The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 4, Number 18 6 September 2002

Copyright 2002, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 79th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We mark the first anniversary of Sept. 11 with an interesting photo project, Dave flips over Olympus' C-4000 Zoom and we review the only book on iPhoto.


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.


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by over 46,500 readers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: A Time-Lapse Memorial for Sept. 11

Time may wait for no one, but photography can sure play tricks on it. Photography can make immediate a moment of a hundred years ago. It can freeze the frantic wing beat of a hummingbird. It can collapse into seconds the events of a day.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001 certainly retain their immediacy in the images of Bill Biggart, the only photojournalist to die covering the collapse of the World Trade Center. You feel too close for comfort viewing some of the nearly 300 images (http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0111/biggart01.htm) found in his three cameras when his body was recovered from the rubble.

Cynthia Malaran's personal perspective of the towers from her bedroom window (http://www.malaran.com/wtc) includes two years of images. "I had originally started this photo collection a few years ago as a tribute to the view that I grew up with from my East Village bedroom window. Never did I imagine that one day I would be speaking of it in the past tense, at least not under these conditions," she explains on her site.

And at Here Is New York (http://www.hereisnewyork.org) over 7,000 images taken by all sorts of people are organized into several categories. "The exhibition is subtitled 'A Democracy of Photographs' because anyone and everyone who has taken pictures relating to the tragedy is invited to bring or ftp their images to the gallery, where they will be digitally scanned, archivally printed and displayed on the walls alongside the work of top photojournalists and other professional photographers," a page on the site states. "All of the prints which Here Is New York displays will be sold to the public for $25, regardless of their provenance. The net proceeds will go to the Children's Aid Society WTC Relief Fund, for the benefit of the thousands of children who are among the greatest victims of this catastrophe."

And now, as Americans mark the first anniversary of Sept. 11, another unique photographic perspective plans to fool time. The story it one day hopes to tell will compress the next seven years at the former site of the World Trade Center into a 20 minute time-lapse film of the rebuilding.

Filming began in May when the first three $20,000 35mm movie cameras started taking a single frame of the site every five minutes. Three more cameras will join them Sept. 11. Taking 288 shots a day, they'll record 790,00 images of the site in the next seven years. Producers hope to show the 20-minute presentation continuously on six screens at a museum devoted to the site.

The first three cameras were installed in separate locations. One is 22 stories above Church St. on the roof of 30 Vesey St., another on the roof of 111 Broadway and the third on the 47th floor of the American Express Building in Battery Park City. The three new cameras will be installed at ground level in the St. Paul churchyard bordering Church St., on the roof of the Engine Co. 10, Ladder Co. 10 fire station on Liberty St. and in Barron's newsroom on the ninth floor of the Dow Jones Building.

Each camera is housed in a metal shed with a small window for the lens. An intervelometer opens the shutter every five minutes after setting the aperture. A generator and rechargeable power pack also keep each camera company.

Despite the seven-year plan, there's no cut-off date for the project. Co-producer and project director Jim Whitaker from Imagine Entertainment in Hollywood said they'd keep shooting even if the project takes 10 or 15 years. "Eventually, I assume, there will be some sort of a ceremony in which the project will be declared completed. And that's when we'll be finished," he told the New York Times.

About $500,000 has been raised, helped substantially by a $400,000 check from Aon Corp., which was hard hit in the attack. Kodak has donated the film and processing costs. An additional $400,000 is required to fund the project over seven years, a quarter of it going into equipment and another quarter into post-production.

Significantly, no arrangement has yet been made to actually show the completed film, no museum devoted to the site has been approved, no plans for rebuilding settled and no schedule set for completion.

But -- taking a cue from a few of the heroes of that day -- the producers have decided it is time to roll.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Olympus C-4000 Zoom -- More Than You Bargained For

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/C40/C40A.HTM on the Web site.)

MANUFACTURER OVERVIEW

Olympus is famous for following a higher-end, fully featured model with a slightly de-featured version at a significantly lower price. By leveraging the development costs across two similar models, they can bring remarkably cost-effective cameras to market.

Olympus has returned to this successful strategy with the C-4000 Zoom, a 4-megapixel melding of their higher-end 4-megapixel C-4040 Zoom and their already affordable 3-megapixel C-3020 Zoom. After testing, I concluded there's really nothing on the market that touches it for a combination of features and value.

