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Messages - zim

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EOS Bodies / Re: EOS not good for NASA?
« on: January 13, 2013, 06:32:07 PM »
Guess there's just too much DR out there..........

........ ok look someone had to say it  ;D ;D ;D

I'll "third" the recommendation for Blurb, but I'll also say that it's the only one I've tried. I recently published two books with them and been very pleased with the results.

I will say that Blurb was attractive to me because I've had some history in publishing - I wanted to be able to use my previous experience with Adobe InDesign to lay out my books, so their ability to accept a PDF was a deciding factor for me. I downloaded their InDesign plugin (which really only automates the initial document layout by providing dimensions and a non-printing set of guides which help define bleed lines and trim lines and such), as well as their ICC profile for Photoshop.

You didn't ask, and you may have this information already, but here's what I did to try to ensure a quality outcome. Your mileage may vary, and I'm open to suggestions from others about improvements...

1. Because this was my beginning foray into publishing, I bought a new monitor (Asus ProArt monitor) and a Spyder colorimeter (Spyder Pro 3, I think). Spyder's got some great tutorial videos on how to calibrate monitors, and I've been really pleased with the simplicity of the tool.

2. I do my initial image processing in Lightroom, primarily again because of the simplicity. I've found I get most images about 95-98% of the way to where I want them in Lightroom. I export the finished files from Lightroom as RGB TIFFS, cropped, but unresized from the original RAW resolution.

3. I bring the TIFFS into Photoshop and do any additional processing (specific alterations, adjustment layers and such). Soft proof the images using the Blurb ICC profile. Resize the images to final dimensions and DPI (Blurb wants the files at 240 dpi, iirc). Then permanently apply the Blurb ICC profile (this converts the image to CMYK) and save as TIFF.

4. Import the images into InDesign as part of the book layout process. At the conclusion of this phase, I used the Blurb presets (this is part of the downloadable addon for InDesign) to export the PDF, and then shipped it to Blurb. A few days later, presto, books appeared. My experience was that they always arrived a day or two before the website suggested they'd arrive, which was nice.

A couple of additional notes:

  • You can purchase a swatch kit of papers from Blurb for their "pro" papers. It's $7, and it gets refunded on your first order. I did this, and was pleased - it helped me pick the paper I wanted. Initially I'd intended to use their heaviest, most expensive paper, but found that I didn't care for it quite as much as I expected - the "2nd best" paper actually appealed to me more, and in my books, that judgement held up.

  • I only printed hard cover books with slipcovers, so can't speak to the other options. My impression is that the slipcover printing is a bit more variable than the interior printing. On one project I did two sizes (8x10 and 11x14) - the slipcover on the 11x14 was spot-on, but the 8x10 were a little less so, but the interior work seemed to be of the same consistency. My understanding is that Blurb actually has a number of publishing houses working behind the scenes on their website, so it may be that I just was seeing the difference between one house and another (because of how I ordered, the 11x14 came out of an East Coast location, while the 8x10s came from a Seattle location).
  • If you're printing a lot of copies of a book, the only way to get a proof copy is to buy one book first, evaluate it, then make corrections and upload new PDFs, if necessary. On one project, I did this - my proof suggested that I needed to correct 3 images (out of about 90), and when I reuploaded and got the "final" order, I was pleased to see that those new 3 images had improved, while the other images had stayed as I'd expected. This made me trust my workflow, and Blurb's consistency. It's a little difficult to swallow that there's no other way to make proofs other than to buy one full-price copy, but at least in my case, it was worth it.
  • Lastly, if you're producing solely B&W material, Blurb's system may not be the solution for you. Blurb can only accept color (CMYK) TIFFS because their digital presses are a six-color process, so even if you're working with black and white images, the files still have to be color. Only because I've had some experience with offset presses where can run true half-tone images, there were several B&W images in my books where I felt I could see a slight greenish color-cast to the blacks that wouldn't be seen using other printing methods. The color shift was so slight that I chalked it up to me being super-picky - it didn't prevent me from using the final product.
  • You can pay to have Blurb remove their logo from a last page they automatically add to your PDF. I didn't. It was understated enough that I wasn't bothered by it. YMMV.

Good luck with your project. I'll admit, my foray into the new (to me) world of one-off or short-run digital printing has been really quite eye-opening. A few years ago I dreamed of printing books with an equivalent quality to some of the Ansel Adams books that were in my dad's library. I don't think Blurb's quality is quite there yet (see my comments about the B&W images), but it's pretty damn close. It's a really remarkable world we're living in, where that level of quality is available to the dabblers and advanced-amateurs like us (or me, at least...)


