This and That

I just finished importing all my Lightroom catalogs (six) into one nice big one.  There were a couple of glitches along the way.  On two imports it got stuck during the import phase where it says, “Checking for Duplicates.”  I found that by canceling the import, closing and relaunching Lightroom, it then skipped that step and the catalog import continued properly.  (I am leaving the original files where they were and just importing the catalog info).

When I imported my “negatives” catalog Lightroom sort of crashed and said it would check itself the next time it started, which it did (integrity check).  Took, I don’t know, maybe a half-hour to check the catalog.  I’m running a backup of the thing now – just to make sure I have a good backup.  If it takes as long as it did when doing the integrity check, we’re talking about at least a half hour (right now the backup is on the same drive as the original catalog – just for the sake of speed).  I’ll change that later.

The OWC drive should arrive within the next hour or two.  I’ll do some reorganization once I get it.

When I began to look at the new super catalog it seemed as if there were files I hadn’t noticed before; which is likely since you miss stuff when you skipping around between six catalogs.  So this was a good move.  As far as speed goes, i.e just searching or scrolling etc. – seems absolutely fine.  So yeah – this was something worth doing.

* * *

5d II

In a recent comment, Craig says,

Hi Dave,

I do what you do (i.e. sell black and white prints), and have used several 5D Mk II’s for about a year (I got one of the first in the UK).It is absolutely brilliant. The ISO improvement is good – but to be honest, I wouldn’t print anything larger than 22×17″ at 640 ISO. Being realistic, 800 is just too noisy.

If you need any real life sample files, let me know. Cheers – Craig”

Now that is a surprising statement since I regularly shoot at ASA 800 with the 40D, and I know I’ve done prints that are larger than 17 x 22 inches from those files.  I think I’m going to have to ask an 800 and 1600 file that hasn’t undergone any processing, i.e. maybe a png from the crw file, as opposed to a jpg.  Because that just doesn’t seem right.  Could be my eyes are going, or I’m not as sensitive about noise.

Craig – maybe you can email me (or respond to this) with more info (shooting raw, noise reduction settings if any, what printer etc.

One of my most popular prints, The Ice Skating Rink, was shot with the Rebel XT, on a tripod, at 200 ASA, run through Noise Ninja, and  PhotoZoom (I don’t remember the interpolation settings) and that lowly Rebel file is  regularly printed with the long side at 29 inches.  I’d have to look, but I could swear I’ve even gone larger than that with it.

Now it is definitely not perfect at that size, edges are too smooth, and some out-of-focus parts of the image are sort of melting into each other  – but if it is going over 29 inches I  add a touch of grain toto cover these defects and it turns out fine.

Anyway – comparing 800 and 1600 and maybe higher 5dII images with the 7D and the 40D — I have to compensate for the fact that they all have a different amount of pixels – but I need to get an idea of the noise quality at the high end compared to my trusty 40D.  It seems to be a very subjective area of inquiry.  One person says they see a tremendous difference, the next person (all experienced photographers) doesn’t think the noise / ISO stuff is so hot after all.

I’m not so sure I can really tell; though I’ll have to go back to dpreview and go through the pixel peeping exercise again.

There did seem to be a big consensus that the 50D was a dud in terms of noise at higher ISOs.  And there is an overwhelming number of opinions about the 5DII having very little noise at higher ISOs.  Anyway – just something to look into for myself I guess.

Looking through all these 50,000 plus images in chronological order, I can say for sure that blown highlights was a big problem in the beginning that was solved with the 40d, and that I made a gigantic mistake when I started by shooting jpg rather than raw.  That was for a few months, and I have some shots from that period where subject-wise they’re very good but there are blown-out highlights that are just impossible to fix without going into Photoshop and doing cloning work.

Although the Skating Rink shot was done raw, I still had to do some cloning work to remove some of the flare from those lights.  I didn’t remove it all, to keep it natural looking, but believe me – I added a building or two so I could lessen the prominence of that flare.  In fact, it took me three years before I offered the shot for sale, and tried all sorts of things to clean it up before I came up with the idea of adding extensions to the buildings on the right.

Anyway – orders continue to come in, and now that everything is in one catalog, it should make life easier for me.

* * *

One other interesting development.  Although I’ve never been comfortable using color with prints, I do like it when I’m creating cards, mugs etc.  So in that way, another unexpected world opens up.  Well, I never claimed to be completely sane.


Store – East Harlem, 2004


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

2 thoughts on “This and That”

  1. Hi Dave,

    I think this is a very subjective area – what is fine for one, is not for another – you are right.

    I tend to shoot either in JPEG (large) or RAW+JPEG. I am going to get moaned at for this, so I would like to say in advance, that I have been a pro photographer for nearly 15 years, and if I am honest, I really like the JPEG files that come out of the camera. It works for me, and it works for my clients (on the commissioned side of the business).

    Noise reduction is done in Lightroom. Again, others will question this, and again, it works for me.

    Printers are Epson 3800. Paper is Crane Museo Silver rag.

    In relation to the noise, I find that at 800, I am fine printing to 12×8″ – anything more and it becomes visible. One of the best things I did was to turn OFF highlight priority on the 5D – it reduced noise somewhat. At 1600, I really don’t like the photos at all.

    If I know I need higher than ISO 640, I shoot on the 50mm 1.4 lens, or the 100 f2.

    I do print quite a lot of very dark images, so I get really picky if an area of the print isn’t showing as dark or black, when it should be – I am probably more picky than I need to be. Nobody has ever returned a print though due to noise.

    Canon claim miracles at high ISO. I think that may be true in studio conditions where lighting is controlled perfectly. However, real life situations aren’t like that.

    That may not help, but if you want to ask any questions, please feel free to get in touch.



  2. Please let us know about the new hard drive, model number, size, etc. I am also running out of space.

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