D100 advice for beginners

Started Mar 10, 2003 | Discussions thread
DenverBryan
Senior MemberPosts: 1,014
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Re: D100 advice for beginners
In reply to John Huber, Sep 17, 2003

Wow! Thanks for the great advice John.

I have a good part of that already working. But it sounds like I need to start calibrating from the top down.

Cheers,
Bryan in Denver...

John Huber wrote:

If you’re like me, you bought a D100 and ran out and shot photos,
popped them into your home computer and ran prints. And were
disappointed in them.

Here’s a brutal truth: You’re going to spend about as much money on
the rest of your digital darkroom as you spent on your D100,
lenses, etc. And that’s just to get prints equal to those from a
quality photofinisher. Furthermore, you will spend about a week
getting your system working correctly.

You can save a lot of time and exasperation by doing things in the
following order (I learned this sequence the hard way; I’m no
genius):

1. Order Thom Hogan’s “Complete Guide to the Nikon D100” at
http://www.bythom.com . Read it cover to cover. Follow his suggestions,
especially: shoot RAW, Adobe RGB. You bought a fine camera, don’t
degrade its performance. Compact Flash cards are cheap.

2. Upgrade your computer hardware. If you try to do photos on a
garden variety computer, you will be staring at the hour glass all
the time. Go to http://www.pcphotomag.com and follow their recommendations
on systems. If you go to a bigger hard drive, have a professional
install it. It is almost impossible to transfer the files without
some troubles; make sure they’re small ones. If possible, keep your
old hard drive installed as D: (more on this later).

3. Buy Nikon Capture 3.5 and Adobe Photoshop 7. Yes, you’ll want to
have both. Since you’re shooting in RAW, you need Nikon Capture to
do the initial image processing (exposure, dynamic range, cropping,
white balance, etc.). You need Photoshop for things as simple as
processing different parts of the image, to montages, to creating
totally unique images.

4. After upgrading your computer hardware, upgrade your software.
Go to http://www.Microsoft.com and install upgrades for your version of
Windows, Internet Explorer, and Outlook. Since Outlook is part of
Office, you’ll upgrade it, too. This may take several days over a
dial-up connection. Often upgrades will fix many file linkage
problems that came from step 2. Furthermore, you’re going to need a
fast, powerful, stable system for the work following.

5. Install Photoshop 7. Go to http://www.Adobe.com and get any updates.
This may take a day over a dial up connection.

6. Calibrate your monitor. Everything you see or print will be
trash unless you do this first. Go to http://www.computer-darkroom.com and

download Ian Lyon’s “Colour Management for Photoshop 7.” Click the
button to get the pdf version, it is more complete than what you
see on your screen. Follow his instructions on calibration. Several
books have this information, but Lyons’ description is clear and
step-by-step.

7. Buy Gregory Georges’ “50 Fast Photoshop 7 Techniques.” Go to
Technique 6 “Configuring Basic Color Management. Follow his

suggestions. Go back to Ian Lyons’ “Colour Management…” Follow his
recommendations for Soft Proofing. Go to Georges’ Technique 44

“Using an ICC Profile…” Follow his instructions for Step 1, though
your printer may be different. Only now is your system set up to
faithfully communicate from your camera, through your monitor, and
to your printer. Also useful are “Photoshop 7 Artistry” and
“Photoshop 7 for Photographers” but the authors discuss color
management for magazine printing and the extra content can become
confusing.

8. Install Nikon Capture 3.5. Go to http://www.nikonusa.com and get any
updates. This also can take some time over a dial up connection. Go
to “The Color Management Tab” on p 182 of the Nikon Capture 3
User’s Manual. If it didn’t come in your package, you can download
it off their website. Specify both your monitor profile from step 4
and your printer profile from step 6. Finding your printer profile
may not be straightforward. The listings in Windows/System/Color
are cryptic. You may need to open your printer software to discover
it. My Epson Stylus Photo 1200 profile is Ee053_1.icm. Now you have
color management and can get good prints from Capture.

9. Buy a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker card (available at good camera
stores). Shoot an image of it on an overcast day with the D100
White Balance set to cloudy. Print it from Capture and Photoshop.
Compare the prints to the original under white light (e.g. outside
on a cloudy day). The printed colors should match the original very
closely.

10. All this is advice for beginners. In many books and forums you
will find more sophisticated approaches. These are valuable for
people who can discern thirteen shades of aqua.

11. Optional: Run all the applications on your new hard drive for a
month or more and be sure it all works right. Then format your old
hard drive (see step 2 above). Go to Georges’ Technique 1
“Configuring Photoshop 7” and in Step 5 set the scratch disk to D:

12. You may be saying, “Why is all this hop-scotching necessary?” I
can’t explain it. One thing to remember: Vendor manuals tell you
what options you have. User-written documents tell you what options
to choose. Try to find a user-author who does work like you do.

Now go out and have fun!

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John Huber

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