The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 10, Number 4 15 February 2008

Copyright 2008, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 221st edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. As promised, we have our PMA Envy Awards and PMA highlights report for you. Then we add an interesting twist to our annual call for your Oscar nominations. Enjoy!


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:
Used Camera Buyer
http://www.UsedCameraBuyer.com

Sell Your Used Camera Gear to UCB!

UCB, aka Used Camera Buyer, purchases all brands and types of camera gear including Digital and Film Equipment.

Click http://www.UsedCameraBuyer.com to get a free price quote on over 10,000 items from Medium and Large format to Digital SLRs and Digital Point and Shoots. So, empty your closets of those unused cameras, lenses and accessories and turn them into cash today!

Special Offer for Imaging Resource Members: Receive an extra five percent on your quoted price. Simply include a copy of this email in the box with your equipment. Visit http://www.UsedCameraBuyer.com today!

Sony
http://www.sony.com

In photography, timing is everything. Introducing the Sony Alpha DSLR-A700. The camera that knows seconds can make a world of difference.

It features Sony's intuitive responsiveness technology, which includes multiple sensors that activate as soon as you pick up the camera. So when the perfect photo presents itself, you're ready.

Click here to learn more.

Nikon
http://www.nikonusa.com

The Nikon D3 Digital SLR

Professional digital imaging ... without compromise.

A Nikon-original 12.1-megapixel FX-format (23.9x36mm) CMOS sensor, teamed with exclusive Nikon EXPEED digital image processing technology, faithfully captures incredible edge-to-edge sharpness, rich color depth and broad tonal range for astounding image superiority at up to 9 fps, with low-noise performance at up to ISO 6400, for unparalleled pro versatility.

A fast and accurate 51-area AF system is teamed with the exclusive Nikon Scene Recognition System and Nikon's famous 1,005-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II, assuring even more accurate exposures and white balance detection.

Visit http://clk.atdmt.com/DWO/go/nik0360000019dwo/direct/01/ to see the D3 in action!

Olympus
http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?oy3

It's ready to go under even if you're not.

The Olympus Stylus SW series are the waterproof digital cameras you can take anywhere. Waterproof down to 33 feet, crushproof up to 220 pounds, shockproof up to five feet and freezeproof down to 14 degrees F -- your camera will be ready for anything. Capture It All.

Visit http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?oy3 to see for yourself.

ACDSee
http://www.acdsee.com

ACDSee Pro 2 Special Offer!

Use coupon code "ImagingResource" at http://www.acdsee.com/offers/acdseepro2 for 15 percent off ACDSee Pro 2, the complete toolbox for photographers.

Imaging Resource and ACDSee have teamed up to provide you with a special offer on ACDSee Pro 2, the most powerful software platform for viewing, processing, editing and organizing your photos.

ACDSee Pro 2 is designed to support and accelerate the workflow of photographers like you. With time saving automation, accelerated viewing and browsing, flexible cataloging and powerful batch processing, you'll have more time to spend behind the camera when you use ACDSee Pro 2.

Visit http://www.acdsee.com/offers/acdseepro2 before Feb. 29 for more information and to use your ImagingResource coupon code.


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: Second Annual PMA Envy Awards

Having pioneered the Ersatz Nobel for Customer Service and the rotating Missing Oscar, we're pleased to announce our second annual Envy Awards for exhibitors of particular merit or amusement at the Photo Marketing Association's annual trade show.

The name is borrowed from the Las Vegas restaurant where the idea took form at an editorial breakfast meeting in 2007. The award is symbolized by the aircraft-grade aluminum juice pitchers whose handles are too low to permit graceful pouring and were such a continual source of frustration to the wait staff that the things are only used for water these days (which, unlike juice, can easily be cleaned up -- or not). Elegant but impractical, that's an Envy award. But the products that win one (or two) are simply to be envied.

We are pleased this year to have engaged Merci, our waitress, as the virtual presenter, taking this award presentation business up a notch. She not only looks the part, but her name could not be more appropriate. See for yourself at http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-envy.htm.

The second batch of Envies, traditionally awarded only after the show (and several nights of sleep) in several vague categories, follow. For more information, read our Pasini Reports (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/PMAS08.HTML) where we discuss them in detail.

