Q&A Digital Photography
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Panorama Exposure Technique
Q. I am beginning to make some panoramas using multiple images and stitching them together. I use Photoshop Elements Version 8 to do the stitching. I have two questions. First, where is the best pivot point that will provide the best outcome? Would it be at the sensor plane, the middle distance between the sensor plane and front of the lens, the front of the lens, or somewhere else? Second, what software program would you recommend to create the panoramas?
A. Here are some photo tips for panoramas: the camera should be set on a tripod with the tripod head set level with the ground. Ideally, the pivot point should be under the recording sensor, but small variations on that are easily accommodated in the matching done in the software. So, if the pivot point is the camera base tripod connection screw it will work as accurately as you will need.
Adobe’s Photoshop Elements has panorama support, as do all versions of Photoshop. You might obtain more features in a more current version. In addition, I have noticed there are many plug-in applications featuring panorama support, but I have not used any so I cannot make a recommendation.
Pigment & Dye Printers For Print Sales
Q. Do you recommend the Canon PIXMA PRO-100 inkjet printer? My Epson 1400 is giving me problems so maybe it is time to update.
A. From your previous e-mails I know that you are thinking of going “professional” with print sales. You would want to select a printer that uses pigment-based inks. The PIXMA PRO-100 is a dye-based printer and I would not consider it if I wanted to sell prints. I like the specs of the Canon PIXMA PRO-1 printer, but it is expensive. Personally, I have had very good performance and a lot of reliable use with an Epson R1900 pigment-ink printer, and recently tested its replacement the R2000, and reported on it in Shutterbug.
Pro Graphics Display Choices
Q.I’ve spent the past couple of days going back through my “Shutterbug” and “Photoshop User” articles on monitors, calibration, etc., and have also spent some more time trying to find reviews of 10-bit monitors on the Internet. As you are undoubtedly aware, finding unbiased reviews by folks who have actually used and compared such monitors is like searching for the Holy Grail. I noticed that the LaCie 324i appears to still be available at a couple of vendors. I’ve also seen that an Eizo CX-series monitor or an Eizo FlexScan Pro seems to be along the lines of what I’m seeking. I’ve also noted the high regard in which you hold the Dell U2410 and presumably its new U2413 version for significantly less money.
Without factoring in cost, would you still recommend the LaCie, if it is available? I’ve noted the occasional bad sample reports from Dell U2410 buyers and references to some lack of adjustment controls. I don’t know if that latter complaint has any basis. Have you found the Dell U2413 to be as flexible to calibrate as the LaCie or Eizo?
My other question has to do with calibration equipment. I read your review of the X-Rite i1Display Pro and your further comments on it and the Spyder4. Ditto with the review of the Spyder4. For a capable calibration device in this price range, do you still recommend the X-Rite i1Display Pro over the Spyder4Elite?
A. First of all, even if there are some LaCie 324i displays in warehouses, although they are good performers, I would not buy one largely because no one knows for sure if anyone has parts and repair capability for the display. If mine goes down, I would just dump it and buy an Eizo.
On Eizo models, the only ones to look at seriously are the FlexScan S*, but preferably the SX models because they are IPS screens, which come in 22” and 24” models both at 1920x1200 pixels, as well as larger sizes. (*Note: Recent news is that the Eizo FlexScan S models are being discontinued, leaving the SX models as the alternate choice.) The rest are not pro graphics models, except the very costly ColorEdge models, with large Adobe RGB color range. Eizo also makes some models that are sRGB for home/office users.
A few Dell UltraSharp U2410 models have been shipped that have off-balance color and have to be returned. So, I don’t recommend buying them except directly from Dell through their website. The controls on the Dell U2410 and new U2413 monitors are well and efficiently designed.
The X-Rite i1Display Pro has the easiest and most efficient application control design, and provides automatic white luminance adjustment directly from software with some LCD displays (not all).