Staying Up To Date With Adobe Camera RAW


Adobe Camera RAW or ACR is the plug-in that allows Photoshop and Photoshop Elements to open, view and edit camera RAW files. I wrote an earlier post on this subject some time ago. CLICK HERE to review that article. There are two good reasons to keep Photoshop and Elements up to date in this area.

First, if you buy a new camera, you may find the the RAW files it outputs are unreadable to PSE.  As camera manufacturers release new models, they often modify the file structure of their proprietary RAW format.  As new models are introduced, Adobe rapidly comes out with a new version of the ACR to accommodate the new formats.

Secondly, on occasion new capabilities are added to the new version of ACR, or the methods used within the program to edit RAW images are improved. The updates are free, and you can have them downloaded/installed almost automatically. So there is no reason not to keep this free plug-in upgraded.

However, the latest versions are not always compatible with older versions of Photoshop Elements. Thus, if you buy a new camera, you may find that even with the latest compatible version of ACR installed, RAW image files from your new camera are not readable. Below is a limited list of the latest ACR that is compatible with more recent versions of PSE.

PSE 7 —- ACR 5.6

PSE 8 —- ACR 6.2

PSE 9 – — ACR 6.3 (It appears)

PSE 10 —-ACR 6.6 (Latest ACR)

Remember, if you are using Premiere Elements, it also needs to have the latest ACR version installed. To obtain the latest ACR version for your  PSE, go to the ACR Downloads page on the Adobe  website. From there you can search for the latest compatible ACR.

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Printer Blues–The Final Chapter


For those of you have have followed my previous posts (Chapter 1 and Chapter 2) on the head clogging problems I’ve had on my Epson R1800, this is the final chapter.

My nozzle cleaning kit arrived from Portugal a few days ago. After plowing through its very detailed yet terribly unorganized instruction manual, I tried it out on my clogged R1800. The printer’s nozzles remain hopelessly clogged. I believe I followed the instructions properly, but to no avail. The test pattern still has gaps in multiple colors. The chances were not good that I would succeed where professionals had already failed, but it was worth the $20 to give it a try.

My next step with this printer is to take it to Goodwill. I could put it up for sale on Craigslist for parts and probably get a few dollars for it. But I do not have the time or the interest. I don’t feel too bad taking it to Goodwill. I discovered I have had it longer than I thought. I bought it in 2005 for $550. I’ve got my money’s worth. I also discovered I bought my day-in-day-out printer, the Epson 1280, back in 2001.

So what did I learn from all of this? As I said in the earlier posts, my problem was probably caused by a combination of switching to recycled inks from the Epson brand, and/or letting the printer set too long between uses. In all fairness to those companies’ from whom I bought the non-Epson inks, I believe the biggest cause was a letting it sit too long without using.

Going forward using the R1800 I got from my daughter, I will stay with Epson inks, and make certain I use it at least weekly.

Preview of Upcoming Camera RAW Class at PV NET


Here is a short video describing the “Working With Camera RAW Images” class, which starts next Thursday, March 1st at the PV NET computer facility. It is a five-week class and meets from 10:00 am to noon. CLICK HERE to register and find out more about the class.

The audio in the attached video did not come out the way I would have liked.

I hope to see you in class.

From Snapshot to Art (?) via Faux HDR


Earlier this week, the South Bay Camera Club held a slide show evaluation as part of its regular meeting. Since I have been a member, this was the first evaluation of this type. Generally they are for prints or single digital images. The rules were simple, the slide show had to be three minutes or less, and it had to have a theme. A travel log was not considered a theme.

I wanted to participate, because generally I do not. I decided on this post’s title as my theme, mostly because I could not think of anything else. My basic idea was to morph the regular image into the simulated HDR as the image was being shown. The images I chose were processed either in PSE 10 or CS5. and the HDR result was always from a single image. Frankly I was nervous about displaying my work. the club members are serious photographers. A professor from El Camino College was going to be the evaluator. I put the slide show together using the Slide Show Editor built into PSE 10. The title slide was made with Windows 7 DVD Maker.

I copied the slide show to a CD and set it aside to take to the meeting later. But unfortunately the time to leave for the meeting came and went. I got wrapped up in something and totally forgot about it. I suspect it was some type of Freudian slip. I decided I ought to do something with it, so I posted it on YouTube. At least I do not have to listen to the critique of its viewers. But I more than welcome any comments or ratings you may care to leave. I’m a big boy; I can take it. Besides, I can delete the comment if I don’t like it. Just kidding. Smile

 

Printer Blues–Chapter 2


In my earlier post, I explained the clogging problems I was having with my Epson R1800. You can see that post by CLICKING HERE.

