Q&A 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
Q. This is a response to a question regarding the dreaded Epson “end of life” message (July 2013 issue). This appears to be a length of time warning rather than a “your ink pads are saturated” generated message. I received this message for my Epson R2400 printer. After checking with several repair facilities regarding the cost for replacing the ink pads I discovered, as did Mr. Bradlow, that it is quite expensive. After additional data gathering I came to the conclusion that the message is automatically generated based on time rather than a quantitative measurement of the status of the ink pads. As a result I went to the Epson website at www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Storesupport/InkPadsForm.jsp and discovered that there is a software patch that will let you keep generating pictures. This patch comes with a plethora of warning messages; however, since I never print borderless images I felt comfortable using the software patch. Since then I have printed an additional large number of images without any of the forewarned fire, electrical short, or similar catastrophic events occurring.
A. Thank you for responding to this issue. I would not entirely agree with your solution, whether the warning is generated by a time element or usage life is to me largely irrelevant. I say that because the accumulated use of paper, especially those of good quality, and Epson ink adds up to a great deal more dollar cost than the actual pro-rated extended time of use achieved as you described.
Personally, considering I have reason to use newer printer model versions, I have learned in respect of the quality of print results that simply extending the hardware life of an older model is not a particularly good strategy, as the cost of replacement is a relatively small portion of the total cost of ink and paper. So I would rather have a shorter and more reliable printer life by replacing the older unit with a higher performing printer.
Q. When I switched from a PC to a MacBook Pro 18 months ago, I got the guys at the Apple Store (Genius Bar) to copy all my photos into my Mac. I had been using CS3 on my PC, probably 3000+ photos. The Genius guys also transferred Picasa; not sure why, I didn’t ask them.
Somehow all those images got duplicated three to five times. I have no idea why. I thought perhaps that things got botched up between Aperture 3 and CS5. The original photos transferred were not edited with separate metadata files, so maybe (I thought) the “confused” software did the bad deed.
Now I have a lot of work deleting this multitude of duplicates. Any thoughts?
A. Yes, you did acquire an inadvertent and possibly difficult problem if multiple copies of the images are not limited by being included in separate folders. If they are mixed up on your hard drive, it may be that applications like Picasa are simply browsing what is on your hard drive, as iPhoto can also do, so the multiplication of files may be associated with the photo imaging applications in your system. You can check that by using the applications and their browsers to see what each application reproduces.
You can also use search to determine which of the image files is the original and which is a more recent copy. The search results will indicate when they were modified. I wish I could help in some way, but without having access to your system and doing some searches, I have no idea of what the problem really looks like. Personally, I would never allow anyone to fix what is in my computer for me. They are not geniuses even though they use the name.
A suggestion is for you to acquire an external hard drive and then search for all .JPG files in your computer hard drive and transfer them from your computer hard drive to the external hard drive. Stored on one separate device they may become easier to manage, and while they are out of your main hard drive they are not a problem in terms of using them on your computer. Considering you asked the techs to transfer your .JPG files onto your new computer, you cannot really fault them for doing it badly, but I would personally demand they fix it. But I’m doubtful if they could do that.
Q. Based upon your suggestion I just purchased a Mac mini with the quad-core i7 CPU. I also bit the bullet and bought an Eizo SX2462W display and am now wondering what connection I should use to obtain the best display resolution/color performance. Eizo indicates grayscale DisplayPort performance of 1024 tones from a palette of 65,281 versus DVI of only 256 tones from a similar palette size. Likewise, the display color performance is 1.07 billion colors from a palette of 278 trillion for DisplayPort versus 16.77 million from a similar palette size for DVI.
Are these noticeable differences? The Mac mini includes HDMI, Thunderbolt, and USB 3.0 connections, but no DisplayPort or DVI. The Eizo has DisplayPort, DVI, and USB connections. Currently I am using an HDMI-to-DVI adapter on the mini and running it to a DVI port on the Eizo.
Would I be able to get the maximum performance from the display if I found a Thunderbolt-to-DisplayPort, USB 3.0-to-DisplayPort, or HDMI-to-DisplayPort adapter?
A. To get the maximum performance between a Mac mini and your Eizo SX2462W LCD display, the Mac mini Thunderbolt connector functions as a DisplayPort connection. So the strategy and accessories you should use are a standard DVI cable (connected to the Eizo display), and then a Mini DisplayPort adapter to standard DVI, available from the Apple Store on the Apple website, for the connection to the Mac mini Thunderbolt connection. This arrangement should assure the maximum performance from Mac mini video output to drive your Eizo through its DVI port connector.
