The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 4, Number 16 9 August 2002

Copyright 2002, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 77th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We find a new way to mask, Dave finds a new way to print and we all need a vacation -- but don't forget to bring your digicam!


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/

PowerEx introduces new lithium ion and lithium polymer battery packs for digicams. These batteries feature a low internal impedance and high capacity, giving longer battery life and more efficient usage.

Battery runtime is up to 20 percent higher than original models. And our battery packs are 100 percent compatible with your equipment.

Packs are available in Lithium Ion for MH-ENEL1 (Nikon), MH-BP511 (Canon), MH-NP80 (Fuji, Toshiba, Kodak), and Lithium Polymer for MH-NB1L (Canon).

To learn more visit: http://www.mahaenergy.com/products/PowerEx/Digicams/bat4digicam.htm

To purchase online: http://www.thomas-distributing.com

Olympus
http://www.olympusamerica.com/
The Camedia D-520 Zoom -- Big, beautiful pictures. Small, beautiful camera.

Unexpectedly Easy. Whether you point and shoot or customize every shot, it's easy with push-button controls and an intuitive menu system.

2.0-megapixel CCD (effective). Turn your masterpieces into works of art with big, sharp, detailed prints worthy of your best 8x10 frames.

Auto-Connect USB. Nearly any computer with a USB port will connect automatically to the D-520 Zoom. No software. No hassles.

Clear, powerful zoom lens. A versatile 7.5x total seamless zoom (3x optical/2.5x digital) and aspherical glass elements fill your pictures with sharp detail from edge to edge.

Olympus innovation. It's the feature most responsible for the most realistic digital images yet. Nothing's impossible.

Catch our latest promotions.

Nikonusa.com
http://www.nikonusa.com
Nikon's New Coolpix 4500 -- Digital from All Angles!

Shoot from up high, down low or anywhere in between. The Nikon Coolpix 4500 offers you creative versatility with its unique swiveling body design and its ability to handle a variety of system accessories like wide-angle, telephoto and fisheye lenses.

With its 4.0 effective megapixel CCD, 4x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens and a host of built-in features like 5-Area Multi-Autofocus and 16 Scene Modes, a whole world of fresh angles and new views will be open to you. And because it's a Nikon, great image quality is built-in too!

To learn more visit our site and read Dave's review.


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by over 46,000 readers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: Asiva Photo Rethinks Masking

They say tomato, you say tomato. But you see green tomatoes while they're seeing red ones. So late at night you're watching some guy sell knives that never need sharpening because, well, you can't sleep. You're worried about some image you have to mask to death tomorrow.

We need a smarter way to mask.

And that smarter way is obvious. We know what part of the picture is a sweater (which should be changed to our alma mater's colors). We know which part of the shot is the faded flower. We can tell which part of the room is painted the wrong color. We know tomatoes from broccoli.

Why isn't software smart enough to figure it out?

Over the years, a number of products have tried to figure it out. And high-end image editors have responded by improving their masking tools. But this is a task where good enough gets you the sound of one hand clapping.

We've tried them. Mask Pro. MagicMask. KnockOut. All worth a second date -- but not the ring. They keep us up at night.

The latest we've tried is the strangest, we'll say from the start. They don't say tomato. They say soup. It takes a while to appreciate that you can digest what they're talking about.

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?

Asiva (http://www.asiva.com) has a track record in image editing -- video imaging (but who hates masking more than video editors who have to mask 24 frames a second). The filters Asiva developed for video (to eliminate mattes) have morphed into tools like Asiva Photo for still image editing.

If you drop by their booth at any of the big trade shows you're bound to meet two of the company's three big shots (two out of three ain't bad).

Watching them work with Asiva Photo is like seeing doves fly out of your egg carton. Wow. They pull up an image, doodle in a color map and change the color of some object right before your disbelieving eyes. Don't blink -- it happens fast.

So you challenge them to step off the paved road. A little dirt-bike image masking. No, uh, magic.

Oh, you want the roses to be yellow instead of red? (Yes, these guys are from Texas.) A click later you have it. You want the beige wall to be green and the flowers on the table untouched? No problem. Just two clicks. Anything else?

Nothing scares these guys.

But you're shaking. What are they actually doing? It looks easy, but you can't quite follow the demo. You can't see how the magic happens.

IT'S THE SOFTWARE, SWEETIE

But isn't that, after all, your fondest dream? To be able to tell the software what to do and let it worry about it so you can sleep through those knife commercials? Sure.

The trick is learning how to use the software. Asiva Photo is built by guys who sleep in color theory. The more you know about color, the easier it will be to use. Do you know what Hue is? What Saturation is? What Luminance is? You're halfway home.

Asiva Photo uses these dimensions of color to describe a selection of pixels. Select the red in a rose by dragging the mouse anywhere within it and Asiva Photo maps the color range for you. And that wall is distinguished from the flowers by nothing but its saturation.

By adjusting curves that represent Hue, Saturation and Luminance, you can mask a great deal more than you might think until you try it. But you can also turn off Full Screen Mode to use ellipse or rectangular marques or a pixel-sensitive paint brush to focus on smaller areas of the image.

Color corrections and changes are just one trick Asiva Photo can perform. It's equally adept at sharpening or softening, enhancing detail and applying some special effects.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

We don't like to review software that isn't cross-platform. But we break the rules for software that breaks the mold. If you don't see it on your platform today, you may next year because it redefines the problem.

That's exactly what happened as we were testing this product. Asiva Photo was originally released for the Macintosh but the Windows NT4/XP version just went into beta testing, with release scheduled for late August.

Asiva Photo 1.2.0 is an application (not a plug-in) that runs on Mac OS 9 or X with 32-MB available RAM (and virtual memory off). Optimized for the G4 processor, Asiva Photo reads and writes TIFF, PICT and JPEG images; uses ColorSync for color matching; and processes operations internally in 16-bit precision.

And -- unlike Replace Color in Photoshop -- the corrections it makes are vector-based, so each is undoable and can be saved to disk. In fact whole sequences of corrections can be saved and are small enough to be emailed to coworkers. Very cool.

Version 1.2.0 (the just-released, second free upgrade Asiva has offered since January) includes the following enhancements:

Asiva has also been working on some QuickTime tutorials. "These will be on our Web site when completed and you may also email us for a CD if you are bandwidth challenged," Asiva promised. The manual is excellent but the QuickTime tutorials can actually show you what the manual tells you about. Very nice.

We ran version 1.1 and 1.2.0 on a 200-mHz 7300 running OS 9.1 and an 800-mHz G4 PowerBook under OS X. The interface was not quite Aqua on X but close enough. Performance in OS X was brisk.

The bad news is that it will set you back $378 (but subscribers can take advantage of a Dave's Deal discount described below).

INSTALLATION

A tutorial, documentation and the program are installed in a folder of your choice. Nothing else is bothered. Very straightforward.

We liked the 81-page manual very much. It suspected we wouldn't have any patience. But it warned us (correctly), we should -- and told us exactly how much.

It also provided an in-depth but entertaining discussion of color spaces and models and how they relate to digital images. Those subjects are treated with more than a little respect. These guys know what they're talking about it. And they're generous with their knowledge.

The interface, contrary to the company's claims, is far from intuitive. We got lost immediately after we opened an image (but the program did display helpful dialogs to tell us what we could and couldn't do next). Understanding how the program's three other windows worked together took some study. So consider the tutorial part of the installation.

Even the toolbar is less than obvious. You have to be told what the tools are and what they do. Even, to some extent, how they operate.

Finally, we were very impressed with the User Forum on the Web site (http://www.asiva.com/forums/index.php). There's a section for problem images that are miraculously corrected. So bookmark the Forum as part of the installation, too.

OPERATIONS

The key to using Asiva Photo is understanding Operations. One window is simply a list of the operations you have performed on any particular image (you can only work on one image at a time).

So after opening an image, the next thing you'll do is create a new Operation (or load one). Selecting Create brings up a dialog window with a popup of seven options and a field for naming the Operation.

Once you select the kind of Operation (say, Color Correction), two other windows appear. A little window lets you define the target color or options. And a large window across the bottom of the screen shows a Hue/Saturation/Luminance map. That's where you define what needs to be changed in the image.

CORRECT COLOR

Let's get down to business. We'd like to change a red sweater to our alma mater's blue.

So we create a new operation, naming it "Alumni Revenge." This (when we save it) will be good for sweaters, sweats, T-shirts, the whole student store.

Immediately two new windows appear as our "Alumni Revenge" operation appears in the Operations Window.

The small window (titled, in this case, "Color Correction Operation") lets us set the target color (blue, in case we haven't mentioned it). The window also has a check box for Full Screen mode, which applies the change globally.

Click on the sample color to get to the Color Picker. Then pick your target blue. You're done.

The big window ("Correct Color Operation Maps") along the bottom of the screen is where all the fun happens. The Operation Maps are just line plots of Hue, Saturation and Luminance that can be used individually or in combination to describe the pixels you want to replace (the red ones, in case we didn't mention that either).

