The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 10, Number 2 18 January 2008

Copyright 2008, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 219th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. As promised, we've packed this issue with show coverage from the Consumer Electronics Show and Macworld Expo. But we've also made room for a small tribute to a very big man in this business whose passing will be felt by even those who never knew him.


TOPICS

SPONSORS
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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: Tilting at CES Windmills

(Excerpted from our complete show coverage posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/ICES08/ICES08.HTML on the Web site.)

LAS VEGAS -- Catching a glimpse of Dave and Mike dashing down a side aisle of South Hall, you might wonder if you weren't seeing Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Ludicrous as that may seem, there's some truth in it.

The true object of their quest is as unanswerable a query as that of those two fictional heroes. Only a sense of duty kept them at the task of telling giants from windmills, real breakthroughs from pablum.

It wasn't easy. But in the lull between the Consumer Electronics Show and Macworld, we sat down to summarize in Cliff Notes style, just what we both saw at the show that made us stop and think.

CAMERAS

With PMA just a few weeks away at the end of January, most camera manufacturers were holding their cards. Sony, Kodak and Panasonic, however, each had an interesting announcement or two.

Sony's big splash was the introduction of its $699 Alpha A200 dSLR, the A100's successor. We got our hands on one, popped a CompactFlash card in it and published some A200 shots in our Monday report (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/ICES08/ces-reports/ces-mon.htm).

Designed for the point-and-shooter who wants the performance advantages of a dSLR, the A200 is something of a hybrid with Scene modes and a function guide. We tested the slide show function at the booth, but weren't very impressed. It's a bit like a filmstrip, with a row of thumbnails on top and the image below. Where's the fancy effects, we asked. Oh, it works better through the video out port, we were told.

While the A200 has some nice high-end features like Super SteadyShot built into the camera body, anti-duct technology and Creative Styles to go along with its 10.2-Mp CCD and nine-point autofocus system, it has some tough competition from Canon's Rebels and Nikon's D40 series. That's going to take more than Scene modes.

Kodak has taken a completely different approach with its SmartCapture feature. The V1073 and Z1085 IS are the first Kodak cameras to feature this innovation and it, we think, is really a sign of the times, mirrored on the dSLR end in the advanced image processing of Nikon's EXPEED system. The game is to stuff a powerful CPU in the camera and give it a lot of work to do.

"You press the button, we do the rest," is how Kodak put it when we saw it in Rochester. And in our Pepcom report (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/ICES08/ces-reports/ces-pep.htm) we saw it in action.

It's a special shooting mode that includes smarts like automatic setting of scene mode, macro, white balance, ISO and adds intelligent processing like edge enhancement, noise reduction and color correction. You get more detail in the shadows without blowing out the highlights because it underexposes an internal 12-bit Raw image and uses the processor to massage the data.

The result is that you just get better pictures instead of the occasional disappointment (which is usually a scene that's difficult to capture).

Kodak also revived its touch screen technology from the EasyShare One. The V1073 is the first model to enjoy what is quickly becoming a trend with models from Sony and Pentax offering similar ability.

Kodak's new models all capture HD video -- an uncommon feature -- and the new HD dock makes it a snap to see your stills and video on an HDTV.

Panasonic made a little noise at the show with a prototype of WiFi digicam that uses the T-Mobile network to talk to Google Picasa for sharing and emailing images.

If that sounds familiar to you, it should. Nikon has been doing it for a while now, most recently with its Coolpix S51c. And then again, Kodak's One pioneered this with what's still our preferred implementation. The One could actually send images wirelessly to your computer. None of the others can.

One cell phone caught our eye, the LG KU990 Viewity (http://viewty.lgmobile.com). The big lens (well, for a camphone) tipped us off that there was something going on here. And there is. A 5-Mp sensor with image stabilization for the Schneider Kreuznach lens and a flash. And the interface is a 3-inch, 240x400-pixel touch screen. With Bluetooth, USB and EDGE technology, its 100-MB internal memory can be expanded to 2-GB with a microSD card.