DSLR

Nikon D300. Two Envies. We shot the show with a D300, which was why people were so nice to us. Sure, we let them sit behind the wheel (it was a loaner, after all), and everyone of them drooled. Like the D200, it feels right. And the Live View modes and Active D-Lighting are life savers. Very sweet. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D300/D300A.HTM)

Pentax K20D. One Envy. Shipping in March, the dust and weather sealed wonder with a Samsung CMOS sensor that can hit ISO 6400 has, like other Pentax dSLRs, an option to save Raws files in Adobe DNG format. Live view mode can zoom in 4x or 8x to aid manual focusing. And there are other cool things about it (and its Samsung cousin) but it just feels good in the hand. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/1201125660.html)

Canon Rebel XSi. One Envy. The IS kit lens, the DIGIC II chip and Live View make this a tempting trade-up. Toss in the SD card format and you have an even strong temptation if you add an Eye-Fi WiFi SD card. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pepcom.htm#can)

Nikon D60. One Envy. Same can be said for the D60. Add an Eye-Fi that is. The air flow dust control system is a very clever approach to a little discussed problem. Auto LCD rotation (like Konica Minolta used to do) is a nice touch, too. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pepcom.htm#nik)

DIGICAM

Casio EX-F1. One Envy. You can't see the EX-F1 fire its pop-up flash in burst mode and not envy it. The 1200 fps movies (even at just 336x96 pixels) are just another reason to turn green. With the 12x optical zoom and Raw support, you can make hummingbirds look lazy. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-sat.htm#cas)

Olympus SP-570 UltraZoom. One Envy. You can't turn around without Olympus updating their ultrazoom. Now it the optical zoom range covers 20x (up from 18x) from 26mm to 530mm (and f2.8-4.5). And a nice manual focus ring on the lens barrel. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/1200978064.html)

Kodak Z1012 IS. One Envy. Not your typical 12x zoom, the Z1012 IS can product a clean print from ISO 3200 shots, can capture HD video (and play it back with the optional HD dock that also recharges the battery) and features Kodak's new SmartCapture technology that automatically sets some Scene modes, adjusts white balance and exposure (underexposing a bit) and then uses its beefy processor to massage that data into an image you otherwise can't get in a digicam. Which is what envy is all about. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/1201901195.html)

ACCESSORY

Eye-Fi. Two Envies. Everybody loves this gadget. It's a 2-GB SD card with WiFi built in. We have some questions. How fast an SD card is it and can you WiFi an image to a WiFi printer like HP's C8180? But that's what reviews are for. All we need to know to blush green is this card turns any SD-capable camera into a WiFi camera. Lose the USB cable. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-thu.htm#eye)

Op/Tech Adapt-Its. Two Envies. We like to swap straps on our dSLRs. Sometimes we need a shoulder strap. Most often we like to shoot with a wrist strap. What we don't like is rethreading the straps like we're Betsy Ross every time we want to change. But finding hooks that fit dSLR eyelets is one of those impossible quests that makes us feel foolish. Until Op/Tech came up with the Adapt-It. It bridges the eyelet and the hook. And no need to be envious -- four will set you back just $3 or $4. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-fri.htm#opt)

Delkin Universal Dual Battery Charger. One Envy. If you travel with battery powered devices, you probably resent all the charging bricks you have to haul around with you. Imagine if you could replace them all with just one brick and an adapter plate for each battery format. And it could charge two formats at the same time. Don't imagine, it's here. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/sneakpeek.htm#del)

Delkin ImageRouter. One Envy. It's so cool, it gets an Envy even though we can't think of a single time we'd ever use one. You can plug four CompactFlash cards into this USB device and they'll show up on your desktop. Use the included Windows software to copy their contents simultaneously. Plug another one into this one and do it with eight of them. Ideal for schools or long vacations. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/sneakpeek.htm#del)

Geotate Hopi. Two Envies. There are a lot of geotagging devices out there. But what we like about the Hopi is that its rechargeable battery lasts forever, it syncs to your camera via the hot shoe (so it only records something for each exposure) and it downloads that little data via USB for merging (with the included software) in the Exif header of your images. No need to cable connect the device to your camera with some expensive proprietary cable. And not a lot of maintenance recharging the battery (the USB port will do it for you). (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/sneakpeek.htm#geo)

PRINTER

HP B8850. One Envy. HP stripped its B9180 13x19 pro pigment printer down to enthusiast size with the B8850. You get the same great inks (including three blacks) and all the specialty papers (like canvas) if not the very thick ones. And the same maintenance routines too. Your black and white prints will make your friends turn green with envy. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-fri.htm#hpp)

Epson R1900. One Envy. Not to be outdone by HP, Epson has fitted a roll printer to its enthusiast 13x19 printer so your panoramas will turn your friends green with envy. And at these prices, everybody can be an enthusiast, enjoying 13x19 prints.

