The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 3, Number 24 30 November 2001

Copyright 2001, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 60th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. Dave turns "Pro" with Printroom before reviewing the Olympus E-20 and we take a look at a new Elements book.

Thanks to those of you who've already responded to our appeal for help supporting this publication. But we really do need many more of you to pitch in by visiting http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/pl/pl.cgi?prnl to get 25 free enlargements (worth up to $75) plus Printroom's Shoot & Share [W] software for just $9.99 (half of which goes to this newsletter). Or you can make a cash donation at http://www.imaging-resource.com/buynow.htm if you prefer.


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:
Club Photo
http://clubphoto.com
An Exclusive Personalized Gift offer from Club Photo!

Imagine your favorite digital photo turned into a personalized gift. Share your precious moments in a broad selection of gifts including photo cookies, photo chocolates, jewelry, posters, hand-drawn sketches and many more.

Subscribers who order before Dec. 7 get 10 percent off any purchases!

Just visit Club Photo then enter this special offer code "gift10" at checkout!

Rayovac
http://www.rayovac.com
Introducing the digital camera battery that lasts three times longer than the Duracell Coppertop. And recharges in just one hour in the world's first 1-Hour Charger.

It's the powerful new Rayovac Rechargeable NiMH and 1-Hour Charger!

Find out more at Rayovac!

Olympus
http://www.olympusamerica.com/
The Camedia C-700 UltraZoom is the world's smallest 10x optical zoom digicam with the 35mm equivalent of a 38mm­380mm lens. The 10x optical zoom is complemented by a 27x seamless digital zoom, extending the camera's maximum zoom range to 1026mm, a first for a camera this size.

At 2.11 megapixels, this camera is for the experienced digital photographer who's ready to step up to a more capable device, but still wants a small, easy-to-use camera. Street price: $599

Read Dave's review then catch our latest promotions.


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by over 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.

Feature: Turn Pro with Printroom

By DAVE ETCHELLS

Last issue we briefly introduced a deal Printroom has extended to our readers on their new Pro Studio service, but wanted to elaborate a bit more on it because it holds some interesting possibilities for our pro and amateur readers alike. No doubt both are working on New Year's Resolutions to improve the bottom line.

The concept behind Printroom's Pro Studio service is simplicity itself:

  1. You upload photos you want to sell to a "gallery."

  2. You send the gallery URL to your prospective customers.

  3. They visit to order prints of the photos they're interested in at the prices you set.

  4. Printroom collects the money, prints and ships the photos.

  5. Every month, Printroom mails you a check for the selling price of the prints, less the cost of their printing service and a 14 percent fee for processing the orders. (11 percent order-processing fee, plus 3 percent credit card charge.)

Like I said, it literally couldn't be simpler.

This is a fantastic service for a whole range of pro and semi-pro photographers, taking up assignments for wedding, school, sport, corporate function, reunion and many other events. Anywhere you've got a large number of prospective customers ordering from the same set of images.

TURNING PRO

But this could also be just the ticket for a proficient amateur looking to make their digicam hobby profitable!

Getting bugged to shoot photos of Little League or the church soccer league? The biggest hassle is not the photography itself, but the overhead associated with getting prints to everyone. With Pro Studio, you just set up a gallery or two, set a nominal (or even not-so-nominal) price for prints and sit back. No hassles, no phone calls at dinner time, no trying to keep track of who wants what. Just painless proceeds and happy parents.

And if you choose to do it gratis, you can use the proceeds from the photos as a fundraiser for the team instead.

OPTIONS

Of course, you may not want your photos to be available to just anyone on the Web. Many parents would feel more secure if their children's pictures were only available to a select group of family and friends. And those photos from the bachelorette party will definitely need to be kept under lock and key! Which is exactly why Printroom lets you assign a password to each gallery.

Want to maintain different pricing for different customers? No problem. You can set the price of each print size separately for every gallery you have. And if you password-protect your galleries, the Bushes won't know what other clients paid for the 8x10 they bought for $50.

Printroom offers a wide range of print sizes, from wallet-sized to 20x30 posters, so potential profits could be sizable. Your galleries are available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you don't even need a Visa merchant account to get started.