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

Besides its 4-megapixel CCD, the C-4000 Zoom also offers a 3x zoom lens and a wide range of creative exposure options. The C-4000 Zoom maintains the classic rangefinder-style body that's the hallmark of Olympus's C-Series cameras, measuring only 4.3x2.9x2.6 inches and weighing just a bit over 10 ounces. While it's more of a handful than Olympus' D-series compact models, the C-4000 Zoom is still fairly easy to stash in a large pocket or purse.

Like its slightly more advanced cousin, the C-4040 Zoom, the C-4000 Zoom offers a wide range of user controls, including a Multi-Spot metering mode that averages up to eight individual spot readings, a one-touch white balance function (with a very useful white balance adjustment feature for minor color adjustments), spot autofocus, wide-ranging contrast and sharpness adjustment and QuickTime movies. It also incorporates an advanced Noise Reduction System, using dark-frame subtraction to minimize background noise in long exposures. An Optimum Image Enlargement mode boosts file sizes to 3200x2400 pixels -- large enough for 16x20-inch prints, although there's little actual increase in detail relative to the C-4000's uninterpolated 2288x1712 pixel images. Finally, the C-4000 adopts Olympus's new virtual dial menu navigational system for convenient access to a variety of camera shooting modes.

The C-4000 Zoom features both an optical, real-image viewfinder and a rear panel, 1.8-inch, color TFT LCD monitor, with 114,000 pixels. When the LCD monitor is engaged, it automatically displays detailed exposure information, with the current exposure mode, f-stop setting, shutter speed and exposure compensation overlaid on top of the viewfinder display (a nice feature not found on every digicam) and the number of images available in the current resolution setting at the bottom of the monitor. Two options are provided for the information display, letting you choose between more or less information. The C-4000 also provides a very helpful numeric/bar graph distance display when using the Manual Focus option, as well as a digital zoom bar (activated when digital zoom is on) that shows the camera's 3x optical zoom in operation and the progress of the digital zoom whenever you zoom past the range of the optical telephoto.

The 6.5-19.5mm 3x zoom lens is equivalent to a 32-96mm lens on a 35mm camera, with an f2.8 maximum aperture. In addition, images can be enlarged up to 3.5x with the digital zoom, depending on the image size you've selected. Digital zoom is not the same as optical zoom, since the digital zoom is merely cropping and enlarging the center portion of the CCD. As a result, digitally enlarged images are invariably softer than ones enlarged via a zoom lens.

The C-4000's image file sizes include: 2288x1712, 2048x1536, 1600x1200, 1280x960, 1024x768 and 640x480 pixels in normal mode and 3200x2400 pixels in the Optimum Image Enlargement (interpolated) setting. Image quality options include two JPEG compression ratios, plus an uncompressed TIFF format that produces full-resolution images free of compression artifacts.

The C-4000 Zoom offers all the exposure control you could ask for, including Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority and Manual exposure modes. Program mode controls both aperture and shutter speed, with exposure times as long as one second. Aperture and Shutter Priority modes give you control over aperture or shutter speed, while the camera chooses the best corresponding settings. When used in A or S modes, apertures range from f2.8 to f11.0 and shutter speeds from 1/1000 to four seconds. Manual exposure mode provides the same aperture range, but shutter times as long as 16 seconds. There's also a selection of preset Scene modes, to make it easy to snap good-looking photos in otherwise challenging conditions. Scene Program modes include Self-Portrait, Night Scene, Landscape/Scene, Landscape/Portrait, Sports and Portrait modes. Finally, the My Mode feature provides up to four custom setups, letting you store complex combinations of settings in a single menu choice.

The C-4000 provides ISO options of Auto, 100, 200 and 400 in all modes, automatic exposure bracketing, Digital ESP and Spot metering modes, Single and Multi-Spot Metering AE Lock modes, plus exposure compensation from +2 to -2 exposure values in one-third-step increments. White balance can be set to Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Tungsten, Daylight Fluorescent, Neutral Fluorescent, Cool Fluorescent or Quick Reference (custom or manual white balance adjustment) to accommodate a variety of lighting conditions, while a white balance color adjustment function lets you fine-tune the color balance across a wide range from red to blue.

