Windows Photo Gallery (WPG) - appalling display quality

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Music, Pictures and Video' started by Simon Cobb, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Simon Cobb

    Simon Cobb Guest

    I'm running Vista Ultimate RTM on a high end system. I just loaded 60-odd
    JPG images taken with a Nikon D40 DSLR onto my PC and viewed them through
    WPG. Given this was a brand new camera and these were the first images I had
    shot, I was horrified with their quality and initially assumed my camera was
    faulty. The images were terribly over-saturated, unsharp and noisy. I then
    opened the images for editing in Microsoft Digital Image Suite. Lo and
    behold, the images are sharp and properly saturated.

    While I'm relieved that my camera is performing correctly, what on earth is
    going on with WPG to cause such appalling display characteristics?

    Incidentally, I saw similarly poor results when I viewed the images in the
    new Slide Show viewer.

    Anyone else seen similar results? Is there a fix?


    Simon Cobb, Jan 28, 2007
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  2. Simon Cobb

    Dale Guest

    Just a guess here that it might be that WMP is reducing the quality because
    it is assuming you do not own the images and it must not give you a full
    quality delivery of any product that you do not own. This is something that
    I suspect WMP is doing for other images, such as album art, so why not your
    camera images?

    Dale, Jan 28, 2007
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  3. Simon Cobb

    Michael J Guest

    Yes - I am seeing poor display quality too! SHAME on Microsoft for not
    catching this - it's the heart and soul of their new Vista OS and MUST be

    Basically, the jpgs that are displayed in the Photo Gallery do not show
    accurate color. I've taken some beautiful photos of my family in Florida
    using my Canon EOS 20d and 50mm f1.4 lens. I loaded them into Vista's photo
    gallery and noticed that the hair was splotchy and the skin tone had a green
    cast. I then clicked the "Open in other program" buttom at the top left of
    WPG and opened in Quicktime Picture Viewer, Adobe Photoshop, IE 7, Firefox 2
    and Nero Picture Show - and they ALL show the image PERFECTLY. The hair is
    clean - not splotchy in the shaded areas and the skin tone is warm with no
    green cast. You can try this test at home using any image - just open the
    same image in another program and you'll see what I'm saying.

    Here is a link to the test photo:

    When viewing in Vista WPG, notice the girls hair on the right, then open the
    image in another program and you'll see a dramatic difference. The image is
    tagged with an sRGB profile.

    I REALLY look forward to hearing from Microsoft on this - as I'm sure there
    will be plenty of other color aware photographers that will be sorely
    disspointed with the heart of Vista.

    Thank you!

    Michael J, Jan 30, 2007
  4. Simon Cobb

    Jason Frost Guest

    wow...I never thought of that...I actually returned a camera because I was so
    disappointed at the quality of the pictures!!
    Jason Frost, Jan 31, 2007
  5. Simon Cobb

    Slugsie Guest

    I think that when Photo Gallery goes into SlideShow mode (click the big
    square button at center bottom) it drops down to a very low resolution to
    display the images. This has obvious problems. If you double click an image
    whilst in the thumbnail mode it keeps your current resolution, and thus does
    a much better job of viewing images, at least for me anyway.

    I think that the SlideShow mode is designed for viewing images on a device
    like a TV, using a '10 foot interface' (as MS like to call it). It's not
    designed to be used sat at the desktop (a '2 foot interface').

    Oh, and I agree, it sucks.
    Slugsie, Jan 31, 2007
  6. Simon Cobb

    Michael J Guest

    That might be true, but I want to be clear that the photo gallery view
    (non-slideshow mode) does indeed display a poorer quality when simply viewing
    an image - and more importantly when making color corrections to an image
    within photo gallery. If you don't have accurate color to begin with, then
    you will be changing the color - to try to correct something that is already
    corrected - further skewing the color from the source (your fine digital
    camera, for instance).

