The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 5, Number 19 19 September 2003

Copyright 2003, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 106th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. News editor Mike Tomkins found a clever little application that does just one thing very well. Dave plays with a Toshiba sporting a long Canon zoom. We figure out a mysterious problem at a wedding and pass along an easy way to tag your images with a copyright statement. And finally, we have an Andy Rooney moment.


TOPICS

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Feature: FaceFilter Can Make Anyone Smile

By MICHAEL R. TOMKINS, News Editor

San Jose-based Reallusion Inc. has announced a new program for Windows computers that aims to make it easier for digital photographers to edit their portraits without resorting to artistic skills.

We've all been there -- you take a photo, check it out on the camera's LCD and it looks fine. Of course when you get home you notice that while almost everything's perfect, a frown on one face has ruined the picture. There's always one person who just refuses to smile for photos or blinks at the slightest hint of a flash.

If you're a dab-hand with Photoshop you can probably fix it, but for the rest of us the photo goes into our digital trash can.

This is where Reallusion FaceFilter (http://www.reallusion.com/facefilter) comes in. Priced at a reasonable $29.95, the program lets you fine-tune facial expressions in your photos in an extremely simple, user-friendly manner.

FIXING A FACE

FaceFilter is a standalone program, so the correction process starts off when you select and open the image you want to alter. You can then zoom in and pan around the image and define the boundaries of the face you need to adjust (including rotating the selection to account for faces that aren't straight and level). Next, you click on the image to indicate the outside corners of the eyes and mouth and FaceFilter indicates what it guesses are the locations of the eyebrows, inside corners of the eyes and middle of the lips. If necessary (it usually is, to varying degrees), you can correct these guesses, before getting to the real meat of the program.

You are now presented with two side-by-side copies of the face from your image, cropped and leveled as you'd indicated. If you prefer, you can hide the original image and just view the one being altered. On the right of the screen, you can scroll through a list of 24 facial filters labeled as "attractive," and 27 labeled as "fun" -- examples of the former being "Kind," "Tender" and "Slim," while the latter includes more unusual filters such as "Alien," "Mean" and "Unhappy". Click on a filter and you can immediately preview the result. A slider-bar allows you to adjust the intensity of the effect, while a preview checkbox lets you see thumbnails of all the different filters and the effects they have on your image.

NOT INFALLIBLE

While extremely simple, the process is not infallible. We tested the program a little and found that, in particular, images where part of the face is obscured by glasses, hair or other objects can be difficult if not impossible to get good results from, as can images where the subject is looking at something off to one side of the camera.

In general, the more directly the subject is looking at the camera and the less their face is obscured, the easier the image is to manipulate. We also noticed that children's faces seemed to be among the hardest to get realistic-looking results, perhaps because their facial structure is quite different from that of an adult.

BUT WORTH A SMILE

Still, the results on many photos were extremely impressive given FaceFilter's ease of use. In the hands of a complete amateur, you can expect reasonably convincing results, particularly if you err on the side of caution when adjusting the expression strength.

As an example of what can be achieved, we created three quick alterations of the same original image (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1063167719.html). The expressions available really span the gamut from quite subtle and realistic, to dramatic and rather humorous. If that's not enough though, you can manually adjust the proportion and width of the entire face, as well as the position, size and orientation of the individual facial features (eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth).

When you're done editing a particular face, you can preview the changes in the original uncropped image. You can then save the file, select an output area, copy the image to the clipboard or opt to alter other faces in the same image.

THREE MEGAPIXEL LIMIT

The only real limitation we came across in testing the program was a limit of three megapixels on image size, which seems rather arbitrary and restrictive. Larger files can still be opened, but the final output will be saved only as three megapixels or smaller.

It would also be nice to see an option to deselect facial elements you didn't want adjusted when selecting a predefined filter. For example, if the eyes were partly obscured in the photo, the rest of the filter might still be useful to you.

