The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 3, Number 22 2 November 2001

Copyright 2001, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 58th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We need your help, so we're making you a terrific offer. Then enjoy the first part of Ansel Adams centennial review before getting the inside scoop on some important ecommerce technology we've developed to help you buy online. And don't forget to set your digicam clock back!


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:
Maha
http://www.mahaenergy.com/
Maha/PowerEx Named Best Battery and Charger

PowerEx MH-C204F-4AA160-DC rapid charger and NiMH rechargeable batteries just won the Editor's Choice Award from PC Photo for best battery and charger.

The MH-C204F rapid charger and conditioner, along with PowerEx 1600 mAh batteries, is like a treat for your batteries. It provides peak performance any time, keeping them at maximum capacity for longer run time and avoiding the hassle of switching out your batteries so often.

Find out more at: http://www.mahaenergy.com/products/PowerEx/Digicams/mhc204F.htm

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

Olympus
http://www.olympusamerica.com/
The C-4040 Zoom offers a 4-Megapixel CCD plus the latest in Olympus image quality and noise reduction technologies to deliver crisp high-quality prints as large as 16x20.

Its high-performance 3X zoom lens offers a large aperture that opens to a maximum f1.8 aperture setting perfect for low light photography.

The C-4040 Zoom is available now at an estimated street price of $999.

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

Nikonusa.com
http://www.nikonusa.com
Set your sights on a higher level of digital photography with the Coolpix 995 from Nikon. And the perfect time to buy is now, with a $100 rebate on the Coolpix 995 in effect through Dec. 31.

Get close to the action with a 4x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens. But at any distance, this 3.34-megapixel camera takes sharp, clear pictures with brilliant color. Simply put, the Coolpix 995 -- it's the digital camera driven by your imagination.

For more information visit the Coolpix 995 product page.

Club Photo
http://www.clubphoto.com
A Special Personalized Holiday Card offer from Club Photo!

The best cards come from your digital photos. Let our professionals create your holiday photo greeting cards this holiday season. Choose from our wide selection of holiday graphics and add your personalized greetings.

Order your personalized Holiday Greeting Cards with coordinating envelopes today!

Just visit http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?dcp then enter this special offer code "cards10" at checkout and order before Nov. 15 to get a 10 percent discount on Photo Cards or Photo Cards with Border!


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by nearly 43,000 readers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

A Message from the Publisher

Jeez, even the President thinks the economy has tumbled. And looking at our newsletter revenue, I can't argue. Our sponsors (including Olympus, Nikon and Maha Energy) only cover a portion of our meager publishing costs. We'd probably be just fine but Mike's family has an insatiable appetite for regular meals. When he doesn't cook, that is.

We certainly enjoy bringing you this unique newsletter. And we're committed to keeping it the free publication it has always been. But under the circumstances, that means being creative in finding ways to support it.

Usually this is where we would ask you to do something for us, like send money. But we're nuts. We're going to do something for you. Like give you up to 25 free enlargements.

I asked Mike to come up with a catch, so you'd take the offer seriously and he did. "Just tell them they have to pay $10 for Shoot 'n Share, that Windows program from Printroom.com. Mac users, too. Or no prints."

Sounded catchy to me, so that's the deal.

In fact, you may remember this Deal from last issue. But we didn't tell you then that this is no ordinary Deal. In fact, it amounts to something of a matching grant we simply can't do without. So if you like this newsletter and the free consultation we provide, this is a great way to say so. Besides, every one of our subscribers deserves to see their images in all their 8x10 glory!

So here's the deal: just $10 gets you Shoot 'n Share, a very nice little photo-organizer, retouching and printing program AND a coupon-code good for 25 free photo prints from Printroom.com.

But remember these aren't just 25 free 4x6 prints. You can use the coupon code for any print size including 5x7 or 8x10! That's up to $75 worth of free 8x10 prints at $3 each normally (shipping extra).

Think about what great holiday gifts your beautiful, 8x10 real photo enlargements will make!

In the nearly four years I've been running this site (and two years publishing the newsletter), this is the best deal I've ever come across for our subscribers.

