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New Cameras Sometimes Come With New Computer Problems

So, you're starting to get the hang of your new camera, but now it seems that your computer isn't cooperating any more. Change sometimes can have unintended consequences.

I can't open any of my images files
Nikon and Canon are competitors and aren't likely to sit on their hands. They keep making new cameras, and we keep buying them. But it's not just the hardware that continues to evolve. It's also the software that supports it. New cameras have improved capabilities, but without new software, you may be left in the lurch. It's not uncommon for camera makers to tweak their raw file formats with each release. If you have a new camera but aren't on the latest version of your favorite software, it's probably time for an upgrade. Sometimes they have to change things to support new hardware capabilities. Sometimes they change things just to mess with us or the competition. As makers of third-party software reverse engineer existing formats, camera makers seem determined to reassert their dominance by changing something just for spite. If you're on a Creative Cloud subscription, you should get the update automatically, but it's not uncommon for Adobe to take a few weeks to work out the details of a new raw format.

My colors look wrong
If this is your first real camera, you may be noticing things that didn't bother you previously. To post your pictures on Facebook or Instagram, all you needed was a reasonable approximation. But at some point, you're going to care more about how the colors look. You can try fiddling with the controls on your monitor. You can fiddle endlessly with the settings on your printer. But the only realistic way out of this cycle of frustration is to profile your monitor. Unless your monitor shows you the colors actually present in an image, such rounds of tweaking are doomed to failure. Just do it. You plug a small device into a USB port, hang it in front of your monitor, and run a short program. As your monitor attempts to display a series of specific colors, the device detects what colors come out and calculates how to wrestle them under control. With this information, it can make all your colors look right. At least that way, you know that your edits are genuinely needed.

Some of my images appear corrupted
Image files are getting bigger and bigger with every passing generation of cameras. We like high-resolution, mega-megapixel images. But if you're still using the same card reader you've had for years, it may not be up to the task of moving today's big files. But in addition to forcing the whole process to take longer than need be, using an old reader can increase your chances of corrupting the results. Card readers wear out just like anything else, and contacts may fail or temporarily glitch. The misread data generally shows itself as images with gray or colored bands across the frame. Even well-cared-for cabled will need replaced eventually as USB standards advance. Anyone still using a USB 2 reader, it's time to invest in a new one.

My computer seems to be running slower
And it's not just your card reader that may be showing its age. It takes a lot of horsepower to wrangle big files into Lightroom or Photoshop. If things seem to be slow to render, or adjustments don't seem as snappy as they once did, I have some news for you. Please don't shoot the messenger, but you may need to upgrade your computer or buy a new one. You want as much memory as you can, too. See how much your current system can support and price out the cost of maxing it out. If your processor isn't that old, you may be able to hold off a complete overhaul by adding RAM.

I'm out of hard drive space
You're apt to use up the space on your hard drive more quickly now that you're shooting with a higher resolution camera. It's nearly axiomatic that the files created by a new camera are larger than files from the camera replaced. If you have any computer skills, it's not difficult to add another drive if you have space for it. Even if you don't, an external USB 3 drive can work almost as well. Or, for added security, invest in a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device that helps protect you if a drive fails. And if you find you do need a new computer entirely, give some thought to storage when you work through your wish list.

Getting a new camera marks the beginning of an adventure. But not only one of exploring the many new features and capabilities. A new camera can present the opportunity of identifying and resolving any weaknesses throughout your workflow. Such is the cost of progress. And all things considered, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Date posted: January 10, 2021


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