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A guide to the tutorials and articles
Updated Feb. 5, 2004

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A guide to the tutorials 

Making fine prints in your digital darkroom  A multi-part series that introduces the tools and techniques of making fine prints digitally: prints that meet the highest aesthetic and technical standards.
Basic concepts of digital imaging
Getting started  Introduces the digital darkroom. Includes a study guide for learning the craft and a list of the equipment you'll need.
Light and color: an introduction  Introduces the basic concepts of additive and subtractive colors as well as the HSV and HSL color models used for image editing.
Pixels, images, and files  Introduces the fundamental concepts of digital images: what they are, how their size and resolution is specified, and how they are stored. New! Jan. 2004
Equipment
Scanners  Explains film scanner specifications and the different scanner types. Includes a list of film scanners.
Digital cameras  Describes the key features that affect image quality. Includes a table of some of the better models and links to sites with detailed information and reviews.
Photo printers  Discusses high quality inkjet printers, especially Epson Ultrachrome (pigment-based) printers such as the 2200.
Canon EOS-10D  My impressions of this outstanding new digital SLR, with tips for getting the most out of it. In 3 parts. Part 3 has detailed comparisons with 35mm film.
CanoScan FS4000US 4000 dpi scanner  My impressions of this outstanding 4000 dpi 35mm film scanner, which I use it for most of my 35mm work.
Epson 2450 and 3200 flatbed scanners  Reviews these remarkable low-cost scanners, which provide excellent results with medium format and 4x5.
Technique
Monitor calibration and gamma  A critical step in setting up your digital darkroom. Don't skip it!  Necessary for matching the monitor image with prints. Describes monitor viewing conditions. Includes a chart for measuring gamma and black level (brightness), and QuickGamma for adjusting it.
Printer calibration  The second calibration step: getting your prints to match the images on your calibrated monitor, without and with ICC color management.
Scanning  The essentials of film scanning, using the Hewlett-Packard Photosmart S20 as an example. More on scanning can be found in articles on the Epson 2450/3200 and Canon Canoscan FS4000US.
Image editing  An introduction to image editing, featuring Picture Window Pro.
Black & White  Presents workflows for producing high quality Black & White prints with color inkjet printers.
Matting and framing  briefly introduces techniques for matting and framing prints.
Tonal quality and dynamic range in digital cameras  Explains how to achieve ultimate tonal quality and access the hidden dynamic range from images captured with digital cameras.
A simplified zone system  A technique for obtaining good exposures with negatives and slides. For cameras with manual exposure adjustments.
Photographic technique .Part 1 discusses cameras, lenses, film, filters, tripods, and bags. It also has links. Part 2 discusses photographic vision, panoramic photography, travel (lots of links), and airport x-rays.
Eliminating color fringing  A neat technique for eliminating lateral chromatic aberration, common in extreme telephoto and wide angle lenses.

Image editing with Picture Window Pro  Detailed, advanced tutorials on image editing with Picture Window Pro-- a superb program that deserves to be better known.
Introduction  Basic operations and reference tables of transformations and tools.
Making and using masks  Masks allow you to edit selected portions of images. They are a key to high quality image editing. PW Pro's outstanding capabilities are described.
Contrast masking  A powerful technique for balancing images with large dark and light areas.
Tinting and hand coloring B&W images  Illustrates the use of simple masks, the Tint transformation, and one-to-one cloning.
Example: Sunset, Providence  An advanced example of image editing, illustrating masks and the Color Curves and Color Correction transformations.

Color Management  Each device on your computer (and everybody else's) responds to color differently. Color management is a technique for obtaining reasonably consistent (though necessarily not identical) color reproduction. It is a complex, often misunderstood subject. Although you don't need it to start making fine prints, you'll need it if you use fine-art papers or specialized inks, if you send out images to be printed, or if you strive after ultimate quality.
Introduction  The eye's response to color, color science in a nutshell, and the basics of color management, color spaces, and gamut mapping.
Implementation  How to set up and use color management. Part 1 describes settings, working color spaces, and the structure of ICC profiles. Part 2 goes into workflow details. Picture Window Pro is emphasized, but I include Photoshop, which is far more error-prone. You're sunk if you get one setting wrong.
Obtaining profiles and building them with MonacoEZcolor  MonacoEZcolor is a program for building ICC profiles for monitors, scanners, and printers. Uses a flatbed scanner as a sensor. A pretty good product, but not perfect.
Evaluating color in printers and ICC profiles  Has downloadable patterns for testing the quality of printers and profiles. These patterns show up irregularities that can cause trouble with certain colors.

