The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 7, Number 25 9 December 2005

Copyright 2005, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 164th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. Getting a good print can be a real challenge. So we thought we'd let you ride along as we made a perfect 13x19 on our first try on a brand new printer. Then our camera review highlights a compact digicam that isn't dumbed down, providing everything you need to get the picture. And we review a book that shows how to handle a difficult subject with ease.

If you missed the 163rd edition, you aren't alone. Our mail server choked on four attempts to deliver it over the busy Thanksgiving holiday. We were able to post it online (see the first link above) where you can read it in our Archive (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-arch.html). We've reconfigured our mail server for sleet, snow and all the rest. But please accept our apologies for sending you too many or not enough copies of the last issue.


TOPICS

SPONSORS
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:
DxO
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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 editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: A Perfect Print

We were minding our own business the other day when suddenly we had to make a 13x19-inch photo poster portrait overnight. We were, unfortunately, in between large format printer reviews, so we didn't have a printer. And we were desperate to install a long-overdue operating system upgrade.

Fortunately, we have a lot of experience playing the fool. It all came in handy for this challenge -- which we managed with time to spare -- and the short version, we hope, will help reveal just what it takes to make a great print.

AT THE STORE

No way around it but to drive down to the BigStore and pay list price for the printer we wanted. We considered several on the drive down, going through the list of advantage and disadvantages one last time. By the time we got to the store, we had decided we wanted the Canon i9900 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/CI9/I9900.HTM) for this job.

The clerk fetched the last one from the rafters and then went through the sales routine that makes shopping at any BigStore such a pleasure. Do you want a USB cable for that? No, thanks, we weave them at the Recreation Center for Online Editors. Do you want our three-year extended warranty for an additional $50? No, thanks, our credit card doubles the manufacturer's warranty. Do you want our personal guarantee that you will never run out of ink? No, thanks, we always look at the cartridge as half full.

Then we had to wait eight minutes for a manager to sign off on the sale because, "It's a big ticket item, sir." The manager, right in front of us, checked his clerk's sales pitch list. "He doesn't want a USB cable?" "No, I asked him." "OK."

Of course, the whole option spiel was repeated at the checkout stand. But a smile goes a long way. People wonder if you're daft and drop the subject. So we just grinned toothfully until we could sign the receipt and skip out of there.

We had an operating system to install, after all.

THE OPERATING SYSTEM

It may seem more than foolish to start by installing a new operating system, but we weren't actually risking anything. We had a fresh, bootable backup of our current system. If all else failed, we could simply boot from our external drive and get back to work.

So we installed the new operating system.

MONITOR PROFILE

A new operating system is not quite ready for prime time right out of the box. It's missing at least two essentials. A monitor profile, for one and printer installations, too.

We've written about the importance of monitor profiling before and we'll stamp our feet now as we repeat it. If you haven't profiled your monitor, profile your monitor. You don't need an extended warranty, but you do need a monitor profile.

In our case, all we had to do was locate our current profile, copy it to the new profiles location and activate it. Our monitor returned to its lush and accurate glory in the blink of an eye.

Without that step, we'd be making blind corrections on the original image. Which, in our case, was a 4x6-inch, 150 lines-per-inch halftone screen process-color image. Not a photo print, not a digicam image. Not, that is, optimum.

THE PRINTER DRIVER

New printer but, no, not new drivers. The included drivers were burned to the CD long before the printer was packaged and put on the shelf. So when we bought the printer, we suspected the drivers would be stale. We were really just paying for the hardware.

And when we opened the box, we weren't disappointed. Not only was it well engineered and nicely designed but the instructions were the first thing we saw. We followed them to get the hardware untaped, the print head installed, the cartridges loaded and the cable connected.

But for software, we remembered our own advice in old printer reviews and went to the manufacturer's site to download the latest drivers. We were taking a bit of a chance that the operating system update was a step ahead of those drivers, but there's even more risk in installing older drivers.

In fact, though, the operating system update included a driver for this printer. It wasn't actually necessary (and perhaps foolhardy) to install the driver we downloaded. And bless that broadband connection, by the way.

