The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 13, Number 2 28 January 2011

Copyright 2011, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 298th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We took in the Cartier-Bresson show at SFMOMA and were hit by a blinding insight. The Nikon D7000 was so smooth, Shawn was nearly speechless (although we counted over 3,000 words). We reveal how to avoid your camera manual and beg for your Oscar nominations. Duty calls.


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Feature: Cartier-Bresson Shot JPEG

We were barely out of the first room of his early work when we realized Cartier-Bresson shot JPEG. There was no way he would capture Raw or even Raw+JPEG and then fiddle with the tone and color for hours. He was a man of action. And a man of action puts a couple of rolls of film in one pocket and his Leica 35mm in the other and sets off on his world journey.

No Raw, no laptop, no Lightroom, no presets, no workflow.

As the curator rightly pointed out on one of the rare bare spots on the walls of the exhibition, the small camera was an innovation the young Henri could not resist. It made photography so convenient. And beat the pants off drawing and painting images when it came to productivity.

It was the visual Twitter of its day. A short exposure for the complete image.

But Cartier-Bresson was something of a haiku master (to stretch that metaphor). His short exposures were packed with poetry. Early on and late in the day.

We simply enjoyed the extensive show, marveling at the man's focus on what was before him and not on the politics. Later, thinking it over, one image stuck in our mind.

It was an early shot when he was on the French Riviera at Hyeres. It's a landscape oriented image, a 3:2 aspect ratio.

That aspect ratio mattered to him. He printed for publication but didn't appreciate the inevitable cropping. So much so that one agency he used would print the clear frame around the image (forming a black frame on the print) to show it was full frame.

Reproductions of the 1932 gelatin silver print vary quite a bit. But trust the flatter, lower-contrast ones (even if a higher contrast image looks better to our eye). In those days one shot for publication and publications required flat prints. The flash exposure of a halftone would put a dot in the unexposed dark areas of the image so the ink wouldn't clog up the shadows on press.

Here's a link to a good reproduction: http://moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/henricartierbresson/#/themes/1/243.html

Now that you can see what we were looking at, let's just say it's a pretty unconventional shot.

At first, the subject appears to be the stairway. It consumes most of the frame, after all, with its iron railing. It isn't a spiral, but climbs at steep angles with sharp corners. The railing itself is bent, not curved, to follow the steps. All that folds back upon itself to make the narrow descent to a hairpin turn at street level. This stairway is obviously on a very tight corner.

But when your eye gets down to the street, you realize there's another subject in the frame: a cyclist. Not a racer, but an ordinary fellow making his way through the city. The bike has fenders, the rider wears a dark suit and a cap. At least, that's the way it seems. He's something of a blur.

That's one unconventional aspect of the shot. A blurred subject.

If a sports photographer today took this shot, he would use a much faster shutter speed to freeze the cyclist and a very shallow depth of field to get that shutter speed in natural light. He'd zoom in a bit to crop out the distracting railing as much as possible without leaving the context confusing. If he didn't just run down the steps to lean over into the street for the shot.

And he'd have a completely different shot. The railing would be blurred, the cyclist sharp. Like Cartier-Bresson, though, he would have caught the cyclist in the open part of the road -- but unlike Cartier-Bresson he would have done it shooting in Continuous mode at 12 frames a second or more. Cartier-Bresson did it in just the one exposure.

The pro would have had a dramatic shot of the cyclist.

Cartier-Bresson, instead, gives us a meditation on movement. There are the awkward steps of the staircase, frozen on that corner, emphasized by their iron railing. Fixed and inefficient, the path of the elderly, the playground of children too young to leave home. And in contrast there is the blur of the young man on wheels, rolling through a hairpin turn over cobblestones.

You can't look at the shot and not feel the freedom that flows through it. The arduous steps with their bar-like railing and the still figure somehow, magically, racing by it without even moving.

That was Cartier-Bresson. And why he shot JPEG.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Nikon D7000 Shooter's Report

By SHAWN BARNETT
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D7000/D7000A.HTM on the Web site.)

The Nikon D7000 represents an evolution of the company's venerable D90, which was the first dSLR with movie capture capability and the first mid-range model with a high-res 3.0-inch VGA LCD panel. Externally, the Nikon D7000 is similar to its predecessor in terms of size, weight and much of the controlled layout, but adopts a weather-sealed, magnesium alloy construction like that of the D300S.

Graced with a 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, the Nikon D7000 is the second consumer Nikon to exceed the 12-Mp mark. A/D conversion is 14-bit, handled by the new EXPEED 2 image processor.

Capable of shooting up to 100 JPEGs at six frames per second, the Nikon D7000 exceeds its predecessor's utility for action shooting and Nikon also keeps the pressure on in the ISO sensitivity department, with standard ISOs ranging from 100 to 6400, but reaching to 25,600 in its expanded range.

Metering is also improved in the Nikon D7000, with a new 3D Color Matrix Metering sensor with more than twice the pixels of past sensors at 2,016 pixels instead of the 1,005 in Nikon's pro cameras.