And it's a tremendous help in keeping this newsletter free, too, because Printroom is giving IR News half of what it collects to help support our operations! In this economy we need to reduce our dependence on advertising support -- and I think this is a better way to do it than charge for subscriptions or try to get you to buy Mike's signed Holiday Recipe Book. ;-)

Of course, if you'd rather subscribe or don't like offers like this that are worth more than they cost, sit back and do nothing. But after 58 issues, we know you're too smart for that. You know a good deal when you see one.

But it won't work if you don't DO it! So don't count on other people to carry the load for you. If you've enjoyed finding the IR News in your inbox every other week, visit http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/pl/pl.cgi?prnl to punch in your credit card number and get the Shoot 'n Share/Free Prints offer!

Seriously, friends, we really need your help. Click that link now to keep us going. And consider the free prints a "subscription bonus" thank-you! ;-)

Thank you for your support!

-- Dave Etchells, Publisher, Camera Tester, HTML galley slave

Return to Topics.

Feature: The Still Images of Ansel Adams (Part I)

"I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance," Ansel Adams wrote 20 years ago. "Such systems have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them."

And here we are, nearly 100 years after his birth (at three in the morning on Feb. 20, 1902), trying to wrap our brains around the digital image as artists and practitioners. Fortunately Adams is still a presence, too, (even though he left us Easter Sunday, April 22, 1984) with special exhibitions planned around the country to honor the centennial of his birth.

Recently we visited the San Francisco Modern Museum of Art's "Ansel Adams at 100" showing through Jan. 13 in San Francisco and next year at the Art Institute of Chicago from Feb. 2 to June 2; The Hayward Gallery, London, July 4 to Sept. 22; Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, Oct. 10 to Jan. 5, 2003. And in 2003, the show travels to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Feb. 2 to April 27; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, July 9 to Nov. 4. Meanwhile you can enjoy the companion (and excellent) multimedia presentation at http://www.sfmoma.org/adams/index.html with a fast Internet connection. The show sent us back to our stack of Adams tomes and once again we found he repaid our attention.

A BRIEF INTRO

Adams fought in the front lines of the war to legitimize photography as an art form. When people were still talking about photographs as "sun pictures" made by light and resolved by chemicals, as if no human might intervene, he championed the Zone System, which he developed with Fred Archer as a teaching aid at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, "to achieve a visualized image, with almost no limitations on the visualization itself."

Adams knew that the range of brightness in the world is far greater than any emulsion can capture, that choices inevitably have to be made by measuring light and consciously placing it on the scale of possible exposures. And that these choices are creative ones. "As long as we must be able to work from a range of subject luminances that are to be represented as we want them to be by a range of gray values (or color values) in a print, the Zone System seems certain to provide an extremely useful framework," Adams wrote.

"It is important to realize," he explained, "that the expressive photograph (the 'creative ' photograph) or the informational photograph does not have [a] directly proportional relationship to what we call reality." They unavoidably resemble reality, he pointed out, in their imagery but "if it were possible to make direct visual comparison with the subjects, the differences [in tonal values] would be startling."

It's important to remember, then, that his images are not intended to be a representation of some place. They are a very finely crafted and planned (or visualized) manipulation of tonal values derived from the image of the place. He composed on the negative a score he could play over and over again in the darkroom.

And that would be enough to make him worthy of our attention. But Adams more than most let us accompany him on his shoots and sneak into his darkroom. He wrote voluminously and well about what he was doing and remains, whether you agree with him or not, one the craft's finest teachers.

But let's start at the beginning. One hundred years ago.

START HERE

Near the end of his life, Adams spent many hours with Mary Street Alinder working on his autobiography, which was published in 1985. It has no index, oddly, but is profusely illustrated, the images appropriately serving as a kind of index themselves.

In it, we learn a lot about his childhood. He lived in isolation on the dunes in the northwest corner of San Francisco beyond the Golden Gate before it had been bridged. The 1906 earthquake damaged the house his father had built there but didn't ruin it. He says he was delighted to find the wooden works of a treasured 1812 grandfather clock spilled across the floor because he could finally play with them. Hardly. It was repaired then and treasured later in his own home in Carmel, keeping remarkably good time. The same could not be said of his nose, which was broken when he tumbled in an aftershock on his way to breakfast.

