The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 3, Number 17 24 August 2001

Copyright 2001, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 53rd edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We whip up Photoshop Elements recipes for Uncle Artie's cheesecake while Dave stays up late to test the first Night Vision digicam. And we (finally) announce a full-text keyword search of our archive.


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:
Nikonusa.com
http://www.nikonusa.com
Nikon introduces the new D1H optimized for Action Photography and Fast Worflow!

When time is of the essence, the D1H makes a superb imaging tool for photojournalism, nature photography, sports and virtually any action shot. Featuring 5 fps for up to 40 consecutive shots, it captures action effectively and shoots more sequences.

With 2.66-million pixels, its CCD creates 3.8-MB image files with 12-bit color depth via the optional Nikon Capture 2 software.

And with an IEEE-1394/FireWire interface handling image transfers, you'll enjoy fast workflow.

For more information visit http://www.nikonusa.com.

Olympus
http://www.olympusamerica.com/
The stylish Camedia Brio Zoom D-150 features a high quality, f2.4f4.3 auto focus Olympus zoom lens, pop-up flash, fast shutter release times of under one second, and AutoConnect technology for simple data transfer via standard USB connections.

The Camedia D-150 is equipped with a 1.3-megapixel interlaced RGB CCD and has a price of $349.

Read Dave's review at and visit our site to catch our latest promotions.

Maha
http://www.mahaenergy.com/
Introducing the PowerEx LiIon PowerBank from Maha!

Got a power-hungry digicam? A PowerEx PowerBank external power pack (brought to you by Maha Energy) lets you shoot for hours longer! The Lithium Ion PowerEx PowerBank MH-DPB140LI is designed for cameras like the Nikon 995 and 880, Olympus E-10 and E-100, HP 618 and 912, and the Minolta Dimage 5 and 7. They need higher voltages at their external power terminal -- and the Lithium Ion PowerBank delivers the volts!

Find out more at: http://www.mahaenergy.com/products/PowerEx/Digicams/mhdpb140li.htm

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Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by over 41,500 readers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: Adobe Makes It Elementary

The recent release of Adobe Photoshop Elements 1.0 is a little like seeing a mouth-watering dessert arrive at the table just after you've polished off a seven course meal. Great, but who needs it?

We took a few weeks to see just what the $99 Elements (with a $30 rebate for owners of Photoshop LE and competing products) can do that our old shareware image processing friends can't. And which we prefer.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Unlike shareware and low-end image processors, Elements assumes you have a pretty new Mac or Windows machine. Which means a PowerPC or Pentium with 64-MB of RAM, 150-MB of free disk space, a CD-ROM drive, 256 colors or more (8-bit video, but frankly if you're using anything less than 24-bit video you aren't getting the picture), 800x600 monitor resolution (but the palette well requires even more). Mac OS 8.6/9.1 or Windows 98/ME/2000/NT 4.0 are supported.

INSTALLATION

One glitch. The registration number is a long one, printed with hyphens on the CD case to help you get through it. But the dialog box prompt is in discrete little fields for each clump of numbers. Typing hyphens is not required -- but if you do, even erasing them won't work. You'll get part-way through the install before it complains the number is wrong. Seems like Adobe engineers work overtime to make installs difficult.

Eventually we managed a clean one and our first launch of the program prompted us to register online. We did. We think. We've registered other products there before, so it knew everything without asking us to enter anything but our password. Still, we didn't sail through cleanly. We decided to let Adobe worry about that.

AFTER THE PARTY

After the installation party, you clean up.

Full installation fortunately included a log of what was installed where. Adobe insists on installing Gamma (for color profiling your monitor). If you've calibrated your monitor with some other utility, disable Gamma.

Very little of the installation modified our OS (an HTML Renderer was added and some application support for Acrobat Reader). We already had the latest ATM and Reader installed, though.

The actual installation used only 61-MB of the 150-MB required. Elements itself is a 15-MB application set for a 32-MB memory partition.

Nearly 500 files of the install (about 5.4-MB) is devoted to a wonderful HTML help system designed to make working on color images comprehensible in bit-sized pieces. It doesn't just explain Elements' menus and commands, but tackles everything from color theory to tutorials on common tasks. This little jewel is worth the price of admission alone.

Books can't do justice to image editing. eBooks are a big improvement over the printed page because they can show the actual RGB images you have to work with. A printed page only shows you a CMYK image twice removed from the desktop (halftoned and printed). So an HTML tour of image editing that you can run locally (not over a phone line) is a godsend. You can look things up quickly and color is true.