MONITORS

While everyone was talking about Panasonic's 150-inch plasma TV (nearly large enough to be a garage door), LED backlights on LCDs were the real news. Their purer and more intense color produces a much larger color gamut than conventional vacuum-fluorescent backlit LCDs.

ViewSonic introduced a 22-inch widescreen VLED221wm desktop monitor that features the world's first 12,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio in an LCD desktop display.

It can display 118 percent of the color gamut based on the National Television System Committee guidelines. In comparison, ViewSonic said, most CRT and LCD monitors on the market today only display 70 to 80 percent of NTSC's range of colors.

And it supports a native 1680x1050 resolution with a 5ms response time. The display is equipped with dual analog and digital inputs and integrated stereo speakers with a power consumption of just 38 watts. And you can afford it at $799.

If 12,000 to one isn't enough for you, think what you can see with Sony's 11-inch OLED TVs. They have a contrast ratio of a million to one. But that 11-inch model will set you back $2,500. Still, it's a procrastinator's dream.

PRINTERS

With all the hoopla around large HD TVs and incredible sound systems, color printers were a neglected technology. But we saw two worth noting.

The HP C8180 is an all-in-one printer that features a rich inkset with light cyan and light magenta added to the basic four and a touch screen that makes using the device a breeze. Nothing to learn, nothing to remember.

You may have to unlearn a thing or two (there's no index printing since you can scroll through the images on the LCD), but we really liked the touch screen way of making the C8180 get busy.

There's a lot more the C8180, though, including Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity and a built-in CD/DVD burner to complement the built-in card reader. All that for just $399.

If that's too rich for your blood, Kodak has repackaged its revolutionary pigment inks and printhead technology in the compact all-in-one EasyShare ESP-3. Our reviews of the 5000 series (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/K5300/K5300.HTM) complained about a number of firmware issues. But the ESP-3 is a simpler device, moving much of the functionality off to the printer to Kodak's AiO Home Center software. That includes a new Face Retouch feature that can automatically minimize blemishes. And the price is right at $130.

THE FRAME WARS

We're in a very lonely club of reviewers who have actually written about digital photo frame technology (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/PDGTL/PD8.HTM).

One the one hand, there's little say. Get an LCD and find a chip supplier and you're in business. They are almost all the same. On the other hand, they aren't all the same. A few companies distinguish themselves with interesting connectivity options like WiFi or additional services that allow the frames to communicate with other people.

Three caught our attention, however.

A prototype from Parrot (http://www.parrot.com) implements a new protocol called Near Field Communication that resembles Bluetooth without the pairing (incidentally, Sony tapped into this same protocol to deliver streaming media from a server to HDTVs in the same room). Just wave your NFC device in front of the Parrot frame and they're paired. If that device is a cellphone, you can upload your images to the frame.

Just one catch. There aren't many NFC devices yet, we were told, and certainly no digicams (which rarely feature WiFi and even more rarely Bluetooth).

The Ality frame (http://www.alitypc.com) has WiFi so it can get on the Internet via your router and tap into the company's online service. But it also has a custom-built user interface accessible either with the remote control or by touching the frame itself (which is also a touchscreen like the one we used on Virgin America). Using Instant Messenger protocol, you can sync with Google calendar and instantly send an image from the service to the frame or vice versa.

Kodak showed a digital photo frame with WiFi too. Coupled with a new Picture Mail application (which will be a free download for all Kodak picture frame owners), it can transmit images from the frame to your EasyShare gallery. It will be available in 7, 8 and 10 inch models.

MISCELLANY

The SD memory card format has been evolving for a while now. With the SDA 2.00 specification from the SD Card Association, SD cards can reach capacities as high as 32-GB. These SD High Capacity cards aren't backwards compatible with standard SD, miniSD and microSD cards, all of which use FAT 16 files systems with a 2-GB size limit. The HC cards use a FAT 32 file system, so if your device can't navigate FAT 32, the cards won't work.

SanDisk announced a 12-GB microSDHC card at the show. The card itself is so small that, with an SD adapter (often included), you can use it in a number of devices.

