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

Solution To Photoshop Elements 3.0 & Acrobat Problem
So, David, you took a royal scalding from Mr. James Reis (May 2005 issue) because he believed he could print a PDF from Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 after reading your review of the program. He was pretty upset, it seemed, that after spending $100 for Elements he would now have to spend another $250 for Adobe Acrobat 7.0. Sounded like he wanted you to refund his $100! Well, since you have been so helpful in my transition from film to digital, I am going to help you redeem yourself. Anyone not having Acrobat can go to www.pdf995.com and download PDF995. There is a free version, and a $9.95 version. But for just $19.95 you can download the full function version. You might pass this on to Mr. Reis. If he hasn't already shelled out the dough for Acrobat 7.0 you just saved him $230. Seems he should split the savings with you, don't you think? Keep up the great articles.
Jim Plogger
Maryville, TN

Thanks so much for offering this solution lead. It looks like it will work for those who need the capability that are PC Windows users.

Some Choices Between Printers Are Functional Choices, Not Which Is Better
Q. You wrote two excellent articles in Shutterbug about ink jet printers--one about the Epson Stylus Photo R800 in the August 2004 issue and one about the Canon i9900 Photo Printer in the October 2004 issue.
I am an advanced amateur photographer who is just getting ready to get involved in digital darkroom work and I was intrigued by your articles, but I am having trouble trying to decide which of these printers would be best for me. Do you have any suggestions as to how I should decide?
via Internet

A. Thank you for the kind remarks about my articles. I can understand having some difficulties choosing between the printers I reported on because both do a superb job of reproducing photographic images in prints. So a choice must really be made on factors other than print quality. One factor might be whether you would be satisfied with prints that are letter size--or would you require making larger prints, as the maximum width of the Epson R800 is 8.5" (letter size) and the width of the Canon i9900 is 13". Another factor is print life. If you want your prints to remain true to color for generations, then the pigment ink Epson utilizes in the R800 provides considerably longer print life than the dye inks that are used by the Canon i9900.
Other than these two differences of size and print longevity the printers should both provide satisfying performance and utility. I hope I have been able to help your decision making.

Avoid Losing Image Information Data
Q. I'm using Photoshop CS on a Windows XP operating system. When a raw image file that has been created in 16-bit color, saved in a TIFF file format, and then converted to 8-bit color is saved/closed and then reopened/converted back to 16 bit, does it gain back the 8-bit color information, or is that permanently lost? The only reason for converting to 8 bit is to save file space, but if it results in any permanent loss I will leave it at 16 bit.
Brayton Maggs

A. No, I am afraid once a 48-bit image file is reduced to 24-bit RGB color all of the data that would not fit in 24-bit color space is discarded and cannot be recovered. It is always a good idea if you have originals in 48-bit color depth to archive them as such on permanent media like a CD so you always have access to the full body of information for future use. These days memory space, especially CDs, is really cheap, even the archival gold/gold CD-R discs. So what savings are you really talking about?

I am pleased to announce the new second edition of my eBook DIGITAL DARKROOM RESOURCE CD. The CD now contains 16 chapters totaling 227 pages in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format, providing easy to read text and large high quality illustration. The CD is available for $20 plus $2 shipping and handling (US Mail if available). Ordering is as simple as sending a check or money order for $22 made out to me, David B. Brooks and mailed to PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.