In that post, I said I had taken my printer to the repair station. They had called me back saying so far they were unable to unclog all of the nozzles. They were going to give it another shot on the weekend, and call me back. They did call on Tuesday to say they were unable to totally unclog all of the nozzles, although they were successful with some. I picked up my printer and talked briefly with the technician. According to him, my problem was probably caused by a combination of not using the printer enough and using non-Epson cartridges. He also said their company only uses Epson cartridges, unless the customer insists on non-Epson brands.

So now I have my $500 printer at home needing a $350 print head. As I said in my last post, I have ordered a cleaning kit for about $20. It should arrive in a week or so. When I get it, I’ll try cleaning the nozzles one more time myself. If that does not work, my printer is off to the Goodwill.

By the way, I was not charged anything by the repair shop, since they could not fix the printer. Their standard service charge is $85. I think what they did was more than fair, since it sounds like they tried repeatedly to unclog my printer.

I see a Chapter 3 of this series to let you know how I make out using the the cleaning kit myself. Stay tuned.

Have any of you tried cleaning your inkjet printers with one of the many kits available? If so, leave a comment and let us know how you made out, OK?

If you find this post of value, please rate it above. Thanks.

Epson Printer Blues


Look’s like I screwed up my Epson R1800 printer. This is my prime printer for photos. I have an Epson 1280 I use for everyday printing. I have always used Epson inks on my R1800, which uses pigment as opposed to dye-based inks. Buying Epson brand ink, even online is about $110.

Originally, I also used only Epson inks in my 1280. About the time I bought my R1800 and stopped using my 1280 for photos, I began to buy non-Epson ink for my 1280. Doing this cost me about 30% of buying Epson ink. I use this printer all of the time and have had only minor ink clogging problems over the years.

So about about a year or so ago, I began to buy non-Epson inks for my R1800 at roughly 60% savings relative to Epson-brand ink. I began to have significantly more ink clogging problems than before. I was slow to react to the problem, because I was printing less photos than I had been. At times, I would not use my R1800 for two or three weeks.

So about three months ago, I took my R1800 to a repair shop and had it cleaned etc. I had never had it serviced since I bought it, and I figured it was time. I was not very impressed  with the store, and frankly I do not think they did that good of a job. By the way, I basically cannot find a list of Epson authorized service centers by going to their website. If anyone knows of one in the Los Angeles area or the link to Epson’s list of service centers, please leave a comment.

So over the past couple of months, my clogging problems have increased tremendously. Also, I have had other quality related issues with the non-Epson ink cartridges I have been buying. Recently, I have spent (wasted) a lot of money fighting this problem. By the way, the non-Epson ink cartridges I am buying for my 1280 continue to perform about the same as the Epson ink I initially used.

It all reached a head late last week. I could no longer get my R1800 to pass the Nozzle Check Test, no matter how many times I ran the clean cycle and its more sophisticated auto cleaning routine. I was using up lots of ink trying to clean the nozzles. Blue the ink was almost not present, in the print pattern, even though I put in two different blue cartridges, hence the title of my post. Through Google, I found an Epson authorized service center nearby and took my printer in last Thursday. They called me back Friday. So far they have been unable to unclog my printer using special cleaners and syringes.  They told me I need a new $350 print head. I only paid $500 for the printer. They are going to try some more, and call me back on Monday. I fully expect the result will be the same, so I’ll go and pick up my basically worthless printer.

Fortunately, my daughter gave me her R1800. She had a few ink clog problems and got frustrated, so she gave it to me a few months ago. She basically only prints 4×6 and now and now uses an online printing service. A couple of print nozzle cleaning cycles and her printer is working perfectly. By the way, she has only used Epson inks.

So here is my plan. Assuming the repair shop cannot get mine to function properly, I will bring it home and try to clean the nozzles myself. What harm can I do? Nozzle cleaning kits are a hot item all over the internet. I’ve already ordered one for $20 or so. It should arrive in a couple of weeks.

I’ll let you know how this all turns out in a future post. To be honest, I’m not sure I am going back to Epson inks or not. I want to talk more with the technicians who worked on my printer.

So far, I have learned one thing, however. You are better off using your printer than letting it sit for extended periods regardless of the brand of ink you use, especially if it uses pigment inks instead of the more common (but less permanent) dye-based inks.

Stay tuned.

Please leave a comment and tell us about your photo printing experiences.

Digital Photography Classes I’m Teaching This Spring


I have posted the classes I will be teaching this spring at each of the schools, the  South Bay Adult School, Torrance Adult School, and PVNET. You can see the schedule and my description of each class by clicking on one of the previous links. The catalogs should be out in a week or two. On-line registration may already be open, or should be shortly.