On the tripod front, we caught up with a couple of great products from Manfrotto (http://www.manfrotto.com), both under $100, too. The $79 modo is a hybrid video/still tripod available in two sizes. A dial at the base of the ball head makes the switch. In photo mode, the head can be moved quickly in any direction. In video mode, it behaves like a traditional video head with a pan handle for tilt and pan movements. To lock position, you just push the button down. To unlock, push it back up from under the handle. There's also a compact quick release plate and an anti-twist alignment pin for video use.

Its multi-segment legs with flip locks folds down into a compact 14 or 17.1 inches, depending on the model. The oval legs guarantee they won't turn on you and add to rigidity where they connect to the tripod. There's a leg angle selector at that point which can flatten the legs (as if your tripod is doing the splits), set them to a normal 25 degree angle, medium 45 degree angle or low 80 degree angle.

The two models reach as high as 45 inches and 59.2 inches but can also squat as low as 6.1 and 6.9 inches.

Dave managed to snag a $30 Manfrotto modopocket. It's three pieces of heavy-gauge stamped sheet metal that fold closed under your camera, revealing a tripod socket of its own. To use it, you fold out the front and back supports, which are held in position by a pair of strong springed hinges and attach a small wire thread that prevents the two supports from doing the splits.

Camera Armor (http://www.cameraarmor.us), famed for their dSLR protective skins, has recently added an Always-On model line for digicams. The Always-On Millipod cover is a one-size-fits-all (up to one inch thick, anyway) design that attaches to the digicam's tripod socket. A long slot in a metal bracket lets you slide the attaching screw to whatever position your camera's socket happens to be. The bracket holds one end of a soft, stretchy neoprene cover that you simply wrap over the camera and hold with its Velcro catch. When you're ready to shoot, pull the Velcro, unwrap and shoot. You can leave the $34.95 wrap on all the time. It's like having your case and freedom, too.

Plus, you can accessorize it with the $24.95 Millipod Micro Tripod folding metal tripod. That too can stay on your digicam and you probably won't even notice because it's only 5mm thick. The front leg is adjustable so you can change the angle of your shot.

If you avoid using the popup flash on your dSLR, Gary Fong might just have what you need to put that troublesome thing to use. He calls it the Puffer, a plastic diffuser that wraps around the popup flash and mounts to the camera's hotshoe. One size fits all, using a set of mounting holes for the diffuser screen. It's a $20 solution to diffusing your built-in flash.

Confusing, overwhelming, inconvenient. Backing up your data, that is. According to Harris Research that's why 96 percent of us don't.

But one day that hard disk is going to sound funny and all that data will be irretrievably lost. Unless you back it up. And to make that a little less confusing, overwhelming and inconvenient, Imation (http://www.imation.com) had the bright idea of selling DVDs with specialized backup software all set to go.

They call them TDK SimpleSave discs and sell three variations. Photo discs ($12.99 for three) find and save image files (based on their file type), Music discs ($9.99 for three) find and save audio files and Docs discs ($7.99 for three) find and save text documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more.

The software automatically prompts for a blank disc when the current one has been filled. And you can exclude or include specific file extensions in the advanced options.

CONCLUSION

Like most heroic skirmishes, this one was over far too quickly for our heroes, who mounted their untrusty steeds at McCarran airport to fly on to other adventures. Sancho, in fact, is saddling up for Macworld Expo at the moment. Stay tuned to see what kind of trouble he gets into this time.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Macworld 2008 -- Don't Destroy the Dream

(Excerpted from the full reports posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/MWSF08/mw-tue.htm and http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/MWSF08/mw-wed.htm on the Web site.)

SAN FRANCISCO -- It may be the first time Apple's stock price has dropped after a Steve Jobs keynote, but thinner, after all, was his theme. The keynotes often smack of high school rallies and when, as today, there's little to say, the noise is the music.

If investors were not impressed, perhaps they spent more time looking at the centerpiece MacBook Air's specs than examining the merchandise. As one colleague put it to his video camera, "You really have to pick it up to appreciate it."