Elements relies on HTML and an installed browser quite a bit. But running the HTML apart from Elements didn't work too well. Files couldn't be found by the browser that Elements knew about or needed.

Since Elements supports the Adobe plug-in architecture, this is a great time to copy your favorite plug-ins to its plug-ins folder.

Then you're ready to go.

WHERE YOU CAN GO

So what can this mini version of Photoshop actually do? Rather than tour the menus and list what's here and what's not in a feature-by-feature comparison with Photoshop itself, we thought we'd try the Uncle Artie Cheesecake test.

Uncle Artie is a Texan. And when he makes his family-famous cheesecake, he doesn't follow the instructions on the back of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese wrapper. He brings his special food processor, which looks like a B-52 propeller blade in a wind tunnel and gets up on Texas time (two hours too early, in our opinion) to begin a mysterious process that takes three hours. That food processor, we suspect, changes the molecular structure of the cream cheese into something closer to cumulus clouds.

Artie's developed a technique for cutting his cheesecake that produces a nearly transparent slice. So instead of a table full of stuffed relatives and friends pleading, "Make mine thin, Artie!" you have the same crowd demanding, "Double up on mine!" Which gets a grin out of Artie as he fiendishly continues to slice them thin.

I was sitting next to Artie the other day and grabbed my digicam to record this event. My favorite shot was Artie smiling with the knife poised just over the still whole cheesecake. But it also had a few very common defects that made a perfect test for Elements.

ROTATION

The first problem was that I hadn't held the camera straight. Ever do that? In this case, the problem was too serious to ignore. Just behind Artie were some strong vertical elements: the glass door frames leading to the deck.

Elements has two special Straighten commands (one that crops the image and one that doesn't). You don't have to set it up at all, just tell it to get to work. A progress bar told us what was going on (it isn't slow, but it isn't quick) and a few seconds later, those door frames were straight in the middle and converged evenly from the sides. Very nice.

Of course, this isn't always a good idea. We'd tightly framed our shot of Artie and his cheesecake so we would have had to lop off a rather large slice of cheesecake and a bit of Artie too, to make the image's edges perpendicular to the straightened frames. We opted for the "action" version of the shot.

RED-EYE

Fixing red-eye (a perennial problem with on-camera flash) is never as easy as it should be or as tough as it sounds. We've described our favorite technique before, but Elements seems to appreciate that most digicamers will not have read it (in the Dec. 31, 1999 issue). They provide a Red-Eye Brush.

Select the red-eye brush and go over the eyes (magnify them first to make it easy) and your red-eye is desaturated. Simple as that. And it won't get any simpler until some program learns how to identify an eye. Nothing to select, but you can alter the target and replacement colors and tolerance. Just paint.

Fortunately, the room was pretty bright so Artie didn't have red-eye. But we thought this was a pretty straightforward way to handle the problem. Paint Shop Pro [W] is vastly more sophisticated about this (well, you have more options) but the solution doesn't require sophistication.

OVEREXPOSURE

We were too close when we took the picture, so the flash burned out Artie's white T-shirt and made the cheesecake look like Cool Whip.

Elements has two menu commands to improve exposure. Fill Flash lets you lighten up the dark parts of a picture with a Lighten slider, as if you had used your flash at less than full power to boost the available light. And Adjust Backlighting will do just the opposite, providing a slider that Darkens the light parts of an image (like those burned out skies). We tried that but we didn't like what we got. Our problem was simply too severe for this solution.

Instead we used our favorite Photoshop technique for fixing overexposed shots. We used the Layers palette to duplicate the image, set the Mode of the top layer to Multiply and scaled back its Opacity, in this case, to 50 percent. Perfect!

Adobe has designed Elements with a lot of help and some short-cut commands to fix common problems, but it also left room for more sophisticated solutions like this one. We're very glad to see Layers and Modes in Elements.

COLOR CORRECTION

What good is macro mode if you can't take a scrumptious picture of a piece of Artie's cheesecake without flash? And so we did, but the room light was more romantic than appetizing, making for a somewhat yellowed cheesecake. How could Elements get rid of the overall yellow cast?

There are a lot of ways to approach this problem. We've explained how to use the Levels command (look for Histograms in the Index) to quickly restore color balance, a number of plug-ins address the problem (iCorrect among the best) and some stand-alone programs (Photogenetics, for example) provide yet another approach.

