doc

[UPDATE 2:] OK, Click here for the “mindblowing” (and I use the term as loosely as possible) follow up.

17 Responses to “Pic: Leopard’s blurry Preview”
  1. Sean says:

    This is not a very good test. You are looking at the same image on two different hardware platforms, completely different, with different software. Which is the real question; is the software an issue. I would test the same image on the same hardware with different software. To me it looks like the differences in hardware, ie video.

  2. IntrepidSilence says:

    While I clearly see what you are talking about, I also noticed that the “Zoom to Fit” did not produce the same size window. This matters because resizing algorithms depend greatly on whether they are direct multiples or divisors of the original size. Did you ever try to resize the Leopard window to the same size as the Tiger window and see how they compare then?

  3. Sean, you could have a point, except I have also noticed the softer Previews on a Mac Pro running Leopard vs a Mac Pro running Tiger, virtually identical configurations, save for one had 16 GB of RAM and the other 5 GB (and different hard drive configs). Also, the wife’s PowerMac had a 32 MB ATI Radeon card from 6 years ago, and while I know people complain about the MacBook’s integrated graphics, I HAVE to think the 144MB GMA X3100 has got to do a better job.

    Unfortunately I don’t care to reformat my MacBook back to Tiger just for an “Apple’s to Apples” screengrab (and Leopard isn’t quite ready for me to update the 16 GB MacPro – used for “real” work), but please feel free to try it for yourself and let me know.


    -The Doc

  4. IntrepidSilence,
    Yes, it doesn’t seem to matter the size of the window. I find even just viewing both at the “Actual Size” setting delivers the same results.

    But I am anxious to see if anyone else’s experiences differ.

    -The Doc

  5. Update: Ok, well, i just did another test, and the results will BLOW YOUR MIND!

    Ok, they won’t, but I DID find something interesting. Stay Tuned!

    -The Doc

  6. MacDaddy says:

    Doc, you can always install Tiger on a firewire drive and boot form it. That way, you can do a true test, as Seaon suggests.

  7. MC says:

    When you did your “Archive & Install” of leopard, did you keep your, “Previous System” folder. That will have a copy of your old Preview app.

    Also, maybe an expert can answer this, not me….. But would the differences in the core graphics engine between 10.4 and 10.5 produce the difference you are seeing? You might find that the older version of preview and the newer version produce the same results on 10.5. If the test were done on 10.4, again, you may get the same results.

    Worth a play anyway I say… what for??? I dunno?


  8. Rogier says:

    Its a preview for crying out loud! Who cares, as long as you recognize the file before you open it.

  9. Ryan says:

    Hell yeah!! Powerthirst!!!

  10. SomeOne says:

    I don’t get it: The two views are obviously NOT at the same size, and as IntrepidSilence has already correctly indicated: “the resizing algorithms depend greatly on whether they are direct multiples or divisors of the original size”.

    Take the SAME image, at the SAME resolution, and scale to the SAME size (image, not window), and then compare the results.

    I’m still interested in getting MY MIND BLOWN, though – please let us know…

  11. Brett says:

    The hardware etc is sort of irrelevant if we are testing if Preview can display ‘actual pixels’ (i.e at 100%). There’s only one right answer, dead sharp. Question is, have they made all zooms anti-aliased, and have they taken away the option to turn that off?

  12. Terry says:

    Photoshop images are blurry in the Finder Coverflow because their default icon size is too small. Could this be related?

    You have to resize the icons or delate them to force the finder to use the full image or make a new icon that suits it.

  13. Bill says:

    I’d really like to see a fix for this. I often use Preview to view screen captures that include text and they’re very difficult to read when they’re all fuzzy.

  14. epeny says:

    I too have noticed the problem since upgrading my system. Glad to see I’m not the only one. Might take it into a shop to see if they can provide any input.

  15. Jeff says:

    If you compare the image in preview vs. the same size frame in safari there is a complete difference. I think the file in preview should look the same as in safari.

    /Users/Jeff/Desktop/preview vs. safari.png

  16. Nick Groenke says:

    One and a half years later… give this a shot:

    Zoom in your entire display (hold the control key and move two fingers upward along the track pad).

    Turn off anti-aliasing with command-option-\

    Zoom out again.

    This makes the fonts in my pdf a little sharper, but nowhere near as sharp as in Adobe Reader.

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