A new Multi-CAM 4800DX autofocus sensor now sports 39 autofocus points, nine of them cross-type. 100 percent viewfinder coverage promises easier image framing as well, a major improvement in the Nikon D7000.

The Nikon D7000 digital camera began shipping in October 2010 at about $1,200 body-only. A Nikon D7000 kit is also available, including the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-105mm f3.5-5.6-GB ED VR lens for around $1,500. The Nikon D90 remains in the product line.

SHOOTING

As always, shooting with a Nikon dSLR camera is a pleasure. The Nikon D90 charm continues in the Nikon D7000 as a small-bodied dSLR with most of the major controls available at your fingertips. That includes a few new controls to make accessing the Nikon D7000's new features a little bit easier. Thanks to the new features and controls, the learning curve is a little bit steeper and the Nikon D7000 has a lot more depth to plumb with the manual in one hand.

I shot the Nikon D7000 with the 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens, equivalent to a 27-158mm lens, which has the typical high quality build of most Nikkor lenses. The zoom ring is smooth and tight and the lens has built-in Vibration Reduction.

The only physical complaint I have is that the lens hood tends to rattle, quite a lot unfortunately, which is a first for me among Nikon lens hoods. That's not good for videos, but I didn't notice any rattle in the videos I shot. I've managed to temporarily quiet the rattle with a small piece of tape wrapped around the mount on the bottom side of the lens hood.

After using the lens a little more, I found its focal length a little short for my usual family shooting, as it doesn't get me close enough to the stage at school or sports events. I would prefer the 18-135mm lens, even though that model lacks VR. It's still a very good lens, though, with less chromatic aberration than the 18-135mm and better image quality than the standard kit lens that ships with the D3100 and D5000. See our review of the 18-105mm lens on our sister site, SLRgear.com (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1221/cat/13).

As I said, working with the Nikon D7000 is a little different from working with the D90 and also different from the Nikon D300. Neither of the big two SLR manufacturers has a single overarching philosophy concerning controls and as features are added, it seems like each design team solves the problems in its own way. I prefer the Nikon D300S interface, with three major important options clustered atop the Drive Mode dial on the left shoulder, but Nikon's long put a Mode dial here on this class of camera, which is probably better for consumer users.

GRIP

Grabbing the Nikon D7000, my fingertips find a comfortable home in the gentle indentation just inside the grip. My middle finger just touches the function button on the front and my index finger rests on the shutter button. My thumb gently touches the left of the Main Command dial on the rear of the camera, also catching a bit of the rubber pad beneath it. Nikon has thoughtfully cut a corner off the left front of the D7000 so it doesn't jab into my palm as my fingers work the zoom and focus rings. The Nikon D7000 is well crafted.

FOCUS

If I want to change the focus mode, there's a new button on the AF/MF switch on the left side of the D7000. With the switch set to AF, just press the button and look to the top Status display (or the rear Status display if it's active). Turning the Main Command dial selects between AF-A, AF-S and AF-C, while turning the Sub-Command dial chooses among Single-Point AF, Dynamic-area AF with three options -- 9-point, 21-point and 39-point -- and 3D tracking. Auto-Area AF makes all the decisions for you. I prefer Single-point mode for its greater acquisition speed and accuracy.

Choosing a different point is as easy as using the eight-way controller disk on the back. Either look through the viewfinder as you press the controller or activate the Info screen on the rear of the Nikon D7000. For some reason the top Status display doesn't show where the point is going. Overall, in good light the Nikon D7000's focus acquisition is pretty fast in Single-point mode, but noticeably slower in multi-point modes. The lab measured 0.238 second for AF lag in Single-point AF mode vs. 0.436 second in Auto Area mode. That's also true in the Nikon D300S, so it's not a surprise. The new 18-105mm lens also slews pretty slowly. It's quiet, but not lighting fast. I got varying results in different light, as expected.

SHUTTER SOUND

The Nikon D7000 has a very fast shutter sound, with a short viewfinder blackout time, which is helpful for keeping in touch with your subject when shooting action or portraits. If you know someone who's never any trouble, but always seems to apologize as if they are, you'll get an idea of how demure the Nikon D7000 is when you trip the shutter. While that can be mildly annoying in a person, it's just right in a camera; it should get out of the way as soon as possible while drawing little attention to itself so you can plan your next shot. It's a little louder from the front than it is from the back, so you're making a little more noise than you think, but it gives the camera just the right personality.

LIVE VIEW

You activate Live view mode with the same lever that debuted on the D3100. It surrounds the Movie start button, which is appropriate since you must be in Live view mode to start a Movie recording. It's in just the right position and it works just as it should too, unlike Nikon's early efforts at Live view, which were activated on the Drive mode dial, then required a first press on the shutter button to enter Live view, with a followup press to take a picture.

MOVIES

While shooting a roomful of kids having a paper snowball fight, I found that the chaos was a little too much for stills. Switching to video helped me capture a bit more of the madness, but I forgot that I could live focus as they fought, remembering only at the end. It wouldn't have mattered much, though, because the distances changed rapidly and the action was fierce.