One other suggestion to Reallusion is that it would be more intuitive to show the figures being applied by a selected filter on the manual adjustment page, to allow users to fine-tune existing filters rather than having to make new ones from scratch.

CONCLUSION

All in all though, we're really rather impressed with FaceFilter, particularly given the price. If you take a lot of images of people -- family portraits perhaps -- this is almost a no-brainer, unless you're an expert Photoshop user.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Toshiba PDR-M700 -- Canon 10x Zoom & Big LCD

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/M700/M700A.HTM on the Web site.)

MANUFACTURER OVERVIEW

Toshiba is clearly one of the true "mega" players in the world of computers and electronics. When they moved into digital cameras, they brought tremendous engineering resources to bear. Their effort has borne fruit in the form of fast, functional and very inexpensive camera models. Now, the PDR-M700 arrives with excellent exposure control and flexibility, plus the benefit of a true 10x optical zoom lens (using quality Canon optics). A generous, 2.5-inch LCD monitor, a handful of preset scene modes and (optional) complete manual exposure control recommend the PDR-M700 to novice amateurs and experienced enthusiasts alike.

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

One of the newest arrivals on the digicam scene, the $425 Toshiba PDR-M700 features many of the same exposure control options I've enjoyed on the most recent Toshiba models. What's exciting about this new model is the true 10x optical zoom lens using quality Canon optics, larger LCD panel (a full 2.5 inches) and a slightly redesigned user interface that's a little more playful than previous Toshiba designs. The PDR-M700 is just slightly bulky (it definitely won't fit into your shirt pocket), but it's still compact enough for easy traveling. The all-silver plastic body sports a similar shape to previous Toshiba models and has a substantial handgrip for a secure, comfortable hold. A neck/shoulder strap comes with the camera, as well as a soft camera case, to make toting it a little easier.

The PDR-M700 is equipped with a 10x optical zoom, 5.7-57.0mm lens (a 37-370mm 35mm equivalent). Aperture can be automatically or manually adjusted from f2.8 to f8.0. (The maximum aperture ranges from f2.8 to f3.1, depending on the zoom setting.) Focus ranges from 3.9 inches to infinity, which includes the macro range. The camera also offers an Infinity focus setting, as well as two fixed focal distances through the Record menu. In addition to the 10x optical zoom, the PDR-M700 also offers as much as 4x digital zoom (but keep in mind that image quality suffers with digital enlargement).

The PDR-M700 does away with an optical viewfinder, instead offering a 2.5-inch color LCD monitor and a smaller "electronic" eye level viewfinder for composing images. Both displays are complete with image information and menu screens and the Display button on the rear panel switches the view from one to the other. The LCD monitor displays a good bit of information about the camera and the exposure settings, including a small histogram of the image's tonal range, which helps you gauge how much an image may be under- or overexposed. Like many cameras having only electronic viewfinders though, the M700 is difficult to use in low light situations. You can only see what the camera is pointing at in light levels roughly corresponding to that of a well-lit city street at night, so the camera's low light ability is rather limited. It can actually capture images in very dark surroundings, it's just that you just can't see what it's pointing at until after the shot is captured.

Complete exposure control is available on the PDR-M700, including full manual exposure control. The Mode dial on top of the camera selects between Automatic and Manual Record modes. Within each major recording mode you have a range of exposure modes to choose from. In Automatic Record mode, you can opt for Auto exposure mode or Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Portrait + Landscape, Night Scene or Multi scene settings. (Multi mode captures 16 small images continuously at 0.13-second intervals, which are saved as one 2048x1536 image.) Under Manual Record mode, you can choose from Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual exposure modes. Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 16 seconds, depending on the exposure mode selected. Exposure Compensation is adjustable from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents in one-third-step increments and an Autoexposure Bracketing option captures either three or five images at different exposure settings. By default, the PDR-M700 uses a Center-Priority metering mode, but a Spot option is also available.

