|Volume 5, Number 13||27 June 2003|
Welcome to the 100th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. As annoying as the old In Box is getting these days, we appreciate being welcomed in yours. So to celebrate, we briefly discuss junk email and what you can do about it before Dave takes a look at Olympus' revolutionary E1 with its new lens and CCD designs. Then we distinguish USB 2.0 from 1.1 after helping Ed solve a few problems with his new digicam. One hundred issues -- each with something for everyone -- and plenty more to come.
This issue of The Imaging Resource News is sponsored in part by the following companies. Please tell them you saw their ads here. And now a word from our sponsors:
Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by approximately 55,000 combined direct and pass-along subscribers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at email@example.com.
The other evening we were at a party where the subject of spam came up. The problem wasn't actually spam, but junk email. And probably not just junk email, but a new breed of malicious email.
The distinctions are sometimes hard to draw, but since we email this newsletter to thousands of people, we ought to make them clear. We want to make sure everyone knows we're wearing a white hat.
We were certainly dismayed recently when one of our subscribers accused us of selling his email address. We don't do that. Never have. Never will. Promise.
We were raised right.
STATE OF THE ART
But we get email ourselves with our own return address on it. And plenty that was forged to appear it was sent by Imaging Resource. Not an issue goes by, for example, that we apparently don't try to subscribe ourselves again to the newsletter.
So what's going on?
Several things are going on. Some are preventable, some aren't. We won't pretend to be exhaustive here, but we do want to shed a little light on what's happening.
PERILS OF PUBLISHING
Our problem at Imaging Resource is that we're in the business of publishing information. We want you to feel welcome to write to us about your imaging questions. If you've written to us, you know we respond promptly, don't charge for the service and tend to be helpful.
That's a valuable thing (a vital thing, even) and what the Internet is all about. Communication. Sharing information. Resources.
So we publish our email addresses at the end of every newsletter and, consequently, in the Archive on our site. If you keep our newsletter on your hard disk, our email addresses are stored there, too. And if you write to us, our email address may even be in your address book.
All of those places are mined by various sorts of bulk emailers, some of them merely the obnoxious descendents of barbarian telemarketers but others a malicious mutant breed that apparently just wants to gum up the works. Why should you be happy if they aren't?
They build lists of the emails they've harvested and send mail to those lists. Automatically and interminably.
But they almost never really want you to know who they are. One or another Internet service provider might stop them. So they wear disguises. They pretend, in some cases, to be us.
There are a number of strategies for dealing with this nonsense. None of them are bulletproof. But they all help.
Unfortunately, you quickly reach the point of diminishing returns. You can easily spend the bulk of your online time dealing with this junk instead of dealing with the important stuff. Censoring instead of communicating.
Our strategy for handling this has been very simple. It might work for you, too. The only prerequisite is constitutional laziness (which can, of course, be faked by A1 types).
We get hundreds of junk emails a day. But we're still able to respond promptly to your questions. We are greatly aided by a two-level strategy.
Our email software downloads every message, but we don't let it download attachments or long emails. Those are options (preferences or properties) we have tinkered with over the years.
When we've retrieved our mail, we select all the obvious junk (hold down that shift, command or control key to do it right) and in a keystroke, delete the entire non-contiguous selection. Takes about 20 seconds.
Once in a while, a pernicious attack is mounted over several days. If we get tired of deleting the same junk, we set a filter in our email software to delete it automatically (like those "out of office" auto replies that flood our In Box with each issue we send). But we don't try to filter everything. That would really take more time than it would save.
The advantage of this technique is that we still see everything sent to us, but we don't have to deal with it all. That's a difficult balancing act. But our laziness is a perfect antidote to our aggravation.
If you're not so easily appeased, your ISP probably has anti-spam filters you can enable either in your email software or online, using your ISP's Web mail interface.
Earthlink, for example, offers its customers a spamBlocker service. Turn it on and Earthlink intercepts what it calls "known spam," messages that "can be positively identified as junk email," putting them in a Known spam folder for you to review at your leisure.
spamBlocker goes further, though, by routing mail from anyone not in your address book to a Suspect Email folder when you turn on Suspect Email Blocking.