Eric, thank you so much for posting this detailed reply. For many years my photography (amateur) has simply to take a few of the best shots I like each year, print big and enjoy. No internet stuff I just love prints! Anyways I’ve just started getting into the idea of printing themed books, just an expansion on a similar vain, it’s print and books are tactile I love that.
I’m just starting using the blurb client software and really like it (tried a few) but have been concerned about comments/reviews on the web I’ve read about the final quality of the product mostly that pictures are dark/colour casts and poor quality paper. The dark/colour cast issues sounded to me like people not using calibrated monitors and correct ICCs. Of course the only way to know for sure is to try it myself. I have been concerned about how to get this right but your experiences (and others) has reassured me. You’ve given lots of great info to work on here so again thank you!

PS I may have some supplemental questions for you though how you won’t mind!

May I jump in here... any (preferably European) recommendations for someone who does low cost (it is for family only) photobooks that would have over 450 pages? Blurb only has 440 pages maximum...?
I'm sorry... but have you put a 0 after 45 and 44 by error? Never heard of such big books! If the paper is a quality one I can't even imagine the weight of a 440 pages album.
The day I hear one of my client asking for more than 100 pages I'll know something is wrong…

I'm fairly sure blurb allows more than 44 pages

Using 64GB sandisk extreme pro 90MB/s for my Mark iii
was using the same for 7d.

For the faster frame rate you need faster memory cards

As long as your not using the SD?

Abstract / Re: What is this?
« on: January 12, 2013, 09:35:56 AM »
Jeez Neuro, for the huge volume of posts you make, you must have a colossal amount of spare time on your hands! (Not knocking your contributions, just amazed at the number!).


Yea, I'd say someone has a nice office with a big window... and not much else to do.

That's presumptuous. Many people do a lot and also comment on their favorite forums....

and rude, uncalled for

Canon General / Re: Canon Experience Stores Coming Soon [CR3]
« on: January 11, 2013, 07:49:58 AM »
That's great news, trying stuff is becoming a real issue, as long as one opens near me of course  8)
Lots of heritage buildings and a big fancy Jessops store near my work so ya never know  ;D ;D

What's the fastes SD Card that can be used before the speed advantage of the card is limited to the slow SD slot in the 5D, is it simply any 133x card?


United Kingdom & Ireland / Re: Jessops close to administration?
« on: January 09, 2013, 06:01:49 PM »
Not only do online stores not have to pay store rent, many of them like Amazon fiddle their books so they don't pay UK tax.

Amazon (and the rest) are not at the ‘fiddle’. They are operating perfectly legally. It is the asinine tax laws and trade agreements engineered by successive governments that allow tax evasion to exist in this country. The government could do something about it if they wished. They do not, can’t imagine why eh.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Sigma Launches the Sigma USB DOCK
« on: January 08, 2013, 08:25:14 AM »
Have to admit I don't actually understand all that so a breakdown in simple terms would be most appreciated but if it's what I think it will do (AFAM on steriods without additional calibration software) then it sounds absolutely brilliant!

PowerShot / Re: Canon Announces The PowerShot N
« on: January 07, 2013, 03:52:20 PM »
Phew that's better, accessories announced……..

No hate, just having some fun whilst waiting on a bunch of raws batch processing

PowerShot / Re: Canon Announces The PowerShot N
« on: January 07, 2013, 01:59:47 PM »
Brilliant, I’m pre-ordering two. Happy to be an early adopter for that little bute.

Glad to see I was wrong about that pre-release teaser picture it wasn’t a giant c**k after all

EOS Bodies / Re: Canon Cannot Keep Screwing It's Customers Over
« on: January 05, 2013, 11:48:28 AM »
I am amazed by such sophisms questioning the very existence and the meaning of the term "overpriced". In some people the will to argue trascends every boundary set by mere common sense.

Sophisms?  I do not think it means what you think it means.

I don't think anyone is trying to deny "the very existence" of the term.  "Overpriced" simply doesn't have any meaning divorced from its context.  For example:

  • I won't buy a 5D3 at $3500, so it's overpriced for me
  • I won't buy a D800 at $2000, so it's also overpriced for me
  • for a company like Canon, the term overpriced means they're not selling enough of them to meet their financial goals.

So, how would you consider a Ford Focus priced like a Maserati?

