Samsung Frame TV Review
Let's first start with my new TVs. We don't watch much TV in our household, and therefore, our TVs are black rectangles 99% of the time. That's why I was excited to splurge on two Samsung Frame TVs, which claim to turn into art when you turn them off.
Other TVs claim to have an "art mode" but don't give you much customization, and they cycle through images every few seconds (which completely defeats the purpose of the feature, in my opinion). As far as I know, the Frame TV is the only TV currently on the market that can display a static image for an unlimited amount of time without burn-in while matching the ambient light in a room. The app allows you to upload your own images and customize matte colors and sizes.
To look like art, rather than a TV with a static image, the TV has an ambient light sensor that it will use to match the brightness of the screen to the room. When it works, it's amazing, and it has convinced everyone who has come over that it is, in fact, a framed piece of art rather than a TV.
The issue is that the ambient light sensor is widely inaccurate. 30% of the time, the TV is way too dark for the ambient light in the room, and sometimes, it's so dark that the TV actually appears to be off when it's not.
The TV will completely shut itself off to conserve power if nobody is in the room, and it is supposed to turn back on when it senses motion, but this only works sporadically. Usually, around once a day, the TV will completely turn itself off, and I will have to manually turn it back on.
I've called Samsung support twice and have been all over the Frame TV Facebook group. Everyone has the same problems I have.
As a TV, it's fine, but I didn't buy it for that. I bought it to be customizable art, and it feels like 50% of the time I walk into my living room, it doesn't look like art.
What's most frustrating is that I feel like the hardware is solid, and with a simple software fix, they could make this product perfect, but it doesn't seem like that is going to happen.
I can't fully recommend the Frame TV, especially at the full retail price, but if you can get one on sale, the "art mode" is still better than any other TV on the market.
I also needed to hang some good old-fashioned prints around my home. Saal Digital offered to sponsor this project, and I ordered a range of different products from them.
Saal Digital currently sells a huge range of different photography print products, but they also sell standard prints on a range of different paper types. Standard papers include silk, matte, and glossy, but they also sell Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, Hahnemuhle Bamboo, Hahnemuhle Hemp, and Hahnemuhle Museum Etching paper.
It's very difficult to explain the properties of these different types of paper, but all of the Hahnemuhle papers had a soft, fibrous feel. They were closer to watercolor paper than standard photo paper. Although there was something to appreciate about each different paper, if you forced me to choose my favorite, I would probably choose the good, old-fashioned matte photo paper. Surprisingly, that's also one of the cheapest options.
I ordered a bunch of really cheap 11x17 frames on Amazon, and I got exactly what I paid for. The frames are super lightweight, and instead of glass, they came with a flexible plexiglass front panel that reflects light in strange ways. I can't recommend them, so I didn't link to them.
Saal Digital also sells framed prints that come ready to hang, and I purchased two of those. The frame is incredibly robust and made of solid metal, and the front is solid glass. There is no comparison between my ultra-cheap Amazon frames and the ones from Saal Digital, but you will pay significantly more for the build quality and convenience.
The most expensive types of prints I purchased were mounted to acrylic. Saal Digital calls this high-end product "GalleryPrint." These rigged prints come with an aluminum subframe to make the prints appear to float a few millimeters off the wall. You can choose a matte or glossy finish, and I purchased a few of each.
The glossy prints look amazing, but they are the most reflective surface I've ever seen, and due to adjacent windows, it's hard to fully appreciate the prints with all of the reflections. If I could do it all over, I would have purchased everything with a matte finish, but if I were mounting them in a room without adjacent windows, I would definitely choose glossy.
Now that I finally have art hanging in every room in my house, it actually feels like I've fully moved in. I'm not sure why I've been so bad about printing photos in the past. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, but for some reason, I was always too lazy to do it. If you can relate, I hope I can inspire you to display your work. We've all worked so hard to take great photos, and they shouldn't be destined to die alone on some forgotten hard drive. If you're looking for a place to get high-quality prints, definitely consider Saal Digital.
I've traveled full time for well over a decade, so no printed photos for me. But, I'm lucky that a large portion of my income comes from selling prints and I get to see them from time to time on the walls of the places I sell them to-- I don't often get to see the ones that hang in residential homes, but I do get to see the ones that hang in businesses and hotels and such-- and it's a nice feeling, seeing my work on display like that and giving life to a space. I would definitely make some prints for my own place, if i ever settled down in one spot (which i doubt will happen any time soon!).
