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If you insist on a CRT monitor, you must consider a few monitor specifications and controls. For example, sharpness is often measured in terms of dot pitch, which is supposed to be the distance, measured diagonally, between the centers of two RGB phosphor dot triads (found on a CRT). Some vendors, however, measure horizontally, yielding a smaller dot pitch figure that doesnít reflect the true sharpness of the image (anything between .22mm and .27mm is acceptable).
Other specs, such as color convergence (how accurately the electron guns are aimed); video bandwidth (measured in megahertz; determines how well an analog signal is displayed onscreen without ghosting or the loss of brightness
Choosing Pointing Devices 127
in thin lines); or refresh rate (the number of times per second an image is renewed) affect your viewing experience. Of these three, the refresh rate is the most important. Most people perceive a 75 Hz refresh rate at most resolutions as flicker-free, compared with, say, a 60-68 Hz refresh rate. The less flicker, the longer you can stare at your monitor without going blind (or at least getting a whopping headache). When buying a monitor, your best bet is to try one out in the store and purchase the one that looks good to you.
Choosing Pointing Devices
Can you sign your name with a bar of soap? No? Can you sign your name with a pen? If so, you probably would be more comfortable doing graphics work with a pen-based graphics tablet rather than a clunky old mouse. Pressure-sensitive tablets with cordless pens are especially cool. Used with applications that support pressure-sensitive pads, such as Photoshop, they enable you to draw thicker lines just by pressing harder. Tablets and pens are a very natural way of working with graphics; if you can draw, you can use one faster and more accurately than you can sketch with a mouse. Trackballs and alternate mice are also choices if you prefer them. A typical pressure-sensitive pad and stylus are shown in Figure 2-4.
Figure 2-4: Digital photos can be edited more precisely with a pressure-sensitive tablet and stylus.
Book II Chapter 2
Setting Up a Computer for Digital Photography
128 Book II: Building Your Digital Photography Studio
Chapter 3: Getting Your Pictures from the Camera to the Digital Darkroom
In This Chapter
^ Connecting the camera to the computer ^ Using various connections and memory cards or disks ^ Moving your images from camera to digital darkroom
hen you take pictures with a conventional film camera, you end up with a roll of exposed film that must go to a photo lab (or the minilab at your local drug store) for processing and printing using special chemicals and darkroom equipment. When you get the prints back a few hours or days later, you get to see how your pictures turned out. Often, a fair number of pictures end up in the trash, and you keep the rest. If you want extra prints or enlargements of the good shots, itís back to the lab to order reprints.
One of the great things about digital photography is that you donít have to process and print every single image you shoot. Most digital cameras let you preview your images right in the camera, so you know immediately how you did. And you can discard the obvious blunders and bloopers before anyone else sees them. What remains are the pictures you want to print.
With digital photography, thereís no need to go to a photo lab to get prints from your pictures. The darkroom and lab are as close and convenient as your own computer. But unlike conventional photography, thereís no roll of exposed film to send off for processing. Instead, you move your digital pictures from your camera to your computer by copying the image files from one device to the other.
How you do that depends on the features of your camera (and to a lesser extent, your computer). This chapter first addresses the various camera-to-computer connections youíre likely to encounter and then describes the process of transferring images from camera to computer.
130 Making the Connection between Camera and Computer
Making the Connection between Camera and Computer
Before you can use your computer as a digital darkroom to process and print pictures from your digital camera, you must get your picture files out of the camera and into the computer. After you save the images as files on your computerís hard drive, you can manipulate them with the image editing software of your choice and print them on your printer. Books V and VI describe the basics of editing images and working with Photoshop products to do so.
Some printers are capable of accepting images directly from a digital camera and printing them without going through an image editing program or other software on your computer. These use the PictBridge standard, which was created for printing from digital cameras to printers by using a direct connection, without the need of a PC. The camera and printer can be made by different vendors; all devices that support the new PictBridge specification (and the number is growing all the time; check your camera manual) should work fine with any other device that conforms to the standard.