PRINTER PROFILE

What's good for the monitor is good for the printer. Make sure you have a few printer profiles installed. Usually, installing the driver does this for you because the variables in inkjet printing are well controlled.

But if you use a third party paper, go online to look for a profile written for that particular paper.

We knew we needed a profile for printing full color on Canon's glossy photo paper. And when we had one of those copied to the folder of printer profiles, we were finally set up.

THE IMAGE

We just needed an image to print.

We'd spent most of the afternoon digging through old albums, shoeboxes and CDs looking for the perfect portrait image. Unfortunately, the perfect image was a printed halftone. Having labored in the graphic arts, we happened to have a screen finder handy. A screen finder is a set of fine converging lines on a transparent film that displays a pattern pointing to a screen value on its scale when rotated over a halftone. We laid the screen finder over the halftone, twisting it until it the pattern pointed to the screen value: 150.

Screened at 150 lpi, in process color, we were asking for trouble. We had to scan it and the halftone screen was going to produce moires.

We put it in the Microtek ScanMaker i900 we recently reviewed (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/MI9/MI9.HTM) and liked so much we bought. It, too, was calibrated and profiled, using the targets Microtek supplies with the scanner.

But we ran it with VueScan (http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/VUE/VUE.HTM). VueScan makes it easy to descreen a halftone by selecting Magazine as the input and setting the screen value to any number.

And in fact it did a great job. The process color rosette wasn't entirely invisible but it was so muted that you had to look for it, although any kind of sharpening restored the rosette pattern.

We also told VueScan we wanted to print the image at 180 pixels an inch at 13x19 inches. A few seconds later, we had our image.

COLOR CORRECTION

Now the fun could start. We had an image, we had the printer connected and talking to our operating system. We were only worried about color. Good color.

We opened the image in our image editing software and made a small test print just to make sure everything was working. It wasn't bad but it could be better, we thought.

We started with the image itself. We asked two questions: 1) Was it oversaturated? 2) Was it truly neutral?

We launched Picto's iCorrect plug-in (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/ICOR/ICOR.HTM) and, in the blink of an eye, the image lost the subtle magenta tint that was barely evident. iCorrect does this all the time for us. We think we've made the image neutral with an eye dropper or a by applying a slight color shift and it does us one better.

But we didn't quit iCorrect before we adjusted the saturation, too. There's a tendency to oversaturate in general, which becomes blindingly clear when you print on a vibrant inkjet printer.

Those two corrections got us exactly what we wanted. A portrait that seemed to be breathing.

COLOR MANAGEMENT

We had a calibrated monitor and an image whose color was appealing on screen. The next trick was getting that color to the photo paper.

We wanted our image editing software to control the color, not the printer driver. By pointing our image editing software to the right printer profile for this ink and paper, it would be able to translate our RGB color data into the CcMmYRGK data the printer ultimately needed to make the equivalent print. That's red, green and blue data into cyan, light cyan, magenta, light magenta, yellow, red and green and black ink.

We didn't want the printer driver to retranslate that conversion, so we told it, in the print dialog box, not to do any color management. Play it straight.

But we did tell the printer driver what kind of paper we were using (a high quality photo glossy) so it could adjust the ink usage.

THE PRINT

With no variable undefined, we were ready to make the print. We loaded a sheet of 13x19 inch photo paper, careful not to touch the surface and gave the Print command. A few minutes later we walked back into the room to be greeted by a stunning portrait. We were delighted.

We set it aside to let the print surface, which swells to encapsulate the ink, settle. Canon recommends 24 hours before you can handle the print, but we were just going to mat it and drop it into a frame. So we let it sit six hours and then framed it.

We saw it displayed later that night and the next day under various light sources and the color was always natural and pleasing to look at.

CONCLUSION

The moral of this little story is that you really can't expect to bring home a new printer, plug it in and make great prints. You have to make sure your monitor isn't lying to you by calibrating it and you have to make sure you are translating your hard won color data into the optimum values for the ink set and photo paper you are using. You also have to make sure those values aren't being retranslated by some helpful printer driver that doesn't expect the application to know anything about color management.

But if you do that, you can make stunning images. On the first try.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Canon PowerShot S80 -- The Real Thing

By DAVE ETCHELLS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/S80/S80A.HTM on the Web site.)

