Q&A Digital Photography

Digital help is designed to aid you in getting the mostfrom 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 goofotografx@gmail.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

Reduce The Cost Of Printer Ink?
Q. I use an Epson R1800 printer that I am satisfied with. As a hobbyist and a retired person who does not sell photos, I have found the constant replacement of ink cartridges to be very expensive. Would you recommend any of the continuous ink supply systems for this printer?
I have not found any reviews of these systems that I trust. There seems to be two types: one uses refillable cartridges with resettable chips and the other uses tubes that attach to external bottles. It appears that both dye and pigmented inks are available for both types.
Jerry Engedal
via e-mail

A. Personally, my experience with both kinds of continuous flow ink supply systems has not been such that I would recommend them. However, that does not mean they will not work. The system where you refill cartridges is one used by a lot of printers who do black-and-white printing. The other type, using a tube system, is one I tried but I don’t print every day so that system soon got clogged and would not work.
If you want more information on this subject I would suggest visiting a black-and-white expert’s website, www.paulroark.com. He has a lot of information on his site detailing what he has done and what does work. Also, considering an Epson R1800 printer is pretty old, it may not be advantageous to add new systems to that old of a printer. My R1800 was replaced with an R1900 some years ago, and since then a new R2000 is available, and it has larger cartridges for ink, which may reduce ink cost.

Printer Profiling
Q. I’m set up in my second location with a Mac mini and a Dell U2410. Many thanks for the e-mail sometime ago telling me how to get the brightness/contrast settings to achieve 80.0 CD/m2. (I achieved 79.) The gyrations and color show are not as entertaining as those with the calibration of the older NEC 224W that I have in my first location. However, the ending graph with the i1 shows good adjustments. And, I have to again thank you for all the work you did with the “too dark prints” dilemma. I feel for the first time I have decent control over the process, and that it isn’t just random. Do people use this device or something similar from i1 to create printer profiles?
Michael Levy
via e-mail

A. I am glad to hear you have had success and that the X-Rite i1Display Pro has worked for you. The software included with the i1Display Pro can be used to measure and profile print/paper and printer. But you have to add an expensive X-Rite i1Pro spectrophotometer to make those print performance readings. Most professional color management services have the hardware and software I reported on in the X-Rite i1Photo Pro 2 review (May, 2013, issue) and can perform the profiling for a moderate charge. Doing it yourself is something I do, but I don’t recommend it as something most enthusiasts should get into. It’s not worth the cost and effort to learn the procedure. It can be done by any good service bureau, like CHROMiX (www.chromix.com), for a modest cost per custom profile.

Less Complicated Than It Might Seem
Q. If I remember correctly, you use Apple products primarily, so I’m wondering if you could recommend a good laptop for photo editing. I have two desktop computers—one Windows 7 Pro, the other Windows XP—and my previous laptop was an HP, which literally broke. I really would like to get a MacBook Pro, but all the software I have is for PCs, and I have Photoshop CS3, so really don’t want to have to switch. However, I will have to be getting a later version of Photoshop, because CS3 will not open the files from my latest Canon camera. I need a good laptop replacement for travel that I can also do editing on while away from the desktop PC. The only other alternative is to get a new Mac desktop, as well as laptop, and that requires all new software, which would be expensive. If you can, I would appreciate any advice you can give. I also would like to purchase the Dell U2410 you write about. So, I can’t afford to replace everything.
Nancy Blades
via e-mail

A. First of all, most of the software companies will provide an Apple version of software, if you have a registered license, for a small fee for the new CDs (or a new download). In addition, all PC software will run on an Apple Mac using a simple and inexpensive conversion application like Parallels (www.parallels.com). Finally, you don’t need to buy the expensive MacBook Pro, as the Apple MacBook Air laptop, starting at $999, works well and is a bit smaller and lighter for travel.
You can do anything you want to with an Apple computer, like running your favorite Windows applications. Nothing is as difficult or as expensive as you imagine.

