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FIRST BIG EVENT WITH THE DS40 [Archive] - Event Photographer Society Forum

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DominicSmith
12-07-2011, 09:43 PM
Sorry this is a wee bit long, bought I thought it important to share my experiences with the DS40. I bought DS 40 about 2 weeks ago as our Hi Ti 730 had started to exhibit problems after 5 years of flawless service. Up until the 9th July, the DS 40 had been used twice at weddings to print 7”x5” photos at the reception without any problems and I was suitably impressed with the speed and quality of output.

I was recently contacted by a company who are part of the STENA Shipping Line group regarding setting up a green screen studio at the Tall Ships Event at Greenock in Scotland. The idea was that they would offer a free photograph to anyone that wanted one with either a Tall Ship or a Stena Tanker in the background. The event went very well and over 3 days we printed and gave away more than 1600 no. 6”x4” photographs complete with the Stena brand name on each photo.

I’m writing this to share my thoughts on my computer and printer setup and perhaps get a few answers from some more experienced DS40 and PC Network users.

Last year we did an event where my Vista laptop connected to my Nikon D2X using a little program called DIY Photobits. On doing a test last week, I could not get the D2X or the D700 to connect at all, despite trying all combinations for over an hour. Vista could see the D2X and it would record images onto the hard drive, but the Photobits program would not work correctly, despite me having downloaded the most up to date version. Neither Vista nor Photobits would recognise the D700. I also downloaded DC Cam, another free program, and again had no success on the Vista laptop.

Using DC Cam, on my other Windows 7 64bit laptop, both cameras were recognised and as long as I had the camera connected and switched on prior to running DC Cam there was no problem. If I switched the camera off, I then had to run DC Cam again to re-enable the connection. Over the weekend I experienced a number of network issues where the Vista PC crashed or was unable to communicate with the Win 7 PC, this despite nothing different happening from one print to the next. These were usually solved by a quick re-boot up the exhaust vent!!

I have tried the Trial version of Nikon Camera Capture with both laptops and it refuses to connect to my D700(?).

On setting up at the Tall Ships on day one, I connected the Win 7 laptop to the D700, then using an Ethernet cable, networked both laptops together so that I could record onto the smaller screen Win 7 laptop and use the larger screen Vista laptop to view and print the photo’s. I have discovered that you need to save your photos in a Public Folder to enable this to happen. When we set up the printer though I came across the first problem. I set the paper size in the print driver from 7x5 to 6x4, hit apply and then okay and then exited. I opened Photoshop and tried to make my first print but the printer made a few noises and just sat there with the error light for the paper shining brightly. Panic, albeit controlled, set in. Thinking is was the paper/ribbon and after about 20 minutes of in and out with both, I discovered that for some reason you also need to set the print size in the printing programme (Photoshop.) Panic over but left wondering why the print driver does not take priority,

Later that day, after installing fresh paper/ ribbon, the printer made a strange grinding noise, and then did nothing. No cycling, no paper checks, nothing. Panic no.2 of the day. After about 15 minutes I discovered that the paper holders were not fully pushed into the paper roll, meaning they could not connect with the printer drive mechanism. After sorting this the printer began to work fine.

On Day two, I connected everything up as before, plugged in the printer, switched it on and nothing. No power, no lights. Tried the usual plugging and unplugging to no avail, then decided to use another cable I had brought. This worked so another heart attack over. On later checking the faulty cable I discovered that it was not the fuse that was at fault (I tried this in another cable and it was fine,) but rather the cable itself that wouldn’t work. Not good.

I have also discovered that when the ribbon is finished in the printer, there is enough paper left to print about 8 additional prints. Is this normal that the two don’t match exactly?

2 other small incidents occurred with the DS40. Firstly, a print appeared with a large red coloured band across the top of it as if a colour had been overlaid over part of the images. The other was where the printer started to cycle through the lights and then proceed to cut up a print that never appeared. I’m not sure what happened here, but can only assume it was a faulty print or piece of paper.

I really enjoyed this event, which was the largest and most high profile I had ever undertaken, and I am looking forward to doing more of this work, especially with Green Screen which worked superbly. There were a few ‘Heart Attack’ moments, but getting there early and doing test runs was critical in overcoming them.

If anyone has any thoughts on either the laptop setup or the printer behaviour then I would be grateful to hear from you. I was also using Photoshop for the Green Screen, which worked well and was fast. However I know there is other software available and was wondering what other event photographers use.

What I would like to do in future is to batch run or automate the print process and have the software randomly drop in a background from a selection of around 10 without me having to intervene. It would simply sit there and wait for the next photo to appear from the camera, select randomly a chromakey background and then print the photo. I don’t know if this is currently possible.

On average I printed about 66 prints per hour, or just over one a minute. The client was happy because upwards of 10,000 people will see their name in their home. Families were delighted as, according to some, ‘this is the best family photo we have ever had taken.’

