Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography Page 2

Using A Laptop In Conjunction With A Digital Camera
Q. I'd like your advice on buying a laptop. I know CRT monitors (yes, I'm using one currently) are best. Is there a laptop model that works well or comes close to CRT color? I'm about to spend a decent amount of dough on a laptop and would truly appreciate your input.
John McNamara
via e-mail

In general, I know relatively little about laptops as I don't use them myself and have not done any testing or evaluation on specific models. However, many professional photographers, some who I know personally, do use laptops in conjunction with digital cameras as part of the way they work. All but one I know of use Apple Mac laptops. And, just from the specifications, it is clear the Apple Mac higher-end laptop models are like their counterpart desktop G5 models with strong support of graphic performance. I would have to assume the LCD display is comparable in quality as it is in specifications to the Apple Cinema Displays for their desktop computers, which I have tested and found well suited to digital photography.
But I also realize not everyone feels favorably toward Apple Macs, even though many pros use them. The one high-quality PC computer that does make models that includes some very respected laptops specifically configured for graphics and photography is Sony. This makes sense as they also make some fine digital cameras. So if it's PC Windows, I would suggest looking at the Sony Vaio laptop models.

LCD Display Viewing Angle
Q. I came across your comments about the Samsung SyncMaster 244T on the Shutterbug Forums and wonder if you would comment on its viewing angles. Any problems with color shifts or loss of contrast even if you move your head position slightly? I'm also considering the Dell 2405FPW but am concerned about reports of narrow viewing angles with this monitor, hence I'm trying to find out more about the Samsung.
via e-mail

Compared to any CRT, all LCDs do have a narrower angle of view, and if not viewed from center line straight on, the image will be adversely seen as the angle increases. In this latest high-end model, Samsung has increased the viewing angle compared to earlier models and brands of LCDs.
Samsung is the world's largest manufacturer of LCD displays, and considered by many in the computer industry to have the most advanced models offering just about the best performance among consumer products. You are not likely to obtain better performance unless you go to the pricey pro graphic models like the Eizo ColorEdge CG210.
My remarks only apply if the display is digitally connected via a DVI plug to a digital output video card.

Upgrading One Computer Component Sometimes Requires Upgrading Others
Q. We just installed Tiger 10.4 on our two Macs in our studio. One is a G5, the other is a G3 tower. When I connect my Lexar CompactFlash card reader (Model GS-UFD-20SA-TP) to the G5 with Tiger 10.4, it works OK. When I hook it up to the G3 with Tiger 10.4, it is not recognized and the red LED does not light (green power LED lights up). When I run the G3 with Classic 9, it works OK. I contacted Lexar, and they said they don't support the Mac OS above 10.2 for that reader. When I reminded him that it does work on the G5 with Tiger 10.4, he practically laughed at me and said it couldn't work!
Any help you could provide would be great.
Joe Daly
via e-mail

The first thing that comes to mind, and I am here assuming your card reader is USB, is that your G3 may need a firmware upgrade for 10.4 to be able to communicate with the USB device. You may want to use an authorized Apple technician for this if your G3's firmware has not been upgraded.
Another possible avenue to provide a fix for the G3 is to install an additional, new model USB card in the G3.
Sorry I cannot offer more, but I have to rely on an Apple technician myself with such problems. I really don't even try to keep up with all of the details involved as to what goes on with the inside workings of things like USB support, and have not had any problems myself so I don't have any real experience to share.

Can Digital Provide Any Advantage To Doing B&W Photography?
Q. I have been reading more and more articles from people who are giving up their medium format film cameras for digital SLRs. I can see this for wedding photographers but can the current digital state of the art really compete with film in terms of fine art quality monochrome prints? My intuition would be that a 4000dpi scan of a 120 negative would have to be better than any current digital SLR capture but I don't know how to determine this. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
David Brenders
via e-mail

Most of the advantages of digital that are motivating many professionals to make the switch from film apply only to making color images. There is no similar digital advantage for making black and white photographs, although some adventuresome photographers have used high-resolution scanning backs for 4x5 cameras configured for black and white capture to produce some spectacular results.
If I were still doing black and white, as I did for many, many years until recently, I would shoot on film and scan, as digital inkjet printing does offer some significant advantages. Then you retain the wide range of film choices and development options that have been a part of traditional black and white fine art photography. But I might be inclined to be lazy and shoot the C-41 process chromogenic black and white film because you can use Digital ICE when scanning to eliminate any dust, and Photoshop can make up for tailoring film, exposure, and development to the subject. In addition, there is an advantage to scanning a dye image over a silver-based one because there is almost no chance you will obtain any highlight blocking, which can be a problem when scanning silver-based film.

CD-R Or DVD-R For Archiving Image Files
Q. Now that my DVD/CD LaCie burner has arrived, I am curious whether you still have a preference for burning CDs. Do you burn DVDs? My present system works well with TDK CD Gold. In the case of DVDs, I am also wondering whether you have some preference.
Perry Joseph
via e-mail

The way you "burn" your own discs, whether CD-R or DVD-R, is quite similar. A blank disc has a dye layer into which a laser burns an imprint of microscopic holes (pits). The main difference is that although a CD and DVD are the same physical size, a DVD squeezes many more times the data into that same space. The result is the recording is more "delicate" and finer, so any deterioration to the dye layer may cause a loss of access to the data recorded much sooner. And, the dye layer can be affected in many ways, including bleaching by exposure to light or deterioration due to exposure to impurities in the air.
CD-R blanks do come in an "archival" version referred to as Gold/Gold because a microscopic layer of gold metal sandwiches the dye layer, protecting the layer from damage by light. The Gold/Gold technology has not been successfully applied to DVD-R. So there are no similarly long lasting DVD-R blank discs available. For that reason I do not use DVD-R for archiving image files, only CD-R discs.