|Volume 3, Number 26||28 December 2001|
Welcome to the 62nd edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. Whether you prefer it like a cradle or a quake, we hope your New Year rocks!
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Wacom (wok'-um, if you've ever wondered) recently reinvented its popular pressure-sensitive graphics tablet, revealing the Intuos2 at Seybold San Francisco in September. We've had a chance to get intimately acquainted with the 6x8 tablet and will post an expanded illustrated version of this review on the main site shortly.
We've used a 4x5 ArtPad Wacom tablet for many years. It's never failed us (despite a few falls) and provides a wonderful alternative input device (particularly welcome during long sessions surfing the Web). But even more importantly, the tablet provides pressure sensitive drawing impossible with a mouse. This can approximate the effects if not the feeling of traditional artist tools, adding important image retouching capabilities.
The new Intuos2 is a few generations beyond our old ArtPad. The pen includes an eraser on the opposite end of the drawing point, standard in models following the ArtPad. And it includes a soft grip on a redesigned and enlarged pen, which identifies itself to the pad so you can customize your pen's behavior without affecting anyone else's settings. In addition to the pen, it now includes a mouse (a wonderful alternative, since pens do not stand up when you let go of them). Most importantly, the sensitivity of the tablet, which sports a number of soft buttons, has been refined yet again.
Wacom claims the Intuos2's two-time oversampling provides significantly improved "data quality" over previous models. It also makes the pens and tablets incompatible with previous devices.
Except for that, all of these developments are welcome. A larger pen barrel is an ergonomic secret of fountain pen designers we've long enjoyed. The inclusion of a mouse is a brilliant solution for laptop users desperate to avoid trackpads. And the increased sensitivity simply makes the pen seem more natural.
The new tablets require a computer that supports USB peripherals running either Windows 98/ME/2000/XP or Mac OS 8.6+/10.1.
Wacom has always worked very hard to keep its drivers up-to-date with operating system revisions (note the XP/OS X compatibility). There's often a beta available for download on the site. In all the years we've been using the ArtPad, we've never had to pay for a driver update.
Wacom offers the Intuos2 in several models: the $188 4x5, the $350 6x8, the $430 9x12, the $500 12x12 and the $700 12x18.
Inside the box for the 6x8 model you'll find:
As a USB-powered device, no power brick is necessary.
- One cordless Intuos2 Grip Pen with an alternate rubberized grip (for those who prefer not to use the built-in and removable DuoSwitch on the pen) and five extra plastic nibs
- A pen stand
- The cordless mouse with two buttons separated by a scroll wheel (larger models include a four-button mouse)
- A soft plastic strip (the "incline bar") to attach under tablets that will spend their life on a tabletop to provide an incline
- The tablet with a row of soft buttons along the top
- A CD with the Wacom driver and another CD with Wacom's power tools
- A quick start booklet (but the primary documentation is an Acrobat PDF document on the driver CD) and a flyer illustrating accessories.
Roughly the size of a manila folder, the 6x8 tablet is quite a bit larger than the 4x5 (which itself is inconspicuous enough to travel with). The smaller-sized tablets may provide less tablet real-estate but we've never found that much of a disadvantage.
There are two steps to installing the tablet.
Hardware installation is the first. For a USB device, you simply plug the tablet into any powered USB port. That's either your computer's USB port or a hub that uses an adapter. Success is yours if the small orange LED on the tablet lights up.
We're particularly happy to report that Wacom supplies an 8.2-foot cord with their tablets. No need to run down to the Warehouse Super Store for an extravagantly expensive USB extension cable.
Once connected, the tablet automatically registers as a USB device. Windows 98 users will additionally have to go through the Add New Hardware Wizard to complete hardware installation.
You can use the mouse right away. OS X and Windows XP drivers are supplied, but the mouse will function during startup without a driver installed. So the tablet can indeed serve as your primary pointing input device.
