Q&A For Digital Photography
To aid us in making Digital Help as helpful as possible, please be specific in your query and include components, including software, that you use. David says, “Make me guess the problem and I might guess wrong.”—Editor
New Cameras And Raw Support
Q. I’ve been using Photoshop Elements 7 with my Nikon D300 files for a while. I really like the results from processing in Camera Raw. I recently purchased a Nikon D7000, but its Raw images are not supported by Elements 7. I looked for a plug-in on the Adobe website to no avail. Is there a version of Elements 9 that supports Raw images from the D7000, or will I have to wait for Elements 10?
A. You can upgrade Camera Raw from the Adobe website at: www.adobe.com/downloads/. Sometimes you have to upgrade to the current version of Elements to get the latest Camera Raw upgrade. If you have not registered your copy of Elements, you should and also sign up to obtain e-mail notices of new upgrades that apply to your software.
In the meantime, I would suggest using the camera manufacturer’s software to make conversions of Raw files to a standard editable format like TIFF. I have always preferred this method as I find it yields better image quality with most cameras.
Q. I’ve never heard of using SilverFast HDR for editing. However, I do use SilverFast with my Epson V700 scanner.
I have Nikon and Panasonic (G1) cameras. The Nikon Raw conversion software is good but I thought Adobe conversion was as good or better (didn’t they invent it?). The Panasonic software, which I haven’t tried, gets some knocks in reviews as being primitive.
Maybe I should stick with CS5 before I get my hard drive filled with versions from parametric editing. I’m surprised how many versions I have already.
By the way, I mentioned my scanning backlog after 50+ years…I thought I would send all my slides out to a service, but planned to do all the photos on my V700. Do you know of a service that photographers use?
A. SilverFast HDR looks and works just like the SilverFast Ai for scanning, it will open almost any standard 8-bit or 16-bit image file, as well as most digital camera Raw files. It works fast and efficiently because it only presents a video image of the image of the file on screen, and then any editing can be done serially and cumulatively before it is processed to the full file, and you can choose 8-bit or 16-bit standard format files for output—it does not use metadata editing files associated with a Raw file, like Aperture or Lightroom.
Adobe did not invent the Raw format; that is the invention of each different camera company, and the metadata associated with each Raw file cannot be read by Adobe or any other independent software, it is copyrighted property of the camera company. So the only true conversion of a camera Raw file is what the camera company software provides.
Snapshot-quality scanning, like done by ScanCafe is cheap, but professional scanning for reproduction is very expensive because it is usually done with a drum scanner or an Imacon Flextight, and both are slow, so you are paying for a lot of professional technicians’ time.
What I use now to scan my slides is a Plustek OpticFilm 7600i; it produces excellent scan results, and is fairly efficient. But I will never get done as my library of images is well over a million strong.
Consumer Reviews & Pro-Graphics LCD Displays
Q. I read your review on the Dell U2410 display. Since I’m looking to buy one, I’ve been searching prices and came across reviews on Amazon and CNET about alleged problems. I don’t take Internet reviews as gospel, but this has given me pause and I’m interested in your thoughts.
A. Obviously Eric Franklin, and I suspect everyone else at CNET, from my own reading, is totally ignorant of digital photography and the requirements of pro-graphics LCD displays. Quote, “About $600 for the Dell UltraSharp U2410 gets you a 24-inch, H-IPS monitor with great performance in games and movies, a host of connection options and ergonomic features, and a robust OSD.” That is not the market the U2410 is made for, so obviously they don’t even know that the U2410 is intended for pro-graphics use.
On the Amazon site only one of the users knew what they were doing, the first two “reviewers” probably did not even set the mode correctly, or understand that to get good performance for digital photography either Adobe RGB or sRGB has to be set.
Several of my colleagues have U2410 displays beside myself and are getting good performance. So in these cases I question the users, not the display. However, with any inexpensive, mass-produced product sold at less than a third of the cost of an EIZO ColorEdge, can you expect perfection?
Apple MacBook Pro Dilemma
Q. I want to upgrade my almost 4-year-old MacBook, which I fondly refer to as FrankenMAC as it has been upgraded to the limit, with a new MacBook Pro. My dilemma is do I purchase the 13” version with the i7 dual core and 8GB of RAM, or the 15” version with the i7 quad core and 8GB of RAM. I do a lot of photo editing and HDR and most of my Raw files are around 21MB in size. Would I benefit from the additional two cores of the 15” model? Also, the 15” model has a higher performing graphics card. Would I benefit from this at all? If RAM is the key then I like the idea of portability of the 13”, but I am willing to upgrade to the 15” model if need be.