Traveling as an everyday lifestyle is wonderful! Great that you can life that way. Now I understand why you don't have a full desktop computer with a nice huge 5K monitor and why you use a little phone for internet surfing.
Tom Reichner yep I do all my photo developing on a 13" MacBook. It's worked out well for me, though. I have never really had any major surprises pop up when I go to print. In fact, I'm probably too obsessive about little details, I'm always surprised when I see my prints and they look better than I'd expected them to! But, yeah, I still use the phone over the MacBook for internet surfing. Like I said before, it's mainly because it's more like a book, where I can shift around and hold it in various positions, even lie down with it. It just feels more natural to me, than sitting upright in front of a fixed monitor, which makes me ansty. I think it comes from reading books in bed when I was a kid!
But, yeah, I love the nomad life, I've been doing it part time for over 20 years now and full time for something like 15 or so. It's just always been the nature of my job. I started off touring with bands and moved over to fine art prints, mainly through the contacts I made in that other industry (at first, at least), so I've just always had to keep traveling in order to keep working.
You've been doing the nomad life for over 20 years?! I always thought you were much younger, like late 20s. I guess the photo in your avatar is an old one, or else you age very very well.
Tom Reichner I'm 43... that is not me at all in my profile pic (I fully disclose on my profile bio that I choose to be anonymous online, for all sorts of reasons). I don't have any social media at all, actually. This is one of the only sites i really participate on. I do love my profile pic, though, it's a stock photo i used for a project one time and that guy looks hilarious to me! :D Was it just the pic or do I have a youngish vibe? I feel pretty young, to be honest!
it was just the pic, i guess because i find so many older guys that have a very young vibe that i don't really associate any kind of vibe with any age anymore ..... I know that's somewhat self-contradictory but I don't know how else to say it
Tom Reichner makes sense to me! In any case, i hope you have a pleasant evening or day, it's always good chatting with you!
I'm actually both surprised and pleased to hear a large portion of your income comes from prints! I thought it was a dying stream. I've been looking into other streams of income including prints. Is there any specific sites you'd recommend to sell them on? or where I can learn more about getting into it that helped it become a successful part of your career?
MV Peters I wish I could give a good, solid piece of advice but, honestly, it was a long and unplanned path that grew out of shooting concerts on my own at first, and, eventually, getting hired by well known bands to tour with them. I made a lot of wealthy/famous connections who ended up buying my prints (it was actually the stuff I'd shoot in cities on off days that those people became interested in buying) and it became a word of mouth type thing that just worked out really well and got me in with the right circles/galleries/etc... and it kind of spun off into selling prints to hotels/venues and having my prints staged in real estate. I don't really sell online and I sell high dollar prints to high end clients, so it doesn't take a lot of sales to really boost my income for the year. I guess I'd say shoot what you're passionate about, know the worth of your work and look for well connected clients that can spread your name around.
It's a crazy world out there, I wish you luck with it!
I say this everytime there's an article on printing - something about committing an image to paper makes all the imperfections immediately evident to the photographer. I have an earlier model Frame - time to get some wooden borders and upload an image or two!
This is a strange (and somewhat flawed) comparison, but committing to an image on paper is sort of like committing to a relationship. Your flaws and their flaws become a part of the relationship. My workflow always ends with a print and I look at the prints after some time I do see flaws but those flaws are part of my relationship to that print. I love the print so in a way, I love the flaws.
100% in agreement with you about how prints make the flaws more obvious.
The last time I went to WPPI there were prints on display from winners of an online photo competition. My guess is that the winning shots probably looked fine in an online gallery but many of them didn't hold up too well in the real world physical gallery space.
Saal Digital high-end product "GalleryPrint" comes with an aluminum subframe. This aluminum subframe looks sharp at edges, I'm worried about, if this frame falls down for any reason it may hurt small babies, if they are close to the frame.
LOL the Frame TV is fabulous. My daughter and son in law have one in their breakfast nook. There are always fabulous photos on it. Always changing and never disappointing. I want to put these in every room in the house. I take some great photos and everybody wants them. I give them freely and when I see them I fall in love with the images in a whole new way. They look so beautiful when someone else loves them.
Lee, thanks for the review of the frame. It's great to hear about it from someone that's a photographer.
When I was selling my art, I offered free installation on prints of $500 or more.
Got to go inside some real classy homes, and see my work as I would never display it at home!
I got a pano printed I did and hoo boy was it like opening a gift box on Christmas. It's whole different thing having a photo printed. I'd do it more but what ever money I make from my photography goes straight to taxes and keeping my head above water financially lol. Printing gets expensive.