White Balance options include Auto, Sunlight, Cloudy, Daylight (Bluish) Fluorescent, Reddish Fluorescent, Incandescent and two Preset options (manual settings). Sensitivity can be manually set to ISO equivalents of 70, 100, 200 or 400, with two Auto settings available. Sharpness and contrast adjustments are available as well, in addition to black-and-white and sepia monochrome settings and a Vivid color adjustment for more saturated colors. The PDR-M700 offers two- and 10-second self-timer options and a Remote Control mode for use with the included IR remote. The camera's built-in, pop-up flash operates in Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed and Slow Synchro modes. The PDR-M700 also features Standard and High Speed Continuous Shooting modes, as well as a Movie mode for recording moving images with sound.

Images are recorded to SD memory cards and a 16-MB card comes with the camera (although I strongly advise picking up a larger card so you aren't limited). Four AA batteries power the camera (either NiMH or lithium is recommended) and a set of single-use alkaline batteries is included. I advise picking up two sets of rechargeable NiMH batteries and a good charger, so that you have a freshly-charged set on-hand at all times. Also included is an A/V cable for connecting to a television set and a USB cable for downloading images to either a Mac or PC. The accompanying Digital Still Camera software CD includes ACDSee for minor image editing and organization capabilities.

OPTICS

One of the most impressive features on the PDR-M700 is its Canon-built 10x, 5.7-57mm optical zoom lens (equivalent to a 37-370mm lens on a 35mm camera). I count it as a very positive point that Toshiba teamed with established optical giant Canon for the camera's lens system. The lens is protected by a plastic lens cap, which attaches to the camera body via a small strap, preventing it from being accidentally lost. When the camera is turned on and the Mode dial is set to any capture mode, the lens extends outward from the camera body into its operating position, a distance of about 7/8 of an inch. When the camera is shut off or left in Playback mode for any length of time, the lens retracts automatically. The camera uses a contrast detection autofocus system with a focal range from 3.9 inches to infinity, which includes the macro range. A Focus option on the on-screen menu offers Macro and Infinity focus settings, as well as one- and three-meter fixed focus settings. The latter is useful for shooting after dark, when the autofocus system may not have enough light to operate reliably. Aperture can be automatically or manually controlled on the PDR-M700 and ranges from f2.8-3.1 to f8.0, the maximum value depending on the current zoom position.

In addition to the camera's 10x optical zoom, as much as 4x digital telephoto is available, extending the camera's zoom capabilities to a total of 40x. However, keep in mind that the quality of the image will suffer in the form of reduced resolution when the digital telephoto function is engaged. And it is very difficult to hold the camera steady at 40x zoom. A set of filter threads inside the lip of the lens barrel accommodates a variety of auxiliary lenses via the included adapter tube accessory and doubles as a lens shade. Kudos to Toshiba. I really wish more manufacturers would just include lens adapters like this with their cameras, rather than as added-cost, hard-to-find accessories. When the lens cap is in place, it firmly grips the inside of these threads, protecting them from damage.

SHUTTER LAG/CYCLE TIMES

Overall, the PDR-M700 ranges from average to fairly fast in its operation. Startup and shutdown are rather leisurely and shutter lag is only average at 0.89-1.07 seconds (which actually isn't too bad for an ultra-zoom camera), but shot-to-shot cycle times are very good at about 1.4 seconds and its continuous modes are quite fast indeed.

TEST RESULTS

As with all Imaging Resource product tests, I encourage you to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the camera performed. Explore the images on the pictures page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/M700/M700PICS.HTM) to see how the M700's images compare to other cameras you may be considering.

Color: The M700 produced pretty good color throughout my testing. Hue accuracy was pretty good, but saturation seemed to be just slightly low overall, although bright additive primary colors (reds, greens and blues) tended to be slightly over-saturated. The white balance options generally produced neutral images, although slight color casts remained in many situations. The auto and incandescent white balance options had some trouble with the household incandescent lighting of my "indoor portrait" shot, but the manual white balance kept the color cast within acceptable limits. Overall, good if not spectacular color.