MACBOOK AIR

It's light, insubstantial, an engineering marvel. On which you will be hard pressed to install any software you can't download, since the design jettisons an optical drive. There is a $99 optional SuperDrive DVD drive available, but it connects to the computer through a USB port.

That USB port is its only wired connection to the world (not counting the micro DVI port for an external monitor and the headphone connection). It does talk to the world wirelessly with WiFi, but that should go without saying these days. No Ethernet, no card slot.

Its power management -- long and short term -- is even less accommodating. You can't swap out the internal battery (or even replace it when it's time comes).

It's not the box to replace your desktop, but more a vacation or classroom computer. Unimpressive as it is for heavy duty work, the MacBook Air does make a marvelous prototype. Most compelling is the gestural interface on the trackpad, a derivative of what iPhone and iPod Touch users enjoy. Put three fingers on the trackpad and swipe them left to go back and right to go forward in Safari. Enlarge an image in iPhoto by spreading two fingers. Very cool.

The LED backlit display is also a nice move.

Available in two to three weeks, the MacBook Air comes in two configurations. Both sport Intel Core 2 Duo processors, 2-GB of RAM, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and a 13.3-inch screen. The only significant difference is the $1,799 1.6-Ghz model has an 80-GB 4200 RPM PATA hard drive while the $3,098 1.8-Ghz model has a 64-GB solid-state drive. Never before has less capacity cost more.

The illuminated keyboard is full-size but chicklet. The wedge shaped body slices between 0.16 to 0.76 inches in thickness. There is no mechanical latch. The top is magnetically attracted to the base.

Ironically -- for a computer with no optical drive -- it ships with install/restore DVDs.

To live with this on vacation, you'd need a USB card reader to get your images into in (no PCMCIA or ExpressCard readers). And back home, we imagine you'd be swapping devices like tablets, external drives, printers, scanners and readers -- or hauling around a USB hub to connect everything to the Air. We do that now, of course, but our external drives are FireWire. No FireWire here.

TIME CAPSULE

Mac OS X Leopard adds Time Machine, a backup utility, to the Mac's standard software arsenal. All you really need to take advantage of it is an external drive. Not content to leave that to third parties like LaCie and Other World Computing who've been building them for years, Apple introduced its own external drive, the Time Capsule.

But with a twist. Apple's externals also include a full-featured 802.11n Wi-Fi base station. They're designed to support multiple machines wirelessly.

There are two models. The $499 1-TB model and a $299 500-GB model. Ports include Power, USB (for shared printing or a hard drive), Gigabit Ethernet (for a DSL or cable modem), three Gigabit Ethernet ports and security slot.

While 802.11n provides five times the performance of Wireless G networks, according to Apple, adding a non-N device to the network will degrade performance. Initial backups could be painfully long, although subsequent incremental backups, which only copy changed files, might not be.

That's a big "might," however. The latest version of iPhoto, for example, bundles all your images files into one OS X package. That large file would count as a changed file every time you import or edit an image, triggering the incremental backup. Doing that over WiFi, even in the background, isn't something we'd like to be subjected to.

Apple claims the Time Capsule hard drives are "server grade disks." They will be available in February.

The most interesting aspect about them may be their capacities. Full enjoyment of Time Machine requires at least a 500-MB external drive.

A single backup device, however, is not a solution to your image archiving needs, no matter how informal they are. You'll want multiple copies (CD/DVDs and more than one external drive) to really be safe.

If you want to get serious about this, consider a 500-GB array in a Drobo external unit (http://www.drobo.com). Now that's something to think about. It gives you a redundancy that Time Capsule and Time Machine can't -- with no more work. If only it made offsite copies simple to build, too.

There's no getting around the expense of a backup system. But with so much content, there's no getting around the need for one either. Apple's solution is fragile but it may just encourage a few users to back up who otherwise would not.

APPLE TV

We're big fans of Apple TV (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/ATV/ATV.HTM) but we've always felt it was a little under utilized. So apparently does Apple. A free software revision (along with a slight price decrease to $229 for the 40-GB model and $329 for the 160-GB model) adds quite a bit more capability to this (literally) hot little box. Or will add when it becomes available in a couple of weeks.