INTRODUCTION

Canon's PowerShot S80, the flagship of its top-of-the-line S-Series PowerShots, updates last year's S70 model with more features in a smaller package. Compact design and superior handling, the hallmarks of the S-Series, are just Canon's way of saying "no compromise." The S80 does that with a larger sensor, a speedy DIGIC II processor, a generous 2.5-inch LCD, 21 shooting modes and a very slick EOS-style Multi Control dial in a body Canon claims is eight percent smaller than its predecessor. And it brings a little more to the party with a 30 fps VGA or XGA Movie mode, too. Overall, one of the more appealing subcompact digicams we've seen.

CAMERA OVERVIEW

Like Canon's other mid-size PowerShots, the $549 S80 is a well-built, high-quality instrument. The size and style are reminiscent of a point-and-shoot model, even though it offers an 8-Mp sensor and a wide range of shooting options from fully manual operation to programmed, automatic and a wide range of preset exposures. Its interface is quite a bit different from past models in the line, with several new ideas and a few borrowed from the Canon G6. The telescoping 3.6x zoom lens is made with Canon's UA optical glass, which stands for Ultra-high refractive index Aspherical Lens, providing a physically shorter lens with a wider angle of view than cameras earlier than the S60 and S70 in this line. The lens is protected by a sliding lens cover that blends well into the camera's front panel. Like most Canon's high-end digicams, primary functions are accessed via external controls, providing quick and easy adjustments to flash, exposure compensation, manual focus and light metering modes. This combination of compact design, sturdy construction and flexible exposure options makes this camera a real pleasure to work with and a good value for the $549 list price.

The S80 features a 3.6x, 5.8-20.7mm zoom lens, equivalent to a 28-110mm zoom on a 35mm camera. And new converter lenses can increase the zoom range to 22.4-200mm. The maximum aperture setting ranges from f2.8 at full wide-angle to f5.3 at full telephoto. A maximum 4x digital zoom option increases the S80's zoom capability to 14x, but keep in mind that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality, because it simply crops out and enlarges the center pixels of the CCD's image. Focus ranges from 1.4 feet to infinity in normal AF mode and from 1.6 inches to 1.4 feet in Macro mode. The S80 employs a sophisticated, nine-point AiAF (Artificial Intelligence Autofocus) system to determine focus, which uses a broad active area in the center of the image to calculate the focal distance (a feature I've been impressed with on many models and have been happy to see continued). You can turn AiAF off, which sets the autofocus area to the center of the frame where you can move it around at will. Also built into the S80 is an AF assist light (a very bright orange LED) to aid focus in low light. For composing images, the S80 provides both a 2.5-inch color LCD monitor and an optical viewfinder. The LCD also displays the menu system and exposure settings.

The S80 provides as much or as little exposure control as you want. All exposure modes are accessed by rotating the Mode dial on the right side of the camera. Canon divided the dial into three exposure types: Auto, Creative Zone and Image Zone. Shooting in Auto mode puts the camera in charge of everything except the Flash and Macro modes. Exposure modes in the Creative Zone include: Program AE, Shutter Speed-Priority AE (Tv), Aperture-Priority AE (Av), Manual Exposure and Custom. Program AE lets the camera choose the aperture and shutter speed settings, but gives you control over all other exposure options. Aperture and Shutter Speed Priority modes let you set one exposure variable (aperture or shutter speed) while the camera chooses the best value of the other variable (shutter speed or aperture). Manual mode gives you full control over all exposure parameters. Finally, Custom mode lets you save a variety of specific exposure and function settings in one of the other modes, which can then be recalled instantly, simply by rotating the mode dial to the "C" position.

Exposure modes in the Image Zone are Special Scene, My Colors, Stitch Assist and Movie. Scene modes include Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater and Digital Macro. My Colors allows you to change image colors when the picture is taken. Options include Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Color Accent, Color Swap and Custom Color. Stitch-Assist mode is Canon's panorama shooting solution, in which multiple, overlapping images can be captured horizontally, vertically or in four quadrants, in clockwise sequence. Images can then be "stitched" together on a computer, using Canon's bundled PhotoStitch software. Movie mode provides four options includes Standard (640x480 or 320x240 resolution; 30 or 15 fps; up to 1-GB), High Resolution (1024x768; 15 fps; up to 1-GB), Compact (160x120; 15 fps; up to 3 minutes) and My Colors (640x480 or 320x240; 30 or 15 fps; up to 1-GB).

