The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 2, Number 1 14 January 2000

Copyright 2000, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the ninth edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter, with complete coverage of Macworld Expo 2000 from the unique photographic perspective of a digicam user.


TOPICS

SPONSORS
This issue of The Imaging Resource News is sponsored in part by the following companies. Please tell them you saw their ad here. And now a word from our sponsors:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com

Ofoto.com http://www.ofoto.com


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by nearly 40,000 U.S. readers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: Macworld Expo 2000

Our coverage of Macworld Expo 2000 began with daily special reports (with pictures) posted to the Imaging Resource Web site from San Francisco and linked from the News page.

If you missed them, here are the direct links:

As you can see, although the focus of Macworld Expo wasn't on digital imaging per se, we found a great deal to report. In this space we'll revisit the high points of the show -- with the advantage of a little hindsight.

KEYNOTE: SHARING THE EASY WAY

You've got photos. You've scanned them or shot them on your digicam. You want to share them. So you email them. Or, if you've signed up with one of the many Web sites catering to digital imagers, you upload them to an online album and notify your friends and family by email that they're online.

Apple has a "different" idea. How about just letting them mount your iDisk on their desktop to see your pictures?

The iDisk is 20M of free, secure storage on Apple's servers (with a public folder) that mounts on the Mac OS 9 desktop (although the OS 9 requirement can be gotten around) like any other Macintosh volume. It uses Appleshare and TCP/IP as well as proprietary technology licensed from Xinet.

You can mount an iDisk (your own and someone else's) using the Chooser, an alias of any iDisk, from the iTools Web site or using the Network Browser under the Apple menu. Internet, what Internet? The Internet is transparent.

But you'll still know the Internet is involved because it takes a good long while (nearly a minute, in some tests) for an iDisk to mount.

Every iDisk contains these five folders: Documents, Movies, Pictures, Public and Sites. You can add subdirectories to these, but you have can't delete them or add to the root structure of the iDisk.

One reason you can't tinker with the root structure is that it's assumed by other software, like the Homepage iTool which lets you build (in 10 minutes) a captioned contact sheet of your uploaded pictures whose URL you can share with anyone on the Web. And the Public folder, by design, is available to anyone who knows your iTools user name.

To move images to your iDisk, you simply drag them to it. And to copy them from your iDisk, drag them back. You can access your iDisk from home or work, making it an effective way to store files you need to access from both places.

Unfortunately Apple has set a one-hour time limit on iDisk connections (although the number of times you can connection is unlimited). And if you aren't accessing the disk for a while, you'll get a (notorious Web Objects) warning to use it or be logged out. So it's handy for transferring and publishing images, but not for working with them.

In addition to the Homepage iTool, the iCard personalized greetings iTool also knows about your iDisk. So you can send fancy postcard-like email greetings using either Apple's stock images or your own. Without worrying about attachments. Or fonts.

While a lot of companies are working hard to provide easy photo uploading and sharing, Apple can tap into both its server technology and its client OS to put the Internet on your desktop.

See for yourself under iTools at the revamped www.apple.com.

CAMERAS

While IXLA was introducing a $100 CMOS camera and Canon unveiling their 3.3 megapixel S20, a number of other companies were introducing flash-less digicams primarily designed for video. We only saw one camera without a flash we thought worth mentioning. The rest of you, back to the drawing board.

The $100 Camera

Looking for a starter digicam? IXLA displayed their $99.95 CMOS digicam which comes bundled with Cumulus 5 Lite and Corel Custom Photo editing software.

The Digital SuperPro 640 bare bones point-and-shoot has a wide-angle fixed-focus lens (3 feet to infinity), optical viewfinder, and electronic flash. The camera includes 2M internal storage holding about 30 640x480 images with good color and sharpness using a proprietary file format. Images can be converted to JPEG when you transfer them to a computer through either the USB or serial port on the camera using IXLA's Photo Easy Delux software. Four AAs power the camera.

