David B. Brooks Blog

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David B. Brooks Posted: Jun 21, 2011 22 comments
For quite some time after the “prints too dark” problem erupted several years ago, there have been few LCD displays available ideally suited to doing digital photography computing. The first affordable break with this normality was the Dell Ultrasharp U2410 I reported on a few months ago.
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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Sep 25, 2009 0 comments

I always like to work with the newest and best, but the reality of my budget is always the deciding factor. So I upgrade a bit less often than I would like. This time I had no say in the matter. A freak accident wrecked one of my Mac Mini’s and its external hard drive with backup in one fell swoop. Panic time and calls to Apple for help. Even though not responsible Apple was generous in helping with the recovery, although I had to spend some money too, plus invest a lot of work time. But the recovery is almost complete.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 15, 2008 0 comments

Human vision is incredibly adaptive so you can see in bright sunlight on a ski-slope during mid-day and at night on the highway to drive home. But this adaptability being essentially automatic and subliminal can be a disadvantage because your perception of small brightness differences between screen and print is not obvious until the print becomes a physical reality that makes it apparent.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: May 08, 2010 0 comments

Photography is approximately a 140 year old technology, but among the younger set using the latest cell phone models photography is often an integral part of this newest communication mode, take a picture with the phone and send it to someone else. When I first began doing photography almost 60 years ago it was a lot more of a challenge to participate than pushing a button or two, there weren’t even any reliable light meters then to use to calculate the film exposure, plus the many other things that all had to be done individually like focusing the lens on the subject, setting the aperture relative to the shutter speed, all relative to the ASA speed and type of film you were using. In other words photography in the 1950’s was a demanding technology to perform and of necessity had to be a concentrated single-minded experience.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Dec 12, 2008 0 comments

The last two days have been a bleary-eyed ordeal reading as many forum posts as I could on “prints too dark” from a Google search on that phrase, which obtains almost 2 million results. What I was looking for was as complete a picture as possible why people trying to make photo prints were getting unacceptably dark print output. I didn’t get very far into the almost 2 million results before my eyes gave out reading the forum posts, but I did find that a lot of users have discovered the cause of dark prints is an LCD display that is too bright. But confusion reigns when it comes to how to fix the problem, very often involving color management and the idea of using Photoshop’s “soft proofing”. Some forum gurus have been recommending adjusting the display brightness to match the print output, and actually that practical philosophy was used before there was such a thing as Color Management, but it largely precludes color matching using CM and a calibrated and profiled display, if in reality an LCD display can be reduced in brightness to actually match the range of print densities or the CRT monitors of the past. Some users found that instead of having their photo editing application control color, select having the printer driver control color, which with some printer drivers does provide an output print density adjustment and yields satisfactory print brightness results, but the downside is that some printer drivers will automatically adjust print density and others don’t, as well as color matching with what you see on-screen is not usually supported.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Sep 15, 2010 0 comments

There was a time in my life when Will Rogers often stated, “I know only what I read in the newspapers.” had a resonance with people. No one has taken his place in American culture and spoken for what can be learned from TV, or what they read on-line. Maybe it is just changing too fast to make any sense. It sure is when it comes to managing color on a computer system. When that began to become popular, to buy a sensor and software to measure and color manage the differences between a computer monitor and a color printer, it worked for a few of us pretty well. I had been reading, studying and experimenting with color management for years hoping it would finally be realized for most of us with computers and then Adobe released Photoshop 5.0/5.5 and it was then a real possibility for everyone.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Feb 12, 2009 0 comments

I was just reminded by a list of currently established luminaries in the photography world, that what I knew and the names and images that inspired me during my early, formative years as a photographer are no longer current, replaced by names and images that are unfamiliar and don’t have an iconic role in the photography niche of contemporary culture. What has changed is not the quality of photographic work being done, but that there is now a greater volume of public information in a digitized cultural venue that is huge and rapidly evolving. Today’s photographic talent is simply lost in a deluge of image media of every kind and description. Magazines, newspapers and books still exist but even TV has been displaced partly by the internet and YouTube. How different it is when a movie star, Selma Hayek on a mission to Africa assisting in a campaign to reduce the high death rate of infants, is covered by ABC News in scene where she breast feeding a baby of a local woman who had gone dry. This most humane gesture caught on video has now gone “viral” on the internet. I find nothing to criticize, but in such an instantaneous global village of images, that will soon fade with the next “viral” pop news event, can any image attain a lasting iconic status, much less the person behind the camera who made the image?