SOFTWARE

HP Light Fade Simulator. One Envy. When Tom Brown showed us this we looked down at our shoes. Were they sparkly red? Were we in Oz? What's behind that curtain, Tom! Well, a lot of work evaluating print fade for a number of paper and ink combinations. The company actually used Wilhelm Research's methodology in calibrating the degree of fade each year, building a different ICC profile for each year. Windows only or it would have gotten two envies. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-fri.htm#hpp)

Nik Software Viveza Photoshop plug-in. One Envy. We happen to like U Point technology. Click on the part of your picture you want to improve and use sliders associated with that point to improve it. Simple. No menus, no layers, no masks, no arcane commands, no Scott Kelby. And now U Point comes to any image editing software that can run a Photoshop plug-in. Hurray! (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/sneakpeek.htm#nik)

iNova Actions! eBook. One Envy. We also like Peter iNova's eBooks. But unless you bought one of the cameras he writes about, you probably haven't enjoyed any of the 600 or so special effects he gives away with each eBook. Well, Peter had an idea. What if he did an eBook about the special effects and rewrote them so they work for any six to 12 megapixel image. From any camera (even a digicam). So he did. But he also distributes it on thumbdrive, saving some installation time from a CD. Bravo! (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pepcom.htm#ino)

MONITOR

Eizo ColorEdge CG222W. One Envy. It's hard to believe you can work in front of this gorgeous monitor and feel the least bit stressed out. Its relaxingly bright and even light massages your eyes. And it just about has the sRGB and Adobe colorspace covered, too. Really the nicest monitor we've seen. And unlike other Eizo monitors, it's nearly affordable. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-sat.htm#eiz)

SCANNER

Microtek Artixscan M1. One Envy. You know we like Microtek's dual bed design for scanning film without looking through glass, too. And with the M1, the company has built an autofocus scanner so you can get as sharp a capture as possible. Brilliant idea. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pepcom.htm#mic)

Kodak Rapid Print Scanner. One Envy. But for those batch jobs where the whole shoebox has to be scanned, you want some professional help. Usually that meant parting with your treasures, which is always risky. But Kodak has built a kiosk with a 30-print per minute scanner (various sizes are fine) that writes 300-dpi scans to disc. So you can take your treasures to one of these kiosks (soon) and do a roll of film a minute to disc. Compare that to about an hour a roll for a flatbed in the comfort of your home. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-thu.htm#kod)

SERVICES

Swiss Picture Bank. One Envy. Why not archive your images in Switzerland along with your retirement fund? Three cents each for 30 years storage or six cents for 99 (hard to check on them, though, unless you really take care of yourself). We took over 500 shots during PMA, so that would run us $30.00 for 99 years. Or $15 for just the ones we published. Pretty reasonable. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/sneakpeek.htm#swi)

PicMe Photo Sharing. One Envy. PicMe uses a very simple interface that shows folders of images as stacks of pictures and lets you share simply by dragging an image or stack of them to a name in the list it displays on the left side of the screen. You already know how to do this. Very nice. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/sneakpeek.htm#pic)

Film Rescue. One Envy. Got old film? That's not developed? Or a Kodak disc you want scanned. Call these people. Everyone who sees your images when they send them back will think you're a magician. And they won't tell, either. They won't even charge you if they can't help. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-fri.htm#fil)

CHIP

Kodak 5-Mp TrueSense KAC-05020. Two Envies. It's only for camphones, but it gives them high ISO (helpful since they don't have a flash) and a lot more resolution than you typically find in a camphone. But that high ISO with little noise (thanks to the extra "clear" pixel in the RGB layout) can be built for any format, you know. So already we're envious, even though the first phones with the chip won't be available until 2009. (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS08/MRP/pma-thu.htm#kod)

Return to Topics.

Feature: PMA 2008 Highlights

Despite a show shortened to avoid conflict with the Super Bowl, your Imaging Resource team managed to match its ground-breaking coverage of last year's Photo Marketing Association trade show. Again Imaging Resource sent two video crews and a floor reporter and a photographer to South Hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center to get the story to you.

The Etchells-Deuel and Barnett-Smith video teams delivered 48 videos with the aid of Producer Andrew Alexander. Mike Tomkins, hamstrung by a balky Windows laptop, did manage to get photos of 11 major booths. He also managed, with the help of staffer Siegfried Weidelich to post over 200 press releases related to show news.