Image contrast, sharpness and saturation adjustments are available through the Shooting menu and a Function menu option allows you to capture images in black and white or sepia tone (with additional White Board and Black Board settings for capturing text). There's also a 12-second self-timer option for self-portraits.

With the ability to manually "tweak" color balance, contrast, color saturation and in-camera sharpening, the C4000 lets you customize it to fit your specific preferences and shooting style to an exceptional degree. For people who care about the particulars of color and exposure, the value of this sort of flexibility is hard to overstate.

The C-4000 Zoom's Movie mode records QuickTime movies without sound, for maximum times dictated by its internal buffer memory, in either SQ (160x120 pixels, maximum duration about 148 seconds) or HQ (320x240 pixels, maximum duration about 35 seconds) modes. Sequence mode captures multiple images at up to 1.6 frames per second in HQ mode (based on my own measurements, actually a bit faster than Olympus' spec of 1.5 fps). Panorama mode allows you to take up to 10 formatted shots for merging with Camedia's Panorama Stitch software in the computer (only available when using Olympus-branded SmartMedia cards). The 2-in-1 mode captures two individual images, saved as a single split-screen image.

The internal flash has five operating modes (Flash Off, Auto-Flash, Forced Flash, Red-Eye Reduction and Slow Sync), with flash range extending to approximately 11.8 feet (6.3 meters). Slow Sync flash mode uses a slower shutter speed with the flash to allow more ambient light into the photo. It also includes the option to fire the flash at either the beginning or end of the exposure, as well as add a Red-Eye Reduction pre-flash. A proprietary sync socket lets you connect an Olympus-branded external flash unit when additional flash power is needed and Olympus offers an accessory adapter cable with a standard PC-sync connector on it for use with generic strobes. You also can increase or decrease the internal flash power from -2 to +2 EV in one-third-step increments.

The Olympus C-4000 Zoom ships with a 16-MB SmartMedia memory card. You can connect the camera directly to your computer via a high-speed USB interface to download images. Olympus' Auto Connect USB interface means the camera will automatically appear on your computer's desktop in Windows ME/XP/2000 or Mac OS 8.6 or later. A video output jack and cable let you display images on a video monitor, which can also be used as a super-sized viewfinder in capture mode. Software includes Olympus' Camedia Master 4.0 utility package, which provides minor organization and editing tools, in addition to a panorama "stitching" application. Apple QuickTime and USB drivers for Macintosh and Windows are also supplied.

While it doesn't offer quite the range of capabilities as the C-4040 Zoom (with a slower lens and slightly slower continuous-mode operation), the Camedia C-4000 Zoom offers exceptional creative control, great low-light capabilities and large file sizes for maximum print output. When you factor in its excellent image quality, the C-4000 amounts to one of the best deals in the entire digicam marketplace, at least as of this writing, in mid-August.

SHUTTER LAG/CYCLE TIMES

Overall, the C-4000 Zoom is an about average performer speed-wise. It starts up and shuts down rather slowly, but cycle time is pretty good and buffer capacity is excellent for any size/quality setting other than SHQ mode. In SHQ mode, you can snap 3 shots before waiting for the buffer to empty. Shutter lag is on the slow side of average, particularly in manual-focus mode. Prefocus lag is just slightly faster than average, but a bit slower than average when compared to current higher-end models.

TEST RESULTS

The C-4000 Zoom generally produced very good to excellent color in my test shots and white balance was generally pretty accurate. It did a surprisingly good job with the very difficult incandescent lighting of my Indoor Portrait test, leaving only a slight pink tint to the image. Color balance was very good on the Davebox target, with the C-4000 distinguishing tough tonal variations and reproducing the large color blocks with good saturation and accurate hue. The C-4000 reproduced the blue flowers in the Outdoor test shot very well, without the strong purple tints that plague many cameras with that particular target. The flowers were much darker in the Indoor shots, a fairly natural consequence of the very warm-toned lighting. Really very good color overall.