To see what it looks like, I set up a little Studio (http://www.printroom.com/pro/Imaging-Resource/) with just a few test shots made by Imaging Resource's Stephanie Boozer with the Sony F707 digicam. There are two galleries, one "public" (no password required) and one protected (the password is "IRNEWS"). The two galleries have different print prices and even different sizes available. Pretty slick, huh?

SETUP

Of course it costs something to set up your online studio, but not much -- especially thanks to a Dave's Deal I negotiated for our readers. The normal startup cost is a pretty reasonable $398, which includes a year's rent for your online studio (with up to 300-MB of online photo storage). The Dave's Deal cuts this in half though, with a $200 credit, making the total start-up cost only $198.

A single event could more than pay for an entire year's service! And if you're a pro, not only do you save time by not having to handle all the order processing, but your customer gets faster, more efficient service than your staff could provide working around the clock!

STEP-BY-STEP

Here's what you do:

  1. Visit http://www.printroom.com/proFeatureBenefit.asp

  2. Click the "Sign up for a Pro Studio account" button at the bottom.

  3. Enter your billing information.

  4. Type "detchells" in the "Discount Code" field and hit "Recalculate with discount" to remove $200 from the total.

  5. Click the "Sign up for a Pro account" link and customize your own Pro Studio.

Then sit back and enjoy automated, efficient print order fulfillment.

SUPPORT

Have more questions about the concept? Feel free to call Printroom for no-pressure answers to your questions. Ask for Jude Kanogart at (510) 580-2377 or Carlton Osborne at (510) 413-1247 (or email Prostudio@printroom.com). Jude's in charge of business development, Carlton is the Main Man. I count them both as friends, so know you'll be treated well when you call.

Let them know you heard about it here and tell them Dave sent you, to get your $200 discount. Also, if you do call, please email Mike (editor@imaging-resouce.com) or me (web@imaging-resouce.com) to let us know what you think of the concept.

I really think this service could revolutionize the event photography world by making it possible for a lot of "little guys" to have the advantages of "big guy" order fulfillment efficiency and convenience.

And it's one less New Year's Resolution you'll have to make!

Return to Topics.

Feature: Olympus E-20 -- Bargain-Priced Pro 5-MP SLR

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E20/E20A.HTM on the Web site.)

MANUFACTURER OVERVIEW

Olympus continues to be one of the real powerhouses of the digital photography world, with one of the broadest lines of camera models in the industry. Their products range from rock-bottom entry level models to the 5-megapixel Pro Single Lens Reflex that's the subject of this review.

The E-20N is clearly intended to compete at the highest image quality levels of the digital SLR field, thanks to its true 5.24-megapixel CCD resolution. This review is based on a full-production model of the E-20N and the results are impressive indeed. With an initial selling price of $1,999, the E-20 is thousands cheaper than most competing models and actually outperforms them in some areas.

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

Following on the heels of Olympus' highly successful E-10 SLR digicam, the E-20N (E-20P in Europe, with PAL video timing) offers all the features I liked in the earlier model, with a larger CCD and increased exposure options. As did the E-10 before it, the E-20 offers excellent exposure control with the convenient look and feel of a traditional 35mm SLR camera. Its 5.24-megapixel CCD sensor employs an interlaced scan mode at resolutions above 1792x1344 pixels and a progressive scan mode with resolutions of 1792x1344 or below. The E-20 continues the fixed lens design introduced on the E-10 and includes the swiveling LCD monitor as well. Olympus addresses the issue of focal length flexibility by offering a range of front-element adapter lenses that combine with the camera's built-in 4x zoom to give focal lengths equivalent to 28-420mm in the 35mm film-based world. (And at impressively fast maximum apertures.)

The E-20's SLR design works quite differently than traditional mirror-based SLRs, using a "beam splitter" to carry the image from the lens to the optical viewfinder and the CCD at the same time. The main benefit of this is it allows a live preview image on the LCD in an SLR camera design. The camera features both an optical viewfinder and an LCD monitor for composing images, the optical viewfinder actually being a very fine-grained ground glass design that permits direct focus evaluation, just as in a 35mm SLR. The 1.8-inch LCD monitor pops up and off the back panel, so it can be tilted up 90 degrees or down about 20 degrees. Both viewfinders feature a fairly extensive information display.