Essentially, the update frees the Apple TV from getting its content from iTunes on some computer in your house. One of the first revisions to it allowed it to tap into YouTube videos and this iTunes-free protocol has been extended to dealing directly with the iTunes store for videos, podcasts, movies and now movie rentals. Content you buy gets synced back to iTunes, making that a two-way street at last.

The movie rental business is not going to fly at my house. Titles in the catalog (with a little dust on them) will go for $2.99 but recent titles go for $3.99. What do you get for that? You get 30 days to watch the movie before it expires. The catch is that once you start Playing the movie, you have 24 hours to finish viewing it. And that's the part that won't fly here. Fall asleep and you're done for.

Would it kill Apple to give you three days to watch the thing?

The extended connectivity provides some benefits to photo sharing, too. You've always been able to see images from one computer on your HDTV. But now you can see photos and videos from anyone with a .Mac account. You can also view Flickr albums, adding contacts to the Apple TV.

That independence extends to podcasts, too, which can now be streamed like YouTube videos.

It's gratifying to see Apple develop a product like Apple TV into a more and more useful appliance. Much as we tisk movie rentals, we'll probably spring for a few.

IRIS

We met with Matthew Drayton of Nolobe (http://www.nolobe.com) who demonstrated Iris, his new image editing software for Leopard. Matthew is the author of Interarchy, having acquired the file transfer software from Stairways Software last February.

Iris is making its public debut at Macworld Expo and is available now as a public beta. The free download is available at http://nolobe.com/iris where regular updates will be posted and feedback collected.

Matthew expects the public beta period to end during March. Starting Jan. 15, you can pre-order Iris for $39.95 at http://store.nolobe.com, a savings of $40 off the release price.

The program can open TIFFs, JPEGs, bitmaps, Photoshop and Raw files. It uses not only the Leopard services for image file formats but includes a few custom routines for unsupported formats. It's an 8-bit channel editor, though, so your 12- or 14-bit Raw files are converted on import. It isn't, in short, a Raw editor.

We found a number of familiar tools in Iris. Levels, Filters (including Unsharp Masking), an Exposure tool. It's a pixel editor, not a metadata editor, so changes to the image are permanent.

The distinguishing feature seems to be the inclusion of palettes like tools and layers in the same window as the image. This takes up a little more real estate, but keeps things simple for the novice.

And that's who the program has been designed for. "Iris has been created for previously overlooked Mac owners who simply wanted an accessible and easy to use image program that provides professional results, without the professional price tag," Matthew said.

TWO PRINTERS

We were glad to see two new 13x19 photo printers on the floor. It's a format we much enjoy, given as we are to standing back and admiring our work.

HP introduced its $549 Photosmart Pro B8850, available in April. Based on its flagship B9180, the eight-ink printer includes several color management advancements that simplify the printing experience. The printer is seamlessly integrated with Adobe Photoshop CS3, HP said, enabling users to print directly from their preferred workflow. The choice is then automatically synchronized with the color management setting, eliminating issues associated with "double color management." This technology also is available in a free software download for the award-winning HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Photo Printer.

"HP played an instrumental role in our development of the improved printing experience of Adobe Photoshop CS3," said Kevin Connor, Adobe senior director of product management, Professional Digital Imaging. "Thanks to design input from HP, creative professionals can generate their prints more quickly and easily, while taking advantage of color controls and a unified printing interface that help provide predictable and consistent prints."

Additional advancements that ensure consistent color and superior gallery-quality prints include Electrostatic Drop Detection and closed-loop calibration. The Electrostatic Drop Detection printhead management system efficiently self-monitors and self-cleans to keep the printer in top condition while minimizing waste by cleaning only the individual print nozzles that require attention. Closed-loop calibration automatically adjusts print settings to maintain color consistency.

It also offers truly neutral black-and-white printing with three individual HP Vivera black inks: photo black, matte black and light gray. And it can handle a wide variety of media, including HP Advanced Photo Paper and digital fine art media up to 0.7-mm thick, including canvas and fiber-gloss.

