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09/07/17–Nikon Still has not learned how to ship a new camera the D850

As anyone who is a Nikon photographer knows, the highly anticipated D850 finally started to ship today worldwide.  But instead of a flood of new cameras hitting the stores, it appears that Nikon was barely able to ship enough cameras to even cover the NPS orders.  So the common folk like myself are left holding the bag once again, just like with the D800.  To add insult to injury, I received this email from Nikon this afternoon.

Nikon D850

Stupid Nikon Ad

Lets see, the wait is over? Really? What a Joke!!, when actually the wait has just begun.

It’s really amazing that a company such as Nikon can’t figure out how to cover a first day shipment of a new camera.  They had the same issue with the D800 and D800e when they were announced.  At first the D800 was hard to get, and the D800e next to impossible but after about 4 months the supply started to free up.

Lets move forward 2 years, Nikon announces the D810, possible the best DSLR they have ever made, but again there were supply issues and quality issues.  So those like myself who paid in advance, received a camera and had to turn it right around to Nikon to have the white dot issue fixed.

Now Nikon can’t even ship enough cameras to cover the NPS orders.  NPS, (Nikon Professional Services) is next to impossible to get into now as you have to have 2 other professional photographers sponsor you.  Ever try to get your competition to sponsor you?  Leaving NPS alone, it’s amazing to me that Nikon was not able to ship enough cameras to cover 1/3 to 1/2 of the first day orders.

Did Nikon just announce this camera, NO, it’s been in the works now for over 3 years.  Nikon has toyed with users for the past 6 months maybe longer talking this new camera up.  They pre-announced the announcement and received a ton of good press.  NOTE TO NIKON, when you start to see a lot of good talk on the photography forums, you might WANT TO START making some cameras.  NOT wait until the 24th of August of 2017 to start making cameras to cover all the orders you have received.

This is not a revolutionary camera, like the D800 was or the D810.  It’s just a upgrade to an already great platform with some nice updates to AF, LiveView, High ISO, and LCD (there are more for sure).  But either way, Nikon should have been more in touch with what they needed to manufacture.

There has not be an earthquake or a tsunami or any other type of catestrophic event that Nikon had to work around.  I have to wonder who is in charge over there.  It’s well known that Nikon is not doing the best financially, so this issue doesn’t make things look very good for them.  Surely someone in such a large company understands what forecasting is about?  Don’t they? Maybe not.

But of course cameras are showing up in places like Best Buy (really go figure) or Amazon (NPS cancellations), etc.  This happens every time, but just makes this process all the harder to understand.

I guess the best policy is to just keep the order out there with B&H, and hope that something frees up sooner than later.

Written by Paul Caldwell for 09/07/17


08/18/16 Capture One “error when processing a file” under Windows systems

This error:

Capture One error when processing a file

Capture One error when processing a file

has become a considerable pain in daily processing for me with Capture One Vr 9, (all versions) under Windows 7,8, or 10.  If you have noticed this error in your processing, please reach out to Phase One and let them know about it.  You can read more about the problem in this article I wrote by clicking on this link: Capture One error when processing a file.



10/13/13 Popular Photo Missed a critical couple of Cameras in the “30 most Important Digital Cameras of all time”

Popular  Photography missed a big one

Popular Photography missed a big one

In the latest issue of Popular Photography, they have an featured article, “30 digital cameras that changed photography”.  Usually I read these type of articles and move on, but I was amazed by a couple of cameras that were totally overlooked.

1.  The Canon 1ds MKI

This camera revolutionized 35mm digital photography, at least landscape.  This was the first full frame 35mm digital camera every produced.  Nothing from Kodak, or Nikon or anyone else could come close.  Kodak had the 660 but this was a 6mp 1.5x crop sensor that basically had only 1 or 2 usable iso settings.  Nikon was still riding the D1x which at 6mp and a strange sensor layout could not come close the 11mp full frame sensor of the Canon 1ds MKI.  Canon brought this camera out and stunned the world.  Many landscape shooters made a switch to Canon, I was one of them as I knew that this camera would be the method that would get me to a large print size.  The 1ds mkI had a lot of short comings, but it was built like a tank on a pro body and worked with all of the available Canon lenses, but the single most important feature to me was the full frame sensor, no longer the need to buy lenses in the DX mode and for landscapes finally a camera that would pull in a lot of real estate.  Canon then followed the 1ds MKI with the  1ds MKII and with 16mp, they really had a winner, but the 1ds MKI did start it all.  Nikon for example was stuck with the D700 and D3 both a 12mp/full frame sensors and just not enough sensor size/resolution to really get to a large scale print.  Nikon only fixed this issue with the release of the D800 in early 2012 and interesting Canon has still not answered with a large megapixel solution.  Popular photography mentions the Canon 5D, which camee out quite a few years later also at 11MP but no live view.  Again I think they missed the mark, as the Canon 5D MKII really was the game changer, and the camera that really started to set Nikon back as the price point of the 5D MKII was much less than the 1ds MKII.