But throw the camera away and you still have a bargain.

The included lite version of Canto Cumulus restricts both the number of catalogs and the number of images in each catalog, but otherwise provides the full features of the single-user version that retails for $100. With Cumulus, images can be archived, cataloged and arranged in slide shows.

Additionally, the Corel Custom Photo software provides essential photo editing tools.

IXLA, which manufactures the camera, expects to ship within two weeks of the Expo. Orders can be placed only at www.ixla.com or by calling the company at (800) 881-2966.

The Canon S20

Although the S20 won't ship until April at a price that has still not been determined, the 3.34 megapixel camera was on display at the Canon booth. We got our hands on it briefly.

It closely resembles the S10 (and A50 for that matter), sporting a similar aluminum alloy (and hefty) body. The 2x optical zoom can be digitally zoomed to 8x to take images in three resolutions: 2048x1536, 1024x768 or 640x480 in three quality modes (normal, fine, super fine) and with selectable ISO up to 400. It uses CompactFlash (Types I and II) to store images (although at these image sizes the PCMCIA IBM hard drive soon to ship might be a more prudent investment) and includes USB, serial and video out ports.

Casio, Canon and Toshiba have now all announced 3 megapixel cameras. And exciting as this new milestone is, there's always been more to good pictures than pixels. In fact, one of the biggest problems with digital photography is the time it takes for the camera to come up and the time the camera takes between shots. Bigger images (four times the size of a megapixel CCD) don't solve that problem.

Don't Put This in Your Cassette Player

The flashless wonder we mentioned above, is at the other end of the megapixel spectrum.

About the size of a cassette tape, the PowerCam weighs 50 grams without its two AAA batteries. A fixed-focus f3.8 glass lens with a focal length of 3.85mm focuses from one meter to infinity. A USB port is the only way to get the approximately 40 640x480 images taken by the 1.4 inch CCD out of the 4M camera. No flash. Optical viewfinder.

It is expected to ship in February for $89 (with a 30-day money back guarantee) from www.techworks.com.

SOFTWARE

The most exciting thing we found on the floor of the Expo was the variety of image editing and organizing software programs available.

Cumulus, the pioneer of "asset management" software, found itself competing with UGather, Fotostation, and Living Album. And just to make things more exciting, UGather and Living Album are free.

And Photoshop, clearly still in a class of its own (in features and price), has some intriguing new competitors, too. Great Photo! at $25 and Watch & Smile at $55 provide exceptionally easy but surprisingly powerful image enhancement capability at shareware prices. Both enjoy an impressive pedigree, too.

Great Photo!

Software Architects Inc. is offering Great Photo! to Imaging Resource Newsletter readers and show attendees for a show special price of $24.95 (regularly $79.95) at http://special.softarch.com until Feb. 28.

Using a thumbwheel interface and proprietary technology to enhance brightness and color, the 1.6M image editor provides quick enhancements (tapping the velocity engine of the G4) and comparisons.

Alice Gannon-McKinley, Software Associates marketing communications manager, explained the product was designed to let the user impose their own aesthetic judgment on the program rather than vice versa. The program makes no automatic adjustments, relying on you to refine your image by comparing your changes to the original. You do that by clicking the Original tab at the bottom of the adjustment dialog box.

You can bookmark a particular change and continue manipulating the image before saving the bookmarked version you prefer.

We missed image resizing options and found some aspects of the interface clunky. The thumbnail was a little sluggish on our system. But it's pretty clean for a version 1.0.

Software Architects has licensed its technology to OEM manufacturers like Nikon and system integrators for 12 years. A limited-time demo is also available at www.softarch.com.

CorelDraw 8 LE

Don't get too excited when we tell you Corel is offering CorelDraw 8 Limited Edition as a free download from www.corel.com until Jan. 15. Because the installer for both Draw and Photo-Paint is over 50 megabytes. You won't have time to download it (but you can order it on CD).

