Condensation And The Camera • Save, And Save Again • Scanning Formats • Are LCDs Worth Their Color? • Sensor Cleaning • Just Blowin' In The Wind
By George D. Lepp
Q) I'm scanning old slides from the 1950s-'70s with my Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 film scanner. I was storing in JPEG files, but after reading your column, I've filed some in TIFF. Then I thought, would that apply to old slides? I intend to burn CDs or a DVD to give to my children, nieces and nephews. D. Sayre Racine, Ohio
A) If the images are important to you, scan them and store them in TIFF, preferably on a backed-up external hard drive. The TIFF format is "lossless," meaning that no matter how many times you open, work on and resave the image, it's preserved exactly the same way.
Yes, TIFF images are large, but storage space is cheap these days—less than a dollar a gigabyte. If you're going to go to all the effort of scanning and organizing these old images, you should preserve them at the highest possible level of quality, and you can enhance or optimize the images on your computer. As to your already saved images, just don't open and resave them as JPEG files (see the previous question) and you'll be okay.
When you copy the files to CD-R or DVD-R for the kids, consider using archival-quality disks that can't be overwritten, such as the Delkin Archival Gold (www.Delkin.com); these are more stable and scratch-resistant. Write the files to the disk in JPEG form here, though. The quality will still be excellent for viewing and printing, and the file size will be more manageable.
Are LCDs Worth Their Color? Q) I've heard for so long that the Sony Artisan is the ultimate monitor for accurate color representation, so I have in my Mac G5 system a 23" Cinema display and the Artisan to the side. Do you believe LCD monitor quality with the Cinema display is capable of accurate reproduction? I'd have a tendency to replace the Artisan with another LCD. Speedy Peacock Jacksonville, Texas A) Like everything else in the computer world, the quality of displays is advancing rapidly. The main advantage of the Sony Artisan monitor is that it's capable of calibrating and profiling itself. LCD displays require some attention to calibration, but they have other advantages: a larger display area, a smaller footprint and longer-lasting color.
Unless testing color is your profession, there's really no reason to keep a clunky CRT display on your worktable anymore. Your Cinema display could easily be your main desktop, with a second LCD serving to hold your Photoshop tools and palettes. Many pros, especially those using Macs, are using LCD displays exclusively. The Apple Cinema HD displays in 20, 23 and 30 inches are among the best available. Because of their color fidelity and resolution, they're used by top graphic artists and photographers around the world. See www.apple.com/displays for more information.