The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 12, Number 5 26 February 2010

Copyright 2010, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 274th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We take the Sony HX5V to Adobe's 20th anniversary party for Photoshop at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Then we detail two scan formats that save the infrared channel for later processing before Dave discovers a cool video contest.

A gentle reminder: As we explained in the last issue, we're looking for your 2010 Oscar nominations for your favorite monitor, screen or display. Email your nomination with the subject "Oscar Nomination" to editor@imaging-resource.com soon! Thanks!


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Feature: Adobe, NAPP Celebrate 20 Years of Photoshop

(Excerpted from the illustrated story posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/ARTS/PS20/PS20.HTM on the Web site.)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The fog could not obscure the significance of the twentieth anniversary of Adobe Photoshop's first release. As National Association of Photoshop Professionals President Scott Kelby observed, the software took image editing out of the hands of a small group of technicians running minicomputers and put it into the hands of artists.

Twenty years later, no one's complaining.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, roughly half the seats in the Palace of Fine Arts theater, which holds 979, were filled with Photoshop engineers, Adobe executives, photographers and painters who have built careers using a program that began life in a basement. Video of the event is available online (http://www.photoshopuser.com/photoshop20th).

Originally the work of Thomas and John Knoll, the early version was no more than a file format converter named Display. John added gamma correction to properly display translated images on screen and there was no stopping after that.

A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE

Our own association with Photoshop began after a seminar in 1991 in which Russell Brown showed off Version 2.0.1.b14 by demonstrating everything from using Levels to creating 3D images by shifting the red channel. He'd promised attendees a demo version but it didn't actually exist. Instead, he shipped the real thing to us.

The digital camera of those days was a scanner. In fact the seminar was devoted to acquiring the right hardware, calibrating your display, scanning images and editing those scanned images for press.

The breakthrough Photoshop represented twenty years ago, however, wasn't as obvious then as it is today.

At the time, we were helping a photo lab that was curious about moving retouching and image compositing out of the darkroom and onto computers. Photoshop wasn't in the running.

But as we sat in on one presentation or another from firms trying to commercialize development begun for aerospace projects, we kept wondering if these very expensive systems couldn't be matched by a personal computer running Photoshop.

Turns out they could.

PAINTING FOR THE MASSES

But that professional use of Photoshop only foreshadowed adoption of the program by creatives of all stripes. The fun of drawing PostScript output with Illustrator for output to a PostScript printer had prepared graphic artists for the thrill of painting with Photoshop just a few years later.

With both vector and bit-mapped imaging options available on an affordable platform, the creative community enjoyed a new suite of tools designed for the digital age. Before anyone thought to call it a "creative suite."

And when digital photography came on the scene in the late 1990s, Photoshop was already there -- ready and waiting.

THE PALACE

We arrived at the Palace of Fine Arts early but after the sun had set somewhere beyond the fog bank. The building itself, described by its creator Bernard Maybeck as beauty tempered by sadness (http://www.books-about-california.com/Pages/Palace_of_Fine_Arts/Palace_of_Fine_Arts_text.html), is illuminated by floodlights at night. So we wandered around taking a few shots of it, some using Sony's innovative Handheld Twilight mode, others just at high ISO.

And we weren't alone. There were several other photographers aiming their glass at the colonnades and caryatids of the last remaining building from the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, celebrating San Francisco's rebirth from the 1906 earthquake.

OUR GEAR

Our glass happened to be a recently-arrived Sony HX5V review unit (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/HX5V/HX5VA.HTM), a 10-Mp digicam with built-in HDR, Handheld Twilight mode and that Exmor-R sensor that can see in the dark with little noise at high ISO settings. All the shots that accompany the Web version of this article were taken with that camera.

We shot everything in Program mode, with -1.75 EV because both the Palace and the theater were dark settings, relying on the multi-segment metering mode. We set ISO to 800 because we'd earlier discovered Auto ISO was capped and we really didn't need ISO 1600.

