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: editorial@shutterbug.com or goofotografx@gmail.com or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.

To aid us in making Digital Help as helpful as possible, please be specific in your query and include components, including software, that you use. David says, “Make me guess the problem and I might guess wrong.”—Editor

Facts Are Facts
I just read David Brooks’s reply to “Display Problems” in the Q&A section of the November, 2010, issue, saying “that you are working with Microsoft Vista, considering it does not support using a color-managed display, is also curious.” Windows has supported color-managed displays for many years now, much before Vista. I’m always astonished by how people who are seemingly ignorant of Microsoft Windows tend to blame this OS with missing features and other issues, assuming that it is inferior to other Operating Systems.
I’ve been using Microsoft Windows for many years, alongside with Apple OS X, and in my opinion Windows is much superior as far as power, features, and ease of use are concerned. True, it doesn’t look as fancy as OS X, the dock icons do not sit on a reflective virtual table (that takes too much space on the screen!), but I’m a professional and prefer to use a tool that’s as professional as I can get.
I expect Mr. Brooks to publish a correction to his inaccurate remark.
Amiram Stark
via e-mail

I reported on the color management problem in my review of Windows Vista in the June, 2007, issue of Shutterbug. A color management expert had found a bug that caused the user information screen warning that darkens the screen to cancel the operating system’s display calibration setting, making color management quit. This bug was never fixed by Microsoft until Windows 7 when they put in a user switch to turn off the user screen warnings. If you want the details they are toward the end of my report; go to www.shutterbug.com and type “Windows Vista” in the Search box.
Sorry you were offended, but every operating system published has some bugs. Vista’s apparently could not be repaired until they put in a new user screen warning system in Windows 7. So both Windows XP and Windows 7 can be color managed without problems, but not Vista. I have both of these operating systems running on one of my computers, and no color management problems of the kind reported. So I’m sorry, but my statement stands as made, because it is a fact.

DVD & File Migration
Q. I get that the hard drive is not the best place to store my photos long term—even if it is on three hard drives and I retire older drives and migrate to a newer one about every two to three years. However, backing up to a DVD is not easy. It got much worse when I moved up to the Canon EOS 7D and started shooting Raw. I am on a Mac and even considered using Folder Splitter to break things up first, but there must be a better way than having to do it all manually. How do you back up 10GB of photos from a shoot onto a DVD that only holds 4.7GB?
Chris
via e-mail

A. There are two ways to know if the space for a burn is close to full. First, know what the capacity of the disc is, then at the bottom of a folder window (it’s always advisable to put files into a folder for burning to a disc) the number of space used is indicated. Also, if you use burn software (like Roxio), which you would have if you were using an external burner, it will also tell you how much of the space is full.
That said, 10GB is a lot of pictures to save in an archive. If you shoot that much maybe a RAID storage system of multiple drives would be both safe and more efficient. Archiving every exposure you make may be something you would wish you had not done later because searching for one good shot may be more difficult. Why not edit your shoots and throw out the culls? Even the best professionals follow that workflow.

The Rules Keep Changing
Q. First of all, thank you for your comments on flat-bed scanners in the January, 2011, issue of Shutterbug. I’ve had a rather frustrating experience using my CanoScan 8600F with Photoshop CS5 and Bridge CS5. I’m running both Photoshop CS5/64 and CS5/32 with Windows 7/64. Yes, I’m using the Canon 8600F driver update for Windows 7/64.
Previous versions of Photoshop and Bridge (CS3-4) as well as Photoshop CS5/32 recognized the 8600F and permitted me to File>Import>CanoScan 8600F>ScanGear which enabled me to run a preview scan, adjust the result with the Canon-supplied ScanGear software, and open the image directly into Photoshop. The latest Adobe update of Photoshop and Bridge CS5 has completely removed the option of opening ScanGear to prepare an image before importing it to CS5. I’m left with WIA 8600F as the sole Photoshop CS5 import choice; a very limited option. Bridge CS5 doesn’t recognize the scanner at all.
Realizing that the CanoScan 8600F has been replaced by the 8800F and 9000F models, I called Canon Tech Assist to inquire if the newer models would be recognized by Photoshop. No one knew! I received various responses from the Canon Tech Assist folks asserting that if WIA was functional then TWAIN acquisition was satisfactory. Adobe Tech Assist simply took the position that if the scanner could be accessed by Photoshop Import>WIA then their program was working fine; no further responsibility could be assumed by Adobe.
Is there any hope in all of this? I like Canon’s ScanGear as a tool to prepare preview images and I like Photoshop for final image manipulation. Can’t they all get along?
E. Feigenbaum
via e-mail