The E-20's built-in 4x, 9-36mm lens (35-140mm equivalent on a 35mm camera) features non-rotating 62mm filter threads for attaching conversion lens kits. Focus can be manually or automatically controlled, with a range from 1.97 feet to infinity in normal mode and from 8.0 to 30.0 inches in macro mode. Zoom is manually controlled just as a film camera's lens would be, via a textured-rubber ring around the outside of the lens. A second adjustment ring at the end of the lens controls manual focus. I found these manual adjustment rings quite comfortable and familiar, very similar to a 35mm lens design. A big plus of the E-20's optics and viewfinder design is that you can actually use the optical viewfinder to focus just as you would on a conventional film-based SLR.

Exposure control is quite extensive on the E-20, with Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual exposure modes available. Apertures can be manually or automatically controlled from f2.0 to f11, depending on the zoom setting. In Manual and Shutter Priority modes, shutter speed ranges from 1/18,000 to 60 seconds, with a Bulb setting for even longer exposures (up to 120 seconds maximum). The shutter speed range changes slightly in Aperture Priority and Program modes, varying from 1/18,000 to two seconds. This is a huge boost in exposure range relative to the original E-10, but Olympus notes that the fastest shutter speed in the interlaced scan mode is 1/640-second. The highest shutter speeds are thus limited to image sizes of 1792x1344 or below.

The exposure compensation adjustment offers a wider range than most current digicams, with settings from -3 to +3 exposure equivalents in one-third-step increments. The camera's metering system can be set to Digital ESP (a matrix/multi-segment metering system), Spot or Center-Weighted Average, depending on the type of subject and the desired exposure effect. ISO is also manually adjustable, with options of Auto, 80, 160 or 320 sensitivity equivalents. An AE Lock button on the back panel lets you lock the exposure reading for a specific part of the subject independently of the shutter release, providing even more flexibility with the exposure.

I was very pleased with the E-20's white balance capability, which offers nine modes: Auto, Quick Reference (manual) or Preset. The Quick Reference setting allows you to manually set the white balance by placing a white card in front of the lens, while the Preset white balance mode offers a range of Kelvin temperature settings, from 3,000 to 7,500 degrees, each corresponding to a particular light source (the manual has a table of temperatures and values). I like the flexibility of direct Kelvin settings a lot, but would really like to see them extend further down into the color range associated with household incandescent lighting (as low as 2400-2500K). Other image adjustments include variable sharpness and contrast. The E-20 features a built-in, pop-up flash with Auto, Red-Eye Reduction and Fill-in modes. Flash intensity level is adjustable from -2 to +2 EV in one-third-step increments. An external flash can be used with the E-20 via the hot shoe on top or the PC sync terminal on the side. Both the internal and external flash can operate at the same time and the intensity setting applies to the external flash as well.

A Sequence shooting mode captures up to four sequential interlaced frames at approximately 2.5 frames per second or seven progressive scan frames at approximately the same frame rate (as many as three RAW files). An auto bracketing feature takes three images at three different exposure values to help you get the right exposure. A Time-lapse Photography mode takes an infinite number of images (as many as the memory card will allow), at set intervals from 30 seconds to 24 hours as the batteries hold out. The E-20 also works with an infrared or a wired remote control.

The E-20 can accommodate both SmartMedia and CompactFlash Type I or II memory cards, with dual slots on the side of the camera (a 16-megabyte SmartMedia card is included). Five image sizes are available from 2560x1920 pixels on down and images can be saved in JPEG, uncompressed TIFF or RAW data formats. An Olympus RAW File Import Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop accompanies the camera, allowing you to process and color correct RAW files on a computer. A USB cable also comes with the camera and the Camedia Master 2.5 software package [MW] provides image downloading, organization and minor editing. U.S. and Japanese models come with an NTSC cable for viewing and composing images with a television set and we assume that European models are equipped for PAL timing.

The E-20 can use either four AA alkaline, NiCd or NiMH batteries or two CR-V3 lithium ion battery packs. As an accessory, a vertical hand grip and battery pack accommodates a more powerful lithium polymer battery. An AC adapter is also available as an accessory and highly recommended for tasks such as image downloading and playback.

VIEWFINDER

For composing images, the E-20 features an SLR optical viewfinder and an LCD monitor. The optical viewfinder's SLR design utilizes a "beam splitter" method rather than the traditional mirror design. Even though the image goes to the CCD and viewfinder simultaneously, there's still a brief "blackout" when the shutter trips. I'm not sure why, since the optical path looks as though it should support light going to the viewfinder and CCD at the same time. One benefit though, is that the beam splitter design should reduce vibration significantly for shooting under dim lighting with long telephoto lenses, since there's no mirror slamming up as the exposure begins. Another benefit is that, with no mirror to flip up, the maximum cycle time can be very fast.

While the beam-splitter approach does have advantages, there is a tradeoff in light sensitivity. Since some portion of the light must be sent through the viewfinder, that much less will reach the CCD. If the light were split evenly between the two, this would be a one f-stop loss in ISO. That said, I was impressed with the E-20's low light performance, among the best I've seen regardless of price.

OPTICS

Like the E-10, the E-20 departs from other professional SLR digicams in that it doesn't accept interchangeable lenses. But Olympus offers a pretty wide range of front-element auxiliary lenses, the 4x zoom range is probably sufficient for the bulk of normal studio and location shooting and there are advantages to the fixed-lens design. Aside from the fixed-mount design, the E-20's optics are unique in their incorporation of several elements normally found only in very high-end lenses in the 35mm world.

The first noteworthy feature of the E-20's lens optical system is the two aspheric elements and no fewer than three low-dispersion or extra-low-dispersion elements, both of which are a costly hallmark of high-end optics. The second design element is the "Gauss Type Lens Group." Gauss groups are normally found only in high-end wide-aperture telephoto lenses and significantly reduce chromatic aberration and other optical defects in such designs. The arrangement of elements in the E-20's lens means light arriving at the CCD will be pretty highly collimated, with all the light rays hitting the CCD surface more or less at a right angle. Olympus feels this is especially important for digital imaging systems, due to the three-dimensional structure of the CCD surface. I strongly suspect that the "purple fringe" problem found on many digicams is due to a too-high angle of incidence of the light falling on the CCD surface.

Another important aspect of the E-20's lens system is that it's designed to have a "circle of confusion," matching the dimensions of the CCD pixels. Lens systems are generally designed to deliver a particular maximum resolving power, measured by how tightly they can focus a hypothetical point source of light. Most film-camera lenses are designed with the resolution limits of film in mind (no surprise), which apparently results in "circles of confusion" (sounds like a planning meeting at The Imaging Resource <g>) or "blur spot" size of six microns or more. The problem with applying such lenses to digital imaging is that the lens ends up being the limiting element in the optical path. Olympus' contention is that lenses need to be designed to match the requirements of the new medium. We don't have any way of verifying the impact of all this optical technology, but can say that the lens on our E-20 looked exceptionally sharp.

SHUTTER LAG/CYCLE TIMES

Overall, the E-20N is a pretty fast-operating camera. Shot-to-shot and shutter lag times are very decent. And when prefocused, it has about the fastest shutter response of any camera I've tested. Speed while working off the four-frame buffer is quite good, but once you overshoot the buffer, things slow dramatically. A faster memory card chops buffer-clear times by about a third, but the write speed to the memory cards is really a good bit slower than I'd like to see in a high-end camera. Most annoying though, is that many of the camera's settings are locked-out while the buffer is emptying. In an otherwise excellent camera, with good speed and great controls, this was perhaps my biggest gripe. If Olympus could only keep menus "live" during memory writing, the E-20's perceived speed would jump dramatically. Not a crucial flaw, but professional sports shooters and others needing long buffer runs and quick cycling will need to look elsewhere.

CONCLUSION

Offering a true 5.24-megapixel CCD, extensive exposure control, SLR format, advanced lens design and improved electronics, the Olympus E-20 is a solid incremental upgrade from the E-10 model. Selling for thousands less than its competitors in the professional SLR world, it also offers higher resolution than any pro SLR within two or three times its cost. As an added bonus, Olympus' use of metal castings and other metal components to heat sink the CCD appears to have paid real dividends in the form of reduced CCD noise on long exposures. The E-20N looks like a worthy successor to the excellent E-10N before it. Highly recommended.

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.

Book Bag: Photoshop Elements Solutions

With Elements now being bundled with some hardware and advertised on the airwaves, could a book be far behind? Actually, the book was a bit ahead of the software, according to Kevin Connor, Elements product manager. He hooked up with author Mikkel Aakland after "the Photoshop team at Adobe had already laid plans for a product to serve the audience he was writing for."

Aakland, who had been introduced to digital photography in 1980 by no less than Ansel Adams, is the author of "Digital Photography," published in 1992 and a photographer in his own right.

But "Photoshop Elements Solutions" is more than his own work. Sixteen other practitioners of the art contributed their tricks and tips to the tome, including a real estate agent, a virtual reality specialist, a horticulturalist as well as a healthy assortment of photographers, artists and designers.

Together they've assembled an impressive list of step-by-step solutions to common image editing tasks. These solutions start at the beginning, showing you how to configure Elements to work for you (rather than vice versa), continue into basic file management and then into image edits that affect the whole image at one time before delving into the devilish little tasks that tend to corrupt one's vocabulary.

Among the latter are how to get better faces by whitening eyes and teeth or putting some color on lips, and even enlarging eyes like portrait painters have done for centuries. Outdoor photography, which often suffers washed out color and product shots, gets similar recipes, including a basic lighting setup for products. There are also some good selection techniques in the chapter of product shots, while tips for seamlessly pasting selections and extending images fill the chapter on compositing images.

Perspective and straightening are introduced in the chapter on real estate photography. And how to shoot and edit panoramas follows. Aakland even addresses repurposing your images for print and the Web, with a rare look at setting up your printer and making test strips.

The step-by-step illustrated solutions are excellent reference material (and the book includes a thorough index) using both professional images and the ordinary snapshots we all love to improve. But it falls short on technical explanation.

The explanation of JPEG compression was disappointing (there's no inherent color shift in compression and if you can tell you've "lost" information, you're a better man than I, Gunga Din). And the advice on resizing your images larger is better not given (you aren't adding information so only a small enlargement is feasible).

But that isn't why you buy a book like this.

Which raises another issue. Elements itself includes some of the best online help ever included, covering not only step-by-step recipes for common editing tasks, but hints on how to use the tools and concise explanations of the deeper goings-on of color theory.

But sometimes it's nice to have a book in your lap. Like when you want to explore filter effects. Or quietly muse on the capabilities of your new software.

Do you need Elements to profit from Aakland's Solutions? The techniques and discussion are tightly bound to Elements. We think it would be frustrating to translate the various solutions into another image editor's language. Particularly since they are step-by-step recipes.

Fortunately, the book comes with a 30-day trial version of Elements (and sample images used in the examples). Once you try these out, it may be easier to figure out how to do them with whatever image editor you have (one that does not have the system requirements of Elements, perhaps). Or you may just fall in love with Adobe's new baby.

Photoshop Elements Solutions (ISBN 0-7821-2973-0) by Mikkel Aakland, 288 pages, published in paperback by Sybex for $39.99.
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:

Dave gives some specific camera advice at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee87f8e

Compare Sony camera prices at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee86100

Gordon asks about digitizing 35mm slides and photos at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee87cc4

Brian asks about 5x7 prints at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee87b9c

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

Return to Topics.

Just for Fun: A Favorite Gift Idea

Now that the stores have finally <g> been decorated, our thoughts have been turning to gift giving.

Last year's ideas still work (if not for the same people) and this year Dave's Wishbook (http://www.imaging-resource.com/WB/WB.HTM) adds some great new ideas -- organized by price range, too. But don't miss all the ingenious things Club Photo (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?dce) can do with your images (some of them even digestible), discounted exclusively for our subscribers if ordered by Dec. 7 with the code "gift10" at the link above.

In fact, you can enhance any of their jewelry gifts with a little twist we came up with a few years ago. It still reigns as our all-time favorite gift idea.

We were shopping for vegetables, believe it or not, when we stumbled into a little display of heart-shaped pewter lockets that could be worn as a pin or pendant. The lockets opened to reveal a small picture. And only cost about as much as the vegetables.

We never liked vegetables much anyway.

So we snagged one without any idea what to do with it until we realized it was pretty easy to swap pictures. Then it hit us. We could make tiny prints of all the kids in the family, use the plastic "glass" as a template to trim them to fit the locket and tuck it all in one of those nicely decorated gift boxes you see all over this time of year.

We knew just who would love to have it. Grandmother. So we called it a Grandmother's Pin.

Now whenever a birthday or graduation or special event rolls around, Grandmother slips that child's picture into the locket before she joins the party. It's like she has a special pendant for every child.

Club Photo has several similar pieces -- and the photo quality prints will be much appreciated. But the lockets aren't uncommon (don't ask us about shopping for jewelry, though; in that one case, we prefer vegetables). And no doubt your inkjet can make a recognizable face from the many shots you've taken over the past year (aren't you glad you didn't wait forever to buy a digicam). A small decorated box from an art supply or craft store dresses the whole thing up nicely with a little label whose inscription will look terrific with your most elegant fonts.

And you can update the images every year or so, too.

Of course, there's no reason why it couldn't be a Mother's Pin, too. And, with a little imagination, it could even evolve into Ancestral Tattoos for the kids (certain relatives could conceivably look cooler than any blood-dripping clip-art tattoo).

The one we made a few years ago is still prized. So we're happy to pass along this sure winner to you. If we could, we'd make an Editor's Pin with pictures of all our readers!

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: Ansel Adams at 100

Thank you so much for bringing into the spotlight the wonderful exhibit of Ansel Adams. We happened to be visiting San Francisco last week and would have missed the exhibit if it hadn't been for your "head's up." The exhibit was terrific and I had to order two of his books to fill out my education. You do us all in the photo community a great service with your newsletter.

-- Judith

(Thanks, Judith! We do wish they had published a CD-ROM of the multimedia presentation (http://www.sfmoma.org/adams/index.html). It often isn't feasible to sit down at a computer terminal at the exhibit and a PPP connection can be slow enough to spoil the fun. But it was very well done and deserves a larger audience. Would have made a great Christmas present, too. -- Editor)

Interesting "depth" piece on Adams. Aside from having an artists "eye," he certainly advanced the art technically.

Since I went broadband, I look at a lot of pictures on the digipix sites. It's interesting that the Canon D-30, with 3-MP, gets a lot more detail from complex forms, like distant trees or palm fronds, than the 5-MP cameras with small sensors.

I've monitored some sites with digital pix hosted by photogs with digicams that have quality sensors. If you start with this sort of image, where do you go to follow in Adams footsteps? What's the point of departure to advance the start of the art?

One question is whether to use Photoshop to do minor cosmetic surgery or, at the opposite extreme, major organ transplants.

If I don't like the sky and don't feel like coming back when the weather is cooperating, can I borrow some clouds, change the blue to a subtle crimson and plunk that in? The pristine days when Adams could meander down the highway and find "fresh" landscapes are over. Is it OK to remove the houses?

How does anything Ansel Adams did apply to digicams? Will a camera with adjustable dynamic range allow for a new kind of zone system? Can you really compare someone working without color to digiphotographers who have the ability to go from Velvia color to, well, Velveeta color?

It's a good point about Ansel capturing the stark rather than just the perky. But then, I don't see many ads for Photo Tours of Prisons.

I tend to change color balance, reduce saturation and work off what the inkjet outputs, not what's on the monitor. The discussions of color spaces and profiles are endless. It's kind of unlikely that the computer screen can really match what the printer will print.

-- George Sears

(Adams was aware of and welcomed what the new technology would bring to the process. It's fun to speculate what he might think today.... We don't doubt he would welcome extensive Photoshop editing, although compositing (which doesn't require the world itself, just a library of images) would probably not have interested him much. The test is whether these capabilities allowed artists to express themselves or constricted them in some way.... Composition and tonality were his game. You can compose with anything and tonality (which we believe is what really excited him about the new capabilities) has never been more editable than it is with Photoshop, with Curves, with software dodging and burning and undoing.... We imagine he expected to see giant leaps in sensitivity, far surpassing what he'd seen in emulsion technology (and he saw a lot). -- Editor)

RE: Ersatz Nobel Prize Bonus

Lexar finally solved my USB reader problem by replacing it with a newer model. Apparently earlier models had trouble with large-capacity memory cards.

Their tech support was superb. To recap, they first replaced the 128-MB CompactFlash card. Then the USB reader.

As a last step, they had me send them both the replacement card and reader so they could test them together. All through the process, Demaris Williams -- the tech I had first talked to about this -- kept me informed either by email or phone. At one point, he even called to apologize for my problem being put on the back burner for a week. Williams would call to ask additional questions as their lab tried to solve the problem.

In all the replacements, they sent the hardware back to me via FedEx overnight. Impressive service.

-- Clarence Jones

(Ah, a firmware issue! Thanks very much for the follow-up, Clarence. Very glad it was resolved and impressed with just how it was resolved. -- Editor)

RE: Saved!

I am happy! My deleted Kodak DC-290 pictures are all recovered. What did I do?

  1. Bought a flash card reader (the cheapest no name product)

  2. Used Drive Rescue 1.5e for Windows 2000 (http://www.freewarenetz.de/tools3b.htm). It's freeware!

-- Dr. H. Wolf

(Thanks for sharing your success story! -- Editor)

RE: Book List

First of all allow me to say thank you. The reason: your Web site is simply above the rest. Just name it and the information is already at my fingertips -- fast and reliable!

Being an advanced amateur, I have just bought three units of studio lights. What I am looking for are books which could teach and guide me on how to place these lights in proper angles so that I could get the desired lighting effect.

-- Don Seggu

(Alas, all mine are out of print. Readers, any recommendations for Don? -- Editor)
(I have one! "The Ultimate Guide to Studio Lighting" (ISBN: 0-8174-3550-6) by Tony Corbell, Hasselblad University director of education. It covers both portrait and product photography. Published by Amphoto Books, 144 pages, $24.95. -- Kim)

RE: Kicking the Tires

I want to buy a 1.3-megapixel camera for [surprise] for Xmas for about $100, plus or minus $25. Although I have no aversion to buying a pre-owned model, I have been very surprised at the premium prices for used 1.3-megapixel models.

This makes the Sipix SC-1300 a very interesting idea. It's available at PC Mall right now for $100.

It sounds perfect on paper or on my computer screen. But does this camera actually function as it should? If so, how well? Is it at all durable? How well are the instructions written? Finally, does the camera have a built-in flash of any kind? (And naturally, if there is a flash, does it have the anti-red-eye feature?)

-- Beth

(Great question, Beth. Start with a visit to Dave's Wishbook at http://www.imaging-resource.com/WB/WB.HTM for to put things in perspective.... I just saw the Sipix at CompUSA, and gave it my tire-kicking test for inexpensive digicams. Does it capture over 640x480 pixels? Does it have a flash? Does it have removable storage? Three kicks are all you get or I'd look for AAs, too.... There are, of course, a lot of other factors, but these make the thing useable (eliminating the nuisances that prevent it from being fun). The Sipix covers all of them (although the Fuji FinePix A101 is tempting for just a little more).... I wouldn't worry about anything that can be corrected in software (like red-eye). Think of those things as terrific opportunities to master image editing <g>. -- Editor)

RE: Praise for Printroom

First of all, I'd like to give great praise to Printroom. I found it (of course) through your newsletter and they are, in fact, wonderful.

I did a test order. I sent two images: a 1600x1200 JPEG (taken with my Olympus C2000Z) and a 1360x1024 JPEG (taken with my Olympus RS100). Although they recommend at least a 1536x1024 for an 8x10 photo, I ordered an 8x10 and a 5x7 of each of my images. If I'm picky and I know that the resolution was smaller on the one image, I guess I can see a slight difference in quality.... But both 8x10s were more than acceptable and I am thrilled with the results. And it was easy to order and I got very fast service.

But my praise doesn't stop there.

I did the test order because I am producing a Program Book for my daughter's high school soccer program (again) and this year, I thought I'd make a little money selling photos to the parents. Consequently, I had tons of questions on how I should set everything up for the volume order. Because I wanted to do specific cropping (that would affect the resolution ratios) I wanted to discuss it with someone prior to placing my order. I put in a call and got an answering machine/voice mail and figured I'd wait days for a response. I got a call within a couple of hours (I'm on East coast, they're on West coast) and the guy was extremely helpful and knowledgeable and was patient with my every question. I was very impressed. I'll be ready to send in my bigger order on CD in a couple of days and I'll let you know how it goes ... but I'm very confident things will go well.