The nine options in "My Colors" mode, available for both still image and movie shooting, are worth a closer look. Positive Film replicates the bold colors of positive film in the red, green and blue channels. The Lighter Skin Tone and Darker Skin Tone settings alter skin tones appropriately, without affecting the rest of the photo. Vivid Blue, Vivid Green and Vivid Red emphasize saturation in one channel only. Most unusual are the Color Accent and Color Swap features, however. In Color Accent mode, you select a color you want to accent and a narrow band of colors surrounding it remains untouched in the final image while the rest of the photo becomes black and white. In Color Swap mode, you select two colors and the camera replaces one color with the other in your final image. For example, you can make a green car appear blue. Both effects allow a little fine control over the color you selected using the left arrow key; you use the up and down arrows to slightly adjust the color you want to accent or swap. You can't, however, fine-tune the color you want to replace the swapped color with for Color Swap mode.

Both the Color Accent and Color Swap modes are rather fun and they're definitely very unusual, but the effects can be rather unpredictable. You generally end up with a slight fringe of the old color surrounding your replaced color in Color Swap mode and it can be difficult to control the exact color you want to affect in both modes. So it's rather nice Canon has provided the ability to set the camera to capture a duplicate copy of images captured in My Colors mode, without any color changes made. If you throw away your color-altered image, you'll still have your original. Finally, the Custom Color mode allows you to manually fine-tune the saturation of colors in the Red, Green and Blue channels (plus the saturation of skin tones), with five steps of control over each.

The S80 uses an Evaluative metering system by default, which means the camera divides the image area into zones and evaluates both contrast and brightness among all the zones to determine the best overall exposure. A Spot metering option ties the exposure to the very center of the frame and is useful for off-center or high contrast subjects, letting you pinpoint the exact area of the frame to base the exposure on. There's also a Center-Weighted metering option, which bases the exposure on a large area in the center of the frame. Exposure Compensation increases or decreases the overall exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents in one-third step increments. A White Balance option offers Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Underwater and Custom (manual) settings. The S80 also offers a creative Photo Effects menu, which adjusts sharpening, color and saturation. Sensitivity equivalents include 50, 100, 200 and 400 ISO settings, as well as an Auto setting. The S80's built-in flash operates in Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On with Red-Eye Reduction, FE Lock (which locks the flash exposure), First/Second Curtain (which times the flash to fire when the shutter opens or closes), Suppressed and Slow-Synchro modes.

A two- or 10-second self-timer option counts down by flashing a small LED on the front of the camera before firing the shutter, giving you time to duck around the camera and get into your own shots. In addition, a Custom timer function allows you to set the camera for a delay of 0-10, 15, 20 or 30 seconds and a number of photos to be captured once the delay has been elapsed (from one to 10). After the timer expires, the camera will capture the number of photos requested with an interval of approximately one second between photos and the flash does recharge quickly enough to capture 10 photos in a row with flash. This could be rather nice for people trying to take photos of a large family gathering. Thirty seconds gives you plenty of time to get into your photo and with the ability to capture 10 images with one press of the shutter, there's a better chance you'll get a shot where nobody blinked or made a funny face.

Continuous Shooting mode captures a series of consecutive images (much like a motor drive on a traditional camera), at approximately 1.8 shots per second, for as long as the Shutter button is held down. The actual frame rate varies slightly with the resolution setting and the maximum number of images will also depend on the amount of memory card space and file size.

The My Camera settings menu lets you customize camera settings to a specific theme. Everything from the startup image to operating sounds can be assigned to a theme, either one of the pre-programmed themes or one downloaded from the camera software or stored on the memory card. The PowerShot S80 also lets you record short sound clips in WAV format to accompany captured images, via the Sound Memo option, great for lively captions to vacation photos or party shots.

