Thursday, February 24, 2011


A newborn child in Egypt was recently given the name Facebook. In the last few weeks, not to mention last year in Iran, there have been popular expressions of unrest. If there were no cell-phones, no internet , no TV, even radio, would the changes we have read about in the news these last few weeks and months seen on TV have occurred as they have? But the news of the world is not my beat, however what is new and how that technology changes our interest and involvement in photography does concern me and will affect everyone’s interest in photography at least slightly or maybe a lot. Every day I read the technology news of the day and it paints a very different scheme of things compared to what was familiar last year,the year before and would have been unrecognizable and unimagined before the year 2000. 

The clock ticks and now it seems to be reeling off the seconds, minutes and hours full of things that make today a different world from yesterday. A very long time ago I was just beginning in photography barely knowing what I was doing. But I did learn little by little and realized you have to know and understand the tools you are working with if you want to have any control over what they produce, whether the image you make is a success or a mistake. Maybe I concentrated too much on how it works and how to use a camera and the photographic process, because today I am not known for the images I have created but for my understanding of the process. But that too may be the result of my own choices going after the challenges I was best suited to meet.

These days I am kept busy helping others stay ahead of the game, and as fast as new technologies emerge and are spread around the world now, more and more photography enthusiasts are being overwhelmed in dealing with the tools and processes before the next upgrade and the last has left them little room to maneuver. Just looking at all of the details, news about yet another version of the iPad or iPhone or a tablet from HP and a new Amazon movie internet service may seem overwhelming, and it is even to someone with years of gathering information like myself. But what keeps me grounded and able to deal with it is the fact that the core processes of photographic reproduction remain intact, the new technologies are really just refinements and embellishments that if fit into place have made it all easier. I would not trade my computer for a wet darkroom of the last century, no way, no how, for any price.

But if for some reason I wanted to resurrect my old darkroom and do photography as I did 20 years ago, the challenges involved in doing so today would be enormous, and the costs unaffordable. Making the clock stop running and going back to the past has an emotional appeal, but the comforts it afforded 20 years ago would be gone because almost every tool and supply you would need would be hard to find if available at all, so whatever comfort you remember from those old days would be replaced with a myriad of irritations and frustrations. For the very few meeting such challenges has its own rewards, and I give much credit and admiration to those who devote themselves to preserving and keeping the past alive. But I don’t think most of us are cut out to be antiquarians, and I for one am too curious natured to not be fascinated by what the next day will bring and what new world the imaginative has waiting for us to explore.

If there is a conflict between the fast moving future and the past, it may be interesting to consider and understand, but there are bridges between the past and future, and they aren’t always recognized and valued. In the last decade or so, I have been receiving and answering mail from Shutterbug readers, and a very large number are from older photographers, some just about to become a part of the senior society, and many already there. A very large number of these readers apparently recognize some distinct digital photography advantages that the format offers, easy storage and duplication so the images they have from their past can be duplicated inexpensively and easily and conveniently shared with relatives and friends. In other words one of the more frequent subjects on reader’s minds is scanning their old slides and negatives as well as prints, so they can easily be stored, reproduced and shared with others. Interestingly, this interest involves one of the universal human values people have in family, which is common to almost every ethnicity and culture in this world. In other words a basic human value overrides the difference between new technology and the past, and allows the past to have a renewed life as part of our history of our own lives, family, friends as well as the events and places in our and our family.

No matter how different today and the future may seem, there are bridges that connect them with what is important to us from our past.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


1. I’m a bit lazy and often asked what LCD display makes and models I recommend. So here they are, all three of them that are under $1000. They all provide a high color range reproducing over 95% of Adobe RGB (1998) colorspace, so you see all of the color in a dSLR Raw image file reproduced in your application, whether iPhoto or Elements, Aperture or Lightroom, Photoshop CS or Corel Paintshop Pro.

The first affordable cost LCD in this category I reviewed is the NEC P221W Spectraview 2, which is a 22 inch LCD display with 1680 x 1050pixel resolution. The report can be read at:

This NEC P221W LCD display has caused some confusion for buyers because the display can be purchased separately for under $400, and some have done that and found they also need the NEC Spectraview software MPN:SVIISOFT SKU#1187988, which is available for just under $100. And if you don’t already have a colorimeter, you may have to add that and the NEC Custom Calibrated Color Sensor for SpectraView II added to the software is called a “kit” that makes the cost of both just under $300. In other words the complete NEC P221W Spectraview II system minimum cost is just short of $700. And there is no way around this because the NEC Spectraview is proprietary it only adjusts, calibrates and profiles successfully using the Spectraview II software and a colorimeter supported by the software (some recent models of the Spyder3 and X-Rite iOne II colorimeters will work successfully with the NEC Spectraview displays and software. 

It should be noted that there are other, larger NEC LCD displays in the Spectraview II model lineup, but then with NEC Spectraview Kit included the price is over $1000.

