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.

Image Bit Depth: Use It Or Lose It
Q. What happens if you take a TIFF image file that has been saved as 8 bit and re-save it as 16 bit? Do you get the same results as if you are making color and exposure adjustments to an 8-bit file? Dumb question, I know, but I'm just curious as to what you might say.

There's no advantage, as the loss of information is irretrievable when you change from 16 bit to 8 bit. However, as long as an original 48-bit file is open you can revert to the original file's bit depth because the information is held in RAM until the image file is closed. Converting a file from 8 bit to 16 bit does not gain any information, of course, but I've found it does help when running some processes, like increasing image size by interpolation, as it seems to produce a smoother result.

When People Pictures Need Model Releases
Q. First of all, thanks for a great magazine! I have a photo that I took at Disneyland that I want to enter in your Fill Flash contest and the photo has a profile of a couple of teen-age kids. I guess if you were one of their friends or family you would probably recognize them. My question: Is that what is considered a recognizable person and do I need a model release or permission of some kind to use the picture? I have read that a recognizable person is someone who is in the public eye, like an actor, or athlete, or someone in public office, things of that nature. I also contacted Disney and they said I can use images that I took in the park for a contest.
Dave Lake

You answered your own question when you said that family and friends would recognize them. A model release is required to publish a photograph of any person who can be recognized as such and identified by anyone. The only common exceptions involve news events and the publication of photographs as news. Just because a person is a publicly recognizable figure does not preclude their privacy, and pictures of them not as part of a newsworthy event cannot strictly be published without permission. However, when such a person steps out on the street that can, in the opinion of some, constitute a news event. It's a sticky dilemma.
The pictures you took at Disneyland, if published, could be a problem, and without a release from the subjects most publications will not publish the pictures.
(Editor's Note: Agreed. We will not knowingly publish images of "recognizable" people without a model release. This goes especially for minors and children. We do get model releases with many of the images submitted for Picture This!)

Choosing A Video Card For Digital Photography Computing
Q. In a recent article you talked about "special high-performance professional video cards." Have you reviewed these cards for Windows users in past issues?
Jim McCaffery

Ten years ago there were a dozen or more brands of video cards, but consolidation has reduced the number of moderate cost, high-performance cards to about three. The only one I recommend for Photoshop support is the ATI Radeon 9000 series, although in the past I used Matrox Millennium video cards with good success.

Digital Tablets And LCD Displays You Can Draw On
Q. I am a photographer and am planning to upgrade my computer to a G5, and I'm trying to decide which display to use. My choices are Wacom's Cintiq 21UX or the Mac 30" widescreen and a Wacom Intuos3 9x12 pen tablet. I like the widescreen format with room for palettes, but I also like the idea of doing corrections right on the screen. I have not used a pen so either will be new to me.
Russell Pettit

Unless you are a skilled freehand artist I think you will find that a Cintiq, and drawing with a pen on the display screen itself, will not be much of an advantage for you. I have been using tablets, currently a 9x12" Wacom Intuos3 with a "puck" for as long as tablets have been available, mostly because I do a lot of retouching and some graphic design work. I worked with an earlier model of the Cintiq and did not find it particularly helpful. Plus, that model did not support critical color correction and editing as well as a good standard monitor or display.
I have also worked with and tested the Apple Cinema Display. My report is in the September issue of Shutterbug (and online at Personally I did not find the larger size of the 30" model any particular advantage for photographic imaging work, but I can imagine the large size may be an advantage to others, like video editors.
My perspective is that critical color is of the upmost importance, including precise calibration and profile control. The best display in that regard that I have tested is the EIZO ColorEdge CE210W or the larger CE240W. My report on the EIZO display is in the October issue of Shutterbug (and online at

Dropping A Digital Camera
Q. I have been using my digital Canon PowerShot since the beginning of the year and find it wonderful for photographing my artwork, everything but very close-up detail. I am extremely careful in handling the camera, however it accidentally fell onto the floor from about 3 ft up recently. It works fine, but I wonder, should it be taken apart to be sure nothing serious has happened to it? I do have a one-year guarantee. Can I tell that it is OK just by the fact that it is working now as it had before the fall?

Unlike film cameras of the past there are few mechanical moving parts inside of today's digital cameras that might be damaged by a short fall. If the camera is functioning normally in all respects, I doubt that an inspection by a technician would reveal anything. But if it would reassure you and provide confidence, go ahead.

The Company Who Produces Panorama Maker Software
Q. What company manufactures Panorama Maker software? I cannot find it listed anywhere and want to purchase the software. Any help in that direction would be appreciated.
Doug Rowley

The company in question is ArcSoft. For more information on purchasing their Panorama Maker software, visit

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