To find out what Elements suggests, we used its Recipes window. Recipes tells you how to use Elements with short explanations of what to do and why you're doing it as well as a button to bring up the tool you need to use.

We found Color Correction among the topics and followed the suggestions to Remove a Color Cast. Which was to Enhance|Color|Color Cast. That lead us to the gray color eyedropper and the advice to "click around the area of the image that should be gray, white or black." This gave us a rather blue cake (we didn't have a gray, white or black area in the image).

So we tried the Recipe called Adjust the Tonal Range. That lead us to Levels. Which did the trick.

But the best news is that you can do your color correction by comparison using Variations. This tool shows thumbnails of alternative color, contrast and saturation settings. You just pick the one that looks best.

FUN

Among the filters are all sorts of artistic effects that are fun to play with but one really stands out. Liquify lets you stretch and shrink aspects of your image into almost cartoon-like exaggerations. It's been a favorite trick of programs like Goo! for years and it's nicely implemented in Elements.

We couldn't risk Texas-izing Uncle Artie a bit. We lengthened his nose and turned his jaw into something fit for Mount Rushmore. And we increased the size of those thin slices of his by raising the flat top of his cheesecake into a dome. Fiendish indeed.

Who says image editing isn't fun?

We even enjoyed Photomerge, which makes it pretty easy to build a panoramic image from any number of shots (as subscriber Tams Terra reminded us). We were pretty bad about the shots we gave it, but when it got confused it was very gracious about letting us finish the job.

NICETIES

We found some nice touches in Elements, too.

File Info was one. With a digicam image open, you can see some Exif header information (we'd have liked to see all of it but only camera make, model orientation, resolution, firmware version, some color positioning data, date and time and JPEG compression setting were available). You can also use this dialog window to enter copyright information.

Automate builds a letter-size contact sheet of thumbnails for any directory you choose. It also provides an option to print a single image in several "Picture Packages" (which you can customize yourself) like two 5x7s. And it can build a Web page.

Elements also makes it easy to embed a color profile with your image. And the printed documentation clearly explains why you might want to do that.

WHAT WE MISSED

Like Artie's cheesecake, Elements is very satisfying -- but you can never get enough of some things.

We'd have liked to see an Action to resize an image for email (although the manual explains how to use the Batch command to do it). And we're sorry that Actions are read-only (you can't write your own). Image editing cries out for automation.

We don't think many people will miss channels or CMYK mode (especially printing to inkjet printers, whose drivers prefer RGB data).

Don't buy Elements for the so-called digicam connectivity. You should be working on duplicates of your images to begin with (not camera originals that have never been copied) and this won't work anyway without a driver for Elements.

We like to divulge our secret recipes for fixing things like red-eye or color casts and for doing tricks like 3D imaging. When we write on those topics we try to imagine our readers are using an image editor with a basic set of commands, so whether you're using Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop you can follow the bouncing ball.

Elements has (almost) all the elements we hope you'll find when you follow our instructions, we're delighted to say.

But it is missing the single most important tool in any image editor's bag. Whether you are comfortable using it or not, we feel it really should be available. We're talking about Curves.

We promise to provide more than the two minute course on Curves we gave in our Correcting Color Negatives article (especially how to exactly match a color with it). You can do just about anything with Curves. Which is why we miss it in Elements.

Fortunately, Adobe left the back door open by providing the plug-in architecture. We hope some enterprising soul will leap in with an Elements Curves plug-in.

IN CONTEXT

Elements is both a new product and as old as Photoshop. Adobe is to be commended for not simply shoving Photoshop 3.0 out the door as Elements. And commended for adding short-cuts and simplifications to Photoshop 6 that make working with Elements easier for the beginner.

But its biggest advantage over the competition is the extensive multi-layered help. Nothing quite prepares you for image editing. It isn't obvious what you can do or how to go about it. Elements makes that about as clear as it can be made.

There is some sacrifice in performance over the competition, though. The program is bigger than most and slower. The Tips window changes every time you select a new tool, after all. You can disable all that, but it's one of the big advantages -- like training wheels on your first bicycle.

So if you're comfortable using the competition, we don't see a compelling reason to move to Elements. But if you're new to image editing, this is a very good place to start. You'll have the basic tools you need to do almost anything and excellent support.