Exposure: The M700's exposure system was more accurate than most, as it required less positive exposure compensation than average on both the "outdoor portrait" and "indoor portrait" shots. The camera's default contrast setting resulted in very contrasty images, but its contrast adjustment worked beautifully, producing a better than average image under the deliberately harsh lighting of my "outdoor portrait" test.

Resolution/Sharpness: The PDR-M700 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 700 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found strong detail out to at least 1,000 lines, although you could perhaps argue for as high as 1,100 lines in the horizontal direction. Extinction of the target patterns occurred around 1,250 lines.

Close-ups: The PDR-M700 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a tiny minimum area of only 1.07x0.80 inches. Resolution was very high, with strong detail in the printing and fibers of the dollar bill. The brooch was soft due to the shallow depth of field at such a short shooting distance. Corner softness is slightly visible in the left corners of the frame, but the distortion isn't distracting. Because of the close shooting range and the PDR-M700's long lens barrel, the flash was ineffective in this shot. Plan on using external lighting for the closest macro shots with the M700.

Night Shots: With its full manual exposure control, adjustable ISO and a maximum exposure time of 16 seconds, the PDR-M700 has all the tools it needs for good low-light shooting. It really could use an autofocus-assist lamp though, as its autofocus system runs out of steam around 1.5 foot-candles or 16 lux. Plan on using the limited manual focus presets for shooting after dark. The camera produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test at all four ISO settings. Though the ISO 70 and 100 images were just a touch dim. Color was pretty good, though in some cases the dim lighting resulted in a magenta tint. Noise was moderately low at ISO 70, increasing to high level at ISO 400. I also saw bright streaks of color in the upper left corner of the frame at the 100, 200 and 400 ISO settings on the longest exposures, apparently the result of some sort of chip problem. These only appeared in the longest exposures and only at ISOs of 100 and above, so the camera still shows pretty good low-light capture ability. As is often the case though, the EVF was pretty useless in the darkest conditions, so at the lowest light levels, you’ll be flying somewhat blind.

Viewfinder Accuracy: The PDR-M700's electronic eye-level viewfinder was just a little tight, showing 90 percent frame accuracy at wide-angle and about 92 percent at telephoto. Not bad results relative to optical viewfinders, though. The LCD monitor was much more accurate, showing nearly 100 percent of the frame at both lens settings. A little surprising, since the EVF and LCD should both show the same image. However, images framed with the LCD monitor were shifted toward the top of the screen just slightly, cutting off the very top portion of the frame. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the PDR-M700's LCD monitor performed well here. Just remember to include a small amount of extra space at the top of your composition.

Optical Distortion: Optical distortion on the PDR-M700 was about average at the wide-angle end, where I measured barrel distortion of roughly 0.8 percent. While this is average among cameras I've tested, it's still too much, IMHO. At the telephoto end, I found only a single pixel's worth of pincushion distortion, a vanishingly small 0.05 percent distortion. Overall, a good performance, particularly for such a long-ratio zoom. Chromatic aberration was average to a bit better than average at wide-angle, showing relatively light color on either side of the target lines, but is somewhat more pronounced (that is to say "average") at the telephoto end. I also noticed significant corner softness, mainly in the lower corners of the frame.

Battery Life: The M700's run time is better than average for a digicam with an EVF, roughly 2.4 hours in record mode with the LCD enabled and almost 3 hours when using the EVF. These numbers are based on a standard of NiMH cells with 1600 mAh of true (vs. advertised) capacity. With the most recent, highest-capacity NiMH AA cells, you could expect up to 25 percent greater run times. I still strongly recommend carrying a set of freshly charged spare batteries with you on any extended outings, but the M700 does have better than average battery life.

Shutter Lag and Cycle Time: Overall, the PDR-M700 ranges from average to fairly fast in its operation. Startup and shutdown are rather leisurely and shutter lag is only average at 0.89-1.07 seconds (which actually isn't too bad for an ultra-zoom camera), but shot-to-shot cycle times are very good at about 1.4 seconds and its continuous modes are quite fast indeed.

CONCLUSION

The PDR-M700 combines flexible exposure control with a high-quality Canon-built 10x optical zoom lens and an updated user interface. The availability of fully automatic exposure control and preset Scene selections is great for novices, while the range of manual exposure options should appease enthusiasts. Beginners will also be able to step up to increased control as they become more experienced with the camera. The 3.2-megapixel CCD delivers enough resolution for sharp 8x10 prints and exposure, tonal balance and color are all quite good. While I didn't initially like the M700 as much as the somewhat higher-end ultra-zoom models from Olympus, its solid performance eventually won me over. For the money, it's a very good long-zoom digicam. Good enough, in fact, for me to make it a "Dave's Pick." If you're looking for a really long-ratio zoom lens on a budget, you should give the M700 careful consideration.

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:

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Beginners Flash: How to Lose Your Images

We put the old suit on the other day for a late summer wedding. It hurt.

But rather than just stand there at the reception admiring our determination in the decorative mirrors, we thought we'd find out what Lynn had been up to since we last saw her years ago. That's when Johnny popped up out of nowhere with his digicam to get a rare shot of us together.

We hadn't seen him in just as long. But somehow we all still recognized each other (our voices haven't changed in a while).

It didn't take long for the conversation to get back to photography. He loves his camera. Took it to Las Vegas, he said and got some great shots the first time he used it. But when he got home, he lost them.

"No, are you sure you lost them?" we volunteered.

"Oh, yeah. I know I lost them."

"Well," Lynn poked us. "What should he do?" She knew we might be able to help.

But we weren't sure how Johnny had lost them. "What happened?" we asked.

"I don't know. I saw them on my computer, you know, running a slide show from the directory. But the next time I went to look at them, they were gone."

"Ah ha," we pretended to understand. Were they there or weren't they?

"More champagne, sir?" a passing waiter eased the pain.

"Come on, now. What can he do?" Lynn poked me again. "What about using some unerase program?"

"Too late for that, too late," we lamented, wishing he could just run PhotoRescue (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHR/PHR.HTM) on his card. "He's just snapped our picture over them."

"Yeah, I've overwritten the card a bunch of times. But it was really weird. I know what I'm doing but I still don't know what happened to them. They just disappeared from the computer," Johnny said, foregoing the champagne.

Once we'd loosened our tie, we figured it out. Here's what we think happened.

Johnny got home from Vegas, cabled his digicam to his computer and when he saw the device on his desktop, opened it like any other removable drive. Then he ran the slide show directory option in Windows XP, marveled at his new images as they came up on his monitor and put everything away.

Later, he erased the card to take more pictures. And lost the Vegas shots because, you guessed it, he never actually copied them to his hard disk. It seemed as if they had been copied because the card looked like a directory on his hard disk. He could even use XP to run a slide show of the images.

If he'd been using a program that automatically copies image files from a digicam when it notices one has been connected, he'd still have his pictures.

"Ah," Johnny's eyes brightened. "That's it!" And then he shook his head. We know, Johnny. It hurts. Man, does it hurt.

Return to Topics.

Advanced Mode: Copyrighting Your Images

Putting a copyright notice on your images doesn't actually mean you have to layer type over the image. In fact, you can make it part of your regular image editing process. And it will carry some weight, if you do.

The Exif header of your JPEG image that contains exposure information also has a tag called Copyright Holder for asserting copyright.

The Copyright field, according to the specification:

"Copyright information. In this standard the tag is used to indicate both the photographer and editor copyrights. It is the copyright notice of the person or organization claiming rights to the image. The Interoperability copyright statement including date and rights should be written in this field; e.g., 'Copyright, John Smith, 19xx. All rights reserved.' In this standard the field records both the photographer and editor copyrights, with each recorded in a separate part of the statement. When there is a clear distinction between the photographer and editor copyrights, these are to be written in the order of photographer followed by editor copyright, separated by NULL [in this case, since the statement also ends with a NULL, there are two NULL codes] (see example 1). When only the photographer copyright is given, it is terminated by one NULL code (see example 2). When only the editor copyright is given, the photographer copyright part consists of one space followed by a terminating NULL code, then the editor copyright is given (see example 3). When the field is left blank, it is treated as unknown."

Image editors and catalog programs often allow you to edit the Exif header. And if the software can be automated, you can fill in the field with a click of your mouse.

We'll quibble a bit about the format of the statement. Date usually precedes owner (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/401.html). We prefer "Copyright 2003 by Mike Pasini. All rights reserved." The copyright symbol is an acceptable replacement for the word. Our preferred format makes clear the year of publication (copyright isn't eternal) and the owner.

If you are scripting this in Photoshop, for example, you can create an action to pull up the File Info dialog box and, in the General section, flag the Copyright Status field as "Copyrighted Work." Then enter your copyright statement in the Copyright Notice field. Photoshop will then display a copyright symbol in its title bar for that image whenever it is opened.

Under the U.S. Copyright Act (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17), your image is covered whether or not a copyright notice is attached. But attaching the notice -- as well as registering your images (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/408.html) -- has some powerful advantages.

Once your copyright statement is embedded in your image's header, it travels with the image. If you see your image used illegally, check the metadata, where your copyright statement should be. Stripping the metadata from the image data is fairly persuasive evidence that infringement was committed willfully. If the court agrees, it may increase the award of statutory damages up to $150,000. Even if the infringer wasn't aware they were infringing your copyright, the court can award $200. And, at the court's discretion, you can recover court costs and attorney's fees.

In cases where proving actual damages is difficult (it requires proof of the infringer's gross revenue), the statutory damages provision gives some teeth to the law. And metadata flosses them.

Next time you're waiting for the phone to ring, record a copyright action. It may, since it strongly encourages settlement, save some legal action down the road.

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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 Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee946e1

Visit the Olympus Camera Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee6f783

Bill asks about shutter lag at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee949ad/0

A reader asks about water blur at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee947de/0

Visit the Infrared With Digital Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee8e6b4

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Just for Fun: Getting It Backwards

We had an Andy Rooney moment the other day, scrolling through the list of camera introductions on the news page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM). "Ever wonder why...?" the venerable sage innocently begins his tirades. And we were wondering why those camera product shots always show the front of the camera.

After all, as a photographer, we're interested in the business end of the beast. All the controls, the viewfinder and LCD are on the back. Not to mention a readout or two on top (although we've seen enough power buttons to last us).

Instead, we get the front view. What it looks like to the subject, not the photographer. We see the shiny glass (what glass there is, anyway) of the magical lens and the grill-like teeth of the flash (sitting right next to the lens, usually, to enhance red-eye) and maybe the soft-touch shutter button. It's really just a glamour shot.

We want to know where the EV control is, if the monitor swivels out, how far you have to stretch your fingers to reach the zoom toggle.

Fortunately, that's just a click away on our product reviews. You get every angle (top, bottom, left, right -- and front and back, too). Which is probably more than you'd get if you handled one in the store (who looks at the bottom or the sides?).

Just imagine how much more you'd salivate seeing the business end of these things rather than the nearly identical front ends. But then you probably don't get too excited looking at automobile dashboards when it's time to buy a new car. You want to see the sleek lines, the classy profile. You want to know what you look like to the rest of the world.

Which is, uh, backwards for a photographer.

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Dave's Deals

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Subscribe for Great 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: Equivalents Aren't Equal

This is one of those things, Mike, that I've been gnawing on like an old dog with an even older bone. Supposedly, a photo taken at, say, 1/60 second at f5.6 and the exact same photo taken at 1/125 at f4.0 should be equal in the amount of light.

Maybe they are, but I've seen differences in color saturation. I just took five photos of paper in primary colors, keeping the light source constant and using shutter priority to alter the settings, running from 1/15 at f2.2 up to 1 second at f10.

I tested the resulting colors in Photoshop and found that saturation got higher by hairs as the aperture narrowed and exposure time increased. Certainly, it isn't enough to truly make any difference at all and yet, it's there and my eyes see it.

Is this, perhaps, a difference not seen in film and, therefore, not discussed?

-- Barbara Coultry

(I suspect the camera's apertures aren't exact multiples of each other. Slightly darker images will tend to have more saturated colors. But if the overall brightness really was identical, it could well be some new phenomena. -- Dave)

RE: SanDisk Reader

I purchased the new SanDisk ImageMate 6-in-1 USB 2.0 reader. It will not work with some brand cards. It worked with SimpleTech, not Memorex. Very odd. Tried three different units, two different stores, no luck. A similar Dazzle 8-in-1 works great with all brands tried so far.

-- Wayne

(I actually have a SanDisk 6-in-1 myself on my Windows XP machine. So far it hasn't refused to read any of the cards laying about here. I did find one quirk though. It gave me a lot of trouble on machines (both PC and Mac) that had USB 1.1 ports, as opposed to the USB 2.0 port on my Sony VAIO. -- Dave)

RE: Back to School

Some time ago I ask if there was any worthwhile one- or two-day program offered to help interested people like me to learn digital photography. You said no then. Anything change?? Thanks very much for your response.

-- Student

(This really depends on where you live. We try to highlight upcoming seminars of interest in our Editor's Notes section. But local camera clubs, community colleges, continuing ed programs and even community computer clubs all have something to offer.... We're not fond of the $700 seminar industry, true. If they're any good, they're overwhelming -- and you forget what you saw. But if it's a free Adobe seminar in your area, how can you lose? -- Editor)
(The "Shortcourses" books by Dennis Curtin are an excellent introduction to photography as a whole and digital photography in particular (http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?bdc). -- Dave)

RE: How to Read

First of all let me tell you how pleased I am with your very informative and up-to-date newsletters, they are the best! I read it up to the last drop every time I get it.

At the same time I have an idea I want to bring up. The content is just too much at once. It takes me more than a week to get through all the links to finish it. How about if you split things and send us two, three or maybe four newsletters a month?

Just a thought for people like me who want to squeeze all the juice out of it.

I loved the Canon 300D article. I have bought one of the first Kodak 760DCS for $7,500 and love it. But now I am bummed with these prices.

Keep up the great job.

-- Digital Ricky

(We try to publish something for everyone, Ricky, but we don't really expect anyone except Kim (who makes us look better than we actually are) to read it all. Bravo for you! Unfortunately sending it more frequently without generating more advertising would sink the boat.... And as far as prices go, you have to like the trend <g>. -- Editor)

RE: Missing Links

I have been a subscriber to your newsletter for some weeks now. Nice piece of work. Only one -- big -- annoyance:

Whenever I try to open one of your review links I just get a "Sorry, the page is missing" message from your server. One example is today's Optipix review: http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/OPT/OPT.HTM

I'd really like to read at least some of your references, even if they are self-referential.

-- Dierk

(Sorry for the aggravation, Dierk. Every link we publish is tested at least once before publication. Any that fail are usually typos we fix right away (and rerun the test).... But now and then we run into an email client that doesn't correctly parse URLs (confusing some unrelated punctuation usually at the end of the URL with part of the link). Pegasus and various OS X email clients exhibit this problem.... The link you cited does in fact exist (just checked it again, in fact). It was published in parentheses: (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/OPT/OPT.HTM). So you may not be able to get to it from the link in this paragraph -- but the link quoted in your message should work.... In any case, the very first link in the newsletter is to the HTML version. And all of those links are correctly parsed by our own software. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

Wacom (http://www.wacom.com) has introduced its Graphire3 pen tablets with either 4x5 inch or 6x8 inch active areas. In addition to a cordless, battery-free, pressure-sensitive pen, the new tablets tap into the handwriting and inking capabilities of Apple Inkwell, including the transparent Photo Frame which can be used for tracing. Scheduled for release in mid-September, the Graphire3 4x5 is $99.95 and the 6x8 is $199.95.

Wacom has also reduced the price of its Intuos2 Platinum 6x8 pen tablet to $299 from $349. Bundled software includes Elements 2.0, Painter Classic, penPalette by nik multimedia and Wacom Brushes 1.0.


Asiva (http://www.asiva.com) has released a free update to Sharpen+Soften, their first Photoshop plug-in. Version 1.1 adds the ability to save and load sharpen or soften parameters as files, implements a grabber when you hold down the space bar, opens images to fit in the image pane and adds two preset view buttons for 100 percent scaling and Fit Image to Image Pane.


Paul Cabay has launched Copyrights Directory (http://www.utyx.com/copyrights), a Web site devoted to copyrights-related news, books and Web resources.


Canto (http://www.canto.com) showed the Single User and client editions of Cumulus for OS X at the Apple Expo in Paris, Sept. 16. The Workgroup and Enterprise Editions of Cumulus have been native on OS X since last year. Single User and clients are expected to ship in late November.


Auto FX (http://www.autofx.com) has introduced Photo/Graphic Edges 6.0 [MW], a suite of 14 artistic effects for photographs, including Acid Edge, Ambient Brush, Burned Edge, Distort Edge, Edge Brush, Edges, Frames, Montage, Photo Border, Photo Tabs, Putty Edges, Smudged Edge, Transfer and Vignette. The $179 application/plug-in combination includes 230 brushes for applying the effects.


Cygnus Business Media has announced it will launch PhotoImaging & Design Expo (http://www.PhotoImagingandDesign.com), May 5-7, 2004, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego. Sponsored by the company's publications Studio Photography & Design and Digital Imaging, the event will focus on "providing cutting-edge training, technology and networking opportunities for photo and imaging professionals."


Canon has released a firmware update for its PowerShot SD100. Firmware v2.0.1 (http://web.canon.jp/Imaging/pssd100/pssd100_firmware-e.html) improves SD card compatibility and adds PictBridge compliance to print images without using a computer.


Lemke Software (http://www.lemkesoft.com) has released GraphicConverter 4.8.2 [M]. The new version improves RAW photo import, adds progress bars and improves cropping in the browser.


Brother Intl. (http://www.brother.com/usa/usalocal.html) has announced four Multi-Function Center products combining printing, faxing, copying and scanning in two sheet-fed models, the $129.99 MFC-3220c and $179.99 MFC-3320cn and two flatbed models, the $179.99 MFC-3420c and $229.99 MFC-3820cn. All models share print speeds up to 14 ppm for monochrome and 12 ppm for color, output up to 4800x1200 optimized dpi and USB 2.0. The MFC-3320cn and MFC-3820cn also include built-in Ethernet networking (TCP/IP and Rendezvous compatible) and PhotoCapture Center digital camera media slots for Memory Stick, CompactFlash, SmartMedia. and Secure Digital cards. All are scheduled for release in October.


iView Multimedia (http://www.iview-multimedia.com) has released version 2.0 of its $160 iView MediaPro [M], featuring a drag-and-drop organizer, system file and folder management including automatic synchronization and folder watching, up to 128,000 items per catalog, enhanced color profile management, a PDF maker for high-resolution PDF files, enhanced image editing (cropping, red-eye removal, rotation), enhanced slide shows and HTML export.


Visit our daily news page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM) to catch up on new digicams from Toshiba, Kyocera, Umax and Canon; updates to BreezeBrowser (to support Canon's Digital Rebel); pricing for the Nikon D2H ($4,000); ExpressCard from LexarMedia; and more.

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One Liners

For just $150 an insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).

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:

Daily News: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM
New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM
Digicam index: http://www.imaging-resource.com/DIGCAM01.HTM
Q&A Forum: http://www.imaging-resource.com/FORUM.HTM
Newsletter Forum: http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a.tcl?topic=irnews
Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/TIPS.HTM

Happy snapping!

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

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