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.

"Archival" Disc Storage Media
Q. On page 190 of the June 2006 issue, you indicate that "the Gold/Gold technology has not been successfully applied to DVD-R." On page 149 of the same issue there is an article on Delkin's Archival Gold DVD-R media. An explanation is requested.
David Wheaton

Referring to the Delkin ad for their "Gold" DVD-R discs, if you go to their website and look through it thoroughly you will find that other than their own testing no claim of archival longevity is made based on any independent tests on their Gold DVD-R discs. In addition, the "Gold/Gold" designation given to CD-R discs made by Kodak, Imation, and Mitsui is based on the fact the protection of a gold layer is applied to both the top of the disc and the bottom under the dye recording layer. And, Delkin is not specifically and directly claiming their DVD-R Gold is Gold/Gold.

As I understand the tests applied by Delkin themselves, it involves simulating normal use over a long period of time by actually reading for an intense period to a point of failure. To me that only simulates one dimension of potential aging, and does not account for other kinds of environmental degradation that determines functional, readable recorded disc longevity.
I am sure the Delkin and also the Mitsui Gold DVD-R are of superior quality and longevity, but I think I have good reason to remain skeptical that they will provide real and practical longevity equal to Gold/Gold CD-R discs.

(Editor's Note: To help clarify this issue we contacted Delkin. Here is their response, edited for space.)

The Gold/Gold terminology was used to describe that type of CD-R media back in the early days because there were three types of dyes in use, but Mitsui's patented Phthalocyanine dye was the only one transparent enough to make the disc look gold from both sides.

The construction of our gold DVD-R media is essentially the same as CD-R. However, the dye is no longer as transparent, so the disc has a brownish hue because of the purple/blue dye against the backdrop of gold. There was never more than one coat of gold, but it is 99.99 percent pure gold. We have performed the longevity tests according to ISO 19827:2002 and the average estimated lifetimes of CD-R and DVD-R are 300+ years and 120+ years.
Eric Richter
Marketing Manager
Delkin Devices, Inc.

Using LCD Computer Displays For Digital Photography
Q. I just purchased a Samsung SyncMaster 214T, mainly based on your review in the May 2006 issue of Shutterbug. I calibrate using ColorEyes and an X-Rite sensor. I use ink from MediaStreet and profiles from InkjetMall. I have been trying different calibrations and still cannot get close to WYSIWYG. I tried calibrating to the screen's native white point, 6700 if I remember correctly, and to 6500, 5000, etc. I was hoping you had some advice to get me on the right path. I have also tried, as you suggested, messing with the brightness and contrast but I am getting nowhere fast.
Gary T.

Sorry to hear you are having a challenge adjusting, calibrating, and profiling the Samsung SyncMaster 214T. If I recall I ended up reducing the brightness setting about 25 percent and the contrast setting about 60 percent.

I do not have any experience with the ColorEyes software and the X-Rite sensor. I am not even sure what you have actually supports calibrating and profiling LCDs, as most older colorimeters and software made to calibrate and profile CRTs don't work with LCDs. So first of all check that out and be sure both the colorimeter (X-Rite) and ColorEyes have specific support for LCDs.

Since doing the Samsung test and review I've worked with three more brands and models of LCDs and have had no difficulty getting them adjusted, calibrated, and profiled. Those tests have shown me that the calibration process is quite easy if you have the right support. I am using the ColorVision Spyder2PRO colorimeter and the ColorVision Spyder Version 2.2 software.

I begin by lowering the LCD brightness with the controls on the display. This is to eliminate the high default brightness burnout of highlight detail. Then I set the calibration target value aim points in the ColorVision Spyder software to a color temperature of 6500K and a gamma of 2.2, as well as a white point brightness of between 100 and 120 cd/m2. Then I just let the calibration and profiling process actually make and set the display to those values. This works and provides both good perceptual screen values for color correction and precise print color matching ith both an Epson R800 and an R2400 printer.

I am able to validate this by reproducing the same files using another computer system that is running a Sony G520P that is still in excellent condition and calibrated and profiled with the same software and colorimeter. So I know it can be done with the display you have.