|Volume 6, Number 5||5 March 2004|
Welcome to the 118th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. Does the world need another image format? Adobe thinks so. They want to combine the latitude of unique RAW formats with an open standard that will be useful 100 years from now. Dave finds the new Coolpix 3700 so charming he calls it one of his favorites. And subscribers nominate their favorite books for the Missing Oscar. How can you lose?
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SAN FRANCISCO -- PhotoshopWorld Conference & Expo kicked off with a keynote address by Adobe Senior Vice President Bryan Lamkin that unveiled the company's plans for future versions of Photoshop. The address included Senior Photoshop Evangelist Julieanne Kost's rapid-fire review of some of the more compelling features of the current version Adobe's digital darkroom.
PhotoshopWorld (http://www.photoshopworld.com) is the annual convention of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (http://www.photoshopuser.com), a trade association for Adobe Photoshop users. This year's conference featured NAPP President Scott Kelby with instructors Dave Cross, Felix Nelson, Deke McClelland, Jack Davis, Ben Wilmore and 20 other top Photoshop trainers.
They addressed the largest PhotoshopWorld audience ever, Kelby observed as he unveiled a NASCAR theme -- faster and more powerful -- for this year's conference, which even included a pit stop by Photoshop wizard Russell (But Wait There's More) Brown. But the big roar was Lamkin's assessment of where we're all going and how Adobe is going to help get us there.
Lamkin, who has been with Adobe for 12 years and was an early product manager of Photoshop, promised to discuss the evolution and plans for the application.
Over the last decade, he observed, we've seen that "Photoshop is really the oxygen of communication when it comes to imagery." It "democratized" digital imaging from the small world of expensive dedicated systems designed for the prepress industry to the desktop of the Macintosh and eventually Windows. When the Web hit in the late 1990s, Photoshop again played a central role in the new medium where imaging was central.
"Integrating and facilitating digital design" is the theme of the latest version of Photoshop, he said, calling it "one of the cornerstones of the Creative Suite." But, he noted, Photoshop is also the platform for digital photography, "which is the key trend driving digital imaging today" -- and digital photography embraces non-professionals. So Adobe has evolved and responded to that trend, reaching out to the non-professional with Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Album.
Roughly 40 million digicams shipped in 2003, he observed. And InfoTrends predicts 80 million will ship by 2008. Already, he said, over half of the cameras sold are digital. The digital photography experience "is one of the key events that is really transforming communication." But the transformation to digital imaging doesn't just touch professionals like commercial photographers and photo journalists. The advantages of digital (like immediacy and control) matter to the consumer as well as the pro.
That puts "that much more burden" on this industry to keep up with hardware standards as they evolve and to provide the services to make it easy to get what you want from the digital experience.
Lamkin said professional photographers consider Photoshop "the ecosystem and operating system of digital imaging." Starting with graphic design, evolving with the Web, it has now emerged as the leading platform for digital photography in Photoshop CS, he said.
He introduced Kost to show how the CS Version has focused on the digital photography market.
Kost, a photographer who has been with Adobe since 1993, helped develop Adobe teaching aides like the Classroom in a Book series, user guides and online tutorials, in addition to lecturing on the advances in the latest versions of Adobe imaging products.
She began her 10-minute segment with a demonstration of the enhanced File Browser. One of the most requested features, she said, was to be able to see your images in the File Browser at high resolution and high quality. And that's been implemented in a variety of ways, several of which she demonstrated.
Collapsible panes, for example, now make more room for the image. "It's kind of like a film strip mode on the right side," she said, in which you use your arrow keys to go from one hi-res image to the next. But she likes to work other modes, too, she said, so she saved out that workspace ("because workspaces are like a palette") before configuring one adapted to seeing smaller thumbnail sizes for quicker review of a collection.
You can also, she said, apply metadata to images in browser. She selected a few images, clicked on the Metadata pane and entered copyright information in the IPTC section. When she hit the Return key, it applied the new metadata to the selected images -- without having to open any of them.
She repeated the trick with keywords. She created a custom keyword and then applied it to the selected images, again without opening any of them.
That's simple editing, she said. To demonstrate more complex editing, she opened an image and looked at its File Info. It's important to notice, she said, that File Info is "powered by xmp," an extensible language that makes it possible for anybody to create their own custom info panels. And that's "implemented across the entire Adobe Suite." So you can see the information in File Info across the entire suite.
Her File Info window did have a custom panel and she loaded a standard licensing agreement in it. Then she showed how the new metadata can be easily applied to multiple documents.
Next up, image retrieval. She showed how to search your entire hard drive using the File Browser's new search command. In Photoshop CS, you can search through more than one folder at a time using the "Include All Subfolders" checkbox. Photoshop returns the finds in a Search Results window which itself can be customized (to change the sort order, for example). You can subsequently make selections and run any batch actions that you happen to have written.
So it's "much much easier to manage all your documents in Photoshop CS," she summed up before taking her first breath.
Refreshed by the oxygen of oxygen, Kost opened a file, observing that the image had been opened in 16-bit mode. "All the core functionality in Photoshop is now supported in 16-bit," she pointed out.
She pulled up a histogram of the image and used the new Image Adjustments Shadow/Highlight command. But look, she paused, her Shadow/Highlight command had a keyboard shortcut. That's because, even though CS doesn't assign one by default to Shadow/Highlight, you can assign one. In fact, you can assign all your own keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop CS. In the same breath, she showed off the new Shadow/Highlight command's ability to restore detail to both the shadows and highlights of an image.
She opened another image to demonstrate a new blur filter. She wanted, in this case, to blur the image at a diagonal, so she created a "depth map" gradient on a new channel with a Lens Blur that set the source to the new channel. Focus was set by the alpha channel's gradient.
Finally, she demonstrated the new version of Adobe's Camera Raw plug-in (the free download updates the plug-in to handle newer cameras). She started with a quick color balance using the Eyedropper to neutralize the image. And then quickly ran through a few more of the many adjustments available in the plug-in. Once she was happy with the transformation, she showed how to apply it to a selection of similar files.
That left time for "one last thing." She opened another image in Camera Raw (just by clicking on it). She balanced the color by clicking on its neutral background. She increased the exposure. Then she used the Vignette command to pull up the tonal value on the edges. She went into the Calibrate tab to make a custom profile for the camera, which can also be set as the default for all images from that camera. Advanced mode lets you select exactly which attributes of the default profile to apply, so you don't have to apply all of them to every image, she concluded to wild applause.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
With Photoshop past and Photoshop present out of the way, Lamkin returned to discuss Photoshop future.
Digital photography brings a lot of advantages, but it also brings "a lot of things that people didn't have to grapple with in the traditional world." Like optimizing a desktop system, capturing the right image up front, automating the application of metadata in your workflow, the whole question of color (color space, calibration, etc.), preserving and archiving images and dealing with the variety of file formats available.
Just on the issue of file formats, he surveyed the audience for digicam owners and RAW shooters ("more than I would have thought"). RAW, he explained, is the purest form of the data that can be captured. It gives much greater flexibility and control over your results. And it's "the biggest thing to hit the digital photography industry over the past five years." But it's also a big challenge because there's no standard. Each manufacturer has a unique format. So custom code has to be written to support each camera.
Because of that, he observed, it's not a great archival format. "Fifty years from now, do you have confidence that that format will be interpretable?" he asked. A standard format supported by many more people might give you more confidence that "the hard work and expense that you're going to in actually capturing the best image will actually be preserved for future generations and future workflows."
THE DIGITAL MASTER
"We have a view at Adobe that we need to come together as an industry and define a digital master," Lamkin said. "And what I mean by digital master is a format that is permanent, that has permanence, that 100 years from now people will be able to go to a written record that says this is how that format is declared and interpreted."
This new format has to be able to evolve "as the changing technology evolves." The format has to flexible, giving you everything available in the RAW format. And it must be a secure format for the digital world, securing "the rights around that format." Finally, it must be forward looking and a format that "we can all come together as industry" to support. "We think that this is vital to the preservation of your hard work today and into the future," he said. So it's an idea germinating at Adobe today to which the company will devote a lot of energy to promoting industry wide, he said.
