Sunday, October 17, 2010


A Shutterbug reader, Tracy Valleau, e-mailed me suggesting I take a look at the Dell Ultrasharp U2410 LCD display. I did and found it to be one I can recommend for digital photography. I purchased one to test and for my own personal use.  This Dell U2410 is a 24 inch widescreen LCD display with 1920x1200 pixel resolution. What makes it suited to digital photography and professional graphics is its wide color gamut of 96% of Adobe RGB and its white luminance is adjustable to 80-90.0 CD/m2 providing a high reproduction screen image quality. Its 12-bit internal processing assures a smooth rendition of tones on-screen that’s in a bezel and stand that is sturdy but light with an excellent design that’s carefully manufactured. In all respects this Dell Ultrasharp U2410 is much more affordable at a list price of $599 while entirely competitive with more expensive brands favored for a color managed digital photography workflow. 

In addition the connectivity support includes a full range of connectors from traditional D-sub, two DVI, an HDMI and Display Port, and also includes a powered USB hub and media card reader. Equally significant the Dell U2410 can be adjusted, calibrated and profiled using all the popular systems including ColorEyes Display Pro (, DataColor Spyder3 Elite (, or X-Rite iOne Display 2 (  However, if a user has a profiling colorimeter and software over a year old they may need to upgrade the hardware to a colorimeter that has a wide band width that will read the 96% Adobe RGB color reproduced by the U2410 LCD display. As part of the fine design of the U2410, Dell has positioned the adjustment control button on the vertical bezel at the lower-right corner and it has an on-screen control dialog that is adjacent to the control buttons. This makes the entire adjustment procedure with a color management application on-screen, accessible at all times and very easy to read and manipulate to set the U2410 up for digital photography work. Some of my readers have complained that at a brightness with the white luminance at 90.0 CD/m2, their screen is darker than they would like when used for other than photography computing. With the handy access to the controls and on-screen readout adjacent to it, a user should set the top control to Adobe RGB for photographic work, and then could switch to another  mode for a brighter setup for home/office computing very easily.

From the moment after the Dell box with the U2410 arrived, the installation and setup was a gentle breeze. But then I’ve done this bit how many times? Regardless it should be easy even for the inexperienced. I already had a DVI cable connected to the Display Port adapter Apple supplied with my computer, so it was quick connecting the power, the video to a year old Mac Mini, and USB as well. I booted up, and found the display worked fine reproducing the desktop I had been using with my Mini, so I left it running to warm up the U2410 thoroughly while having lunch. After that respite, I quickly re-booted and was set to use the ColorEyes Display Pro with a new Spyder3 colorimeter I had gotten a few months ago (I now have two, an old sRGB Spyder3 I now use with my office computer and LCD HD TV).
After using the top control button and setting the Dell to run in Adobe RGB mode, adjusting to obtain a 90.0 CD/m2 white luminance readout with ColorEyes, was really simple, just moving the Contrast % lower until the ColorEyes readout went a bit below 90.0 CD/m2 (Brightness adjustment was at 50% and not adjusted). Then I clicked on ColorEyes’ Profile button with my aim points set at gamma 2.2 and a color temperature of 6500K, and the U2410 was calibrated and profiled in just a few minutes. The resulting screen appearance looked even and clean and not as dark as some might expect at less than half the white luminance many who leave the settings at default would find. In fact my environment lighting for the desk the U2410 lives on, is a Fobsun 90 LED Downlight I wrote about in my Blog not long ago. It is mounted on an old Century stand with an arm that holds the Fobsun LED about a foot above and six inches behind the U2410, and the lamp is turned to shine down and back on a wall 3 feet behind the display. The result is plenty of illumination for the desktop ideally balanced in brightness and color with the display.
This was all done almost a month ago, and since, I have used the Dell Ultrasharp U2410 to edit and process a large digital camera shoot, scan dozens of slides, E-6 and Kodachromes, as well as negatives. Each image was fully color corrected, adjusted and edited including cleanup and retouching, and I even took a spell to build a layered composite image from two slide scans in Photoshop. Working with the Dell U2410 almost every day for a month I was fully assured by the experience, if I had no other display available I would be quite happy and satisfied. The Dell Ultrasharp U2410 LCD display has all the essential qualities needed for color managed digital photography computing and provides very good print matching between the screen image and an Epson R1900 13x19 print on fine art paper. My conclusion has to be nothing less than exuberant that there is finally an affordable, full 24 inch LCD display that fully meets the needs of photographers in all dimensions of performance.

Friday, October 15, 2010


In just a few days after the November Shutterbug hit the streets, I have received 3 questions reacting to the following comment I made in Digital Help, "That you are working with Microsoft Vista, considering it does not support using a color managed display, is also curious." This is not the first time I have said as much about Microsoft Windows Vista since I first reported on the operating system in 2007. 