    Can anyone else confirm that they are seeing this? I've included the test
    image again here:
    Michael J, Jan 31, 2007
  7. Simon Cobb

    Michael J Guest

    I'm running nVidia 7900GS with new Ben Q 24" monitor. I agree with your
    assumption that:
    This is especially true when looking at the hair in the test image.

    Also, if it were a driver problem, it would affect the other applications
    too. It doesnt. Photoshop, Paint and browsers all display the image

    I suspect the new Windows Color System WCS is the culprit. I've done some
    reading and you can find some very interesting things regarding the way WCS
    handles images at this page :

    Download the test image they have provided here and see how Vista Photo
    Gallery handles the image compared to other applications.

    Again, this is an issue that clearly must be resolved as soon as possible
    before the world of digital photographers gets wind of this problem. Are
    there any Microsoft developers of the Vista Photo Gallery that can read this
    board to run the side x side tests that we have done?
    Michael J, Jan 31, 2007
  8. Simon Cobb

    Redbeaver Guest

    Hello all!

    Yes, ive noticed this "bug" as well with my Vista Ultimate OEM. I tried
    searching any solution but yet to find anything useful...

    First all, im no photography expert (altho i do take a picture with my
    Pentax Optio4MX :) ), but any picture i downloaded or screenshots or any of
    any kind (JPG, GIF, BMP tested so far) will have distorted colour in Window
    Picture Viewer :(

    Here's what i mean:

    The picture above of Vancouver was a BMP (again, same problem with JPG and
    GIF as well), and as u can see, in the folder view (on the right), it is
    bright, just as it is in Paint (on the center), BUT using Windows Picture
    Viewer (on the left) it is dark and the colour has been extremely

    i wish Microsoft can quickly fix this :(

    Any more ideas to fix this?

    Thank you in advance :)
    Redbeaver, Feb 2, 2007
  9. Simon Cobb

    Redbeaver Guest

    DARN!! i uploaded the wrong picture... i will upload another one at home....
    sorry, guys... im at the office now...

    Ah yes, and i forgot to mention, and since i couldnt find the edit button,
    here goes:

    My system:
    AMD X2 3800+
    2Gb RAM
    2x7900GT on SLI using Forceware 97.46
    Samsung 205BW
    Vista Ultimate OEM

    Redbeaver, Feb 2, 2007
  10. Simon Cobb

    Redbeaver Guest

    Redbeaver, Feb 2, 2007
  11. Simon Cobb

    PapaJohn Guest

    I just tried opening my custom wallpaper picture in Paint, saved it as a new
    file, and opened it in Photo Gallery.... and they all look the same.
    PapaJohn, Feb 3, 2007
  12. Simon Cobb

    Redbeaver Guest

    Nope... didnt help :(

    My original format was BMP, saved it as JPG from Paint, closed paint,
    reopen, and it shows the same colour. then i doubleclick (automatically
    opened with WPG), and it still shows the darker-tone version like my link

    but thanks though :)
    Redbeaver, Feb 3, 2007
  13. Simon Cobb

    Michael J Guest


    I opened your image in Vista Windows Photo Gallery and then again in Exlorer
    AND Photoshop and you can CLEARLY see the poor image quality in W.Photo

    In Windows Photo Gallery:
    1. The image is much darker than the photoshop (reference and color
    monitored image)
    2. The image exhibits obvious pixelation in the clouds in the center and
    center right of the image
    3. The image looks artificially saturated beyond the reference image in
    Photoshop (which is an ICC color aware environment).

    Everyone I've spoken to who now has Vista has noticed this problem. To the
    novice , the problem may not be apparent at first. However, to the
    photographer and just about anyone else who is color aware, can see this
    problem. I really wish Microsoft will address this as soon as possible.
    Meanwhile, I have switched to Google's Picasa as my picture photo gallery (to
    manage images) and it totally ROCKS. I encouraged those frustrated by this
    Vista Windows Photo Gallery problem, to try out Picasa - I think you will
    like it.