Epson delivered the other 13x19 printer, its $549.99 Stylus Photo R1900. One thing we immediately liked about it was the roll feeder on the back. But it also sports Epson's UltraChrom Hi-Gloss 2 pigment ink and can handle a wide variety of media including glossy, luster, matte, canvas and fine art papers.

The Epson R1900 also includes Radiance technology, co-developed by Rochester Institute of Technology, to maximize the color gamut while simultaneously optimizing print quality. Radiance technology reduces grain, provides smoother color transitions and ensures colors stay consistent in virtually any lighting condition, according to the company.

XTRAIN

At the xTrain booth (http://www.xtrain.com) we chatted with Jeremy Vest who has rapidly put together an impressive stable of photographers to explain the ins and outs of digital imaging with the aid of a very polished crew at Splash Media (http://www.splashmedia.com) in Dallas.

There are a lot of video training aids out there but they all have the same flaw: rudimentary editing. You'll see a talking head for a moment as some technique is introduced, then a screen shot of the technique. Then back to the talking head. If you're lucky. Some just record the screen with a voice over.

But xTrain's products are professionally edited, jumping from a close-up of a camera control to the on-location setup to the final image and back to the photographer explaining how it all came together. It's not only more entertaining, but it's more informative as well.

Jeremy told us the company has created 117 titles or classes so far and expects to create another 200 this year. And these classes are not taught by just anybody (like a lot of digital photography books, we might add). Jeremy cajoled the best and the brightest to come down to Dallas for a weekend and record a class or two. You'll find Ben Willmore, Rick Sammon, Ron Sheppard and Russell Brown among your teachers at xTrain.

New classes this year will extend the photography curriculum by about 40 titles. We can hardly wait.

CASIO

Casio was showing its $999 EXILIM Pro EX-F1, "the next generation digital camera," according to the company. That claims is based on its ultra-high speed burst shooting capability which captures 60 still images per second and records high speed movies at 300 fps.

You don't even have to press the Shutter button. Continuously recording at up to 60 images per second, a maximum of 60 images can be saved in the camera's own buffer memory even before the shutter button is depressed.

Even the flash is fast, allowing you to take 20 continuous shots at a speed up to seven frames a second. And Movie mode can record at 300, 600 or 1,200 fps. Movies can even be recorded in 1920x1080 HD quality.

The EX-F1 has a 6-Mp sensor, 12x optical zoom and a bright 2.8-inch LCD.

ADOBE

Adobe had announced the impending availability of Photoshop Elements 6 for the Mac just before the show. It won't ship until early March, we were told, but we saw it demoed in the Adobe booth where CS3 and Lightroom were also on display.

Terry White's 45-minute video podcast (http://www.creativesuitepodcast.com/index.php?post_id=295820) offers a first look at Elements 6, highlighting the new interface and tools.

VERTUS

At the Vertus booth (http://www.vertustech.com), James Carr-Jones gave us a quick overview of Fluid Mask 3, one of the more sophisticated masking tools available. But the company is justly proud of its educational resources to help customers master the art of edge detection and masking.

James said most products handle about 50 to 60 percent of the job, while Fluid Mask 3 can get about 80 percent of it done. It provides two kinds of blending, feathering and smart decontamination of foreground and background to make it easier to finish the five percent of the job that takes 95 percent of your time.

Recently the company has applied its edge detection expertise to Bling! It an application that can lift an amateur product shot out of its everyday background and, with some clip art and backgrounds, jazz it up.

We were impressed by how sophisticated the product is while, at the same time, it remains very simple to use. No jargon, no dialog boxes, just some large clear graphics and handles to play with.

The result is a more attractive product shot for eBay, say. The company reports users are seeing a 20 percent increase in the value of their merchandise, more hits and watches, and are moving dead stock out of the garage just by using Bling! It to fix up their photos.

A Mac version has just been released, joining the original Windows version.

END OF TOUR

We wrapped up our Macworld coverage with a concert by rockers Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw enjoyed through wireless headphones. When Blades confessed he had let an elderly matron believe "Sister Christian" was really about a nun who sold dope, he threw up his hands and shrugged, "Don't deny the dream."