But I could not believe how cynical Scots could be (and I’m one of them.) On hearing that this was a free photo, the number of people who asked us “what was the catch” or “where’s the gimmick,” was amazing. That said, nearly everyone we met at the event was exceptionally nice and incredibly appreciative of what they were getting.

Thanks for taking the time to read and replying.

Dominic Smith M.Sc.
www.bridalimage.co.uk (http://www.bridalimage.co.uk)
www.eventprints.co.uk (http://www.eventprints.co.uk) (not yet up - but soon.)

john christopher
12-07-2011, 10:28 PM
Dom

War and Peace! What a article! So I'll come straight to the point. Rid yourself of Vista as a matter of urgency. Vista is crap, there is no other word for it. I use XP Professional on ALL of my Windows machines, even though I've seen sterling results with Windows 7. One or the other, either way, anything is better than VISTA. I printed my first magazine cover this weekend with the DS40's bigger brother, the DS80 and the end results were simply stunning. Alas the fact remains that you'll have to set the printer's parameters for each application than you intend to print from (including Windows). In my case, this had to be done with Photoshop, Picasa, Express Digital, Breezebrowser and Green Screen Wizard. Lucky for me, I know a man called Andy or I would have been FUBARRED!

Don't be too concerned about the slag end of the print roll. It's just the way the DS40/80's roll, which means you won't, if you get my drift.

John

The Dark Dude

john wright
12-07-2011, 11:35 PM
Hi Dominic

The left over paper is normal. Don't make the mistake some have made and just change the ribbon or you will always be changing paper or ribbon. You cannot get the ribbons without the paper so just change them both together.

The part red and spitting out cut offs is exactly the symptoms I had on a site with a poor mains supply. That would be my starting point. I fitted a Maplins surge protected lead and that cured the problem on that site.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/2m-2-way-iec-su ... ead-256358 (http://www.maplin.co.uk/2m-2-way-iec-surge-protected-power-lead-256358)

Sounds like a good event all in all and a very useful client to have.

John

Michael Martin
13-07-2011, 06:05 AM
Sounds like you had a good event Dominic and I would love to see an example of what you produced, maybe you could post one here.

For your Green Screen work, I know that Photokey pro version will batch process images, I have the basic version and it is very good but no batch process. I am sure there is other software that will do it too.

There are free programs out there for printing everything that drops into a folder. I have it on my mac and will look later for the info, I would be surprised if there was no windows version.

Mark Eaton
13-07-2011, 07:31 AM
Dominic,

Vistas dead - Viva Windows 7
WT-4 and FTP
GreenScreen Wizard Pro.

Mark

Mike Weeks
13-07-2011, 07:46 AM
Dominic,

there are some common points that can be found in your detail;

All dye subs will have some paper left at the end of the roll, it allows for paper changes and the loading where some material is cut off.

All dye subs to the best of my knowledge have the same issue with setting the paper sizes in both the device settings and the printing application.

It is always good to have spares of everything such as power leads.

Only a Scotsman could worry about what a free item is going to cost him :rofl:

Green Screen Wizard allows you to preview an image against a number of bacgrounds but can also be automated (take images in, extract, composit and print) to overlay against 1 background. I know that you can also automate Darkroom to do similar, albeit it is over 3 times the price. The other program is Photokey but I do not know if it has any automation capabilities.

Mike

Mark Amies
13-07-2011, 08:56 AM
Dominic, if you need to discuss any issues you have had , please do feel free to call me.

0208 527 6006.

Trudy Trafford
13-07-2011, 11:37 AM
Dominic,

I'd check you have the latest firmware on your D700, which can be the root of teathered and wireless connection issues.

Simon.

ian griffiths
13-07-2011, 12:25 PM
Hi Dominic,

Not sure if you've looked at Darkroom and whilst I agree with Mike that it is 3.5 times the price of GSW it does an awful lot more, hence the difference in price, it's a bit like comparing a compact with a DSLR, both will take great photos but the DSLR will do so much more and is much more versatile.

Take a look and maybe a demo, (http://www.systeminsight.co.uk/web/dark ... ss-digital (http://www.systeminsight.co.uk/web/darkroom-software---(formally-express-digital)).html ) if you'd like to talk it through give me a call 0800 5300175

Mark Amies
13-07-2011, 12:45 PM
Sorry , but is the last post nothing more than promotion of goods unrelated to the OP?

ian griffiths
13-07-2011, 12:48 PM
Mike mentioned Darkroom in relation to the OP Mark.

I simply balanced the opinion given.

Your only reason for complaint is it's no longer one of your products.

Is this to be a place where members can help one another only if Photomart agree?

Mark Amies
13-07-2011, 12:53 PM
Sorry Ian that was a bit childish.

You have said the same and worse to me before.