2.  Phase One P45+

I was surprised in this article to see that no medium format cameras were mentioned.  What an oversight!.  Phase one announced the P45/P45+ in 2007 and started shipments of theP45+ in March of 2008.  This single camera changed how medium format digital photography was viewed forever.  Before hand, there were scanning backs, (mostly a non-useable item in landscape photography due to movement of subject matter) and digital backs that were in the 20MP range and limited to iso 50/100.   But the single greatest limiting issue was the time of exposure since most digital backs were limited to exposures of no longer than 15 to 30 seconds and the later was a push.  With the P45+ Phase One announced 1 hour exposures at iso 50.  They did not deliver this on day one, but within 9 months they had added firmware fixes that gave the P45+ exposure times up to 1 hour at iso 50.  I was lucky enough to have used a P45+ in my landscape work from March 2008 to around November of 2011 when I upgrade to the IQ160.  There were a lot of limitations to using the P45+, mainly around the camera’s LCD which was very limited in playback.  However at 40MP and iso 50 to 800, the P45+ added a very powerful tool to the landscape photographers toolkit.  With later firmware updates, the P45+  the quality of the images taken at iso 400 and 800 improved dramatically.  The P45+ is still holds a very high resale value 5 years after it’s initial roll out which is the world of digital photography is pretty much unheard of.

07/10/13 An example of Breathing Color’s excellent customer service

800M canvas print from Epson 9900 and Matte Ink with Breathing Color Profile

800M canvas print from Epson 9900 and Matte Ink with Breathing Color Profile

Breathing Color, is a Canvas and Paper company based out of Austin Texas.  They make a wide range of paper and canvas solutions for both solvent and inkjet printers.  I have worked with Breathing Color products  now for over 7 years and the results have  been excellent.  In a world where an issue with a product tends to get pushed to a long waiting list that requires a series of conversations back and forth, Breathing Color on the other hand can address issues immediately with a  working solution.   Here are a few examples of this:

  1. Recently I started moving my matte printing over to the Epson 9900 from my older 7800 as most of my jobs were moving to sizes that the 7800 could not handle at it’s maximum width of 24 inches.  If you are using a Epson 7900 (24″) or 9900 (44″) print with canvas, one of the biggest issues has always been getting the running length of the print to come out correctly.  For some reason Epson printers can’t handle the flexibility of canvas, so on all prints, you had to add to the dimension that was the running length of the print.  (on a 40 x 60 inch print, 60 inches would be your running length)  In the past with canvas, most profiles were generated with the Water Color Radiant White (WCRW) media setting.  This made an excellent image but the Epson printers with WCRW media setting for canvas would never get the running length correct.  With the advent of the 9900/7900 series, Epson addressed this with the “canvas” media setting.  When you select canvas, the running length on most prints will be exact or withing 1/16 of an inch which is totally acceptable.  This is true on longer prints like 36″ x 72″ and anything shorter.  The only drawback to the canvas media setting is that has a different ink density.  So if you use the canvas media setting with a profile generated with WCRW media setting, the colors will  tend to look washed out.   So the key is to get a new profile generated with the canvas media setting.  Breathing Color over the past 2 months has been releasing some excellent profiles, they are so good, that I have pretty much stopped trying to use my i1 profiler to generate the custom profiles.  Breathing Color had released profiles for the 9900 matte ink set for their Lyve canvas but had not yet generated one for 800M matte.  I was working on a big job that required canvas prints ranging from 24 x 36 to 40 x 60, but due to the amount budgeted by the customer I had to bid with 800M canvas.  The results I have been getting with the new Lyve 9900 profile have been nothing short of spectacular, especially  details in the shadows.  I wanted to be able to get the same results from 800M, but the Lyve profile is not a good profile to use on 800M.  I contacted Justin at Breathing Color as asked if he could generate a new 800M profile for the 9900 matte.  Justin agreed to do this an was able to turn it around within 4 hours.    I was running on a short timeline and needed to get the prints off, so I was very pleased with this type of customer service.  The profile generated excellent prints and hopefully it has been added to the Breathing color website for general use.
  2. With modern profiling you now have the option to generate a Bradford icc profile in vr 2 or vr 4.   With CS3 and CS4 I have noticed a problem with the profiles generated as vr 2 on one machine, not transferring well to another machine if they are generated on a windows platform.   Most commonly when this problem occurs you and you soft-proof, with a vr 2 profile the image seems to look inverted or almost like a color negative.  However if you generate all the profiles as vr4, this does not seem to be an issue.   The only way to fix this is re-generate the profile as vr 4 then it seems to work fine.  The issue is that most people now seem to be using CS5, CS6 or Lightroom for their printing not CS3.  I still prefer to use CS3 for certain prints as I like the workflow and CS3 still allows for the transfer selection.   The first version of the Breathing Color 9900 matte ink profile for Lyve came in a vr 2 variant and thus would not work on my CS3 prints.  I contacted Breathing Color on this issue and within 2 hours I had a new vr 4 variant of the profile.  This profile worked perfectly and I was able to get the job finished on time.

