Q&A For Digital Photography
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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
Suggestions For Disabled Photographers
In the April issue of Shutterbug we printed a letter from a veteran who was seeking ways to continue his love for and practice of photography despite disabilities that came as a result of service to his country. We are proud that a number of readers responded with ideas that we hope will aid him, and others with disabilities, in their photographic efforts, and we’re happy to share some of them with you.—Editor
This is in response to a question from Rudy A. about equipment that would not cause back pain. My suggestion would be to use a camera with a movable LCD screen (Nikon’s name is Vari-Angle). With that, there would not be a need to bend, lean, or stoop.
Remote-Controlled Tripod Heads
I may have the perfect solution for the disabled vet. I am an amateur astronomer with a number of telescopes. Meade makes and made a variety of scopes, the 2000 series, with four-speed, power-driven right ascension and declination controls on an adjustable tripod base using a 6-foot wired remote controller. I have made extension cables up to 20 feet long for these mounts. A camera mounted on one of these can be easily rotated to any desired position. A great source for discontinued units is William Vorce at the Telescope Warehouse (www.telescope-warehouse.com). Another source of these units is eBay. Pitch the included scope if you don’t want it. These are relatively inexpensive, probably less than $100 used. Depending on your equipment, you can send the live image to a remote monitor and see just what your camera is seeing, control the shutter release, etc. The potential is endless. Hope this helps our serviceman.
To update you regarding your suggestion, I have contacted William Vorce at the Telescope Warehouse. He did reply that he has a $229 mount available. However, he did not give the device any name, just indicated it was available and the price, plus it can be connected to a computer or an iPad. I sent him an e-mail asking him to provide the name and identification of the “mount” and his reply follows.
Reply From William Vorce
Yes, I have mounts that can hook up to computers and also you can just hold the hand paddle and move them. They are the most inexpensive ones on the market that can do this. They are $229 plus $20 shipping in the USA. For vets I will include the optional 505 serial cable that allows you to hook it up into a computer at no charge. It is a Meade DS-2000 generation II mount with an L bracket that I make to hold a camera.
Follow-Up Note From Roger Lange
I’ve purchased almost 100 items from William Vorce at the Telescope Warehouse with complete satisfaction. Going to the site I located the following: DS-2000 mount, $75; DS-2000 tripod, $23; “L” bracket, $34. A hand paddle that controls right and left and up and down at four different speeds is not listed in the current ad but is available for about $20.
There is also a StarNavigator mount with 497 Autostar controller for $170 plus shipping. This is essentially the 2000 mount, 2000 tripod, and the Autostar controller. There is no “L” bracket so one would have to be fabricated to make the unit camera-friendly. The mounts are designed to accept clamshell rings to mount telescope tubes (and some large diameter long-range camera zoom lenses).
In addition, Sony also has a compact remote-controlled tripod, Model Number VCT-VPR1 with a $129 list price that is a possibility.
In reference to your letter in the April issue, I am just in the beginning stages of building a website for disabled nature lovers. One part of my site is directed toward photographers and I have a list with links for seven professional photographers (not all nature-related) who shoot from wheelchairs.
Go to www.accessiblenature.info/?page_id=36. The list is at the bottom of the page. I spoke to all of these men three years ago and they were very helpful. There are some outstanding photographers among them.
You might also contact Craig Hospital in Denver. I know they have worked out some adaptive photo equipment for patients. A Google search turned up two clubs for disabled photographers in the UK. I have not corresponded with them, but you might want to try.
Thanks to our readers who came through with information about supporting photographers with disabilities in their efforts to continue their work.
Inkjet Printer Replacement
Q. Today, for the first time, I got a screen “warning” notice from my Epson R1800 printer. From the brief Internet search I did, apparently the ink pads need to be replaced, otherwise they could start leaking catastrophically. I also did a brief search to see who could replace the ink heads in San Francisco, and so far have come up empty.
I have had the printer for eight years, which may sound like a long time. However, I am not a high-volume printer—I’m more in the fine art category. Does this mean the end of my printer? If so, when? Right now? Six months from now? What are my options?