But to take full advantage of the capabilities built into the tablet, you have to install the driver, which can be configured via a Control Panel. Just pop in the CD, select the Install option and after a restart you're in business.
You may also want to install the plug-ins on the PowerSuite CD. Eraser support and Pen Tools are among them. But these don't require a restart.
We don't get along well with many installers. If they have any weaknesses, our House of Cards operating system will find them. In this case, we confused things with our old tablet running a slightly older version of the driver.
We might have tried to open our existing driver to add the new tablet, but we doubted the older driver could handle the new tablet. And the installer wasn't bright enough to remove the old driver before installing the new one.
So on restart, trying to load both drivers failed with an "internal error" that sent us back to the PDF manual. Step by step we confirmed hardware installation was correct and the software was loaded. But the manual didn't foresee our conflict.
So we did the smart thing, removing the old driver and reinstalling the new one. After a reboot we were in business. And the new driver recognized both tablets. But only the first can be pressure sensitive.
Installation is typically simpler than that, though. The manual confirms you did it right, but you can also avail yourself of the excellent Wacom Web site (http://www.wacom.com) or your-dime phone support from 7:30 a.m to 5 p.m. Pacific.
Lurking in the driver are more power tools than you'll find at Home Depot. You enjoy default settings for many of them but you really should spend some time in the Control Panel to make this baton really twirl.
We already mentioned that the driver can detect and maintain settings for multiple tablets. And it can do the same for multiple pointing devices (your pen, your co-worker's pen, your kid's mouse).
But it can do that for each program you own, too. So behavior can be redefined by whose device it is and what program they're using.
This is more useful than it may sound.
For example, when navigating our desktop, we like the pen's DuoSwitch to do a double-click when we press its lower end. That's easier than double-clicking by tapping the pen point to the tablet twice (an Olympic event). But when we drop into our image editor, we want it to Undo whatever edit we just tried out. That makes us a lot more productive.
On the pen, you can define the behavior of four controls: the tip, the upper slide switch, the lower slide switch and the eraser. And one of your options is to assign a pop-up menu, which itself can easily be defined to list a number of other options.
The mouse's left and right buttons can be reassigned as well as the fingerwheel. The fingerwheel alone can be set to page up or down or move a specific number of lines per click (fabulous in browser windows). And even the direction can be reversed.
There's no need, in short, to feel as awkward with these tools as you did when you first tried to do anything with, well, a mouse. Just redefine them to work the way you want them to work.
We, for example, have a hard time controlling accelerated mice, usually flinging our cursor out of the room. The Wacom Control Panel lets us completely disable the feature or set it to one of three different speeds (hope springs eternal).
Similarly, how the tablet is mapped to the screen can be customized. And, again, that behavior can change with your application. If you want to trace artwork in a drawing program, you can set Positioning Mode to Pen Mode where each point on the tablet maps to a corresponding point on the screen. But if you want to zoom around your desktop with your pen, you can set it for Mouse Mode.
That's just for starters. You can also use your tablet in either landscape or portrait orientation -- and flipped, too (as if you are drawing on the bottom of the tablet). And you can map just a bit of the tablet to cover your whole screen -- or split large tablets into independent areas using QuickPoint Mode to navigate your screen quickly in one small area and draw in the other.
You can also customize the Aspect setting to define the two-dimensional relationship of your tablet to the screen. One-to-one enables accurate tracing, Proportional maintains proportion but can enlarge or reduce what you trace and To Fit maintains neither proportion nor scale.
There's even an interactive Advanced Mapping option with three ways of letting you you show the system where the corners of the screen should be mapped to the tablet.
Among the more essential customizations to perform, though, is adjusting the sensitivity of the pen to behave as you'd expect. Some people write with a heavier hand than others and some double-click slower than others. The Intuos2 accommodates both by letting each adjust the tip feel, double-click timing, eraser feel and tilt sensitivity.