    Michael J, Feb 3, 2007
  14. Simon Cobb

    Dale Guest

    That's why I love free markets. The more non-Microsoft solutions there are
    to problems with Vista, the more Microsoft will learn to listen to its true
    customers over and above its partners.

    Dale, Feb 3, 2007
  15. Simon Cobb

    Redbeaver Guest

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the reply. Good to see I'm not alone in this boat :)

    Yeah, I just installed Photoshop CS2 now, and I couldnt do anything about
    the ICC profile. PS noted that the profile isn't right, so I chose 'Do Not
    Use' instead of 'Use Anyway'. But then it shows nicely, unlike WPG.

    Yeah, thats why I posted here so hopefully MS can do something about this.

    Redbeaver, Feb 3, 2007
  16. Simon Cobb

    Redbeaver Guest



    First off, there r 2 solutions i is if u have Photoshop
    installed, the other if you don't.

    If you do have, in Control Panel, there's an Adobe Gamma tool. Run it by
    step-by-step wizard (or by Control Panel if u know what u'r doing) and create
    ur own Profile. Name it anything, i name mine Vista-1 just so its easier to
    see. It will create an ICM profile immediately installed in Window's
    system32-spool-color folder (given u dont change the saving location. better
    yet, dont even try.). Done?
    Back in Vista's control panel, open the Colour Management tool. In there
    u'll see the default ICC profile, mine named Samsung - Natural Color Pro 1.0
    ICM, file name SM205BW.icm since my monitor is a Samsung 205BW. Click on
    Add.., and if you scroll down, u'll see ur profile; again, mine said Vista-1.
    U might need to click on Browse.. if u dont see yours becoz u saved it
    somewhere else...
    [Now, this part i'm not sure whether u need to do it, but i did it
    anyway.... Click on the Profiles button on the right bottom corner and click
    on Combine My Settings with System Defaults. then...]
    Click OK, and click on Vista-1 and click on Set as Default Profile. Click

    Now try opening a picture in WPG :)

    Ooops, almost forgot, for people who doesnt have Photoshop, u can google any
    free ICC profile or go to:
    Download these free ICC, and install some..or..well... i tried installing
    all of them anyway... Just extract them, then right click and select

    Now go to Vista Control Panel, open Color Management, and click on Add...
    Scroll down and all of the installed ICC should be there. Pick one and set it
    default. [Again, u could click on Profiles and select Combine My Profile...
    but im not sure about this.] Click Close and you're good to go.

    Of course if it still shows the wrong colour just pick a different ICC and
    try it. First ICC i tried is the Adobe1998 one and it seems to be working
    fine... Of course im no expert and if any of u experts sees the better ICC in
    there (there r like 10~15 of them in the ZIP), by all means correct me.

    THat's all.

    Hope that helps :) :) :)
    Redbeaver, Feb 3, 2007
  17. Simon Cobb

    Dale Guest

    Good find, furry one. Thanks for posting it!


    Dale, Feb 3, 2007
  18. Simon Cobb

    PapaJohn Guest

    OK... now I'm curious... I know a bit color impaired, but I don't see the
    differences... here's the screen shot of the picture as background, in
    Paint, and in Photo Gallery...

    As I haven't done anything, am I lucky or just not seeing well?

    PapaJohn, Feb 3, 2007
  19. Simon Cobb

    Redbeaver Guest

    Son, i'm afraid i have to tell you the truth.........


    No, that means the colour profile that Vista installed according to your
    monitor (and probably ur video card as well) is correct. My Samsung 205BW,
    was not. THat's why.

    Lucky guy ;)
    Redbeaver, Feb 3, 2007
  20. Simon Cobb

    PapaJohn Guest

    Thanks for showing your pix... it made it a lot easier to wonder what you
    were seeing. Great picture!!!

    PapaJohn, Feb 3, 2007
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