The S80 stores images on SD memory cards. A 32-MB card accompanies the camera, but I highly recommend picking up a larger capacity card, so you don't miss any shots. This camera's high quality video and 8-megapixel images will really demand a 512-MB or 1-GB card. Each 8-megapixel image takes up more than 3M at max resolution and minimum compression. The camera uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, which accompanies the camera, along with a compact battery charger. Because the Canon S80 does not accommodate AA-type or any other off-the-shelf battery format, I strongly advise picking up an additional battery pack and keeping it freshly charged. An AC adapter, available as an option, uses a dummy battery to connect to the camera. A USB cable is included to connect directly to a computer and the included A/V cable connects the S80 to a television set for reviewing and composing images.

A software CD accompanies the camera, providing any necessary drivers and editing software for both Windows and Macintosh platforms. The CD holds Canon's Digital Camera Solution Disk version 26.0 and also features ArcSoft's PhotoStudio. The Canon S80 is Digital Print Order Format and PictBridge compatible, with detailed print settings in the Playback menu. Canon offers a selection of direct-connect printers as well, which simplifies printing even more. And Exif Print optimizes print settings when images are captured.

CONCLUSION

Canon's PowerShot line of digital cameras have been perennial favorites with our readers and the S80 seems destined for similar status. This is an exceptionally full-featured digital camera, with all the bells and whistles apart from a flash hot shoe, a tilt/swivel LCD and perhaps an internal neutral density filter. Everything else about the camera fits the needs, desires and interests of "enthusiast" shooters, while at the same time remaining very approachable for rank beginners, thanks to a full Auto mode and a healthy assortment of Scene modes. Canon has been a leader in bringing high quality to the movie modes of their digital still cameras and the PowerShot S80 takes it up another notch, offering not only 30 frames/second at VGA (640x480) resolution, but 15 frames/second at XGA (1024x768) resolution. As such, the S80 could arguably stand in for a camcorder for short segments and in situations where you don't need the super zoom or external microphone capabilities that many camcorders offer. Image quality is also excellent, with slightly less saturated, more accurate color than many of its competitors, something that many more sophisticated uses will find very welcome. Bottom line, the S80 is an unusually strong performer in virtually every respect. Another easy choice for a Dave's Pick from Canon and a camera that deserves serious consideration from anyone shopping at the higher end of the consumer digital camera market.

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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Book Bag: The DAM Book

A few sentences into this 280-page, full-color book, we knew we'd found another classic for our digital photography bookshelf. Previous classics covered dense subjects like digital printing and color management and Peter Krogh's title takes on just as tough a topic: digital asset management.

"How do you manage all these photographs? How do you put stuff away so that you can find it when you want it? How do you organize it? How do you protect it against loss?" he frames the DAM question in the Introduction. And the rest of the book answers it in clearly written, easy-to-follow prose.

"What Is All This DAM Stuff?" introduces the concept of digital asset management for photographers, discussing the kinds of software required and the role DNG plays. Interestingly, he considers DNG "a digital job jacket," bundling the Raw file negative, as much metadata "paperwork" as you want to stuff into it and "a pretty good print" with the embedded preview supporting tonal and color correction as well as crops.

"Metadata" unknots the many kinds of information concerning an image before presenting some unusual and useful ways to think about ratings, keywords and groups.

"Creating the Digital Archive" takes two chapters. One on the structure of the information for a digital archive rather than a film archive. The other on the hardware required to build a scalable and safe archive. The discussion really goes beyond what you typically see, covering the particular needs of photographers dealing with thousands of images.

"Setting Up Bridge" puts Adobe's Bridge in context, showing what it can and can't do and how to enhance its operations with scripts. The workflow Krogh proposes strikes us as both efficient and productive. The scripting isn't flashy, but functional. You'll want to try this stuff out.

"The Editing Workflow" steps through the editing process from acquiring images to preparing them in Bridge and archiving them as DNGs.

"Using Cataloging Software" takes you beyond the Adobe Suite to real database territory. Krogh uses iView MediaPro to illustrate what a photo database can do for you that a browser like Bridge can't.

"Derivative Files" is a candid evaluation of every file format your image will take as it moves from the camera to a publisher.