The guys at Asiva developed their own algorithms for working with saturation, so that Map is called Asiva Saturation.

You don't have to use all three. One will often do. And you don't even have to fool around with the plots (which are easily editable, if not intuitively so).

In fact, to show you how easy it is to describe a color, we'll just use the eyedropper tool to sample a representative area of the offending color. Drag a small rectangle over an area representing the range of color and watch the Color Map (set by default to Hue) change.

That's your mask, Bubba.

With the target color set and the offending color defined, you just have to render the image. Click the Render Bolt next to your operation and -- presto -- higher education takes on a new meaning.

And while you have that Render Bolt clicked, change any parameter to see a real-time change. No OK buttons.

YEAH BUT

The tutorial shows you how to refine the result by selecting just one area of the image to work on and by changing the slope of the Color Map's Hue plot to minimize odd edges. The degree of slope determines how many colors are transitional. So to have a sharper break, just make the slope steeper.

You can adjust the plot by moving points or by clicking where you wish they were (they'll jump to the spot).

This fine-tuning is part of the job. Without it, it wouldn't take 10 minutes to completely alter an image.

The tutorial also describes how to isolate the background from the foreground of an image using the Saturation Map. Very sweet.

OTHER OPERATIONS

Correct Color is just one Operation. The available operations are: Correct Color, Apply Color; Shift Component, Gain Component, Remap Component; Matrix or Kernel; Create Matte. Let's take a brief look at each.

Correct Color. Search and replace color.

Apply Color. Adds the target color. Useful for retouching an image. The target color can be blended into the selection at different transparency settings.

Shift Component. Shiftable components include Hue, Saturation, Value; Red, Green or Blue. By shifting Luminance, for example, you can make your image brighter or darker. By shifting Hue you can color balance an image.

Gain Component. Multiplies the component values of the source pixels by a constant you define. Applying Gain to the Luminance Map changes the image's contrast.

Remap Component. Asiva calls this "the most powerful tool" because it "allows you to do several things at one time." One Remap Operation can do what several Shift, Gain and Color Correct Operations can. Like increase Red in blue parts of the image while reducing it in red parts and leaving it alone in other parts.

Matrix or Kernel. Here's where you can Soften, Sharpen or indulge in Special Effects (Prewitt, Sobel, Frei-chen, Laplacian and Chebychev).

Create Matte. How you make dropouts. This Operation simply reads the Maps to build a mask.

CHEESE WHIZ

Like Cheese Whiz, this kind of stuff can be fun for a while. But when the cuteness wears off, you get hungry.

Asiva Photo puts food on the table a couple of ways. Operations can be saved (and loaded) so you can automate global effects. And sequences of operations can also be saved.

Each operation can also be turned on or off with a mouse click. And a drag changes their order -- much like your image editor's layers.

Combined with the editable curve maps that mask your image, Asiva Photo provides a resolution-independent vector-based solution to masking.

CONCLUSION

We were afraid it would take a lot of color theory to use Asiva Photo proficiently. But the tutorial got us up to speed quickly. And the real-time rendering of changes as you change parameters makes it very easy to experiment. The interface could use some polishing but we felt like we were flying without an interface after 15 minutes.

This is a unique approach to masking but a very compelling one. These guys see tomato. Whatever color tomato you want.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Canon CP-100 Card Photo Printer

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/CP100/CP100A.HTM on the Web site.)

One of the unfortunate facts about digital photography is that a lot more photos are taken than are printed. Even my wife Marti calls digicams "the digital black hole" (photos go in, but never come back out). Which is particularly embarrassing because I'm supposed to have a handle on these things.

But after 12-14 hours of testing and writing about this stuff, the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer for another hour or two to print out vacation pictures. Imaging Resource has spoiled a perfectly nice hobby for me.

I suspect I'm not alone. While digicam users take enormously more photos than film-based photo buffs, we all print enormously fewer of them.

So several printer and camera manufacturers are trying to help by cutting out the computer as the middleman. Canon's approach is to support direct connections between their cameras and most of their inkjet printers. But they've also developed a pair of tiny, portable photo printers that use dye-sublimation technology and can be driven by most of their current camera lineup.

Dye-sub printers evaporate precisely controlled amounts of colored dyes from a carrier ribbon onto a special print paper. The dots laid down by a dye-sub printer can have varying levels of density, unlike inkjet printers which deposit slightly different sizes or frequencies of dots to build tonal gradations. So a 2400-dpi inkjet printer may only equate to a 400-dpi dye-sub printer.

