Q & A For Digital Photography
This department will attempt to provide solutions to problems readers may have getting into and using digital cameras, scanning, and using digital photographic images with a computer and different kinds of software. All questions sent to me will be answered with the most appropriate information I can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to me addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug website, directly via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or by US Mail to: PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.
A. True, I neglected to provide a full explanation of Layers in that reply. If a multiple layer image does not have each layer checked as active (linked), Photoshop grays the print command and does not allow printing. For instance, if you add type to an image, that action creates a layer, so either you have to open the Layers control window and check the layers to make them all active (linked) or merge the layers. As long as I am not going to save that change, I find it is easier and faster to merge them than open the Layers dialog window and check each layer as active. There are more ways than one to skin a cat, and I do not always include every way to resolve issues in Photoshop.
A Chicken & Egg
If it were possible to make all things equal, because there is more
potential information in a 6x6cm image than in a 35mm film frame, the
latter would be the loser. Unfortunately, reality is never that clear-cut
and logically obvious, and there are many, many examples of just the
opposite even in my library of image files. In other words, the real
choice between the two involves a lot of unequal factors that in one
instance may go one way and in another the opposite. The most significant
choice is on the basis of which format suits your style of photography
best. Then choose the scanner that will provide the best reproduction
you can afford.
First of all, there is little to distinguish the Microtek ArtixScan
4000tf and the Polaroid. Microtek actually manufactures the Polaroid
scanner so it is essentially the same scanner internally. And both scanners
are sold with LaserSoft SilverFast Ai 6 software so the only difference
that remains is the native software, which does not compare to SilverFast
Scanning Film With
A Flat-Bed Discussion
A. From what you describe you may not have the Epson Perfection 3200 PHOTO PRO model. The one I have has both 35mm holders for film in strips and slides, and the 4x5 and 120 film holder includes hinged window frames, which hold the film above the glass and very firmly. Also, the version I have comes with a full software bundle including LaserSoft SilverFast Ai 6.0 and Monaco EZcolor 2.5 plus Photoshop. The list price is $599.
Reply to above:
As with every consumer scanner I have worked with from Epson to Microtek
to UMAX, none provides specific holders for each and all of the different
120 frame sizes. For that matter most photographers do not cut their
film to each individual frame, but leave it in strips of two, three,
or four frames per strip. So as I do, you will need to use the given
holder and improvise. For instance, I cut a piece of the film end and
then use repositionable Scotch tape to connect them to make a piece
of film big enough to be supported on all sides in the holder. Or, with
my own personal scanner I have made custom film holder frames out of
thin, flat black plastic to accommodate 645, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9, and 6x12cm
frame sizes all of which I have in my library. And, by the way, I believe
the "half" frame holder you referred to is the 2x2"
slide holder. And, may I suggest using the SilverFast software to make
film scans? If you want to scan for a particular print size, you have
the option of increasing the output size to 12x18" for instance,
and then setting the resolution for printing, at 300dpi for instance.
The only digital camera with the capability of utilizing your Leica
lenses I am aware of was one made by Leica. It was a quite competent
professional (studio) camera, but not what I believe you are looking
for, nor in a price range that would be considered "reasonable."
Once Again, The Perenial
Windows Vs. Mac Question
A. In the 1980s Apple was first used professionally for desktop publishing and thereby established the platform as the one used by professionals for all aspects of reproduction and communication, including graphic arts, design, publishing, and of course photography. So it is the most important and serious segment of the Apple customer base, and therefore Apple develops their products to be sure that all kinds of graphics, publishing, design, and photography users are well served. For photographers, one of the chief advantages is a highly developed color management system called ColorSync, which is now utilized by 80 percent of the publishing industry.
In Print Scans
What I would suggest, using Photoshop, is to first reduce some of the
graininess by selecting from the "Noise" filters the Despeckle
filter. You can apply this filter more than once depending on how much
fine detail is in the image and how much the Despeckle filter softens
that fine detail. Then to sharpen the subject's edges in the image
I would suggest using the Unsharp Mask sharpening filter with careful
adjustment of its three sliders to keep the Amount low, under 50, and
increase the pixel Radius count to 3.0 or higher. Then if grain starts
to become apparent you can try increasing the Threshold value to find
a balance between sharpening the edges and not so much the grain.
Printing With Third-Party
It does not matter what papers you want to use to print with the 2200.
It can't hurt the printer, just be careful with thick ones to
use the manual paper feed. However, you do need to have custom profiles
for any non-Epson paper if you want correct color. This means either
having the profiles supplied by the paper manufacturer, customized by
a service bureau, or investing in a spectrometer and software to make
your own profiles, such as what is available most affordably from ColorVision.