Fixing A File Name
Q. Here’s a problem which has occurred several times. I scan in slides with SilverFast, saving them as JPEG and TIFF files. But later I find that I cannot open some of them in Photoshop because, a message declares, “It is not the right kind of document.” Then I see that somehow the file has become a Unix Executable File.
How can this happen and what can I do to reverse this situation so that I can view and work with the files?
David Baird
via e-mail

A. I have not come across this kind of problem. I would have to assume it might be that the Preferences are not defined fully in your SilverFast software. So I would look carefully at how your SilverFast is set up in Preferences.
Occasionally I have found that simply text editing the file name to replace the designator like .TIF or .JPG can make the file accessible. Also opening and re-saving the file using another viewer application may solve the problem. But not knowing even what system you are using, Apple or Windows and what version, leaves me only to guess how to advise a solution.
(Note: David Baird tried my simple suggestion to use a text editor and just put in a new .TIF or .JPG extension and that made the files accessible in Photoshop.)

The Process Of Elimination
Q. I just got a Nikon D800—a significant expense for my budget. I noticed a troubling problem though. In most of my pictures I see an undesired color strip around the edges of objects and rocks when I zoom in. I’m not sure what the correct name is, but please look at the attached examples. I went back and checked pictures taken with an older camera and did not see anything like this. Is the new camera broken?
Cris Constantinescu
via e-mail

A. First of all, have you processed the images with any other software to hopefully eliminate that as a cause of the problem? If they are Raw images, have you used Nikon software to convert the Raw to a TIFF format file, and does the image border defect still show up?
If the image defect results with other software processing as well you can be pretty sure the camera is the problem.

If You Buy, Immediately Check For Updates!
Q. Here’s a follow-up to my saga with Spyder3Elite and its replacement X-Rite i1Display Pro. The version of X-Rite out of the box was 14.x.y.
While it was easy to install, its dependence on training videos rather than written instructions made it initially harder than necessary for me to run at first. However, I did get it working and it seemed to be a bit better than Spyder3. While I came closer to my desired white luminance point, it was still lower than I wanted, apparently because the needed contrast and brightness settings were still slightly beyond the range of my monitor’s controls. However, just a couple of days ago I got a notice for and downloaded Version 15 which, for me, worked much better. My monitor’s brightness and contrast controls now had sufficient adjustment latitude and allowed me to hit my desired white luminance point, which Version 14 fell short of. Thank you for your advice and assistance in this.
John Chapman
via e-mail

A. Yes, usually the version of software shipped with a product is earlier than the current one, so upgrading to the latest version available online is always an advantage. So I am glad you now have a satisfactory adjustment, calibration, and profile for your display.

Pro-Graphics Displays And LED Backlight
Q. I looked for online reviews of the Dell UltraSharp U2413 as I am finally getting ready to buy one. The only in-depth review I found was from someone called TFT Central. Their review says that the U2413 model has an LED screen rather than the CCFL screen you seem to prefer. In part, it reports: “In fact, the U2413 is designed to replace the U2410 and many of the specs and features are similar to that older screen. It too has a wide gamut, now thanks to the new generation of GB-LED backlighting instead of older CCFL units… The U2413 represents a replacement for the U2410 with some fancy new upgrades.”
Am I missing something, or does all this mean that the U2413 is unacceptable by your standards? At this point there seems to be very few new U2410 monitors for sale. A number of new ones on eBay do not have a warranty. If I need to get the older U2410 it seems that I need to act within the next few days.
Bob Krueger
via e-mail

A. I have tested and written reports on two new LED LCD pro-graphics displays, the LG ColorPrime 27EA83-D, a 27” 1920x1080 resolution display (November, 2013, issue) and the new Asus PA249Q, a 1920x1200 pixel display in 24” size (see page 96 in this issue). At about $500 at online stores the Asus is a better buy than the $999 MSRP LG model. In my tests of both I considered the performance of the Asus model a better choice. I have not tested the Dell UltraSharp U2413, although its specifications are good. I will leave it to others to evaluate.
These new LED pro-graphics LCD displays are the future, and I found both provide good color reproduction when adjusted, calibrated, and profiled with the X-Rite i1Display Pro using its RG Phosphor display-type setting.
At this time I would just consider the Dell UltraSharp U2410 a product of the past. Technology changes rapidly these days. Personally, I found the LED backlight models, when properly calibrated and profiled, yielded competitive performance.

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.