Q&A For Digital Photography
Digital Help is designed to aid you in getting the most from your digital photography, printing, scanning, and image creation. Each month, David Brooks provides solutions to problems you might encounter with matters such as color calibration and management, digital printer and scanner settings, and working with digital photographic images with many different kinds of cameras and software. All questions sent to him will be answered with the most appropriate information he can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to David Brooks addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug website (www.shutterbug.com), directly via e-mail to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.
Minolta Camera Fans Respond
I would like to respond to the "Hot Shoe Connections for Flash Triggers" query in the June 2008 issue on page 190. The reader, Michael, asked about finding an adapter that would fit on his Minolta Maxxum hot shoe and convert it to a standard ISO hot shoe so that he could trigger his PocketWizard transceiver using the camera's hot shoe. Minolta (Konica Minolta) had a hot shoe adapter, model number FS-1100, which is now discontinued. I did a Google search and there are a couple of adapters available (that will work with Minolta, Konica Minolta, and Sony SLR cameras) on eBay and GadgetInfinity.com.
Sony has a PC sync terminal adapter that connects to the Sony, Konica Minolta SLR hot shoe, model FA-ST1AM, for $180.
Nelson Y. James
Thanks, and glad to know you are all reading the Digital Help column and keeping me on my toes.
Reader Comment--Sunpak Flash
I read the question from Jeff Yancey, the Sunpak 622 flash owner who wanted to use it with his Nikon D200 D-SLR, and your response in the May 2008 issue. I have recent similar experience with Canon cameras and Sunpak's 555 handle-mount and Auto 444D shoe-mount flashes that might shed some additional light on the subject.
When I upgraded my point-and-shoot digital to a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT in 2006, I contacted Sunpak by phone and e-mail about using these flashes, particularly the 555, with the Rebel XT. I received a voice mail message that there was no dedicated module for the Rebel XT but the flash could be used in a Manual mode. I was disappointed and I wound up buying Canon's 580EX flash with Canon's off-camera cord and a basic flash bracket.
Last fall (October 2007), I purchased a Canon EOS 40D and thought maybe Sunpak had come out with dedicated modules since I last contacted them. I e-mailed them through their website and did get an answer back, although it was not what I wanted to hear. I was told that they did not make and were not planning to make dedicated modules for the newer Canon D-SLRs since they had a line of dedicated shoe-mount flashes for them.
I imagine that Sunpak's policy is the same toward Nikon as it is toward Canon and that Mr. Yancey can still use his 622, but on manual only which, I believe, requires buying the STD-1D module. I wish ToCAD/Sunpak would rethink their policy in the area of dedicated modules for these flash units.
I am sympathetic to the way you and others feel about not being able to have adapters for their digital cameras for flash units like the Sunpak 622 and 555, but also to Sunpak because they have not been able to supply those adapters. The reasons may very well be that there is not enough demand in numbers to warrant the cost of producing adapters for D-SLR cameras. A new and more complex autoexposure module would be required as those older Sunpak models were designed to interface with analog technology in film cameras, not the very different technology of D-SLR cameras.
Follow-Up Re: Dark Prints
Q. Thank you very much for your reply to my question on darkness when I print my photos. You have solved my problem as I own a 20" iMac, and as you know these computers can be set with two monitors. If I were to buy another monitor, would this solve my problem?
A. Although I have been an Apple Mac user for a number of
years now and owned quite a few different Macs, I have not had any experience
with the iMac. So, I cannot say one way or another if you can add another display
that you could then profile as your primary for color management purposes. With
many Apple Mac laptop models this is done all the time and with good success.
To do this your iMac would have to have a standard DVI connector to which you
could connect the second additional display. I'll look at the iMac specifications
for the current model--you have made me a bit curious.
The current iMac models just announced and released do have a Mini-DVI port, which with an Apple accessory adapter will support connecting a standard DVI connector used by contemporary LCD displays. So, I would check the documentation you have for your iMac to see if it has a Mini-DVI port. If it does then you can order the accessory adapter from Apple, which is the same that is used with MacBook Pro laptops. The Apple website knowledge base should have documentation on how to set up and configure a second LCD display.
Memory Card Care
Q. I am replacing my Canon EOS film cameras with digital. I shoot mostly nature and wildlife and tend to treat the cameras like film cameras. That is, I shoot through the viewfinder, and never look at my results until I have them on the computer. As I shoot all raw, and have an older version of Photoshop CS that does not read the raw files, I have found it very convenient to use Canon's Digital Photo Professional to review and batch process directly from the flash card reader to storage. I am concerned that these cards connect with a row of very tiny pins, and wonder if it is advisable to move them between the camera and reader regularly (like two or three times a week). The EOS Utility for downloading from the camera with the card in place requires copying all the raw files to disk before reviewing and converting them. The extra steps in workflow are a nuisance. Am I risking damage to my cameras, cards, or readers doing this the easy way?
A. The pros I know use a card reader to transfer images to
their computer, as I do. I have had no reports of problems other than an occasional
memory card that fails internally. That is why I choose to have a number of
1GB cards instead of buying the larger 4GB or 8GB cards.
You might also consider, to be more efficient, adding the latest Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0 to your computer, as it will open and process raw files directly, and I think you will find its tools both easier and more effective to use on raw files than an older, full version of Photoshop.