Although we cropped our shots for the Web version of this article to fit a 250-pixel maximum frame, the originals are remarkably clear and noise free. We'll be posting a few of them in full resolution in a gallery accompanying our review of the camera. Here's a sneak preview: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/HX5V/HX5V-GALLERY.HTM

THE PARTY

The party kicked off with a video sketch of Kelby and crew trying to sell a Photoshop party to, well, Photoshop (played by a box). The sketch described all the ideas they had which gradually evolved into what was going to happen on stage.

And that started with a musical number before Kelby took the stage, going through a typical image edit using Photoshop. The joke was that every tool he used to do the edit in Photoshop CS4 existed in the very first version.

Even Gaussian Blur was in Version 1. And Levels, which Russell Brown has called the soul of Photoshop, was there, too.

Jeff Schewe (http://www.schewephoto.com) did a video tour of Version 1.0.7, released just five days after the originally shipping version. He had discovered it still runs on a G4 Mac running Tiger.

He pulled up "the most manipulated file in the history of Photoshop," known as Jennifer in paradise, a photo of John Knoll's future wife. He made a Levels adjustment, clicking the Preview button to see the effect of his changes. He cloned and painted clouds, loaded an alpha selection, flipped it and placed it by dropping the floating selection.

FEATURES

Continuing the Photoshop story, Kelby promised (not) to go through each version in detail. Instead, he said he had asked various Photoshop mavens to demonstrate one feature from each release. Quickly. That turned out to be riotously entertaining, particularly if you lived through those days when graphic artists had to pull teeth without the benefit of anesthesia.

RUSSELL BROWN

But wait, there's more, as Russell Brown famously likes to say. And Russell Brown himself was the "more" this time.

After an old video clip of a younger Brown demonstrating how to paste himself into a photo of Ron and Nancy Reagan, Brown himself took the stage not at the podium to command some laptop but at a desk where his magical Epson overhead projector had been set up.

One of the first things he examined was his iPhone, which had Photoshop 1.0.7 on it. He too brought up Jennifer in paradise and adjusted Levels. But that's about all this app imitation could do. It was built in just a few days by Ansca (http://www.anscamobile.com) using its Corona iPhone development platform. And 40 people in the audience won a copy on a 2-GB USB thumbdrive attached to their chair. Including the guy sitting next to us.

Then Brown went back to the dawn of man, the beginning of time, way back when "they used real mice to start their presentation" (as he displays a toy mouse in his hairy ape mitts on the projector). The presentation? Oh, the history of Photoshop.

He displayed stone interfaces for Photoshop 2.0 during "early slate computing" in which the cave painters had Macs and the stone counters used PCs.

Layers in Photoshop 3 were demonstrated with a layered Photoshop startup screen. Version 4 showed Layers by magically turning an image of dominoes into real ones that fall down and recompose themselves into an image.

Brown slid a slice of bread on the projector's table and used French's mustard to write "PS 5" on it ("in Frankfurter typeface"). Then he picked it up and took a bite out of it before returning the partly-consumed slice to the table. "Edible text," he mumbled, illustrating the editable text feature introduced in Photoshop 5. Then he used Undo to restore the bite.

But wait, he bit into it three more times and undid it all, too. "Multiple Undo!" he explained.

Version 6 used an overlay of an animated blender to manage color. Nobody remembered that feature, though.

The Healing Brush restored his amputated hand in Version 7, even cleaning up the green blood.

The first Creative Suite version used his glasses to show Lens Blur and how to make money with Photoshop by magically upgrading coins until he got to paper money, which CS wouldn't reproduce.

CS 2 showed off Noise Reduction with a marker interface that took you from street level to outer space, where it's much quieter.

The Auto Blending demo for CS 3 merged slices of an image into a photo of an auto that turned into a 3D model that drove off the table.

Content-aware scaling in CS 4 was illustrated by an overlay of a bathroom scale that reported not the weight of what had been put on it but the name of the object. When Brown put his watch on it, for example, it dialed in "Russell's Watch." When he put a picture of Steve Jobs on it, it swung wildly to the right over a word we can't recall before settling on "Steve Jobs."

And in the future? A future X-Acto blade cuts out the globe in a shot from outer space and automatically fills it in with space, a black hole, that sucks us all in.