2. The next LCD display with over 95% Adobe RGB color range was an Eizo Flexscan S2243W, that is also a 22 inch display but with the same 1920x1200 resolution as a 24 inch display.  I bought one and reported on it in my blog on May 16, 2010 in a post called Seeing The Whole Picture, URL - I purchased my Eizo Flexscan S2242W from a dealer in the region and delivered it was a bit over $800.

Eizo has an exceptional web site with just about every aspect and feature of their displays carefully detailed and illustrated. So rather that regurgitate their comprehensive coverage, please go to

I have used my Eizo Flexscan for many months now and have come to really appreciate its features and performance. It’s a fairly substantial price for a relatively small LCD display, but it works exceedingly well for digital photography editing and processing. So it is definitely worth the investment. In addition I like the fact the Eizo Flexscan can be calibrated and profiled successfully using most of the popular software options and any colorimeter recently produced that will measure a wide display color range. In other words your not tied down to a proprietary software/hardware setup to color manage an Eizo Flexscan. So that may make the price a little less steep in the long run. Although I found I had to upgrade my Spyder3 colorimeter  to a newer model to obtain an accurate calibration and profile with the wide color range of the Eizo. 

3. My most recent find is a Dell Ultrasharp U2410 LCD display with a wide color range in a 24 inch size that has a list price of just $599. I did a preview report and posted it in my blog on October 17, 2010, go to  A full report is in the process of being prepared for publication in a forthcoming issue of Shutterbug.

In the meantime the Dell web site has detailed information about this display at

Shopping for an LCD display requires some searching on the web for the best source at a reasonable cost. Sometimes large, well known on-line stores like offer favorable prices and reasonable shipping costs. To look further you can try and lately I have found the shopping section of Google has extensive offerings at a range of prices,, and some of the pro-graphics makes and models from NEC and Eizo also provide a list of their dealers on their web sites.Search for Eizo S2243W

Monday, February 7, 2011


The other day I received an e-mail press news release about a new handheld light meter. I had not seen any news of handheld light meters in some time, so of course I read it. In style and content it was much like what I probably read twenty years ago. But what struck me strangely, now that virtually all cameras are digital, is the fact a digital camera is really just a light measuring device that records the light readings of millions of pixel sites and records them in an image file. Of course that does not preclude the value of a narrow angle spot or an incident light meter, they are useful in measuring the light on and from a subject to make an informed decision on making a photographic exposure with digital or on film. 

Soon thereafter I received a reader e-mail about a high-end digital P&S camera, so I looked at the manufacturer specifications and documentation, and strangely there was lots of detailed data about the camera but no indication whether a Raw saved file was in sRGB or Adobe RGB colorspace. In fact the information about the camera although extensive could almost be as if it were a film camera of a couple of decades ago.

My curiosity was piqued, so I rifled through a stack of recent photo publications to get the feel of what the writing was about. Yes it was about photography, but again other than articles specifically about software, what was being discussed were photographs, pictures and for that matter whether the original was  a digital camera exposure or an image exposed on film seemed to be of little concern. In other words much of photography todays seems to ignore whether the image is stored physically on film or is just a computer file of RGB/XY measurement values.

Is there anything wrong with treating all photography the same whether digitally derived or made using film? No, not really although assuming they are the same, and ignoring we are in a digital age can result in serious technical problems and consequences. Regardless the media used, to ignore its nature seems like a dangerous way to work and function. But for photographers who have recently decided to convert from analogue to digital, if digital seems like just another kind of the same photography, old thinking  will make it seem comfortable. At least until you have a technical challenge or problem to solve.

I recall about a decade or so ago around the change of the century, there were many boldly designed new digital cameras on the market trying to capture photographers interest. Some of them had really appealing features. Even so, apparently they did not sell very well, because today there aren’t any boldly futuristic camera designs, but multitudes of digital camera models that all look like film cameras popular in the past. Obviously photographers and even novices want a digital camera that looks familiar, the way  cameras have for much of the last half century. I was reminded of this by a comic strip inspired movie made in 2004. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, with Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie set in a make believe, futuristic 1940’s, with Paltrow playing a newspaper reporter with a camera, it was an Argus C3. Cameras in movies always have to be familiar looking!

Photography has been a significant part of our cultural history for over a century. Still photography published in newspapers and magazines played a large role in picturing our country’s story through three major wars, and a host of other events caught on film. So how photography is thought of by almost everyone  is common knowledge that is not easily changed in philosophy and meaning by new technology. It should not be surprising that the newest digital cameras, look like cameras we have long found familiar sights. If they looked different would they be recognized for what they are and be purchased so readily?

We live in both the present and our past. But getting lost in the past sometimes makes the present a difficult puzzle to solve, so don’t go missing back in the future, its science fiction and surely not real.