And that can be almost as satisfying as a slice of Uncle Artie's cheesecake.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Sony DSC-F707 -- A Night Vision Digicam

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F707/F7A.HTM on the Web site.)

MANUFACTURER OVERVIEW

Sony has dropped another bombshell with the 5-megapixel DSC-F707. This model will go down in history as the first Night Vision digicam, incorporating NightShot technology and NightFraming IR mode for low-light and no-light framing and shooting. Add to that a Hologram Autofocus feature to zero in on low-contrast subjects and you've got one heck of cool camera!

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

"Wow! What a camera!" was our initial reaction to the new Sony. In addition to its super-size, 5-megapixel CCD (5.2 million effective pixels), the F707 offers a host of innovative technologies and improvements over previous Sony digicams. Among the most exciting new features are the NightShot, NightFraming and Hologram AF technologies.

The NightShot technology, borrowed from Sony's consumer camcorder line, allows you to see and capture images in almost total darkness. Capitalizing on the CCD's super sensitivity to infrared light, the F707's NightShot mode removes the IR filter from the front of the CCD and projects IR beams from two small LEDs on the front of the camera. The resulting image is monochromatic, similar to the view through night vision goggles.

The NightFraming mode uses the same technique, allowing you to frame dark subjects using the IR beams, but once focus is determined, the camera replaces the IR filter and makes the exposure with normal flash.

The Hologram AF feature uses a laser diode and tiny holographic diffraction grating to produce a crosshatched pattern of bright red lines on the subject. This projected pattern stays more or less "in focus" almost irrespective of subject distance, so there's always a sharp pattern for the camera to focus on. Hologram AF isn't just for low light, you'll sometimes see the camera using it in fairly normal lighting if there's not enough contrast to use the contrast-detection AF system effectively. We had great focus results in our low-light testing and are duly impressed with this new focusing mechanism.

Another first for Sony is through-the-lens flash metering, which provides more accurate light readings than the conventional on-camera sensor (especially in low-light and no-light settings). Many digicams provide flash metering, but the F707 is the only prosumer model we're aware of that offers true through-the-lens metering.

The F707 features the same rotating lens action we so loved on the F505 and F505V models, providing approximately 135 degrees of rotation, for some very versatile shooting options. The camera's overall dimensions are 6.31x4.88x2.63 inches, but they're somewhat misleading since the camera body itself is only about 2.75 inches deep and the lens extends nearly 4 inches beyond the body's front panel. Because the lens is so long, the F707 is much too bulky to fit into even a large coat pocket; however, it's reasonably lightweight for its size (22.39 ounces) and easy to carry using the supplied neck strap.

The camera has two options for precision framing: a large 1.8-inch color LCD monitor on the back panel and a smaller LCD in the form of an electronic viewfinder at the eye-level position. The EVF is designed much like a conventional viewfinder, with a diopter adjustment dial on top to accommodate eyeglass wearers. The same information display is shown on both monitors, reporting battery power, Memory Stick capacity, flash status and the number of images taken, plus various exposure settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, image size and quality. A small switch directly above the monitor allows you to switch between the large LCD and small EVF monitors. We're no fans of EVFs, but the F707's seems to provide much more resolution than is normally the case. With the optional viewfinder magnification during manual focusing, the EVF is even marginally useful for setting focus.

The F707 has a 5x, 9.7-48.5mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens (a 38-190mm 35mm equivalent) with better performance than most any other lens we've tested. The aperture can be manually or automatically adjusted from f2 to f8 and shutter speeds range from 1/1000 to 30 seconds. Focus also can be automatically or manually controlled, with a single readout display that shows the distance in metric measurements and an Enhanced Focus function that temporarily doubles the size of the image in the viewfinder as you turn the focusing ring. Macro performance is very good, with macro focus distances ranging from 0.8 to 19.7 inches, and 2x digital zoom is also available.

In addition to a full Manual exposure mode, the F707 also provides Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program AE and Scene exposure modes. The Scene exposure mode provides three preset shooting modes for Twilight, Landscape and Portrait.

Multi-Pattern, Center-Weighted and Spot Metering options are available in all shooting modes, selectable via the Spot Metering button on the camera's lens barrel. White Balance options include: One Push (manual setting), Outdoor, Indoor and Auto. Exposure Compensation is adjustable from -2 to +2 exposure values in one-third-step increments. The ISO value can be set to Auto or 100, 200 or 400 equivalents. Built-in flash features Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced and Suppressed operating modes, with a variable flash intensity adjustment. As an added bonus, the F707 offers an external flash connection and cold shoe mount, which allow you to use a more powerful flash with the camera.