The C-4000 generally exposed the test images well, its meter responding to high- and low-key shots with the expected slight under- and overexposure respectively. Its default tonality is quite a bit more contrasty than I personally prefer, but its contrast "tweak" adjustment worked beautifully. With the contrast adjustment set all the way down to -5 units, even the very harshly lit Outdoor Portrait test showed good highlight detail in Marti's shirt. I'd really like to see the contrast range centered around the value that corresponds to the -5 level, to adjust both above and below that point, but the bottom line is I was able to get the sort of tonal response I was looking for with the available adjustment. Well-executed "tweak" adjustments as on the C-4000 are a highly desirable feature in a camera intended for the "enthusiast" market. Big kudos to Olympus on this point!

The C-4000 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart, though it started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height horizontally and around 800 lines vertically. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,150 lines horizontally and 1,050 lines vertically. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at approximately 1,450 lines.

Geometric distortion on the C-4000 is lower than average at the wide-angle end, as I measured a 0.35 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared slightly better, with a 0.27 percent pincushion distortion. This is a pretty good performance. Most digicams I test average around 0.8 percent barrel at wide angle, although pincushion at telephoto generally is almost nonexistent. Olympus seems to have opted to trade off more pincushion at tele for less barrel at wide, but the net result is less distortion overall. Chromatic aberration is a bit higher than average, showing 4-5 pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines (visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view). High, but not unusual. More bothersome was the fact that it persists fairly far into the central portion of the frame, as there were a couple of pixels of color around the numbers marking the high-frequency resolution wedges, which is fairly close to the target's center. The strongest optical distortion I noticed was increased softness and "coma" (a smearing of high-contrast edges) on the left side of the frame.

The C-4000 Zoom's maximum shutter speed of 16 seconds and variable ISO settings provide excellent low-light shooting capabilities. Images remained bright and usable at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle, at both ISO 200 and 400. Shooting at ISO 100, the target was visible at the 1/16 foot-candle light level, though results were better at 1/8 foot-candle level. The dim lighting resulted in a faint pink cast, but overall color was still better than average for such low light levels. The camera's Noise Reduction system did a good job controlling image noise, although it doesn't use as sophisticated an algorithm for eliminating hot pixels as Mike Chaney's Qimage Pro software program. But I may be a little biased, since Mike uses an algorithm I suggested. ;-) Given that average city street lighting at night corresponds to approximately one foot-candle, the C-4000 Zoom should capture good-looking photos in light levels about as dim as you can comfortably see in.

The C-4000 Zoom also did an excellent job in the macro category, capturing a tiny minimum area of 1.68x1.25 inches. Resolution was very high -- dust was even visible on top of the smaller coin in the frame. Exposure and color were also good.

About the only serious gripe I have is that the lens shows a bit more chromatic aberration than average and it persists further into the center of the frame than is commonly the case. While I really don't like chromatic aberration, I'd have to say that the C-4000 Zoom's genuinely excellent performance in so many other areas does a lot to make up for it. Overall, this looks like a superb camera for an enthusiast on a budget and budget-constrained photography students.

CONCLUSION

With the C-4000 Zoom, Olympus has set another benchmark for image quality, camera performance and features, at an impressively low price. In particular, the ability to tweak the camera's white balance, contrast and color saturation gives a nearly unprecedented ability to customize the camera to fit specific needs and preferences.

It's been almost two years since Olympus' last barn-burner of a bargain enthusiast camera (the C-3000) and the C-4000 shows not only the benefits of two years of advancing technology, but also many thoughtful touches to its user interface. The best part? Olympus included an external flash sync socket on the C-4000, a first on a value priced digicam from them. All in all, the C-4000 Zoom represents an exceptional value. A big thumbs up to Olympus for this one!

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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:

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Book Bag: iPhoto, the Missing Manual

We'd copied a bunch of vacation shots to two folders on a Sony Vaio and wanted to merge all the shots into one folder but keep them in order. Windows XP can order them by the date they were taken, but we wanted the order to persist no matter what application we were running, so the only thing to do was rename them.

Windows XP has a batch renaming function but it isn't exactly intuitive. You select the last image first, then scroll up to the first one to select it. Then click on File Rename to tell XP what you want to do and then (write this down), click on the white space to the right of the first image. That magic trick will rename your images using sequential numbers.

Unfortunately, the numbers don't keep things in order. File2.jpg appears after File10.jpg. File2.jpg should, of course, be named File02.jpg. Or File002.jpg if you have a hundred shots. Programming 101.

