|Volume 2, Number 13||30 June 2000|
Welcome to the 21st edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. And Happy Independence Day! We've got a particularly patriotic issue for you. Hope you get a bang out of it.
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:
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 [email protected].
Our time-honored review policy is to stick to software that is cross-platform. We just hate to find out some great new product doesn't run on our Commodore 64. And we're tired of writing letters to developers about the historical importance of supporting the Commodore platform. They just don't get it.
On the other hand, you can't keep a sparkler from dazzling.
And that's just what we've found. A product that dazzles in cataloging your images. It's Rune Lindman's QPict for Mac OS.
No, it doesn't run on our Commodore 64. But it's a significant product because it makes it both easy and pleasant to catalog your images. Which means you're actually likely to use it.
Most catalog programs still sting from the smoky air of some database programmer's cubicle (no offense, we're one of them). The rest of the world can't see through that stuff.
QPict 4.5.1 seems to come from another world. Where they breathe design, elegance and usability.
Others would do well to emulate this approach, so we're hauling out the trumpets and blasting away.
INSTALLATION & SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
You drag. You drop. You're done. Except you might want to applaud. Maybe even weep with joy.
We don't much care for the kind of installers that seem inevitable with the complex products sold today. They make assumptions about our system that don't quite account for all its idiosyncrasies. Even when they leave a log behind, we're afraid to read it.
QPict's simple installation also means [toot the trumpets] that the thing runs on old systems. Like a 680x0 Mac running System 7.5.3 with QuickTime 2.5. Not even Steve Jobs can say that.
And if you're missing an optional system component, you can get it from the very well organized QPict site at http://www.glunet.se/qpict/additional-software.html. It isn't forced on you, but it's available. Very civilized.
QPict documentation is an Adobe PDF file that includes a table of contents to speed navigation. The program has a help menu that augments the documentation with links to the QPict Web site.
There are some system requirements. Like 3.2 megabytes of disk space. And you do need some RAM, but just four free megabytes. QPict displays exactly how much RAM is free at the bottom of any index file window.
Four megabytes of RAM "limits" you to cataloging 1,000 images at a time since QPict does its work in RAM. But even at that, you can view index files with twice that many images.
And if you've got 20 megabytes free you can rule the world.
INDEXING YOUR IMAGES
If you know how to use the Finder, you know how QPict operates. Did we mention drag and drop? Drag and drop. Anything. Onto the QPict icon in the Finder. A whole CD of images, for example. Or a folder of images. Your hard disk, say. Or a SyQuest. How about a Zip. Or a stack of Zips. QPict can handle it.
You can also launch the program by double clicking on it and then drag your images into the empty window it displays. Much as you spread out slides on a light table.
There's more than one way of working with QPict. It's flexible by design.
And powerful. However you get your images into QPict, it creates an index of them, reading the image headers for data and creating thumbnails to store in the index. It will optionally create a thumbnail to store with the original file, if you like, too.
An index has some settings of its own. You can password protect it, lock it, have it open with a slide show or a comment.
Throwing images at a program and having them automatically indexed is one of our lifelong dreams.
Well, we're not quite that easy to please. Creating an index is one thing, but organizing it is another.
Say we have a two floppies of sunsets and three Zips of baby pictures. We index them by dragging them onto QPict. Great, now we aren't mounting and unmounting disks to find the sunsets. But we don't want to look through all the baby pictures just to find a sunset.
We have to organize our collection. And that's the dirty work. Categories, keywords, yikes. You could be at this a long time. In other programs. QPict really makes it a breeze.
Open an index and you see rows and rows of thumbnails. We've got rows of sunsets and baby pictures in our hypothetical collection. We want to separate the sunsets from the baby pictures. So we select the sunsets by drawing a marque around them or holding the shift key down and clicking on them. Just like making a selection in the Finder.
Then we just tell QPict to add the keyword "sunset" to every picture in our selection. We don't have to do it at all. QPict will do it for us.
With all our sunrises selected we simply pull down the customizable Scripts menu and select Add Keyword. Type our keyword into the dialog box that pops up and in the blink of an eye our selection has the keyword added. You can remove a keyword just as easily.
Categories work the same way. And, similarly, you can add comments and filenames. And quite a few other notations.