And your newsletter editor continued his two-pronged approach, pairing a gallery of dozens of captioned images from each event with a lengthy text report as well. That amounted to over 14,600 words published in Pasini Reports with almost 300 images.

While a lot of that was done without sleep, our visions from the week were not just day dreams. "Anything impress you?" we were constantly asked. "What have you seen that you really liked?"

But this year, it took a little time to put the show in perspective. It wasn't so much one product or another that impressed us. It was, despite wearing blinders to focus on each day's report, more a vision of where the business is going these days.

THE CONNECTIVITY CHALLENGE

One such issue, subterranean as it is, is the connectivity challenge. While digicams and camphones have managed to coexist much like camphones and MP3 players, the one technical aspect where the camphone trumps the digicam remains connectivity. It's still easier to share a camphone image or video than one you take with a digicam.

But a couple of developments are chipping away (if not challenging) that advantage. The most exciting one is the Eye-Fi SD card. WiFi transfers have not set the world on fire. Indeed, camphones got their jump on digicams in the connectivity wars by 1) being communications devices to begin with (using the cellphone network to transmit rather small image files) and 2) buttressing that with Bluetooth, which doesn't have the setup overhead of WiFi.

But once set up WiFi is transparent. With 2-GB storage on the Eye-Fi, it need never come out of your camera. And resident there, the Eye-Fi SD card promises to make any SD-capable digicam into a WiFi camera. That means you can share higher-resolution images at the speed of a camphone's smaller resolution images over the cell network. And it may just mean you can do more with video sharing, too, something that even takes a while on a camphone.

The other development of note is Nikon's continuing commitment to WiFi in its Coolpix line. The company has been refining its own sharing service, recently renamed My Picturetown with Fotonation (which during the show was acquired by Tessera Technologies). The Coolpix S51c uploads directly to that service which provides a free 2-GB of storage and free email image sharing. The company is trying to make it as easy to share Coolpix images and video wirelessly as it is to share camphones images.

In that light, it was interesting to see Kodak's new sensor design take form as a 5-Mp KAC-05020 camphone image sensor. The new sensor, which should be appearing in 2009 camphones, adds a clear pixel to the typical RGB Bayer pattern to achieve high ISO without high noise.

"In a standard CMOS pixel," Kodak explained, "signal is measured by detecting electrons that are generated when light interacts with silicon of the sensor. As more light strikes the sensor, more electrons are generated, resulting in a higher signal at each pixel. In the KODAK TRUESENSE CMOS Pixel, however, the underlying "polarity" of the silicon is reversed, so that the absence of electrons is used to detect a signal."

It's something like using color negative film to get three stops of latitude rather than slide film with just one. By reversing the polarity, the noise in the shadows is captured as if they were highlights. A clever idea that is not limited to camphones, we hasten to point out.

But a camphone with that sensor will be able to take pictures unlike any camphone today (yes, even the iPhone). Will it, however, be able to transmit them as easily as today's 2-Mp images?

It is, as we said, the connectivity challenge.

MORE THAN MEGAPIXELS

You had to be oblivious not to overhear one person confide to another on nearly every aisle of every floor every day of the show that it isn't about megapixels any more.

But what is it about?

Ah, there you had a lot of theories. But what was clear to us was that we've not only moved beyond megapixels, we've moved beyond image processors. We're starting to see cameras -- both digicams and dSLRs -- that can do more than their predecessors ever dreamed. And they manage this with a combination of powerful processors for live functions and powerful post processing of the image as well. Our cameras are turning into photo systems, not simply sensors with an image processor.

The simplest illustration of this is Kodak's new SmartCapture mode, available on its new Z1012 IS and compact M1033. SmartCapture picks a Scene mode (although not all Scene modes are supported), sets the white balance and exposure (underexposing a bit) and processes the image (which is why it can underexpose) using a powerful image processor.

But Kodak isn't the only innovator here. Fotonation itself has been driving this trend with its face detection technology, which is now in two of three digicams. And it has extended that to smile recognition and even head counting so your self-timer will wait until you get in the picture before counting down.

Even Casio's EX-F1 illustrates the trend with the high-speed 6-Mp CMOS and a flash that can keep up with its 60 fps speed.

If you used to go shopping for image stabilization and more of a zoom range than 3x, you're now going to be lusting after some magic tricks.