"Strategies for Successful File Migration" doesn't blink in the face of this often ignored topic. How do you move your film image to digital, your Raw images to DNG, your images stored on one medium to a fresher one.

Thinking about digital asset management can bring on severe depression. But Krogh makes it pleasurable. Captions for the numerous images have a "Keyword:" tag with suggested keywords to help you think about cataloging. Once you get into the spirit of it, things start to fall into place and magically appear just when you need them. Which is the whole DAM point.

His focus on Bridge and the DNG format is unusually informed (not the usual tutorial stuff or argumentative rant but an evaluation of what each brings to the table), an approach that also brings MediaPro to the table. You may be put off by these choices, but the discussion at this level is worth having.

In fact, he says early on that a lot of the stuff to follow may be hard to swallow. Just "keep on reading," he suggests. It's a daunting subject. But Krogh tames the DAM monster.

The DAM Book by Peter Krogh, published by O'Reilly & Associates, 280 pages, in paperback at $34.95.
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In the Forums

Visit the Imaging Resource discussion forums at http://www.photo-forums.com to find out what people are saying about the latest digicams, hard-to-find accessories, friendly suppliers, clever techniques, you name it! Recent hot topics include:

Visit the Olympus eVolt E-500 Discussion at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.eea0505

Visit the Digital Cameras Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2a8

David asks about redeye in Canon cameras at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea10c1/0

Nate asks for help choosing a 'good' camera for sports photos at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea0f9d/0

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

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Just for Fun: The Baby & Memory Loss

Dashing out of the house, we only barely thought to sweep the little Nikon S3 off the table and into our shirt pocket. It was more of an accident as we put on a coat and plotted out the city streets that would get us quickly to the hospital to meet our newest relative: a seven pound seven ounce, 19-inch charmer named Emily.

So naturally we didn't even check to see if the S3 had a memory card in it. We'd just unpacked it for review. We didn't even know what kind of card it used.

Unfortunately, these days more and more manufacturers are just not including cards at all. A usable card for cameras with sensors as large as the S3's six megapixels is not going to be one of those 8-MB cards manufacturers like to drop in the box. You need something more like a 128-MB or 256-MB card. They don't even try to fool you with one of those 8-MB cards any more.

So the S3 I swooped off the table didn't have a card in it.

But fortunately, manufacturers don't quite strand you in a hospital room holding a camera with no memory surrounded by ferocious mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers all threatening you between teeth clenched in beaming smiles. No, they sometimes sneak a little in-camera memory into their babies.

Luckily the S3 has a generous 12-MB internal memory. And we used all of it to get seven 992K images and one 5.8-MB movie (Emily's first feature film). Of course, if we knew we only had 12-MB to work with, we wouldn't have shot a movie -- but sometimes it's a blessing to be a fool.

Which is not the kind of advice we plan to impart to Emily. Promise.

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Dave's Deals

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

Subscribe for Great Deals!

We deliver -- just Subscribe!

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We Have Mail

You can email us at editor@imaging-resource.com. You can read our Letters policy at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS in the FAQ.

RE: Too Many Issues!

Just wanted to let you know that I received three issues of Vol. 7 No. 24 when I only usually get one. Thought there might be a problem I should let you know about. I received two yesterday and one today.

I sure enjoy each issue. Keep the one coming I am supposed to get.

-- Jerry Linn

(Much as we pride ourselves on making a mess of things, we usually reserve that for our hands on reviews, not our publishing endeavors. Unfortunately, in an effort to get our Holiday Gift Guides out early, we left to cozy confines of our Friday evening slot and ran into major traffic jams on our mail server. Who are we to stem the tide of so much spam? After four attempts to get the newsletter out, we called the FBI. -- Editor)

GREAT issue ... and timely too. Thanks Mike & Dave!

-- Bob Mc

(OK, so two guys got it. The rest might like to see the Holiday Guide (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ARTS/GIFT/holiday05/guide.htm) for yourselves. -- Editor)

RE: Read My Raw

I recently, after reading many reviews including yours, upgraded my digital camera and a large assortment of lenses and accessories to a Canon D5 (from a Nikon D100 -- yes I jumped ship but I still use it!).