QPict reads and writes American Newspapers Publishers Association notation to assign categories, keywords, captions and credits to your image files. Adobe Photoshop and Canto Cumulus both understand ANPA notation, so your QPict work won't be wasted in those programs.
You can, of course, just select one image and fill in each field like in any other database. The Edit Item Information option neat tabs the various groups of information into categories of its own: Information, Caption, Credits, Keywords and Categories.
And by using Batch Processing (which looks a lot like Find File or Sherlock), you can apply or remove categories and keywords and annotations like Date Created, Copyright, Title (even if they're embedded in the image itself). Simultaneously.
Power like that is dangerous, of course. Because it is, by nature, undoable, you can destroy your index or lose critical information in your image if you are careless. But changes can be applied solely to the easily duplicated index file, if you prefer to play it safe.
You can view your index either as if it were slides on a light table or index cards. A simple click of an icon just above the vertical scroll bar switches between views.
You can change the order of the images by simply dragging them around. A double click opens the image in a window of its own.
You can show or hide the toolbar (which sports some of the clearest icons ever painted), change the sort order or show extended item information (in which the thumbnail is accompanied by a card showing the most important data stored with it, like keywords). All with just one click.
No image editing tools are provided and the Rotation script isn't functional in the version we tested. But Lindman told us "I'm working on an (free) update that will be released shortly that will fix this. The rotation is lossless. The image is rotated at the same moment it is being shown and the actual media file is never changed."
And, yes, you can run a slide show. Not the most full-featured slide show, but a solid basic slide show in which you can vary the order and delay between images. You can pick a background, but QPict doesn't do dissolves or tiling. During the show a control window lets you pause and reverse direction.
Printing a contact sheet can be done either from the program or the Finder.
Index files are independent of the images themselves. You can catalog CD after CD, Zip after Zip and store the originals at Fort Knox while keeping the index files handy. In fact, you can create a single, large index file to track all your images.
Assuming you can actually find what you may one day be looking for.
QPict makes that simple. The multithreaded search engine can test your collection for several criteria at the same time -- and run several searches simultaneously. And when you use it, you'll find it looks just like the Batch Processor (in fact, it's just another tab in the same dialog box).
You can tell QPict to look in the current index or just among the images selected in the current index. And you can tell it how to handle the results, too. Move them to a new index, copy them to a new index, remove them from the current index or simply select them. Or you can have QPict display what it finds, run a slideshow, show the original file or open the info window. And, finally, you can run Batch Processing on the results.
You can store any search criteria you've built in the search dialog box under the Scripts menu. And you can even add a shortcut key to it.
That's possible because QPict is AppleScriptable. The application supports revert, SetTellTarget and Select commands in addition to the required suite. Pretty rudimentary (and undocumented at the moment), but an encouraging development.
But Lindman has already harnessed the power of AppleScript for you in the very easy to use interface to the Search and Batch Processing commands. Anything you do with either of these commands can be stored in the Scripts menu (as we pointed out) and also in the dialog box for either command via a little pulldown button.
You can build more generic versions of any Search or Batch Processing script by including the criteria but leaving the value blank. When you select the script, QPict will prompt for any blank values.
QPict recognizes common still, movie, animation, fonts and QuickDraw 3D formats which are all displayed in an index with their controls. The list of formats includes both QuickTime 4 and some internal formats. Visit http://www.glunet.se/qpict/supported-images.html for the full list.
And QPict converts files it recognizes into the following formats: SGI, Photoshop, BMP, JPEG, PICT, PNG, MacPaint, TIFF, TGA and QuickTime Image. Depending on the format, QPict will let you set some compression or color mode settings. If you choose JPEG, for example, you can select a target size in addition to the quality setting.
In addition to the some rather extensive Preferences settings and the previously mentioned Scripts menu, QPict is fully Appearance Manager savvy. So you can dress it in your favorite Kaleidoscope theme.
INTERNET ACCESSIBLE INDEX FILES
QPict knows about the Web, too. One of the properties of an image can be its uniform resource locator or URL. Like http://www.imaging-resource.com/ (to name an example off the top of my head).
So you can distribute perfectly functional QPict index files without the overhead of distributing the full images and leave it to the recipient to download any image that interests them. By simply double-clicking on the image.
QPict makes it easy to upload the images, too. There's a script, as you might have guessed, to do it.