A. A friend of mine in the industry posted the following comment to a blog I wrote: “Camera makers should get out of the software business.” And I agree 1000 percent. Canon is no better than Nikon and no better than Microtek; they all write terrible scanner software. In fact, I quit recommending Nikon scanners sometime ago only because the software was intolerably poor.
To me the hope is that scanner users will finally realize that SilverFast by LaserSoft Imaging is a better solution for both running a scanner (driver) and has far superior and more efficient color correction and adjustment tools than Adobe Photoshop.
A simple SilverFast SE software for your scanner can be tried by downloading a free trial from their website (www.silverfast.com) and if it works for you, then you can license it for just $49. And if you become a LaserSoft customer I think you will find the support is as good as the software.
Note: In a response to my e-mail to the reader, the reader does not want to change, but wants what he has to work the way it once did but doesn’t anymore. The situation is not going to change and my suggestions of trying something different requires too much adaptation apparently. To get things improved everyone has to learn new ways to do things better.

Upgrading From An Epson Perfection
Q. I have an Epson Perfection V500 that I have used for several years. I wanted to get SilverFast and eventually replace the V500 with a V600. Now I see there is a dedicated version of SilverFast for each scanner. How much better is the V600 plus SilverFast than the V500 plus SilverFast? Would there be a significant problem if I bought the V600 version of SilverFast and used it with the V500?
Dave Ganly
via e-mail

A. I, too, have an Epson Perfection V500, and I use LaserSoft SilverFast to run it. I also have the SilverFast on my system for the Epson Perfection V600 but it will not connect with the V500. Each version of SilverFast is designed and programmed to run with just one model of scanner.
As for differences between the V500 and the V600, as far as scan results I see no significant advantage in moving from a V500 to a V600. Although there are some distinctions in the specifications, it does not show up for me in scan results. However, if you want an upgrade, the new Canon CanoScan 9000F is a big improvement in scan quality, and a beautifully made scanner, especially if run by LaserSoft SilverFast.

LCD Displays That Match The Print
Q. My HP w2338h monitor is just not able to be calibrated. I tried to calibrate it manually and with Spyder and there is no relationship to the real world or what the printer does. Yes, Photoshop manages the colors but the monitor is bright and saturated and printing is a game of Russian roulette. You said it all in your January, 2011, request for a $200 monitor. I don’t have those constraints. Please recommend a monitor that can produce accurate colors; I don’t care about what the web looks like, just my photos so I can print them.
Lawrence Sherwin
via e-mail


A.
There are a number of good pro graphics displays like the NEC SpectraView II line from 22” to 30”, as well as the EIZO ColorEdge displays. The best buy and an exceptionally well designed and manufactured display I recently purchased for my own use is the Dell UltraSharp U2410. It has a very affordable list price of $599 for a 24” display. You can’t go wrong with that. Be sure to read my review in this issue on page 90.
As far as I know, no displays are self-calibrating. To calibrate and then profile you have to use a colorimeter to measure the display performance and software to calibrate and profile the display using the colorimeter’s data readings. Some brands of displays have their own software and colorimeter either included or as an extra cost add-on.

Great Age Differences Can Be Challenging
Q. I have a Sony NEX-3, which is great, but I just was given some old film cameras and lenses: Canon FT, FTb, AE-1 bodies; one Zorky or something like that—looks like an old Leica, but made in Russia; and numerous lenses, including a Sigma 500mm mirror. I have been told by some that they won’t fit and there is no adapter; others tell there is an adapter. So, is there any way to use these lenses on the NEX-3?
Bob Callard
via e-mail

A. If you can’t find one at Adorama or B&H, I would not look further. Check their websites. However, to me there is little advantage to using old pre-EOS Canon lenses on your camera with the possible exception of the 500mm mirror lens just for a bit of odd fun. The difficulty of not having an aperture preset and shutdown automatically is a real pain compared to what we are used to with modern cameras. But if the Canon AE-1 body is in good condition, it might be worth using it with the new Kodak Ektar film if you need the advantage of the optics, and you can always get the film scanned into digital at the time of processing.

ANNOUNCEMENT
I am pleased to announce the latest 4.3 Edition to my eBook DIGITAL DARKROOM RESOURCE CD. The CD now contains 33 chapters totaling 399 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.

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