There's always a little more innovation than we expect at Macworld (even if it was a bit thin this year) but the dream lives on as we start packing for PMA at the end of the month. See you then!

Return to Topics.

Feature: Herbert Keppler Dies at 82

Herbert Keppler, former editor and publisher of Modern Photography and Popular Photography, died Friday night at the age of 82 from heart failure after a brief illness.

Mason Resnick's Adorama News Desk editorial (http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=NewsDesk_Internal&article_num=010608-2) recalls how Keppler gave him his first break in the business.

Adorama has also published a tribute (http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=NewsDesk_Internal&article_num=010607-1), noting several of their own products "benefited from Keppler's design suggestions."

Jason Schneider has published a tribute to him at PopPhoto.com (http://www.popphoto.com/popularphotographyfeatures/4968/in-memoriam-herbert-keppler-1925-2008.html). After citing his many accomplishments, he concludes, "What probably mattered to him most is that millions of photography enthusiasts all over the world thought of him as 'Kind Old Uncle Burt,' the man whose sage, warm-hearted advice and counsel helped them get more out of their photography for more than half a century."

Indeed, we were often the beneficiaries of his wisdom, which we consulted from the time we learned to read until we last saw him at photokina 2006.

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New on the Site

At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:

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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 Fuji cameras at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6f779

Visit the Nikon Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6f781

Herb asks about a yellow light problem at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea728e/0

A user asks about using the same lenses with the D80 and the D3 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea74a4/0

Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b2

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Dave's Deals

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We Have Mail

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

RE: Microtek M1

I received my Microtek ArtixScan M1 Pro in December. Since then I have scanned over 200 slides, more than 300 negatives but limited reflective scans. I have been very happy with quality of most scans if I stick with what works. Using it for work on "Life Memory" DVDs that I started doing for friends and family.

But I informed SilverFast of some of the problems I ran into and emailed Pref folders and samples (Jan. 2). But so far received no response back (other than SilverFast has received information and a return Email stating my ticket has been closed). Since reopened new ticket (Jan. 10 asking for a response back of some kind)!

So far all problems I found have been with SilverFast Ai Studio. Tried to recreate some issues in ScanWizard Pro but worked fine.

I also gave a list to Microtek with no response so far! I'm included a list of some of the issues I have run in to with SilverFast:

1. MultiExposure Misalignment

2. Black lines in prescans and final scans if prescan is set at 4x, 6x-8x

3. Lockup of Windows Explorer if it's left open to file to which you're downloading TIFF file from SilverFast

4. Crash of SilverFast using Pixel Clone feature

5. 9600 dpi scans do not scan to file correctly when scanning slides in 48-bit color (4800dpi are fine). Tiff is black or stripped (file size approx. 636-MB but black)

6. Lockup of SilverFast during batch scans of neg. several times for unknown reasons

I wanted to hear from someone that issues were being worked on, before I start blogging on Internet about problems. Resisted answering questions on your site, etc. (positive or neg. included, not wanting to inflame issues). I was hoping you may have received at least a reply that some of the items I listed are being worked on and possibly a time period for update to program (I acknowledge time period not likely).

-- Philip J. Allebach

(Yes, we've confirmed that some of the problems you have mentioned (and we mentioned in the diary) are being worked on by SilverFast. If you are using the version distributed on CD by Microtek, you should know there is a later revision available. I suspect you already have that, but just wanted to mention it. We haven't tested the scanner on Windows, though. Our problems on the Mac are limited (so far) to the misalignment during Multiexposure.... Thanks for the feedback. We're sure both Microtek and LaserSoft appreciate it, too. They aren't big firms with support staff, though, so don't worry if they haven't responded. If anything happens (updates, fixes), we'll report them promptly. -- Editor)

RE: Olympus E-500 Noise

I bought a Olympus E-500 and like it except for available light or high ISO pictures.

Is that a software/firmware issue? Or is it the sensor?

I've taken monotone black and white pictures that are not so bad -- sort of similar to Tri-X film at an ISO of 650 to 80 -- but color at those same settings is terrible. I wonder if there is there a way to get around this? Or should I just forget about low light photography without flash?