As a child, he was so agitated that a doctor prescribed a daily two-hour rest in a darkened room every afternoon. He could hardly contain himself there, though. He wanted to be outside, exploring the shoreline from Fort Scott to the east to the cliffs above China Beach to the west.

He so detested school, its memorization for the sake of memorization, that his father had to continue his education at home. But that independent education was informed by everything around him, from condoms that washed up on the beach to the contractor's office on the dunes as housing was developed there following the earthquake.

A block away from home, lived Miss Marie Butler, an elderly piano teacher who agreed to take on the young Adams. She made "no adaptation to my usual scattered approach," insisting on "grueling exercises and repetitious scales" until he was ready to try "a little phrasing." She insisted the notes be right, but was patient with his interpretation. "She never played or demonstrated music that I was working on. I had to express the music myself."

"Gaining the techniques to produce beautiful and precise sounds," he wrote at the end of his life, "I began to express my emotions through music. I am convinced that explanation of emotion in art is accomplished only in the medium in which it is created." The work, that is, speaks for itself. "This came to me powerfully years later when I turned to photography."

In fact music became the metaphor he most often employed in his argument for art when he turned away from the piano to express himself in photography. The tones of his monochromatic images were like the musical phrasing of the compositions he had studied, which themselves resembled the negatives he printed over and over, understanding nuances he had not appreciated at first. His appreciation for the variables in performance became a way to understand the variables in printing.

His technical knowledge, exhibited in a series of superb treatises (The Negative, The Camera, The Print, among them; visit http://www.shortcourses.com/about/ansel/ansel.htm for an amusing story about how they came to be published), was impressive. He claimed to be able to visualize the effect of a particular lens/filter combination on any of several emulsions (Polaroid, too, by the way) using any development concoction and technique and printed on any paper. And to prove it, he developed the Zone System, measuring important tones in the scene with a spot meter and consciously exposing them to known values or zones on film, then processing that film to extend or contract the tonal range of the film to achieve a specific, intended affect in the print.

All this was necessary, he said, to be able to create an image, rather than merely record one. To express an emotion, not to record a setting. Above all, to have authority over accident.

Take, for example, "Moonrise over Hernandez" (http://www.masters-of-photography.com/A/adams/adams_moonrise.html). With not even a fraction of a second to spare, he pulled his station wagon to the side of the road, set his view camera on its tripod and got the shot. But as he tells the story, it's no accidental masterpiece, but the result of his command of his tools, knowing which lens to use, which filter (a deep yellow Wratten G, No. 15) -- and with no time to look for his light meter, remembering the footcandles of the moon (250 per square foot) to calculate the right exposure for the print he imagined. (See the bottom of http://www.cdlib.org/adams.html for another Moonrise, this one at UCLA years later. The similarities are striking.)

This approach to photography was inspired by Miss Butler, no doubt, but informed by his life-long love of the natural world and, most importantly, fed by the need to argue for photography as art. In his time, photography was a job (he had a commercial studio for a while) and a craft but whether it was an art or not, and what kind of art, was much debated.

As a young man, Adams learned to print negatives from a neighbor, William Dassonville. Dassonville, himself a photographer, was also a chemist who made his own papers and emulsions. In fact, Dassonville expanded into photo paper manufacturing with a plant on Market St. that produced his Charcoal Black paper and other artistic effect emulsions. And Adams used it through 1933.

But in 1932 Adams helped found the Group f/64, which revolted against the "oppressive pictorialism" that Dassonville favored, arguing that photography should be what only photography could be and not emulate the romantic compositions of figurative painters. "The members of Group f/64 believe that photography, as an art form, must develop along lines defined by the actualities and limitations of the photographic medium, and must always remain independent of ideological conventions of art and aesthetics that are reminiscent of a period and culture antedating the growth of the medium itself," as they wrote in their manifesto.

Adams subsequently created some memorable images that, in fact, were false to the actual scene. "Moonrise," chief among them, with its twilight sky burned black. But he significantly manipulated every print in the darkroom -- in performance, that is, dodging and burning like a conductor bringing up the strings and quieting the horns.

Next time we'll visit the current exhibit at SFMOMA to see what we can learn from this modern master.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Introducing Betsy & The Holiday Wishbook

If you've visited the site in the last few days you may have noticed a few new wrinkles. Oops, bad choice of words. Features, we mean, not wrinkles. Old Betsy wouldn't hear of wrinkles.