THE FUTURE

Senior Vice President and General Manager of Adobe's Creative Solution's Business Unit John Loiacono came to Brown's aid just before he was sucked into his own black hole. "We're done with your analog world," he told Brown, sending him off.

Instead, Loiacono said, we need a digital equivalent to fill Brown's black hole. He introduced Kevin Connor, Adobe product manager for all things digital, to demonstrate how fills can be context aware.

Connor introduced the audience to PatchMatch technology, which treats your image like a set of puzzle pieces. You can remove a selection from the scene without leaving a hole or move a tower to a different part of the building, shuffling the building parts around.

"Let's ship it," Loiacono said. But Connor demurred, suggesting it needed to be polished a bit. This led to a short private chat (overheard by all) in which Connor was convinced to give the people something now. Right now.

So Connor opened an image of a fellow standing in front of a stone wall. He selected the figure and expanded the selection a few more pixels before removing the guy from in front of the wall. Instead of leaving a white hole in the image, PatchMatch seamlessly filled the cut with stones. Applause.

"But wait! There's more," Loiacono prompted.

Connor then showed a panorama that had been stitched together with a very uneven border. You can crop it, of course, but using PatchMatch, the gaps around the edges were credibly filled. Applause.

"OK, Kevin, you can keep your job another week," Loiacono promised.

Loiacono then introduced the Knoll brothers who had started all this. Yes, applause. They modestly stood up, turned around and sat down faster than the HX5V could focus on them, unfortunately, but the blurred image has a sort of ghostly poetry to it.

And then he asked the nearly 70 engineers working on Photoshop now to stand up and take a bow. And yes, more applause.

Loiacono went through each version of Photoshop's code names and then thanked Kelby for his organization's work in supporting the product. Kelby told everyone there was a T-shirt and poster for them in the lobby and brought out the band for one last tune before everyone filed for the exits.

THE COOL NIGHT

The fog had lifted by the time we left the theater. Entertaining and amusing as the party had been, we were surprised to find ourselves feeling a little sad.

Revisiting the glow of Photoshop 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 reminded us of those days and nights at the nine-inch black and white monitor of a Macintosh SE. Saving to floppy disks. Before some long-ago deadline. For clients no longer in business.

We felt a little like those beautiful women who look over the ramparts of the Palace of Fine Arts, weeping. Beauty tempered by sadness.

But, we thought as we walked on, we are still launching Photoshop and buffing up our images to a high gloss, creating in our small bunker work that makes us smile.

So make a wish and blow out the candles, Photoshop. We'll take the picture.

Return to Topics.

Feature: HDRi & RGBI -- Archival Scan Formats?

(Excerpted from the full article posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/PLTK7600/HDR.HTM on the Web site, which is a companion piece to the Plustek 7600i scanner review at http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/PLTK7600/7600.HTM.)

Wine may age well but film deteriorates. Film can tear, bend or break. It can be scratched. Mold, mildew and fungi can grow on it, particularly in hot and humid climates. Its color dyes are fugitive, fading slowly with age.

So leave the bottle corked and crack open the scanner. There's no time like the present to preserve your memories by scanning your old negatives and slides.

The trouble is that there are so many decisions to make. What resolution? Which scanner? What software? Should you use defect removal to clean up the scratches?

It can give you a worse headache than the whole bottle of wine.

SCANNING RAW FILES

Both VueScan (http://www.hamrick.com) and SilverFast (http://www.silverfast.com) can save a scan in a format that postpones processing -- and all those decisions except which resolution to scan. The formats are conceptually similar but not interchangeable.

VueScan. Since version 7, the Professional edition of Ed Hamrick's VueScan has offered what it refers to as a 64-bit RGBI image format in 64 bits. Color data is scanned in 16-bit channels for red, green and blue data (48 bits) plus a 16-bit channel for the infrared scan that documents the dust and scratches on the film.

VueScan can save the RGBI format as a TIFF but without a preview.

SilverFast. LaserSoft Imaging President and CEO Karl-Heinz Zahorsky recently wrote to us describing his company's nearly identical concept called HDRi (High Density Range infrared). It's available in SilverFast v6.6.1 and later.