From my own text of the report on Vista, "But that does not mean that all is well for photographers using Microsoft Windows Vista as there is at least one bug that although not deadly will be a daily annoyance, I can confirm from experience. This was brought to light by Steve Upton, President of Chromix in a newsletter published on February 14 I mentioned up front, in an article titled “Vista’s new Color Management System: WCS”.   This article is quite thorough and detailed although demands some reader technical savvy, and may be accessed on the web at:

The bug I referred to that Steve Upton identified is due to Vista’s more robust security system which frequently pops up a dialogue requiring the user (with administrative privileges) to “authorize” an action. This pop-up is accompanied by a dimming of the display screen that also deactivates the calibration curves which are used to adjust the display to calibrated performance on boot-up. The affect of this is that it will interfere with editing or printing by making normal screen matching predictably impossible. And the work-around solution is to re-boot the computer after each incidence of the pop-up for security authorization, which I am sure everyone will agree is a pain in the posterior and no solution at all. The article from the Chromix newsletter does indicate that once supported by the industry, theoretically Vista’s WCS Windows Color System has some positive advantages, but the current bug and drawbacks that will remain until a Service Pack is issued by Microsoft to fix the problems, Vista as an operating system can’t be recommended at least for serious color managed work. 

If you want to read my entire report on Microsoft Windows Vista that was in Shutterbug, and it is available on the web at URL:

In today's reader question I was asked, "Does that mean that if I'm running Vista I can't achieve a good print to screen match regardless of the monitor?" And my answer is yes, display calibration and profiling is defeated by Vista's user screen warning system. 

Without calibration to an ICC color standard if your display is profiled, the profile will read incorrectly. So in reality if you are running Vista and you get a user screen alert that darkens the screen, the calibration, and the profile that is based on the calibration foundation is made useless, non-functioning in terms of accurately defining where the image originated making print matching to the screen image impossible. To get back to a functioning calibration and profiled display you have to re-boot your computer.

The solution many who got new computers during the reign of Windows Vista was to have Windows XP installed instead. Or now, you can install Windows 7, but you have to turn off the user security screen warning system to avoid the Vista problem. This should not be such a problem because OEM copies of Windows XP or Windows 7 are available at an affordable price. Although I get e-mail ad notices frequently of download resources for OEM software, some can be phishing sites so I'll only recommend one source for OEM Windows software on a CD or DVD I have used reliably, and that is

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Personal introspection, thinking about who you are and why you are that way, has a bad name in America, it’s like “gazing at your belly button”. In other words American culture is outer directed and tends towards the practical. People should not waste time thinking about themselves, do something useful. But then, can you answer the question of why you like this and not that? Do you know why you enjoy taking pictures of some subjects and others don’t interest you. That is a part of you just as much as anything is, yet you take it for granted and give it little thought. 

I am inclined to be a thoughtful person as I am curious about how things work and want to understand how to do interesting things. But like most others, I have not been particularly introspective. At least not until a dozen years ago when health risks told me to stop running like a headless chicken to every trade show and event with hordes of people. About the same time the digital darkroom became the focus of much of my activity and writing. And I had at the time 40 years of collected film images. so why not learn as much as I could by scanning and editing what was in my image library? And how can you not help but think about the images you are working with, the open doors to a lot of memories. And although I have been eclectic about how I photograph avoiding any fad or style, I have also been selective about subjects and how to make then look good in a photograph.

We are all the result of our own history in which we learn we like and enjoy some things and not others. Going back to long before I became interested in doing photography I realize it was an influence in my early years. I grew up in a small city in the middle of a Canadian prairie as flat as a billiard table, in many ways a plain and dreary atmosphere with little in it from the world outside that was pleasant, it was the middle of the 2nd World War. But the movies I went to on Saturday afternoon and the magazines I saw from America, Life and Time and many more waiting in a dentist’s office or at the barbershop provided a picture of that world outside beyond the wheat-fields of the endless prairie. Many pictures and to me the most attractive we would call glamorous in their simple dramatic style.

Some might say oh, that’s why you ended up in Hollywood, but they would be mistaken. That journey was caused circumstantially and unintended in its destination. My family moved me out of Canada with them to Oregon after the War, and my move to southern California was set by the fact that’s where the two photography schools I wanted to attend were located. I stayed there after school because there was opportunity and it was the location of a new wife’s family home.

Yes a photographer’s artistic taste is the result of personal history and what one likes and does not like, but circumstance plays a large role too. Some have questioned why I photograph so many pretty women, not always hiding the question was a bit snide. But Los Angeles is a particularly ugly city with few photogenic features, but the one natural resource is a constantly fresh set of pretty women who migrate there in hope of fame and fortune.  I also like to photograph flowers as they have similar attractive attributes to pretty women. So visually and photographically I am a bit of a romantic, and that may have some influence too on the fact I like to travel by car and find many subjects to capture on the road.

Finally looking back I have to acknowledge once I became seriously interested in photography in 1952 what others photographed well caught my notice. It was the height of the magazine photography period and Richard Avedon and Irving Penn among others played a part in what I liked and disliked in photography. Even my interest in jazz music through his powerful and dramatic record covers earned Pete Turner my appreciation as a photographer. And there have been many more, some who I have gotten to know personally, and also appreciate their vision and photographic skill and talent. We are all a mix of many different influences, some we like that encourage us and others we don’t and we shun. Even if you have never done so, it is well worth thinking about, why we are the photographers we are.