The more time we spent with QPict, the more impressed we were. There's depth and elegance to its design. The depth means you won't quickly outgrow it. The elegance means you will actually use the program. We suspect you won't even have to develop the habit. It will be as routine and indispensable as copying images from your camera.
Lindman has offered to give away 10 free copies of the $35 program to winners of our July QPict Contest.
How do you win?
Download the latest version of QPict from http://www.glunet.se/qpict and send an email to [email protected] titled "July QPict Contest" with your full name in the body of the message and the first item in the Scripts menu (to prove you've got it). We'll pick 10 winners at random by the end of July.
By DAVE ETCHELLS(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F14/F14A.HTM on the Web site.)
Fuji has been producing digicams for several years now, cranking out a wide range of models for both themselves and other companies (Toshiba and Leica). Their product mix has evolved in two directions, with one series that closely resembles conventional point & shoots, plus a compact line that is highly "pocketable," with a small (tiny?) form factor, and retracting lens covers to instill confidence at just dropping them into your pocket. While they're pushing the boundaries of the con/prosumer space with their high-end S1 Pro digital SLR camera, at the low end, they've established a tradition of offering exceptional value for the money.
Continuing their bang-for-the-buck tradition at the low end, they've just recently introduced their new FinePix 1400 Zoom model, with traditional point & shoot camera styling, a true 3x optical zoom lens (with autofocus), and excellent 1.3 megapixel image quality. At an introductory list price of only $399 and street prices in the low $300s, the 1400 Zoom was a good hundred dollars less than its nearest competitor when it was rolled out to the public in late May of 2000. With its combination of style, features, and price, we predict the 1400 Zoom will find many a happy home!
With the new F1400 Zoom, Fuji's come up with an affordable camera that boasts a compact, portable body and all the basic exposure control necessities plus a nice array of features. The camera's sleek, light-weight body design allows it to tag along wherever you go by easily slipping into a pocket. A sliding cover protects the lens, eliminating the hassle of a lens cap. We were glad to see that unlike other digicams of similar design, this sliding cover does not serve as the power switch, which can sometimes be a little tricky. Instead, the camera is turned on through the mode dial on the top panel, which then activates the lens to slide out into its operating position. We also appreciated the very clean look the camera has, thanks to a limited number of external controls. Although this means the LCD menu system must be used to adjust most of the camera settings (which can put a little extra load on the batteries), it presents a very simple user interface that is easy to figure out.
The F1400 Zoom offers both a real image optical viewfinder and 1.6 inch color LCD monitor for composing images. With the exception of specific exposure variables such as aperture and shutter speed, the LCD screen provides a fair amount of information about the camera, including file size, the number of images recorded, etc. This information display appears in both Record and Playback modes, and can be easily dismissed by pressing the Display button. We were glad to see the inclusion of a playback zoom and a nine image index display mode as well.
The 3x, 6mm to 18mm lens (equivalent to a 38mm to 114mm lens on a 35mm camera) provides a nice zoom range and automatically controlled aperture settings of f3.5 or f8.7. Focus is also automatically controlled (from 31.5 inches or 0.8 meters to infinity) and a macro setting gets as close as 3.9 inches (10 cm). The 2x digital telephoto is enabled by zooming past the optical zoom range, but only when the 640 x 480 image size is selected. Exposure-wise, the F1400 Zoom covers all the basics with options for Automatic or Manual exposure mode. Automatic mode is very straightforward, putting the camera in charge of everything except the flash mode, file size and image quality. Switching to Manual mode allows you to adjust the exposure compensation (from -0.9 to +1.5 EV in 1/3 EV increments) and the white balance (with choices of Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Daylight Fluorescent, Warm White Fluorescent, Cool White Fluorescent or Incandescent) in addition to the previously mentioned settings. Something interesting we noticed is that the 10 second self-timer is only available in the Automatic exposure setting, since the option disappears once you switch to Manual mode. Flash is controllable in both modes, with settings for Auto, Redeye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed and Slow-Synchro, all accessed by pressing the Flash button on the back panel.
Images are stored on 3.3v SmartMedia cards and a 4MB card comes with the camera. Images can be saved as 1280 x 960 or 640 x 480, with an option to resize the larger resolution images to 320 x 240 under the Playback menu. Quality settings range from Fine to Normal to Basic in each file size. Four AA alkaline batteries accompany the camera, but you can also use four AA Ni-MH or Ni-Cd rechargeables and/or purchase the AC adapter accessory (both of which we highly recommend). Even with it's reliance on the LCD, the F1400 Zoom actually performs quite well in the power consumption category, being a bit more efficient than most cameras we've tested.
The camera connects via a USB cable to a PC or Mac and comes with a nice complement of software on one CD. The Exif Viewer, DP Editor and Adobe PhotoDeluxe programs allow you to not only view and organize images, but also set them up for printing, make minor corrections, apply filters for more creative results and take advantage of templates for making greeting cards, calendars, etc.
We have to say that we were pretty impressed with the F1400 Zoom. In a compact, sleek package, you get a 1.3 megapixel camera, a zoom lens, all the necessary exposure control, advanced playback features and very nice image quality, all at a very reasonable price. This camera is perfectly matched for the consumer who wants to take great pictures without worrying about a lot of exposure settings or spending too much money. Given its compact size, we think the F1400 Zoom will prove an excellent companion for just about any destination.
When Fuji first told us about the FinePix 1400 Zoom, they emphasized that this was a camera that had been designed in response to U.S. consumer input, and was tailored to American tastes and preferences. At first sight, the fruits of this focus were immediately obvious in the appealing design and how it fit our hands. We're Americans, after all. ;) Our own reaction was borne out by others we showed the camera to: While there's nothing startling in its design, it elicited very pleased reactions from virtually everyone we showed it to.
The F1400 Zoom is equipped with a real image optical viewfinder that zooms along with the lens (except in digital telephoto, which relies on the LCD). The image seemed to slant ever so slightly toward the left in our test unit. Inaccurate optical viewfinders are a pet peeve of ours on digital cameras, to the point that we're going to start making more noise about it. In the case of the F1400 Zoom, the viewfinder isn't much worse than many others we've seen, but we see no reason why it shouldn't be much better. (Expect to hear more of this from us in the future: We promise to pick on all the manufacturers equally!)
SHUTTER LAG/CYCLE TIMES
We found the shutter lag time with full auto focus to be about 0.62 seconds, which is fairly fast. Average times for cameras we've tested are currently around 0.8 seconds (as of May 2000). Alternatively, shutter lag with prefocus (a half press of the shutter button before the actual exposure) is only 0.17 seconds, which is also faster than the average (typically 0.2 seconds or so).
The camera apparently has no buffer memory, as the shot to shot cycle time at the maximum resolution and image quality setting is approximately 4.3 seconds, which doesn't really change with the number of consecutive exposures. In the lower resolution settings, the minimum shot-to-shot cycle time is about 2.1 seconds. These are fairly speedy cycle times for an entry-level camera.
The F1400 Zoom takes about 3.6 seconds to start up and be ready for the first image and about 2.5 seconds to shut down. Going from Record to Playback mode took an average of 1.5 seconds while switching back from Playback into Record mode took around 1.4 seconds.
With its light, portable body and nice selection of exposure control, the F1400 Zoom looks like a perfect option for the consumer who doesn't want to spend a lot of money but still wants a camera that takes great pictures without too much hassle. At a very affordable price you get a 1.3 megapixel CCD, a true 3x optical zoom lens, detailed control over white balance and exposure compensation, extra features like playback zoom and three compression levels, and above all, very nice image quality. It's a smart little camera, perfectly suited for most standard shooting situations. We think Fuji has a real winner in this unit: Highly recommended!
Our love of the theater, it should be confessed, is unrequited. The only dizzying heights the stage has ever afforded us were balcony seats. Still, we love it.
Even when it is employed as a device to amuse middle school children.
Which is the only time no one will escort you from the building if you try to take a picture of the dramatic developments unfolding before you on the stage. In general (and you are hearing this from a former professional usher who would run for governor in Minnesota if asked at any party), you may not photograph theatrical productions.
But school plays often welcome the attention. And photographing them is an excellent excuse for not applauding. The trouble is: how do you expose for them?
The following professional advice may not be applicable to your local middle school theatrical standards. Lighting systems vary tremendously with school district budgets and the expertise of the janitorial staff (not to mention parent volunteers). Costume designers may or may not cooperate with set designers. But that's what makes live theater so exciting. Until you wither from the feedback in the sound system, anyway.