-- Fred Haynes

(Our test results conclude, "Image noise at high ISO is considerably higher than that of some competing models and noise has strong chroma (color) component, making it more apparent/objectionable." That would confirm your experience of getting better results in black and white mode (where you essentially have eliminated all color noise). Our own advice, though, is to look into Noiseware (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/INW/INW.HTM). It can learn from each image it processes, reducing the both luminance and color noise. If you'd like, send us a full res image with bad noise and we'll run it through Noiseware for you. You can also just download the demo yourself (http://www.noiseware.com/download.aspx). -- Editor)

RE: Kodak Picture Frame

I just bought a Kodak SV811 digital picture frame. I am told to download the Kodak EasyShare software first before working with the frame. But, I'm not sure what this software does. I am using am Apple with iPhoto to work with my photos right now. I don't want to somehow mess that up. What does the EasyShare software do, and do I have to use it to work with the frame?

-- David Carr

(EasyShare software manages your images just like iPhoto but with a link to Kodak's EasyShare Gallery online service. That interconnectivity is extended to your frame when you use EasyShare to manage what images it displays. But you don't have to do so. You don't even have to connect the frame to your computer. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

After a slew of reports that Adobe was spying on CS3 users by accessing an obscure and suspiciously named Web site whenever an application in the suite was launched, the company issued a TechNote (http://kb.adobe.com/selfservice/viewContent.do?externalId=kb402979&sliceId=1). The calls to the *.2O7.net ('O' not zero) are to Web analytics partner Omniture, the TechNote explains, which Adobe uses to track calls to its Web sites.

Creative Suite 3 software fetches content from Adobe.com two ways: through the Welcome screen or an embedded browser. Those are the calls being tracked by Omniture. "No personally identifiable information is ever submitted when fetching content from Adobe.com or when tracking calls are made after the fetched content is received," the TechNote claims.

The Welcome screen itself can be disabled by selecting the Don't Show This Again option in its lower left corner.

"Adobe is working with Omniture to assign more standard hostnames that do not give rise to such confusion," the TechNote said.


Phanfare (http://www.phanfare.com) has relaunched its premium photo and video web hosting service as a free photo and video sharing network for families. Members can create photo and video albums and invite friends and family to join their Phanfare network. All members can view shared albums, leave comments and create their own albums at no cost. Connected friends and family access an online dashboard where they are made aware of new events within their Phanfare network. New members receive 20 free prints. Phanfare, which previously charged all users, now offers 1-GB of storage free to each user. Unlimited storage can be purchased for $54.95/year.


Tribeca Labs (http://www.tribecalabs.com) has released Photobot [W], its fully-automatic "Zero-Click" picture correction software. Photobot continually monitors folders you designate. When new images are copied into these folders, it optimizes picture quality automatically with Perfectly Clear exposure and color with Full Spectrum RGB by Tribeca Labs. Photobot also reduces red-eye with FotoNation Red-Eye.


PictoColor (http://www.correctphoto.com) has released its $39.95CorrectPhoto 3.0 with ImageTitler [MW]. CorrectPhoto, with PictoColor's OneClick Color technology, now includes an additional standalone program for adding titles to any photo called ImageTitler.


O'Reilly Media has published iPhoto '08: The Missing Manual by David Pogue and Derrick Story, which is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 34 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596516185/?tag=theimagingres-20).


Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has announced its $89.99 Photoshop Elements 6 for Macintosh will ship in March. The new release focuses on making everyday and advanced tasks easier. New features based on proprietary Photomerge technology, for example, can easily combine the best elements from a series of shots to create a single, perfect image. The new Quick Selection Tool reduces a time-consuming task to a single click. Photographers can choose from one of three edit modes, each geared toward a different experience level. A new Guided Edit mode helps walk users through the steps of improving a photo. Additional enhancements include an improved conversion tool that dramatically converts color images into elegant, nuanced black-and-whites.

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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

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

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

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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
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Q&A Forum: http://www.imaging-resource.com/FORUM.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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