Betsy is software we've developed, named after the legendary Betsy Ross, to stitch together data from a handful of select online vendors to list product prices and availability alongside our reviews and accompanying product listings in our new Holiday Wishbook (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/pl/pl.cgi?wbnew). She flags deals from the best retailers we know so you can buy with just one click.

But Betsy is only part of the story. The big news is Dave's Promise. "If you have a problem," Dave solemnly promises, "I'll personally go to bat for you and help mediate an agreeable solution with the vendor. Give it your best shot and if you don't arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, email me with the words 'Dave's Promise' in the subject line and I'll step in and do my best to mediate personally."

This is ecommerce like you've never seen it. Imaging Resource style.

BANG GOES OLD BETSY

It's said Betsy Ross won the contract for stitching the first American flag by convincing George Washington her five-pointed star was a better design than his six-pointer. When he complained it would be inefficient to cut out five-pointed stars, Betsy showed him how to do it with one snip of the scissors.

Our Betsy is pretty efficient, too.

Every night she gathers price (including shipping costs) and availability data from our Preferred Retailers and writes the price listings from each vendor for every product we've reviewed, complete with special links identifying the clicker (you) as a friend of Imaging Resource.

And she does it with one figurative snip of her scissors. So the offers you see are real time.

BUT WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

So who are these retailers, you ask. Good question.

"These are companies with whom we have direct relationships," Dave explained, "and whom we've selected based on their customer service record, reputation and business principles."

Imaging Resource doesn't accept advertising from just anybody. "In fact," Dave said, "we searched many of the low-price resellers on PriceGrabber, but couldn't find any that met our uncompromising requirements for a Preferred Retailer.

"We've actually turned down more advertising from resellers than we've accepted, because we want our readers to be able to buy with confidence from our site. You may find lower prices, but a lot of those 'great deals' just aren't real."

HEY, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

It's an imperfect world. Even fairly reputable dealers (nope, they don't make the Preferred Retailer grade here) will sell products not in stock (without informing you of the shipping delay until you've ordered) or make it very difficult to return merchandise (many buy through distributors, making it problematic to return faulty merchandise to the manufacturer).

But, worse, it's no secret that the Internet ecommerce waters have become shark infested. Dave listed a number of typical attacks:

  1. Bait and Switch. The vendor lists an insanely low price but when you try to buy it you can't. "The last one just left the store.... It's a special demo unit that won't be available for another four weeks.... It was just here, but the stock boy dropped it on the floor. But we have a WhizBang 40 in stock I can let you have for almost the same price...." The "bait" brings you in, but they "switch" you to something else.

  2. Gray Market Goods, no U.S. warranty. Thanks to the differences in exchange rates between countries and the differences in manufacturer's strategies among various markets, you can often buy a camera for less money in one country than in another. Some dealers (especially in the United States) make a business of this, importing products through unofficial channels and reselling below market prices to U.S. buyers. But manuals and even menu screens may appear in foreign languages and software normally bundled with the U.S. product may be missing. Even worse, though, is that Gray Market products don't come with a U.S. warranty. If they break, you have to find a way to get them back to their country of origin (wherever that is) to be repaired.

  3. Mandatory accessory packages. This one takes the cake for sheer brazen gall. When you try to order a camera at the advertised price, you discover you have to buy a mandatory "accessory package" too, boosting the actual price by $100 or more. The scam? It's not an "accessory package" at all, it's all the stuff the manufacturer normally ships in the box with the camera!

  4. Remanufactured goods sold as new. Over a product's lifetime, manufacturers accept a lot of returned units from legitimate dealers' customers. The manufacturer checks them out, re-packs them with a fresh kit of accessories and a clean instruction manual and sells them as "remanufactured," usually with a shorter warranty period and at a substantial discount. Unscrupulous dealers grab these remanufactured units to resell as new. A user duped into buying one ends up with a used product with greatly reduced warranty coverage.

  5. Open-box goods sold as new. Unfortunately, there's no way to guard against this other than by carefully reading the reseller's customer ratings to see if they've pulled it on someone else. When an unauthorized dealer is finally forced to take a product back, they're stuck with it. Guess who ultimately gets stuck? Another unsuspecting customer!

