Ctein’s Observations

Posted on 9th May 2016 by Admin under Comment, Software, Technique

The meeting with Ctein was a social event, but a few things came up in conversation which I thought are worthwhile passing on here.  It is really just bits and pieces, so I’ll talk about each item under separate bullet points.  As you would imagine, a lot of what he says concerns printing, so I’ll start there.

  • Ctein says that operating systems are getting more locked down and within a few years the use of printer profiles might be precluded. From his point of view that might not be such a concern as he thinks that the “printer manages colours” option works better than using profiles, even with third party papers.
  • RIPs circumvent the OS printing routines, so it will still be possible to use printer profiles.
  • Higher resolution does make a difference to the final print, mainly in higher acutance, but not by much. There was some discussion about the minimum number of megapixels required for any given print size, but at that point I was reaching the limits of my technical knowledge.  Rather than getting tied up in a detailed conversation which would have been inappropriate for the occasion, I let it pass without exploring further.
  • Windows and Mac OSX have different printing routines. Windows converts everything to sRGB, but OSX can process the Adobe RGB colour space.  Whichever is used, there is no discernible difference in the final print.
  • Smart Sharpen in Photoshop works better than Unsharp Mask, which is prone to introducing haloes.
  • Ctein recommends the latest Epson P800 printer, which produces better detail in the blacks compared to the company’s previous models.
  • Lightroom has a function to upscale image sizes, which works surprisingly well. It is to be found in the Export function and simply requires resolutions higher than the original size to be entered in the Image Sizing section.  It seems obvious once you think about it that downsizing is not the only option.
  • One of the prints Ctein showed us was one he produced to demonstrate what is possible with a digital print. It was taken with a 12 MP m43 camera and the file was doubled in size using the Lightroom upscale function described above.  The shot was of a bridge with blue sky and clouds behind and the moon which was visible in the daylight.  Most of the work involved making a mask so that only the components of the bridge were sharpened.  There were a lot of cables on that bridge, so that took a couple of hours which Ctein described as tedious.  A moderate amount of sharpening was then applied.  It is possible to make out individual rivets and other fine detail on the resulting A3 print.
  • Adobe Camera Raw automatic white balance works well and gets close to what is required, with just some tweaks necessary to get the final result. I cannot say that this reflects my own experience and I often find the automatic result is too warm.  Then again, I am not habitually shooting under clear Californian blue skies.
  • Infrared does not record manmade dyes. Ctein demonstrated this with his own infrared camera which he pointed at someone’s black t-shirt which had a gold logo.  On the camera’s rear screen it turned white with no sign of the logo.


3 thoughts on “Ctein’s Observations”

  1. Roger Bradbury says:

    Thanks for publishing this; I struggled to remember Ctein’s points on the day and you have refreshed my memory.

  2. robert quiet photographer says:

    Interesting report summarizing important points from what must have been a great meeting, thanks!

    1. Admin says:

      Hi Robert

      Yes, it was good to met both Ctein and other fellow photographers who were there. Glad you enjoyed the report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.