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Foto-Tech is Photography Technology

This is a curated content website. Professional photographers, educators and industry professionals edit and organize the best photography technology content for Foto-Tech. We post reviews, videos and other content about photography technology and technique. We have first-hand experience with a good deal of the photography technology that we review and describe at Foto-Tech. We sometimes create unique content in places on this site for select photography technology subjects and equipment but much of our site is meta-data (information about information).

Photography Technology News & Reviews

Windows 8 Epson Driver & USB Port Connection Problems

April 11th, 2015 No comments

Having Windows 8 Epson Driver & USB Port Connection Problems?

Epson wide format printers (and others) have some serious USB connection issues. This is a simple work around for Epson printers with an Ethernet connection: Epson 3800, 3880, R2000, R3000, 4000, 4000, 4800, etc.
If you have solutions for Connecting Epson Wide Format Printers to Win 8, please contribute to this post with a comment. We all need help with this and I’m happy to add your solutions to this post and credit you.
After many issues with Win 8 and Epson USB 2.0 on older wide format printers, I’ve given up on the USB connection. It is possible to make it work but using this Ethernet TCP-IP method is much simpler and allows me to print from all computers on my network. And for a secure network connection, consider enterprise switching or Google Cloud security products which can be of great help.
The Issue:
The USB problems seems to start if you plug in the printer using USB before installing the official complete driver package. Windows 8 tries to install a driver automatically but it fails to do this correctly and then the printer no longer connects through USB. The logical thing to do is to unplug the printer and uninstall the driver but this doesn’t seem to work. Epson’s uninstall is leaving something behind and I can’t find what that is and manually uninstalling doesn’t get it either. I have gotten this all resolved and successfully used a 3800 with Windows 8 but I can’t constantly repeat my success.
Ethernet TCP-IP Solution

There are two windows 7 Epson installers you will need to use for this work around. Epson does not have official Win 8 versions and points us to the Win 7 versions that do work for me using TCP-IP but not USB. One installer installs the driver and other installs EpsonNet which will connect your printer using TCP-IP.

Note- I use the 3800 Driver as an example but you need to adjust for whatever printer you are actually connecting. 3800 Driver v6.50

Step 1
You may need to uninstall previous versions you have tried but I’d skip that for now if you can get the driver to come up but not connect. Install the Driver and make sure it’s running by going to the print dialog in one of your programs, like Photoshop or Lightroom. If you can open the driver but not connect & communicate to the printer through USB, then your ready. If you can’t get the driver installed then you have another issue and connecting through Ethernet using TCP-IP isn’t likely to help.

Step 2
Install EpsonNetWith the printer connected to your Lan and turned on,  run EpsonNet and make a note of the printers IP Address. You will enter this address into the Windows Printer Port info. in this instance.

Step 3
Go to the Windows 8 Devices & Printers.  I do this by hitting the Windows Key and typing Devices & Printers. Now you will see the Epson printer but it will not show as connected until you add the TCP-IP port with correct IP.

Step 4
Right Click on the printer and select Printer Properties: Not “Properties”,  lot’s of people are getting stuck here because they are clicking properties instead of Printer Properties.

Step 5
Select Add Port

Step 6
Select TCP-IP as the Port Type and click New Port.

Step 7
Add the IP Address and a name you will recognize.  I used Epson 3800 TCP-IP.

Step 8
Confirm that the new port is selected for your printer

Completion and Connection Confirmation
Now you should see your printer connected and all should be right with Windows 8 and your Epson Printer.

Mouse Input for Photoshop Lightroom

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Lightroom_Input_Devices_MouseI’m always amazed that photographers can work with a standard mouse. Many photographers using Macs don’t even use a mouse with a right click. I’m not sure how to work without a bunch of Lightroom Shortcuts shortcuts on my mouse.

There are thousands of options for good input devices and many retouchers would say that a Wacom tablet is the only way to go. I do agree with that for actual retouching but in my day to day photography business grind, I’m simultaneously running many programs that don’t work all that well with a stylus. The main issue is flipping back and forth from typing to using the stylus. You have to set down the stylus to use two hands and pick it back up, then find the spot on the pad where you need to be. The answer is to have both a great mouse and a Wacom Tablet.

My current mischief of mice (lol-not a pack, flock or school) all have 12 thumb buttons that can be set up for different shortcuts. It takes a little while to set up the system and get used to it but once you do the productivity is gains are amazing. Below is the info on an inexpensive “Gaming Mouse”. I guess Adobe Lightroom is a game of sorts. This is a bargain copy of the Logitech models we use as well. The Logitech is pricy but the heavy weight, smooth glide and button set up make them top of the line.  This model is for PC only but many of these have software for both Mac and Win.

What really makes these glide is a good gaming mouse pad.  We prefer the hard surface models over the rubber and cloth models.