CANON'S SHOT

Canon's latest Card Photo Printer is the CP-100, capable of churning out up to about 36 4x6 prints per load of consumables. About the size of a thick novel, it's one of the smallest dye-sub printers on the market. Measuring 6.8x7.0x2.4 inches, the CP-100 accommodates a larger range of paper sizes than the CP-10, with a maximum printable area of 5.8x3.9 inches for postcard-sized prints. Because of its small size and dual power options of AC adapter or optional battery pack, you can literally take it just about anywhere. There's even a car battery adapter accessory.

The CP-100's semi-transparent, bluish-charcoal plastic body has a thin metal top and smooth contours. Weighing 34.9 ounces without ink cartridge or paper cassette, the CP-100 does have a little heft to it, but is certainly portable enough. The CP-100 connects directly to most current Canon digital cameras via one of the Direct Interface cables included with the printer. From there, printing is a snap. Just set the print options in the camera, send them to the printer and voila! Perfect snapshots in seconds.

The CP-100 only works with certain Canon cameras. There's no provision for any sort of computer connection, nor can you use it with cameras made by any other company. Canon's PowerShot Web site says the printer supports their PowerShot G2; the S40, S30, S330, S300, S200, S110; the A40, A20, A10, A200 and A100.

OPERATION & USER INTERFACE

Setup is super-easy. It literally took me less than five minutes to hook up the printer, set up a print and pull out the first printed image.

One note though. Make sure that you have the printer on a fairly clean surface. Any pet hair, dust, etc. that gets onto the paper during the printing process will prevent the clear protective overcoat from sticking in that spot.

The relatively sparse set of controls on the camera make it difficult to implement a user interface with the level of polish and sophistication (not to mention features) possible in an image editing program. But Canon did an excellent job with the CP-100's user interface.

When you connect the printer to the camera, the camera's LCD screen indicates the camera's presence with a little icon in the upper left-hand corner.

Pressing the camera's Set button lets you set options and print quantity for the currently-displayed photo. You can choose bordered or borderless prints and whether or not to include a time stamp, showing when the image was shot.

Printing a camera full of photos one at a time would be tedious, so the CP100 also makes use of Digital Print Order Format information stored on the camera's memory card. This lets you use the camera's Print Order menu to set up a complete print order in advance, including varying quantities of each photo you want printed. When the printer is connected to the camera, an extra Print option is added to the camera's main Print Order screen. Selecting Print sends the print order to the printer.

OUTPUT

The CP-100 prints via a four-pass, thermal dye-sublimation process, laying down yellow, magenta and cyan before layering a clear protective coating over the final image. Images are output at 300x300-dpi resolution. This may sound low, compared to the 1200-2400 dpi of many inkjet printers, but keep in mind that each of these 300 dpi print pixels is full-color, continuous-tone, so there's no dithering involved. The result is very sharp prints, easily the equal of standard photographic 4x6 photos.

The CP-100 can print one image to a page, as many as eight small images to a sheet of stickers or up to 36 tiny thumbnails on a single index page. The maximum printable area with borders is 4.8x3.6 inches and without borders is 5.8x3.9 inches for Standard (one-image) prints. Paper sizes include Postcard, L-size (4.7x3.5 inches) and Credit Card size (3.4x2.1 inches). In addition to the standard photo paper, Canon offers label paper stock in the Credit Card size, for printing either full sized labels or eight tiny individual stickers. (Great for kids.)

Print speeds range from 81 seconds for a Standard Postcard-sized print without borders, to 40 seconds for a Multiple Credit Card-sized print. I timed a Postcard-sized borderless print at exactly 80 seconds, so Canon's times look to be right on the money.

Print quality from the CP-100 is very good. Colors seemed very accurate and true, saturation levels were appropriate and I didn't see any significant weakness in any part of the color spectrum. The photos are very sharp as well, easily the equal of standard 4x6 drugstore prints. Blacks are very dark and highlight detail is superb. You can pretty well count on the printer faithfully reproducing anything that your camera is capable of capturing.

One advantage over most inkjet prints is that the CP-100's output is very water resistant. I actually put a print under running water, soaking both sides for a minute or so. The result was practically nil. The water seemed to soak into the back side of the print a little bit, but I couldn't see any effect on the image itself. There was a little visible swelling along the edges of the print and along the perforations, where it appeared that the water could actually attack the fibers of the paper base, but even this completely disappeared once the print had dried again.