These are primarily ways to configure the pen's pressure sensitivity. Tilt sensitivity, like pressure sensitivity, is a way to control brush characteristics.
There are, additionally, 13 soft buttons plus a button to switch between pen and mouse mode and one to switch pressure sensitivity from soft to medium to hard. Since these buttons are on the tablet itself, they don't change definitions when you use a different pointing device but they do recognize different settings for different applications.
You can easily redefine any of the 13 soft buttons using the Control Panel to mimic any keystroke or chord meaningful to your application. On all but the 4x5 model, you can remove the label strip from the tablet and write your definitions in pencil for each button.
Accessing the buttons is no problem with a pen but what happens when you're using the mouse? While we prefer a right-button popup menu duplicating our favorite soft buttons, you can use the mouse with the soft buttons. As you scroll over the button, the screen cursor changes to a small box with the button number on it.
And if you don't like that, you can turn it off. There's very little that can't be changed to suit.
You'll want to at least set the pressure sensitivity of the pen before you get too far along, but it can take a while to decide just how you want to configure everything. In fact, you may find your customization evolving continually, like the configuration of your system in general, adding things and removing others.
Fortunately, the Control Panel makes all that a snap.
The real trick is remembering you have options. We forget we can flip the pen over to erase something or that we can adjust tool behavior with a tilt. But it won't be very long before you start expecting it to solve those aggravating little navigation problems we all suffer. Double clicking and undoing especially.
The one thing we did not do was attach the incline bar to the bottom of the tablet. We like to use it on our lap when we surf the Web and didn't want to restrict our blood flow any more than usual. But we found we could leave the bar on our keyboard table and just set the tablet on it. Worked fine.
Mastering the pen and mouse takes a little brain and muscle training time. Used to one-button mice, we strained ourselves keeping our fingers off the buttons of the Intuos2 mouse. But we're getting better.
Graphic tablets are not just for Rembrandts. You don't need to be able to draw well to use one (although if you do draw well, you are tying your good hand behind your back without one).
In digital imaging they are indispensable for many tasks, not the least of which are subtle dodging and burning. You can vary the intensity of the dodge or burn just by varying the pressure with which you stroke the pen. So you can lighten up where the image is fine and bear down where it needs to come up more.
And if you don't like the effect, just click to Undo and try again!
Although the increasingly common optical mouse avoids the slack inherent in the once standard mechanical mouse, nothing is more precise than a pressure-sensitive pen. You can actually work above the tablet, floating the mouse or the pen like some sort of Hovercraft and with a click of the button even manage to double-click.
But more importantly, many tools in modern image editors are built for pressure sensitive devices. So you simply aren't getting everything out of your image editor without one.
By providing both a mouse and pen, Wacom has made a compelling argument particularly for those trying to avoid built-in trackpads. They're a first-class company with a top drawer product. And no self-respecting dabbler should be seen without one.
By R.C. HAMILTON
Cornell University Office of Visual Services
(With this piece we're delighted to introduce yet another new wrinkle in our editorial face. The Guest Spot shines its light on contributors from beyond our usual reach who offer their special perspective on an issue we find compelling. As our first contribution illustrates quite well! -- Editor)
I am an old guy. I cut my photographic teeth with a Leica model 250 FF Reporter in 1939 which led to a lifetime career in photography. "So what," you might ask, "has this to do with digital photography these days?" More than you might imagine.
For instance, in a recent Imaging Resource newsletter the subject of human visual acuity was briefly skirted and I see that it has not changed a bit in the past one hundred years. "About 300 microns," you say. Go to the head of the class. In that little booklet that came with the Leica FF, it was specified as 1/30 mm, which as we all know, is close to 333 microns.
But the little booklet went further. It told about the experiments of Oscar Barnack (I think it was around 1911) when he tried to figured out how much resolution he needed to compete with the large format cameras of his day.