That goes for dSLR buyers, too.

We're seeing Live View crop up even on the Canon Rebel. And features like Nikon's D-Lighting are now applied at the time of capture, not as an edit, to overcome the tendency toward dark images that a digital linear capture implies. Canon's version is called Auto Lighting Optimizer. That's a tremendous entry level feature, addressing the number one complaint new dSLR owners have. Dark pictures.

THE RANGEFINDER

If all that makes your head swim and you'd just like to wrap your hands around a simple camera, take heart. The rangefinder is not dead, nor are its pleasures diminished.

Leica announced it was going to offer upgrades to the M8 in perpetuity (or as close as we mortals come to it) rather than develop an M9 or M10. Considering the personal (even mystical) relationship Leica owners have with their cameras, that can only be comforting news (although reviewers might be a little miffed not to get an M8 like every other M8).

Is it that modular it can be easily updated, we asked Leica's Christian Erhardt. He nodded. It's a rangefinder, after all. You can't expect your Nikon D200 to turn into a D300 with a trip to the factory, but Leica can replace the back panel on the M8 to give you a better LCD or swap out the shutter. You'll have to pay about as much as it would cost to buy a D300, but you do get a two-year extension to your warranty. And your old friend back, too.

There was something retro even about the long-delayed DP1 from Sigma with its Foveon sensor. And that something was the audacity of offering a camera with a 28mm fixed focal length lens, Franny. No zoom, Zooey. Are they crazy, we wondered.

Probably, but there is a certain discipline to shooting wide angle. And to be candid for a moment, we have taken several hundred product shots with a wide angle converter lens married to our old Nikon 990 in macro mode. We just like the personality of that point of view. Works exceptionally well in crowded rooms and wide open spaces (landscapes), too.

As if that isn't enough to make traditionalists smile, Fujifilm showed a prototype medium format film camera using 120/220 film with an 80mm f3.5 lens and electronically controlled shutter. With a shutter speed as fast as 1/500 second, it adds a folding bellows, a hot shoe and a thumbwheel film advance to make the illusion complete.

The death of the rangefinder has been greatly exaggerated.

PRINTERS

Photo printing has gradually moved over the last year from the small 4x6 printer that is nearly foolproof to the all-in-one box that everyone has to have.

But both Epson and HP are providing the big thrill: a 13x19 printer at a reasonable price (not a lot more than one of those all-in-ones). Epson's R1900 has a roll feeder for endless panoramas while HP's B8850 (based on the pro B9180) offers three-gray black and white printing. If either of those capabilities draws a line in the sand for you, don't sweat the other details.

We were delighted to see this trend because 13x19 printing is look-Mom-no-cavities photo printing. You owe it to yourself to get a printer that can make these wonders so you can stand back and admire what that little camera of yours can really do. You just can't appreciate that in a 4x6 print.

SOFTWARE

We were a little surprised not to see Adobe (which had a meeting room hidden away somewhere) or Apple (Aperture seems to be all but forgotten) at the show. Maybe they're packing for photokina already.

But a couple of companies intrigued us with what we can only call liberated versions of their technology.

Nik Software introduces its Viveza Photoshop plug-in that uses the company's unique U Point technology to edit images without masks. This is Nikon Capture NX for the rest of us. If you have trouble getting your images to look the way you'd like, give U Point a try.

It's simple. You just click the place in the image that needs work. That puts a control point there. Then you use any of the multiple sliders associated with the control point to modify the image until it looks the way you want. If you can use a slider, you can edit images.

Of course, if you have Photoshop, you don't really need Viveza to get what you want. But it beats learning how to use adjustment layers and make contrast masks. Life, after all, is short.

We were also glad to see Peter iNova come out with his collection of over 600 Photoshop effects in a new eBook that is not tied to a particular camera model. If you're camera takes six to 12 megapixel images, these effects will work on them. And the eBook illustrates just what they'll do.

Just one of the intriguing aspects of the new release is that you can order it as either a $64 CD or a $69 thumbdrive (and even slightly less if you take advantage of the Dave's Deal provided our newsletter subscribers). The thumbdrive is worth the extra five bucks. You don't have to copy the effects to your hard drive (as you do with the CD), you just load them straight from the thumbdrive.

SCANNERS

We all have shoeboxes of prints and envelopes of negatives. Even binders of negatives, come to think of it. Fortunately not on the scale of our digital collections, but if you're not careful you can inherit just such a pile.

We're constantly asked how to digitize them, or worse, which flatbed scanner to buy. As if one could actually live long enough to digitize a lifetime of film images. You can't.

We usually recommend a local pro scanning service without naming names, but at the show we saw a couple of interesting possibilities.

The first was Kodak's Rapid Print Scanner. It isn't really available yet, but seed units have been out in the field and may be coming to a lab near you in kiosk form before the Easter bunny.

You can throw prints and negatives at it and it will batch scan them for you. Just bring your shoebox to the store, stack your prints (and which way) in the scanner and get a disc with the scans. And it's quick, doing about 30 prints a minute at 300 dpi.

The unit we observed had a little trouble feeding the images (and was gone the next time we walked through the booth, indicating a hardware failure). But we chatted with a friendly dealer who had been using one of the seed units. It has a few bugs to work out, he told us, but he was excited about the possibilities.

It doesn't make high quality scans, though, so you will get to see them in your lifetime. For those images that really deserve the royal treatment, though, Microtek brought its Artixscan M1 to DigitalFocus. We've been working on a review (in diary format) of it since the end of last year and are excited about what it can do for two reasons.

The first is Microtek's dual bed design, which eliminates that glass plate between the sensor optics and the emulsion. The second is that this is the first flatbed film scanner with autofocus. That promises to deliver some exceptional scans. Microtek's Parker Plaisted gave us reason to hope with his portfolio of large prints made from M1 scans. And that's just what you want for your heirloom images.

CONCLUSION

We saw a lot more (we're still excited about Op/Tech's Adapt-Its, but you'll have to read our show reports to find out why) than we can report in one wrap-up story. But our perspective this year went beyond individual products and neat features.

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:

Return to Topics.

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 the Nikon "Friends of the 8800" discussion at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee9b16a

Visit the Olympus dSLRs Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.eea6bcb

Martin asks about choosing an SLR at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea7003/0

Ron asks about batteries in the A710 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eea7986/0

Visit the Printers Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b8

Return to Topics.

Just for Fun: Time for Your 2008 Oscar Nominations!

As a subscriber of this particularly moving publication, you are also a member of the Ersatz Academy of Sliding Picture Arts and Sciences. Each year at this time, members of the Academy submit their nominations for the Academy's legendary Missing Oscar.

You may recall the Missing Oscar as the one stolen Oscar of several years ago that was never retrieved. Every year we try to give it away on the theory that you can't lose what you don't have.

Past awards honored Best Slide Show Software, Best Photo Web Site, Best Shareware, Best Input Device, Best Digital Photography Book, Best Photo Gadget, Best Camera Bag and Best 4x6 Jumbo Print. With only one missing Oscar, we change the category each time we present the award to make the rounds of exciting innovation in this industry.

This year the award will honor the Best Inkjet Printer. Frankly, we'd have a hard time picking one, which is why we're delegating this task to you. We love our 4x6 dye sub because it never misses a beat. We love our 13x19 printer because it makes prints of images we can't believe we ever shot. And we're pretty fond of our all-in-one printer, too, for all those jobs in between.

We find we have developed rewarding personal relationships with our printers. They're our drinking buddies. We buy a round of ink cartridges for them (sometimes with a clear coating chaser) and they tell story after story. If they weren't so noisy, we'd let them go on all night.

If you love your inkjet printer like we do (whether it's a portable 4x6 companion or a room-sized wallpaper machine), tell us about it. Brand, model, what you like about it. Remember, the more words you use, the less hard we have to work the week we announce the winner. After all the marvelous prints you're printer has made for you, now you can return the favor by nominating it for the Oscar!

The winner will enjoy the Public Notoriety of the Ersatz Academy's Missing Oscar. Without the need to dress expensively (or at all). And, in further defiance of the regular Oscars, acceptance speeches will not be interrupted by live music at our virtual awards ceremony. Or any other kind of music.

And this year we have an extra way to express our appreciation for your nominations. Andrew Darlow has donated a couple of copies of his recently published 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques, a 500-page encyclopedia of inkjet printing (http://www.inkjettips.com). Send in your nomination to enter the drawing for a copy of your own. And meanwhile, peek in the Deals section for a PDF preview of Andrew's book.

To submit your nomination, email your testimonial with the subject "Oscar Nomination" to editor@imaging-resource.com before our next issue.

Return to Topics.

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!

Return to Topics.

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: Dogpatch

This article in your latest issue is one of your best ever. We now have an expectation that you will provide this type of learning experience for all the the successive models to the D300.