The F707 also provides a Movie mode with sound recording, which stores files in the MPEG EX format. A Clip Motion option captures a series of up to 10 still images, recorded as a GIF file. A Picture Effects menu captures images in Solarized, Sepia and Negative Art tones and a Sharpness setting allows you to control image sharpness.

The Record menu offers a list of Record mode options, including a TIFF mode for saving uncompressed images; a Voice mode for adding sound clips up to 40-seconds long to accompany captured images (great for "labeling" or annotating shots you've taken); and an E-Mail mode that saves a separate 320x240-pixel file, in addition to your normal size image, that's small enough for email transmission. An Exposure Bracketing mode captures three images at three different exposures. Burst 3 mode captures three images in rapid succession with one press of the Shutter button (shot-to-shot frame rates vary with the pixel resolution size and the amount of image information being recorded). Finally, there is a Normal setting for standard JPEG compressed images.

Images are stored as uncompressed TIFFs, JPEGs, MPEGs or GIFs on a 16-MB Memory Stick included with the camera. A video cable is also provided with the camera for connecting to a television set and a USB cable for a computer. Software supplied with the F707 includes MGI's PhotoSuite SE [MW] and VideoWave SE [W] for image downloading, image-correction and a variety of templates for creating greeting cards and calendars, as well as basic video editing.

The F707 uses an NP-FM50 InfoLITHIUM battery pack (M series) and comes with an AC adapter that doubles as a battery charger.

NIGHT VISION

NightShot technology was first pioneered by Sony in its consumer camcorder lines and is now making its way into digital still photography. In the F707, it allows you to do things with a digital camera that you simply can't do with a film-based unit, like take pictures in total darkness.

NightShot and NightFraming take advantage of the CCD's sensitivity to infrared light, normally filtered out because it tends to skew the camera's color rendering in bright sunlit scenes. Sony's NightShot technology uses a movable IR filter that lets the camera take advantage of this IR sensitivity in low-light situations and block it at other times.

In NightShot mode, the camera flips the IR filter out of the way for both the framing and exposure. Any natural IR light in the scene is supplemented by two infrared LEDs on the front of the lens, which project IR beams onto the subject. These lamps don't completely cover the field of view at wide angle, but they do a pretty good job from about halfway up the zoom range toward telephoto. The built-in illuminator lamps enable you to shoot in total darkness, but the pictures you capture will be monochromatic, with the majority of light areas showing a green cast (as is typical with Night Vision goggles).

In NightFraming mode, the camera also flips the IR filter out of the way and turns on the illuminator lamps, but only while you're framing your shots. As soon as you half-press the Shutter button, the IR filter flips back down and the camera takes a normal visible-light photo, using its built-in flash. This is particularly handy for nighttime flash shooting, when you wouldn't be able to see (or focus on) the subject otherwise.

We'd really like to see the NightFraming made available for other exposure modes besides Auto and to be able to choose whether or not to fire the flash. We enjoy taking night shots from a tripod and the NightFraming would be a nice way to take advantage of the F707's 30-second maximum exposure time and excellent noise reduction.

Overall, NightShot and NightFraming are a tremendous extension to digital photography, clearly taking it into realms that film-based cameras just don't travel. Sure, you can shoot with IR film, but the no-light viewfinder capability of NightFraming just isn't available in the film world. Combined with the Hologram AF feature, they make in-the-dark digital photography more practical than it's ever been. Big kudos to Sony for bringing these innovations to digital photography!

CONCLUSION

The DSC-F707 is an impressive addition to Sony's digicam line, with exciting new innovations in focusing technology. It captures truly excellent color and image quality, thanks to its 5.02-megapixel CCD and has enough exposure control and features to appeal even to professional photographers. Its lens is top-notch, producing tack-sharp images from corner to corner (although we did find a little chromatic aberration). Novice users will appreciate the Program AE and preset Scene shooting modes, in which the camera chooses all exposure settings, while still giving them plenty of room to grow into the camera.

With everything this digicam has going for it, the F707 should do very well. Highly recommended and big kudos to Sony for the focus innovations!

Return to Topics.

New on the Site

At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:

Return to Topics.

Beginners Flash: The Two-Cornered Frame

We never get bored of cutting the odd shaped mat for our images (and you may remember us blabbering about this before). But it has occurred to us that we could make it easier to see what we mean.