Breathing Color has always handled typical customer service issues like damage shipping, or defective product in a very professional manner, however issues like profile generation  tend to be beyond day to day customer service and quick turn a rounds.  With the high quality prints I am now seeing with the 9900 matte ink set on both Lyve and 800M from these new Breathing Color profiles  I am now very confident to take on any canvas printing job.

This type of customer service is what I like to term “added value” and Breathing Color delivers on it.  I hope that other photographer/printers etc.  will discover this aspect of Breathing Color and take advantage of it.

You can find out more about Breathing color from their website.  They offer a sample program for all of their products and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in fine art printing on inkjet or solvent printers.

09/25/12 Nik software has been purchased by Google…….Whats up with that?

Nik products HDR efxpro and colorefx pro

Nik products HDR efxpro and colorefx pro

Over the past weekend and during the big Photokina show in Cologne Germany, Nik software announced that they had been purchased by Google.  The assumption here is that Google is wanting to use the Nik control point technology in some of their apps.  As a huge Nik user in my work, this concerns me as what tends to happen in situations like this is that the company that makes the purchase will absorb the smaller one and then the products are taken off the market.

Nik has several really key products for photogrpahy:

Color Efex Pro, HDR Efex Vr. 2, Define,  Viveza, Silver Efex Pro are the main products that I use but there are more in the product suite.  I noticed today that Nik has the information on their website talking about the merger/takeover by Google.  My recommendation is that make sure that all of your products are current via the upgrade process.  Nik has been very good in the past in keeping their product set current with both enhancements and bug fixes.

Only time will tell what Google decides to do, but I would not bet on Nik staying in the mainstream very long.  This will give on-one a boost as they have several products that overlap the Nik product suite.


08/26/12 What good friends are for……..Thanks Marshall

As many may know, about 2 weeks ago, I took about the worst lightening strike ever. The hit was about 25 yards away from my house/studio, but the damage was really amazing. In the space of a couple of seconds, I lost 2 printers, 1 PC (all of with all of my itunes), 1 LCD, 1 hub, 1 set of Klipsch 5.1 speakers, 1/s of a 2nd PC, my wireless router, DSL modem,  and 4 working terabytes of data on 5 hard drives and the logic boards on my main AC unit. Total cost over 3.5K.

Some of the problems showed up immediately, like I was not able to get to the internet or my printer no longer was able to get a single.  But other things like the fact that I had lost 1/2 of the USB controllers on one PC, half the function of a sound blaster card, or the issue that came up when I tried to get my internet back up since I had given my router enough of a shock to cause it to work some times, but not all the times.

When you get into a situation like this, you also tend to reach out for help.  I have one really good friend Marshall Singer, who has an electronic back ground.  He was able to help me in three different areas.

  1. Marshall was able to tell me immediately just what had happened to AC unit, saving me thousands of dollars as most repair people would have tried to replace the entire unit, when all that was wrong was the logic card and main transistor.
  2. With Marshall’s help, I was able to get my flaky internet back online.  I was not sure where the problem was, DSL line to the house, or modem or router, or a combination of them.  Trying to call AT&T or INDIA was a total waste of time.  One of sad states our county is in that we allow large companies to totally not have any local contacts to help out in a problem like this
  3. Lastly, after I received my Klipsch Amp and controller back (it turned out that only the controller had be hit), I was still not able to get my sound back like it used to be.  Marshall  had a duplicate Creative Lab’s card and he loaned that to me to test with.  Once again this saved me a ton of time and as it turned out 1/2 of the output of card had been fried.

I can only hope I can return the favor to Marshall one of these days.  I am now back up 100% and starting to recover files that were corrupted.  Good friends they are an important part of life,  Thanks Marshall!

One other thing, I finally learned how to spell Klipsch!