The first problem is that it can be difficult to get a good angle. Good seats up front in the typical middle school auditorium (which is not a raked theater but a flat gym, usually) are usually reserved by at least 800 members of the female lead's family. So try to find an aisle seat that will let you get up and roam, preferably the side aisles so you won't block any relative views.
Second, consider the set background. If it is lit, for example. If it's a black velvet backdrop, you're going to have tell your camera to underexpose at least a stop (EV -1).
Next evaluate the lighting in general. The stage will no doubt be aflame in footcandles but spotlights may have to do the whole job when the curtain is closed for a scene change and the male lead has to come out and bark at the moon.
Autofocusing should not be a problem. If the audience can see the action, so can your autofocusing system.
Which reminds us: turn off your flash (pager, cell phone and watch). It distracts everyone and it won't illuminate anything from as far away as you have to shoot anyway.
While the lights are up, take a shot of the program. Digicams are great for this. Make sure to zoom in on your star's name. And if there are any posters up or other theatrical displays, now's the time to get them. You're documenting this event for posterity (which has it's own sense of humor), after all.
As the show goes on, you will no doubt see hundreds of larger-than-yours LCD screens flipped out the side of camcorders zoomed in from row 123 to fill the stabilized frame with the recently powdered face of poor Yorrick. Do not envy them. Their own audience will later worry about sitting through the whole thing again.
Think instead about what you can do that they can't.
You'll no doubt be shooting at slow shutter speeds. So look for those moments in the show when the cast is both moving and still. If all you see is motion, forget it, you'll get a blur. You just aren't shooting fast enough to stop motion. But even in some dance numbers, faces may be still while arms move (which greatly aids the choreographer). And shots like that are very, very cool.
We've had interesting results forced on us (in auto exposure mode) with a wide open lens and exposure ranging from the fairly reliably handheld 1/30 to the insane 1/4 second. Exposures at 1/6 and 1/9 second were typical, though, and often yielded good results.
And if worse comes to worst, save your batteries for the hallway after the show where you can play paparazzo with your flash.
There is no less suspense here on the Fourth of July than there was on the original one in 1776.
As night descends, we usually layer ourselves in T-shirts, flannel shirts, sweaters, parkas, panchos and various head gear. Then we march solemnly into the Presidio where we take our place among the gnats and mosquitoes high above the bay. As we hunker down, you can feel the tension mount. Will the fog come in or will we be able to see the fireworks?
But this year we'll add to the suspense by taking a few digicam shots of the proceedings.
What's the big deal? you might wonder. Taking pictures of fireworks with your Average Digicam (our preferred brand) is not as simple as, say, taking them with your Average SLR. A lot of the exposure controls are, uh, missing.
Sure, it would be easy to snag a Nikon D1 from the Museum of Recent Innovations, set it on f11 with an ASA of 200 and hold the shutter open for a few seconds with the Bulb setting. Which always worked fine with the old Nikon FM. But your Average Digicam doesn't have a Bulb setting for the shutter, tends to autofocus, doesn't let you pick the f stop and may not even be as fast as ASA 200. Sounds like a royal pain.
Still, what's the point of being American if you can't snub the King? Let's go for it.
A few generic fireworks tips to start with:
Our general digicam advice:
- Don't use flash. (OK, that's just the warmup act.)
- Remember: location, location, location. Anywhere but downwind. Avoid the smoke. Right angles to the wind may clear the smoke quicker than being upwind.
- Three-cornered hat, er, tripod. You have to stabilize long exposures. Even if your camera can't make real long exposures.
- Cable release. If you hope to catch the shot heard 'round the world.
- Focus. Manually on the first burst and leave it there.
- Frame. Disembodied fireworks are anti-American. After all, this is a celebration of a certain place. Try to get the Washington monument in. Settle for Alcatraz. Meter for the building. If none of the above, zoom back to a wide-angle and get the silhouettes of the awed crowd in the shot. Got to have land.
- Zoom. Hey, these shows are long. You can end up with dozens of shots of what look like nothing more than extraterrestrial traffic. So try a few variations. Like zooming in or out during exposure.
- Don't practice in the back yard. Pyrotechnics should be left to experts.