In fact it just occurred to us.

We'd shot some pictures of our suddenly prolific summer rose and had one we really liked (shot at -1 EV, to preserve the color) that showed everything from a blossom through a fully developed flower.

And naturally we printed it full frame at 8x10, matted it and dropped it into one of those $3 11x14 black plastic frames with glass we're starting to find in abundance. Lovely, lovely. And on to the next image.

But we had a slightly yellow version of the print just laying around waiting for the Room Cleanup Time when we inadvertently tossed a 5x7 mat on the thing and, guess what, a whole new picture appeared!

You could see them side by side and never guess they were (except for the yellow cast) identical.

But you don't have to rely on accident to see your images in a whole new way. Our favorite device for this is very simply made. Just find an 11x14 mat with an 8x10 opening.

Ours was slightly irregular (after botching one of the cuts). But rather than discarding it, we cut the mat in two, diagonally. Hope that's clear. From the top left corner, that is, to the bottom right. Slice. Two L-shaped pieces.

That made it an Adjustable Mat.

With an adjustable mat you can lay one corner down and position the opposite corner independently of it. All sorts of rectangles (thin ones, fat ones) and even squares are now only a nudge away.

We like to do this on the print itself rather than simply cropping the shot in our image editor. The mat keeps the world at bay (something hard to do in today's palette-cluttered image editors).

With a flick of the wrist, you can try out a number of different arrangements. And you'll no doubt be amazed at what you see.

We're getting so mat crazy that our walls are lined with 'test' crops holding scraps of test prints. Maybe we'll get tired of one or prefer another crop, but we like being able to live with them a few days. Even if the feeling is not mutual.

Return to Topics.

In the Forums

Visit the Imaging Resource discussion forums at http://www.photo-forums.com to find out what people are saying about the latest digicams, hard-to-find accessories, friendly suppliers, clever techniques, you name it! Recent hot topics include:

Wow! Find out about the camera that figuratively knocked our socks off at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee867ac

Compare Olympus camera prices at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee860fe

A reader asks about using tripods at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee86774

Get the latest on Nikon's Coolscan 4000 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee7b152

Visit our Software Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee6b2b0

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Dave's Deals

Looking for special prices on featured products? Because of their time-limited nature, we only publish them in the email version of this newsletter. The good news is that you can subscribe for free on our Subscriber Services page:

Subscribe for Great Deals!

We deliver -- just Subscribe!

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We Have Mail

You can email us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

RE: Hear Trees Falling?

Are there resources to buy photo glossy paper in bulk at good prices?

-- Susan D.

(Discount office supply superstores haven't quite grasped our collective craving for bulk photo glossy paper. Sometimes you can find it, sometimes not. But we are encouraged to see it now showing up at warehouse superstores like Costco. Brand names in bulk at great prices. -- Editor)

RE: Wild Guess #304

I have posted this on the Resource Web site, but I thought I might check with you to see if you had any inside info.

I have a D30 hooked via USB to a Pentium III with 256-MB of RAM. Photos are taken using the RemoteCapture software and images stored directly to the PC's hard drive. The camera is powered up with AC and left on so nurses at the hospital can take photos of newborn babies. After the photo is taken the nurses print a wallet size photo (also using RemoteCapture) on an order form.

Here's the problem. The PC/camera locks up at least once a day (sometimes more) for no reason known to me. It's as if the PC looses communication with the camera.

-- Doug

(We prefer to indulge in Wild Guesses rather than shuffle the insect-infected inside info piled up here. Our first wild guess is that this has something to do with energy saving. See if the Pentium or its hard disk is going to sleep to conserve energy. On waking it may no longer recognize the PCI USB card. Uh, Dave? -- Editor)
(An exceptionally quick answer back from Chuck, my contact at Canon, follows. Looks like Mike was right, it's almost certainly the sleep issue. -- Dave)

On the Windows PC, be sure to set the Display settings in the Control Panel so the computer will never go to sleep. There are several steps involved. On the Screen Saver tab of the Display Properties dialog box, set the Screen Saver for None. On the same tab, click the Settings... key of the "Energy saving properties" section to call up the Power Options Properties dialog box. On the Power Schemes tab of the Power Options Properties dialog box, set the "Turn off monitors" and "Turn off hard disks" settings to "Never."

For best results on the D30 side, power the camera with the DC Coupler and Compact Power Adapter. This will prevent the camera from going to sleep.