Not quite scams, but you should keep an eye out for the following "business practices" too:

  1. Needless accessories. This is a standard technique used by many resellers to jack up the dollar amount and profit margin on a sale. Accessories like lens filters, cleaning cloths, overpriced memory cards or batteries can make the dealer a lot of money. Frequently cameras listed for ultra-low prices come with heavy-handed pressure to buy a lot of over-priced, low-quality accessories you don't really want.

  2. Absurd "shipping" costs. This is also very common. The reseller advertises a very low price, the product has a U.S. warranty, it's actually new and everything looks legitimate. Not until you check out do you discover there's a $40 ground shipping charge (for a camera, it shouldn't be more than $10).

Of course, these problems aren't unique to online shopping. They can happen at your brick-and-mortar dealer, too. But we think we've developed a Bay Watch Betsy to save you from drowning in this stuff. With Betsy, it's safe to go back in the water.

WIN, WIN, WIN

You win, we win and the retailer wins, too. And in our typically candid manner, we'll explain how we (all) profit from this.

If you go to a review page on our site and click on the "compare prices" link for any product, you'll see a table of current prices provided by PriceGrabber. Imaging Resource gets paid when you click on a reseller link there, thank you.

We don't get paid if you buy anything there, though. But, as we pointed out above, you shouldn't be looking solely at price. Study the range of prices to get an understanding of what the product is worth. And if you check the customer ratings of the vendors there, you'll really appreciate the Preferred Retailers listed on our pages.

Imaging Resource is paid a commission or "affiliate fee" when you buy a product after clicking on one of our Preferred Retailer links (those blue ads with price, shipping and bundle information in our reviews -- or any price link in our Holiday Wishbook).

The retailer profits from this arrangement, too. They get customers, for one. And they get well-informed, smart, Imaging Resource customers at that. They know customers from our site cost them less.

And, most importantly, you profit from using Betsy. Not only do you enjoy the convenience of seeing a range of suppliers for any product we review, but they're all reputable dealers (Dave keeps classy company). And best of all, Dave's Promise goes with you when you shop through Betsy. Short of phoning Tony Soprano, there simply isn't a more effective dispute resolution service.

WISH UPON A STAR

So, great, we've provided a terrific way for you to buy safely online and even support your favorite digital imaging Web site (without sitting through any Pledge Nights, we hasten to add). But how do you decide what to buy?

Leave it Dave to stay a step ahead of the problem.

"It occurred to me that I have a pretty good idea of which cameras I think fit various niches the best and that information would likely be helpful to folks," he observed. "Remembering the hours I spent poring over the Sears Roebuck Christmas 'Wishbook' when I was a kid, I decided to make a 'Wishbook' for our readers (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/pl/pl.cgi?wbnew).

"Right now, it has just digicams in it, but I hope to add some accessories, printers and scanners over the next week or so. I've really tried to cover the full range of cameras -- from rank beginner to full-tilt techno-tweak," he said.

"You'll notice that there are some cameras and even some manufacturers that aren't included. That's deliberate. This is a list of the best cameras on the market, the ones I personally recommend to my friends, neighbors and relatives."

In fact, for each niche (megapixels, beginner/intermediate/expert, standard/compact, etc.) you'll find only a few cameras, "all of which I think are excellent and any of which I think our readers would be happy with," he added.

And thanks to Betsy they each include the special links to our Preferred Retailers that come with Dave's Promise.

"If you have a problem with a reseller you bought from through the Wishbook, have given it your best shot, but are still unsatisfied," Dave repeated, "I'll personally go to bat for you and help mediate an agreeable solution. That's sticking my neck out pretty far, but I have a lot of confidence in the resellers we've partnered with!"

A SHOPPING TIP

Here's a tip to get you started shopping with Betsy. Betsy lists two kinds of prices: the product and the bundled product.

Manufacturers are sensitive about the advertised price of their products. Legitimate dealers have to agree not to price the product below the MAP or "minimum advertised price." So if the MAP for a camera is $499, no legitimate dealer will advertise below that price.

If you see a dealer advertising below MAP, you know they don't have a direct relationship with the manufacturer. Which means it can be very hard to get authorization to return even a unit that arrives dead.

