Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography

Digital Help is designed to aid you in getting the most from your digital photography, printing, scanning, and image creation. Each month, David Brooks provides solutions to problems you might encounter with matters such as color calibration and management, digital printer and scanner settings, and working with digital photographic images with many different kinds of cameras and software. All questions sent to him will be answered with the most appropriate information he can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to David Brooks addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug website (, directly via e-mail to: or or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.

Keep Your Raw File Conversion Software Up-To-Date
You might want to make a note for your readers, the Canon EOS 30D creates a raw file with a .CW2 file extension. Adobe's Photoshop Elements 4.0 [in Editor and Browser] gives error messages that indicates it is either an unreadable file or a corrupted file.

Just go to the Adobe website and the Photoshop/Camera Raw download section and download the latest upgrade for Camera Raw. It now includes support for your camera. Go to:
Is The Canon EOS 5D Worth It?

Q. Just read your comment from last October to "Monte" (Shutterbug Forums at about the Canon EOS 5D. Really liked your articulate perspective. I'm about to jump on the merry-go-round. Now that you've had a few more months to evaluate the 5D are you still in love? Any problems, issues, regrets? Thanks.
Mitchel Whitehead

Since doing the extensive testing that was the basis of my report in the February 2006 issue of Shutterbug I have maintained my high regard for the camera. One of my main reasons for purchasing a Canon EOS 5D for my own personal use is that I have used Canon SLRs professionally for many years and also have a fairly good sized collection of Canon EF lenses, as well as other special purpose lenses which are well matched and supported by the 5D's full-frame sensor. I find the files produced by the 5D are of high quality and require minimal correction and adjustment from the raw capture. They produce very good fidelity in relationship to the subject's values.
I am not a "camera enthusiast" as such, they are just tools to me and either they function well or don't. The 5D is a good and effective tool that serves my purposes well and is adaptable to all of the various subjects I photograph and the conditions under which I photograph. As long as it continues to perform reliably I expect I will be satisfied with my investment.

Scanner Dilemma
Q. I have had a Microtek ArtixScan 120tf film scanner for several years and have had a lot of trouble with it (either the machine itself or the software). Microtek technicians have been helpful, but the problems remain unresolved. I am considering getting a Nikon Coolscan 9000 as I do both 35mm and 120. What are your thoughts on the Nikon? I don't want to get stung again! Also, have you had any feedback on the Microtek 120tf?
Andy Wittenborn

You must just be unlucky to have a problem Microtek ArtixScan 120tf, as I have had nothing but good feedback on that particular scanner. My personal view of the Nikon Coolscan 9000 is that it is good hardware, but like with all Nikon scanners the software leaves much to be desired. And considering the fairly high price for that scanner it is not something I would consider or recommend.
My strategy and what I have recommended is to use a flat-bed for 120 and larger film and a dedicated 35mm scanner. Usually the two scanners cost less by a considerable amount than the Nikon 9000. Unfortunately the best 35mm scanner, the Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 II, was not purchased by another company, as far as I know, when Minolta quit the photo business. It is the best 35mm scanner, but I hear there are still a few new ones available.
And Epson just announced new Perfection V700 and V750 flat-bed scanners with great features and specifications and at very affordable prices, as well as the best software for scanning there is, LaserSoft's SilverFast Ai 6. I expect to have one delivered for test and review shortly.

EXIF Camera Data Access In Photoshop Elements
Q. After I download the pictures I took with my Canon EOS 10D, either all the information about the pictures is gone or I do not know where to retrieve them. While the pictures are still in the CompactFlash, using the camera I still could playback the pictures and recall their vital information such as ISO, speed, aperture. However, I could not find this information by viewing the pictures directly from the CompactFlash on my computer, or after downloading the picture to the computer (I have a PC, and use Adobe's Photoshop Elements 2.0).
Julian Nguyen

I believe the problem of not being able to access the EXIF camera data is that it is not supported by Elements 2.0. If you upgrade to Adobe's Photoshop Elements 4.0 and use it to download and process your Canon EOS 10D camera files, you will have full and convenient access to all of your camera's EXIF data on your computer.

Image Size And Photo Quality
Q. I am constantly sending web-size files to newspapers and other publications for potential sales. When they are interested they usually ask for larger files prior to publication. Since I usually shoot raw files exclusively and have files in the 20MB range, I end up burning a CD and sending it along. Everyone seems to be using a different compression software with varying degrees of success. Any ideas on what software I should be using?

If you are asked to send a larger file that requires burning it to a CD-R, just save it in TIFF, a non-lossey format that preserves all of the original quality. To reduce file size the easiest and most effective application I have used is ImageReady. This is a utility (application) that is a companion part to both Adobe's Photoshop and a smaller and simpler version that is part of Adobe's Photoshop Elements. It is accessed by the Save for Web File command. In addition to a well designed and flexible control interface, ImageReady supports a before and after side-by-side comparison window. That can help you judge the effect of the different rates of JPEG or GIF image file compression you apply.

Spraying Inkjet Prints For Protection
Q. I came upon your website ( while searching for tips on spraying digital pictures with protective coatings. Yours was the only website I could find that actually sounded helpful. Could you please tell me what I am supposed to spray my digital prints with? Someone told me hairspray, but that left my pictures with little spots when held to the light. Please help!
Annette Reed

There are special sprays made to protect and help preserve inkjet prints. One popular brand is made by Premier Imaging Products ( These sprays are available from suppliers of ink and paper, and most professional-type photo stores like Calumet, B&H, and Adorama. For an online Internet supplier you might try or