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:
or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.
My company, Trackside Photo, shoots off-road desert racing, like the Vegas to Reno and the famous Baja 1000. I think we encounter more dust than any other photo company in the world. Our team of photographers (up to eight at the Baja 1000) use Nikon D70s and D1Xs, mostly D70s. We use the cleaning wands, Kimwipes, and Eclipse cleaning fluid bought from Fargo Enterprises, and we have no trouble at all. After wiping the sensors, we use hand blowers, and we're good to go. The Fuji S1s were far more problematic than the D70s ever were. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for sending the e-mail about your particular experience with sensor cleaning. I looked up Fargo Enterprises (www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com) and found they are a valuable resource. I am sure Shutterbug readers will appreciate this information.
Some Plug-Ins Can Be Moved To A New Version Of Photoshop When You Upgrade
Q. How do I access Test Strip in Photoshop CS? In Photoshop 6.0 I just went to filters and it was there.
A. Test Strip is an independent, third-party plug-in and is
not an Adobe Photoshop feature, so it is not included with Photoshop CS. To
have Test Strip included in Photoshop CS Filters it would have to be installed
in your new version of Photoshop, either from its original installation CD or
by moving the plug-in file from your old Photoshop 6.0 to your new Photoshop
Even when that is done sometimes older plugins do not work with the newer version of Photoshop, and you have to get an upgrade from the maker of a plug-in, like Test Strip.
A Complete, Accurate Workflow Is Essential To Obtain The Best Printer
Q. I hope that you can help me with a printing problem. I have two printers: an Epson Stylus Photo 1270 and an Epson Stylus Photo 2200. The 1270 always delivers excellent prints that look like my on-screen image. But the 2200 is my problem. The colors in the prints are not what I see on the screen. I shoot in Adobe RGB (1998) and have set the profile on the printer to Adobe RGB (1998). Should I be using the Epson 2200 profile? I haven't been happy with this printer since I bought it, but I know that it is capable of excellent output. Help!
A. Unfortunately, you have put me in a position of having
to be critical if I am to be candid and truthful. The more precise and sophisticated
printers get, the more of a demand is put upon the user to be precise in how
the printer is used. It is sort of like putting a Stradivarius in the hands
of a novice violinist; it will not make the music played any better and possibly
worse because a beginner's mistakes may be even more apparent.
In other words, to obtain the potential an Epson 2200 printer is capable of demands a very precise use of the printer. This includes, first of all, a custom calibrated and profiled monitor. Unless your computer knows very exactly what your monitor is doing in how it reproduces images it cannot effectively reproduce what is displayed on your monitor.
Then, in addition to using a color managed Adobe RGB (1998) work space in Photoshop from which to run the printer, you will need to employ a workflow that allows Photoshop to control the printer, rather than the usual option of letting the printer driver control color.
This is done with Photoshop by using the Print With Preview File command and then extending the Options part of the Print With Preview window selecting the CMS Option. In the Color Management segment of the Print With Preview be sure the Source Space profile is Adobe RGB (1998), then at the bottom the Print Space profile must be selected by clicking on the right end of the box, which will bring up the folder list of profiles for all installed printers. Then select the specific Epson 2200 profile for the paper you are using to print on, like Epson's Enhanced Matte or Premium Glossy, and click on that profile so it appears in the box. Then click on the Intent box and select Perceptual, and under that check the Use Black Point Compensation.
Then after you click on Print in the Epson 2200 driver dialog under Print Settings, select the media (Epson Enhanced Matte for instance) and the Quality level (resolution). Then go to Color Control and click the Off (No Color Adjustment) button.
Using the workflow I described earlier--with Photoshop controlling color and not the Epson driver--you can obtain both the highest print performance and a print that matches what is on screen.
LCD Monitors That Are Capable Of Supporting Digital Photography
Q. I have been getting Shutterbug for over a year and have not seen any articles on the best monitor for photo editing. I have a 4-year-old plus ViewSonic UltraBrite A90f+ CRT monitor that doesn't match what my printer is putting out. I have tried using ColorVision's Spyder2 Plus to calibrate the monitor, but it only made it worse. Is there an LCD monitor that is clear enough to edit pictures? I use Adobe's Photoshop Elements 3.0.
A. There was a report on two 20.1" LCD monitors which
was published in 2004 that you can read on our website at: www.shutterbug.net/features/1104sb_lcd/index.html.
In addition, new LaCie models (www.lacie.com) specifically for graphics and photographic use have been released, as well as the most recent Apple Cinema Displays (www.apple.com) that are highly rated and can now be used also with PCs. One of the leading makers of LCDs (high-performance models specifically configured for graphics and photographic use) is EIZO, which has several models that should meet your needs. These EIZO models are described in detail at: www.eizo.com/products/lcd/index.asp.
Keeping Adobe's Photoshop Camera Raw Up-To-Date
Q. I have Adobe's Photoshop CS2 and a Canon EOS 20D. For some reason I cannot get the .CR2 files to open in CS2. Do I need an additional plug-in or update for the program or am I just doing something wrong?
A. Yes, I am afraid that when Adobe's Photoshop CS2 was programmed for final release the new Canon proprietary raw format .CR2 was not yet available to be included in Adobe's Camera Raw. So you should go to the Adobe website (www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html) and download the most recent upgrade for Camera Raw for CS2. Install the download and you will then have access to the Canon .CR2 files in Photoshop CS2.
Capturing A Single Frame From Digital Video/Movie To Make Still Prints
Q. I gave my wife a Canon PowerShot S410 as a present. The camera has a dial on the back allowing the user to take either pictures or movies. Yes, on several occasions she's inadvertently moved the switch and taken movies when she's meant to take still pictures. My question: Is there a simple software program that will allow the user to capture single frames (the first frame, at least) from these movie mistakes? Any help would be much appreciated. And keep up the good work with your Shutterbug columns...much good information and help for many of us.
A. The answer to your primary question is yes. Even the simplest
and most rudimentary video-editing software usually has this capability. If
you use an Apple Mac computer as I do it is an included capability called iMovie.
You just open the movie/video file in the application, then you can run the
video and stop it by freezing any frame, then go to the File menu and click
on Save Frame.
If you are on Windows possibly the applications that were installed on your hard drive may include a video-editing capability. If not, I would suggest using a web search facility like Google to identify what video-editing resources are available, and choose something simple and inexpensive. You might even try shareware, which you can search for on the VersionTracker website at: www.versiontracker.com.
Also, you might consider if it is physically feasible putting a small piece of tape on the switch that causes the difficulty locking it in place so the video mode is not accidentally turned on.
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