The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 3, Number 21 19 October 2001

Copyright 2001, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 57th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We explain what PRINT Image Matching is all about, see what an inexpensive digicam can do and then we do your color homework (so you have more time to read all this). But don't miss our two new Deals (big grin)!


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 Coolpix 5000. The 5.24-megapixel (5.0 effective) digital camera that's powerful, yet compact enough to carry anywhere.

The super responsive Coolpix 5000 features a top shutter speed of 1/4000 second and shooting speed up to 3-frames per second at full resolution.

It packs a 3x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens. A 1.8-inch LCD monitor that swivels in virtually any direction. A dedicated hot shoe. And the ability to shoot 40 seconds of video with sound.

For more information visit the Coolpix 5000 product page.

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 PowerEx 1700 mAh AA batteries and the MH-C204F rapid charger and conditioner.

Tired of batteries quitting before you do? Pack a set of Maha's PowerEx 1700s with 30-40 percent more capacity than ordinary rechargeables.

And with the MH-C204F intelligent charger you'll need just three hours to fully charge them. Plus its built-in conditioner keeps them ready to go when you are.

For more information, visit: http://www.mahaenergy.com/products/PowerEx/Digicams/index.htm

To order: http://www.thomas-distributing.com/maha.htm


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by over 42,500 readers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: All About PIM

If you haven't heard about PRINT Image Matching yet, you will. And if you have, you've probably wondered what all the fuss is about. Fuss Busters, Inc. at your service here.

The range of colors your digicam can record (a lot) and the range of colors your inkjet printer can print (not quite as many) are, well, not quite the same. You may have noticed.

Even worse, though, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard foisted the sRGB color space on the world. As ranges of colors (or color "gamuts") go, sRGB is about as exciting as the old 16-color palette of MS-DOS.

sRGB works for the Web (where 256 colors is stretching it) and, obviously, for Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. But not for anyone who wants to capture and reproduce 24-bit, "true" color (as Microsoft used to call it).

Epson decided to do something about that.

MISSING LINKS

To optimize printing, they identified several factors: gamma level, color space, contrast, sharpness, brightness, saturation, shadow, highlight and color balance. When you take a picture, you normally don't identify the color space or gamma level. You can certainly set sharpness and adjust contrast on some digicams but, generally, you don't record all of this information.

Before you print, however, you just might (in your image editor) identify the highlight and shadow tone. You may adjust color balance and saturation and sharpen the image for your specific printer. In short, you optimize the image, not for the Web, but for what your printer can do.

THE EXIF IN JPEG

What if, Epson thought (apologies to Hewlett-Packard), that information was recorded at the time the image is captured -- and passed along to the printer? You wouldn't have to set all those things, that's what. And your prints would look better, too.

But how could all the information be passed from the image to the printer?

Well, the Exif header of your JPEG already stores exposure data like shutter speed and f-stop. And has room to store more. So that was the place Epson decided to put all that data.

The typical JPEG header begins with a Start segment followed by the Standard Header, Preview, Application Marker Segment, Quantization Table, Huffman Table, Restart Interval, Frame Header and Scan Header. The compressed data of your image follows that and is marked by an End of Image segment.

Epson slipped its PIM data right into the Standard Header in its Private Tags segment. Now the only problem left was how to record the information.

RECORDING

No problem said Casio, Epson (well), Kyocera, Matsushita, Minolta, Nikon, Pentax and Sony. They've all built digicams that record that information in the Exif header. Konica, Olympus, Ricoh, Sanyo and Toshiba have also agreed to use PIM in future products (but nothing's shipping now).

With one of those cameras and a printer that knows what to do with the new information (uh, Epson makes printers), you have PRINT Image Matching or PIM.

Henceforth cameras need not be clueless about the kind of image they are shooting and printers need not be entirely clueless about what they are printing. And neither is hamstrung by sRGB.

ONE HITCH

You, though, have to tell the camera what it's looking at.

Details vary from one digicam to another but in general the idea is that you select a type of scene and the camera optimizes the PIM settings (as the manufacturer determined them) for that kind of image.

A portrait setting, for example, may set color and sharpness softer than normal for more flattering skin tones and to minimize imperfections (or hard-won wrinkles). While a landscape setting might saturate the colors and sharpen the image for better detail.