The CP-100's prints are also remarkably scratch-resistant, again doubtless due to the protective overcoat. To be sure, I could damage the print surface with a sharp object (an Xacto blade), but even heavy scratching with a fingernail had virtually no effect.

Unfortunately, I don't have any information on light fastness. Dye-sub prints have traditionally outlasted those from inkjet printers, but I don't know how long the CP-100's prints can be expected to last.

PRINT COST

On the Internet you can find the KP-36IP Postcard-sized ink/paper set for about $20 from various resellers. This equates to a cost of about $0.56 per 4x6 print. Online photo services run about $0.49 per 4x6 print, although some go as low as $0.25. In-store photo kiosks here in the Atlanta area seem to run in the $0.50 range for prints of this size. I calculate an average cost of about $0.45-0.50 per 4x6 inkjet print. So print cost with the CP-100 ranges from slightly more expensive than many other digital printing options, to a fair bit more expensive than a few. But the quality is unmatched.

CONCLUSION

Though slightly larger and heavier than the earlier CP-10 model, the CP-100's roughly 4x6 inch print area and optional battery pack make it much more versatile. You can take this printer just about anywhere and print great looking images in a snap. I can think of dozens of uses for it, from printing out snapshots at birthday parties to making fun photo stickers for the kids. Prints have excellent color and quality. They'd fool most people into thinking that they were conventional photo prints. My only regret is that it's only compatible with Canon digicams. Understandable though, given that the camera needs specific firmware support to recognize and talk to the printer. If you own (or are considering buying) a Canon digicam, the CP-100 deserves serious consideration. Very nice! I think Marti wants one. ;-)

Return to Topics.

New on the Site

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

Return to Topics.

Beginners Flash: Make Vacation Shots a Snap

The other day we biked to one of our favorite spots, just under the Golden Gate Bridge. It's a very short walk from the parking lot and not a bad spot for a souvenir photo. So there's always a few people taking pictures.

This time a group of maybe two dozen couples had gathered at the spot. But not together. All the women gathered together downhill for a group shot. All the men took up positions opposite them and raised their cameras to frame the ladies in their colorful vacation garb with the bridge as a background.

But suddenly one of the women dashed uphill -- to give her camera to her husband. That seemed like a good idea to another woman, who chased after her. Pretty soon all the women were flying back and forth to drop off cameras and return to their spot in the picture.

COMPOSITION

They had one thing right, though. Their composition. The horizontal bridge behind the horizontal group.

Poor composition is an easy mistake to make when visiting unfamiliar places. All too often, you capture family or friends at the site but miss the attraction itself. If the women had not been downhill, for example, the bridge wouldn't have appeared in the pictures.

One cure for that is to force yourself to look at everything else before you concentrate on the smiling people in the picture. Scan the border. And don't forget to check the corners. You may find that all you have to do is rotate your camera to take a portrait shot rather than a landscape shot. Or squat down. Or hold your camera higher.

STEADY!

A zoom lens is common even on point and shoot cameras these days. But a zoom introduces problems your old moderately wide-angled point and shoot avoided. Camera shake is one of them.

The more you zoom in, the farther out the lens is and the more light has to be gathered to get the shot. Which means the shutter slows down -- sometimes too slow to hold steady.

So if you're zooming in to get the shot, cradle the lens in one hand, hold the body of your camera in the other and lock your elbows against your body to form as secure a platform as you can. And hold your breath while you squeeze the shutter button.

HOW BIG IS IT?

To appreciate some shots, you have to have been there. How do you capture the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the scale of the Pyramids, the Sea of Tranquility?

After all, anything that fits in your frame could be (as Hollywood model makers know) any size.

The trick to conveying scale is to put something recognizable into the picture. Forensic photographers use rulers but you can be a bit more subtle. Try including a human being in the shot, for example. Standard issue humans are generally around six feet tall these days. They'll even smile for you.

SUNLIGHT

Bright sun is often, surprisingly, your worst problem. When the sun is out to lunch at midday, faces suffer the unflattering shadows of dark eye sockets sunk below heavy brows. And skin strafed by sunlight emphasizes every blemish. Take those shots in the shade for a luminous glow on skin of any age.

And, by extension, you'll take your best shots when the sun is low (and behind you). So take that camera to breakfast and dinner.

FLASH

Remember your flash isn't always welcome. This is especially true in museums, where great care is taken to minimize the time fragile works of art and historical documents are exposed to light to protect them from deterioration.