Oscar, the father of 35mm cameras as we know them today, was working on the first Leica. Back then at the beginning of the 20th century, photography used large format glass plates which were contact printed and had reached a very high degree of visual sharpness with "Rapid Rectilineal" doublet lenses. Oscar's idea was to use the new fangled motion picture films to make double-framed images which would then be enlarged for final prints. That would eliminate glass plates and the huge cameras. But enlarging those small negatives to make prints equal in size to large-format contact prints was a problem.
Parameters of human visual acuity when viewing an object depend on size, shape, edge contrast and viewing distance.
Barnack, for want of a better definition, was working toward a "circle of confusion." The question, "What is visual acuity?" was answered for human eyes as 1/30 mm (or about 1/750th of an inch) and is properly known as "the diameter of the circle of confusion." This is valid for any object when seen by normal human eyes at approximately normal reading distances: some 38 cm (15 inches).
Oscar, knowing that his little double-framed negatives would have to be enlarged about ten times, required a circle of confusion to be 1/10th of the diameter of 300 microns, giving him a worst case equal to 30 microns. Anything larger than this would look unsharp in the enlarged print.
Eyes being eyes, this is as true today as it was then. Especially relevant is the fact that calculations using these parameters are used to specify the depth of field tables, hyperfocal distances and lens barrel engravings to the present day.
We should observe that the specified diameter of the circle of confusion as 30 microns applies only to an image to be enlarged some ten times as a norm. If the image is to be enlarged bigger than normal or to be viewed closer than normal we need to greatly reduce the size of the circle of confusion. From this we see that in 35mm photography as we know it, our engraved depth of field tables are only valid for 10x enlargements to be viewed at 15 inches. If we stay in these parameters, things will appear sharp to human eyes.
Fortunately this is relatively easy to do. Smaller apertures reduce the size of the circle of confusion and, as we know, the shorter the focal length of a lens, the deeper its depth of field, as well as its depth of focus.
We have become accustomed to thinking in terms of the 35mm negative area and these fine lenses that have evolved with amazing resolving power capable of wave length resolution with full color correction. But in the digital age are these good enough?
We must remember that our digital cameras, while being compared to the 35mm format, are indeed not really required to cover the entire 35mm format.
At the present state of the art the recording surface (our digital "film") is only around 60-70 percent of the area of our old standard 35mm format. When it comes to pixel packing, we are in a whole new ball game.
Leaving all the present digital boogies aside, we still have our poor human vision to satisfy us in the sharpness of the final print. We read about noise produced by heat and how it affects our sensitive little pixels. We hear about an ever increasing pixel packing power of digicams increasing like dollars in a federal budget. We feast on alphabet soup, RAW, TIFF, JPEG and assorted modes of compression until our images are constipated with "jaggies" far worse than film grain from Tri-X boiled in Rodinal.
THE EYES HAVE IT
But when it all comes down to roost, the final facts are simple. Human eyes have not changed in many thousands of years.
Any five year old kid can tell you when your photos stink but we don't seem to know when enough pixels are enough. There never will be enough if we shoot, then change our minds about how big to blow it up or to crop it into little pieces for major prestigious pixel packing precocious presentations.
But one thing really hurts. If I had been able to hang on to that Leica 250 FF, I could buy a solid gold heat sink for the best future digital Wazzulie camera stoking up an ocean of pixels for tomorrow. But it wouldn't be as good as the worst Leica ever built. That's progress.
(R.C. is the guy who invented "phug" while teaching photography at Cornell. "This was in the days when Tri-X at ASA 400 (see how old fashioned I am?) was the fastest film going," he explained. "It stood for, Perfectly Harmonious Uniform Grain. This was a mixture of Rodinal heavily doped with sodium sulfite for forced film development pushing Tri-X up to ASA 1600 with compensating action. My students adopted the motto: 'If there's no other way, PHUG it.'" -- Editor)
At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Like the site itself, as Dave explains:
"For the techies out there, we (finally) put our server on a RedHat 7.1 distribution Dec. 22, so we're now on the Linux 2.4 kernel. This is a lot more efficient than the 2.2.24 kernel we had been running. A few minor niggling backend things still need fixing, but nothing should be apparent to visitors. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any odd behavior, though."