Understanding image sharpness and MTF curves  MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) is the modern approach to specifying the spatial frequency response of imaging systems. It provides a much better estimate of sharpness than old-fashioned resoluton. The geeky mathematical parts are quarantened in green boxes.
Part 1: Introduction This part introduces MTF. It features a computer simulation that provides realistic, visual modeling of each component's effect on imaging system sharpness. I recently added a section of the final, most important component of an imaging system: the eye.
Part 1A: Film and lenses  How to interpret MTF data for film and lenses. Links to published data.
Part 2: Scanners and sharpening  The effects of scanners on MTF. Aliasing and Nyquist frequency. The importance of sharpening. You'll learn why digital prints made from properly sharpened 4000 dpi scans are sharper than the best enlarger prints.
Part 3: Printers and prints  An analysis of printer sharpness, mostly based on the Epson 1270. Visible sharpness (at distances over 10 inches) is excellent for sharp images printed at 200 or more pixels per inch. Part 4 has detailed data on the 1270.
Part 5: Lens testing  Features a new, downloadable lens test chart which you can print on a high quality inkjet printer. Provides much better information on MTF response (true performance) than the traditional USAF 1951 test chart.
Part 6: Depth of field  Even if you skip the math (there's lots of it), you'll learn why you shouldn't trust DOF scales, how stopping down for large DOF affects sharpness, and why DOF is independent of focal length for constant magnification (counterintuitive, but useful).
Digital cameras vs. film, part 1  Discusses the relationship between sensor specifications and performance, then compares the modeled performance of a number of cameras with 35mm film. This part describes the four pillars of image quality, digital image sensors, the simulation technique, and contains a summary of results comparing resolution of digital cameras with film.
Digital cameras vs. film, part 2  Continues with Dennis Wilkins' comparison of film and the Nikon D100, the future of digital cameras, Links, a discussion of Information theory and image quality, and how to measure MTF from Dpreview.com test results. Full-frame Digital SLRs with 11 or more megapixels outperform 35mm. Because reducing pixel size increases noise and causes other problems, the rate of sensor progress is slowing down. Less worry about cameras becoming obsolete overnight.
Part 8: Grain  Compares grain and sharpness in a well-made enlarger print with three scanners: The CaonScan FS4000US, the HP S20, and the Epson 2450. The CanoScan is slightly sharper than the traditional print; grain is similar. The other scanners are not as sharp. Grain aliasing is discussed; it was not observed in these scanners. Software techniques for reducing grain are presented.
4000 vs. 8000 dpi scans  Yes, you can squeeze a little more detail out of an 8000 dpi scan providing your slide or negative is absolutely perfect. But the cost is high. I use sharpened 4000 dpi scans as a benchmark for comparing digital cameras with film.
Other pages 
Link pages
Favorite links  General links on photography, techniques, etc., as well as a few other subjects that interest me.
Photographer/gallery links  Photographers (mostly heavyweight professionals or gallery proprietors) and galleries.
Visitor links  Websites by visitors to my site. Some are outstanding photographers.
Other articles and interests
Contact information and news archive
About me and my photography  A brief autobiography.
Visiting Boulder, Colorado  A guide to visiting our fair city: orientation, activities, hiking, lodging, favorite restaurants, and transportation.
Vacuum tube audio  Articles about audio quality and plans for highly sophisticated vacuum tube amplifiers and preamplifiers that I designed and built between about 1992 and 1997.
Building simple content-intensive web pages  How I build web pages with a free WISIWYG editor and other free tools.
Nathan Koren-- images and writings from Europe and India  Superb writings and excellent photography by my son Nathan, created during his journey to Europe and his five month stay in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, where he was an intern for the innovative Indian architect, Balkrishna Doshi. Includes his architecture CV.
Stonehenge mystery by Dennis Wilkins  A curious little  journey into the twilight zone, or perhaps, the sunlight zoneNew! Jan. 2004
View the image galleries  How to Purchase prints
Pines 1, Switzerland Trail, 2003.  View the image galleries.
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Images and text copyright © 2000-2014 by Norman Koren.
Norman Koren lives in Boulder, Colorado, founded Imatest LLC in 2004, previously worked on magnetic recording technology. He has been involved with photography since 1964.