A new airline ban on electronic goods in hand luggage has come into force on flights from, or transiting through, several countries in the Middle East. Cameras may or may not be included in this list depending upon the final destination. Lithium Ion batteries and many other devices are on the list. Best to check before flying - and also that a camera in the hold would be insured against loss or damage.
New medium format digital cameras from Hasselblad and Fuji are not worth their vast cost according to a study which looked at image quality, dynamic range, convenience, cost, fast lens availability etc. The 35mm full frame format appears to be the sweet-spot and there are still further improvements in the pipeline for that format.
EPSON PRINTER FIRMWARE
My R3000 printer recently began making costly and time-consuming head cleans before every print. Meanwhile the nozzle check is perfect and, in any case, there is no sensor that would trigger cleans, as far as I can determine – just periodic timers.
Resetting the printer software and driver made no difference. Research on the internet revealed one isolated instance of a fix achieved by updating the firmware. However there were many people expressing caution that new firmware might stop third party inks from being recognised. Nevertheless, I had no other solutions available so I went for it. The updating process was quick and painless and the printer was transformed - no unnecessary head cleans at all – not even when changing the blacks.
Download the firmware updater here. Do NOT download the actual firmware. Run the Firmware Updater with the printer switched on. It will download the latest firmware and install it. It took maybe five minutes, then the printer turns itself off and it’s all done. The latest firmware (printed at the top of the nozzle check page) is AS27B4. I was previously on AS20-something and had never touched the firmware since new (or indeed on any printer).
I talked to Permajet about this at the Photography Show. They were cautious and clearly not certain that I would have no problems with their inks. So – in conclusion I would recommend trying a firmware update but only as a last resort if you use third party inks.
*UPDATE JUNE 2017* Since updating the firmware my R3000 will no longer allow my Permajet Eco-Flow cartridges to be reset as they empty. I have tried a long list of suggested fixes without success. From everything that I read on the 'net recent Epson firmware updates do block third party inks (despite their disingenuous denials) and once installed, are impossible to overcome. Back to overpriced Epson inks, then.
UPDATE DECEMBER 2017 I have discovered that Marrutt/Lyson refillable cartridges DO work and reset normally with the updated firmware and Marrutt say that they are not aware of any customers in the UK with compatibility problems with firmware (at least with the R3000). So, it appears that the chips that Marrutt use are different from those used by Permajet. It is possible to purchase a set of chips from Marrutt to substitute in cartridges or injectors that are no longer working.
I tackled a Epson support representative at the Photography Show about their abandonment of R3000 series printers with the black ink problem but which are out of warranty. He made a stout defence and stated that, so long as spares are available (they are), users should press Epson for a Fixed Price Repair which will cost in the region of £155 to fix any existing problem and offer a short further warranty.
At the time I accepted this as a reasonable response but since then, Laurie Turner has told me that in his experience different people at Epson have totally different stories and they will definitely NOT make a repair that is considered unecomic – such as this one, which needs £120 of parts plus at least one hour of labour. Furthermore they subcontract the work to a network of repairers, some of whom would not have the skills to perform the open heart surgery involved in changing the Ink Supply Unit.
So – APS members should contact me in the first instance for details of a local repairer with the skills and willingness to tackle this problem (sudden and total loss of black and/or ink drips on the print).
IPHONE PORTFOLIO DISPLAY
I have a requirement to be able to display my competition images and some recent snaps on my iPhone. The stock Apple Photos app is surprisingly hopeless and feature-free so in the past I have recommended Photo Manager Pro. Unfortunately this has not been re-issued for a couple of years and appeared abandoned.
Looking around for an alternative I found that most photo portfolio apps were far too complex but I did discover that Photo Manager Pro has recently been completely re-written and re-issued as a Version 5. It does require a fresh payment but that’s only £2.99 and well worth it. There are nested folders, control over sort-order, naming, searching and full screen display - just a few simple well-executed features. Images can be transferred between desktops and portable devices by a variety of methods including Dropbox which works well.
Unusually, in my experience, the author actually responds to emails and I suggested a couple of further improvements – automatic synchronisation to Dropbox (you currenty have to fish the images out of there manually) and making the on-screen menus less liable to pop-up when scrolling through images. He promised to consider them.
IMAGE SORT ORDER
An ongoing annoyance with Windows and Smartphones is the difficulty in controlling sort order when displaying a folder of images. The two most useful options are usually filename order and date order. The latter is most useful to me when displaying a folder of processed images as I want to see the most recently processed first. On my PC this is usually achieved by any software (such as Faststone) which uses the File Modified Date. Unfortunately there are several other dates which different software may choose to utilise; File Created Date, File Accessed Date and Date Taken On. Further complicating the situation, the File Modified Date is updated when a file moves to another computer. For this reason Photo Manager Pro date sorting is based on Date Taken On date (if it exists) and File Modified Date (if it doesn’t). This doesn’t work for me.
The only way that I could think of to force Photo Manager Pro on the iPhone to sort by the original File Modified Date from my PC was to re-name my images. To do this I found an excellent free PC app Advanced Renamer. This enabled me to quickly and easily batch re-name a folder of images to add the year and month from the File Modified Date to the beginning of the existing file name eg 2017-03 Autumn Woodland.jpg.
Advanced Renamer has the facility to batch-rename files with a vast array of attributes from within the file or numbered sequences or other tags such as GPS. Brilliant!
This is an image effect in which a monochrome image contains two different colours instead of grey for the highlights and shadows. This can be extended to tritone and quadtone with further colours. Monotones use shades of a single colour instead of black.
These techniques arose from the need to extend the tonal range of commercial printing presses which could only reproduce around 50 levels of grey, however they can also be used for creative effect.
The full version of Photoshop contains specific tools to produce duotones, tritones and quadtones (Image>Mode>Duotone). However Photoshop Elements can produce duotones using an Adjustment Layer set to Gradient Map and then choosing two colours for the gradient. Monotones can be produced with Hue/Saturation set to Colorize.
NON DESTRUCTIVE EDITING OF IMAGES
This is the collective name for good working practice with Photoshop/Elements tools to enable changes, corrections and other subsequent modifications to be made to the image without having to abandon it completely and start again.
Adobe Lightroom users may be smug and say that this is inherently non-destructive, however it’s not an editor. Making edits non-destructive and reversible is a whole different ball-game / kettle of fish / can of worms / breed of cat.
We started this tutorial with Basic Layers, Adjustment Layers and Layer Masks to build a creative image in a reversible manner. Notes can be found from the April 2011 meeting here.
More Non Destructive techniques next month.
Meeting Notes March 2009 to 2018.
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