UtechSmart Venus 50 to 16400 DPI High Precision Laser MMO Gaming Mouse

Rosewill USB 3.0 Drive Enclosure

March 20th, 2015 No comments


I’m repeatedly asked how we manage our massive archive of images and video.  The answer is complicated, but lots and lots of hard drive space is at the core of our DAM system (Digital Asset Management). We’ve been utilizing Rosewill Drive enclosures with different interfaces for many years.  I’ve tried plenty of other enclosures and have had both interface card and power supply failures but the Rosewill enclosures have yet to fail me.

The models I use have nice big cooling fans that are quite and also have fan switches, which are nice if you record audio.  They are also inexpensive (approx. $45) and look pretty slick in the studio.  The current model I use is the RX304-APU3-35B and it has both E-SATA or USB 3.0.  I’ve become a real fan of USB 3.0 and have almost completely abandoned eSATA, Firewire 800 and NAS connections for the simplicity, speed and compatibility of USB 3.0.  I do still use the eSATA from time to time but I find USB 3.0 to be sufficient for most transfers.

What to look for in an external enclosure: #1 A good controller card is essential.  #2 A cool and quite running aluminum case.  #3 a reliable power source.

You can get some more info on all of the Rosewill USB 3.0 enclosures here.


Heavy Duty Grip Swivel

March 17th, 2015 No comments


Our studio has at least 20 umbrella mounts, elbows and light stand swivels in our gaff but they all have the same issue: not enough friction.  When you put anything heavy on them they fall over.  We just purchased six Photoflex “Heavy Duty  Grip Swivels” and these solve this long standing issue.  We are using them on a new universal speedring system that  we’ve developed for combining softboxes with LED lights that don’t have speedring systems (most).

We’ll post some images of our Speed Lighting universal speed ring when it’s done.  Hopefully we can find a manufacturer to pick up the design and bring an easy and versatile speed ring into the lighting industry.

I’ll vouch that this high friction light stand elbow with it’s rubber disc can hold a lot of weight without much torquing of it’s large metal knob.  It’s an essential piece of lighting gaff that should not be overlooked.  This is one of three with basically the same high friction area design.  Novatron and Westcott also make them but I can only vouch for the ruggedness of the Photoflex Heavy Duty Grip Swivel.

Wi Fi Camera Wireless Wi Fi SD Card

September 22nd, 2014 No comments


Back in 2008 we posted a review of the 2gb Eye-Fi card after running it through the paces on a trip to NY: Today there are many very affordable ($30) options for Wi Fi Cards and devices that attach to cameras.  A few cameras also have built in Wi Fi transmitters and we expect most cameras will have built in Wi Fi in the coming years. Transend and Mono Price make systems in addition to Eye-Fi and card sizes range from 8gb-128gb. It’s really a miracle of micro tech that these companies can fit all that into an SD card.

Why are Wi Fi Camera solution of such interest to the editors of Foto-Tech?
We believe that the future of Camera Technology is the camera with GPS & Transmitter included.  The GPS helps journalist and documentarians of all types with what, WHERE, when, why and how and the transmitter is essential for utilizing the imagery.

Professionally, these Wi-Fi cards are very useful if the camera you use has two card slots.  We record raw files to a CF card and transmit Jpeg files using a Wi Fi SD card in the other slot.  The Jpegs are for quick previews and a Non tethered workflow.  Our camera transmits Jpeg files to a folder that Lightroom is watching.  Any adjustment we make to these jpg files in Lightroom are later synced to the RAW files.  For our studio, it’s an efficient system  that brakes the tether cord and streamlines our workflow.

Personally, We use the same system for all our point and shoot cameras that the family uses.  When the camera comes in contact with a Wi Fi hotspot after taking pictures, the card transmits the images to our distribution system.  The system starts with Adobe Lightoom and usually ends with Facebook and SmugMug family galleries.

Mono Price Wi-Fi® microSD™ Adapter

Add Wi-Fi® file transfer ability to your existing SDHC™ compatible digital camera using this Wi-Fi microSD™ Adapter from Monoprice!

This adapter is in the form of the popular full-sized SD™ card and features a built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi radio. The radio is powered by the camera (or other device it is inserted into), has a maximum indoor range from 16 ~ 55 feet, and has a maximum outdoor range from about 82 ~ 164 feet. The adapter is a stand-alone wireless hotspot and requires no other networking or applications to function.

This adapter requires an SDHC compatible full-sized SD card slot on your camera. It uses any microSD card up to 32GB capacity (not included), though class 10 cards are recommended if video is to be captured. Connecting to the adapter is as simple as selecting the adapter for your wireless network, then opening up a browser. Up to 5 users can simultaneously access the card to browse or download the contents.

This adapter was reviewed by c|net on June 19, 2014. You can read what they had to say about by clicking on this link. and don’t forget to visit EATEL to get more information on the best WiFi options. 

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