By the way, I also made use of the "Shoot & Share" offer you promoted in your newsletter. With the 25 free 8x10s I'll be getting, you saved me a lot of money, THANK YOU!

Now, regarding the Printroom Pro service. I read about it online and it sounds like a great setup ... especially with the discount you've set up for us. Just one question/reservation. Couldn't even a mildly smart person decide to see what, "http://www.printroom.com" was all about and see $2.99 prices on an 8x10 that I'll charge $9 or $10 for? OK, granted they can't order that picture for $2.99 through Printroom because of the protected images, but at the very least they will see that it cost me only $2.99 (or less) and that's kind of uncomfortable. Am I wrong? Or maybe I misread it. Or maybe most people aren't as nosey as I am and wouldn't bother to check out the "root" URL.

Thanks, as always, for the continuing great newsletters.

-- Janet

(Thanks for your kind words and feedback on the Printroom enlargements Deal (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/pl/pl.cgi?prnl) that helps support this newsletter and the new Pro program.... Don't worry about customers detecting your markup. The price of a print is only one factor and you're certainly entitled to some compensation for your efforts. The beauty of the Pro program is that the normal overhead is greatly reduced by Printroom's automated fulfillment system. So you save and your customer saves. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

The Associated Press reported the U.S. Navy recovered a digicam from the wreckage of the Japanese fishing boat sunk by the USS Greeneville submarine. The camera belonged to 17-year-old Takeshi Mizuguchi and included images of his birthday two days before the accident. Despite being submerged for eight months, the images were retrieved from the digicam. Mizuguchi's body alone among the nine victims was not recovered.


Rune Lindman has released QPict 5.0 (http://www.qpict.net) for Mac OS X. Lindman said QPict 5.0 for earlier versions of Mac OS will be available in a few weeks.


Sanyo plans to start producing digicams in China as early as next spring to cut costs and keep up with rising demand. The company currently makes digicams in Japan, South Korea and Indonesia. The company has yet to decide Chinese production volume but plans to boost its global output to an annual 10 million units, a Sanyo spokesman said. Sanyo's global digicam production is estimated at 5.4 million units in 2001/02, up from 3.24 million a year earlier, the spokesman said.


David Lloyd has released Image Info (http://www.kanzu.com), over 20 editable AppleScripts that return resolution, pixel width, pixel height and color mode of a dozen common image file types without loading the whole image into memory. Image Info adds functionality to AppleScript, enabling AppleScripters to quickly retrieve the including TIFF, JPEG, EPS, PICT and GIF (see full list below).


Lefteris Pitarakis of the Associated Press writes, "Please find some time to visit (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/photo/onassignment/G31561-2001Nov02.html) a photo gallery of my pictures from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in CameraWorks of the Washingtonpost.com site and listen to my audio commentaries. I would appreciate any comments, critique and/or feedback."


San Jose's Tech Museum and the Churchill Club will present a panel discussion moderated by Stewart Alsop on "Turning Bits Into Memories: Digital Photography Comes Into Focus" on Dec. 11. Panelists include Katrin Eismann, artist and educator; Michael Slater, Fotiva chairman; Rick Smolan, president and CEO of Against All Odds Productions; and Andy Wood, Shutterfly CEO. Visit http://www.thetech.org/panel/digitalphoto to register for the $150 a plate event.


Ofoto Inc. has released OfotoNow 3.0 (http://www.ofoto.com) to make it easier for customers to upload images to the online photofinisher.


Ink4Art is offering a Christmas Stocking Creation Kit (http://www.ink4art.com/icon/index.asp?method=ps&pss=stocking) for $5.99 that includes a 15x8-inch red and white stocking, a sheet of inkjet transfer paper, transfer tissue paper and instructions.


Photographs by Sarah Moon are on display at the Greenberg Gallery (http://www.howardgreenberg.com) in New York City through Dec. 8.


A retrospective of the work of Abelardo Morell is on exhibit at the George Eastman House (http://www.eastman.org) in Rochester through Jan. 6.

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

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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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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

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