These steps should solve any sleep-related problems. However, for even more reliability, consider disconnecting the camera if it won't be used for an extended period, let's say 15 minutes or more. This Does Not Mean Physically Disconnecting the USB Cable. The RemoteCapture program has settings (in the File pulldown menu) for Connecting the Camera (Ctrl-O) and disconnecting the camera. In this case, I am talking about disconnecting the camera in RemoteCapture.

Under these conditions, the workflow for using the camera and PC starts by leaving them physically connected and running at all times. When you want to take a picture with RemoteCapture, start by commanding the software to connect the camera (Ctrl-O). When you are finished, command the software to disconnect the camera.

-- Chuck Westfall, Canon

(We suppose Ctrl-O is more appropriate than Escape for a maternity ward, no matter which Shift the nurses are on. -- Editor)

RE: A Squirt By Any Other Name

Has any past issue discussed the form of digital imaging known as "Giclee"? Or will it be covered in the future? Or can you tell me where to get some info?

-- Charley

(The giclee (ji-clay') printing process uses an Iris printer to squirt microscopic ink dots onto fine quality paper or canvas. In French it means "to squirt." Visit http://home.ici.net/customers/imagczar/Iris.html to learn how it works.... That article dates from 1998. The prepress world (which made a nice home for Iris printers) has since then found less expensive Epsons do just as well (with less maintenance). Meanwhile, inkjets have found their place in the home, too. Since you can buy specialty papers (even canvas) to print in your inkjet, you can, technically, do giclee prints at home. Which is probably why we don't hear much about them anymore. They came on the scene as a fine arts alternative to lithographs and took print life quite seriously. -- Editor)

RE: Saving a Sony CD

I think some of your readers may be interested to know all isn't lost when their new Sony CD-300 or CD-200 camera does not recognize the 3.5" CD that they just filled with all their priceless photos.

I've managed to crash these disks due to impatience and hurrying to turn off the camera before it is done saving. I've also overfilled a disk and crashed it. Also, the battery has gone dead in the middle of a save.

I tried a number of CD drives and could not get any to recognize the disks. However, I found a program called CD-R Diagnostics from CD-ROM Productions (http://cdrom-prod.com). It recovered data in every case but one (that's the one where the cat chewed on the disk -- but that's another story).

-- Joyce Stein

(Thanks very much for the tip, Joyce. We'll follow this up, possibly for review. DirectCD can recover a CD, so we're wondering what this product does in addition.... Sorry about the cat. If the marks aren't too deep, you can polish the surface with toothpaste. That lets the laser beam see the data again. -- Editor)

RE: Printing Envelopes

We have an Epson 1270 and it works fine for text printing and envelopes and my husband uses it to print AutoCAD drawings. We do not print multiple envelopes or many copies of text, so I can't say it would work in that context but for home printing it works great. And of course the photo printing is top notch. I am sure some of the non-photo printers would be faster for business use but you won't get the quality of photos that you would get from an Epson photo printer.

-- Judy Howle

(Thanks, Judy! Envelope printing wasn't supposed to take longer than putting a human on the moon but first things first. If nobody's up there, why send mail to them? -- Editor)

RE: Shopping Advice

Mike, I have the fever and am looking at that Oly E-10. My C-2020Z is great but I miss my SLRs and that seems to be the best of both worlds so far.

The best price I have found is $1,069 at Broadway Photo (http://www.bwayphoto.com). Can you tell me anything about them or point me to someone who can?

-- John S.

(No personal experience to pass along here, John, but we'd look them up at http://www.resellerratings.com and drop by our forums (http://www.photo-forums.com) to ask what other folks know. -- Editor)

RE: Oops!

You probably know this already, but just in case, here goes! In Digital Photo Newsletter Vol 3, No 16 (another great read, BTW), you have a broken URL in the Dave's Deals section. You omitted the ".com" in the digitalriver URL.

-- Jim Warthman

(Ouch! This is what happens when we get clever. We're in the habit of checking every URL in this newsletter from our browser. But when we decided to extend the Deals only to subscribers, they no longer appeared in the HTML version -- and consequently don't get checked. With about 50 URLs in each newsletter (and 75 in the HTML versions, thanks to the navigation links), we decided to write a small program of incredible patience to test these for us. And it made its debut this week. Meanwhile we did monitor mail over the weekend to make sure anyone who was frustrated by the error got a quick answer from us. And we're glad to see the iCorrect Pro offer has been extended. -- Editor)

RE: But We Were Serious

I just wanted to congratulate you on a wonderful newsletter. The quality of writing and the coverage of a variety of topics made it very useful to me. The article on the Kodak systems was informative and had enough technical depth to satisfy more than casual interest. Nice comic relief in the Italian computer terms section. Thanks!