If your image gets to your printer via your computer, you have to have PIM-aware software, too. Epson Software Film Factory, for example. Saving your image in a program that is not PIM-aware can strip the PIM metadata (this isn't a crime, actually, since it may no longer be valid as a result of your image editing).

FACTORY SETTINGS

Camera manufacturers can set contrast, brightness, color balance, chroma and sharpness values from 1 to 5 or Off for any scene setting. In addition, they can identify a memory color as Skin Tone, Red, Green, Blue Sky or Off. Sounds complex, but think of it like those buttons on your car stereo you preset for Classical, Rock, Jazz, Talk and Sports. You press the button, your radio knows what to do. Same here. You select the scene (like Sunset, Macro, Sports, People, Landscape) and the built-in settings for that scene are stored with the image.

To the extent that PIM simply writes additional Exif metadata, it's pretty harmless. You can ignore it, your software can ignore it, your printer can ignore it. It has no effect on exposure itself. So, except for a small increase in file size, it doesn't have a downside.

That's nice to know if you leave your digicam set for sunsets when you take a picture of your grandmother.

CONCLUSION

The big advantage of using PIM-enabled products is getting to first base with image quality and avoiding the limitations of the sRGB color space Windows imposes.

But if it were as simple as all that, some guru in Santa Barbara would have developed a dozen Photoshop filters for un-PIMed images that you could apply manually. A filter for Sunsets, another for People. You'd just select the filter, the PIM data would be written to the Exif header and you could wiggle your toes while your PIM printer thrashed out yet another lovely image.

After all, to actually get the most out of any particular print, you'll still want play around in your image editor. Which, after all, is where the fun is. There's no one way to print any particular image. Instead, there's a wide range of acceptable variations, producing a variety of effects. PIM can't help you there.

And to the extent your monitor is your primary photo display device, PIM is useless. Monitors can display an unprintably wider range of colors than any printer.

PIM may not be magic, but it can be handy for printing directly from your camera or just avoiding an image editor. To learn more about PIM, the PIM site (http://www.printimagematching.com) has both FAQs and a white paper.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Fuji FinePix A201 -- What $249 Buys

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the quick review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/C775/C775A.HTM on the Web site.)

INTRODUCTION

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. has made a strong showing in the consumer and prosumer digital photography markets this year, with several new Super CCD cameras designed for the serious digital photographer, two models designed primarily for business and computer users and now three point-and-shoot models for the entry level consumer. The FinePix A101, A201 and 2600 Zoom digital cameras are stylish new pocket-size digicams designed for ease of use and maximum portability.

The 2-megapixel 2600, with a 3x optical zoom lens, expands Fujifilm's midrange line of cameras, while the 1.3-megapixel A101 and 2-megapixel A201 are the first in a new line of A-Series FinePix cameras, targeted at the novice user who wants to buy an inexpensive digicam that delivers good quality images at a reasonable price. With list prices of $179 and $250, respectively, these two cameras deliver a lot of pixels for the money. Take the low price and add a compact, lightweight body; user-friendly interface; plus PC-Cam and video-recording capabilities and it looks like Fujifilm's new A-Series is off to a great start.

CAMERA OVERVIEW

The FinePix A201 is a palm-size, point-and-shoot digital camera that is small enough to travel comfortably just about anywhere you want to go. The durable plastic casing is lightweight, scratch-resistant and features a sliding lens cover that makes it ideal for stashing in a shirt pocket or small purse and toting inconspicuously on vacation, to family outings or to social events. The focus-free lens provides a wide-angle view that is perfect for small group snapshots, local scenery, landscapes and (well-lit) indoor activities where space is at a premium. And the 2-megapixel resolution is more than adequate for making sharp 5x7-inch prints or acceptable 8x10 prints if desired.

The A201 has a fixed-focal-length lens, equivalent to a 36mm lens on a 35mm film camera. Focus is also fixed, covering a range of approximately 10 inches to infinity in normal shooting mode. A Macro switch next to the lens allows you to focus on subjects as close as 3 inches. The fixed focal length lens is somewhat limiting in people photography, since its wide-angle view causes distortion in close-up face shots (an effect you can see in our Close-Up Portrait) and it also prevents you from zooming in on faraway subjects, like individual players on a large soccer field. The A201 does provide digital zoom, which digitally enlarges the center pixels of the image by as much as 2.5x (depending on image resolution), but it doesn't provide the quality magnification of a true optical zoom lens.

An On/Off switch on top of the camera automatically opens the lens cover in both capture and review modes, while the Mode dial next to the switch allows you to choose between Still Record, Playback and Movie modes. The fixed-focus lens makes it very quick on the draw, with virtually no shutter lag from the time you press down on the Shutter button to the time the shutter actually fires. Aperture and shutter speed are automatically determined, but the user can choose from three file sizes (2-MB for 1600x1200 pixels, 1-MB for 1280x960 pixels and VGA for 640x480 pixels) and three file compression settings (Fine, Normal and Basic). The A201's built-in flash is effective to approximately 10 feet from the camera and includes a red-eye reduction setting that helps eliminate the occurrence of redeye in portraits.

The A201's exposure system is very straightforward, with a fully automatic Program AE mode that makes all of the shooting decisions, plus a simple Manual mode that provides two additional image adjustment modes: Exposure Compensation (to lighten or darken an image) and White Balance (to adjust the color balance). The majority of shooting options are controlled through the A201's on-screen menu system, which means you'll have to navigate a small number of submenus to change quality settings or make exposure adjustments.

Along with simplicity and portability, the A201 also offers some creative options. For example, you can record short QuickTime movies (approximately 20 seconds, without sound) of people, pets or possessions (a great way to document items for insurance records). In Auto mode, you can use the camera's Self-Timer mode to trigger a 10-second delayed exposure, enabling you to press the shutter button and then move into position for a self portrait or to join in a group photo before the shutter is released. (The camera must be mounted on a tripod or other stable surface.) Finally, the A201 can be used as a PC video-cam for videoconferencing over the Internet.

The A201 stores images on 3.3v SmartMedia cards and a 16-MB card is supplied with the camera. We suggest buying an additional 16-MB card (or larger) if you plan to travel a lot and don't have access to a computer hard drive for downloading images. The camera comes with two AA alkaline batteries, but can also use NiMH, lithium or NiCd batteries, as well as a CR-V3 rechargeable battery pack (sold as an accessory). The optional AC adapter is recommended for time-consuming tasks such downloading images to a computer. (We strongly recommend buying a set of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger to use with your A201.)

SHUTTER LAG

Overall, the A201 is a pretty fast camera, helped in its startup and shutdown times by not having a telescoping lens to extend or retract. It also has a very brief shutter lag though, as its lens is apparently a fixed-focus design. (No time lost to autofocus.) Shot to shot it's about average these days, but still no slouch. All in all, a pretty speedy little camera.

TEST RESULTS

Color: Color was very accurate and well saturated when shooting outdoors or when using the on-camera flash. Outdoor shots were very pleasing and somehow "inviting" to look at. However, the color balance was very warm (had an overall red cast) when shooting indoors under normal room light. Switching the White Balance setting to "Incandescent" improved color somewhat, but not to the degree we would expect. The A201 fared a little better under fluorescent office lights, with three different White Balance settings to accommodate various types of fluorescent lighting.

Exposure: The A201 performed well in the exposure category, recording bright clear images in most cases, although we found that we had to use the exposure compensation adjustment quite a bit to correct for a persistent underexposure in brightly-lit scenes. Tonal range and contrast were pretty good. The A201 tends to lose some highlight detail when you get the exposure right for the midtones, but photos were "snappy" and pleasing to our eyes.

Sharpness: Image sharpness is about average for a 2-megapixel camera, though we noticed some corner softness from the wide-angle lens. Optical distortion quite low, but chromatic aberration in the corners of the image was somewhat high, perhaps aggravated by the corner softness. (The corner softness was really quite high, but limited to only the extreme corners of the images.)

Closeups: The A201's macro capabilities were better than expected. The camera was able to capture a surprisingly small 2.5x3.5-inch area at a distance of about three inches from the lens. Color was good, with sharp edges and details. Impressive for a 36mm focal length lens!

Night Shots: The camera has very limited low-light capabilities, reliably recording well-exposed pictures at nighttime down to only 8 foot-candles or higher, which is approximately eight times as bright as a well-lit city street at night. (We prefer to see clear images down to at least one foot-candle.) Therefore, we don't recommend the A201 for taking available-light pictures at night or in dimly-lit interiors.