And other ISPs offer similar services.
A BAD IDEA
Some firms offer a service that obliges publishers like us to visit a Web site and perform some trick (just once) to prove we're human before they'll agree to release our mail to you. This sounds like a good idea, but it's an onerous burden for small operations like ours. We'd rather be answering your questions than trying to prove we're human.
In fact, we'd complain about this, but the people who use this service can't read our complaint until we've already taken the time to validate ourselves. And once you're subscribed, it doesn't happen again anyway.
Last week the U.S. Senate made history by voting an antispam bill out of committee for the first time. The Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved the Burns-Wyden bill making it illegal to use fraudulent or deceptive return email addresses, fake email headers or even false subject lines. Marketers would be permitted to send one unsolicited email message, but it would have to include a simple way to get off their list.
Spammers would be subject to misdemeanor penalties of up to one year. But the Judiciary Committee is exploring more stringent penalties.
Bill co-sponsors Conrad Burns (R., Mont) and Ron Wyden (D., Ore) toughen enforcement in this version, the third in four years. And Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.), Commerce committee chairman, added an amendment to penalize legitimate businesses if they knowingly employ spammers.
McCain said he hopes to see the bill reach the Senate floor before the end of the summer.
WHAT WE DO
The only way to get this newsletter is to ask us to send it to you. We call it an opt-in newsletter.
In the beginning there were a number of ways to ask. But when we noticed some requests had been forged, we disabled the simple email subscription mechanism. To request this newsletter now, you have to visit a Web page and enter your request. It's no more work for subscribers but it thwarts bogus automatic subscription requests.
It also avoids storing your email address on either our servers or our personal computers. You are never exposed to email mining with us.
Even with that protection, however, our mailing service recently obliged us to confirm all requests. If you subscribe now, you are sent an email that asks you to confirm you really do want to subscribe before you are added to the list. That's double opt-in.
And since our first issue, every newsletter prominently explains how to unsubscribe. These days, we ask you to use a Web page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-subs.html) to prevent fraudulent unsubscribe requests.
We have always appreciated your willingness to let us into your In Box and we have always made it as easy as possible to say good-bye. We started out wearing a white hat and we keep it dry-cleaned no matter what's stampeding over us.
But we want you to know we take pains to protect you as we do what we can to provide a valuable and vital service. We hope you keep inviting us to the party.
Besides, when was the last time you got a good apology from a spammer?
By DAVE ETCHELLS(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E1/E1A.HTM on the Web site.)
At last year's Photokina show in Germany, Olympus and Kodak announced plans to jointly develop a new digital SLR system, based on a standard sensor size and lens mount specification, presumably open to other manufacturers as well.
Dubbed the Four Thirds initiative (after the dimension of the sensor to be used), there's been little news of its progress other than a woodblock unit displayed at Photokina and a very early prototype seen at the spring 2003 PMA show in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Work has indeed been progressing though. Last week Olympus loaned us a (barely) working prototype of its new E1 SLR for a First Look review, albeit without documentation and for a total of less than 24 hours. The result is this rather sketchy article.
Four Thirds systems promise lighter, more compact digital SLRs, with considerably smaller and lighter lenses. The open question is whether photo enthusiasts and professionals will find these advantages compelling enough to abandon the long-entrenched lens-mount standards they already own. Time will tell, as they say. Meanwhile, here's a (very) preliminary look at the new Olympus E1.
As the first fruit of the Four Thirds initiative announced last year between Olympus, Kodak and Fujifilm, Olympus' new E1 digital SLR will surely draw a great deal of attention. The big news here is that this is the first removable-lens digital SLR designed from the ground up as a digital device, with no ties to previous film-based designs. As a result, the optics and camera body are optimized for both the smaller physical dimension of the imaging plane (22.3mm on the diagonal, vs. 43.3mm for a 35mm film frame), as well as for the three-dimensional surface structure of typical CCDs.