Keep in mind, too, that your flash doesn't throw its light very far. You can't light up the field from the second deck at Yankee Stadium (it's already lit for you, fortunately) or a mural on the far side of the restaurant. Digicams can be very good at using the available light, though, so turn your flash off and take your best shot.

Keep these tips in mind for snapshots faithful to the fun of your trip!

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:

Read about the Fuji FinePix S2 Pro at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee8d82f

Compare Fuji camera prices at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee860f9

Andre asks about the Canon S9000 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee8cfe2

A reader asks about the Pacific Image 3600 Pro Scanner at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee8d3bb

Visit the Techniques Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b325

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Dave's Deals

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

Subscribe for Great Deals!

We deliver -- just Subscribe!

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We Have Mail

You can email us at editor@imaging-resource.com. You can read our Letters policy at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS in the FAQ. We'll be away from our keyboard until Wednesday, unable to reply before then.

RE: The Art of Accessorizing

Could you direct me to some dealers who can supply accessories like lenses, hoods, battery packs etc. for the Nikon 5000?

No site I visit ever seems to offer what I need, just cameras galore.

-- Frits (a very enthusiastic reader!!)

(As if photography were only about cameras! Luckily, some of our far-sighted sponsoring sites (http://www.imaging-resource.com/buynow.htm) sell accessories, too. For example, EPC-Online (http://www.epc-online.com/accessories/nikon_accessories.html) and d-store (http://www.d-store.com/d-store/Nikon/nikon_store.htm#ACC). And Nikon sells directly, too (http://www.nikonmall.com). Once you get to the Nikon page, just type "5000" in the search box for a listing. -- Editor)

RE: Expiration Greatly Exaggerated

In your article you stated the following: "But Clark also observed that Patent 672 expires in 2004, 17 years after the filing [under the old rules] and suggested manufacturers had therefore little incentive to yield to Forgent"

The above patent is valid for 20 years from the time of filing of the application (October 2006). For more on the patent term under the new rules please refer to http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/doc/uruguay/SUMMARY.html.

-- Sujatha Subramaniam, Esq. of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione

(The source of that quote is The Register's interview with Clark: "'Our current assumption is that the patent is not valid,' said Clark. However Clark says that since the patent becomes invalid in 2004 [under the old rules, seventeen years after filing, rather than twenty years after a grant] there is little incentive for manufacturers to bow to Forgent's terms." Happy to set the record straight, though. -- Editor)

RE: Minimum Aperture

Greetings from Down Under in Australia. After reading the specs and pouring over reviews on the Internet, I purchased a Minolta Dimage 7i. Took it into the studio to try out with studio flash using manual mode and 1/4 power to trigger OK, but I suddenly find that the minimum aperture, of which there is absolutely no mention on any of the printed specs, is only f8. How many neutral density filters can I use before image degradation at f22 (which the studio flash has to be set for with the 4x5 view camera). I realize now that the 7i is not a pro camera. But, minimum aperture should be printed on the specs alongside the maximum aperture. Interested to hear your comments.

-- Ron Moodycliffe

(Good point, I'll start trying to always include minimum aperture as well even though manufacturers sometimes flat-out don't publish it. The problem with small apertures on digicams is that the very short focal length lenses they use (dictated by the tiny dimensions of the sensors) means that high f-stops translate into very tiny physical apertures. So tiny, in fact, that resolution rapidly becomes "diffraction limited" by the size of the lens aperture, resulting in an attendant falloff in image sharpness. This is an unfortunate fact of life with any digicam having a sensor significantly smaller than a 35mm frame. Chances are the actual physical opening on your 4x5's lens at f22 is pretty close to the size of the f8 opening on the Dimage 7i.... The only solution is to use a fairly dark ND filter, a total of ND 1.2 to get the four f-stop cut you want. ND filters are commonly available in optical densities of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9, so you could combine an 0.3 and 0.9. Alternatively, I know B&W makes at least some filters with a density of 1.2, but am not sure if they'd be available in the size you need. In any event, I don't think two high-quality filters would appreciably damage the optical quality of your images. -- Dave)

RE: Get an Education

Someone else has probably already sent you info on this, but just in case no one has: The only difference between the educational and regular versions of Photoshop is the price. Adobe is one of many software companies that gives price breaks to students and educators. Blessings on them.

-- Barbara

(Thanks, Barbara! That's what I call a smart investment. -- Editor)

RE: Epidemic Problem

Many, many people have issues with image size after emailing photographs. The photographs are too big and require scrolling to see the whole picture.