Among the other highlights since our last issue:
- Updated: Olympus C-4040 Zoom good images finally posted! (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/C44/C44PICS.HTM). The original prototype model of the C-4040 received for testing had a CCD defect, resulting in a vertical yellow line stretching across the frame. No changes in conclusions, etc., but all of the test images for the C-4040 are now fully up to spec.
- Updated: Nikon Coolpix 5000 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/C5000/C5A.HTM). The review of the Nikon Coolpix 5000 is completely updated, including all the usual performance and timing measurements. Overall, it's a very solid performer, albeit not as fast as expected from Nikon's early billing (actually about average). Great operating controls and color handling. Color is very natural and film-like, a quality it shares with Canon's G2, but that some other high-end digicams miss by a little.... Also tested the "ISOR" image noise-reduction Photoshop action by Fred Miranda (http://www.imaging-resource.com/goodies/fm/CP5000/index.html). Fred has created a customized version of his generic High-ISO noise-filtering action tailored to the specific characteristics of the 5000's image noise, and the results are little short of incredible. It reduces the image noise by an amount almost equivalent to two f-stops decrease in ISO speed! And it leaves image detail more or less alone in the process. Very impressive, no Coolpix 5000 owner should buy the camera without also getting Fred's ISOR action. It's that good.
- Official Test Results: Canon S30 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/S30/S30A12.HTM). Information on the production-model Canon PowerShot S30 has actually been posted as detailed comments on the sample-pictures page. But thanks to reader email they're now posted as "official" conclusions in the review.
In the Darkroom Age, the least glamorous task in making a print was spotting it. That involved removing the microscopic, unexposed white spots caused by dust somewhere between the light source and the print. We'd take a 000 size brush, mix some retouching dye and dab away until your eye wasn't distracted by the white.
We'd sarcastically refer to it around here as spotting Elvis.
Spots are not a problem in digital imaging. Until you start copying old prints. And the problem isn't limited to white spots. You may have tears, brown spots, black ones, any kind of physical deterioration.
But the place to spot those images these days is not on the print. It's in your image editor (where you'll no doubt spend some time anyway).
The tool of choice is commonly known as the Rubber Stamp tool. And while it's evolved over the years (branching off into the History Brush in some applications), we think of it and its ancestors as the Quintessential Retouching Tool.
It's remarkably versatile, copying both tone and texture. And that versatility requires you to set a couple of options. Here's how we use it.
We magnify our original image well above 100 percent. No particular size, as long as it's bigger than life. Usually we just drag a marque around the area we intend to spot with the Selection tool and that does it.
Then we select the Rubber Stamp tool. At this point, you might think we're ready for a break, but we push on. The fun is just about to begin.
Look at the spot. How big is it? How wide is the tear? What size, you want to know, should your brush be?
It should be a little wider than your spot (we find it helpful to display the cursor as the brush size in Preferences or Properties, if your image editor provides that option). And it should have soft edges, not hard ones. We are not splicing wallpaper here. We're spotting Elvis.
If you can't get the right size brush, change the magnification of your image. If your brush is too small, enlarge the image. If it's too large, reduce the image.
Now you're ready for the most important step. Find a nearby area that is exactly the right tone and texture that the spot should be. This is what you will copy from. To tell the Rubber Stamp about it, hold down your system's modifier key (Option or Alt, generally) and click on it. You should see your cursor change when you hold down the modifier key, if you do this right.
Congratulations, you've just selected your clone tone.
You can clone the tone (and, to be really convincing, the texture) from just that spot or the clone can follow your Rubber Stamp brush (handy for non-uniform objects, where the light graduates). And you can clone from the data saved in your file, too (this is where the History Brush can come in). Wonderful tool.
