Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How bright is that screen? And how good a light is it?

I have always wanted a "fishtank VR" fake window that is bright enough to light a room.   Everytime a new brighter screen comes out I want to know whether it is bright enough.

Apple just announced a boss 6K screen.   But what caught my eye was this:

"...and can maintain 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness indefinitely."

That is very bright compared to most screens (though not all-- the SIM2 sells one that is about 5X that but it's a small market device at present).   How bright is 1000 nits?

First, let's get some comparisons.   "Nits" is a measure of luminance, which is an objective approximation to "how bright is that".   A good measure if I want a VR window is sky brightness.  Wikipedia has an excellent page on this I grab this table from:

Note that the Apple monitor is almost at the cloudy day luminance (and the SIM2 is at the clear sky luminance).   So we are very close!

Now as a light source one could read by, the *size* of the screen matters.   Both the Apple monitor and the SIM2 monitor are about half a meter in area.   How many *lumens* is the screen?   This is how we measure light bulbs.

This 100 Watt EQ bulb is 1600 lumens.   So that is a decent target for a screen to read by.   So how do we convert a screen of a certain area with a luminance to lumens?   As graphics people let's remember that for a diffuse emitter we know wsomething about luminous exitance (luminous flux):

luminance = luminous exitance  divided by (Pi times Area)

So 1000 = E / (0.5*PI) = E/6 (about).

E is lumens per square meter.   So we want lumens = E*A = 0.5*E = 1000.   So lumens = 2000.   That is about a 100 watt bulb.   So I think you could read by this Apple screen if it's as close as you would keep a reading lamp.   If one of you buys one, let me know if I am right or if I am off by 10X (or whatever) which would not surprise me!