That's not to say legitimate dealers all sell the product for the same price. In fact, they bundle the product with useful accessories, advertising the price of the bundle to sell the camera below its MAP. So that $499 digicam may be advertised in a $549 bundle with $100 worth of accessories. You get a $50 break, the dealer makes the sale and the manufacturer is happy.

So consider Betsy's bundle prices carefully. They may be the best deals.

LAST PITCH

If we were like any other site, you might expect a special promo offer pitch like "Enter the Betsy Crocker Bake Off Contest" or "Win a Date with Betsy" to get you to use this new service.

But we aren't like any other site. We're nuts. Photo nuts. Who really love to take pictures and enjoy helping other people take them too. So no special promo -- just a request. Before you buy -- online or off -- try Betsy.

We think you'll be glad you did.

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.

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:

View comments on the full review of the Canon EOS-1D at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee8785c

Compare Nikon camera prices at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee860fd

David asks about the impact of digital photography at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee87838

Read comments about the Nikon CoolScan IV ED Scanner at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee86b2c

Visit our Professional Digital Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee6b2b4

Return to Topics.

Just for Fun: No(bel) Prize?

Last issue we promised to announce the winner of our Ersatz Nobel Prize for Extraordinary Customer Service in Digital Imaging after poring over your nominations.

But we're sad to report there have been none to pore over.

It could be that no one has had a good Customer Service experience in the last year. And in that case, nobody's going to win this Nobel because it isn't just awarded, it's earned.

But it could also be you need another couple of weeks to submit your nomination. If somebody made things right for you, tell us about it by emailing us at editor@imaging-resource.com with the Subject line "Ersatz Nobel Prize." We're holding our breath. <g>

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!

Return to Topics.

We Have Mail

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

RE: Bashing

I just read your Oct. 19 newsletter and I have to object to the way you have joined many other digital imaging authorities with your severe criticism of the sRGB color space.

Most criticism I have read makes 2 points: 1) sRGB is an evil plot by Microsoft and 2) sRGB has a limited color gamut.

I can't really address number 1, except to ask, "What would Microsoft have to gain by reducing my image quality?"

One piece of important information often left out when discussing number 2 is this: the color gamut of sRGB closely approximates that of the "typical" CRT monitor. Using another color space for image capture could result in a wider range of colors, but the additional colors will be ones that you can't see on your screen.

It is quite difficult to judge colors you can't see, so when editing such images for output you are essentially working blind. In addition, you are essentially wasting valuable bits if a significant percentage of the RGB values are outside the gamut of your CRT and you intend the image to be viewed on a CRT.

Printing professionals may need to do this and they are very experienced with the characteristics of their output devices. This is a lot more difficult for the hobbyist and for those who are satisfied with the way an image appears on the CRT, sRGB is a perfectly acceptable choice.

-- Jeff Loomis

(We don't much believe in evil empires, Jeff. Illegal monopolies, maybe, but not evil empires <g>. Why would anyone (particularly Hewlett-Packard) want to reduce image quality? In a word, to achieve color consistency, particular over the Web.... But the range of colors your monitor can display, your digicam can capture and your 6-color inkjet printer can reproduce embarrasses sRGB, and Epson did something about it.... sRGB is concerned about "the average" performance of your monitor, not its wide range, particularly in guaranteeing color for the Web. In proposing it (http://www.w3.org/Graphics/Color/sRGB.html), HP/Microsoft said, "we propose a colorimetric RGB specification that is based on the average performance of personal computer displays." Subsequently Microsoft prohibited use of the Windows logo in products that did not default to sRGB space, greatly antagonizing people using Photoshop (Adobe caved) in color reproduction.... -- Editor)
(Actually, the sRGB spec was intended to guarantee reproduction on most any monitor, even those with their brightness/contrast or gamma seriously out of adjustment. So you're forced to work with the lowest common denominator.... Then too, with digicams, there's the issue of how the images look in print, not just on the CRT. Most printers have significant areas of color space in which they go dramatically beyond what can be displayed on a monitor. Restricting digicams to sRGB means that there's a lot of colors that don't show up on prints, but that could.... My personal beef is that Microsoft could have used their considerable weight to lobby for better CRT reproduction and adjustment, rather than dumbing down color management. Apple's RGB standard has a wider gamut than sRGB and would have made much more sense as the standard. Likewise Adobe RGB, the default color space for Photoshop, which has a wider gamut yet. -- Dave)

RE: Clever CompactFlash Recovery

Had a weird problem with a CompactFlash card. After taking about 24 pictures I kept getting hung up uploading them to my hard drive.