The limited edition is true to its name, restricting the number of files you can open at one time and offering only a subset of effects and file format exports of the full version. But it is not time limited.

We have to applaud the concept. It shows a confidence in the full product and an appreciation for the difficulty of shopping for software. How many times have we bought an inferior product simply because we didn't know how to get what we have to do what we wanted?

Just go for the CD.

Watch & Smile

Jean Marie Binucci is the "binu" behind binuscan, a reputable prepress company whose RECO (REbuilding COlors) technology can be found in high end products from UMAX, Kodak and Polaroid. Binuscan's claim to fame is maximizing digital image quality automatically.

Just the perfect thing, really, for the burgeoning consumer (single users) and prosumer (single users with bills to pay) digital imaging market. So Binucci put the imaging engine from his high-end PhotoPerfect product into a cute low-end product called Watch & Smile. Cute because it uses a television metaphor (with remote control) to manipulate images. Fun things like warp (familiar to Goo fans) and utilitarian things like perspective controls are included. But ease of image correction and editing are the real point winners here.

Not to mention slide shows (is there a product that does not do slide shows?) and sound (ah, that's often missing) to accompany the slide shows, and ... well, we'll have more to say when we review the product.

And what does this sophisticated, automatic, color correction technology cost? Just $55. Which should make you smile.

Living Album

ClubPhoto wants you to upload your images to their site at www.clubphoto.com to share them and print them on mousepads, coffee cups and other media (even cookies and chocolate). But they realize the process of uploading your images can be daunting. So they're developing some novel tools to make it easy.

Living Album is one. The Macintosh version is still in development but we got to preview its Aqua like interface (Mac OS X's makeover, which you can see for yourself at www.apple.com/macosx/aqua.html) and spoke to Rick Thorp, marketing support manager, about it. You drag your images to it and it creates thumbnails you can organize into albums with any number pages that are transparently transmitted to your online album at ClubPhoto if you wish. You can also arrange slide shows.

And you will be delighted to know Living Album will be available at no cost as a download from the ClubPhoto Web site. Soon.

They've also made available a Photoshop plug-in called iShare which Thorp demonstrated that lets you transmit an open, layered Photoshop file to ClubPhoto without flattening the image. Very cool.

UGather

If you don't want to spend $100 or $150 respectively to see if managing your imaging files is worth the trouble, just download UGather from http://upresent.umn.edu.

The program was developed as a multimedia database application for archiving, searching, previewing and selecting photo, movie and sound files for use in the companion product UPresent, a multimedia presentation tool which is also free.

Kyle Hammond, the programmer responsible for UGather, walked us through the program. We'll review it in an upcoming newsletter after we've had a chance to mangle it.

FotoStation

At $150, FotoStation 4.0 may seem pricey, but considering the single-user version is a descendant of FotoWare's much more expensive multi-user product popular in Europe, it may be a steal.

FotoStation (which runs under Windows, too) can organize your images in albums but it goes a little further. After creating an album (where you can track and edit not only the image and filename but a title, the photographer, a credit, date and time, keywords and a description), Fotostation also provides some image editing.

The image editing mode lets you rotate, resize, edit the data associated with the image (the keywords, etc.), auto adjust the contrast and auto adjust color and contrast combinations, convert to black and white and sharpen. But that's just for starters. A toolbar provides more sophisticated color editing, selection and bit manipulation tools (like dodging and burning). You can see the results of your changes on the image, of course, but also by reading the curves and/or histogram displays.

Even more intriguing were the output options.

FotoStation provides a Web Page Wizard that steps you through a set of options (including building thumbnails with preview and download links) based on various HTML templates (for layout) to make it easy to put your images on the Web. You can include selected fields to be displayed with the image, and specify title, background and an email address.

The template concept is particularly welcome for printing images. Among our favorites were the Multiple Sizes template (which provides three sizes from frame-size to wallet-size on one sheet) and CD cover (a 6x6 matrix of images).

And, yes, you can do slide shows.

