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Digital Cameras--Nature's Palette, Printer's Plate

June 1998
BY A.L. RUSLAVAGE


Behold the phenomenal world of color, where choices of tones, hues, shades and textures can make or break an image. Ask any prepress manager: The right combination of colors creates realism—eliciting strong responses and emotions from the people viewing the picture.

Digital cameras help make this realistic imagery a realistic goal. Prepress departments equipped with digital cameras can now fine-tune the color quality of an image—all before the photograph goes to paper.

Today, technology innovators continue to enhance the color performance parameters of their digital cameras. Undeniably, color management is a crucial issue for manufacturers.

Printing Impressions asked the experts to give their perspectives on digital cameras and color management. Here's what they had to say.

Michihiro Iwata
Manager, DP Department
Minolta Systems Laboratory
Let me begin by stating, for the record, Minolta believes digital images are not much value without a strong color management capability. Digital cameras, especially the camera-back products, are producing excellent images. The problem is that in most commercial environments, people either fail to, or lack the experience to, synchronize all equipment involved in the digital imaging process.

In a fixed, stable environment, we can address this issue; however, if in an unstable environment, it's extremely difficult. What is needed is a way of taking precise measurements of the conditions and feeding them back to the camera. Once this can be accomplished, digital photography will come into its own.

Stanley Barkan
Senior Image Processing Scientist
Scitex (exclusive distributor: Sinar Bron)
Camera vendors must provide a cost-effective workflow for the photographer. The largest gain is on the capture-to-print cycle, since most captures will end up in print. What's needed is a one-button process from capture to a proof-ready CMYK file. We believe photographers want color automation and quick overriding—eliminating the need to go in and out of applications to get the color right.

A personal pet peeve: No one seems to pay attention to the fact that getting a good rendering in CMYK is only half the battle to a stunning image. Another variable in determining the way color is perceived is sharpening. Sharpening restores a semblance of the scene's original contrast into the print. Photographers venturing into the world of CMYK need to know this.

Jim Malcom
Marketing Manager of Electronic Photography
Sony Electronics' Business & Professional Group
Simply put, color management enables photographers to meet the expectations of their clients, and allows photographers to do what they do best—be creative—without having to become color scientists.









 

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