Could it be sold in its current condition (I would definitely disclose the issue)? What would you recommend to replace it? I have a preference for Epson, but would be open to other brands that you might suggest.
A. This is what Epson refers to as an “end of life” service message, and means that the printer is failing. They also say, on their website, “Please note that replacement of ink pads is relatively expensive and may not be a good investment for lower cost printers because the printers’ other components also may be near the end of usable life.” As old as your printer is, it probably is to be expected. Usually they just quit working properly without warning.
I doubt it could be sold as is, unless someone does not realize it would cost more to repair than to just replace the printer with a new one. What I would suggest as a replacement is the current Epson R2000 I tested and reported on in Shutterbug about a year ago. It has many improvements, including much improved print quality. Type “Epson R2000” into the Search box on the Shutterbug homepage to gain a copy. I think you would be positively impressed with this new replacement model for your old R1800.
Q. I have been following your articles on display color management, and I see that you no longer recommend ColorEyes Display Pro software. I have been using the i1Display 2 colorimeter and ColorEyes Display Pro software with my Dell U2410 monitor. Is it time for an upgrade?
A. Please pay no attention to what I don’t say. Just because I have not had occasion to mention ColorEyes Display Pro does not mean anything other than the fact that I haven’t been asked about it for a while. I still think it is an advantageous solution to display color management—if you have kept the software up to date. However, for those getting new displays and who might need to upgrade because of changes in hardware, using an older Spyder3, for example, would be a sure cause of getting a skewed profile and poor color management. So, I have recommended what is the best new thing out there—the X-Rite i1Display Pro. If the i1Display 2 you have is one that has the wide Adobe RGB color sensitivity, it and the latest version of ColorEyes will adjust, calibrate, and profile the display quite efficiently and accurately. If you are not sure about your i1Display 2, check the sensor’s serial number with X-Rite to get information about whether it has the old sRGB color range or the newer extended Adobe RGB range.
Q. For a while you have been recommending the Dell U2410 UltraSharp monitor. I now see that Dell has a new U2413 model. Is the U2413 meant to be a replacement or upgrade of the U2410? I can’t seem to get a straight answer from Dell, nor can I find any reviews or mention of this model in “Shutterbug.” What is your opinion of this model compared to the U2410? Is it just too new for you or anyone to have reviewed it?
A. From the information included on Dell’s website, the U2413 is just a name change to essentially the same product as the U2410. Dell did not present the U2413 as a new model, so another test review would be redundant as the specifications are the same as before.
Image Effect Editing?
Q. I have a beginner’s question for you. I took a picture of a family on a moped in motion at dusk. They took me by surprise and I did not have a chance to adjust my camera. I like the content but the quality of the picture is pretty low. I tried to fix it in Photoshop using sharpening and contrast adjustments with not much success. Is there anything else I can do to improve the quality? Thanks for your help and a great column.
A. Practically, you cannot add quality to a photograph.
But sometimes editing can reduce the ill effects of back focus and movement blurring. I would mask and lighten the faces of the two women and also selectively sharpen other masked elements.
ProPhoto Color Space
Q. I recently read an eBook on photographic printing where the author recommends the use of ProPhoto color space in Photoshop Raw Converter. The reasoning used was that ProPhoto has a better color gamut than Adobe RGB and the ProPhoto color space works better with soft proofing just prior to printing. I have my camera, Photoshop, and monitor set up for Adobe RGB. What are the pros and cons of using ProPhoto color space and should I change to ProPhoto as the color space in Photoshop
A. It is true that ProPhoto color space is larger than Adobe RGB, but to me it falls into the American standard mindset that bigger is better. Even with Adobe RGB, most people cannot tell any difference between two colors that are different within its scale, so if the number of colors is greater, how do they tell one color from another? So, I see no advantage in the larger ProPhoto color space. Adobe RGB is a good compromise over the one-third smaller sRGB color space. It will reveal enough of a difference so that two slightly different shaded red flowers will be discernable and that would reproduce, with sRGB, with just one color of red.
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