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.
HDTV Slide Shows
In the July 2009 issue, and mentioned again in the October 2009 issue, a reader asked about making an HD slide show for his HDTV. Here is another solution: the standard DVD that is used for commercial movies and home movies made on a computer is limited to a resolution of 720x480. The Blu-ray disks and player have the capability of producing a resolution of 1920x1080. To make a Blu-ray slide show, I would recommend either ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer by Photodex. Some details on the procedure are at: www.photodex.com/support/resources/bluray.
In order to capture the HD show you have made, and to be fully Blu-ray compatible, you will need a Blu-ray burner for your computer and some blank Blu-ray disks. Be aware that there are many Blu-ray players available with only standard DVD burners—and this won’t work for this purpose. You need a drive that can burn to Blu-ray blank disks to capture the show at full resolution.
A lot of suggestions have come to me in regard to this challenge. To do as you and others offering various software choices have indicated seems to be a fairly involved and expensive proposition with a PC. And, I hate to say this, with the latest Apple Snow Leopard operating system on a Mac and iPhoto and other 2009 iLife Apple applications, you have the necessary support options built into an Apple Mac that make 1080 HD DVD-R disc recording easy and virtually free.
In addition, Western Digital and other hard drive options playing on the TiVo concept make the process cheaper and easier without having to deal with DVD-R HD recording challenges. Personally I just run a DVI>HDMI cable from a Mac to my LCD HDTV and it then becomes a screen for the computer, all for $16.
HD 1080 Slide Shows With A Sony PlayStation
FYI: AVCHD playback has always been an unheralded feature of the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3); now down to $299.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Play things for me other than cameras and computers are fast cars, and that is a bit much for an old man like me. So, I’ll take your word the Sony ads tell some truth.
M8 Comments Feedback
The comments you made about the M8 were surprising, especially after admitting that you had not even used an M8, let alone run tests on one. I have seen the magenta skew a couple of times, and only once when it counted. Shooting through the center of those unchallengeable Leica lenses, that little 10.3-megapixel file produces “blow-you-away” 16x24 prints from my Epson 3800. Apparently others are also impressed as I’ve sold quite a few mounted and matted but not framed prints from M8 files for $400 and up. Anyway, you rattled my confidence a little with the M8 answer. But maybe that’s a good thing in the long run. Maybe a little skepticism is the best policy.
Actually my comments had nothing to do with Leica per se, it was just in response to the idea that you could compare digital to film as if it were the same. A film image made with any good 35mm camera—Leica, Nikon, or Canon—will produce an image on fine-grained film that is almost 80 million pixels of information. Subtract a modest percentage for grain, noise in the film image, and the 8-megapixel digital camera image file falls very far short.
Then, one could ask, how does the digital camera image get to look so good in a print? Well, the answer is that very smart people do image-manipulation programming that ends up as post-exposure processing in a digital camera; indeed, in every and all digital cameras.
White Luminance Settings And Matching Calibrations/Profiles
Q. I read with interest your excellent Shutterbug article re: setting brightness levels of LCD monitors to avoid darker than monitor display prints. I use the Spyder3 Elite calibration system that allows calibration at different user-determined brightness levels. I have an LG W2361V-PF (23”) LCD (contrast ratio 50,000:1, 300 CD/m2 capable). What I found was that at brightness levels of 150, 125, and 100 CD/m2, contrast, black point, and gamma did not change—only the brightness settings. Since I prefer higher brightness settings for general use, it is easy to adjust brightness to the higher levels and lower (100 CD/m2) when performing photo editing with Lightroom 2.4. My prints now mostly match the display, although there are exceptions. I typically apply “relative” rendering when printing and have not tried to compare to “perceptual” to see if this makes any difference on some of the darker than usual prints. So I now have three profiles which can be practically changed “on the fly” without having to recalibrate with each profile change. On the other hand, I may have missed something in my observations—any comments you have would be welcomed.
A. Having different calibrations and profiles for different white luminance levels is a way to use your display at different brightness appearances. However, just switching between profiles during a single session is NOT a good idea, as the display calibration setting is established by the boot-up process. So, depending on the system involved, it is a good idea to use just one calibration and profile for Photoshop editing, and then to obtain a brighter display, change the display profile, noting the original setting and returning to those settings to restore Color Managed editing of photo images. In other words, when using a high brightness luminance level for home/office computing, at the end of the session switch to the lower 90.0 CD/m2 white luminance profile and then restart the computer.
Spot Metering For Luminance Levels?