Also, I upgraded my software to Photoshop CS2 on my Macs thinking and assuming when I launched the browser it would automatically display the Raw images and their previews and open them when I double-clicked on them. To my surprise the Canon CR2 icon appeared in the browser beside the JPEGs which displayed fine -- and a window popped up saying it was not the right kind of document. Holy crap!

Do I have to download the Canon software to open up the Raw images with the .CR2 extension?

Is there some way of renaming the files in the camera? My Nikon Raw images were recognized and opened fine. They had a .NEF extension. My guess is that Canon would rather we all use their software.

I would appreciate any help you could give. I'm hoping it is something really simple that I'm missing.

-- Jeffrey C. Hutchinson

(CS2 will display thumbnails for your Canon Raw files, Jeff, don't worry! There are two quick things to check: 1) Purge the cache (in Bridge) for the directory of images that are not displaying thumbnails (or the whole cache if you are using just one cache for all directories). That will force a rebuild. 2) If that doesn't work, make sure you have the latest Camera Raw Plug-in and that it's installed in the right place. A reinstall may be the simplest approach. The Adobe forums (http://www.adobeforums.com) have little more help on this subject. -- Editor)

RE: The Pixel Puzzle

I read with interest your Newsletter and have a subject I do not fully grasp. We might call it the Pixel Puzzle.

The CCDs in the digicams are getting more and more pixels. We started out with about one megapixel, are now typically at 4-5 Mp, while the more advanced cameras are boasting of 8+ Mp. Does this mean that the CCD is actually getting bigger in size or are the pixels getting smaller and more densely packed; i.e. more pixels per square inch?

If the CCD is increasing in size it will probably soon match the old 24x36mm film size and this will affect the focal length of the lenses we use.

If however, the pixels are more densely packed we can to a certain degree dispense with the long range telephoto lens, as we instead will be able to crop and blow up the image without losing image details.

-- Stian Sundt

(Er du snil, Stian, there's a little of both going on. Some CCDs are packing more pixels onto the same real estate and others are expanding the real estate a little to pack more pixels. We report both the number of pixels and the size of the CCD in our camera database and I ran a report, sorted it by number of pixels and observed several sizes of CCD. Some manufacturers, like Fuji and Sony, do exactly as you predict, merely cropping the center pixels without resampling the image upwards. -- Editor)
(There seem to be certain plateaus of performance, where everything works to the good. The 7-Mp sensors seem to be one such, as we've seen excellent image quality and surprisingly low image noise from 7-Mp cameras from a number of manufacturers. -- Dave)

RE: Blue Tooth

Thank you for your most recent newsletter, full of very valuable info and the buying guide. Where can I learn about cameras with Bluetooth download?

-- Jorge Albertal

(While Bluetooth is common in camphones (whose images are relatively small), we don't know of any digicam that uses Bluetooth, Jorge. It's far too slow a protocol for the large data transfer requirements of digital imaging. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

Extensis (http://www.extensis.com) has released its $200 Portfolio 8, adding catalog presets to AutoSync folders, so you can add files to Portfolio with predefined metadata and move them through a workflow simply by dropping them into folders on the file server. The new fast-cataloging feature lets you quickly add files to the Portfolio catalog and start working with them right away while other cataloging tasks continue in the background. Additionally, Portfolio can now use automatically created Screen Previews to create CDs, DVDs, Web sites and emails, making the process of sharing even offline files significantly faster. Other improvements include private galleries and scratchpad galleries. Significant improvements have been made to speed, workflow and metadata handling, the company said.


iView (http://www.iview-multimedia.com) has released its $199 MediaPro 3.0.1 [MW], adding full Raw rendering (DNG, MRW, SRF, ORF for Mac 10.4.2 only), automatic grouping of photo bursts or bracketed exposures based on time intervals, full rendering support for Photoshop EPS, Safari Web Archives, TIFF/FAX and TIFF/ZIP, support for XMP sidecar on import, support for watching all subfolders of any watched folder, major AppleScript corrections, support for DNG color space when working with embedded previews and more.


Phanfare (http://www.phanfare.com) now offers lifetime memberships for $299.95 that feature one-time-billing, a DVD replacement of your data and protection against future price increases.