At this rate of evolution, "I bet we ain't seen nothing yet!"

-- John Wolff

(Thanks, John! It certainly is getting harder to get to sleep at night. -- Editor)

I know about the cost of the more rapid turnover in cameras. I started with the Nikon F Photomic, which I bought in Japan in 1964! It wasn't even available (that I knew) in the states yet. I had it only a short while when Nikon called me and offered to change it to TTL, for free. I did just that and probably have the old viewfinder around here somewhere.

After an F3HP (my favorite Nikon of all), I added a couple of F2A and F2As' then came my workhorse, the N90s. I probably shot 20,000 slides with it before I started print film for weddings. I got a marvelous deal on the F4s.

I was leaving the local camera store when I spied a couple coming in with the telltale yellow/gold box under their arm. I wandered back in, in time to hear the lady explain, it had been her dad's; only shot about four or five rolls of film and passed away! It was too much camera for her-could she trade it in on something less complicate? But she wanted to keep the lenses.

The manager, a friend of mine, explained that they didn't sell that many of the top end models and had one in the case at that moment but that "this fellow-standing right over there (pointing at me) might be interested." I ended up purchasing the camera for $900 and Nikon readily transferred the warranty to me!

I now have the Coolpix 990, 4300, 5400, 8700, 8400, Fuji S2Pro, D70, D80, D200 and just received my lovely D300. I can't even begin to list the lenses .(-:

Now back to Dogpatch.

-- Nick Baldwin

(When new cameras become obsolete faster than we can learn how to use them, we'll be in trouble! -- Editor)

RE: Medium Format

From PMA to PMA I have been waiting for the Pentax 645 to become reality. I guess there are quite a lot more than me that have a comprehensive setup for Pentax 645 film and long to go digital with it.

What has happened/happens/will happen to Pentax digital medium format? Is it worth waiting for or just a deception?

-- Stig Sund

(Interesting question, Stig. It certainly seems like we don't need medium format in digital. It's not just a budget killer, it eats up resources like disk space and CPU cycles. And for what? There was a qualitative difference in film that just doesn't exist in digital. -- Editor)

RE: Stalled?

Your review of the ArtixScan M1 Pro seems to have stalled. Per your diary, you will report on its performance, comparing it to both the V700 and the i900. Do have an estimate of when that report will be published?

-- John Labick

(Not stalled at all, John. Diaries are published irregularly as various tests are done and issues resolved. Recently our CES, Macworld and PMA show coverage has kept us out of the bunker, but we reported on the M1 (with video) in the site's PMA coverage and have resumed testing (a SilverFast update) in the last week. One of the advantages of the diary format is that you can follow along with us as we hit the bumps in the road any of our unusually extensive and comprehensive reviews experiences. You don't get the the intro and conclusion all wrapped up in one piece, but you do get it hot off the stove. -- Editor)

RE: Phanfare

You gave a rave review of Phanfare some years ago -- would be interested in seeing your thoughts to their new application -- 2.0!

It's got a lot of ppl scratching their heads -- many new "features" are looking a lot like Shutterfly and Kodak Gallery with everyone having to log in, no more personal URL ... ick.

-- D. Stupsky

(We took the tour with CEO Andrew Erlichson just this week and will have a report when the Mac desktop client is released (shortly). Phanfare has apparently been bitten by the social networking bug. While that is indeed quite a change from 1.0, it probably more closely reflects the company's original commitment to sharing images and video with friends and family. -- Editor)

RE: Suggestion Box

Obviously you are seasoned working pro and your newsletter is squarely and correctly aimed at your fellow photo slaves.

I enjoy the newsletter immensely as it is packed with info and details I would otherwise not know about working in the wilds of Marrakech, Morocco. What I do not like is that the newsletter is so long, plus it is tedious to deal with it in an online Google reader. What I would prefer would be maybe a lead-in paragraph and then a "read rest of article" link at the end. Sort of how the N.Y. Times newsletter works. This lets me decide if I want to read it and then I don't have scroll down for endless pages to find the next article. That's my two megs worth of feedback.

In any case, bravo and well done. You are a great writer, actively and passionately engaged with your subject and addiction -- cameras and photography. Please keep this going. It benefits all of us.