I won't buy it at that price so it's overpriced for me.  Yet people do pay ridiculous amounts of money for restored old cars, even though their intrinsic quality is much lower than would be justified by the cost.

In comparison with its two closest relatives - namely the 24-105 and Tamron 24-70 - it is apparent that this lens doesn't offer such superior quality or such unique features to justify such a higher price - thus it is overpriced.

That means it's overpriced for you.  Some people think its qualities do justify the higher cost, therefore it is not overpriced for them.

And what about a manual-focus Zeiss 100mm lens that costs $1800, is that overpriced by your definition?  Why or why not? I can tell you that I won't buy it at that price, so it's overpriced for me.  There are plenty of wealthy people paying what I consider to be ridiculous amounts of money for Leica manual focus cameras; are those cameras overpriced?  I can tell you that they're overpriced for me.

This is simple economics:
  • "Overpriced" is a relative term, and cannot reasonably  be used without the context.  You can't reasonably say "X is overpriced," you must say "X is overpriced for..."
  • If you will not buy a product at its current price, then it's overpriced for you
  • If someone else will buy a product at its current price, then it's not overpriced for them
  • If Canon fails to sell enough of these products at their current price, then it's overpriced for them

This thread would have stopped right there ;)

(actually I don't want it to stop it's been really funny, hick :o )

I myself moved from the Terrible to the Just OK class after I returned my camera for an exchange.  At this price range however, I wish there wasn't even a discussion about 5D3 low light AF performance except to question how it can be so good all the time for everyone without question.

So at the moment I am enjoying better low light AF with the 6D but I hope the 5D3 low light AF performance somehow magically improves after the next firmware update. 

Hi Rusty,
Are you talking about the AF flash assist issue or low light focusing in general? For me the two are very different. Thought the 5D3 was pretty hot in the available light focusing department, no?

Well, this has been discussed to death already and some see AF Flash Assist and Low Light focusing as separate issues.  Personally, I see them as related and part of the same problem.  Since every other camera I have ever owned performed better than the 5D3 in Low Light AF performance (in available low light, without AF Assist, FWIW), I expected at least somewhat better AF performance from the new $3K+ 5D3 in this category.  Just call me Crazy!  Alas, after exchanging the camera, I have been able to achieve similar AF low light performance to my older cameras but not much better.  So, I got the 6D to compare and it works much better, like I expected the 5D3 to perform after hearing all the hype for many months.  I've never used AF Assist and to be honest, I had forgotten all about it until I got a 5D3 and started reading up on why the low light AF sucked so much.

Thanks for clarifying that for me, albeit rather worrying clarity! I guess I’m really going to have to use both these cameras to make my decision. I’d much rather use the money for a lens rather than rent though. It’s the first time I’ve felt the need to do this and that in itself makes me feel that there is something wrong about buying anything right now other than glass.

I myself moved from the Terrible to the Just OK class after I returned my camera for an exchange.  At this price range however, I wish there wasn't even a discussion about 5D3 low light AF performance except to question how it can be so good all the time for everyone without question.

So at the moment I am enjoying better low light AF with the 6D but I hope the 5D3 low light AF performance somehow magically improves after the next firmware update. 

Hi Rusty,
Are you talking about the AF flash assist issue or low light focusing in general? For me the two are very different. Thought the 5D3 was pretty hot in the available light focusing department, no?

You don’t have to get the latest a greatest galaxy to get good photos, I’m sure I posted elsewhere on here but for an experiment I got a display walls worth of 16x12s printed for a school trip my wife was running and I was amazed at the (relative) quality of them, didn’t think they would stand up to that sort of enlargement but hey they were loved by the intended audience. It goes without saying that photos intended for the interweb are just fine too. The biggest problem with all camera phones for me is shutter lag so she’s got an app that purports to help but I think it just cripples the res. I also hate holding at arm’s length, it’s just the most rubbish way to take a photo. That’s why I think the ‘M’ is such a joke it’s got the worst two features of a camera phone and you can’t even make a call with it :P

I don't think holding at arms length is a rubbish way to take photos.  Live view is a very good way of taking landscape photos.  Also, it depends on the preference of the user.  It might not be for you but don't generalize.  A lot of users are fine with taking pictures using a live view.

Yeh live view with a bleedin tripod!
I’m not generalising Jason, It’s my opinion. I struggle to think of a less stable way of taking a photograph. Oh wait standing on one leg whilst holding a camera at arms length… yip that would do it  ;D

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