-- Bill Woodruff

(Thanks, Bill! Actually we understand it was the Kodak article that provided comic relief -- at least at Kodak. Those guys must all be planning an Italian vacation. Uh, Adventure. -- Editor)
Return to Topics.

Editor's Notes

Microsoft said they will revise Windows XP to provide a dialog box listing all software options, including third-party products, when a user connects a digicam. The list will also clearly identify scanner and digicam options that are Microsoft products. The company also confirmed that their Picture Transfer Protocol will be accessible via third-party digicam drivers.

Kodak subsequently announced the extension of their EasyShare system with three new digicams, the Kodak DX3215, DX3700 and DX3900 Zoom, all of which will be compatible with Windows XP.

But Kodak is also reportedly negotiating privately with Microsoft over other features of Windows XP. The new OS, scheduled for an October release, includes code to collect a fee for online prints ordered from computers running XP.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold hearings this fall on Microsoft's XP strategy.


ALAP (http://www.alap.com/) has released ImageAdjuster 1.0, a color correction XTension for QuarkXPress. ImageAdjuster enables color corrections of CMYK, RGB and Grayscale TIFF images within QuarkXPress via color adjustment layers. A fully functioning 15-day demo and documentation is available on the ALAP site.


Pictographics (http://www.picto.com) said it will release Version 3.0 of iCorrect Professional, an Adobe color correction plug-in on Sept. 10.


Paramount (http://www.paramountcords.com) has announced a series of synch cords to allow Nikon Coolpix digicams to be used with most professional studio strobe systems. Larry Berman at Berman Graphics has some first impressions at http://www.bermangraphics.com/coolpix/paramount.htm.


Epson has recently reduced the list price of the six-color Epson Stylus Photo 780 (recently reviewed here) from $129 to $99.


Legion paper (http://www.legionpaper.com) has introduced Digital Art Paper Collection, a line of six papers designed for digital artists and photographers. The line includes Somerset Photo Enhanced (in Velvet and Textured finishes), Concorde Rag and Legion Photo (Gloss, Matte and Canvas Cover). A sampler with two sheets of each is available from the company.


Kodak has introduced Ultima Picture Paper, a high gloss paper providing micro-perforated borderless 4x6 prints on inkjet printers at $9.99 for 20 sheets. The company also introduced Picture Paper, an affordable, matte-surfaced paper coated on both sides for printing albums. Also available in soft gloss, it retails at $9.99 for 25 sheets.

Kodak also announced Kodak Picture CD Select, a CD personalized with a descriptive title like "What I Did All Summer." Up to 200 of your online images can be added to a Picture CD Select. Available via Kodak Picture Center Online at Bluelight.com, CVS.com and RiteAid.com, it retails for $14.95.

Kodak Picture Pages are professionally printed, double-sided, custom album pages of selected images including captions. Picture Pages are available through Kodak Picture Center Online or with a Kodak Picture CD for $6.95.


SimpleTech (http://www.simpletech.com) has announced the availability of Type I CompactFlash cards in capacities up to 640-MB and Type II cards in capacities of 850-MB and 1-GB.


Canon (http://www.canon.com) has announced 10 new products: five printers, two multifunction devices and three scanners.

Four of the new Bubble Jet printers (the S300, S500, S630 and S630 Network printers) are based on Canon's Advanced Microfine Droplet Technology. All of them, including the entry-level S200 printer, use inks that will last for about 25 years on Canon's Photo Paper Pro paper. The S500 and S630 printers use individual ink tank systems.

Canon's new flatbed multifunction devices, the MultiPASS F30 and F50Canon both feature the S630 printer engine for fast, high-quality photo printing, copying and scanning plus an individual ink tank system.

The CanoScan N series of 48-bit color flatbed scanners now includes the CanoScan N670U, the N676U and the N1240U. Features include an Advanced Z-Lid expansion top; three buttons for either copying, scanning or emailing images; and Canon's LED InDirect Exposure technology.

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Signoff

That's it for now, but between issues 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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Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/TIPS.HTM

Happy snapping!

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

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