Connecting TV to sound system, camera depth-of-field, Picasa problems

Week of September 4, 2005

Q: I have a surround sound receiver with speakers and a 27-inch TV with audio out jacks. How do I get my TV to play through my sound system?

Brian Mattice
Minneapolis, MN

A: It is easy- simply connect the audio outputs to an audio input on the receiver (any input but the phono input) and select the input on the receiver. You may have to go into the TV’s audio setup menu to turn off the TV speakers. Many televisions can only drive the audio outputs or the speakers, not both at the same time.

Q: I am considering moving from film to digital and such need something to
replace my Nikon N80 w/28-105 lens. Most of my pictures are landscapes and
I use my f-stop setting for my depth of field. I have a read a little about
your recommendation of the Panasonic dmc-fz20. I have not had the chance to
see one in person, but have seen its brother the dmc-fz5 and noticed the
f-stop only went to f11. Is this the case in the dmc-fz20 and is that
enough to match the depth of field of the Nikon? If not, what are some
other options?

Buck Day
Minneapolis, MN

A: Small digital cameras have tremendous depth of field because the sensor is much smaller than 35mm film. An aperture of f/11 on a digital camera is akin to f/22 on a 35mm SLR.

If you are upgrading to digital, I’d pass on the fixed lens models like the DMC-FZ20 and get a digital SLR. I’d get the new Nikon D50 with lens kit- $899. A digital SLR! You can use your 28-105 with it so you will start with two lenses.

Q: In one of your columns discussing photo editing and suggested trying the free program, picasa2. My daughter recently started using it and is very happy with the ease of use and the capabilities of the program. My question concerns a problem she is having when she takes her disc to have prints made. She uses the picasa2 program to crop, eliminate red eye, rotate, etc. She then burns them onto a CD. She takes the CD to have the pictures printed. The problem is that when she gets her prints back they are darker than they are on t he disc and are cropped differently than she has them on the disc. She has tried this a couple of times with different photos, discs, and stores, to eliminate the possibility of a bad disc or photo department. Do you have any ideas as to what is going on? Is she doing something wrong? Is this a problem other people are having? She has used other programs to edit photos in the past and has not had this occur. The thing with the other programs is she has to use several different ones to get the results she can achieve with Picasa2. Any help you could give will be welcome.

A: This is a hard question to answer, as I can only speak in generalities and I do not know how she is editing her photographs as far as color, contrast, brightness, etc.

First of all, is she creating documents to print size? It is usually important to leave a little extra as the machine does some cropping on its own no matter what you input.

Second- is your monitor calibrated? If it is not, you may get unpredictable results. For more on color management and calibration, go to

Next- have you tried modifying the image with Picasa and a different software simultaneously, and printing from the same CD? You need to use a software as a control to see if it is Picasa causing the problem.

If someone is using a kiosk with a minilab to make prints, as she seems to be doing, generally speaking you are better off using the kiosk to make the adjustments.

My final answer is: calibrate your monitor, then to some trial and error with Picasa and the minilab of your choice to get the results you want.

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