High Dynamic Range Scanning

Better scans using SilverFast Ai Studio software and the Microtek ArtixScan M1 scanner
written by: Paul Schranz

The secret to quality scanning is getting the most data possible from the original. The dynamic range, even from high-end scanners, usually requires a compromise with either the highlights or the shadows. A low-end scanner simply lowers the dynamic range so that neither are reproduced adequately. If you make adjustments to retain those light highlights, you end up severely blocking the shadows. When attempting to open them in Photoshop curves, all you accomplish is intensifying shadow noise. Now, however, there is a sensible solution that allows you to use multiple exposure scans in much the same way that HDR capture works Read more »


Run Photoshop Faster

How to get the most out of your computer by tweaking it for better Photoshop performance
written by: Ctein

Undeniably, Photoshop is the 800-pound gorilla of image-processing programs. And like any large beast, Photoshop can move ponderously slow. Fortunately, the right hardware and software decisions on your part can perk it up considerably. Unlike real-world performance enhancement, this won’t involve the use of steroids or risk congressional investigation. It’s not even very expensive.To speed up the beast, it helps to understand why Photoshop seems to plod when you need it to sprint. Photoshop uses RAM for storing the image you’re working on, for intermediate results, undo and history states, and as a workspace for plug-ins and filters to do Read more »


Turn Down that Noise

Comparing Three Noise-Reduction Programs– Which is Right for You?
written by: Ctein

I regularly use several general purpose noise-reduction programs to reduce the noise in my digital camera photographs, my film scans, and in the print scans I do as part of my restoration business. Noise reduction in all its varied forms is a staple of my work. I ’ve tested many and settled on three: Neat Image Pro+, Noise Ninja Pro, and NoiseWare Professional. (I did not test or investigate noise-reduction programs that use camera- specific profiles, of which there are many.) All are available as Photoshop plug-ins and stand-alone apps. I use all three often enough to say they all have their Read more »


Raw Conversion and Editing Software

The pluses and minuses of Aperture, Lightroom, and CaptureOne
written by: Mark Dubovoy

In my opinion, photographers should always shoot Raw— after all, if you don’t, you’re throwing away much of the information your camera captured. Unfortunately, there are literally hundreds of different Raw formats and dozens of Raw converters on the market. There also are a multitude of products that allow you to edit photographs out of Raw. Which should you use? Trying to compare them all would be a massive undertaking. Although most major manufacturers have their own Raw conversion/editing software, (and there are a number of small, independent companies with Raw conversion and/or editing products), three products currently dominate the market: Read more »