Think Ink: Buyer's Guide To Inkjet Inks
Often overlooked, printer inks are a key component of the digital darkroom
When shopping for a photo printer, you'll probably consider physical dimensions, print speeds, resolution and droplet size, plus extra bells and whistles such as a built-in card reader and LCD, all of which are important. Some of these features enhance the usability of the printer, while others affect print quality.
Get your monitor to accurately portray the colors of your digital photos I was thrilled when I bought my first inkjet printer and couldn't wait to make my first color print. After spending about half an hour perfecting the portrait photograph in Photoshop, I sent the image to the printer and was immediately disappointed. If the person had been a visiting extraterrestrial or suffering from jaundice, the yellowish skin tone might have been acceptable. Neither was the case. I was just another photographer experiencing the frustration of having an inkjet print that didn't match what was on the monitor.
Buyer's Guide 2006: Printers
Expect photos with better color and longer life from today's printers
While looking at a photograph on a camera's LCD or a large computer monitor is exciting, neither replaces the satisfaction of holding a quality print. Improvements in the stability of inks have led to inkjet printers producing archival-quality prints that resist fading for a lifetime. Enhanced ink-delivery systems have meant smaller and smaller ink droplets, creating seamless transitions of color and tone that are virtually indiscernible. And whether you enjoy processing your images first or prefer making prints fast and easy, printers feature advanced color management for optimal control and built-in software drivers for prints without a computer.
Buyer's Guide 2006: Speedy, Spacious Storage
Solutions for creating a reliable digital image library
Space—the final frontier or a simple necessity? Because digital imaging has picked up speed in the past few years, the need for extensive amounts of digital storage space has intensified. Replacing the temperature-controlled closets that film shooters used to store processed film is now the hard drive library.
Buyer's Guide 2006: Monitor Calibration
Achieve accurate color on your screen using these tools
If you've ever been frustrated with prints that don't match what you see on your monitor, you understand the importance of color management. Having a calibrated monitor allows you to make changes to an image with confidence because the colors displayed on the screen are an accurate reflection of the file. In addition, it helps ensure that the color values you see on the screen will closely match your output.
Short Report: Epson Stylus Photo R1800
A versatile inkjet printer does both photo prints and blank discs
Printing on CDs with the Epson Stylus Photo R300 was quite satisfying. I enjoyed creating CDs for slideshows or a DVD of video footage and then printing a professional-looking label directly on the disc. The photo prints looked great, too, but the R300 was limited in size of prints to 8.5x11 inches. Thankfully, the Epson Stylus Photo R1800 came along. It offers quality printing up to 13x19 inches (13x44-inch panoramas), a new set of inks and even disc printing.
Short Report: Epson P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewer
A portable hard drive/viewer can quickly become a part of your photographic system
Though I used to look as if I was loaded for bear when I went out to shoot—two cameras, multiple lenses, flash units and a bundle of accessories—those days are gone. My legs, and especially my back, demand that I try to travel as light as possible. But in the age of digital, a laptop has become as necessary as the camera and memory card. The Epson P-5000 Multimedia Storage Viewer provides a great alternative to the laptop and still allows me to back up and share the images I spend so much time creating.
Toolbox: Archival Storage
How the pros do it
Although professional photographers are always searching for and approaching new clients, a large percentage of their income often comes from images they have shot in the past. Whether measured in months or years, a photographer's body of work is vital to the success of his or her business, as is the lucrative client booked for this week. That's why it's essential for professional photographers to archive and protect their images.
Toolbox: Navigating Memory
Get the most from your storage media and digital camera
While you may have a memory card that fits into your camera, it doesn't automatically mean that you'll get the best performance from either the card or the camera. A 1 GB CompactFlash card may promise storage for hundreds of JPEG images, but when that same card relegates the camera to performing sluggishly, we may well feel that we're more decked out for sweeping off the porch than dancing at the ball.
Trade Tricks: Life With A Digital Projector
Show off your photos with a three-LCD projector
The old slideshow was a venerable tradition at my house while I was growing up, and I suspect it was part of many PCPhoto readers' youth as well. While the slide projector is rapidly disappearing, taking its place is the digital projector, with bundled computer and slideshow software. Digital slideshows can be done faster, far easier and with more production value, meaning better looking and with superior sound and effects.
Cool Gear: Designer Hard Drives
Personal storage with personality
Mundane tasks like data backup and image archiving aren't as exciting as working with your images on the computer. It may be essential to protect our irreplaceable photos, and the time and creative effort we put into perfecting them, but as I write these words—"external hard drives"—I imagine your eyes are glossing over in boredom. Though necessary, backup storage devices aren't the kind of equipment typically associated with "fun."