Under the hood, HDRi is also a four-channel image format conforming to the TIFF specification. For a color scan, the usual red, green and blue data are available as 16-bit channels (for a subtotal of 48 bits) but LaserSoft has added an additional 16-bit grayscale channel to file (64 bits total). If you're scanning in black and white, that's a 32-bit HDR file (a 16-bit channel for grayscale tone information plus the 16-bit channel for infrared defect data).

HDRi files also record a gamma value to help image processing programs render the expected contrast and files larger than 30 megabytes include an embedded preview.

Advantages. By separating the defect information from the color data (which, it must be noted, is not itself pristine), HDRi and RGBI allow you to postpone the defect removal and other image processing operations just as your camera's Raw format allows you to postpone all the post-processing that creates a JPEG.

The main advantage of that is simply that you can return to the Raw scan data stored in the archival file (instead of rescanning) years after the scan when smarter defect removal software can do a better job on your original data. So even if, in the intervening years, your film has deteriorated, you've got the scan data from better days.

The scanning operation itself is a bit faster, too, in that you don't have to wait for the application to process the infrared data before continuing with the next image. You can also batch process the Raw files into whatever file format you need with whatever settings you need.

And finally, scanning to Raw files minimizes film handling. You don't have to access the film, clean it and rescan just to process it a bit differently.

CAVEATS

To make this approach feasible, you have to have observe a few caveats.

Resolution. The first is that you have to have scanned your originals at high resolution. Some practitioners insists 2700 dpi is sufficient. Others draw the line at 4000 dpi. You can go as high as 7200 dpi on your desktop today but you quickly run into constraints dealing with the large files higher resolutions create.

The key to this calculation is knowing what your most demanding output device requires. How many dpi does the device require to print at the largest size you want? In some cases, the "device" may be a commercial printer or a publication. Worst case is running your 25mm image across two pages as a double-truck bleed while requiring 300 dpi from your image. Though that high a resolution isn't strictly necessary, it can still be the entry bar for your image.

So you have to scan to Raw format with sufficient resolution that any particular subsequent file conversion will have enough data. You can down-sample but you can't up-sample.

The guilt-free way to calculate this is simply to set resolution to the physical limit of your scanner. But with some scanners offering as much as 7200 dpi, you may quickly wonder if you aren't overdoing it.

File Processing. Once you have scanned to Raw, however, your processing options are very limited because image editing software (like Photoshop) doesn't know what to do with the infrared channel of either the RGBI or HDRi file.

If you open the Raw TIFF in Photoshop, for example, the Channels display will only indicate the composite and red, green and blue channels. The infrared channel is discarded.

So if you do any image editing on the file and save it, you will lose the defect removal information.

Your only alternative for reprocessing the Raw data is to use the tools the scanning software application provides, as we detail below in the Worflow Comparison section. For VueScan, that means using VueScan itself. For SilverFast, that means using HDR, another application entirely.

Metadata Editing. Unlike the Raw files from a camera, Raw scan files do not enjoy the benefits of metadata editing. Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, Aperture, Bibble, Capture One, none of them can read the file and store edits in the file header or a side car.

When you reprocess the Raw scan, you can't do any metadata editing. The applications that reprocess do pixel editing, subsequently saving the edited image as a new file in the format you've specified.

In VueScan's case, you can specify the DNG format, which would incorporate the defect removal processing while deferring the image processing (if you choose). In this case, you would have the equivalent of a camera Raw file. But then, you could have started from there, skipping the RGBI format all together.

So why not incorporate the infrared channel in a DNG file?

"DNG has no provision to carry three RGB channels plus the extra grayscale 16 bit channel," Karl-Heinz explained. "This is easy in the standard TIFF format. Also we can keep the file format compatible with e.g. Photoshop, so no conflicts or crashes, as Photoshop would just disregard the extra channel with the dust and scratch removal information."

Driver Issue. VueScan only operates as a standalone application, with all options available. But SilverFast can be run from within Photoshop, for example, using the File|Import command.

However, if you prefer to work that way, you can't scan a Raw format because Photoshop (or any other image editing running the plug-in) can't handle the infrared channel, so the option is disabled.

