Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography Page 2

A Digital SLR Camera Tethered To Your Computer
Q. I've been a photographer all my life; in fact, I recently celebrated my 61st birthday. I've decided to try to make some extra money and help other veterans like myself by doing veterans' portraits here in the Sacramento area for nominal costs. I would also like to fix veterans' photographs that have been somehow damaged, again for nominal cost. I purchased (at almost no cost) all the lighting equipment from a studio that was closing after 35 years in business, so I have lots of backdrops, frames, lights, and batteries and everything is "top shelf." It works great.
I also have a Windows-based PC notebook computer that I would like to either tether to my Canon EOS 20D or EOS 10D (as a back-up) via the USB cable that came with my camera, or even do it wirelessly, if possible. But here's the rub: I want to be able to take a portrait shot and have that picture appear full screen on my notebook computer immediately. That way I don't have to rely on the LCD of the camera to tell me about the quality of the picture--if the subject moved, if he/she closed or partially closed an eye, etc. The screen on my notebook is 17" so it's roughly nine times that of my camera's LCD and, at my age, even glasses aren't always the right answer for seeing movement of a subject, especially subtle movement.
So, if you have an idea or a program that you could recommend I sure would appreciate it. I currently have Photoshop CS3, Lightroom Beta 4.1, Bridge, Elements 5.0, and of course Canon's own software.
Jack Bowland

A.
To obtain direct computer control of your camera for tethered operation you must use the Canon software, and I would suggest going to the Canon website and downloading the latest version of Canon's Camera Window and Digital Photo Professional, as well as any manual and instructional material associated with these applications.
The basic applications should be on your CD that came with your Canon EOS 20D. But you should also upgrade both applications to the latest versions, as well as download the manuals at the following website URL: www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=Download DetailAct&fcategoryid=314&modelid=10464.
You should also have a special USB cable that has a small connector on one end for the camera. With the camera connected and turned on, then launch Canon's Camera Window and use the program commands to control camera functions and obtain downloads of images as they are exposed and captured by the camera.
Tethered D-SLR operation is only supported by the camera manufacturer's applications, not by third-party software like Adobe's Photoshop. Once you have captured the image then you can use Canon's Digital Photo Professional to make color corrections and adjustments as well as output prints.

Archiving Your Digital Camera Original Files
Q. There seems to be some confusion as to my workflow and image saving. I shoot only in Raw mode with a Nikon D70 and D200. I download to Nikon's Capture and that is where I do my initial editing of the files. I then do a "Save As" and save them as TIFF files at which time I will do further work in CS2. The question that has come up is: Should I save the raw images prior to working on them in Nikon's Capture or not? Seems to me I am OK, as I understand the raw file is safe as long as I do the "Save As"; is this correct?
Harvey Hessler

A.
As you have described your workflow, yes. Using "Save As" to produce a TIFF file from your converted raw file preserves the original data in the raw file, which I hope you are then archiving. That would be like with film carefully preserving and storing your film negatives after making prints.
I usually make a point of uploading a digital camera "take" of raw files to my desktop, and if not in a hurry to access the images immediately, I will burn the folder onto a CD immediately, which is probably a good idea. You wouldn't want to let time pass and trash the raw files, assuming they have been archived.

Should You Be Concerned About 64-Bit Processing?
Q. I am running an Athlon system. Has your publication seen anything from the software developers that indicates that 64-bit graphic software is on the horizon? I noticed that Photoshop CS3 beta did not go the 64-bit route.
Leroy Allen Skalstad
Milwaukee, WI


A.
You are correct. There has not been much attention paid to 64-bit processing in the bitmap graphic and digital photography community. The primary reason is that digital photo and bitmap graphic processing will not be directly advantaged much by 64-bit processor functioning simply because this type of graphics is not processor intensive, as is vector and 3D imaging.
Although there are some functions that would be advantaged in an application such as Photoshop by 64-bit processing, including running some filters like Gaussian Blur, most of the work done by a bitmap graphic application will not be enhanced because most of the "work" is slowed down by volume. Making a simple change globally to an image file, pixel by pixel, is slowed due to the volume of information involved, and higher bit processing won't change that one bit.
In fact, the bit depth of image files is not likely to be increased because that would do the opposite. Increasing the volume of information that has to be processed would create larger file sizes, which would create more of a performance problem. In addition, little if anything would accrue to improved image quality. Even at 16 bits per RGB channel there is a marginal visual advantage difference over 8 bits per RGB channel because the human eye can barely differentiate between 256 different levels of tone and the 1.7 million different colors supported by a standard 8 bit per channel RGB file.
Yes, there is a lot of buzz generated about 64-bit processing, but that is because it does produce higher efficiency and speed for number crunching applications and therefore much of the computing world, but digital photography and all bitmap graphics is a very different thing than number crunching.

An Inkjet Paper With A Traditional Look And Feel
Q. I am currently printing up some photos from Yellowstone and am trying to approximate the work of Michael Kenna--I don't know if you are familiar with his work. I'd like the paper to be natural matte with some intrinsic pattern of its own, like an oriental scroll. Legion's Concord Rag Fine Art would have been perfect but it no longer exists. I'd like it to take a good black. Epson's Smooth Fine Art is good as is Moab's Entrada Natural. Do you have any other thoughts?
Judy

A.
Recently I started using PremierArt's Watercolor. It is very moderate in cost and does reproduce a good D-max. The PremierArt papers are available from www.InkJetArt.com. Nice people to deal with, from my experience.

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