When we hoist our Average Digicam up to snap the first burst, we'll be following a long line of American inventors who had no clue what they were doing when they made their paradigm-bursting discoveries. Ours, we hope, will lead to another article.
- If you don't have manual exposure control, you must still override your digicam's autoexposure. Use your EV settings to tell you digicam this is a really, really bright shot. You want to capture the color of the highlights, not the detail in the night sky. So you want to underexpose. Try two stops (-2 EV). If you have a choice, choose aperture priority and set the shutter to no more than 10 seconds (or Bulb if you promise to watch it). Certainly vary the shutter setting to capture single bursts or multiple ones, whatever you want to paint on your image.
- During a long exposure (anything over 1/4 second) a CCD can build up noise in the black parts of the picture (the night sky, in this case). Just sitting around doing nothing, a CCD can do that. It's called black current. And like the tea tossed in Boston harbor, you can get rid of it. But only in your image editing program.
- Color balance. Some photographers like to treat fireworks like artificial light. Some prefer daylight. Still others are roasting marshmallows. Experiment.
- Any lens. The choice is really determined by the kind of shot you want to create.
- Don't do in-camera sharpening. You're only asking for more noise. The bombs bursting in air is what you want but the boom is something you don't need to capture.
- Save a few bytes in your storage medium for the Grand Finale. The best is always at the end.
Our personal experimental initiatives (for which we are applying for grants) include:
We'd promise to share the results on, say, Ofoto, but no promises. That fog may roll in, which could make us the first person to ever fog a CCD. The suspense is killing us.
- Shake the camera. We don't have exposures longer than 1/4 second, but we still want those tracers. We're going to toss our camera in the air. Extra points to those who can figure out why we won't drop it.
- Shoot continuously. After we catch the camera, we're going to screw it to a tripod and shoot continuous frames. Not for a movie. No, sir. We're thinking of this as a build-it-yourself kit. American ingenuity, my friend. Each image itself a layer in Photoshop, superimposed one upon the other for the effect of a stroboscopic timed exposure. Should take about 8 of 'em to fake a 2 second exposure.
OK, before I have to release the transcript of my testimony, I admit the Polaroid iZone is not a digital camera. And this isn't a story about how the other side lives, either. This is about fun, after all. And the iZone is, well, a blast.
For less than $30, you can pick up one of these plastic wonders at any corner drugstore (I'm only slightly exaggerating) in any of several colors: red, green, blue, silver. It's got a wide angle lens and a flash (promise me you'll never buy a camera without a flash) and this little protrusion you use to, well, advance the, uh, film.
Which is the fun part. It may not be digital but it isn't color negative film, either. It's Polaroid. And for those of you who have been on the surface of the moon with Kodak instant film, you know Polaroid isn't really film. It's a world unto itself.
The images the iZone creates are, frankly, right up there with contact prints from your 35mm camera. They're about the size, that is, of a 35mm negative.
But with that flash and wide angle lens, you have a device designed to emphasize every adolescent insecurity any teenager could possibly imagine. Are we talking fun or what?
The prints, which develop (unaided) in about two minutes, have another virtue: they stick. Peel off the back and you can attach them to ... anything. Birthday cards, lockers, binders, backpacks, body parts.
The intimacy, and privacy of these small images -- not to mention they're stick-to-it-iveness -- explain their popularity among the budding photographers we know. In fact, the iZone was sold out most places we went at graduation time. Fortunately we were able to buy one from the trunk of an Impala.
The film is another story. At six shots a pack, you're doing well to pay 50 cents a shot. We priced the film at Fry's, Sav-On and Office Max. Office Max agreed to honor Fry's low price. So shop around. And beg.
And don't throw the black plastic film pack away when you finish your six shots. Punch in the two slots on the side to separate the lid from the box and you have two frames. The shallow frame is perfect for one shot and the shadow-box deeper frame is perfect for a second. And if you want to keep more than one out of three shots you take (especially if you're 12 years old), you're doing way way too good already.
We had a lot of fun with the iZone. And we hear Polaroid is too. But that's only fair. If you can develop a device that brings the fun of photography home you deserve worldwide acclaim -- even from digital photographers.
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!
Whiteboard Photo, available directly from the Pixid Web site at http://www.pixid.com, is available for Imaging Resource readers at $20 off the usual $99.95 list price, for a net of only $79.95 at https://secure.teleport.com/~peterwh/pixid/order_ir.html only. See our review at http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/WBS/WBSA.HTM on the Web site.