The workaround is to run SilverFast in standalone mode, which does display all the options.

Scanner Capability. Finally, your scanner has to support infrared scanning. Not all do (most notably the Microtek M1). If your scanner doesn't do infrared scanning, it won't be able to create the grayscale defect removal channel.

LaserSoft keeps a list of compatible scanners (http://www.silverfast.com/highlights/hdri-list/en.html).

And for film scanning, you really should use a scanner that also supports the multiexposure mode in SilverFast (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/SF6/SF6.HTM#mul) or VueScan, which greatly extends the dynamic range supported scanners can capture by scanning once for the highlights and again for the shadow detail.

Being able to set the scanner's exposure for those two scans is probably the most significant scanner feature. It eliminates the need for multisampling and extends the actual dynamic range of the scanner, which tends to be less than the 4.0 or so film exhibits.

WORKFLOW COMPARISON

Working with Raw scans is a two-step dance. The first step is capturing the Raw files from the original film frames. The second is processing or re-processing that Raw data into more common file formats, typically by batch processing them.

Input. Scanning the originals as Raw scans is primarily a matter of setting the file type in the application of your choice.

Profiling. Creating an ICC profile for Ektachrome and Kodachrome on your slide scanner is a prerequisite for capturing the highest quality data, a priority with an archive scan.

VueScan can indeed build an ICC profile but you'll have to acquire the IT8 targets yourself. One respected source is Wolfe (http://www.targets.coloraid.de).

SilverFast's Ai IT8 Studio option (an upgrade from the bundled SE version and part of the Archive Suite) includes both Ektachrome and Kodachrome IT8 targets. But the SilverFast targets include a barcode that points SilverFast to the companion data file for the target's color patches. This makes it very simple to calibrate your scanner, essentially just loading the appropriate target and pressing the Calibration button in the Preview window, as we outlined in our brief review (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/SF6/SF6.HTM#cal) of the feature.

VueScan. In VueScan, the key Input panel setting is Bits per Pixel, which you should set for "64 bit RGBI." In the Output panel enable TIFF and set the TIFF file type to 64 bit RGBI.

Hamrick recommends setting the Crop|Preview area (see the advanced options in the Input panel) to Default with Crop|Crop Size set to Maximum.

SilverFast. In Silverfast, they key scan setting is the Scan Type in the Control window, which you should set to either 32 bit HDRi Grayscale or 64 bit HDRi Color.

Then use SilverFast's Auto Frame Finding feature to find the parts of the Prescan that are images and not background (http://www.silverfast.com/download/temp/661r1_en_autoframe.mov).

You should also enable the Multiexposure option in the Preview window to maximize the density range you can capture.

Next use the SilverFast JobManager (http://www.silverfast.com/highlights/jobman/en.html) to batch scan the multiple selections into 64-bit HDRi format. If your scanner only scans one image at time, no need to batch scan. The JobManager essentially takes your order for batch scanning, including any edits you may want to perform on each image without taking the time to preview each image.

Processing. Both VueScan and SilverFasts provide batch processing of their own Raw scans.

VueScan. To reprocess Raw scans made in VueScan, you return to VueScan, setting the Input|Source option to File and Input|Files to point to the first image in the set. You can then set your processing options as you normally would before setting Input|Batch to all the files you want to process. Hamrick also recommends locking the exposure and film base color for the set.

You can set the output file to any of several types, including JPEG, TIFF and DNG.

SilverFast. To process SilverFast's Raw HDRi files, you open them in HDR Studio, the second component to the Archive Suite.

HDR Studio provides a Light Table overview of the images, allows you to optimize them with SilverFast tools and can batch process and output the images with JobManager. You do have to save the images in an output format, rather than record the edits in a sidecar file or in the Exif metadata of the main file.

LaserSoft has produced a short movie explaining the Archive Suite workflow: http://www.silverfast.com/showmovie/en.html?movien=341&mode=inline&hide=desc

CONCLUSION

It is amusing at least that, as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Photoshop, there isn't an image editing application that knows what to do with an infrared channel in a TIFF file.