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Feb 07, 2011 0 comments

The other day I received an e-mail press news release about a new handheld light meter. I had not seen any news of handheld light meters in some time, so of course I read it. In style and content it was much like what I probably read twenty years ago. But what struck me strangely, now that virtually all cameras are digital, is the fact a digital camera is really just a light measuring device that records the light readings of millions of pixel sites and records them in an image file. Of course that does not preclude the value of a narrow angle spot or an incident light meter, they are useful in measuring the light on and from a subject to make an informed decision on making a photographic exposure with digital or on film.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: May 13, 2009 0 comments

I have been preoccupied now and for some time by the challenge of defining an affordable platform for inputting digital photographs and then printing them with matched color and density to an LCD display image. There are quite a few LCD display choices at $1,500 and up which support both color and density print matching with a color managed workflow. But an affordable consumer LCD display ($300) has been the elusive goal of a lot of searching. And from what I have heard from industry insiders is that the major display manufacturers in the immediate future are cutting back on their support for high-end, niche pro-graphics market displays.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Aug 05, 2009 0 comments

As I have written before, my holy grail is an affordable LCD display that supports digital photographic editing and printing. I just recently discovered one that has some essential attributes, and even bought one, and LGE L227WGT. A reader just commented he purchased a display he is pleased with that was quite affordable, an AOC Verfino 22 inch with LED backlight (http://us.aoc.com/lcd_monitors/v22). But even the added new feature of LED backlight, which has distinct advantages, still leaves the basic problems that can cause “prints too dark”, as well as the added expense costing as much or more than the LCD, a colorimeter and software to calibrate and profile the display.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Nov 11, 2008 0 comments

It has always been my nature to find what works for me regardless of whether most everyone else is doing something different. Since 1975 I have purchased and driven Saab cars almost exclusively, and still drive a Saab. When I was a freelancer in the 60's my colleagues used Nikons and I preferred the Topcon 35mm SLR camera system. And if I were not already very invested in another brand I think I'd probably choose and buy a Sigma digital camera. Not just to be different than the herd, but the technology and thinking Sigma employs I believe has positive image quality performance advantages.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Apr 03, 2010 0 comments

Today was the first one that the Apple iPad was delivered to customers. That was interesting considering there were long lines at every Apple store of people who had pre-ordered an iPad. They could just as well stayed home and their new iPad would have been delivered to them. So why stand in-line? There were also reams of commentary in my news gathering this morning, mostly vacant observations of course. But there was one telling insight of the fact unlike computers which are used to work and create stuff, the iPad is designed as a consumer of stuff. My computers are used mostly to do research, process and edit images and write articles and blogs. But I must admit I just bought another iMac, this time to replace my cable box to download entertainment, and that is consumption.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Dec 05, 2008 0 comments

I don’t know if you have noticed on TV, but ads for some new flat screen TV’s are now touting mind boggling figures for contrast-ratio of a million to one. Can anyone see a million to one? Or does it matter in the definition of a talking head’s picture on screen to what the pundit is saying about his crystal ball into the future of Barack Obama’s governance after January 20? Technical specification have been a boon to imaginative marketing mavens ever since cars were described as having horsepower, and the race goes on for who can concoct the most outlandish claims.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Aug 28, 2010 0 comments

If the bulk of what is written and read is considered, one would have to think having just the right, even the best, camera and lenses is the secret to making good photographs. But although some of the mail I receive from my Digital Help column does involve shooting hardware, most of it is spread over other issues like printers, scanners, and software, as well as a bit about computers used for photo processing. However, the stumbling block that gets in the way for many trying to find a way to make better photographs are limitations of perceptual experience and understanding.

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David B. Brooks Blog Posted: Jan 26, 2009 1 comments

I was at least subliminally aware of LG Electronics between 2 and 3 year ago when I searched through their LCD Display offerings and decided to purchase one of their Flatron L2000C 20 inch displays. At that time in America LG Electronics was a barely known brand name, but has gotten more cache in the last year or so, but mostly for cell phones and TV’s, and little awareness in the LCD display market for computers. Since I purchased my 20 inch LGE display I have acquired two more different brands and tested and reported on several more, including LaCie and Eizo, both of which are familiar brands only in the niche pro-graphics market.

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