Q. Your recent articles in Shutterbug on prints not matching the screen image were very interesting. I teach photography and Photoshop and have had some of my students complain about dark prints. In every case they are using LCD displays. Those who are still using CRTs do not have that trouble. Your article in the December 2008 issue very clearly explained the problem. I still have a CRT that I use but it is getting to the point where I will have to replace it with one of the LCDs. You stated that the white luminance point should be no higher than 120 and no lower than 110. From the information I have the average CRT is about 80-90. I was curious to find out just what that means in terms of measuring the luminance of the blank screen with my Pentax 1? spot meter. The EV reading was 6.1 gootchie (my term for the thirds). The reading was taken with the level of light I work in. That gave me the idea that perhaps the Pentax 1? spot meter could be a tool for me to check the monitor luminance of the students using LCDs. What I would need to know is just what are the EV readings for an acceptable luminance range? Do you think that this is a practical way of checking too bright screens? What is your opinion of the ColorMunki unit for calibration?
A. Thank you for your e-mail. The December 2008 article on “prints too dark” was a path that I found did not lead to a solution that works effectively. So I redirected my research and published another article on the problem and a solution in August 2009. You can read it at: www.shutterbug.com/techniques/digital_darkroom/0809prints/.
You will also find I have explored the problem from different perspectives to help users understand the issue in writings on
As for spot meters, I would not be too encouraged as there are far too many variables involved to expect any reliability. An X-Rite i1 display sensor and software is a better and not expensive method for reading LCD display white luminance.
The X-Rite ColorMunki is about the only device in this field I have not tested and used. Another member of the Shutterbug writers did cover it, but I have to verify his conclusions on my own. Personally, I think print/printer calibration and profiling is something most users cannot advantage sufficiently to be worth the expense and effort necessary to obtain reliable printer profile functioning—they are better done when made by an expert who does it frequently.
The only display color calibration and profiling I am currently recommending is ColorEyes Display Pro that can be acquired from www.integrated-color.com.
Good luck. Sorry I cannot recommend the idea of using a spot meter, but it’s just not reliable enough—old technology.
File Organization Woes
Q. I am about ready to throw in the towel. Folders, files, library, and on and on. This group of pictures is titled “Yosemite and Sacramento with Phil - Carmel with Louise” and shows up that way on the “My Pictures” list and the Picasa list. When a picture from the library display is highlighted and comes up as an enlargement, the blue band under the picture shows IMG_0089.jpg, for instance. As you instructed, my sequence number was entered ahead of the IMG series—but nothing. Maybe the IMG number I used is not the file number. If so, how do I find or create a file number? Another problem is that when I start a slide show, the sequence is ignored but the sequence number and the IMG stiff prominently shows up in the picture that is NG.
In my old electrical engineering career, we had a saying, “look for the crowbar, not the third harmonic.” Nowadays the world is full of harmonics!
A. In the beginning you said you wanted to be FREE of the applications that use an image file database to control the order and sequence of your image files. The first thing you have to do is export all of the images from these applications and put the files into standard folders on your hard drive outside of Windows. Then the standard OS file organization logic will apply. It will not work, and what I suggested about file name changing does not function, when the files are in the control of an application database, that is, when the files themselves are WITHIN the control of an image-organizing application like Windows MyPictures, Picasa, or any other imaging application.
Sorry, iMac Users
Q. I had previously tried the white luminance at 90.0 with my iMac and it didn’t seem quite right. I tried two more scans with the Spyder and twice got the message, “sorry, there was a problem calculating the correction curve of the display.”
I am in a dark room, and have ambient light compensation turned on as the light varies during the day. Gamma is set to 2.2, and after the Spyder read the room it suggested 85-100 white light would be OK at 5000K. I accepted this recommendation of 85 and 5000; black point at 1.25. Next I tried 90 and 5000 and got the error message again. I don’t remember ever getting that error before; don’t know what to make of it. Any ideas?
Finally, in your opinion, would the Spyder3 make any difference?
A. Even if you set the aim point in the Datacolor software, the software has no connection with the hardware setting of the screen’s white luminance, so it cannot adjust the brightness. And the problem with the iMac is that the only adjustment available is the Brightness adjustment in the System Preferences/Display. From what other iMac users have reported, even when brightness is set as low as it will go, the white luminance measures at about 200.0 CD/m2 or greater.
As far as I am concerned the ambient room light compensation is of no value in respect of this iMac problem, and it would be best to ignore it and turn the function off.
Second, if you are going to use Photoshop and Adobe RGB or sRGB for editing, the aim point values for gamma should be 2.2 and 6500K white point color temperature, no exceptions.
The reason ColorEyes Display Pro is recommended is the software is capable of interfacing with the hardware to make actual screen adjustments to both gain and brightness that will result in a 90.0 CD/m2 white luminance aim point being achieved.
The Spyder3 has an improved, more sensitive and accurate colorimeter. However, the software is still no advantage toward obtaining an adjustment of the iMac hardware screen adjustment settings.
I am pleased to announce a new Fourth Edition, adding four chapters to my eBook DIGITAL DARKROOM RESOURCE CD. The CD now contains 30 chapters totaling 359 pages in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format, providing easy-to-read text and large high-quality illustration. The CD is available for $20 plus $4 shipping and handling (US Mail if available). Ordering is as simple as sending a check or money order for $24 made out to me, David B. Brooks, and mailed to PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.