And it's also amusing that the two leading, after-market film scanning applications have devised their own similar if not identical Raw scan file formats.

And while both approaches work well, we find it hard to commit to either in our own workflow. We are either looking at high-quality images for which we need a particular output and can therefore scan for that single purpose or we are looking at mountains of family photos that really only require screen versions to be catalogued and enjoyed as slide shows, say on the HDTV. For the later a good lab with a production scanner is sufficient.

But ask us if we'd like a DNG archive of our film images with defect removal information and we'd mull that one over a bit. It's the proprietary Raw format requiring specialized tools that disinclines us to invest the time in capturing it.

While we ourselves can't commit to the format, we can endorse both approaches. They deliver what they promise, each in their own way.

We're particularly charmed with SilverFast's calibration capability and its included targets. We're likewise charmed with VueScan's single-application solution.

But we have a feeling there's more to this story. Stay tuned!

Return to Topics.

Publisher's Note: New Chapter Opens In Unusual Video Contest

Imaging Resource advertiser Canon is running an unusual contest with popular video-sharing site Vimeo called The Story Beyond the Still.

Each month, contestants are challenged to continue a story in video, picking up from the last frame of the previous month's winning video.

The contest was launched last month with a short piece by award-winning director and photographer Vincent Laforet. The five finalists for Chapter Two have been chosen and, by the time you receive this newsletter, the winner will have been chosen, revealing a new still frame for this month's contest.

It's a clever concept and interesting for how incredibly divergent the five top entries are. Visit http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?vim to see the original short by Laforet and the five finalists -- and find out who won!

-- Dave Etchells

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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 Canon dSLRs at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.ee92fbe

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

Louise asks for assistance choosing a small, decent camera at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.eeaeea1/0

Read about Nikon lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=5

Visit the Scanners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2ae

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Just for Fun: A Work of Art

We were having a little chat with ourselves the other day when it occurred to us how many befuddled ideas we have about art.

There's that inspiration notion, for example, that would have you sit on a beached log until something occurs to you as if emailed from the cloud.

Or the idea that it's a lot of work, a very specific kind of work, with almost a recipe that, if you don't follow it to the letter, disqualifies it.

Or the concept that somebody else in authority has to pass judgment on it before it's worthy of the word. You don't have a say.

Or even that it has to be, in some way, pleasing at least and perhaps even transporting.

Our little chat was being conducted at the mall. Our better half prefers to shop for clothes without our assistance and, frankly, we don't much enjoy an audience of dresses on hangers. So we'd wandered off to a little alcove in the mall where a bench sat unoccupied and presumed to employ it.

Across from us a bit further into the alcove was a beauty salon with a lot more technicians than customers. We observed them wandering out between appointments to do certain exercises obviously meant to relieve physical stress.

That's when we saw it.

Reflected in the polished marble tiles of the mall floor was a backlit advertisement hung on the wall opposite our bench. It seemed to float there, upside down and reversed. Except for the color, it was unrecognizable. Flesh tones, they were, though, which are always compelling. Just what was missing in the Women's Department, in our opinion.

We had our D200 with us, so we leisurely removed the lens cap, zoomed in to a composition we liked, set the aperture small enough so the reflection would be sharp, focused and snapped.

The capture had problems. It was a bit underexposed and correcting the DNG file so the flesh tones came alive also saturated the tiles noticeably.

We resolved that by selecting everything but the reflection and knocking the saturation down a bit. Not so you would notice, not black and white, but just to take the edge off. You'd never know we did anything.

Did we cheat? Well, it's an illegal move in some circles, but we were in charge of this image and that's what we did. Image manipulation isn't a crime. Or all those HDR fans would be gangsters.

The image looked, not exactly like what we'd seen, but just like what we imagined we had seen.

We left it at that, a work of art captured at that unlikely place, the mall, where art is a four-letter word with a letter still looking for a parking place.

A vision, we told ourselves, upon reflection, shines.

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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: Canon MP620

Hi, I have a question about the Canon Mp620 all-in-one you reviewed (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/MP620/MP620.HTM).