In our parallel universe on the Mac, we didn't have to rename them. We didn't even have to stop over in OS X, but started our project transparently in iPhoto. We made a new album, selected the shots from our master collection and dragged them to the new album. If we had needed to rearrange them, we could simply have dragged them into the sequence we preferred. Like playing Solitaire <g>.

Does an application that, uh, intuitive, need a Missing Manual?

No, it doesn't. But one of the virtues of the Pogue Press/O'Reilly Missing Manual (http://www.missingmanuals.com) series is that under the guise of an application manual, you usually get a thorough introduction to the field, too. The iMovie book, for example, is a great introduction to movie making from hardware to post production techniques.

Unfortunately, the iPhoto book doesn't live up to that standard.

It tries, though. Chapters divided in five broad topics cover the gamut, including:

Part One: Digital Cameras: The Missing Manual

Part Two: iPhoto Basics

Part Three: Meet Your Public

Part Four: iPhoto Stunts

Part Five: Appendixes

Ambitious. Unfortunately, the errors in Part One: Digital Cameras: The Missing Manual appear as relentlessly as hiccups. They include minor nonsense like claiming CompactFlash cards make digicams larger (they aren't that large) and bad analogies like warning you can't fit more on storage cards by sitting on them like suitcases (you can; just use a higher JPEG compression level for your remaining shots). But the misinformation gets worse.

Take for example the illustration on spot metering (page 40). It's a shot of a steal attempt at second base just as the ball is arriving. "If you were to use your camera's normal 'averaging' or 'evaluative' mode, there's a good chance that the players would be too bright or overexposed." But the illustration sets the spot exposure on the bright white home uniforms. Nope. That would expose the white uniforms as gray.

In fact, the grass and dirt are closer to middle gray than the home whites. Blown highlights in the uniforms would just need an underexposure of -1 EV at most. And while spot metering on the visiting grays might work theoretically, as an action shot, you can't really spot meter them. You have to frame and shoot in the blink of an eye.

Most of these errors rank higher than mere quibbles. Digicams are not as versatile on vacation as your typical film camera, we've long lamented; digital zoom crops your data instead of "reinterpreting" it; you don't send your photo book to a bindery to have it printed, etc.

And that's too bad because when you get to the part of the book you don't actually need <g>, it quits trying to teach you what it doesn't know and tells you some interesting (even indispensable) things about iPhoto.

Again, that's not to say that suddenly the text is full of good advice. We strongly disagree that you should let iPhoto erase the contents of your memory card (83) or copy images back to the card (84). And we're not very impressed with sentences that begin, "Technically, you don't need to know..." (90). Right, so why'd you buy the book?

But we appreciate the "technical" unraveling of the book design formats (212), which actually shows you how to create your own templates. In fact the further you read into the book the more helpful it is, describing how to export slide shows (even comparing them to iMovie presentations) as well as covering each of the output options in depth. Knowing how to use iPhoto's output options could easily save you the price of the book.

Even more importantly, the book discusses what to do when you accumulate too many images in iPhoto's library. That includes strategies for backing up to CD, splitting and joining libraries and starting new ones. This discussion is simply not addressed by iPhoto itself, but it's a balloon payment any iPhoto user will have to make sooner or later. Hard disk space being finite, you can't just keep importing images. You have to manage them. Bravo for explaining how.

The appendixes include useful advice with explanations for images that do not import (generally file format issues resolved by saving the image in a compatible format). And the book ends with a bang by recommending Imaging Resource (http://www.imaging-resource.com) for further study.

We keep hearing that Windows XP is the Mac killer but we've treaded enough water in XP's Camera and Scanner Wizard to write that opinion off as delusory. The frustrations are so unrelenting they actually discourage use (even by us). We seem to know a lot of people with digicams who bought new PCs and prefer to spend the afternoon with their lawn mower. We never see their pictures.