CONCLUSION

The FinePix A201 is clearly aimed at the entry-level, point-and-shoot user. As such it does a good job of delivering good-quality, color-correct images when shooting outdoors (or with the on-camera flash), but it doesn't do well in low-light situations, including indoor available light. That's a shame, since its outdoor photos show such nice, appealing color. It does a good job of meeting most of the needs of entry-level users, plus it offers an extra bonus with the Movie and PC-Cam modes, all at a very affordable price. If most of your shooting is done outdoors, the A201 would be a very good choice for an entry-level, take-anywhere camera.

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: A Lesson in Colorishese

It's hard enough trying to educate your eye to appreciate color, but when it's time to talk about what you've seen, it's as if you need a whole new language. Colorishese.

Let's go back to kindergarten for a minute. Remember watercolors? Remember mixing them? Remember always getting brown? Your education in color science began at that exact moment. But stick with us and in a couple of minutes, you'll have earned an advanced degree.

You may have been pitied (depending on your ability to impersonate Shirley Temple) by some kind, young teacher (let's call her Miss Fairfax) who revealed that if you just mixed the light yellow into the dark blue you would get a lovely green for your trees.

Which, since you already knew how to get brown for the trunk, was really all you needed to know.

Until now.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Color begins with light. No light, no color.

Light can bounce off things like a Superball or go right through things like the withering gaze of a "disappointed" Miss Fairfax. When it bounces back at you, it's reflected light in colorishese. When it comes right at you, it's transmitted.

Your television transmits light to make color on the screen. And when you hold a slide up to the window, you are seeing transmitted light. But when you look at a painting or a photo print, you're seeing reflected light. When you're squinting at your digicam's LCD monitor in bright sunlight the light reflected off the surface of the monitor is brighter than the light it transmits and you can't see anything but glare.

You, by the way, are the last component of color. Your perception is always part of the puzzle.

ON FURTHER REFLECTION

Lets return to your kindergarten paints. You had a white sheet of paper to start with, then you brushed some, uh, brown over it and, presto, you no longer had white. You had brown. You brushed some yellow on the white and, abracadabra, you had yellow, not white. In colorishese, you would say, "Hey, Miss Fairfax, this paint absorbs the entire color spectrum except for yellow!"

You would have discovered that to get white, you don't put anything down, letting the light completely reflect off the white sheet. And to get black, you have to put everything down, blocking any light from reflecting back -- or absorbing the entire spectrum.

If your paints were magically pure (none, alas, are), you wouldn't have to mix all of them to get black, just the cyan (blue and green), magenta (blue and red) and yellow. In colorishese, we just type CMY. To compensate for the impurities of the pigments or dyes (which only gets us to brown), black is often added (your inkjet does it and printing presses do it, too). That's CMYK in colorishese.

Because the more reflected color you apply, the less light is reflected, we call this subtractive color in colorishese. You were subtracting everything but brown by adding watercolor pigments together. Which is why adding even yellow didn't brighten things up.

SEND ME

Fine for reflected light. But what about transmitted light?

That's a whole different thing. Take a close look at your television screen when it's off. Unlike the white sheet at kindergarten, it's black. Now turn it on. Look very closely. You'll see red, green and blue spots. Everywhere.

To make white, your television fires its red, green and blue guns at virtually the same tiny spot full blast. When they're off, remember, the screen is black. In colorishese, that's additive color. We type RGB for red, green and blue.

YOUR IMAGES

You take a picture of light reflecting off objects. The light is recorded by the CCD in your digicam, which sees it through red, green and blue filters. So when your monitor displays your RGB image file, it sets its guns to match the data for the red, green and blue data.

Open that image in your image editor and you can actually see each color independently as channels. The red channel, the green channel and the blue channel.

When you print the image on your inkjet, the printer driver converts the RGB additive color data into just the right (or nearly so) CMYK subtractive color data for the yellow, magenta, cyan and black cartridges in your printer.

THE RUSSIAN DOLLS

That "nearly so" we snuck in a second ago is pretty important. Like Russian dolls, each device in that list represents a smaller and smaller range of colors.