To sum up, he continued, we've seen a huge amount of change over the last 15 years of Photoshop. "Digital photography will continue to change at a rapid pace. Hardware's getting better and faster with higher capacity." We'll be able to do a lot more in five years. There are a lot of challenges ahead and they will be addressed in both hardware and software but, he urged, we have to come together as an industry to help solve them. Adobe is firmly committed to its founding idea: "helping people communicate better, democratizing the communication process. Photoshop is the platform for communication and digital photography," he added. The concept of a digital master "will allow us to translate our commitment to our customers to provide the best digital darkroom on the desktop" and "preserve all of the creative expression that comes out of that digital darkroom for generations to come."
By DAVE ETCHELLS(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CP3700/CP37A.HTM on the Web site.)
The Nikon Coolpix 3700 is one of the latest in a long and successful line of Nikon digicams. One of the true leaders in the world of photography, Nikon has successfully translated its long history of expertise into the digital arena. Its Coolpix line has been a solid favorite of enthusiast-level photographers for years now, but Nikon has lately been making inroads in the point-and-shoot market for more casual users. Nikon's key has been the combination of excellent picture quality with an amazing range of features, all calculated to give the photographer maximum control over the picture-taking process.
The Coolpix 3700 model sports a sleek metal body and compact dimensions. This pocket-friendly camera offers a 3.2-megapixel CCD, 15 preset Scene shooting modes and a handful of standard Nikon digicam exposure features. The result is a camera that snaps excellent photos under a wide range of shooting conditions and looks good while doing it.
Representing a sleek new look for the Coolpix line, the $399 Nikon Coolpix 3700 is compact, trim and sophisticated. A retractable lens leaves the front panel smooth, perfect for shirt pockets. The lightweight metal body should withstand heavy usage. With a point-and-shoot design, the 3700 is convenient and easy to use, but offers a nice selection of features to choose from, including a generous collection of 15 preset scene modes for special situations. The camera's 3.2-megapixel CCD produces high-resolution images suitable for making sharp prints as large as 8x10 inches, as well as lower resolution images suited for email attachments. With Nikon's reputation for quality, the 3700 will definitely draw many consumers and the compact size and attractive looks combined with versatile shooting modes and exposure options will make the camera a crowd-pleaser.
The 3700 is equipped with a 3x, 5.4-16.2mm Nikkor lens (equivalent to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm camera), made up of seven elements in six groups. A shutter-like lens cover automatically opens and closes when the camera is powered on or off, eliminating the need for a lens cap. The maximum aperture ranges from f2.8 to f4.9, depending on the lens zoom position. Focus ranges from one foot to infinity in normal mode and a Close Up shooting mode (available through the Scene menu) focuses as close as 1.6 inches for excellent macro shots.
The five-area autofocus system automatically adjusts focus based on the proximity of the subject to one of the five AF areas. You also have the option of manually selecting the AF area from one of the five. Turning the AF Area setting off fixes focus at the center of the frame. In Movie mode only, you can opt for either Single or Continuous AF modes. In addition to the 3x optical zoom, the 3700 also offers as much as 4x digital zoom. I always remind readers that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality because it simply enlarges the central pixels of the CCD's image.
The 3700 offers both a real-image optical viewfinder and a 1.5-inch, color LCD monitor for composing images. The LCD monitor includes a limited information display, but does not report aperture or shutter speed settings. It does, however, offer a grid display mode, which divides the image area into thirds horizontally and vertically. Additionally, two diagonal lines crisscross the grid, making it easy to line up shots with a variety of angles.
Exposure is automatically controlled on the 3700, making it great for snapshots, family events and vacation photos. The camera's 256-segment matrix metering system divides the image area into segments and evaluates contrast and brightness values across the entire frame for accurate exposures in situations that would confuse a less sophisticated metering system. As a further aid to accurate exposure determination, the metering system places the greatest emphasis on the selected AF area.
Although not user-adjustable, the 3700's light sensitivity is equivalent to approximately ISO 50 under bright lighting, with an auto gain function that increases sensitivity to ISO 200 if necessary. Shutter speed ranges from 1/3000 to four seconds, although the camera doesn't directly report shutter speed while shooting.