-- Dennie Kirtley

(Thanks for your feedback, Dennie. It's much appreciated (both points). The ASCII newsletter is designed so you can skip around very easily by using your email reader's Find command to look for a (long) string of hyphens. Most email readers let you Find Next, too, so you can skip from story to story with that trick. Of course, there's always the HTML version (which we do not email), which is the very first link in each issue. That navigates directly to each story and back to the table of contents, too. The HTML version is built automatically from the email version, so we hate to tamper with it <g>. -- Editor)
Return to Topics.

Editor's Notes

Kodak (http://www.kodak.com) announced its EasyShare All-in-One inkjet printers have achieved the highest level of overall print permanence of any current consumer desktop printer system in tests conducted by Wilhelm Imaging Research.

The Kodak printers, ink and media achieved WIR Display Permanence Ratings and Album/Dark Storage Ratings over 125 years. WIR Unprotected Ozone Resistance Ratings (like prints placed on refrigerators) of over 100 years were also reported. WIR tests also showed Kodak prints are resistant to damage in high-humidity conditions and, even when printed on plain paper, the prints survive water spills.

"These test results with the Kodak Inkjet Printers and pigmented inks on the full range of seven Kodak Photo Papers and inkjet plain paper establish an important, new long-term print permanence benchmark for consumers," said Henry Wilhelm, president of Wilhelm Imaging Research. "For consumers, this means that documents and photos printed with Kodak EasyShare AiO Inkjet Printers should be preserved in very good condition for more than 100 years in all common consumer display and storage environments."


The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that a "powerful new Trojan Horse from China" has been discovered on digital photo frames sold by Sam's Club, Best Buy, Target and Costco (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1203091304.html).


Apple has released Aperture 2 with a streamlined user interface and new image processing engine. Aperture 2 also introduces new imaging tools for highlight recovery, color vibrancy, local contrast definition, soft-edged retouching, vignetting and Raw fine-tuning. You can also directly post your portfolio on the .Mac Web Gallery for viewing on the Web, iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV. The price is new, too, at $199 or $99 to upgrade from the earlier version.

The company previously issued a 10.5.2 Leopard update expanding Raw file support to several new cameras and fixing several bugs (like the Time Machine issue).


Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) announced in an email to registered Creative Suite users that it will discontinue its Stock Photo Service effective April 1. "We made this decision in order to focus our efforts in other areas and we want to share this news with you and let you know how it affects you," the company explained.


Sigma (http://www.sigma-sd14.com) has released Sigma Photo Pro 3.1 for Macintosh operating systems. "The release of this upgraded version of SPP took a little longer than we first expected since we launched the SD14 camera," Sigma added in making the announcement. "We hope that Macintosh computer users will accept our apology for this delay. We also hope that Macintosh users will find the new SPP3.1 easier to use."


Mustek (http://www.mustek.com) has introduced its $149.99 PF-E700, the ultimate bedside companion. Designed to save desk space by integrating several functions into one, the PF-E700 is a versatile convergence of a seven-inch digital photo frame with built-in alarm clock, calendar, indoor temperature gauge and MP3 player.


Peter iNova (http://www.digitalsecrets.net) has published Lights... Digital Camera... Actions!, a 248-page interactive eBook with over 600 iNovaFX Photoshop actions. "This is a new work from the ground up," said iNova, "and all of these Photoshop Actions are for digital images 6-Mp and larger. Each brings a special treatment to the image that will correct, enhance or transform the shot." The CD Standard Edition is $64 and the USB Thumb Drive Premium Edition is $69. Imaging Resource readers can save $6.50 on all shipping costs while sharing profits to help support this site. See the Deals section for details.


Topaz Labs (http://www.topazlabs.com) bases its image and video enhancement software on a technique known as super-resolution, which was developed for use in military surveillance and spy satellites, according to the company. Topaz makes this technology available for everyday image and video enthusiasts in four products. Topaz Vivacity to increase photo resolution, Topaz Moment to capture high quality stills from video, Topaz Enhance to increase video resolution and Topaz DeJPEG, a freeware Photoshop plug-in to remove JPEG compression artifacts.


Rune Lindman (http://www.qpict.net) has released his $35 QPict 7.1 [M], adding Leopard compatibility, support for over 250 Raw formats, improved Exif support, Raw auto-rotation and more.

Return to Topics.

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

Return to Topics.

Signoff

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

Daily News: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM
New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM
Digicam index: http://www.imaging-resource.com/DIGCAM01.HTM
Q&A Forum: http://www.imaging-resource.com/FORUM.HTM
Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/TIPS.HTM

Happy snapping!

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

Go to Imaging Resource Home | News | Tips | Digital Camera Index | Scanner Index