Does the rear photo paper tray feed the paper through the printer in such a way that it is bent a lot? Basically I am trying to print on some heavy card stock and I cannot have it bend very much during the printing process not to mention it would probably jam anyway. Great review by the way!

-- Timmy Rugg

(While the paper path from the rear tray doesn't require the sheet to bend as much as the bottom tray, the real issue with using a thick paper is the clearance under the print head. Unfortunately Canon doesn't specify the maximum thickness the printer can handle. The Advanced Guide does give some hint, however, in the Troubleshooting section, where it suggests feed problems may occur with "Paper that is too thick (plain paper, except for Canon genuine paper, weighing more than 28 lbs.)." -- Editor)

Thanks for the info! I think I will purchase this printer from a store where I know they will accept a return and see what happens.

-- Timmy

RE: Canon SX200 IS

After buying my wife multiple upgrades to the Canon SD product line over the years, I was interested in a pocket superzoom for her. I fell in love with the superzooms after I purchased my Panasonic DMC FZ28 based on your detailed╩reviews of course. So, I went back to your reviews, did a lot of research, and narrowed it down to a couple of superzoom models.

What had me concerned about jumping right back to Canon was your comments regarding the flash. Specifically, that the flash popped╩up╩when you turned it on╩and that you could not press it back down. I purchased this model anyway, thinking that we will learn to live with this inconvenience.

When I received the camera I was delighted to find out that the flash can be pushed back down and that if you hold your finger over the flash during startup, you can easily keep it down. The firmware also recognizes this and displays that the flash is not available. I am not certain if this was a fix Canon implemented in production models, but your review article is now slightly inaccurate. Have you ever thought about updating the reviews after a model fix has been implemented or if an error has been found?

BTW, my wife loves this camera, and I was so jealous I bought myself one a week later. So much for hunkering down in poor economic times....

-- Kevin

(The trouble with updating a review, generally, is that once the camera is returned we have no way to verify changes. Best thing to do is add a comment at the end of the review indicating your experience. Meanwhile, we're glad to hear about it. We really liked the camera and couldn't believe they'd let it out into the world with such a ridiculous defect. We'll make a note in the review, regardless, but please do add a comment. And thanks for writing! -- Editor)

RE: Fujifilm FinePix HS10

[Translated from the Italian]

I'm a subscriber to your newsletter and always follow your reviews with great interest. Recently I saw Fujifilm has announced its Finepix HS10 with very interesting and cutting-edge features, like a great vacation zoom with a range of 24mm (at f2.8) to 720mm (f5.6) and many unpublished functions. The camera would certainly interest many novice photographers, but it would also interest more expert photographers as a second camera.

I would be delighted to read your review of it.

-- Luciano Della Giustina

(Thanks for the kind words, Luciano. I agree that it's a very exciting camera with 1080 HD video, Super Macro mode, ISO 3200, a swivel LCD and that 30x zoom. But I haven't seen it for review yet. So there's time to practice holding 720mm perfectly still! -- Editor)

RE: Lost

Hi, I have lost the manual for my camera. It's the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80. Is there a way I can download it from the 'net?

-- Betty Lyons Butler

(Sure: http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/model-documents.pl?mdl=DSC-W80&region_id=1 -- Editor)
Return to Topics.

Editor's Notes

Adobe Photoshop (http://www.photoshopuser.com/photoshop20th) turned 20 on Feb. 19. "For 20 years Photoshop has played many different roles. It has given creative people the power to deliver amazing images that impact every part of our visual culture and challenged the eye with its ability to transform photographs," said Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer at Adobe. "It's no exaggeration to say that, thanks to millions of creative customers, Photoshop has changed the way the world looks at itself."


Apple has released Aperture 3.0.1 (http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2518), which "improves overall stability and addresses a number of issues in Aperture 3."

The company also released Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.1 (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1007) with support for the Raw formats of 11 new cameras including Hasselblad H3DII-50, Leica M9/X1, Olympus E-P1/E-P2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, Pentax K-7/K-x and Sony Alpha DSLR-A500/DSLR-A550/DSLR-A850.


The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2010/archives/8659) has announced Adobe will invite some NAPP members to beta test the next version of Photoshop.