The E1's interchangeable lens design accommodates a range of new Zuiko Digital lenses, created specifically for use with the E1 (and fully compatible with other Four Thirds cameras, presumably). I'm told that Zuiko means "Light of the Gods" in Japanese. Following the Four Thirds specifications, the lens mount diameter is only twice the diagonal measurement of the camera's sensor, making the Zuiko Digital lenses much smaller and lighter than their 35mm equivalents.
At the same time, while much smaller than a 35mm frame (smaller too, than the roughly APS-sized sensors of other common digital SLRs), the CCD in the E1 has nearly four times the area of the chip used in Olympus' earlier E20 fixed-lens SLR design.
The larger sensor size alone should translate into noticeably lower noise levels than the E20, but the E1 has another advantage as well. Rather than a conventional "interline transfer" CCD, the E1 uses a "frame transfer" sensor manufactured by Kodak. The frame-transfer technology boasts higher saturation voltages and lower noise levels than the more common interline-transfer design, promising both excellent dynamic range and lower than average noise for E1 production models.
Addressing a universal bugaboo for digital SLR users, Olympus has also incorporated a unique dust-removal system in the E1 that uses ultrasonic energy to clean the sensor surface. We'll have to see how well this works in practice, but it's encouraging to see a camera manufacturer developing technology to deal with this nettlesome problem. In addition to the dust-removal system for the sensor itself, the E1 is housed in a rugged magnesium-alloy "splashproof" body with no fewer than 61 seals and gaskets to keep out dust and water.
In the very brief time we had our hands on the E1 prototype, it was clear that it was an exceptionally ruggedly-built digicam. While its weight and price are more in the league of Nikon's D100 or Canon's EOS-10D, its build quality is much more in the range of the Nikon D1x or Canon EOS-1D.
The Zuiko Digital lens system offers a variety of focal lengths, including 50mm and 300mm lengths and two zoom lenses (14-54mm and 50-200mm). A 1.4x teleconverter is also available and Olympus has plans to expand the range in the near future.
The 22.3mm diagonal dimension of the sensor translates into a 1.94x focal-length multiplier relative to 35mm cameras. The lenses mentioned above thus translate into 97mm, 582mm, 27-105mm and 97-388mm focal lengths on a 35mm camera.
The E1 offers several focusing options. The camera's autofocus system bases focus on one of three points spread across the center of the frame. You can manually select one of these points or allow the camera to choose based on the proximity of the subject. You can also opt for Single, Continuous or Manual focus modes, by turning a switch on the front of the camera. An AF illuminator lamp on the front of the camera is useful in dark shooting conditions, but can be disabled when desired. For composing shots, the E1's optical viewfinder is unusually accurate (a true 100 percent viewfinder) and features a diopter adjustment dial for eyeglass wearers. The viewfinder display reports a wide variety of exposure settings and features outlines designating the AF and metering areas. A status display panel on top of the camera reports most of the camera settings and a 1.8-inch color LCD monitor on the back panel is available for image review and menu display.
The Zuiko Digital lenses incorporate several key innovations, including improved coating and polishing technology and the use of double-sided aspheric elements. Some of the biggest news though, is how the Zuiko lenses interact with the camera and its CPU.
In a remarkably intelligent combination of optical and digital technology, the Zuiko lenses communicate with the camera's processor, informing it of not only their current focal length setting, but also the geometric distortion inherent to the lens at that focal length and even the amount of edge darkening (sometimes called "vignetting"). The camera can then use this information to digitally correct the images in the camera.
Thus, images shot with Zuiko lenses and the E1 show virtually zero geometric distortion at any focal length and can optionally be corrected to remove any edge darkening caused by light falloff in the lens elements. This is an absolutely unique capability and one that could catapult the image quality obtained with Zuiko lenses beyond literally any others on the market. Note though, that this in-camera image processing can't compensate for flare, coma or chromatic aberration, so Olympus still needs to exert itself to minimize those forms of distortion in the optical designs themselves.
Exposure control on the E1 is straightforward and sensible, with a Mode dial controlling the main exposure mode. Choices are Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual modes. Within Program mode, turning the Command wheel accesses Program Shift mode, which lets you choose from a range of equivalent exposure settings, to select larger or smaller lens apertures and faster or slower shutter speeds. Shutter speeds range from 1/4000 to two seconds, in all modes except for Manual, where the range extends to 60 seconds. Manual mode also features a Bulb exposure setting, to permit exposures as long as eight minutes.
For longer exposures, the camera offers a Noise Reduction mode to reduce the amount of image noise. A Noise Filter setting is also available, more useful with short exposures taken at a higher sensitivity setting. By default, the E1 employs an ESP multi-pattern metering system, but Center-Weighted and Spot options are also available. You can adjust the overall exposure from -5 to +5 exposure equivalents in one-third, one-half or one-step increments and an Auto Exposure Bracketing mode is available for capturing a series of images at different exposures. Sensitivity options include an Auto setting, as well as 100, 300, 400 and 800 ISO equivalents, with an ISO Boost option for 1,600 and 3,200 settings.
White Balance options on the E1 include an Auto adjustment, four Custom settings and a range of specific Kelvin temperature settings from 3,000 to 7,500K. A White Balance adjustment tool lets you add more red or blue to the color balance and there's a White Balance Bracketing mode as well. Color space options include sRGB and Adobe RGB settings and the E1 features an unusually sophisticated Saturation adjustment. You can adjust the color saturation for all three RGB channels together or set the saturation for Red, Green or Blue separately. There's also a fifth saturation preset setting, optimized for skin tones and portraits, and fine-grained contrast and sharpness adjustments.
The camera's Self-Timer mode offers two and 12-second delays before firing the shutter and the camera is compatible with both wireless and wired remote control accessories (supported by a Remote Control drive setting). An external flash hot shoe on top of the camera hosts the Olympus FL-50 external flash unit and a PC sync socket is available on the side of the camera for a secondary unit or connection to studio strobes. A button on top of the camera controls the main flash operating mode, cycling between Auto, Manual, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Slow Sync Second Curtain and Fill. Through the settings menu, you can adjust flash intensity as well. Finally, the E1 offers a Sequential Shooting mode for capturing a continuous series of images at approximately three frames per second, with a maximum burst length of 21 frames.
The E1 stores images on CompactFlash type I or II memory cards and is compatible with the IBM MicroDrive. No card is included with the camera. Images can be saved as uncompressed TIFF, RAW data or JPEG files, with two JPEG compression levels available. Image resolutions are 2560x1920; 1600x1200; 1280x960; 1024x768; and 640x480 pixels. For power, the E1 uses a single lithium-ion battery pack and ships with both battery and charger. An AC adapter is available as a separate accessory. A Video Out jack and video cable let you connect the camera to a television set for image review. The E1 connects to a computer via a USB or IEEE-1394 interface and both cables are included. A set of software CDs also accompanies the camera and feature Adobe Photoshop Elements, Olympus' new e-Studio program and Web Photo School Lessons.
Given the obvious early prototype status of the E1 and the lack of any test data, it's clear that no conclusion is possible just yet.
I was encouraged by the evident high quality of the 14-54mm lens on the prototype though and I'm very hopeful about image quality (dynamic range, color quality and noise performance), given Olympus' use of a Kodak frame-transfer CCD.
At the Olympus press event for the E1 rollout in New York City, my positive first impressions of the E1 camera were reinforced by Olympus' clear message that they really intend the E1 to be a professional product more than a "prosumer" one. In fact, the most significant announcement at the press event (IMHO) was that Olympus is planning to set up a Professional Services operation, dedicated to meeting the needs of professional shooters using the E1 system.
Olympus tells me that they should have a production-level camera available for me to test by sometime in August. So stay tuned!
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:
- Reviewed: Fujifilm F410 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F410/F41A.HTM)
- First Look: Olympus E1 SLR (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E1/E1A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Sony MVC-CD350 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CD350/CD35A.HTM)
"Call me on my cell any time," Ed ended his desperate email to us. He was having a problem with his new digicam. Well, more than one.
Outdoor shots looked great, but indoor shots were blurry. And he kept losing the date and time. "I don't mind resetting that," he bargained, "but why are my shots so blurry?"
Ed, you will remember, doesn't believe we write this newsletter because our byline never appears here. Taking advantage of a unique opportunity, we expressed some doubt that he had actually taken any pictures.
"Sure I've taken pictures with it!" he snapped at the bait. "I'll send you some." Which was easier said than done, since the apartment building next door to his spacious estate was hogging all the cable bandwidth in the neighborhood that evening.
Sometimes reading an image's Exif header, where the exposure data is recorded, can reveal exactly what the trouble is.
"The outdoor shots look good to me," I observed. "But there's something funny about these indoor shots."
"Yeah," Ed laughed. "That's what I'm telling you."
"Well, I mean in the Exif header. None of these were shot with flash."
"Oh yeah, man, I turned that off. It's too bright."
"That explains these 1/2 second exposures. You can't hold a camera still that long, believe it or not. You want to shoot no slower than about 1/60 second to avoid camera shake."
Then we explained how to set shutter priority mode so the camera uses 1/60 second as the shutter speed. And just for fun, we explained how to throttle back the flash so it doesn't burn everything out.
But the date/time thing puzzled us. Ed poked around for a little watch-sized battery that may have burned out but couldn't find anything. We couldn't believe the camera (a recent model) didn't have some battery backup for the clock so when you replace the camera batteries you don't have to set the clock again.
And in fact it did. But the problem wasn't taking the batteries out. It was leaving them in. Since Ed only uses the camera every few weeks or so, the camera batteries become exhausted in the camera and the internal battery that recharges itself from them gets exhausted, too. Keep those camera batteries fresh, Ed, and you'll never have to set that clock again.
"Anything else?" we had to ask.
"Yeah, well, why does this thing keep shooting everything in brown?"
"Whatever, everything's brown. That's the only color it's got."
We suspected someone had enabled a creative option for sepia pictures. But since we didn't have the manual (and neither did Ed, since his camera bag was stolen), we revealed the one solution to nearly everything.
"Go into the Setup menu and select Reset All. All the options on the camera will be reset to the factory defaults."
"Hey, that's great! Thanks!" It was like getting a new camera. "Now I can take a bunch of pictures on vacation. We're going to the lake this week."
Glad to help, Ed. And thanks for the article idea.
Whether you are buying a card reader or a digicam with a USB interface, the 2.0 tag does not mean the device runs at high speed.
Since the introduction of USB 2.0, featuring transfer speeds as high as 480Mb/s, the protocol has been confused solely with its high-speed variant. In fact, according to the 2.0 specification, it encompasses three speeds: low (1.5Mb/s), full (12Mb/s) and high (480Mb/s).
"The correct nomenclature for high-speed USB products is 'Hi-Speed USB.' The correct nomenclature for low or full-speed USB products is simply 'USB,'" according to USB.org's SB Naming and Packaging Recommendations (http://www.usb.org/developers/packaging).
While that document is intended for manufacturers, the packaging keys and messages will be of interest to any consumer shopping for a USB device. High-speed devices can be identified, for example, by a different USB logo, featuring a red "Hi-Speed" flag over the blue Certified USB logo.
The confusion over the specification was recently noted in a Bangkok Post article (http://www.bangkokpost.com) that spurred some discussion at Slashdot (http://slashdot.org/articles/03/06/18/2025210.shtml).
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 Canon A70 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee91e2f
Visit the Minolta Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6f77f
Court asks about cameras with the best shutter speed at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee9309f/0
Erwin asks about metadata and 'big brother' at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee9321b/0
Visit the Printers Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b8
It's sometimes necessary for editors themselves to be interviewed. Particularly when dinner has been offered. So we found ourselves subjected to the charming inquisition of a nearly 15-year-old journalist named Rachel the other day.
She was writing a report on digital photography and was under the impression we knew something about it. We quickly explained we know next to nothing about it -- and that's how we make our living. Figuring it out.
"And how long have you been doing that?" she asked, reading from her script. Let's not go there, we pleaded.
But she got us thinking when she asked how things have changed over the years and what's next. Have they changed? Sure. How? Well.... And what should we look for next? You can't really take a crystal ball to dinner.
What a great forum, however, for our prejudices. So, taking advantage of the situation, we let fly.
Getting CCDs with more than 640x480 pixels was a grand day. Now we're looking at full 35mm frame sizes and 14 megapixels, but we remember being quite happy with one-megapixel cameras and permanently thrilled with 3-megapixel ones. Resolution hasn't been an issue for a very long time.
More important is bit depth, we explained. Today only high-end cameras offer 12-bit channels. But one day, we expect to see them even in point-and-shoot cameras. We took Rachel over to the computer and pulled up our review of Reindeer Graphics Optipix (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/OPT/OPT.HTM) just to prove we do actually do something. And to show her the four bad exposures and one good one and the averaged one that takes the best of them all. See how you can get all that in 12-bits per channel.
Then there are a number of digicam shooting aids we find particularly interesting:
Lenses seem to have matured long before digicams. We're a bit distressed to see so little glass on most new, inexpensive models (even if the CCD is tiny). But now there are SLRs that are happy with your old glass.
- Best Shot Selector (Nikon) evaluates several images shot at the same time, saving the largest (which, by definition, will be the least shaky).
- Framing Assistants (Nikon) that show big yellow framing outlines for various shooting modes (two people next to each other for a double portrait or a horizon line for a landscape).
- Automatic Scene Modes (Minolta) that figure out what you are shooting and set the camera automatically to capture it, giving you a chance to override its choice. Scene modes are great, but we never can remember which camera has which modes. Automatic scene modes ought to get a Nobel prize.
- Panorama Mode (various) is an ingenious help to capturing a series of overlaid images that are actually quite easy to assemble on the computer.
- Live Histogram (Sony, Kyocera, Contax and more) shows you a bar graph of your tones from dark to light. Think of it as an exposure meter, confirming good tonal distribution or warning about under/over exposure. By graphing what's happening in your shadows, midtones and highlights, you get a better idea of what your exposure means than simply moving into the right range.
- Smart Zoom (Sony) takes advantage of today's larger CCDs to emulate optical zoom by cropping the image without upsampling it. That last is the trick. You have a smaller image, but with sufficient data to print big because the CCD is large. It's like having a long zoom 3-megapixel camera built into a 5-megapixel.
Flash can not be mentioned in the company of children.
But the biggest improvement in digital photography, we felt, was not in the camera but in the computer. Just before our interview, we'd shown everyone some new pictures on CD. We'd made it on a Macintosh using Roxio Toast Titanium, dropped it into their PC running Windows XP and opened the directory of images only to let Windows XP show them as a slide show -- which we have to say is still too hard to do in OS X.
The last time we visited these folks, we struggled to explain how to open a folder of images in Irfanview to run a slide show. We did it, sure, but no one understood what was happening.
That's all changed.
Connecting the camera and transferring images has changed for the better, too. You still need the odd driver in Windows, but after that, you just cable the camera to the computer and follow the bouncing ball. On both Windows and the Mac (which handles this a little better), it's as simple as it needs to be. At last.
Often this transfer is handled by one of the new free or low-cost all-in-one photo applications (iPhoto and Photoshop Album, for example) that also makes it easier than it's ever been to:
These programs tend to offer a great many more capabilities than any one user might want, offering even greater value.
- Run a quick slide show
- Organize your images, tagging them with keywords for easier retrieval when you've forgotten all about them
- Share them via email (integrated with your email program), export to CD or DVD, etc.
Image editing remains a complex subject. The all-in-one programs do some basic editing (rotation, red-eye removal, brightness/contrast) but they aren't enough to make something out of marginal images (which nevertheless have a lot of hidden data).
Color correction is surprisingly necessary for many owners. There are a number of tools to automate it (especially if your digicam images suffer from a particular color cast) but the best we've used is iCorrect (a four-tier product suite). What iCorrect does is remarkable.
Printing was another topic we didn't want to discuss in front of children.
We were lucky to remember as much as we had. And Rachel was lucky to have a 20-page limit. Then she asked us the stunner. Compare film to digital photography.
We just couldn't. Did we have to? Yes. Our stomach gnawing, we gave it a shot.
We pointed out that digital photography has made inroads into every traditional film photo bastion. Journalism (early on, too), Studio (the local film lab has suddenly lost all its customers), Wedding (the number of things you can do with the originals multiplies exponentially) and so on.
But, we said, film still holds its own in the fine arts. We discussed the near unrepeatability of making a print, the performance art of it, the peculiar skill, the knowledge, the artisan nature of it. Digital is, we were surprised to hear ourselves say, the fast food of photography. Film is the domain of the gourmand.
Right, we had succumbed to our hunger. We piled into the car and whistled down the road to a nice meal at Il Fornaio on prom night. Fortunately, we had a digicam with us to record the event. And the thought of ordering fries never entered our mind.
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You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read our Letters policy at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS in the FAQ.
RE: Glossy Laser Paper
Many manufacturers of color laser printers do sell heavy glossy paper for their printers. You are correct that it is more difficult to print on this type of surface, so it is best to go with a brand/type recommended by the manufacturer.
You are also correct that the toner in a laser printer is opaque and covers the gloss of the paper. However, the toner itself can have a glossy appearance, so the trick is to match the gloss of the paper to that of the toner to get a uniform appearance. Again, the manufacturer of the printer has probably tested a lot of media and selected the best. Of course, if your toner is not glossy at all there is no point in trying.
-- Greg Marshall(Ah, color laser printers! We were thinking strictly in black and white. Thanks for the kick in the pants. -- Editor)
RE: Great White Paper
Your latest edition has a couple of mentions of Great White paper. I've been using it for years, both for photo reproduction and everyday correspondence. My source is Staples, so it should be available everywhere either in-store or through their online catalog.
-- John O'Brien(Thanks, John! Yep, Staples (http://www.staples.com) makes it easy to find. -- Editor)
RE: Cheaper Than WalMart
David suggested that WalMart's 4x6 prints at $0.26 each are much cheaper than Ofoto or any other digital printing services. But I have been delighted with the quality and speed of service of Club Photo (http://www.clubphoto.com) and the prints are $0.25 each! Club Photo also has non-time-limited password-protected albums free of charge.
-- Tony Glaser(Thanks for the recommendation, Tony! -- Editor)
RE: Maximum Print Size
Unlike your review of the Sony P-10 where it indicates a maximum 8x10 print size, I see no mention of a maximum print size for the CD-500. With my Sony F717 I'm able to have great 13x19 prints. I'd like to have another more compact Sony but not unless it can manage fine 13x19 prints.
-- Bob Obrey(Maximum print size is a vague thing (partly because one factor is how far away your viewer is standing). As Dave uses it in the reviews, it's just a more meaningful way of stating the number of megapixels the camera's sensor uses. So if the 5-megapixel P10 can do 13x19s, so can the 5-megapixel CD500.... The Aspect Ratio calculator in our Dec. 1, 2000 issue (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-arch.html) is a little more sophisticated (and forgiving) about maximum print size. Throw any CCD specs at it and it will give you a reasonable expectation. -- Editor)
RE: Slide Show Recommendation
I was looking for a program to display slide shows on my DVD/TV using CD media. After searching the Web using various phrases (I didn't know then to call it a VCD), I found a variety of programs and soon learned to ignore any that did not have a trial download. Trials are essential since there is never a guarantee about compatibility.
The ones I tried ran the gamut from not working at all to working quite well. I ended up with and bought for less than $20, DVD PixPlay (http://www.xequte.com/pixplay) by Xequte. It produces a very respectable slide show with a configurable title slide, various background color and margin options, ranges of dissolves and fades and selectable background music.
I am not, nor do I want to be, a multimedia guru and this package did all that I needed. Oh, by the way, I also found a free CD ripper so I could import some of my CD audio for background music.
Having fun with digital photography after 50 years of film photography.
-- Neal Enault(You suffered long enough, Neal. In fact, we all did. Thanks for the recommendation! -- Editor)
RE: Sharpening Plug-In
Have you looked at the plug in, UltraSharpen 6.0 (http://www.ultrasharpen.com)? Cost is low!! And it works!! -- Howard W. Mueller
(Sharp! Thanks, Howard! -- Editor)
RE: Free Web Page
You suggested Ofoto for a good Web page. Have you tried/know about http://www.dotphoto.com -- I use them and the site is great. You can even up-load mp3s for some strange reason. The storage is unlimited as long as you use the site regularly. If you recommend a friend and they sign up -- both of you get 30 free prints.
-- Iain(Cool! Thanks, Iain. -- Editor)
Kodak (http://www.kodak.com) released Easyshare 3.0 for Mac OS X. The new version supports up to 10,000 images and movies, on-screen album creation and DVD/CD burning.
anyTime photo (http://www.anytimephoto.com) launched "the Internet's most user-friendly Web site for sharing and printing digital photos and custom gifts." To celebrate its Grand Opening, anyTime is offering a 20 percent discount on purchases made within the first 30 days of launch.
Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has announced new add-on software technology to maximize the performance of Photoshop on Apple's new Power Mac G5 product line. The free Photoshop plug-in can run Photoshop twice as fast as on any previous Apple system, Adobe said.
Human Software (http://www.humansoftware.com) has released AutoCorrect 1.5 [MW] for one click color correction. Version 1.5's sliders isolate highlights or shadows to reclaim their detail.
Lemke Software (http://www.lemkesoft.com) has released GraphicConverter 4.7.1 [M].
Rune Lindman (http://www.qpict.net) has updated QPict to version 5.2.6 with support for AAC files and improves display quality with a user-specified quality/speed setting.
Shapiro Consulting Group, developer of Asiva Photo, plans a mid-July release for Sharpen+Soften, the first in a series of Photoshop plug-ins the company will release in the next few months. Sharpen+Soften [MW] supports 8- or 16-bit channels and RGB or CMYK files. Sharpening or softening is supported on one or more of the image's channels. In addition, HSL components may be selected for sharpening or softening.
Iomega (http://www.iomega.com) has announced Super DVD Drive, one of the first DVD drives to support all major DVD and CD formats, including DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW and DVD-RAM.
Carsten Blum (http://q41.de/downloads/exif-untrasher) has released Untrasher for OS X, a free utility to recover deleted images from storage cards.
The $35 ScopeDriver 1.4a [MW] (http://www.adpartnership.net/ScopeDriver) controls telescopes compatible with the Autostar or LX200 command set to locate celestial objects by name and other designations, store and recall observing sites with latitude and longitude and more.
Artly There (http://www.artlythere.com) has released Compositor 2.4 [M], an image editor and "art visualizer" featuring filters, channels, selections and more. The update adds a Selection palette, a Fix-It brush, Add and Subtract blend modes, Paste Into Selection and new Actions.
Canon (http://www.usa.canon.com) has introduced the CanoScan LiDE 50 scanner with USB 2.0, 1200x2400-dpi optical resolution, 48-bit color, automatic dust and scratch removal and multi-image scanning. Mac and Windows versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements 2, ArcSoft PhotoStudio and PhotoBase and OmniPage SE are included in the $99 scanner.
Studio Manager 4.3 [MW] (http://www.studio-manager.com) helps manage a creative service business with job cost tracking, scheduling, time sheets, estimating, invoicing, contact management, receivables/payables, purchase orders, mail log and security features.
The $7.50 ZeboPhoto 1.3 [M] (http://zebo.info) includes print layout templates, slide show capabilities, screen capture to image or PDF format and a movie maker.
For just $150 an insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).
Free Pictures: http://www.bigfoto.com/
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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Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher