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 (www.shutterbug.com), directly via
e-mail to: editorial@shutterbug.com or fotografx@mindspring.com or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.
--George Schaub

Correction: Photoshop Elements 3.0 & Acrobat
I have used Adobe Photoshop through Version 7.0, and Photoshop Elements through 2.0, so I am not totally new to the tools of digital image making, but had resisted "going digital" because I was comfortable with my cameras and processing and knew what to expect in terms of performance. I was also concerned that once my images were on the Internet I would lose control over their use, something that Shutterbug (and others) write about often. That level of comfort decreased as the demand for and usability of digital images increased, and the complexity of doing business with clients who wanted digital images when I was shooting with film made the workflow of photo making a hassle instead of something I loved to do. Frankly, giving in and "going digital" seemed like a good way to simplify the workflow and get excited about image making again, but I was still concerned about retaining my control over my work.
I read Shutterbug cover to cover, usually multiple times, and have grown to trust the information it contains as reliable and usable advice. I have always liked the idea of Photoshop Elements as a direct and clean way of making simple enhancements to my images. When I read in the November 2004 issue Joe Farace's "First Look: Adobe's Photoshop Elements 3.0," it piqued my interest and I started to look for an upgrade from 2.0 (which I never found, but that is a different letter). When I read your Test Report in the March 2005 issue on "Using Adobe's Photoshop Elements 3.0," I went out the next day and purchased the program. When I read, "...have you ever wondered how you could make that embedded e-mail photo more secure so the recipient could view the image but could not appropriate it for their own use? With Elements 3.0 in the print driver you can select to output an image in Acrobat .PDF format and then apply the security functions to limit uses like editing and printing..." I knew that a solution to my biggest concern about using the Internet to do business--having my intellectual property misappropriated--was available in a relatively simple application.
After an exhaustive effort on my part, I finally got an answer from the Adobe people that Photoshop Elements 3.0 will not do what you clearly state it does in your report. Basically, I spent $100 on the software only to find that I have to spend another $250 to purchase Adobe Acrobat 7.0 if I want to use that feature. It appears to me that, because you already owned Adobe Acrobat in some form or another, when you went to add restrictions to the use of your digital image files you were able to do so. Anyone who does not have Acrobat has to acquire the additional software to use the feature touted in the report as one of the great reasons to buy the product.
I love the magazine and do not intend to cancel or allow my subscription to lapse, but I am really disappointed to find such a major oversight when I rely on Shutterbug to give accurate and usable advice.
James A. Reis

You are quite correct, I did neglect to check what many users may be limited to, particularly if on the Microsoft Windows platform. Apple's OS 10.3 does include support in the operating system for Acrobat .PDF images through the print command. Both my IBM and Macs are loaded with full Acrobat support which is primarily derived from running Adobe Creative Suite for one, as well as other applications I use, so my systems include the Acrobat security support transparently, and have for some time. And I am so used to using this I did not stop to think the security access control function is not that readily available to many, if not most, of the Shutterbug readers.
It is my error; I should be more aware and diligent of such limitations and I failed to add qualifications to my remarks in the report accordingly. I am sorry that it has caused you and anyone else to be misled. That surely has not been my intention over the years. I made a mistake and you can be sure I regret doing so.

Scanners Made To Scan 120 Size Film Lack Holder Support For Smaller Sizes
Q. I have been looking very seriously at purchasing a Microtek ArtixScan 1800f scanner after reading your very favorable review in Shutterbug. This unit seems to be a good compromise to allow scanning of flat-bed materials as well as 35mm slides, negatives, and 6x6 negatives. When I surveyed the specs for the 1800f, I noted that Microtek provides 6x9 glassless carriers, not 6x6 carriers. The same situation appears to be true with the Microtek ScanMaker i900 scanner, which you reviewed this year.
How did you scan 6x6 negs with this arrangement? Were you able to produce high-quality scans using the 6x9 carriers? I would appreciate your comments.
Norman E. Wilson, M.D.

A. Just about all flat-bed scanners with film scanning support have the same problem in that specific frame support for the smaller 120 film size formats like 645, 6x6, and 6x7 is not provided with the scanner. I have used a small strip of exposed and developed film from the end of a 120 roll sized to fill in the space, and then used a piece of Scotch Magic repositionable tape to attach the strip to one end of the film frame I want to scan. It takes an extra few seconds for each film image scanned, but is easy to do and works well.

Understanding B&W Printing Options
Q. In the February 2005 issue I read your "Digital In Black And White" article with interest. I also checked out Paul Roark's website. And, you were correct, I was left with more questions than answers!
1) Epson 1270s and 1280s can be bought fairly cheap on eBay these days. I assume that would work, you'd just have to purge the color somehow.
2) Just for kicks I tried to download some of Roark's curves, and they wouldn't work at all.
By the way, I'm using an iMac, OS X and IE.

A. To answer your first question: From my experience, having both a very good condition 1270 as well as a 2000P, the 2000P is what I am now using to print black and white as it definitely outperforms over the 1270, but a 1280 would probably do as well. No color purging is necessary beyond making one small print as there is not enough ink stored in the print head to actually require any special "purging."
Regarding your second question, the Paul Roark curves are made entirely and exclusively for the full version of Photoshop, and with Photoshop they work extremely well--I use them regularly with no difficulty or problems.
Being an old-timer, 3/4 of my image library from a lifetime of working as a photographer is black and white. Digital, scanning, and now easy, inexpensive printing has made the enjoyment of a digital darkroom even more a thorough delight.