Film Scanning Software
Q. I agree with you that SilverFast makes a superior software for scanning. I’ve purchased Ai Studio for my Epson 4870 (which I still own but don’t use) and my Canon 9000F (which I bought on your recommendation and am very happy with it). However, the Ai Studio software for the Nikon 8000 ED is $425 (upgrade price!) and I’ll be using it on a borrowed scanner.
I mentioned an upcoming job, which requires shooting both digital and film. If that were the only need, I’d have the film scanned professionally. But I’m borrowing the scanner to complete a long-term documentary project, which I began on medium format black-and-white film and completed with a Nikon D3.
For scanning T-Max negatives shot years ago and the C-41 black and white I’ll shoot in the summer, do you think the VueScan software will suffice? Or should I use the Canon 9000F, running SilverFast Ai Studio 6? Can you recommend a book that will help me improve my editing skills and maximize the potential of my Canon/SilverFast combination?
A. Generally I would advise sticking with what you already know. Changing film and hardware can be a detour into the badlands and a lot of effort wasted on learning something you may not even need to know.
Personally, I would not be impressed with a Nikon scanner run by VueScan, but I would be if the scanner were used running LaserSoft SilverFast Ai if you know how to use the software fully. The Canon 9000F running SilverFast software will do just as well as the Nikon, and possibly reproduce smoother tonalities. It is not the hardware but the editing skill that makes the differences that count.
For a scanned image in black and white I would prefer C-41 black-and-white film, and for color either C-41, preferably Fujifilm color negative if available.
Follow-up e-mail from Sandy Noble:
I found the CD I had bought from you and applied your technique to a T-Max 400 negative. Wow! No need to respond regarding a book. Your CD has placed me on the right path. Thank you.
Your comments regarding Nikon 8000 ED/VueScan vs. Canon 9000F/SilverFast are appreciated.
I apologize for “bombing” you with sequential e-mail messages. I should have read your CD first.
Careful Display Color Management
Q. I use a Dell PC with Windows 7 (64). I have 8GB of RAM and three 3TB hard drives. The room is quite dark with one fluorescent overhead light (11 watts).
I use i1Display Pro to calibrate both monitors. I set the gamma at 2.2, color temperature at D65, and luminance at 90 (target—both monitors are close to 90).
When I launch “Windows Photo Viewer” both monitors show a much darker photo than what it really is (when using Photoshop CS6 and viewing thumbnails in Windows Explorer they look normal). I read on the Internet that ICC Version 4, which I use on both monitors, could make it darker and ICC Version 2 might not. Please advise.
A. (Note: The reader supplied detailed setup information.) First of all, you made an error in setting up X-Rite i1Display Pro by designating the displays incorrectly. In the drop-down box immediately under the display designation, the Dell U2410 is not a CCFL. “Wide gamut RGB” should be selected, otherwise the display will be measured incorrectly by over 30 percent. But the Dell SX2210 is a very ordinary home/office display that has an sRGB color gamut and should be designated as CCFL.
Next, do not set the white luminance target to anything below 120.0 CD/m2 for the SX2210; with a very bright 300.0 CD/m2 maximum it is too bright natively to lower in luminance to 90.0 CD/m2 without distorting the color reproduction. A better preset aim point would be 140.0 CD/m2. But the Dell U2410 white luminance aim point can be set at either 80.0 CD/m2 or 90.0 CD/m2.
Yes, your workroom ambient light is very dark, much darker than my lab, so do not activate the auto-adjust ambient light feature; use the colorimeter to measure to reset the working brightness. It will just throw the performance off measuring too little room light and misadjusting the profile function.
You did not tell me what kinds of photo image files you are looking at with Windows Photo Viewer. It should only be used with JPEG, PICT, or GIF files, not to preview D-SLR Raw files, as the base application color range is just sRGB.
I ran Windows 7 on my Mac Pro and used Windows Photo Viewer to reproduce a number of finished files and the results did not vary from the appearance using either the Photoshop Elements browser or Corel PaintShop Pro X5.
Finally, do not assume that the two displays you have are at all similar; they are as different as cats and dogs and must be treated with an awareness that they are not the same. So, I would suggest exploring using a different viewer software. There is a lot to choose from, but don’t expect cheap consumer snapshot software will support professional-level photography.
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