But Apple got the big picture with iPhoto. No, it doesn't do everything, but nothing approaches it in ease -- or pleasure. Imports are painless, organizing is fun, slide shows are rewarding little thrills and the most common problems (cropping, exposure, red-eye) can be dispatched by anyone.

iPhoto deserves a thorough discussion (not to mention study by Wizards) and this book does do that. Just don't pay quite as much attention to the photography advice. It's often off base, if not tagged out.

iPhoto: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, Joseph Schorr and Derrick Story, published by Pogue Press/O'Reilly & Associates, 290 pages, $24.95
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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 Coolpix 5700 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee8c703

Compare Canon camera prices at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee860f6

Lowell asks how professional the 707 is at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee8a605

Gary asks about printing specific sized images at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee8e0ae

Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee6b2b2

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Just for Fun: Fishing Holes

Summer is just starting here as kids go back to school and waves of tourists with them. We indulged ourselves with an early morning bike ride through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and found ourselves taking a short break at Fort Winfield Scott, a Civil War-era bastion.

We weren't alone. A perfectly contented dowager sat on a bench along the sunny brick wall of the old fort in her black dress and purple coat enjoying a cup of tea with her dowager daughter. The two of them seemed as rich here as any dowagers on Nob Hill. Like clockwork, joggers stumbled by us to touch the two-hands sign on the cyclone fence, turn and run back.

But we lingered a bit to watch some fishermen on the sea wall who had no poles.

The big one caught our eye first. He was comfortably enough dressed to be dancing with his tripod at the edge of the sea wall. With that problem settled (just as the waves crashed their applause on the rocks below), he turned his attention to a lens.

And it needed his full attention. It was as long as his forearm and as thick as his calves. He popped off the lens cap, pulled off the sunshade, reversed it and remounted it.

Out came the camera, its smaller zoom lens removed and set on a concrete post almost designed to hold lenses. Then he swapped the smaller rear lens cap from the large lens to the smaller one and mounted the long lens on the camera body in one elegant twist. A few seconds later he had the lens mounted to the tripod, its weight centered and his scene roughly framed.

Back to the bag he went, looking over his filters until he found the one he wanted. He breathed on it and polished it with a small cloth, then slipped it into the lens.

And still he hadn't taken a shot.

Meanwhile another fellow threw a blanket down on the sea wall, dropped a nondescript bag on it and drew out a 35mm camera with a long, thin lens. He rested his back against another of the posts holding the iron chain barrier to the sea, propped up a knee and surveyed the scene.

The only one shooting was at the far end of the point. He had a Hasselblad at his side but was zooming in with a smaller point and shoot.

They were all pointing east.

The sun had been up for hours but a slight mist rose from the bay, its waters as blue as they have ever been. Against the glare, the city stretched almost transparently into the bay, a fuzzy memory of the sparkling jewel it had been just hours before in the darkness. Alcatraz and Angel Island seemed to yawn, stretching their sore rocks before assuming their patient poses for the day.

The fellow on the blanket framed, zoomed and took a shot. Just one. Then rested the camera on his knee again and resumed his watch over the bay.

What had he caught? The sails of a 60-footer in the unbreachable strait between the Rock and the City, glimmering like the wings of an insect? The tip of Coit Tower against the East Bay Hills and Mount Diablo beyond them, each a fainter brush stroke than the one before it? The pier just east of us with the last of the early morning fisherman silhouetted before it all?

What's biting, we felt like asking, but moved on before the photographer with the long lens had even composed his first shot.

But what's the rush? The deliberations, the patient waiting reminded me of fishing. And what a great hole for it. They'd leave later with their limit and enjoy it at home, no doubt. A feast. With no bones to pick.

Cycling up the hill as we left the park, we resolved to spend a little time fishing with our digicams. Let the image come to us. We'll wait. After all, it's summer. There's time.

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Dave's Deals

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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.

RE: Mavica Nightlight

Two comments [on using your Mavica as a nightlight]:

  1. It's a little unclear whether you see light-intensified images in the dark or use the LCD light to see with your own eyes.

  2. I suppose it works best after you've taken a pic of the sun?

-- Tom

(<G> -- actually pure white beats the sun. But the LCD is so bright, you don't really have to work that hard. -- Editor)

RE: A Guarantee

I just downloaded Photo E-Mailer for $9.95. It sounded like it would take the hassle out of re-sizing my photos for emailing. I didn't read that it sends "a link" to the email recipient, which I don't want. Also you can only send one photo at a time -- that's not good and it wasn't stated in the ad. Therefore I am dissatisfied with it. Can I get my money back? Thank you.

-- Jim O'Donnell

(Yes, you can get your money back, James. PhotoParade offers a 30-day money back guarantee (http://www.PhotoParade.com/MBG.asp) on all their products. Details are on that page. Sorry the product didn't do what you wanted. -- Editor)

RE: Slide show

I enjoy your newsletter and the helpful information it provides. I have recently purchased a Nikon Coolpix 5700, which I love. It is much more versatile than the Canon G2. Do you have any suggestions for an excellent slide show program that is easy to use, allows you to add music and has reasonable transition effects. I have been using Click 'N Share Photo and it is a little unreliable.

-- Bill Falik

(We're going to have to do a little roundup of slide show programs. At the moment, I'm just delighted to get them to fade in and out with BigPicture on the Mac or Irfanview for Windows. But neither of these let you add music or get very fancy with transitions. -- Editor)

How hard can it be to make a decent looking slide show to hand out to friends? After a summer of picture taking, I was inspired to compile a slide show to burn onto CDs and give out to my co-workers. Making one, however, proved way too difficult. Willing to spend a few bucks for a good program, I could not find anything that would play .mp3 music files, let me set the order of .jpg pictures and burn the output onto a CD with a viewer to play the slide show on any computer regardless of platform. Can ya'll help with any program suggestions, both free and for purchase?

-- Jesse Garner

(OK, OK, we confess. We've been looking into this. On the Mac, iMovie does this very well. Just drop your folder of JPEGs onto the Timeline and import your music from CD or your hard drive. You export a QuickTime file at the screen size you prefer. Adobe Premiere on both platforms provides somewhat the same capability (but not for free). Also cross-platform is MovieWorks, which should be ideal for this (Timeline method, which lets you vary the duration of any shot as well as vary the transitions) but I haven't made peace with it yet.... It's an interesting project to go from a simple slide show to a presentation like this. And a lot more work. Let me know if you find something you like. -- Editor)
(We've got a Dave's Deal on ImageMatics Still Motion Creator [W] (http://www.imaging-resource.cm/SOFT/ISMC/ISMC.HTM), a superb tool for creating slide shows. Its .swf Flash filesare small, easy to email and can be run on any Web browser with the latest Flash plug-in installed. You can even add sound underneath the slide show, although there's no way to synchronize it to the slide transitions. And with the Dave's Deal, IR suscribers get the program for $59, $40 off. Check out the review, and follow the links to the special price and free trial download. -- Dave)

RE: PCMCIA Cards

Two questions:

  1. I understand that PCMCIA cards transmit at faster rates than USB 1. At what speeds do they read Smart Cards?

  2. Name and model number of 4-in -1 PCMCIA adaptor for SmartMedia, CompactFlash and Memory Sticks. Web site?

-- Jorge Albertal, MD

(The PCMCIA adapter simply rearranges the contacts on the CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, etc. storage device to mate with the PCMCIA bus, which runs at the same speed for all of them. So they all run as quickly as they can.... I would have given a URL if the manufacturer had listed the device on their Web site, but alas they have not (for some mysterious reason). Anyway, mine is a Dazzle 4-in-1 adapter, found at CompUSA (http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=294230). -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

Auto FX Software has released DreamSuite Dreamy Photo. Using special contrast and soft highlighting technologies, the free DreamSuite Dreamy Photo gives images a warm, soft tone and feel. Available as a stand-alone imaging program, it also includes a Photoshop compatible plug-in and supports Windows 98/2000/ME/NT/XP and Mac OS 8.5-OS X systems (http://www.autofx.com/freeplugins/dreamy7.html).


Alien Skin has released the full version of Image Doctor (http://www.alienskin.com/idoc/idoc_main.html), an image-correction filter set to restore photos and repair over-compressed JPEGs.


Jan Esmann has just released Macintosh version of his $159 PowerRetouche Photoshop plug-ins (http://www.powerretouche.com). The suite of 11 plug-ins includes a Sharpenss Editor, Noise Corrector and Lens Corrector for distortions, to name just a few.


Casio (http://www.casio.com) has introduced two new 2.0-megapixel, credit card-sized Exilim digicams, the EX-S2 ($299.99) and EX-M2 with an integrated MP3-player ($399.99). A wide-angle, fixed focus 7.5mm lens with 4x digital zoom complements the 12-MB internal storage that can be augmented with SD/MMC cards.


Photo Trade News has named Pennsylvania-based photo retailer Dan's Camera City (http://www.danscamera.com) in Allentown as its 2002 Dealer of the Year. Owned and operated by Dan Poresky, Dan's is celebrating its 25th year and is the largest single-location camera store in Pennsylvania, serving over 400 customers daily.


The International Trade Commission recently upheld Fuji's 15 patent rights covering one-time use cameras. The ITC had issued a general exclusion order in 1999 barring import of cameras covered by the patents and recently found both new and reconstructed imported cameras had violated the order.


Nikon (http://www.nikonusa.com) has introduced the $499.95 Coolpix 4300, built on the Coolpix 885 design. The 4.0-megapixel digicam sports a 3x optical zoom with a range of 38-114mm (35mm equivalent) in a 7.9 ounce package.

Nikon has also launched a How To program on digital photography which will tour 25 U.S. cities, expanding its Nikon School with Digital 101 and Advanced Digital Workflow seminars. The series begins Sept. 28 in Chicago and runs through June 2003.


Scansoft (http://www.scansoft.com) has released OmniPage Pro 12 [MW]. The company claims OCR accuracy has improved 35 percent over version 11 and 70 percent over older versions. In addition to scanning documents into text, OmniPage can also convert and edit PDF files. The upgrade is available for $99.99 directly from Scansoft or $149.99 in stores.


Fnord Software (http://www.fnordware.com) has released j2k [M], a free plug-in for reading and writing the JPEG 2000 file format. JPEG 2000 uses wavelet compression and supports alpha transparency, lossless compression and 16-bit color.


Sony (http://www.sony.com) unveiled its new 5-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-F717 digicam, with Carl Zeiss optics, ISO sensitivities of 100/200/400/800 and shutter speeds of up to 1/2000 second in auto mode.

Sony also introduced two new dye sublimation printers, the $200 DPP-EX5 and $450 DPP-EX7 with an LCD display. Each printer has one dedicated slot for Memory Stick media and the DPP-EX7 has an additional slot for Type II PC cards for other types of flash media used with a PC card adapter. Both print on new 3.5x5 borderless print paper (30 sheets for $17) as well as the current 4x6 (25 for $17) and 3.5x4 (25 for $15) print sizes.


Veo (http://www.veo.com) has announced the Disney Magic Artist Click-N-Go Photo for $59.99, the first in a planned line of children's digicams to be introduced under the Disney Magic Artist brand. Modeled in the shape of Mickey Mouse riding in a blue convertible, the car's grill is the lens and the license plate holder contains a USB port.


Celartem (http://www.celartem.com) has released Vector Format for Zooming to scale, compress, archive, view, zoom up to 1200 percent, print at fine art quality, track, manage and secure high quality digital images with no loss of quality. VFZ uses a unique proprietary combination of raster and vector technology, developed to preserve subtle color shadings and prevent pixilation.


eCom (http://www.ecomecom.net) announced MyPhotoZip, a new photo compression product with a 300:1 compression ratio.


The $9.95 Photo to Movie 1.0 for Mac OS (http://lqgraphics.com/software/) can create a movie by zooming and panning over a photo. It presents a simple interface to specify the starting and ending frames and generates full quality QuickTime or DV Stream files (compatible with iMovie).


Photoflex (http://www.photoflex.com) has added two lighting equipment cases, the $254.95 Transpac Multi-Kit case for up to three complete lighting kits and the $138.95 Transpac Single-Kit case is ideal for a single lighting kit.


Hewlett-Packard (http://www.hp.com) warned that current all-in-one software drivers for Mac OS X vs. 10.1 are not compatible with OS X vs. 10.2. HP said it expects to release a 10.2-compatible software driver before the end of the month.


Event Proofs [MW] (http://www.lajdesignsw.com/eventproofs.html) lets event photographers' customers order pictures while at the event or later on the Web. Using shopping cart technology, Event Proofs creates the main order page and index pages for each event (or roll), a view cart page, a checkout page, a shipping page and individual product pages. The products can have images or text.


Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has updated Vuescan to version 7.5.45 to handle a SCSI bug in Mac OS X 10.2.

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One Liners

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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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Next Issue

We'll have a report on Seybold San Francisco in our next issue, but you can get our illustrated report from the news page at http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM if you can't wait.
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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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