The color you see looking out your window is much greater than the range of colors -- or in colorishese, the color gamut -- of your monitor. But your monitor can display a far greater range than your printer can print.

These increasingly limited gamuts are a big reason why your prints don't exactly match what you see on your screen. Color management systems are designed to profile the characteristics of your camera, monitor and printer to translate one device's red to another's.

DISMISSED!

End of lesson, class dismissed and don't forget to pick up your advanced degree at the door!

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:

The Sony DSC-F707 continues to generate debate at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee867ac

Compare Toshiba camera prices at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee86101

Paul asks about digital zoom versus optical zoom at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee87659

A user asks about TIFF at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee86c7e

Visit our Software Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b0

Return to Topics.

Just for Fun: Another Nobel for Digital Imaging

It's time once again, colleagues, for your nominations for the Ersatz Nobel Prize for Extraordinary Customer Service in Digital Imaging.

Last year, when we first awarded this Ersatz Nobel, we thought it was a dynamite idea. And this year we think we'll all get a bang out of it, too. You can never, after all, have too much Extraordinary Customer Service.

In fact, you might just be wondering what Extraordinary Customer Service actually is (never having seen it). We hope it isn't that rare, however.

If you've had trouble with a product that was happily resolved, you remember it. It may have surprised you that the company in question went to the expense it did, or that the person you were dealing with spent so much time and energy to resolve your problem. Whatever it was, this is the time to tell us about it.

In return, fame, fortune and health -- well, no promises. We'll just remind you that what goes around, tends to come around.

To submit your entry, simply email us at editor@imaging-resource.com with the Subject line "Ersatz Nobel Prize" and we'll announce the winner in the next issue.

Return to Topics.

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: All Thumbs

I need to produce sharp, readable thumbnails or slightly large proofs for my clients from my Coolpix 990.

Photoshop's thumbnails are not sharp enough. Same problem if I use Extensis Portfolio.

I have downloaded samples of Fotopage Gold and ImageBook. Both have possibilities but what I really need to know is if there is a program that will number my digital images with the file names recorded in the camera, then put them into a contact sheet file and have high enough resolution that you can really see the image in sharp detail when printed on my Epson ink jet printer?

-- Doug Wilson

(This is a tough problem, Doug, because you are letting some dumb program minimize the information in your massive 9-MB image down to some tiny little few hundred bytes. It's like jumping down the stairs 10 steps at a time. Easy to break your neck! A lot depends on 1) the subject of your images and 2) the resolution of your printer. But nothing gets around the dramatic reduction in information.... As an experiment, try reducing an image yourself in your image editor to the size thumbnail you'd like. Try it in one step and try it in several. See if you notice any difference in quality.... As for the contact sheet, we really like how Canto Cumulus lets us customize the layout. Any fields (including Exif data) you like with thumbnails of various sizes, which can all be output to HTML to keep your Web site current. -- Editor)

Thanks for the quick reply regarding programs for printing thumbnails.

I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night so got up and worked with the demo of ImageBook 2.5 (http://www.gamutimaging.com).

I found that it will do 300-dpi proof sheets with my digital camera file names, plus other info. The prints look really good.

It's a Photoshop plug-in [M] and will allow a much faster way to see the entire take. My clients can then access the file they want to use through Photoshop.

-- Doug Wilson

RE: Is It Me?

I have Photoshop Elements and am trying to get involved with it as a move from PhotoDeluxe. Is it me or is the included book not well related to the commands I must use? I seem to read and then not be able to find the right buttons to push. I have tried the index to look up what I think I want to do, but frequently I can't find anything there. The articles I have read seem to be written by people familiar with Photoshop and don't bring us newcomers along very well.

Any other books that would be more helpful? Is it just me?

-- Denise

(It's not just you, Denise. In fact, we were just chatting with a CD publisher who casually mentioned they'd just decided to do a title on Elements "because it's time." We commiserated about how difficult a subject this is for people because there just isn't anything else like it.... But you don't have to wait for them. Elements has extensive online help that is really intended to replace the meager book. Do the excellent tutorials and take advantage of the Hints and Tips. And if you get stuck on a particular procedure, just holler and we'll try to help. -- Editor)

RE: Happy Camper

I went on a 7-day cruise with my Olympus E-10 camera. I wanted to use the high resolution setting for my pictures, but didn't think I'd have enough memory for a lot of shots. Then I found a device called an CP-150 Image Bank, by Sima Products Corp., in a catalog. The Image Bank is about the size of a paperback book and holds a 3.2-GB disk. It has two slots, one for Smart Media and one for CompactFlash. It will either run on six AAA batteries, which are nicely held by the carrying case of the device or plug into the wall.