A Mode dial selects between Auto, Manual, Scene, Movie and Voice Recording. It also accesses the Setup menu, while a Playback button activates Playback mode. Although the camera controls aperture and shutter speed at all times, you can manually adjust White Balance, Exposure Compensation, Sharpness, Image Size and Image Quality settings. White Balance options include an Auto setting, plus Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Cloudy and Speedlight presets.
There's also a Preset setting, which determines the proper color balance based on a gray card held in front of the camera, a very useful feature, but relatively rare on digicams intended for novice users. Exposure Compensation is adjustable from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents in one-third-step increments.
The 3700 also features no fewer than 15 preset "Scene" shooting modes, which program the camera for specific shooting conditions. The 15 modes include Portrait, Party/Indoor, Night Portrait, Beach/Snow, Landscape, Sunset, Night Landscape, Museum, Fireworks Show, Close Up, Copy, Back Light, Panorama Assist, Sports and Dusk/Dawn. Most of the modes are fairly self-explanatory, but the instruction manual offers full descriptions for each. The 3700's flash operates in Forced (always on), Suppressed (off), Auto, Red-Eye Reduction and Slow Sync modes and is effective to almost 10 feet.
In Movie mode, the camera captures moving images without sound at 640x480 pixels, though a selection of smaller resolutions is available, as well as Black and White and Sepia color modes. Depending on the mode, movies are recorded at either 30 or 15 frames per second, for as long as the memory card has space. Assuming, that is, that the memory card being used has a high enough write rate to keep up with the data rate. Look for speed-rated cards higher than 16x to ensure maximum recording time. A Time-Lapse Movie mode captures a series of still images (as many as 1,800 total) at set intervals, so that you can play back the images as a silent movie file. (This is a great way to capture slow events such as clouds moving, a flower blooming or an egg hatching.)
The 3700 features a Self-Timer mode, which provides either a three- or 10-second delay between the time the Shutter button is pressed and when the camera actually takes the picture, great for self-portraits. An interesting feature here is the Sound Release option, which lets you trip the shutter in response to a sound (a clap of your hands, for instance) rather than a press of the Shutter button. The shutter releases about one second after a specified sound trigger.
Shooting options include Low and High-Speed Continuous Shooting, Multi-Shot 16 and Interval Timer modes. The two Continuous Shooting modes capture a rapid series of images with maximum frame rates of 2.5 and 1.5 frames per second, respectively. Multi-Shot 16 mode captures 16 thumbnail-sized images in a rapid series, which are then displayed as a matrix, occupying a single 2048x1536-pixel image. Similar to the Time-Lapse Movie mode described above, Interval Timer mode captures a series of still images at preset intervals, mimicking the effect of time-lapse photography. There's also Nikon's signature Best Shot Selector feature, which captures a series of images and then automatically saves only the sharpest one to the memory card. Finally, the Voice Recording mode lets you record as much as five hours of sound, depending of course, on the amount of available space on the memory card.
The 3700 stores images on SD/MMC memory cards, available separately in capacities as large as 1-GB. A 16-MB starter card comes with the camera, which only holds a maximum of nine full-resolution, fine-quality images. You should plan on buying a much larger memory card along with the camera -- at least a 64-MB card.
The camera is powered by a single EN-EL5 lithium-ion battery pack and comes with one rechargeable battery and charger. The optional AC adapter is useful for preserving battery power when reviewing and downloading images. It uses a dummy battery in the battery compartment and has a power cord extension for plugging into an outlet. The 3700 features a USB jack for downloading images and an Auto Transfer option sets the camera to automatically begin downloading images as soon as it is connected to a computer loaded with the supplied Nikon software. Two CD-ROMs accompany the camera: one with Nikon View 6.1 software for downloading and editing images and one with a copy of the software reference manual. The updated version of Nikon View offers a one-touch Red-Eye fix for images, as well as one-touch uploading to the nikon.net Web site, which lets you create albums order prints, etc. The 3700 is DPOF compatible, with Print Setup options available through the Playback settings menu (as well as a handful of post-capture image effects).
Color: The 3700 produced very good color, with accurate, believable results in virtually all cases. Skin tones tended to be just slightly pinkish, but not to an objectionable extent and most other colors were accurate and vibrant. Indoors, the 3700 did much better than most cameras with the difficult incandescent lighting of my Indoor Portrait test, producing good results with its Auto, Incandescent and Preset white balance options. Overall, a very nice job.