When I manually went through each image in the camera I kept getting hung up on Image 14. When I tried to delete that individual image, I got a message that the image is not available. To get back to Image 1, I had to take a picture and then toggle back to Image 1.

Anyway what I finally did (which worked) was lock a few of the important images I wanted and then did a "delete all." The locked pictures uploaded successfully to my computer.

So I'm wondering if a CompactFlash card can develop a "bad spot" making it unreliable for regular use anymore.

-- Paulette

(Great question -- and great solution, Paulette! Sounds like your card was corrupted when writing one of the last images. Possibly (just guessing) from batteries too weak to finish the write.... Once corrupted, you had to rewrite the CompactFlash's directory structure to be able to access all the images normally (although you cleverly navigated backwards and forwards around the corruption). Deleting does do that -- and locking the important images was simply brilliant.... Cards, like any physical memory device, can have bad spots, but formatting maps them out so they aren't used. -- Editor)

RE: Hot Pixel Cure

Mike, I read Mike Westover's letter about his hot pixels. Well, a few hours before that I downloaded a free Windows program from http://www.webattack.com/Freeware/gmm/fwdigi.shtml that allegedly gets rid of them.

-- Paul Verizzo

(Thanks for the tip, Paul! -- Editor)

RE: Another CompactFlash Saved

I just bought a SanDisk ImageMate for USB.

I also bought a 128-MB SanDisk CompactFlash card. I had my computer freeze up several times while accessing images. I work in a camera store and own a Sony Mavica CD 1000. I was trying to take pictures with some of the cameras we have available for sale and print samples to show in a binder.

I have emailed SanDisk for help. I hope this is an unusual reaction.

Can you shed any light on this problem? I have never had an image from the Sony cause that reaction with the computer.

-- Jim

(Well, one question first: you used the card in just one camera to take all the product shots, right? You can't swap the card from camera to camera without reformatting. Each camera does its own housekeeping on the card and none of them are very bright about it. They assume the card is theirs alone.... If that wasn't the problem (it would indeed give your reader fits trying to figure out what multiple cameras wrote to the same card), I'd suspect a driver issue. For current drivers, visit http://www.SanDisk.com/tech/s_downloads.asp (the FAQ there might be helpful too). -- Editor)

Thank you for the quick reply, I had tried to use it in two different cameras. I'll go back to square one and use it in one at a time.

-- Jim

RE: Sony F707 Oddities

There seems to be quite an uproar on several forums about the F707. People are reporting things on final production models that don't quite fit with what you and others have found on the pre-production models that were reviewed recently.

People are reporting and have posted many pics which show very bad over-saturation of colors to the point of complete inaccuracy. There appears to be a "blue flash" problem where the camera is easily confused with its white balance and puts a blue haze on whatever is shot at certain distances or in certain lighting conditions with the flash. Several folks have also reported very bad vignetting with the camera.

I'm wondering if, considering all these problems in a prosumer-level digital camera, a second look isn't warranted? The camera most frequently compared to the F707 is the Canon G2.

-- Jason Page

(We've been somewhat impatiently waiting to receive a production model of the F707 from Sony to re-test, but have seen no sign of it yet. Sony thought we'd already received one. Having disabused them of that notion, we're back in a waiting mode again. Your comments make me wonder if there may not be some good reason for not having received the production sample yet. Maybe they're trying to remove some of the bugs you mentioned.... While it lacks some of the whiz-bang features of the F707 (Hologram AF, Night Framing and Night Shot capabilities), the G2 is indeed an exceptional camera. Excellent, sharp optics, excellent color, great versatility. Only a 3x vs. 5x zoom, but the G2 is definitely a great camera. -- Dave)
(News flash: We just got our production-model F707. We should have fresh pictures up on the site towards the middle or end of next week! -- Dave)

RE: Wow!

I just received your newsletter tonight and all I have done is read it. It is the best I have ever seen, also the longest. Please keep up the excellent work. Your Web site is way above par also.

Well it's 1 a.m. and I had better get to bed. I sure wish I had subscribed a long time ago. Do you have archives of the newsletter?

-- Jim

(Thanks, Jim and welcome aboard! The first link in every newsletter (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS) is to its Web site where you'll find the Archive, the keyword searchable Index of Articles, Subscriber Services, our Reader Survey and the current issue in HTML, minus the Deals. -- Editor)
Return to Topics.

Editor's Notes

Microsoft (http://www.microsoft.com) launched Windows XP this week. Based on Windows 2000, the new operating system features improved stability, expanded connectivity and a new user interface. Also introduced with XP is product activation, an attempt to prevent software piracy that requires users to "activate" software remotely as part of the installation process. XP requires at least a 300-mhz CPU with 128-MB RAM.


Mastering Nikon Compact Digital Cameras by Peter iNova has been updated to Version 3.0 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?dgm). New Camera Operation chapters and are included for the recent Coolpix 995 and Coolpix 775 cameras. New interactivity and support software have also been added. Current eBook owners can upgrade for 20 percent of the price of a new eBook.


District Photo has announced the acquisition of online photo service Snapfish (http://www.snapfish.com) as an independent business unit.


Broderbund (http://www.broderbund.com) rolled out its $79.99 Extreme Media Digital Studio which captures, edits, manages and personalizes digital photographs, videos and music -- and even burns a CD. The product includes tutorials, professionally designed templates and special effects.


Corel (http://www.corel.com) and Micrografx have announced that the definitive acquisition agreement signed by the companies has been approved by Micrografx shareholders. As part of its plan to integrate the companies, Corel will support all of Micrografx's current businesses, including the recently-released Picture Publisher 10, Picture Publisher Digital Camera Edition and Micrografx Designer 9.


Canto (http://www.canto.com) has the integration of eVision eVe visual search technology within Cumulus 5. With eVe 3 Lite for Cumulus 5, users will be able to identify images based on object, color, texture and shape. The algorithms automatically segment each image into distinct object regions and generate scale- and rotation-independent descriptions of the regions known as visual signatures which are then organized into a proprietary indexing scheme. eVe 3 Lite for Cumulus 5 Option will be available this month for the Enterprise Edition of Cumulus 5 and later for the Workgroup Edition of Cumulus. Cumulus 5 Enterprise Edition customers can get eVe 3 Lite for Cumulus at no charge by sending an email to bizdev@evisionglobal.com.


Fujitsu (http://www.fujitsu.com) has released the latest LifeBook C Series, an all-in-one multimedia notebook starting at $1,399 with a 15-inch XGA display, an ATI Rage Mobility-P video controller with 8-MB of video memory, an S-video out port and a FireWire/IEEE-1394 port.


Ulead (http://www.ulead.com) has released Ulead PhotoImpact 7 for digital photography, image design and Web graphics. Among the new features is the Lens Distortion Effect to correct spherical and trapezoid distortions. PhotoImpact 7 is $99.95 boxed or $89.95 downloaded. Upgrades are $59.95 boxed or $49.95 downloaded.


Apple (http://www.apple.com) is offering a $150 rebate or a free digital camera with the purchase of either of its two high-end iMacs through Dec. 31. With the rebate the 600-MHz iMac drops $1,149 and the 700-MHz model to $1,349. The digicam is the 2.3-megapixel, $200 Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 318xi.


The Verizon Online Photo Center (http://start.verizon.net or http://dslstart.verizon.net) will offer a suite of online photo products and services, storage space on Shutterfly and a 15 percent on Shutterfly products sold through the center.

Return to Topics.

One Liners

For just $150 an insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).

Get PhotoGenetics at http://www.qbeo.com/?dlink=/php3/pgenspl.php3?pcode=223

Lockergnome's Free Digital Media Newsletter: http://www.lockergnome.com

Return to Topics.

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
Digicam index: http://www.imaging-resource.com/DIGCAM01.HTM
Q&A Forum: http://www.imaging-resource.com/FORUM.HTM
Newsletter Forum: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a.tcl?topic=irnews
Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/TIPS.HTM

Happy snapping!

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

Go to Imaging Resource Home | News | Tips | Digital Camera Index | Scanner Index