Each day on the cruise I took about 45 pictures. Each night I would take the card out of the camera and put it in the Image Bank. After transferring the images, I would delete all the pictures from the Smart Media card. It did require a leap of faith, because I didn't find out until I got home whether I really had all of my pictures. I did. Then the next day, I'd load the card up again with more pix.

This Image Bank product costs $400, which is a bunch, unless you compare it to either buying a lot of high-memory cards or lugging a laptop. If you're going to be away from your computer for a while and want to bring back a bunch of high-res photos, the Image Bank is the way to do it.

-- Roger Pogue

(Thanks for the tip, Roger! This sounds a lot like the Digital Wallet Dave took to Alaska. They may be related (cousins, probably).... It's those "leaps of faith" that make me nervous, though! Glad everything worked out. -- Editor)

RE: Output Options

I want to print out or have my photos printed out on postcards, calendars, etc., Do you know where I can have this done?

-- Mary Haynes

(For postcards and even paint-by-number renditions of your images, take a look at Club Photo (http://www.clubphoto.com). They've got quite a few output options. And calendars can be made at home using kits you can find at your local office supply store (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002Z75K/ref=ase_digitalcameradep/102-0959864-5974553). -- Editor)

RE: Yak

I'm probably not the only one to let you know that the quote, "What a country!" can be attributed to Russian-born stand-up comedian Yakof Smirnoff.

-- Charlie Young

(Thanks for jogging our memory! He looks so much like de Toqueville we always get them confused <g>. And, of course, Robin Williams is famous for impersonating a Russian. -- Editor)

RE: Have You?

My first email to you:

Have you reviewed the Fuji Finepix S1 Pro yet and compared it to the Nikon D1x? If possible send email on report. Great job, by the way -- I'm just getting into digital (old photo guy).

-- Jim

(We're sort of old photo guys ourselves, Jim and tend to forget what we've been doing. Fortunately, we can still remember what we have to get done <g>. Even more fortunately we have a wonderful tool on the site to help you compare any cameras you like. You can find out what cameras we've reviewed either at http://www.imaging-resource.com/DIGCAM01.HTM or in our database (http://imaging-resource.com/CAMDB/camera_finder.php) and compare any of them (http://imaging-resource.com/CAMDB/compare_cameras.php) to each other. No waiting either! Very cool. -- Editor)

RE: Epson or HP?

I am in the market for a high-end printer for digital pics. High-end to me is less than $1,000 and more than $400. Are there any reviews of the Epson 2000P or comparable HP printer(s).

I have heard both good and bad about the Epson and have to take both opinions with a grain of salt due to the unknown photographic/computer abilities of the authors.

Any thoughts?

-- Mark

(We're such great procrastinators Epson and HP will probably merge before we choose between them, Mark <g>.... In general, people seem to prefer either Epson's technology or HP's reliability. Frankly, they both make stunning images all through their product lines. And as far as reliability goes, no inexpensive device should be expected to survive heavy use. The more expensive Epson printers, in fact, are routinely used in prepress as proofing devices.... The issue with the 2000P, however, relates to its use of pigments rather than dyes. It's not a printer issue, strictly speaking, but a result of how pigments reflect light (you'll see color shifts moving from sunlight to artificial illumination called metamerism).... Keep an eye on our site at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINTINDEX.HTM to see which printers we've reviewed. -- Editor)

RE: Noisy Snow

I own a Nikon Coolpix 880 that I love, except for one thing -- when I have tried to do longer exposures using a tripod, my pictures have turned out looking like they were taken during a snowfall! The longer the exposure, the more pixels throughout the picture randomly go white! Is there something wrong with my camera? Or the way I am using it? I would greatly appreciate your help.