Download the latest version of QPict from http://www.glunet.se/qpict and send an email to [email protected] titled "July QPict Contest" with your full name in the body of the message and the first item in the Scripts menu (to prove you've got it). We'll pick 10 winners at random by the end of July.
You can email us at [email protected].
RE: Hybrid Video/Still
Where would I find a good site that would show the best all around digital cameras that can do still as well as video?
-- Ray(Good question, Ray. While Imaging Resource's Comparometer has the still camera population documented, I don't know anyone who looks at the stills camcorders produce. But I can recommend http://www.videoguys.com for more about camcorders. This hybrid is just developing, though. I expect we'll look at it more closely as it does. -- Editor)
RE: Archival Inks
I think you and your readers would be interested in the info at, http://www.lumijet.com/PresInks.htm. They have archival inks and paper for most of the Epson printers. Life span of approximately 70 years or so.
I am new to your site and looking forward to your newsletters and results when you start testing printers. Find your site very useful and enjoying.
-- David(Thanks for the encouragement, David! And the tip, too. -- Editor)
I am having difficulty printing my pictures after downloading from my Nikon Coolpix 800 camera. The pictures look terrific on the computer but when printed they are muddy, and shadows appear. The picture never looks like the one on the computer.
Is it me? the printer? or what? Please answer me as this is driving me nuts. Thank you.
-- Deeply Concerned(We're working on an article about this very subject. Slowly. It's called calibration and to work it has to account for everything from your room light to the printer inks. Quite fascinating but also quite a chore. When we get the instructions down so they fit in a single newsletter, we'll publish it. In the meantime, you may get nearly acceptable results by simply changing one or two of the options your printer driver provides. -- Editor)
RE: Paper Chase
You published my passion for Great White Imaging and Photo Paper (plus lamination), which I still like. Here's is a shocking update.
I recently "tested" 18 different papers in my Epson 1200, using the same image. I was bowled over by a new paper, which you must try! It is Jet Print Photo Graphic Image Paper (matte finish), SKU 00077-0. At a price of 22 cents per sheet (at Office Max), this 52-pound extra-heavyweight paper (which looks great without lamination) undercuts my favorite, which runs 50 cents including the lamination pouch. The contrast and deep velvety black achieved on this paper are hard to describe.
Keep up the great work!
-- Gene Widenhofer(Shocking updates are good. As long as they don't have a magenta cast. Thanks, Gene! -- Editor)
RE: Long Life in Interesting Times
I am using an Epson Stylus Photo EX printer with their SO20110 color ink cartridge. My question to you is will the new premium papers such as Epson's premium glossy photo paper or Jet Print Photo's Professional photo paper Superior Gloss Finish and the above named cartridge give my prints any additional time before fading?
-- Red(Paper longevity depends on the acidity of the paper. Today's white newspaper has so much acid that it's brown by the time you finish reading it at the beach. While the Library of America series is published on an archival acid-free paper. So look for 'acid-free' if you want archival paper. How long inks last depend on the stability of their pigments. Although there are age-accelerated tests (visit http://www.wilhelm-research.com), no one really can guarantee anything. We suspect that the more complex the chemistry, the more likely it is to break down, though. The good news is that your original is easily duplicated. And I would urge you to freshly duplicate your collection every couple of years to beat Father Time. -- Editor)
Sony has launched phase two of its ImageStation online digital imaging Web site, striking new deals with Vingage, Zing and Ofoto. Sony's partnership with Vingage adds up to 15 minutes of MPEG videos to personal online picture albums. Zing will create the infrastructure for the new ImageStation site, including picture albums, image sharing through a communities section, custom-made photo-imprinted products, electronic greeting cards, and an e-zine. Ofoto will add fast, convenient and affordable print fulfillment services.
PhotoIsland's new Photo Workshop offers image editing tools iPhotoFantasy, iPhotoWarp, iPhotoFrame, iPhotoMorph, iPhotoEffects and iPhotoMontage. iPhotoFantasy lets you put your face on the body of a pro athlete, rock star or body builder. iPhotoWarp lets you twist, turn, squish and squeeze your face into any shape you like. iPhotoMorph morphs any two photos together. And iPhotoFrame provides a wide selection of frames, borders and artistic edge effects. iPhotoEffects features 20 different special effect tools ranging from Emboss to Pixelate to Sketch. Finally, iPhotoMontage creates a composite of any photo. And you can output your creation on "photo-gifts" like T-shirts and coffee mugs.