A. If you use either Lightroom or Aperture, those applications write a lot of metadata files, so greater processor power would be an advantage in speed and efficiency. And considering digital photography editing is done by perceptual adjustment, the better the video reproduction, the more accurate your editing will be. So yes, to some extent you would possibly benefit. RAM is only a key if you are doing multiple layered editing of a standard format image like TIFF or PSD and have a lot of layers open. If you are just working with one image open at a time having more RAM is not something that you will notice will make your work more efficient.
Display Color Management Software & Colorimeters
Q. I need to clarify one thing. In your article you said the NEC software would work only with NEC monitors. I am getting the Dell U2410 and already have the X-Rite i1Display 2 colorimeter. When you tested the Dell U2410, which software did you use?
A. I have every brand/model of color management software, but for testing I prefer to use ColorEyes Display Pro from Integrated Color (www.integrated-color.com) as I find it the most accurate. But if you have the X-Rite i1Display 2 colorimeter, I would assume you have the software that comes with it. There is nothing wrong with the X-Rite software to use with the U2410 to adjust, calibrate, and profile the display. But if you don’t have the X-Rite software, I think ColorEyes Display Pro produces a better result.
Q. I got my new Dell U2410 monitor which works great with my 17” MacBook Pro. Thanks so much for your recommendation. I recently set up the LG 2000CP with my other 13” traveling MacBook Pro. When I first connected it, everything worked fine. However, when I restarted the computer, the LG did not work as it first did. It is not at full screen. There is about 11⁄2” at the top and bottom of the screen that is black. Also, the dock is not at the bottom of the monitor as it is on the laptop screen. I don’t think that the monitor is “mirroring” my laptop. When checking “System Preferences” for Arrangement I have checked “mirror displays.” The image is one monitor on top of the other. When I use the setting 1152x870 at 75Hz, the screen goes to the top but a black section remains at the bottom. The display size is too big at this setting and I am unable to see all of the items on the screen. When I use 1280x1024 at 60Hz, the size of the print is better and I can see the whole screen. But, I cannot enlarge it to fill the full monitor. The black areas remain.
So, I am not sure whether the problem lies with the laptop or the monitor. The laptop looks/works fine. It’s the monitor that is not functioning as it did when first connected or when used with the 17” MacBook Pro. I am wondering if I accidentally hit something on my external (Mac) keyboard or something on the computer? Any ideas?
A. The problem you are reporting may be that the video of your MacBook Pro will not support the very high 1600x1200 resolution of the LG 2000CP. So check your MacBook Pro specifications or consult with Apple to see if the model you have has sufficient video to support that large a screen resolution.
Reply after initial e-mail: It’s fixed. The computer can handle 2560x1600 resolution. The problem was the menu bar. It needed to be repositioned onto the monitor. Apple Tech had me uncheck “mirror displays.” Thank you so much for your continued help. You’re terrific.—Marilyn
Not Everything You May Read Is True
Q. Regarding the Dell UltraSharp monitor, I was going to get the same model but I read the user reviews which said that color images were good but when they were converted to black and white it caused severe problems. When I looked into the NEC model you recommend I read consumer reviews from people who bought the whole package with the color tools but had to purchase a license for another $100 to be able to install the software. Do you know anything about this? ASUS has a new pro art PA246Q monitor but I don’t know if it’s really any good. I know you don’t like the LaCie 320 but the new model is listed in the current B&H catalog as having 95 percent RGB display.
Glenda Beth Roland
A. Regarding the Dell UltraSharp U2410, it is a display I have and use every day. There is no connection that the display has to software used to make color to black-and-white conversions. I did one recently without a problem because the display is not involved directly in that function; it is technically impossible for it to cause such a problem.
I have had dozens of readers who purchased the NEC P221W and none have reported any problem installing the SpectraView software. Anyone can buy a copy of NEC SpectraView II from Amazon.com for $99 and it will install and work without having to pay anything more. If what was reported were true I would have heard from Shutterbug readers.
I have the ASUS PA246Q; it was sent to me for testing. So far it does NOT work. I have reported my findings to ASUS, but so far no reply. If it cannot be changed I will just send it back and will not report on it.
The LaCie model you are referring to is not the 320 model; that was an NEC manufactured display that has been discontinued. The new LaCie 324i model has good specifications and probably would work fine, but I have not asked for one to review because at $1119 most Shutterbug readers would not be interested.
I did not purchase the NEC P221W for myself, but rather chose to get an EIZO FlexScan S2243W. Even though the EIZO is a little over $800, it is very good and I appreciate the performance as I do a lot of cleanup and retouching of scanned images, and it is ideal for my work.
Don’t pay too much attention to what people say on purchase sites, as many don’t know what they are doing so they blame the product. It’s the guy who sold them something too advanced for them to use that is to blame.
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