Andrew Rowley (http://www.picnam.com) has released version 2 of his $15 Picnam [W], to rename and record information about digital images in an associated text file.


CHROMiX (http://www.chromix.com) has announced ColorThink Pro will ship on Dec. 16. Highlights include a new underlying architecture that allows integration across tools, supports up to 10-channel profiles everywhere!; graphs have more detail, automation and features; profile Inspector adds gamut volume, inking statistics, dot gain and curve analysis; the new Color Worksheet is the centerpiece of ColorThink Pro, allowing analysis of your entire workflow at once to make it easier than ever to isolate all color issues; the new ColorSmarts Guide acts as your color consultant by performing tests and automating tasks; powerful and enhanced profile linking capabilities; and the new and revolutionary ColorCast technology modifies existing profiles to have powerful built-in proofing capabilities.


O'Reilly (http://www.oreilly.com) has published its $34.95 Photoshop Elements 4 One-on-One by Deke McClelland with 12 lessons on real-world tasks, accompanied by more than 600 full-color photographs, plus two hours of video tutorials on DVD.


Mike Johnston, who for years authored the Sunday Morning Photographer column on the Web, has launched a new moderated blog about photography called The Online Photographer at http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com.


ExpressDigital (http://www.expressdigital.com) has released an expanded Darkroom Professional with a retro color tool, professional red-eye removal and new hardware support for the Nikon D2x, D2Hs, D70s, D50, Canon Rebel XT and Fuji S3 digital cameras. New direct printer support for the Mitsubishi CP-3020DU, CP-9550DW, Kodak 9810, Shinko S9045, S1245 and the Fujimoto SHP5080 digital mini-lab are also included in the update.


Photoflex (http://www.photoflex.com) has added a line of photographic and video backdrops with a line of muslin backdrops and two backdrop kits. Photoflex backdrops come in two sizes (10x12 feet and 10x20 feet), five solid colors (black, white, gray, chroma-key blue and chroma-key green) and five marbled colors (blue, gray, brown, purple and orange). A First Studio Kit and ProDuty Kit provide comprehensive backdrop solutions with seamless paper, muslin or canvas backdrops and a 13-foot pole with two support stands.


BlueBox GmbH (http://www.picturefinder.com) has released Image Info Toolkit 2.0 [MW], an application that makes it easy to include text information within JPEG and TIFF images according to IPTC/NAA standards. New features include support of unlimited number of keyword catalogs, user customized language names, free customizable input lists for frequently used IPTC fields, treatment option for every single IPTC field, import of IPTC information from text documents into image files in batch mode, speed enhanced image file browser (support of file embedded thumbnails), ability to move groups of images within the image browser, customizable slide show, support of Exif information in TIFF and JPEG and clears Exif information, if wished.


Larry Chen's $10 ebook titled Take Control of Buying a Digital Camera (http://www.takecontrolbooks.com) provides a soup-to-nuts guide to the process of purchasing a camera and gives tips for how to get the most out of the camera.


Epson (http://www.epson.com) has released improved ICC profiles for its R1800, R2400 and 2200 printers. The free profiles provide increased accuracy for color and black-and-white printing.


Ben Long (http://www.completedigitalphotography.com) has released his free Convert Raw to DNG Automator Action.


Adam Tow (http://www.tow.com/2005/11/30/aperture-scripting) has written an Applescript Studio application to copy iView MediaPro IPTC data to Aperture.


Ritz (http://www.ritz.com) will deploy Kodak's new G4 digital photo kiosks in all 1,100 Ritz Camera stores in the U.S., totaling approximately locations. The new kiosks can make Kodak-quality digital print in just eight seconds, 35 percent faster than prior models.

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One Liners

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

Digital Photography Tutorials for Beginners: http://www.photoxels.com

YaWah Professional Image Server software: http://www.yawah.com/ir

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

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

Lockergnome's Free Digital Media Newsletter: http://www.lockergnome.com

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Signoff

That's it for now, but between issues visit our site for the latest news, reviews, or to have your questions answered in our free discussion forum. Here are the links to our most popular pages:

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New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM
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Happy snapping!

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

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