PhotoAccess.com has announced its Web-enabled eCamera reference design. The eCamera design helps manufacturers build digital cameras that connect directly to the Internet for seamless uploading, emailing and processing (sharing, printing, storing) of digital photos without the intermediary use of a computer. The eCamera gives consumers the convenience of sending images directly to the PhotoAccess.com or a partner Web site by connecting the eCamera to a standard phone line.
Eastman Kodak Co. has announced the launch of [email protected], the company's new Internet photofinishing service. The service will provide print fulfillment for a variety of customers including photo-sharing sites and software manufacturers. The first [email protected] customers include ememories.com, MyFamily.com, NUWAVE Technologies, PhotoAccess.com, PhotoPoint.com, PicServe.com, Snapfish.com and Weave Innovations.
Energizer has announced the arrival at retail of Energizer(r) e2, a new category of super-premium batteries. The line includes the new Energizer e2 Photo Lithium batteries, distinguished by blue packaging and available in AA, 123, 223, CR2 and 2CR5 cell sizes. The AA Energizer e2 Photo Lithium battery is the longest lasting digital camera battery available, Energizer said, lasting up to five times longer in digital cameras than any other AA battery on the market.
The FotoWire(r) Online Photofinishing Network has released a Macintosh version of their FotoWire software client. Like the Windows edition, the Macintosh edition allows users to upload digital images from their computer directly to one of FotoWire's online photofinishing member labs via the Internet. The free Power Mac client application can be downloaded from http://www.fotowire.com.
ACD Systems has released a Macintosh version of ACDSee, its digital imaging management software, for $29.95 at http://www.acdsystems.com. The software permits high-speed viewing of images in high resolution and improved management of images, movies, and sound clip files. This version includes export features that can save in 10 different file formats.
PhotoWorks has launched a scanning service that offers secure, private scanning of existing photos, including pictures handed down for generations. The service includes a special shipping pack to ensure precious photos arrive safely at PhotoWorks and are returned promptly. Once the pictures are received at PhotoWorks, they are scanned directly into the customer's password-protected archive, after which they are available for use with all of PhotoWorks' services.
Digimarc has announced it will include reader software for Digimarc MediaBridge with Intel PC cameras starting in the fall. Digimarc MediaBridge enables magazines and other printed materials to become a direct bridge to relevant destinations on the Internet. Digimarc embeds an inconspicuous digital code into the printed page that, when held up to a digital camera, tells the software the exact Internet destination to access.
For a limited time, the Agfa ePhoto CL30 Clik! digital camera will ship with three 40MB Clik! discs, giving vacationers and professionals the ability to capture more than 1000 images, triple the picture-taking capacity of the original package. The ePhoto CL30 Clik! uses a built-in Iomega Clik! drive with a removable disk to capture and store digital images. A single 40MB Clik! disk, which Agfa includes with every standard offer, can store between 60 and 360 images, depending on the resolution setting.
Olympus has announced the School of Digital Photography, a comprehensive, full-day digital imaging seminar. The curriculum covers digital basics; file formats; resolution; digital file workflow; file transfers; digital input; digital light box; digital darkroom; output (printing) and more. Robert DiNatale, a noted lecturer and photographer who has taught at Boston University School of Media, the Nikon School of Photography, and the Time Life School of Photography, is the instructor. The school will be held this year in Chicago on Sept. 16; New York on Oct. 28; Atlanta on Nov. 18. Next year the school will be offered in Los Angeles on Jan. 20; Seattle on Feb. 17; Dallas on March 3; Boston on March 24; Denver on April 14; and Washington, D.C. on May 12. Tuition is $99 including lunch.
Digital Image Solution has released a Windows NT/98/2000, full-featured beta of *Eclipse," which formerly ran only under SGI Irix. The download at http://www.formvision.de/eclipse/download.html will run for 30 days and will function with no timelimit on images up to 1600x1600 pixels. Eclipse is designed espacially for working with large images.
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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Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher