The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 12, Number 8 9 April 2010

Copyright 2010, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 277th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. Can a $200 scanner compete with a $700 scanner? And what about a multifunction device scanner? We tell all. Then Theano subjects a Casio to a fashion event and a swim date with Barbie. Finally, we tailor the old if-you-can't-beat-em advice to those blurry phone photos.

You can still participate in our survey (http://mikepasini.com/survey/q2010.php) so drop by to let us know what you think.


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Feature: CanoScan 8800F Film Scanner

(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/CS8800/8800F.HTM on the Web site.)

Canon's CanoScan 8800F belongs to a new class of scanner designed to streamline what is often an arduous task into a rewarding one. We recently reviewed the Epson V600 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V600/V600.HTM), which directly competes with the CanoScan 8800F in this class.

Relying on an LED light source and a generic profile to drive their own well-organized software, these scanners can deliver perfectly delightful results from negatives, slides and prints without requiring a degree from Scanning University.

That's good news for the amateur with a few shoeboxes in the closet. And the modest $200 list price ($175 street) for the CanoScan 8800F is even better news, although that price tag is in the same neighborhood as a multifunction device which includes a scanner.

The only bad news is how long it takes to scan that shoebox. There's no way around that, unfortunately. Scanning, even on a nimble unit like the CanoScan 8800F, is never going to be as fast as taking a snapshot. So we still recommend taking the shoeboxes to a reliable lab for quick digitization of your collection and using a scanner at home to work on your favorite images.

As we took a CanoScan 8800F through its pace, we tried to see if it could compete with the leading desktop scanners as well as the scanners found in inexpensive multifunction devices.

FEATURES

It's easy enough to snap a photo and get a great image almost every time but scanning a print of that image can take a lot of skill.

In our review of the $250 Epson V600 we published a Short Course on Scanning that covers the key topics of resolution, sharpness, Dmax, bit depth, connection speed, batch scanning, software, film carriers and calibration targets.

Those are the things that separate a $2,000 scanner from a $700 scanner from a $300 from a $100 scanner. And from a multifunction device, too.

A quick look at the $200 CanoScan 8800F's specifications shows it measures up well in most areas:

Canon doesn't report the density range for its scanners. This number reveals the ability of the scanner to see both detail in dark areas of your originals (the highlights in negatives) and detail in the highlights. Many companies fudge the number by combining two scans (one for the shadows and another for the highlights). Third-party scanning software now offers just that capability (multi-exposure), so it isn't quite the crime it was. We'll just have to carefully examine the scans to determine if the CanoScan 8800F measures up.

Like the Epson V600, the CanoScan 8800F doesn't include calibration targets. Both units rely on a consistent LED light source, which makes it feasible to use a generic profile that does a good enough job for most originals. That profile is accessed by the manufacturer's software. If you're using third-party scanning software like VueScan, you can build your own profile.

The real value of a scanner like the CanoScan 8800F, however, is how much of the scanning work it does for you. Can you drop your original into the scanner and, a few seconds later, have a good digital copy of it?

HARDWARE TOUR

Although it's long, the CanoScan 8800F is one of the more compact flatbed film scanners we've tested and noticeably smaller than the Epson V600.

It actually looks a little sleeker than it is because it's shaped somewhat like a boat with a hull that is narrower than the deck. The transparency adapter is not as thick as most, marred only by the very thick electrical cord connecting it to the scanner at the back.

Also on the back, where they should be, you'll find the power port and the USB port.

From the front, the shiny piano black plastic fans out to embrace a row of buttons. Those include the Power button (ringed with a blue LED to indicate status), four PDF buttons and three other task buttons.

The top stays up by itself once you've opened it more than 45 degrees or so. The white back lifts out easily to reveal the film light source.

On the glass platen, an embossed arrow indicates the corner to orient your original material. Along the back edge a small pin indicates where to attach the film holders. On the front edge a small tab shows where to seat the other end of the film holders.

The three film holders are very simple. They each have a calibration area near the pin end that should be kept clear.

The 35mm film strip holder takes two strips of up to six frames. You pinch the inner plastic frame to release it, swing it up and insert your film. Nothing in the frame rubs against it but there are guides to properly align it as well as a boxed R to indicate how to orient the original.

The 120 film strip holder works just the same but includes a stiffer plastic piece to help hold that larger film size flat if it's curled. There's no other tension applied by the film holder.

The 35mm slide film holder merely contains up to four mounted slides you drop into the open areas. It's the simplest holder of the three.

And yes, you can scan without a holder. The actual scan area is 3.125 x 9 inches. But you might as well use the 120 holder if you're going to do that.

In sum, the device is lightweight and compact but very well engineered, down to the film holders. Nothing requires any particular manual dexterity or elaborate physical gestures. It's as if Canon did a time/motion study on scanning.

CANON TECHNOLOGY

There are two technological features of the CanoScan 8800F worth pointing out before we get to work.

The first is Canon's FARE technology.

Canon's Film Automatic Retouching and Enhancement technology removes dust and scratch marks automatically from film scans using an infra-red process much like SilverFast's iSRD or Digital ICE.

Level 2 and 3 performs several automatic corrections. Fading Correction that restores hues and tints, transforming faded film originals into vivid color. Grain Correction removes grain from high ISO film.

Level 3 also includes Backlight Correction to lighten dark subjects standing in front of a bright background.

The second technological feature worth mentioning is ScanGear, Canon's scanning driver and application. It's one of the best scanning applications we've used. What we appreciate most is the clarity of its workflow decisions and how easy it is to find the settings you need to configure.

Canon simply makes it more pleasant than most, certainly less frustrating than Epson and on a par with Kodak and HP.

Even if you know nothing about scanning, this software makes it easy to get good results.

USING THE SCANNER

You can use Canon's MP Navigator EX 1.0 application to access the ScanGear TWAIN driver or, more typically, launch your image editing software to tap into ScanGear. We used Photoshop CS3 and ScanGear for all our tests.

ScanGear provides three options. The version supplied with the CanoScan 8800F is a little different from that supplied with the MP devices. There's a Simple and Advanced tab but the third tab is Multi Scan for gang scanning (rather than Auto Scan).

They all provide a preview so you can quickly get a thumbnail of what's on the scanner bed and decide how you want to handle it. Where they differ is in the options each panel provides.

Simple Mode makes scanning as easy as it can be. You simply tell the driver what you are scanning (a document, color photo, magazine, newspaper, negative film, positive film), tell it to display a preview (it can do that automatically, too), tell it what you want (a print, image or OCR), pick the output size (if necessary), crop (if necessary), correct the image (remove dust/scratches, fade, backlight, gutter shadow for books, color pattern corrections) and finally perform the scan.

ScanGear's Advanced Mode can save settings and is a bit more specific about them so you can set the resolution or adjust the color yourself. Image Settings, for example, can toggle unsharp masking and descreening. It can also set the level of dust and scratch removal, fade correction, grain correction, backlight correction and gutter shadow correction. It's something like a manual mode for the driver compared to Simple Mode.

Multi-Scan scans multiple images into separate files, providing a batch scanning solution within ScanGear.

We liked the ScanGear interface (and we don't say that much about scanning software interfaces). If you need help a boxed question mark icon takes you to the Canon manual (but not to the page you need). An info icon presents all the scanner settings at a glance, so you can see what's going on behind the curtain in Simple Mode. That's a great way to learn how to set Advanced Mode.

The one thing missing in ScanGear is the one feature we've come to value enormously in scanning software: multi-exposure. This technique scans the image twice: once for shadow detail and again for highlight detail. It's HDR for scanners, extending the density range you would normally get in one pass. And it can make even a scanner with a short density range capable of delivering excellent results from even difficult material like slides.

ScanGear doesn't have it (perhaps to keep scanning times quick) but VueScan and SilverFast both offer it for the CanoScan 8800F. So if you find you aren't getting detail in the shadows or you're blowing out detail in the highlights, those products are the solution.

Document Scanning. Scanning documents was quick and easy. You can use the buttons on the front of the scanner or launch MP Navigator EX 1.0 to get the ball rolling.

This is the easiest feat for a scanner and it was no trouble for the CanoScan 8800F, but it can be harder than it has to be. Our test scan was a typeset letter which we scanned two ways.

The first was using Navigator's OCR button. That scanned the image as a JPEG and sent the JPEG to OmniPage SE. We told OmniPage to convert the image into plain ASCII text and it did just that without a single error despite a wide variety of fonts.

The second was using Navigator's PDF button. That scanned the letter, saving it as a PDF file which was not itself an image but contained discreet text. We could copy and paste the text of the letter into other documents from the PDF. The only thing Navigator didn't do was turn Web addresses into links.

Photo Scanning. Photo scanning requires a dynamic range of just 2.0 (compared to 3.2 to 4.0 for slides). So, again, not very taxing for today's scanners.

Our test image, scanned in Simple Mode, was the baby picture against a red couch. Detail was crisp, color was accurate. It was overall a bit lighter than the original, but seen alone you would not complain.

And because you can put several images on the glass and use the Multi-Scan option of ScanGear, the CanoScan 8800F should do a very efficient job of scanning old prints. If they're faded, just enable the color restoration function of ScanGear.

Black & White Negative Scanning. To test the tonal range of the scanner, we scanned a 120 film negative in both ScanGear and VueScan. ScanGear's Advanced Mode did an admirable job, presenting a perfectly acceptable histogram of the image.

VueScan, with multi-exposure enabled, also did a very nice job. But it held onto detail in the shadows a bit better. And that's the point of multi-exposure.

Color Negative Scanning. Most shoeboxes are full of prints. But if your family photographer was diligent the color negatives shouldn't be hard to find. And you want to scan from the color negatives rather than the prints. Even if the prints look good, there may be a much better image hiding in the color negative.

The dynamic range required to scan a color negative is slightly less than for a slide, although a good deal more than for a print. A single pass on the CanoScan 8800F was sufficient to get a color negative scan with detail in both the shadows and highlights.

But color negatives present another problem. They have to be transformed into a positive. This is a lot more complex than simply inverting the color values and filtering the orange mask. And to add to the complexity, no one formula works for all color negative emulsions. They all have their own personality.

SilverFast and VueScan handle this by providing a library of color negative transformations. You just pick the one that matches your film.

ScanGear doesn't seem to provide that. It's all behind the curtain so we can't say how it works, but you have no choice. And the scanner can't itself tell. The proof, of course, is in the color balance of the scan. And we were a bit disappointed in what Simple Mode made of our ruins of Santa Barbara landscape test image.

It held detail, as we noted, in both the shadows and highlights. But the color was just a bit off. Seen in isolation, the turquoise sky, sandy stone and the faint lake might not bother you.

But we scanned the image again in VueScan where we could pick the emulsion and use multi-exposure -- plus we had calibrated the scanner. The difference is dramatic. The sky is no longer turquoise but deep blue. The sandy stone turns out to be reddish. And the faint lake is a bit less obscure without dominating the ruins.

We went back to ScanGear to try to approximate the VueScan results, taking out a little green and brightening the scan. The color rendering is closer but the tonal range doesn't match.

Color Slide Scanning. We threw our Kodachrome slide of gorgeous Maserati at the CanoScan 8800F. Kodachrome is a tough nut to crack. It tends to scan a bit too blue, requiring a calibration target of its own, and it doesn't work with infrared defect removal, like black and white film.

We scanned it using both Simple Mode and Advanced Mode. And we compared it to the test scans of the same slide from the Epson V600 and Canon MP980.

Both Simple Mode and the V600 scanned the slide too blue. The MP980 punched up the red a bit and delivered better contrast than the Simple Mode and the V600 scans. Best results, though, were achieved by the Advanced Mode scan where we could adjust the red and brighten the image manually.

The Advanced Mode scan came closest to the Microtek M1 scan. That's saying something, considering the M1 is about $400 more expensive.

CONCLUSION

While the CanoScan 8800F proved to be a competent machine, we had to ask how it was more competent than a multifunction device like the Canon MP980 or MP990 and how it compared to more expensive scanners like the Epson V700 or Microtek M1.

It's similar to the MP980 except for capacity. It can handle 120 film (the MP980 can't) and it can do two strips of negatives (the MP980 can't).

It compares to the high end scanners in image quality if you spend the time and have the skill to tweak its scans. The included ScanGear software gets you almost there itself, but without multi-exposure, the high end scanners always beat the CanoScan 8800F. Fortunately, you can add that with either SilverFast or VueScan. But you'll need an IT8 target to calibrate it, too. All of that raises the price.

That leaves us to consider how it compares to the Epson V600. And here we'll just say we prefer the Canon software. If ease-of-use matters to you, you'll prefer the Canon software, too.

In conclusion, the goal of simple scanning still seems out of reach. We're sticking with our advice to get your collection professionally scanned by a lab with a high-speed, calibrated scanner. Then you can spend the time it takes to linger over a scan of the real keepers in your collection.

And if you're looking for a scanner to do that with, the CanoScan 8800F -- with the right software -- can do the job.

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Feature: Casio EX-G1 User Report

By THEANO NIKITAS
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EXG1/EXG1A.HTM on the Web site.)

At this time of year, many of us are thinking of -- and wishing for -- signs of Spring so we can go outside and take pictures, but the $299.99 EX-G1 has no seasonal limitations. Sure, the Casio EX-G1 is perfect for the beach, snorkeling or even just a boat ride when the salt spray would wreak havoc on other, more delicate cameras. But the EX-G1 can handle cold winter weather (down to 14 degrees F), mud, sand, dust and pretty much any other extreme conditions photographers encounter when outdoors. You won't have to worry if you drop the camera, either; well at least not if you drop it from a maximum of seven feet. The Casio EX-G1 is a hardy camera that even the wildest child will have a hard time destroying.

DESIGN

The Casio EX-G1 fits easily into most pockets and can be worn comfortably around the neck with a lanyard. Rather than the standard rectangular design, the Casio EX-G1 body features interesting angles along the top and sides. The camera is visually exciting, yet the design does not interfere with function. It is easy to hold. You use your thumb and forefinger to pinch-hold the left side of the camera and the right side has room to rest your thumb on the rear panel. Take care not to squeeze too hard or you'll activate the Zoom controls or the Movie mode.

As expected for a rough-and-ready camera, the EX-G1 is solidly built and sealed against dust and water. Even when submerged, the camera and its lens comes out relatively water-free, with no fogging. You won't necessarily see the O-ring seals they ask you to inspect, but it's best to examine the compartment doors for stray bits of sand or hair, which can allow water or dust to enter the otherwise well-sealed port doors.

Small cameras have small controls, but the buttons aren't super tiny. Still, those with larger hands may want to try this camera on for size. The Power button is very small and almost flush with the top of the camera so it can be a little difficult to use. On the other hand, that makes it less likely that the EX-G1 will accidentally power on when stowed in your pocket or bag.

Given the angular design, some of the control buttons are shaped a little differently from most cameras, but they work just fine. All the expected controls are available on the EX-G1, with two zoom controls, a Playback button, a four-way controller with a center button, a Menu button and a dedicated Movie button.

Ranging from 38 to 114mm equivalent, the 3x zoom is a folded optic, so no elements protrude from the camera body. As a result, corners are soft and there's some chromatic aberration, but that's very common in waterproof cameras. There is no optical or mechanical image stabilization, which is unfortunate considering its f3.9 to f5.9 aperture.

MODES

The Casio EX-G1 has no Mode Dial. Instead, you use the Best Shot button to change shooting modes from an onscreen menu. There are 26 Best Shot options to choose from, including a custom/user-set mode. Press the Zoom button for each Best Shot option to get a description of what it does.

Auto mode provides automatic exposure with access to the full complement of other adjustments, such as White Balance, Exposure Compensation, etc. This is not to be confused with BS (Best Shot) Auto, which selects the most appropriate Scene mode (i.e., Best Shot mode).

In addition to the standard Portrait, Scenery, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Snow, Children, etc., it offers an Underwater mode that compensates for the blue hues of water. There are also still and movie Interval Shooting options, which can be used for extra creative still and video shots. With video interval shooting you can also program the length of time the camera records.

Two modes unique to Casio are the Multi-motion Image and Dynamic Photo options. The former allows you to capture multiple images of an action, such as someone doing a cartwheel or swinging a golf club, and saves them as a single image. With Dynamic Photo, the camera shoots a series of images of a moving subject, which can be cropped out and placed in a still image. It's like having a little animation on a still image background. It may be a little challenging to get it perfect on your first try but once you understand the mechanics of the process, you can easily make some of these fun shots.

It also has special modes for shooting images for eBay and movies for YouTube so you don't have to bother resizing them for posting online.

STORAGE & BATTERY

The Casio EX-G1 uses a microSD card, which is difficult to handle, requires an adapter to plug into a card reader and is really, really easy to lose. In fact, I lost mine for a few days among the papers on my desk (and I'm not fond of being forced to clear off my desk to find a tiny memory card).

The microSD card slot is hidden under a door on the right side of the camera. Above the door is a small dial that, in Lewis Carroll style says, "Open" with an arrow pointing in the direction you're supposed to turn this tiny, half-hidden dial. I turned the dial as far as I thought it would go and nothing happened. I tried this several times, feeling much less lucky than Alice in Wonderland, until finally, the microSD card/USB port compartment door popped open. Then I realized I hadn't been turning the dial all the way.

The EX-G1 has about 35-MB of internal memory, so if you can't get the door open or don't have a microSD card handy, you'll be able to capture only about four high resolution images. A 4-GB microSDHC card can hold about 490 of the same size/quality images or record 52 minutes and 45 seconds of standard definition movies.

Powered by a tiny rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the EX-G1 can capture about 300 shots on one charge or about 2 hours 20 minutes continuous movie recording. The battery compartment door was even more difficult than the memory card door. Several broken fingernails and sore fingertips later, I was able to concurrently press the release lever and pop open the door to get the battery in the camera. The camera does come with a little plastic Battery Cover Opener but I couldn't figure out how to use it and it's too small to carry around. Someone needs to rethink both battery and microSD/USB access points.

SHOOTING

The Casio EX-G1 accompanied me on a couple of trips to New York City and came in handy for shooting at home as well. I carried it in a small camera case I stowed in a shoulder bag while on the road and used a lanyard to drape it around my neck when I didn't want to keep digging in my bag to get the camera out. A windy and freezing evening found me on the deck of a downtown building to view the sunset, which looked pretty through the EX-G1's LCD. Auto white balance worked pretty well for the sunset and the exposure wasn't bad, silhouetting the tall buildings against the river and the semi-colorful sky. These weren't the best sunset shots I've ever captured and even at different focal lengths, ISO's and shutter speeds, the background was a little soft. Small snapshot prints look OK, though.

Although I shot most of NY Fashion Week with a Nikon D3s, I challenged the EX-G1 to a few shots at a fashion presentation where the models generally stand in one position rather than walk down a runway. It was a very dark venue with only a few spot lights. The EX-G1's flash is pretty weak and wasn't very effective at lighting the group of models regardless of focal length. With a maximum wide-angle zoom of 38mm, I wasn't able to get close enough to a group of models for the flash to illuminate them. In order to get the flash to deliver decent lighting with this lens and in the dark venue, I had to move in within a few feet of a single model. I was actually very pleased with the shot which was evenly exposed and showed good detail and smooth skin tones.

Even with the flash activated, Auto White Balance captured a rather unpleasant yellowish cast, which was eliminated when I switched to the Tungsten preset. The dark and moody images where the flash didn't reach the models would have worked, though, if it weren't for user error. In order to keep noise at a minimum, I had set the ISO to 200, which then kept the shutter speed at 1/40 second. I didn't check the LCD before shooting to see what the shutter speed was and with this too-slow-to-handhold shutter speed, most of the images were, sadly, blurry.

Fortunately or in some ways, unfortunately, a winter storm dumped more than 30 inches one weekend in January, which allowed me to test the EX-G1's ability to deal with a snowstorm. It handled the snow better than I did. I let it sit outside for a short time while the snow was falling and would have left it out there longer but was afraid it would get buried and not appear again until Spring. When the snow stopped, I ventured outside to take some shots and never once worried about dropping the camera in the snow or on the residual ice that coated the driveway after it was shoveled. I am a little confused, however, about why Casio included "protectors" (attachable bumpers) to protect the sides of the camera if it is dropped. I dropped it several times on purpose with no ill effects.

Instead of mittens, which were too bulky to operate the buttons, I wore thinner leather gloves and was able to comfortably cycle the power, change settings and shoot. Auto White Balance worked better than expected, although snow that lay in the shadows was, not unexpectedly, fairly blue. Many of the snow images showed good, albeit not super crisp, detail in the snow and tree trunks, but given the blinding white expanses of snow, exposures were surprisingly accurate and well-balanced.

Since I couldn't jet off to a Caribbean island to test the EX-G1 underwater, I had to resort to dunking a bikini-clad Barbie doll in the sink. Since both the camera and doll are buoyant, it was difficult to hold them underwater (sounds cruel, doesn't it?) and shoot at the same time so the resulting images were blurry. But the AF assist light was bright and if it hadn't been for camera/doll movement, some of the shots would have looked good. Close-up, the flash did evenly expose the subject. Auto White Balance also worked pretty well.

Afterwards, I wiped what little water remained on the camera with a dry cloth and let it sit for about a half hour before opening the battery and memory card compartments -- both of which were bone dry. Since the EX-G1 was submerged in tap water, there was no need to rinse it off. If it had been exposed to salt water or even swimming pool chlorine, I would have rinsed it in fresh water after each use.

Although I liked many of my test shots, I would probably use the EX-G1 when I wanted to shoot under challenging weather situations or on vacation where the sand or water would be dangerous for other, less rugged cameras. If you're a snowboarder or skier, it will work for you as well.

What impressed me was the extremely low shutter lag. Autofocus speed wasn't bad either. However, you can take a short nap between shots during normal shooting. Even with the automatic review turned off, the EX-G1 needs to finish writing data to the microSD card before the autofocus kicks in for the next shot.

There are color shifts in greens, yellows and oranges to be aware of when shooting landscapes and macro flower shots (although macro is pretty good for this class of camera).

I have a wish list for Casio, though. First, a wider angle zoom -- at least 35mm but preferably as wide as 28mm. Also, make the battery compartment and the memory card/USB port compartment easier to open. Otherwise, I think the EX-G1 is a cool camera in both looks and utility. I would definitely keep this in my snorkel gear bag or poolside during the summer.

CONCLUSION

The Casio EX-G1 joins a number of other rugged snapshot cameras on the market with its shockproof, waterproof, dustproof and freezeproof body. From previous experience, none of these "4-proof" cameras deliver outstanding image quality and the same is true for the Casio EX-G1. Although its images aren't outstanding, in most cases they are well-exposed and, despite some softness, look good printed -- particularly for snapshot sized prints. Despite its extremely slow shot-to-shot time, it's no slouch when it comes to snapping a photo. Shutter lag seems so low I want to say it has none at all. With a full complement of Best Shot scene modes and a few unique features such as still and movie interval shooting, the EX-G1 is easy to use and can be a fun creative tool as well.

For the price, outdoor snapshooters on a budget may be satisfied to use the Casio EX-G1 as their one and only camera. Enthusiasts, however, will want to set it aside for times when conditions require a rugged, weatherproof model and use a more capable camera for their everyday images. As a rugged camera, though, the Casio EX-G1 earns a Dave's Pick!

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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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Beginners Flash: Improving Phone Photos

If your phone takes photos, you may have resorted to it in a pinch more than once. The photos may not have the resolution of a $100 digicam and the camera itself may not have the exposure control of that same modest gadget, but sometimes it's the best you can do.

Fortunately those photos are JPEGs -- just like the ones your digicam takes.

So any image editing program can fiddle with them, adjusting the tonality and color balance, sharpening them, the whole ball of wax. And no question, that improves them no less than it improved JPEGs from the digicams of 10 years ago.

But the real problem with phone images is nothing can make them as good as the shots your digicam can take. They don't have as much detail or color that sparkles. Rather than compare with your digicam's images, they look more like Kodak Disc images or Holga shots (well, not even) or maybe Polaroids.

That's probably exactly what Associate Press Photographer David Gutterfelder thought when he looked at his iPhone shots of Afghanistan. No sense pretending. Go the other way. Polaroid them.

He ran them all through a Polaroid film filter application (we're guessing ProjectPolaroid from the border) before posting them on the Denver Post photo blog (http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2010/03/24/captured-guttenfelders-iphone-photos/).

The filter enhances the presentation because it admits these were snapshots taken on the run, not finely-tuned dSLR Raw files. It's the difference between framing them for the living room or sticking them on the refrigerator.

There are a number of programs that can turn your phone photo into a faux Polaroid (http://iphoneoverdose.com/2008/iphone-polaroid-effects-apps-roundup/). And one of them (Poladroid) even runs on your Mac or Windows computer so you can rescue those old 2-Mp digicam images, too.

They won't become high resolution images with gorgeous color but a little humility goes a long way.

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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 Camera Accessories at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2e5

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

Noreen asks for help locating a camera manual at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.eeafdab/0

Read about Canon lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=4

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

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RE: Cameras With Built-in GPS

I have seen your reviews of the Panasonic ZS7 and the Sony HX5V. Do you have a report on the Samsung HZ35W?

-- Larry Zinn

(We haven't seen the Samsung, Larry, but it sure resembles the other two. We can say there isn't much difference in the GPS capability of the two GPS cameras we did review. Or, frankly, with any GPS device we've tested. Syncing to the satellites is something they all do just fine if you're out in the open. -- Editor)

RE: Microtek M1 Film Orientation

You did a review of Microtek Artixscan M1 Pro quite a while ago. I recently purchased one and I am getting contradictory information about how to place the film strips and slides in the holders. Microtek's documentation says they should be placed facing down with the emulsion side facing up. Microtek customer service says they should be placed face up!

Do you remember how you placed the films you used for your tests? I have tried both sides, without being able to figure out which one was better and I am getting very confused over these contradictory pieces of info. Thanks so much!

-- Daniele Piasecki

(If you look at this illustration (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/M1/gallery-install/content/DSCN0469_large.html) you'll see an "R" in a box on the film holder. That shows you how the film should be oriented in the holder. All the holders have them. So this would be face down with the top at the right side. -- Editor)

RE: New Casio Digicams

Does Casio have new point-and-shoot Exlims in the pipeline in the $300-400 range?

-- Scott Butler

(Scott, see the Casio press releases in our PMA coverage (http://www.imaging-resource.com/EVENTS/PMAS10/PMAS10.HTML) for this Spring's lineup. -- Editor)

RE: Where Are the Winners?

I enjoy looking at the photos submitted to the photo contest on your Web site. I have often wished/wondered if there is a way to know which photos win from the monthly contest submissions?

-- Karen Pierce

(Yes, there is, Karen. On the News page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM) looking under the daily winner's caption, you'll find a Winner's Gallery link (http://www.dailydigitalphoto.com/cgi-bin/potd/potd_gallery.pl). That takes you to the winners for the month where at the top there is either 1) a bold line of text promising awards at the end of the month or 2) the three prize winners for that month. At the moment February has prizes. You can also get to the Winner's Gallery from the contest pages themselves. There's a link in the right-hand column and above the Photo of the Day display. There's usually a news story announcing the prize winners and why they won. At the bottom of the news page are links to the news archives. Searching for "winners" may actually find one of the stories, but for a different month. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

In For Photographers, the Image of a Shrinking Path, Stephanie Clifford covers the loss of career opportunities for professional photographers as more and more amateurs sell their work at lower rates. Making your living as a photographer "is not a sustainable thing," she quotes one photojournalist while a mother of six who has sold Flickr shots she took with a $99 Kodak on vacation in Hawaii says, "At the moment, it's just great to have extra money." Photoshop diva Katrin Eismann explains the difference between the two (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/business/media/30photogs.html?src=me&ref=homepage). And Bob Krist (http://www.bobkrist.com/blog/did-a-stay-at-home-mom-really-ruin-professional-photography/) calls it old news.


Lloyd Chambers (http://diglloyd.com) has announced his Mac Performance Guide and Other World Computing are offering a new service dubbed the MPG Photo Workstation. The service reconfigures a stock Mac Pro, delivering a ready-to-use workstation with enhanced performance and reliability features based on research and testing detailed at Mac Performance Guide. "Yes, it's the No. 1 question I get from my consulting clients," Lloyd told us, "and a huge time saver, especially for photographers that want something that's ready to use and just works -- I find that most of my clients would need to spend hours just understanding the issues, let alone ordering and setting up."


Adobe (http://labs.adobe.com) has posted Lightroom 2.7, Photoshop Camera Raw 5.7 and DNG Converter 5.7 Release Candidates on Adobe Labs. The updates add Raw file support for nine new popular camera models, including the Canon EOS 550D, Sony A450 and Olympus E-PL1.


Snapfish (http://www.snapfish.com) is 10 years old! To celebrate, the company announced you can order printable merchandise featuring images from the LIFE magazine photo archives. It's also holding an online birthday bash (http://www.snapfish.com/birthdaybash) with sales and fun stuff. Finally, the company announced it's opening up its application programming interface with Snapfish Publisher (http://publisher.snapfish.com) to allow designers, developers and printing partners to reach its more than 85 million registered users.


Apple (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL970) has released iPhoto 8.1.2 to address "minor issues in the area of import and syncing to iPhone, iPod or Apple TV." Recommended for all users of iPhoto '09, the update is a 12.2-MB download.


If you are what you eat, photographing every meal may make the most revealing blog of all (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/dining/07camera.html?src=me&ref=homepage ).


Eye-Fi (http://support.eye.fi) has released its Eye-Fi Center Software. Like the original Eye-Fi Manager software Eye-Fi Center it replaces, it consists of two parts: a small application (Eye-Fi Helper) that runs on your computer and an Adobe Air application (Eye-Fi Center) that runs independently of a Web browser or Internet connection.


Light Crafts (http://www.lightcrafts.com) has released its $99.95 LightZone 3.9 [LMW] with fixes for printing issues on Mac OS X 10.4+, plus Raw image support for many more cameras, including the Canon 7D, T2i, G11 and S90, the Panasonic Lumix GF1 and the Olympus E-PL1/E-P2.


Rocky Nook (http://rockynook.com) has published Mastering HD Video with Your dSLR by Helmut Kraus and Uwe Steinmueller. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 34 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952601/?tag=theimagingres-20).

The company has also published Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography by NK Guy. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 34 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/193395244x/?tag=theimagingres-20).


Marketing Essentials Intl. and Bourne Media Group have announced the formation of GoingPro (http://goingpro2010.com/) to provide educational opportunities and business advice for emerging professional photographers.


Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com/radio) has launched Nik Radio, a free educational podcast featuring the company's software solutions and services in interviews and on-air lessons.

The company also announced its Spring 2010 Webinar schedule (http://www.niksoftware.com/webinar) with topics including portrait, scenic and landscape, flora and fauna, architecture and wildlife, while offering basic information, insights and tips on using Nik Software plug-ins.


X-Rite (http://www.xrite.com) has announced its free webinar ColorChecker Passport -- Raw Color Power on April 15 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. EDT. The one-hour webinars will show how to capture accurate color, enhance portraits and landscapes, create your own color look and maintain color control and consistency.


Digital Foci (http://www.digitalfoci.com) has announced a 1.2.1 firmware update for the Picture Porter 35 to add incremental photo backup, full screen preview and selection for convenient viewing, USB mode selection for secondary backup to external USB storage devices and support for Raw, Exif data, IPTC and histograms.


Tamron (http://www.tamron.com) has announced 50 two-day total immersion events using Tamron lenses and discussing them one-on-one with the experts. Tamron lenses will also be available at "very special prices" during the event.


Blurb has announced its Photography Book Now 2010 juried competition (http://www.photographybooknow.com) for self-published photography books with a grand prize of $25,000. Entries will be accepted in three categories: Fine Art, Editorial and Photography Portfolio.


We note the passing last month of photographer Peter Gowland at the age of 93 (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/arts/design/05gowland.html?hpw). The quintessential Southern California photographer famous for his portraits and glamour shots, he also built custom cameras of various types (http://www.petergowland.com).

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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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Next Issue

We'll have an extensive preview of Photoshop CS5 in our next issue. We expect to publish the illustrated version a good bit earlier, though, on Monday, April 12. Keep an eye on the News page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM) for a link to the preview.
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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
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

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