Please, please, please: Feel free to be as technical as possible in explaining why so many emailed photographs appear so oversized on the screen and what solutions are available.

-- Aggrey

(Many people? Actually, everybody has trouble with this. Which is why we always recommend resizing any image you're emailing to 640x480. Your digicam takes an image much larger than that, most likely. But your email program and your Web browser (if you grab your email off the Web, say) don't know how to resize pictures. So it plots one pixel of the image to each spot on your monitor (72, 96, 110 an inch or so).... The solution is pretty simple, fortunately. When someone sends you a 5-megapixel image, just open it in a slide show program like Fuji's free Exif Viewer [MW] (http://www.fujifilmsupport.com/driver/cam_idx.htm). Slide show programs know how to resize images to fit on your screen and some even know how to resize the image to fit on a print. -- Editor)

RE: Curve Ball

Would you be so kind as to send me the exact location of the articles on Color Negatives so I too can construct a custom Curve. (As soon as I learn what a custom Curve is and how, I too, can get it for free.)

-- Sam Brown

(Just visit the Index of Articles page at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS and click on the link to the "Advanced" articles. You'll see "Correcting Color Negatives I" and "Correcting Color Negatives II" right there. The first part describes the problem and why you don't want to globally filter out the orange you see. The second part describes how to build a Curve (assuming you have a Curve command in your image editor) for a color negative. -- Editor)

Your directions to find these two articles were perfect. As it turned out this two-part article was exactly the information I needed to get started printing color negatives.

Keep up the good work, Mike, you've got a loyal supporter and reader in PA!

-- Sam

(You're welcome, Sam! Let me know if you need any (free) help building the curve. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

MetaFacts (http://www.metafacts.com) said that in the last year digicam ownership has doubled in homes with computers. Slightly more than one in five home computer owners now have digicams, a 20.2 percent attach rate for 2001 compared to a 9 percent attach rate in 2000 and 1.6 percent in 1998. But three-fourths (75.4 percent) of the digicam owners prefer multi-purpose ink-jet color printers to make prints, even though nearly two-thirds (65.1 percent) have changed brands of printers. Just 5.7 percent own a separate photo printer.

Other findings: Digicam owners are equal in number between male and female computer owners. Most digicam owners (65.8 percent) store or scan photos with their computers; only 26.2 percent of non-camera owners do so. About two-thirds of digicam owners (68.3 percent) use their printers to print photos some of the time, while 6 percent use their printers most often to produce images. Photo printer owners own more sophisticated peripheral equipment, software and connectivity products than the average digicam owner -- and they use the Web more to purchase them.


Pictographics (http://www.picto.com) has released their intelligent color correction product iCorrect 4.0 as an application for Windows XP. See our Deals section above for a hefty discount.


Virtual Training Corp. (http://www.vtc.com) has released a new 5-hour CD titled Digital Photography. Presented by Pierre Pretorius, the 49-movie presentation lists for $99.95. A free demo is available on the site (http://www.vtc.com/productdetail.lasso?sku=33366).


Andromeda Software has announced it will continue to maintain and update its Online Photo Resource Guide (http://www.andromeda.com/people/ddyer/photo/albums.html) to online photo sharing sites. Started in 1999, the guide reviews over 50 active sites, including all of the major players, summarizes defunct sites and sites known but not yet evaluated. Andromeda's senior engineer Dave Dyer, an avid photographer and author of several Andromeda plug-ins, maintains the list.


The Plugin Site (http://www.thepluginsite.com) has released HyperTyle for Windows. A Macintosh version is also planned, the company said. HyperTyle is a Photoshop-compatible plug-in for generating texture, surface, paint, erosion, transparency, edge, frame, shadow and other effects. It works on images in Grayscale, RGB, Multichannel, Grayscale 16-bit and RGB 48-bit mode. The Download Version with 128 textures lists for $49.95 and the CD Version with 1000 textures is $59.95 at http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/hypertyle where a demo version is also available.


ColorVision (http://www.colorcal.com) has release three calibration products to handle monitor calibration and printer profiling bundled with their Spectro. Master Suite Spectro at $1,388 includes the Spyder with OptiCAL, ProfilerPRO software, DoctorPRO software and a Spectro. ProfilerPRO Spectro at $1,100 includes ProfilerPRO software, DoctorPRO software and a Spectro. The ProfilerPRO Spectro Upgrade at $849 (for existing Spyder customers only) includes ProfilerPRO software, DoctorPRO software and a Spectro.


Charlie Morey (http://www.digitalphotography.tv) will show four prints in the Lankershim Arts Center's "Sharing Space III" group show in North Hollywood on Aug. 8-31.