Take a swipe at your spot. If you don't like the tone (it may be too dark or light; it's fiendishly difficult to match a spot out of context), just Undo your swipe. Then pick a more suitable clone tone. It doesn't have to be perfect (especially when seen enlarged) to be effective.
But when you get the right tone and texture, the spot will, like Elvis, be invisible.
Down the street at the Legion of Honor there's a white marble bust of French poet, novelist and dramatist Victor Hugo (1802-85) by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).
But it isn't your typical marble bust. It seems only half done, the face smooth but not detailed, only partly emerging from the stone. Hugo looks like one of Michelangelo's slaves, breaking free from the stone by force of will. We've always liked this portrait of the writer's human struggle (for some reason).
At the Legion, these public works of art may be photographed as long as you don't use a tripod or flash. And so the other day, thinking the Hugo might make a nice Christmas card, we trooped down the street and up the hill to see what we could do.
Thinking about it afterwards, we realized that while we've written before about one or another technique we find useful, putting the whole story together might help somebody escape the bonds of their own stone, too.
TAKING THE PICTURE
The first trick was to take the picture. No one is going to give it to you, after all.
And the first trick to taking the picture is to compose it. The bust is mounted on a pedestal that raises it above the viewer. Hugo looks down from the heights on us. But since he is still in the business of breaking free, we thought to raise up to meet him.
That meant separating our eye from the viewfinder. And fortunately that didn't bother our Average Digicam, since it sports an LCD monitor snappy enough for live composition.
But Rodin's marble Hugo (his very detailed bronze one stands right next to the marble bust, below eye level) is a three dimensional sculpture, not a painting. So it pays to walk around it, considering several compositions.
Sometimes one will leap out at you. But this time three did. The stone forms a sort of shroud circling over Hugo's head, nearly obscuring him from one side and exposing him on the other. Sort of a bilingual translation, it seemed to us, like French and English facing pages.
And then, of course, there's the direct view, head on. It makes a powerful first impression on everyone entering the room.
But the side views were more dramatic, in part because of how the light fell.
Ah, the light. If architecture, as some architect once said, is sculpting with light, what's sculpture but illuminating dimension?
The room is unusually brightly lit by a combination of sunlight and (guessing here) those gym lights so popular in public places these days.
To deal with the mixed lighting, we did nothing at all, leaving the Average to automatically figure the white balance. Then we took some shots.
Then we popped out a little white index card we carry and set the white balance by reading the card. On the Average that's just a menu option that tells us just what to do when. The big probem is remembering white balance is no longer on auto.
A few more shots, just in case.
We have a setup for the Average that is designed for situations just like this. Bright as the room is, it would still have triggered the Average's flash. Which is against the rules (and our personal preference). So the setting turns off the flash.
To guard against camera shake without the flash, it also sets the shutter to 1/60 second. No matter how dark it gets, it will never fire at a slower speed than we can hand hold. Yes, we've gotten some very dark shots but they're usually easily salvaged in our image editor.
To help that along, the setting also sets the ASA to 400.
But one setting that's important when shooting subjects like marble is not automatically set. That's the EV setting, which allows us to tell the meter it is looking at white, not gray. We want to overexpose marble (and snow). How much? That's another blessing you enjoy with a digicam. Try a few settings and play them back on the monitor. And if your digicam has a histogram display for each image, now's the time to indulge. Use the setting with the widest range of values in the histogram.
MAKING THE PICTURE
A few seconds was all it took to get a dozen or so shots of our Hugo. But we weren't even half done.
Where once we would have spooled film into a canister and agitated precisely during development, now we transfer images from the digicam to our Lowly PC via a USB connection. And where once we would have turned our one and only bathroom into a darkroom (the toilet is down the hall, fortunately), now we launch our image editor.