-- Mike Westover

(It's the nature of the beast, Mike. We discussed the problem in our "Hot Pixels" article (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/) but briefly, the longer you keep the shutter open (after 1/4 sec.) the more "noise" you see. Some cameras use noise reduction algorithms for long exposures, but you can roll your own for any particular scene by shooting for the same exposure time with the lens cap on (black) to get a reference image of your noise and using that as a mask on your live image.... The trick to this is having an image editor that uses layers. Your background layer is your image. You just have to copy your control image (the same exposure time with the lens cap on) on a layer above that, aligned pixel for pixel. You can then use the subtract blending mode (the technique is known as dark field subtraction) to reduce or eliminate the noise.... See http://www.aim-dtp.net/aim/techniques/dark_current_noise/ for a slightly older way of doing the same thing. And the seminal work on this can be perused at http://www.cis.rit.edu/~ljj8174/thesis/Thesis.html (see the bottom). Also of interest is http://www.creativecow.net/cgi-bin/read_post.cgi?forum=graphics&postid=30 for some other approaches to noise reduction. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

Olympus (http://www.olympusamerica.com) and Pictorico (http://www.pictorico.com) are presenting Worlds within Worlds, an exhibition of digital photography featuring works by 14 photographers. After opening in San Francisco at Rincon Center from Oct. 1-15, the show moves to the Blue Heron Arts Center in New York from Oct. 23 through Dec. 3 and on to the Pacific Center of Photography in Wailuku on Maui, Hawaii from Jan. 14 to Feb. 28. One hundred percent of the sales of signed prints from the exhibit (most priced at $100, with a few at $500) will be donated to the United Way Sept. 11 Fund. Write to worldwithinworlds@densucommunications.com for more information.


DriveSavers (http://www.drivesavers.com) is offering free data recovery services, including CD or DVD target media and return shipping by FedEx, to those affected by the World Trade Center attack. In the past few weeks, DriveSavers has recovered data from a laptop damaged when its owner escaped from the World Trade Center; two server hard drives from an architect's office across the street; and a CompactFlash card from a digicam that became inaccessible from smoke and ash, among others.


That won't help a collection of 35,000 photos taken from the 1970s to Feb. 2000 by Theater Week and InTheater magazines of Broadway, Off and Off Off Broadway plus regional theaters. The collection was lost when the office building in which it was housed was crushed by the World Trade Center collapse. The images documented the original casts of A Chorus Line and Miss Saigon.


Kinetics, a security device company, has created an identification security system for airports that would require passengers to be fingerprinted and photographed before boarding a plane. A potential passenger would be required to present a fingerprint at the ticket counter rather than just a driver's license if the system is implemented. A digital camera would snap a photo of the passenger and the image would be added to the boarding pass.


ColorVision (http://www.colorcal.com) expects to ship its $288 LCD/CRT Spyder in November. Like the existing Spyder, the new model has seven sensors and long-pass filters that allow it to closely match the human eye response, resulting in highly accurate monitor calibration. To accommodate the anti-glare coatings and mutable nature of LCD monitors, the LCD/CRT Spyder adds an accessory that allows gentle and flat placement on the screen, keeping the suction cups off the surface. Three clear-molded parts hold the Spyder flush to the face of the display. The inventory of CRT-only Spyders will be sold on a first-come, first served basis.


The First Annual National Event Photographer's Conference (http://www.eventphotomarket.com) will be held in Jan. 2002.


ACDSee (http://www.ACDSYSTEMS.com), software for viewing, browsing, managing and sharing images, will be bundled with select models of HP Photosmart digital cameras and printers from Hewlett-Packard Co. In addition, ACDSee for Mac will be bundled with select models of the HP Photosmart printers.


Epson (http://www.epson.com) has introduced the under $100 Stylus Photo 820 with six-color imaging, 2880x720 resolution and BorderFree printing. With fast print speeds, it supports PRINT Image Matching.


Walmart.com and Hallmark have introduced Hallmark Stories Photo Cards. Once you upload your images to http://www.walmart.com, you can choose from over 50 Hallmark Stories Photo Cards with options for greetings, design elements, backgrounds and borders. Cards range from $1.36 per card for bulk orders to $2.48 for single cards that are signed, stuffed, stamped and mailed.


Snapfish.com (http://www.snapfish.com) has achieved two major milestones -- the re-launch of http://www.snapfish.com and the signing of its two millionth user.

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One Liners

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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:

Daily News: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM
New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM
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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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