Olympus and Fuji announced they have jointly developed the xD-Picture Card, a new type of memory media with an ultra- compact design about the size of a postage stamp, image storage capacity of up to 8-GB, compatibility with different digicams and prices comparable to SmartMedia. The companies said the name for the new card was inspired by the words "eXtreme digital" to signify the excellence of this new memory media for recording, storing and transporting audiovisual information. The xD-Picture Card will be produced on consignment by Toshiba in Japan and introduced in the Americas this fall along with digicams from Olympus and Fujifilm that support the media. Although similar in some ways to all flash media, xD-Picture Cards are designed for increased durability and reliability despite their size. A CompactFlash adapter is being developed to allow use of xD-Picture Cards in cameras designed for CompactFlash media.


Fuji unveiled five Finepix digicams, each using the new ultra-compact, high-capacity xD-Picture Card. The new 2-megapixel digicams include the user-friendly FinePix A200 ($179.95) and two 3x optical zoom digicams, the FinePix 2650 ($249.99) and FinePix A203 ($279.99). New 3.24-megapixel digicams include the 3x optical zoom FinePix A303 ($349.99) and FinePix 3800 ($449.99) with 6x optical zoom.


Keynoters for InfoTrends' Digital Imaging '02 -- Expanding Markets, Growing Opportunities Oct. 17-18 in San Jose will include Hewlett-Packard's Mary Peery, senior vice president of Digital Imaging and Publishing and Fuji COO Stanley E. Freimuth. Peery will discuss the evolution of digital imaging while Freimuth will examine emerging technologies and solutions that help consumers shoot, store, print and share their images and new revenue opportunities for manufacturers and retailers.


Strategy Analytics has released Strategic Perspectives on Cellular Camera Phones. The report claims 16 million camera phones will be sold worldwide in 2002, growing to 147 million in 2007. The report predicts that although 22 million digicams will be sold worldwide in 2002, a slower growth rate of 34 percent will result in only 95 million sales in 2007. Other findings include: 1 in 5 cellular handsets sold in 2007 will contain an embedded camera; high prices and relatively large form factors will inhibit initial diffusion of camera phones in Europe; expansion camera modules are short-term solutions for current limited, niche demand; and camera PDAs, accounting for 6 percent of global PDA sales in 2007, will be less prominent than camera phones.


Kingston (http://www.kingston.com/flash) has announced a price reduction by an average of 12 percent on its complete line of CompactFlash digital products, as well as 32-MB and 64-MB MultiMediaCards.


Hewlett-Packard (http://www.hp.com) has announced eight new digital imaging products which produce prints that surpass both the photo quality and fade resistance of traditionally processed photographs, the company said. When used with HP's enhanced Premium Plus Photo papers, the HP Photosmart 7550 ($399), 7350 ($249) and 7150 ($179) photo printers can produce prints that last up to 73 years, more than twice as long as most traditional prints. And, HP said, a recent study by SpencerLab Digital Color Laboratory showed more consumers prefer HP-printed digital images to traditionally processed photos.


Sapphire Innovations (http://www.sapphire-innovations.com) has released Sapphire Brushes Vol 14 -- scatter brushes. The set contains 100+ brushes particularly suited to Photoshop 7's new brush dynamics.


Photo to Movie (http://lqgraphics.com/software) [M] zooms and pans over a still photo, creating QuickTime or iMovie-compatible DV Stream files. The OS X-only product is available for $9.95.


Portraits & Prints (http://www.econtechnologies.com/site/Pages/pnp_overview.html) for Mac OS X imports, catalogs and edits digital images and includes print templates. The $20 program includes improved cropping and scaling, full AppleScript support and contrast control.


Qimage Pro (http://www.digitaldomain.com) can convert Fuji S2 RAW files from Fuji's top-end digital SLR and do a better job than Fuji's converter, according to Mike Chaney, the program's author (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1028585122.html).


Minolta (http://www.minolta.com) has announced a Dimage 7 firmware upgrade that adds many of the features and functions of the new Dimage 7i to its predecessor (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1028135968.html).


Canon (http://www.canon.com) has released a firmware update for the EOS-1D (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1028133945.html) and a new Windows driver (98E/ME/2000/XP) for its digital SLRs (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1028131802.html).

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One Liners

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PhotoRescue: http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHR/PHR.HTM

Curtin Short Courses: http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?bdc

Fast Ritz CF cards: http://imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?ritzmem

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:

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Happy snapping!

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

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