We wrote recently about Ansel Adams' use of tonal manipulation as personal expression. Adams worked in black and white but the concept is applicable to color work, too. Maybe because he was on our mind, maybe because our image was nearly monotone (the grey wall, the white marble), this project cried out for subtle color manipulation.
Subtle, yes. We wanted to make our point by shifting the color but we wanted to register it subconsciously. If you only saw our image, you'd think that's how Hugo looks at the Legion. But Hugo isn't that color at all. Just as Yosemite never quite looks the way Adams photographed it.
So what was our point? Were we merely trying to explain away bad color calibration?
Actually, we'd been reading the recent University of Chicago edition of Hugo's poems, finding (it will surprise no fan of Les Miserables) great empathy for the unfortunate in poems like "Never revile a woman for her fall," a sort of French "Amazing Grace." If his work is the pedestal on which he stands, this humanity, we felt, is the light in which we read it by.
The gray wall behind Hugo's bust takes on a coolness by its distance. The marble itself had a warmness. By adjusting Levels we slightly emphasized this contrast between the world and the man. It dramatically deepened the shadows, bringing out details in the sculpture not easily appreciated at the Legion. Even by old admirers like ourselves.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
We took shots from three angles and found ourselves unable to pick one over the others for display. We liked them together and missed any we left out as we arranged them on our work table (which is what we call the kitchen table occasionally).
So it was a series. We simply had to cut a mat that fit in a standard frame and we had our own Victor Hugo. Christmas card? No, somehow we'd stumbled onto something that deserved a longer look.
"All things can rise to the light above," Hugo ended the poem mentioned above. "They need only a ray of sun or love!" But any photographer can tell you that.
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:
Keep up with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F707 discussion at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee867ac
MVC-CD300 continues to inspire traffic at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee7a866
E-10 Digital SLR comments at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee78ba3
Catch the Minolta Dimage 7 discussion at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee7b7c5
Discuss the Epson Stylus Photo 780 Photo Printer at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee85e05/63
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RE: Flip Side?
Has anybody come up with a scheme for printing selected Exif data and caption information on the backs of the associated prints? Would it hurt to run the photo prints back through the printer, but this time "jelly side" down? Is there any software available for doing this sort of thing?
-- Claude Head(Great idea. We notice the back of some of our prints have data printed on them already so it looks like this is (just) a software issue. Although we suppose a number of optimizations are done to the data that may invalidate some Exif info. -- Editor)
RE: Traveling Light Continued
The "digital wallets/albums" (http://www.mindsatwork.net and http://www.jobodigital.com/products/digital_album.htm) would really lighten the travelling load.
There are trips (African Safari, Galapogos Islands) where airline weight limitations of 44 lbs. would preclude taking any computer along.
The Jobo digital album [aka Fotoshow] also plays directly through a TV and is another solution for "The Sharing Season -- For Photos, Too."
-- Eric(Dave did review the Digital Wallet last year, Eric, and we have a standing offer with Iomega to take FotoShow for a run.... FotoShow is too bulky for our tastes (it's that power adapter) and Digital Wallet too expensive (we'd rather have CompactFlash cards -- but then we'd have to bring a laptop, too, which is the only way to get any redundancy anyway).... We're hoping the next year produces a device we can really get excited about. An iPod (with redundancy) for digicamers, say. We've been neglected far too long! -- Editor)
RE: Schtick With a Stick
I'm attempting to organize my first batch of digital pictures into a slide show. I'm using a Sony Cybershot 3.3 Megpixel camera and a new Sony Vaio computer.
I've downloaded my vacation pictures from two 128-MB Memory Sticks to my computer. Their files are arranged and sorted just the way I would like them to show. I then attempted to download these files back onto the Memory Sticks to be viewed on our TV via the camera.
The download to the Memory Sticks seemed to progress as it should but when it was finished the camera gave conflicting messages and the pictures were not reviewable. The camera screen indicated that the previously empty stick was now full but when I try to review the pictures it says, "No File."
