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.

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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

Often A Hard Drive Failure Isn’t The Drive But Its Support System
Q. The letter from Kathy Wingate in the July, 2014, issue regarding the dead hard drive prompted me to write. I, too, had a catastrophic external hard drive failure. However, I also build my own computers, so I naturally took the external hard drive apart. Extracting the hard drive itself from the external drive case and electronics (retaining the hard drive’s own control board, of course) I simply plugged it in as an internal drive in my PC system and voila, I had my data back. I have heard several stories where the enclosure is what died, not the drive. If Kathy still has her drive, see if she (or a friend) can try this. She may yet save her data.
Ed Pollak
via e-mail

A. I have to essentially agree with you. I encountered a similar problem when the external drive’s electrical system failed and also burned up a Mac mini set on top of the drive. I also had the good fortune to be able to retrieve the data on the failed external as the drive inside was not damaged, so the data could be accessed directly.
Thanks for adding your experience to what readers and I have experienced. Personally, I now limit my purchases of external drives to those offered by Other World Computing (OWC) at www.macsales.com.

Another Remedy For External Hard Drive Problems
Q. You published a reader’s letter about her external hard drive in the July, 2014, issue. Please tell her a common way to deal with it: purchase a Hard Drive Docking Station, or eSATA/USB to SATA External HDD Dock Adapter. It costs less than $30. She needs to take out the “failed” bare hard drive from the enclosure first, then put it on the docking station, which is connected to her computer.
via e-mail

A. Thank you for your response on external hard drives. Your recommendation of a Hard Drive Docking Station, or eSATA/USB to SATA External HDD Dock Adapter, is coincidentally one more confirmation that it is often not the drive itself that causes problems but its support mechanism. I have to agree with your recommendation, which I assume is designed for PCs, as I have not seen the device listed for Apple Macs. It would be good to know which systems the Hard Drive Docking Station is designed to support, or does it work with all Windows PCs?

Some New High-Resolution Displays Aren’t Wide Color Space
Q. Can the Dell UltraSharp U2414H monitor be calibrated for photography?
Danny Deal
via e-mail

A. Unlike the Dell UltraSharp U2410 and its U2413 replacement, the U2414H model is limited in color range to only sRGB, so it will not reproduce and display Raw digital camera color photos fully in the Adobe RGB color range. So my answer is no, the monitor cannot be calibrated for photography, including reproduction support for Raw DSLR and like images made with digital cameras.

An Operating System Upgrade Usually Doesn’t Require A New Printer Driver
Q. Can I use an Epson R2000 on a Windows 8.1, 64-bit operating system?
Joseph Anunciacion
via e-mail

A. The Epson Stylus Photo R2000 printer is listed to have drivers for Windows 8 in both 32- and 64-bit. There is no mention of Windows 8.1 on the Epson website, but usually just an upgrade of the operating system does not require a different printer driver. However, if you want to be sure, you can contact Epson support by calling the Epson Store at (800) 873-7766 or by visiting www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/SupportWindows8.jsp.