Exposure: The 3700's metering system did a pretty good job, generally requiring less exposure compensation than average on shots that routinely require it. It had a somewhat contrasty tone curve though, which made for bright colors and snappy-looking images, but that led it to lose highlight detail under harsh lighting. I'd personally like to see less contrast in its images, but most consumers tend to prefer the crisp, highly saturated colors that come with higher image contrast.
Resolution/Sharpness: It performed well on the laboratory resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 600 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found strong detail out to 1,000 lines, although you could perhaps argue for as high as 1,050 lines. Extinction of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,300 lines.
Close-Ups: Like most Nikon digicams, the 3700 performed exceptionally well in the macro category. It captured a minimum area of only 1.67x1.25 inches. Resolution is high, with great detail. There's quite a bit of softness on the left side of the frame, a common digicam failing in super-macro shooting. The camera's flash throttled down surprisingly well for the macro area (despite the close range).
Night Shots: The 3700 operates under full automatic exposure control, which limits its low-light shooting abilities somewhat. The camera produced usable images down to the 1/2 foot-candle (5.5 lux) light level (although the shot at one foot-candle was better-exposed), with a slightly warm color cast and low image noise. Since average city street lighting at night equates to about one foot-candle, the 3700 can capture bright images at just slightly darker light levels.
Viewfinder Accuracy: The optical viewfinder is a little tight, showing only about 79 percent of the final frame at wide-angle and about 85 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing close to 100 percent frame accuracy at both wide-angle and telephoto. The 3700's LCD monitor is essentially perfect, but I'd really like to see a more accurate optical viewfinder.
Optical Distortion: Optical distortion was high at the wide-angle end, approximately 1.07 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as I couldn't find even one pixel of distortion at that zoom setting. Chromatic aberration was a little higher than I like, showing about five pixels of moderately strong coloration on either side of the target lines.
Battery Life: The 3700 showed surprisingly good battery life for a compact camera model, with a worst-case run time (capture mode, with the LCD turned on) of 158 minutes. I still recommend purchasing a second battery along with the camera, but the 3700 does better than average in the battery-life department.
Bearing the well-respected Nikon Coolpix name and a svelte, rugged, stylish all-metal body, the 3700 is one of the most compact Coolpix models available. Its size and sleek body style suit pockets well, making it a ready travel companion. While it's truly a point-and-shoot camera, there are enough options to let you bring back good-looking photos from a variety of shooting conditions. And its generous collection of 15 scene modes makes it easy to capture photos of what might otherwise be challenging subjects. Its images are bright and vibrant (if not a tad contrasty for my own taste), with accurate, well-saturated color and good resolution.
With its point-and-shoot design and ease of use, the 3700 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an easy to use digicam that takes good pictures and travels well. Definitely recommended as a nice all around digicam, this is one of my favorite Coolpix models to date.
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:
And, as those of you paying close attention may have noticed, we've actually moved the entire site to a new box during the week. That's what "TP Server" at the bottom of the pages means.
- Reviewed: Canon SD10 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CSD10/SD10A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Nikon Coolpix 3700 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CP3700/CP37A.HTM)
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 PowerShot S50 at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee9133b
Visit the Kodak Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6f77d
Sal asks about camera shot delay at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee983c0/0
Kitty asks about tripods at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee97c33/0
Visit the Scanners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6b2ae
If there's one thing our subscribers are good at, it's reading. We got a lot of nominations for the Best Digital Photography Book. And they all look like winners to us. So the Ersatz Academy of Sliding Picture Arts and Sciences hereby awards the 2004 Missing Oscar to them all. Meanwhile, get your bookmarks ready.
Dierk Haasis nominated Mikkel Aaaland's Shooting Digital "for its ease of style, broad appeal and brilliantly focused contents."
Charlie Young nominated Richard Lynch's The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2. "This book with its accompanying CD will give you most of the functionality of full blown Photoshop without the high price Adobe charges for the full blown program," Charlie pointed out.
Ken Murray nominated Wayne Fulton's A Few Scanning Tips, letting the title speak for itself.
Ian Coristine nominated Michael Freeman's The Complete Guide to Digital Photography. "Not a heavy 'tome' like typical Photoshop books," Ian observed," but a richly illustrated, light overview (usually two pages) of all the major topics and techniques to really bring people up to speed quickly in the digital domain."
Brantlea Scruggs nominated Martin Evening's Adobe Photoshop for Photographers. "The book is not an encyclopedic reference book, but the simplicity of the book is what makes it great," Brantlea wrote. "In addition to that, the information on techniques and real world use of Photoshop for the Professional Photographer is in a class of its own. There are a few other good Photoshop books out there, but most submit to amateur techniques that don't hold up to professional image editing or are more complex than necessary."
Bob McCormick nominated Tom Ang's Photoshop for Photography -- The Art of Pixel Processing.
Bob Dales had an interesting nomination. "It's not a digital photography book per se, but a book every photographer of any persuasion should have. How To See by George Nelson (http://www.dwr.com) published by Design Within Reach, a modern furniture retailer."
Ron Lightbourn nominated Scott Kelby's The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers.
And Dwight Lutsey nominated Scott Kelby's Photoshop CS book for Digital Photographers. We are obliged to greatly condense his praise but it's an interesting story. "I felt ashamed, humiliated, unable to look my fellow photographers in the eyes because of my pathetic inability to learn Photoshop. Then I found 'Photoshop CS book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby' and within minutes I was successfully accomplishing things I couldn't get a handle on before. What's more important, is that I have given this book as a gift to other dull-normal photographic friends and recommended it to far more and it has allowed me to be able to read items about luminosity or why the new software from DXO Pro is important. I have even purchased plug-ins for Photoshop and used them. What do you think about that? I'll tell you what you think. You think, 'Holy Cow! All that from just a book?' Yup.... All that and more."
If that doesn't take care of your summer reading list, stay tuned. We have a couple of new titles to review in upcoming issues.
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You can email us at [email protected]. You can read our Letters policy at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS in the FAQ.
RE: More On Spam
I just found that the newsletters are being filtered out as probable spam. Below is the spam report on the Feb 20 newsletter. Common element in others seems to be the last two causes. Just trying to help.
Content analysis details: 7.9 points, 4.0 required
Points, Rule Name, Description:
2.6 pts, FREE_MEMBERSHIP, BODY: Free Membership
0.7 pts, EXCUSE_15, BODY: Claims to be legitimate email
0.1 pts, THIS_AINT_SPAM, BODY: Claims "This is not spam"
0.1 pts, LINES_OF_YELLING_2, BODY: 2 WHOLE LINES OF YELLING DETECTED
0.0 pts, LINES_OF_YELLING, BODY: A WHOLE LINE OF YELLING DETECTED
1.1 pts, MAILTO_TO_SPAM_ADDR, URI: Includes a link to a likely spammer email
3.3 pts, MSGID_FROM_MTA_SHORT, Message-Id was added by a relay
-- Bill Coakley(Thanks, Bill. Let's see now. The yelling is our masthead, headlines and subheads -- we key on caps to convert them to tags for the HTML version. The spammer email address must be us ([email protected]) in the Oscar story -- responsible for the membership rule, too) and the publication staff box. And the relay, we guess, is our commercial mailer. -- Editor)
Thought you might want to know that my server's spam filter blocked your last mail, first time as far as I know. It is the very popular and darned good open source Spam Assasin. You can read the spam scoring below. I would observe that having the words "this is not spam" puts it over the top. Others might have run into this, too.
Content analysis details: 5.8 points, 5.0 required
Points, Rule Name, Description:
1.6 pts, THIS_AINT_SPAM, BODY: Claims "This is not spam"
1.1 pts, FREE_MEMBERSHIP, BODY: Free Membership
-0.0 pts, BAYES_44, BODY: Bayesian spam probability is 44 to 50% [score: 0.4983]
3.0 pts, MSGID_FROM_MTA_SHORT, Message-Id was added by a relay
-- Paul(Yep, same game, different score. But we think the problem can be solved with a simpler approach. Why not just check for correct grammar? -- Editor)
RE: PMA Coverage
Today, I received your newsletter (first issue for me). I want to congratulate you. I particularly enjoyed the PMA report; it is complete and exhaustive. Keep up the good work. Thank you so much.
-- O. M.
(Thanks! We had four people covering PMA and every one of them appreciates your kind words about their hard work. -- Editor)
Just curious, has anybody else experienced problems after they have left the camera idle for a period of time with a card inserted? My C-3000 Zoom would either pop up no card or card error. Did this with four different cards. My SanDisk reader would work fine with 'em, but the camera wouldn't.
Finally, after working with the cards, popping them into the camera almost to the point where they locked in, releasing the pressure and repeating the process, they worked. Am I the only one to have this problem?
-- Tommy(Probably not, Tommy. It sounds like the problem was some sort of corrosion on the contacts (due to weather or storage conditions, perhaps). By inserting the cards in your reader and your camera, you probably removed enough of the barrier to electrical conductivity to restore function. Might want to give the contacts a slight polish with a rubber eraser. -- Editor)
RE: 1-GB Images
There are other products that can handle large images and image mosaics. One that I've been using (mainly for image compression) is ER Mapper (http://www.ermapper.com) which is usually used with large satellite and aerial images.
They claim their product has been tested on 50-TB(!) mosaics (including color balancing) and their compressor program can shrink 100-GB files down to 2-GB. You can get free versions of their software (compressor and viewer) for files up to 500-MB, too.
The competition for ER Mapper is MrSid from LizardTech (http://www.lizardtech.com). Of particular interest to digital photographers is their Genuine Fractals product (http://www.lizardtech.com/solutions/gf), which you've mentioned in several past issues.
-- Ihor Prociuk(Thanks, Ihor! -- Editor)
RE: Water Recovery
A letter in your last newsletter reminded me of my own water recovery story. I was skiing with a group of friends before Christmas a year ago and we were sitting around in the hot tub one afternoon getting out some of the resulting soreness.
Being the digital photo nut I am, I had my digital camera with me and took several shots with the self-timer of our group in the hot tub while it was snowing. The last, ill-fated shot, however, ended with my Canon S200 plunging into the bubbling cauldron of doom!
I dived after it and brought it out of the water within 40 seconds, upon which I removed the battery and memory card and left all possible openings open in a dry spot in our hotel room. I'm impatient -- after a couple hours I tried it -- and it gave me a weird error message. This was good because it still worked (kinda) but I still wasn't getting any camera response.
After letting it sit and dry for about 16 hours I was back on the slopes taking pictures! The camera served me faithfully until I replaced it with a 3-Mp model for bigger prints. What did I buy? A Canon S230, of course!
-- Jesse Garner(Timely topic, Jesse! We just happen to be sloshing our way out of a big flood, trying to rescue old prints and wishing digital photography had been invented in the 1800s. Anybody know how to salvage old prints? -- Editor)
RE: Miracles Are Rare
[Translated from the Italian]
The first images of Olympus 8080 are online and I've seen the images on the Imaging Resource site produced from the new software to correct lens distortion. Two programs which work in opposite ways: one to minimize noise, the other to enhance detail.
But software isn't hardware and -- as the long experience of our Holy Mother the Church teaches -- you have "to distinguish in order not to confuse."
If you ask an old amateur radio operator which part of the radio is the most important, he'll chuckle and answer, "The antenna!" The equivalent of the antenna is the lens. Poor glass means, in final analysis, less information. And information is not created where it's missing. You can, of course, improve existing information, making it more prominent, emphasizing it. There's a lot of talk about new interpolation software, almost magical and secret. But it doesn't create information.
For Olympus, the lens is obviously optimal (probably also for its competitors, but I haven't seen them). You can distinguish (a little, but it's there) "some" very fine detail. If detail is revealed, it has to have been collected. But not in the shadows. Little detail, little color and the histogram descends too quickly in the shadows.
It's software's hour now, but information (to return to the religious motif) is like the miracle of the loaves and fishes. And miracles (it's true) are rare.
-- Frank(Agreed. But every lens tells a little lie. It's nice to know about what and how much. For that, unfortunately, we have no "religious" reference <g>. -- Editor)
Apple (http://www.apple.com) has made a few individual updates to applications in the iLife '04 suite, including GarageBand 1.0.1 and iDVD 4.0.1. In addition to the problems we reported with iPhoto, users at Ric Ford's Macintouch site (http://www.macintouch.com) report a color shift, an Exif tag duplicated incorrectly on import and audio corruption.
David Duke reports a color shift "(approximately +5 to +7 percent Red, -2 to -4 percent Green, +3 to +5 percent Blue) compared to viewing the same image, side by side, in other ColorSync aware applications like Preview, PhotoStickies or as a desktop image from System Preferences." The effect makes sunsets appear yellow gold in Preview and rose pink in iPhoto, he said. Increasing thumbnail size beyond 90 percent will shift the color as iPhoto does its smoothing. We're unable to reproduce the effect.
Thorsten Lembe, author of Graphic Converter and John Faughnan are working on a problem in which an image taken in portrait orientation on a camera that supports the Exif orientation tag duplicates that tag with incorrect data when imported by Image Capture or iPhoto. Some applications show the image in the correct orientation, others don't and some fail to rotate it.
Finally, Larry Bickford found that com.apple.iMovie3.plist was responsible for audio errors created when adding transitions in iPhoto 4. Delete, restart and render the transitions again to fix it.
Melonsoft (http://www.melonsoft.com) has released its $15 Exhibit 3.0 [M] to create HTML photo galleries with customizable templates.
Asiva (http://www.asiva.com) has updated its $69 Sharpen+Soften plug-in to version 2.0 [MW] to match feature sets with its Selection plug-in.
SubRosaSoft (http://www.subrosasoft.com) has released its $24.95 FlashRestore 1.0 [M] to recover images deleted from a memory card.
Epsonkit.com (http://www.epsonkit.com) has announced its $8.99 Epson Inkjet Printer Print Head Repair Kit to clean clogged print heads. The kit includes a one-ounce bottle of Surfynol cleaning solution ("the same solution used by Epson Authorized Service Dealers"), syringe and instructions.
QB7 (http://www.qb7.com) has announced Epson ink cartridge resetters to reprogram the limits built into Epson cartridges when they are refilled.
Wacom (http://www.wacom.com) has updated its USB tablet driver [M] to version 4.79-2 to support user-specific preferences on OS 10.2 and later and Fast User Switching on OS 10.3 and later."
Online photo sharing site Smugmug (http://www.smugmug.com) has released Smugmug Mac Uploader [M] to integrate iPhoto with their $29.95 service.
AbsoluteDeNoiser Free (http://absolutedenoiser.free.fr), a Java-based application for reducing noise in digital images, is available for Mac OS X, Windows and other Java platforms.
Alera (http://www.aleratec.com) has announced its $229 Digital Photo Copy Cruiser now supports disc spanning to handle memory cards larger than CD discs.
Richard Lynch (http://hiddenelements.com/Mend) has released the Hidden Power Mend Tool plug-in [MW] for Elements users to make "smart" corrections of damaged images.
AvailaSoft (http://www.availasoft.com) has released its $69.95 Photo2Album [W] to design a 3D digital photo album that can store over 100 photos and background music in under 1-MB for sharing via email.
Mystik Media (http://www.mystikmedia.com) has released it $40 ContextConvert Pro 2.0 [W] to convert file formats between all major multimedia formats.
Monkeymen Software (http://www.monkeymen.com) has released its $29 MonkeyPhoto 2.0 [W] with over 100 digital frames. The program includes an easy-to-use photo editor with three one-button effects.
P&A America (http://www.vpainter.com) has released its $55 Virtual Painter 4 [W] to turn your photos into paintings with just a few mouse clicks. Available in a standalone version, a plug-in version or the deluxe version, which offers both, it features 16 painting filters with watercolor, oil painting, pastel and collage.
Charlie Morey has announced two T-shirts -- "Ansel cheated. (He lived in Yosemite!)" and "f64 ... and be there." -- are available at the digitalphotography.tv gift shop (http://www.cafeshops.com/dptv) for $19.95 each.
Kodak (http://www.kodak.com/proshots/basicsinfo) has introduced its free Proshots Basics Software [M] to simplify the image-ordering process for photographers and professional labs. Photographers can select and organize images, proof and complete prints and submit orders over the Internet or by CD to their lab. It also connects photographers to Pro Labs and makes the image-ordering process easier.
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