Graphic Synthesizer

Synthetik's Studio Artist resembles, at first glance, Painter and Dabbler and Photoshop and a few other image editing programs that provide artistic filters to turn realistic images into art.

But Synthetik modeled the program on musical synthesizers and calls Studio Artist "the world's first Graphics Synthesizer[tm]" (yes, actually trademarking the term). Just reaching version 1.1 now after debuting at Macworld Expo in New York this summer, the product combines user-configurable painting and drawing tools with image processing and video effects. The imaging model combines the visual variety of raster paint with the editability of paths. You can indeed reshape a painted brush stroke. And program it.

In fact, we suspect the programmability of the underlying vector imaging is where the synthesizing comes from. You aren't programming, you're synthesizing. And if you're good at it, you're actually jamming. But when we asked a user of version 1.0 who was inquiring about an update how hard it was to get comfortable with the program, he said that, while it wasn't intuitive, it didn't take long and the product's power made it worth the investment. It's unique.

So what is graphic synthesizing?

Import a photo and watch the program automatically paint it in the style of your choice or draw it yourself, modulating the painterly effect intentionally. The program "knows" how to paint and draw -- even if you don't (so the results are credible). Since you can control over 200 interactive paint parameters in real time, too, you can do some amazing things with this software. Like have it apply a transformation to every frame of a QuickTime movie.

If you've ever wished you could convert your photos to believable drawings (or dreamed you could turn them into paintings), visit www.synthetik.com.

OTHER HARDWARE

Sanyo's CD-RW raised the bar for both performance and reliability with an innovative 3-in-1 device reader that caught our eye. But the big winner is USB, which has become the inexpensive connection of choice. As in the smallest scanner we saw.

PetiScan

With a USB interface which also powers the device, a see-through design to facilitate handheld scanning and a form factor NEC describes as "the world's smallest," the PetitScan color scanner weighs in at only 1.3 lbs. and $149.

Under its snap-off lid, it's a 30-bit, single-pass scanner with an optical resolution of 300x600. Bundled software includes Adobe PhotoDeluxe and Presto! PageManager for both Macintosh and Windows.

Small isn't often a virtue in a scanner (since most things you want to scan are not), but the A6 window (8.46x5.51 inches, or half a sheet of paper) of this scanner seems like the absolute minimum. The (big) advantage is that you can take it with you.

For more information visit http://petiscan.nectech.com.

LaCie's CD-RW Drive

The $419 LaCie 12x4x32x CD-RW drive with a Sanyo mechanism made news with new features like Triple Beam for theoretically more reliable burning, Optical Power Control to automatically determine the type of media inserted and a non-linear method of writing that LaCie said is guaranteed to prevent buffer underruns (responsible for the explosion in amateur coaster making).

But an unusually candid LaCie technician explained that if you just set your Toast buffer (under preferences) to 8M, you'll achieve the same result with any CD writer.

Still, it's a fast burner. And at the same price (roughly) as the slower competition.

Tri-Reader

What do you do if you have to read CompactFlash from your Kodak, SmartMedia from your Olympus and floppies from your Sony Mavica?

You just order a USB Tri-Reader from Y-E Data at www.yedata.com for $189 and take what comes. It can handle all three.

The floppy drive is just above the SmartMedia reader on the left and the CompactFlash reader (no PCMCIA card required) on the right.

No plans to include Sony's Memory Stick in the array, though. Ah, there had to be some catch.

IT'S A WRAP

It took us three days to cover the action on the floor of this Expo. That's good news for digital imagers. A lot is happening. And it's happening at both ends of the price spectrum. We were particularly excited to see so much inexpensive yet powerful image editing software. And while hardware continues to amaze us with new capabilities, the Web is starting to make some interesting noises.

We'll be reviewing a number of the products we saw at the show in upcoming newsletters. As nice as it is to be able to see them demonstrated on the floor, the real question is whether or not you can lean your pictures up against them. Stay tuned to find out.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Casio Continues to Innovate with QV-2000UX

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/Q2K/Q2KA.HTM on the Web site.)