If I plug the camera back into the computer and open the Memory Stick from My Computer I can see the pictures. So they are on the stick. How do I get the camera to recognize and show these files?
-- Steve(Digicams are very particular about their JPEG formats and sometimes even their file names. The itty bitty processors in the cameras can only handle the same, very specific set of JPEG compression parameters (there are about a zillion possibilities, buried inside the format) when decompressing pictures. So if you've done anything with the pictures on your computer (even open and resave them with no changes), they probably won't open on the camera again. If you've made no changes to the files themselves (even just saving without changes), try making sure they're in the same folder structure and have file names that look like the ones the camera gives them. That may work. -- Dave)
RE: Ho, ho, ho
Just got mobile Web surfing and found your newsletter during a (brief) lull on a recent trip. Very amusing. Thought I'd let you know that I distributed quite a few new digicams this time around, so you should be quite busy in the year ahead. Aren't we all? Next year I may just lighten my load and drop off your URL.
BTW, any idea how to reduce the red-eye in Rudolf's portraits?
-- S. Claus(Don't shoot until he blinks -- and powder his nose! Oh, and thanks for spreading the word. For that alone, we'd like to give you 25 free enlargements at http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/pl/pl.cgi?prnl (not to mention a $9.99 image editor cool enough for the North Pole). -- Editor)
Both Canon and Nikon have warned that using Windows XP to rotate images will write image data without Exif exposure information. They've also both cautioned against using the new operating system to format CompactFlash cards.
Nikon (http://www.nikontechusa.com) has released version 4.3.1 of Nikon View. The new version sports a redesigned interface that makes it easy to upload to Nikon's photo-sharing site.
Nikon has also released Firmware Update 1.6 for the Nikon Coolpix 5000. Nikon explained, "Under certain limited circumstances, when turning on your camera with the lens cap on, it is possible for the camera to get a system error and be rendered inoperable." The firmware update resolves the problem, the company said.
E-Book Systems said its free FlipViewer software is now available on Yahoo! Photos (http://photos.yahoo.com), offering the ability to view online photos in a page-flipping virtual photo album format. A free copy of FlipViewer can be downloaded from http://photos.yahoo.com or http://www.flipviewer.com.
Photopoint went dark without explanation shortly before Christmas.
Buy a 640-MB Lexar CompactFlash before Dec. 31 and get $50 back (http://www.lexarmedia.com/company/rebates_main.html). Lexar Media's new Professional Series 640-MB CompactFlash boasts a fast 2.4-MB per second write-speed particularly appreciated on high-end digicams like the Canon 1D.
Juri Munkki has released Cameraid 1.2 (http://www.cameraid.com). Among the welcomed enhancements is an option to begin display with the first image rather than the last.
Pixel Genius (http://www.pixelgenius.com) has released a new version of its MetaReader Photoshop plugin [MW].
Mike Chaney (http://www.ddisoftware.com/qimage/) has released Qimage Pro 2002 v1.25. Qimage now supports Levels and Curves, a Batch filter auto preview, split previews (a sort of on-screen test strip). Image loading and Batch filters are a bit speedier, too.
ScanCalc [M] (http://www.stonetablesoftware.com/aboutscancalc.html) reports the disk space needed for scanned images when you specify the height and width of the original and the percent of enlargement/reduction. ScanCalc reports the disk space needed for the scan. It also functions as a proportional wheel, showing percentage enlargement/reduction.
Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released version 7.3.9 of VueScan.
QBeo, developer of the popular PhotoGenetics color correction program, is defunct. No word yet on the disposition of any of their assets.
For just $150 an insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).
Fast Ritz CF cards at http://imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?ritzmem
Lockergnome's Free Digital Media Newsletter: http://www.lockergnome.com
We'll report on Macworld Expo. Will Jobs unveil a consumer device that digital photographers can tap into for remote storage or online access? Will Minolta unveil its new X model? Will there be any major software announcements? Stayed tuned!
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
Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher