Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography Page 2

35mm Scanner For Professional Quality Scans
Q. As I suspected, there is no short cut to quality. Briefly, I currently have a Nikon Coolscan V ED that gives me 4000dpi scans. Is that sufficient for professional work? Should I opt for a new scanner that gives a higher dpi?
Ralph

A.
The Nikon scanners are well made. The one thing you can do to get more out of the scanner, if you are willing to work at it and learn how to use it, is to add LaserSoft's SilverFast software to drive the scanner and pre-adjust the image values scanned. And yes, 4000dpi is sufficient for medium-sized (13x19") prints and reproduction images.

Acronyms Explained
Q. I recently purchased a Konica Minolta lens and have a question about it. It is an "AF DT 18-70." I know what AF stands for but I do not know what the "DT" means. Can you explain this to me?
Peter

A.
"DT" is not a typical acronym, just a designation for a certain class of lenses that are more compact, lightweight and designed specifically for the APS-C size CCD image sensor in D-SLR cameras.

Konica Minolta Photo Products Support
Q. Help! I have a Konica Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 and I've lost the driver for it. I Googled "drivers" and all the sites have links that direct me to the now defunct Konica Minolta driver website. Any ideas?
David Shakley
Ft. Wayne, IN


A.
The photography division of Konica Minolta was purchased and taken over by Sony almost a year ago; Sony is providing repair service for the Konica Minolta products. You can go to the Sony website URL at: http://eservice.sony.com/webrma/web/index.do.
There is also a phone number you can call: (877) 646-6582; you might also try calling Sony Support at: (800) 222-7669. I was not able to find the Konica Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 driver listed on the Sony drivers section of their website, so it may not be available as a download.
I, too, use a Konica Minolta Scan Elite 5400 (II) for my 35mm scanning, and the driver software I use with it is made by LaserSoft and is called SilverFast. I find that the SilverFast driver software actually helps to produce better scans than the original Minolta software, and is also upgraded to support the latest computers and operating systems. You can go to their website at www.silverfast.com for more information as well as download a free trial version.

A Source For Production Quantity CD Label Printing
Q. I'm looking for a CD printer that has a capacity to take 10-20 CDs at a time and print them.
Ben

A.
The specialty supplier that I use to buy bulk CD blank discs also carries a selection of production-type CD printers. Go to: www.cdr4less.com; I think you will find a number of different brands and models of CD printers, some of which will probably meet your requirements.

Display/Monitor Calibration And Profiling
Q. Is there an affordable monitor color calibration software/program available I can use to calibrate my monitor? Is there any free download from the Internet?
Hoang Nguyen

A.
I think you would find the ColorVision products affordable; from my experience they are really effective and quite economical.
Effective monitor calibration and profiling is not accomplished by any software-only solution because that depends on human perception, which is much too variable. Precise calibration and accurate profiling of a display/monitor requires an instrument to measure what the monitor produces in color, called a spectrometer. Go to the ColorVision website and look at the $79 Spyder2express: www.colorvision.com/product-mc-s2e.php.

JPEG Or Raw?
Q. I am using a Nikon D200 and shooting Large/Fine JPEG files. I download straight into Photoshop Elements 5.0, make a duplicate of the image to work with and that's about it. However, I do edit the files extensively, as far as adjusting brightness/contrast, backing off of the saturation of the red channel, and the blur filter at times. I am having trouble with the gradual transition from the lighted areas to the shadow portions of my facial portraits. I am using Elements 5.0 with an Epson R1800 set up as you suggested with no color management by the printer. The monitor (Samsung 214T) has been calibrated using ColorPlus. As far as color reproduction from the screen to the printed image, I couldn't ask for better. What I see is what I get with the exception of skin tones. The mid-tone shadows look almost blotchy with a very defined line from light to dark. You don't really notice this on screen, but when you examine the printed image, especially under fluorescent lighting, it is very apparent. Sounds like maybe I am overworking the limits of the file. I am sort of new to all of this and don't know much about the 8/16/24 bit per color issue, but thanks to people like yourself, I am learning more every day. This problem is the one thorn in an otherwise very rewarding and pleasurable hobby.
Brad Chase

A.
Doing a lot of editing on JPEG files is probably the source of the problem. Inasmuch as you have Elements 5.0, I would strongly suggest setting your camera (and Adobe's Photoshop Elements color setting) to the Adobe RGB color work space and shoot saving into the raw file format. This will produce a color gamut and color space depth that will provide more room for editing, and I think you will find that making the basic adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw (part of Elements) will produce a final image file without the artifacts or problems you have been experiencing.
If you are getting a gradation problem in your prints, it is probably in the image file information. If there is a distinct line break in a tone that is graduated from light to dark--referred to as stair stepping--the usual cause is making editing changes in brightness and contrast to 8 bit per color channel information that are too extreme. In essence, there is insufficient data depth in the original to support the edit change.

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