INTRODUCTION

Casio was one of the very first companies to produce digital cameras for consumers, and their original QV-10 digicam introduced digicam users to the wonders of LCD viewscreens. (What a concept!) It's become almost mandatory these days, but back when the QV-10 was first introduced, the feature was a real eye-opener.

Casio has continued to innovate, with each generation of cameras becoming more "camera like," while still reflecting their consumer-electronics roots in their style and functional user interfaces. The QV-2000UX is one of Casio's latest, and their first 2 megapixel design. It provides more photographic controls than many of the higher-priced competition, and the resolution you'd expect from a 2 megapixel CCD. It also boasts what is arguably the most attractive user interface of any camera we've tested.

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

We really did enjoy working with the QV-2000UX. Its lightweight construction and compact shape make it relatively 'pocketable' for medium sized pockets and purses. We particularly liked the level of control it gave us over exposure parameters. Our biggest complaint on the physical design is probably the somewhat sticky sliding lens cover (which also controls the camera's power) and the pop-up flash that you can't close unless the lens cover is closed. But the "way cool" 3D function menus make up for these points. The QV-2000UX was built to accept both Type I and II CompactFlash cards, allowing it to work with high-capacity Type II storage devices like the 340 megabyte IBM Microdrive. It also features a nice, flat bottom, although the placement of the tripod mount and battery compartment make it impossible to change batteries while mounted to a tripod.

As far as viewfinders go, the QV-2000UX's optical and LCD viewfinders feature the same accuracy when in wide angle, at 88 percent. They diverge slightly toward the telephoto end of things (86 percent for the optical and 89.5 percent on the LCD monitor). This close agreement between LCD and optical viewfinders is an interesting phenomenon, unusual among digicams. A beneficial function on the LCD viewfinder is its gridline feature, which helps you line up shots with a light gray grid when activated. (VERY handy!) The 6.5 to 19.5mm 3x zoom lens gives you the digital equivalent to a 36 to 108mm lens on a 35mm camera. Throw in the 2x Digital Telephoto feature and you have magnification up to 6x (albeit at the expense of image quality). The QV-2000UX offers a manually and automatically adjustable aperture ranging from f2.0 to f11. We appreciated the time saving Infinity focus function for far away subjects as well as the manual focus feature, good for macro or hard to focus subjects.

An exciting feature on the QV-2000UX is the range of capture modes (Program, Movie, Panorama, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority, Landscape, Portrait and Night Scene). The Movie mode is interesting, with options for Past and Normal recording. Past means that the camera actually starts recording into a buffer memory upon entering the mode, even though you haven't pressed the shutter button yet. Once you do press the shutter button, it adds the following images to the already recorded ones. This has the almost-magical effect of recording events that happened before you pressed the shutter: Very useful when taking snapshots of kids and other quick-moving subjects! It even has a full manual exposure mode, albeit one that's carefully hidden in the user interface, and not mentioned in the documentation.

The pop-up flash on the QV-2000UX offers four modes: Auto, On, Off and Red-Eye Reduction (On and Off meaning that the flash is either always on or always off). You also have the ability to set the flash intensity to Strong, Normal or Weak, depending on the light situation. Three metering options (Multi, Center and Spot) and six white balance options (Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Manual) give you flexibility with exposure control. Additionally, the exposure compensation can be adjusted in all capture modes except Panorama in 1/3 EV increments from 2 to +2.

The Quick Shutter and Continuous Recording functions give you fast recording abilities at intervals as low as 0.5 seconds, depending on the amount of CompactFlash space. Both are useful for fast action shots. You have some flexibility with the self-timer as well, with the QV-2000UX giving a choice between two or 10 second countdowns.

An NTSC video cable comes with the camera, allowing you to utilize a television set as the LCD monitor for composing and playing back images. Hooray for Casio, since they included a USB cable in addition to the standard serial cable for image downloading. It's nice to see more manufacturers finally including this widely available high-speed computer interface. A software CD comes with Photo Loader, which transfers the images from the camera to the computer. There's also some panorama stitching software and QuickTime, in addition to Microsoft's Internet Explorer just in case you need that too (the QV-2000UX automatically creates HTML files when recording the images so you're web ready right the start).

Despite a few minor glitches with the camera body, we liked the QV-2000UX. It was nice to have such a variety of exposure controls and modes at our fingertips. This is a camera perfect for the consumer who wants the intrigue of full exposure control and the ease of a full program mode combined in one unit.

SPECIAL BONUS: FULL MANUAL MODE!

A special hidden bonus for QV-2000 owners, but one Casio apparently was going to keep to itself! We owe this one to Steve's Digicams and one of their Japanese readers: From Shutter Priority mode, if you press the Set button and either the left or right arrows of the rocker toggle simultaneously, the LCD will switch to display both aperture and shutter speed values at the same time. You can control the shutter speed with the up/down arrows of the rocker toggle, and the aperture values with the left/right arrows. VERY cool! -- Very few digicams have this capability.

CONCLUSION

The QV-2000UX packs a lot into a small package: It offers 2 megapixel resolution, a great user interface that's both highly functional in actual shooting, and very attractive as well. Exposure control is second to none, with 1/3 f-stop control over both aperture or shutter speed, and even a full manual mode for simultaneous control over both. The sliding cover is a good idea, but needs a better implementation, and the camera's tendency to produce a magenta color shift in high-brightness situations cries out for a custom "genotype" in our favorite PhotoGenetics (http://www.q-res.com) image-correction program to allow automatic correction of the problem post-capture. Despite these shortcomings, the QV-2000 provides more real picture-taking control than probably any other camera currently on the market, making it a solid contender in the 2 megapixel marketplace.

LATE-BREAKING NEWS

As this newsletter issue "goes to press," we've received two pieces of important information about the QV-2000 from our readers. First, reader Tom Lovely reports that the magenta cast we observed in our test unit may not be characteristic of the current QV-2000 production models. Apparently this was a problem with early units that has since been corrected, and that can be corrected by Casio on the original units. We've contacted Casio to confirm this, and will reshoot all our images (@!#!) if it proves to be the case.

The second key piece of information comes from reader Robert Burkert, telling of a "hidden" time-exposure mode on the QV-2000 that allows exposures up to 16 seconds in length(!) We're just in the process of testing this, and will update the review when all the results are in. For those of you who may already own QV-2000s and don't know about it, try this: In shutter-priority mode, set the shutter speed all the way down to the (normal) lower limit of 1/2 second. Then, hold down the "Set" button while you press the down-arrow key on the rocker toggle. Voila! The shutter speed readout now displays "1/1.5" instead of "1/2." If you keep pressing the down-arrow, the shutter times will continue to increase in roughly 1/3-stop increments all the way out to 16 seconds! Pretty neat, don't know why Casio chose to keep it a secret!

Return to Topics.

New on the Site

Well, (drum roll) the whole site is new, in a sense, since our last newsletter. We moved our domain name http://www.imaging-resource.com/ to a new server whose Internet Protocol address is 216.110.36.24 (paste that address into your browser to force your service provider to go to the new site, if it hasn't already updated its database of uniform resource locators). At the same time our mail server was moved, too. If we missed your mail, please send it again.
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Beginners Flash: Auto Off

If your camera has an LCD, it may also have a setting to automatically turn the LCD off after a period of inactivity. This feature isn't so much your camera being bratty (if you aren't working, why should I?) but a charming custom among those raised with short battery life. LCDs consume a lot of battery power, so if you're not using the LCD, it shuts off automatically.

The concept may be extended to the whole camera, particularly if you have a motorized zoom or other battery-draining feature.

So what's the advantage of setting different intervals for Auto Off?

Depends what you're up to. But as a rule of thumb, you'll conserve battery power by leaving the camera on to shut off automatically and wake up when you partially depress the shutter button rather than turning the camera on and off as you need it. The whole start-up routine usually isn't required to wake from sleep so-to-speak, so the camera returns to life more quickly and uses less energy.

The trick is to determine, roughly, how long it's going to be between shots.

If you're taking pictures at a birthday party or a shower and there's a long interval between gifts, say, you might set the camera to shut down in 30 seconds, rather than 1 minute. Time how long it takes to wake up and you'll know just when to half-depress the shutter to wake it in time for the unwrapping (as the card is being slit open, for example). Remember, you don't have to take a shot every 30 seconds to keep the camera on, just do something (like partially depress the shutter).

You'll probably find it much more convenient than turning the camera on and off. Instead of fiddling with the power switch, you just pull the camera up and get ready to shoot.

Return to Topics.

Advanced Mode: Playing Cards

If your camera uses removable media readable by your computer to store images, you may have been tempted to do your file management where you usually do it: on your computer. Not only been tempted, but successfully done it. Over and over.

Now that we don't have Y2K to worry about, we scrambled to find something else to panic about. Removable media is it this week.

The big problem isn't deleting (or copying) files between your card to your computer system. The problem (which may not be big on your system) is formatting the card on your computer. Indeed, we've done it and lived to tell about it.

But to be safe the prudent thing to do is let your camera format your card. Some manufacturers insist on it. Some merely recommend it. But since saving your work relies entirely on the camera's ability to communicate with your card, the safe thing to do is format the card in the camera.

Return to Topics.

Dave's Deals

Trial downloads of the (excellent) PhotoGenetics imaging program are still available. If you decide to purchase PhotoGenetics, be sure to come back through this URL (http://www.q-res.com/php3/downloads.php3?refid=imgresource) to receive the special $5-off deal for Imaging Resource readers!

Just a reminder: Sign up by Jan. 15 to take advantage of Ofoto's introductory offer of 100 free Kodak prints by visiting their Web site at http://www.ofoto.com today.

Software Architects, Inc. has extended the special Macworld price of $24.95 to Imaging Resource Newsletter readers for Great Photo!, its image enhancement product. Just visit http://special.softarch.com to take advantage of the $30 discount. For a look at the interface, see our brief review at http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/MWW00/0105mac.htm from Macworld Expo.

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We Have Mail

You can email us at editor@imaging-resource.com. Because we made a change in our mail server since the last issue, we may have missed your email. You can tell we missed it if you didn't get an response from us. In that case, please just send it again. We always answer.

RE: The 20th Century

FYI, you will send the last newsletter of the 20th century on 12/31/00 ....

However, thanks for a great newsletter and Web site!!!!!!

-- Peggy Gray

(Thanks, Peggy. And Rick Raunio (among others), too, who also wrote on the subject. Our reflection that the Dec. 31 newsletter would be the last of the 20th century turns out to have been merely a feeble attempt to avoid working all year. As this issue proves, it failed. And as Webster's says under "century," "1801 A.D. through 1900 A.D. is the 19th century A.D." Can't blame a guy for trying, though . -- Editor)

RE: Ofoto

In your most recent digital newsletter, a reader named Peter Sokolowski expressed his VERY favorable experience with the Ofoto print deal. I would like to go on record also as being extremely satisfied with both the print quality and the level of service from Ofoto. In fact, I am amazed at both! In this day when free offers usually come with a "catch" or goods and services provided from free offers usually fall short of even the most minimal expectations, Ofoto delivered above and beyond our expectations!

When one figures the cost of paper and ink, even with special price breaks found on the Internet, along with the invariable repeat prints because the printer's results didn't quite deliver what we saw on the screen, Ofoto's prices seem quite reasonable. And the prints will undoubtedly last longer than any inkjet print!

Do I sound "sold"? I hope so!

Regards, and thanks for a great newsletter!

-- Dale Case

(You sound sold, but not bought. And thanks for the kind words about the newsletter. -- Editor)

RE: Upload Problems

For some reason I have had problems uploading pictures. Ofoto tech support tells me that AOL users with Microsoft Internet Explorer will have problems uploading. It seems that a one picture upload works but then I tried 5 and 10 and it fails every time. The only solution they give is to use Netscape. I would think they should work on this problem since it could cost them a lot of future business.

They have a good idea, now lets see them make it work for all of us. Thanks.

-- Jim Foraker

(Thanks for the feedback, Jim. Thanks also for working with Ofoto on the problem. We followed up on the issue with Ofoto ourselves. To find out what we learned, read on ...)

RE: Upload Problems

Surprisingly the problem isn't with the resource fork but with the attached preview from Photoshop. The Photoshop JPEGs with previews contain a smaller PICT file in the resource fork, we don't accept any other files than JPEG currently so when our servers detect the PICT file they reject the upload. My assumption is that Netscape strips the resource fork from the upload eliminating the PICT preview and the problem.

Attached find the drag and drop utility for automatic resource fork removal "ResFork Killer."

-- Brett Butterfield, Ofoto support technician

(Just to clarify, many graphic programs may put a PICT resource in the resource fork of a JPEG file to serve as a preview on the Macintosh. But all the important data in a JPEG is contained in the data fork. Typically, only the data fork should be sent, and it sounds as if Netscape is smart enough to do just that. If your browser has a Strip Resource Fork option for file transfers, use it. Otherwise Ofoto does have a program to strip the fork from your files. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

Silicon Film Technologies Inc. (www.siliconfilm.com) has announced that its Electronic Film System line of digital image capture products will be manufactured by Express Manufacturing Inc.

EFS-1 consists of the (e)film(tm) Cartridge, a self-contained digital imaging module that fits in a standard film compartment; the (e)port(tm) Carrier, which uploads the images to a computer, and the (e)box(tm) Storage module, which stores hundreds of images for future upload. Together, these components are designed to allow users to enjoy the features and functions of their SLR camera system while capturing digital pictures, the company said.

The EFS-1, which will be available to the public in the first half of calendar 2000, combines a CMOS image sensor with miniaturized control and processing electronics, 64 MB of memory and two batteries. Innovative packaging is used to permit the entire assembly to fit into the space occupied by a standard 35mm film canister. Initial versions of the EFS are designed to fit in specific camera bodies.

"The beauty of our technology is that we are not trying to replace traditional film -- we are complementing it," said Douglas E. Howe, Silicon Film's chief marketing officer. "With EFS-1, users will have the capability of switching back and forth between film and high-quality digital imaging. We expect the learning curve to be fast because photographers will be using their own camera systems."

"By proactively addressing new waves of outsourcing opportunities presented by portable electronics manufacturers, EMI is investing in advanced manufacturing and testing capabilities," said C.P. Chin, president of EMI. "This relationship with Silicon Film will require us to combine innovation with advanced manufacturing abilities, building a basis for value and business growth for both companies."


Casio (www.casio.co.jp) has announced the Wrist Camera, Model WQV-1, the world's first wrist-type wearable digital camera. At 32 g, the camera includes a 120x120 dot LCD viewfinder/display screen capable of displaying 16 grays and 1M of built-in memory to display up to 100 images in Casio's proprietary format (converted to BMP or JPEG on upload via infrared) taken by the 1/14 inch CMOS chip behind the f2.8 fixed-focus lens. And it tells time with five alarms, a timer, and a stopwatch. But no slide shows.

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Signoff

That's it for now, but look for our next issue in about two weeks. Meanwhile, visit our site for the latest news, reviews, or to have your questions answered in our free discussion forum. Here are the links to our most popular pages:

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Happy snapping!

Mike Pasini, Editor
editor@imaging-resource.com
Dave Etchells, Publisher
web@imaging-resource.com

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