Q&A 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 directly via e-mail to: goofotografx@gmail.com or editorial@shutterbug.com, or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.


Help Us Out...
To aid us in making Digital Help as helpful as possible, please be specific in your query and include components, including software, that you use. David says, “Make me guess the problem and I might guess wrong.”—Editor

Many Roads
Q. I saw the note from Glenn Sherwood in the October, 2013, issue regarding his having the Apple Store copy his photos from his PC to his new MacBook Pro. You advised moving them all to an external hard drive, and I wanted to share my experience. I purchased a Western Digital hard drive and used it to back up my PC before I bought my Mac. Long story short, the WD hard drive failed and all of the data was unretrievable…no way to get it back. Therefore, I have cautioned friends about moving their files to an external hard drive without first investigating what brand of drive is on the inside, as I’ve read reviews where the same thing has happened, and the writers learned that the inside of their hard drive was a WD. Main lesson learned: never move files to an external hard drive unless you have them backed up somewhere else.
Kathy Wingate
via e-mail

A. I am sorry to read that you purchased an external hard drive that failed. In the 15 years I’ve been doing this column that is the first report on a new external hard drive failing in such a way as you described. I don’t think it had anything to do with Western Digital being a bad product as there are literally millions of those drives in daily use and they are working fine. Hard drives can fail, but I cannot imagine it without any user feedback that the drives are not functioning.
Recently another reader suggested a software application that would help fix the multiple file problem easily, and that report has been put into the column. I use a number of external hard drives and have had only one failure, but fortunately was able to retrieve the content. In my case it was an electrical connection failure that was quite obvious. External hard drives are usually secure, but always having a backup is something everyone should have, and sadly they don’t. So stories of loss from failures do keep occurring, I’m afraid.

Displays And Their Management
Q. Thank you for more advice than I ever could wish for. Just to make sure I understand your recommendation regarding the two LED monitors; I seem to recall from previous articles that LED monitors had some issues with color calibration or gamut (not sure). Are these issues not at play with the Asus and Dell monitors you mention? If it is no longer an issue, then would the 27-inch Apple LED display also be okay (cost aside)? It sounds like you’re saying that the X-Rite i1 is a good enough color display management tool to now “overcome” the previously noted liabilities of an LED monitor. True?
David Overby
via e-mail

A. The issue with LED-backlit LCD displays has been overcome by X-Rite in its development of an altered reading method using the RG Phosphor media setting that corrects for the differences in the spectrum between CCFL and LED. So, using a current X-Rite i1Display Pro set on RG Phosphor solves the problem.
Apple LED displays are only sRGB color range, just the same as all cheap home-office displays. Pro-graphics displays have a broader color spectrum that is equal to the capture spectrum of digital cameras in Raw mode. In other words, sRGB, used by most people, is 35 percent smaller in range in color differences than Adobe RGB. You can’t edit using your eyesight to adjust color accurately as seen on screen if you only see 65 percent of the color in the image file.

New Scanner Models
Q. I am so upset with myself as I had procrastinated on ordering the Canon CanoScan 9000F and have been told that it is discontinued. I tried several places and it is not in stock anymore. Is the updated CanoScan (9000F Mark II) for $179 at Amazon comparable or maybe better than the previous one? Or might there be something better in about the same price range from another company?
Fay Widmark
via e-mail

A. I looked at the Canon website and you are correct: the Canon CanoScan 9000F has been sold out. But they had a CanoScan 9000F Mark II available, which, after reading all the specifications, is just a newly tweaked version of the same scanner for $199.99 (list price). I haven’t tested the Mark II, but I expect it will match up to the original, with a bit more added in features.

Q. First, well-deserved compliments on your column in “Shutterbug.” You can tell the editors that one reason I keep my subscription is your column. (But the rest of the magazine is also very good.)
I’m writing because of issues with my scanner. My Epson Perfection 4870 Photo scanner may no longer be supported by Epson with Windows 7 64-bit. Their software does not install properly. I contacted support, of course, and usually they are very good. However, I noticed in the product descriptions that support for Windows 7 is missing. The Drivers and Downloads sections list Windows 7 drivers (with Epson Scan). Mine does not seem to work despite three uninstalls and reinstalls. I have a 2009 version of SilverFast Ai Studio, but when I requested an upgrade, the site did not provide one for Windows 7. I await their response.
I decided to send off my 1000+ slides, all snapshots, to professional scanning companies. I have chosen two where I sent samples. I await the results. But I still need a scanner for better quality. I cannot see myself without a scanner. Should the Epson 4870 fail to work properly, would you suggest a newer model? I would prefer a flat-bed scanner; I have 2 1/4 as well as 35mm negatives.
Bob Hall
Nantucket, MA

A. Sorry to hear your Epson Perfection 4870 Photo scanner is no longer useful to you. Usually LaserSoft’s SilverFast is a good driver solution, but you indicated they are not supporting a version for a Windows 7 computer. If nothing else your scanner is getting old and a bit obsolete, but these days that happens. My suggestion would be to replace it with a new Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II scanner and get at least the LaserSoft SilverFast SE software for it. The scanner is listed at $199 and the SilverFast is $49. I wrote the original CanoScan 9000F review in Shutterbug some time ago. It was by far the best flat-bed photo scanner using SilverFast to drive it I have used, tested, and reported on.

I am pleased to announce the latest 4.3 edition to my eBook Digital Darkroom Resource Cd. The CD now contains 33 chapters totaling 399 pages in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format, providing easy-to-read text and large high-quality illustration. The CD is available for $20 plus $5 shipping and handling (US Mail if available). Ordering is as simple as sending a check or money order for $25 made out to me, David B. Brooks, and mailed to PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.