Bibble Labs (http://bibblelabs.com) has released Bibble 5 Pro 5.0.2 [MW] with support for five additional Leica models, five Ricoh models, three additional Sony and 13 additional Canon Raw formats. The new release also includes Soft Proofing to preview printed output using your printer's color profiles.


Creaceed (http://www.creaceed.com) has released its $79.95 Hydra 2.2, an HDR Lightroom plug-in [MW] compatible with Lightroom 2 (32 and 64 bits).


Portrait Professional has set up a Portrait Professional Flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/portraitprofessional).


PictoColor (http://www.pictocolor.com) has released iCorrect EditLab Pro PowerSuite [MW] featuring iCorrect EditLab plug-ins for both Photoshop and Lightroom plus ProcessQ for batch processing color correction of JPEG and TIFF image files. After an introductory price of $149.95 as a software download, the suite will be priced at $174.95.


Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (http://www.wppionline.com) has announced the first-ever scholarship to the Wedding Photography Certificate Program at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. During WPPI 2010 next month in Las Vegas, WPPI will nominate several prospective photography students with ambitions to become professional wedding photographers. Brooks Institute will make the final scholarship decision.


Tenba (http://www.tenba.com) has expanded its Messenger collection with a $129.95 Camera Shoulder Bag and a $139.95 Photo/Laptop Daypack. The new bags follow the "soft, body-hugging and retro-discreet styling" of the company's courier-style messenger bags but with additional capacity and a variety of new and different features. In addition, the company introduced a $134.95 Ultralight Backpack constructed of a rugged combination of dobby nylon and diamond ripstop nylon, both chosen for their durability and water-resistance yet minimal weight.


onOne Software (http://www.ononesoftware.com) has updated its Plug-in Suite 5.0.1 with improved compatibility with ATI video card drivers when using PhotoTune 3 and PhotoTools 2.5, improved stability and memory handling when using PhotoTune 3 and improved performance of Mask Pro 4.1 on Windows.


X-Rite has recently launched XritePhoto.com (http://www.xritephoto.com), designed for photographers as both a color resource center and online community with tips, tricks, tools and technology about color management and the impact color has on the digital workflow.


Corner-A (http://photostyler.corner-a.com) has released its$30 PhotoStyler 3.0 beta [M] with filter masks, in-place editing for Annotation (Caption), Crop and Overlay filters, improved performance for Annotation (Caption) and Composition (both Transparent and Textured) filters, hot keys for zoom and other common actions and a restyled toolbar.


Snapm (http://snapm.com) lists "capable amateurs and up and coming pros at prices you can afford."


Jibz (http://www.actions4photographers.com) offers 289 unique digital photo templates, over 150 Drag & Drop vintage edges and more than 100 creative Photoshop actions.


Houdah Software (http://www.houdah.com) has released its $30 HoudahGeo 2.4.3 [M] with the ability to access and tag master images hosted by Aperture 3.


The Strobist is on a crusade: It's Time for the PC Jack to Die (http://strobist.blogspot.com/2010/02/its-time-for-pc-jack-to-die.html).


Optimizing Photo Composition (http://www.math.zju.edu.cn/ligangliu/CAGD/Projects/Composition) describes "a novel computational means for evaluating the composition aesthetics of a given image based on measuring several well-grounded composition guidelines."


Richard Franiec (http://www.kleptography.com/rf) provides custom-made camera accessories, including custom grips, hot shoe covers, remote cable releases and more for Canon, Panasonic, Leica, Sigma and other small cameras.


Code Line (http://www.code-line.com) has released its $10 SneakPeek Photo 1.0.1 [M], a Quick Look plug-in that displays metadata in a photo and includes a histogram and a virtual loupe. The preview shows geotag coordinates and maps the location of the image, too.


Andrey Tverdokhleb (http://www.raw-photo-processor.com) has released his free Raw Photo Processor 4.1.1 [M] with improvements for the camera profiler, a built-in Leica S2 profile and a re-edited PDF manual.


Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan 8.6.16 [LMW] with improved cropping and fixes for OS X problems with Canon and Epson scanners and some document feeders.

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

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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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