I think you know what I am saying , it is the live link that pushed it.

I am not intending to get drawn into a war of words on this by the way.

ian griffiths
13-07-2011, 12:57 PM
I'd say assertive, but hey we all have our own opinions, makes for a colourful world! :pce:

Mark Amies
13-07-2011, 01:05 PM
Ok, nice , well I will say I am assertive , next time you say I am childish Ian, OK ? :pce:

ian griffiths
13-07-2011, 01:07 PM
I am not intending to get drawn into a war of words on this by the way.

Got you!

OK, that was me being childish! :rofl:

Mark Amies
13-07-2011, 01:09 PM
:HDG:

:rofl:

Mark Amies
13-07-2011, 02:26 PM
Mike mentioned Darkroom in relation to the OP Mark.

I simply balanced the opinion given.

Your only reason for complaint is it's no longer one of your products.

Is this to be a place where members can help one another only if Photomart agree?

I would like to just say for the record Ian , that the fact that Photomart does no longer sell the Darkroom software is of absolutely no consequence. We sold it , we no longer sell it, I doubt we would want to sell it again, we have been there, done that , got the T Shirt, etc. That is it. Good luck with it ,both yourself and Stuart.

So it is not the reason for my complaint . My complaint was that you were using the thread to highlight software that you have a vested interest in, with a link to the seller's website, just seemed very opportunistic, but as an ex salesman par excellence, old habits die hard. ;-)

In answer to your point about EPS being a place where members can help one another out , well I should bleedin' well hope so, as this is what is was meant for , and I was one the people who wanted to see EPS happen right at the start. Your point about 'only if Photomart agree' is so way off the scale that I do not know how to answer you , because that is ridiculous. I have been on the recieving end of plenty of criticism, and I am not a 'yes' man.

Just thought I should answer your points sensibly.

13-07-2011, 02:40 PM
Please keep this thread on-topic. It is drifting too far off course.

Mark Ratcliffe
13-07-2011, 02:47 PM
.

DominicSmith
14-07-2011, 04:14 PM
I downloaded both the stand alone and the plugin versions of Green Screen Wizard (I haven't tried Darkroom yet.) My first impressions are that Green Screen Wizard makes a better job of extracting the Green background than Photoshop does. However, my Photoshop template had about 5 layers and I needed to drop the subjects into a layer above the background and beneath the text and white banner. This was easy to do in Photoshop and I set up 2 separate actions, one for the Tall Ship and one for the Tanker. It was simply a case of asking what people wanted and hitting F2 or F3 as required.

I'm not sure if I could incorporate Green Screen Wizrd into these action, but I'll give it a try and up load the answer.

In reply to an earlier post, please see the finished pics I've uploaded.

And don't fight boys, we're in this together. I bought my Hi Ti 730 from System Insight and bought all my consumables there as well. The 2 reasons I opted for the DS 40 over another Hi Ti were the weight of the machine plus the very cheap unit cost of media and only Photomart supply this in the UK.

DominicSmith
14-07-2011, 04:17 PM
Eh I don't see the 2 pics I uploaded using the Add File option below the text input box. Anyone know why???

Stuart Morley
15-07-2011, 07:21 AM
Sorry Ian that was a bit childish.

You have said the same and worse to me before.

I think you know what I am saying , it is the live link that pushed it.

I am not intending to get drawn into a war of words on this by the way.

I can't see the issue to be honest. The OP asked "If anyone has any thoughts on either the laptop setup or the printer behaviour then I would be grateful to hear from you. I was also using Photoshop for the Green Screen, which worked well and was fast. However I know there is other software available and was wondering what other event photographers use."

Most of us know about GSW (System Insight have been recommending it for about 5 years now) but it is common knowledge that Darkroom provides a total solution.

I can't see anything wrong with Ian's post and although Ian is a very large user of Darkroom and may have an interest (declared in his post) his comments seem valid to me.

I am currently a Trade member here (and the UK Distributor for Darkroom Software) and are allowed to post these type of links etc so I don't see the issue to be honest. I know Photomart has no interest whatsoever in ever promoting Darkroom software but this isn't relevant surely. If Ian had posted a link to something he was involved in that weren't represented here then maybe.

Guys, A little decorum here would be appreciated not just jumping on top of something at every opportunity.


Stu

http://www.systeminsight.co.uk

Mark Amies
15-07-2011, 08:56 AM
Stuart

As far as I was concerned this matter was closed anyway.

Have a nice day.

DominicSmith
15-07-2011, 07:00 PM
Back on topic, any idea how to post pics on the forum?

I tried GSW in a Photoshop action today and it actually worked pretty well. It gives a cleaner cut out than simply using Photoshop, and with a little thought the action code can be made to do exactly as I want. Photoshop takes around 4 secs to run the action and about 10 sec when incorporating GSW.

Regards