DUAL CARDS

When the D300S included dual cards (an SD and a CF card) I wondered whether this somewhat obvious convenience might trickle down to consumer models. Though they left out the CF option, the D7000 does indeed include two SD card slots, a choice that's just right for the kind of shooter likely to be attracted to the camera.

You've got several options:

Regardless how you configure them, it makes a whole lot of sense in these days of large file sizes for stills and videos to already have an extra card in the camera. On a long shoot in the default overflow mode, it worked flawlessly, rolling over to the second card when the first was filled.

FUNCTION BUTTON

The Function (Fn) button can be set to let you access a wide array of functions quickly, including flash exposure lock, depth-of-field preview, AE/AF lock and a huge number of other controls.

Since there are already buttons for two of the previously mentioned items, I found the +Raw option to be the most obvious and beneficial setting for my shooting. Press it once and your next shot will include a Raw image in addition to a JPEG. I usually shoot Raw+JPEG, but so seldom use the Raw images that I prefer this option for casual shooting. With the press of the Fn button, I can toggle Raw on for the next shot without fumbling through the Nikon D7000's menu. I wish there were an option to toggle between capturing Raw+JPEG and just JPEG, to make capturing a series of Raw images that much easier, but I'm glad it's there all the same.

Spot metering would also be a good Function button setting for more precise metering when the default metering option isn't cutting it.

HIGH-SPEED SHOOTING

One shortcoming of previous non-pro Nikon dSLRs was the inability to shoot at a fast frame rate when the bit depth was set to 14. But that is no longer a problem with the Nikon D7000. Set your 14-bit depth and fire away at six frames per second. You can also shoot at 12-bit if you want smaller file sizes, but you gain no speed advantage.

Six frames-per-second is pretty fast, not bad for shooting sports and other action. It's not as significant as eight frames per second, but it's still respectable and a long way from the standard three frames per second on entry-level models.

FLASH

I seldom use flash as it is, but I was discouraged from using the flash on the Nikon D7000 because it tended to either overexpose and wash out images or its exposure was inconsistent. Several test shots around the office don't show the effect much, but most of my personal candid shots are overexposed at the default settings. Once I dialed it back a bit by pressing the Flash Pop-up button on the left of the prism housing, which also serves as the FE Compensation button, I got better results (some of which I still had to dial back or increase exposure depending on the subject, which is to be expected).

Instead of the on-camera flash, I recommend using either high ISO, which delivers excellent results or an SB-700 or SB-900 external flash. They're much more powerful, can put the light right where you want it and they seem to be better controlled. As part of the Creative Lighting System, the pop-up flash can remotely control two groups of flashes placed strategically around a subject and you can include or exclude the on-camera flash from the equation.

LOW LIGHT

Nikon's claim to fame in recent years is its stellar low-light performance and the Nikon D7000 does not disappoint.

We got snow on Christmas day here in the South, so when my wife placed my one-year-old daughter on the counter to watch the snow fall after the sun had set, I grabbed the Nikon D7000. My daughter moves a lot, the kitchen counter was in my way and the light level was very low, but it was so beautiful I had to keep trying. I don't remember if I cranked the ISO up to 3200 or if I let the camera do it, but a shot taken at f4.8 (the max aperture at that zoom setting) and 1/30 second did the trick. I shot it a little wider than I would have to keep the lens at a faster focal length and the best shot was somewhat crooked, but after processing it through Nikon Capture NX 2, it makes a great 8x10.

First I processed the JPEG in Photoshop and got what I thought was a pretty good rendering, but I managed far smoother detail and tone from of the Raw image in Capture NX 2. Where the left side of her cheek had yellow and purple splotches in the prints even after processing in my usual fashion, the Capture NX 2 image doesn't. I'm no expert in Capture NX and I'm sure even a frequent user of NX 2 could get more from the image; but the point of shooting Raw is to get more from your images, especially in low light and it's clear that I did so here.

MENU

There's no getting around it, if you have a capable camera, you're going to need a relatively complex menu to control it. I find it a little blinding at times, with so many words my mind gets a little lost.

It's tough for me to remember that to turn on wireless flash control, for example, I have to go to the Custom Setting Menu, choose Bracketing/flash, then scroll down to "Flash cntrl for built-in flash," select that, then I finally see the words "Commander mode," along with the other settings of TTL, Manual and Repeating flash. It makes sense, it's just a lot to remember to get where you need to be.

It's important to find a place in your camera bag for the Nikon D7000 Manual and plan a little extra time to read it the day before a shoot to make sure you understand more complex items like the Creative Lighting System. It's a 325-page manual, which speaks to the complexity of the menu system and the impressive capability of the Nikon D7000 itself.

OVERALL

I found myself hard-pressed to find much more to write about the Nikon D7000, mostly because it works so well.

Nikon has a well-refined control scheme that now better integrates video into the experience, such that I was able to switch between the two very naturally. I love the 100 percent viewfinder, which tests at about 98 percent in our lab shots. Still, it's hard to beat seeing almost everything you're going to capture. I found autofocus to be a little slower than I'm used to in the multi-point modes, but speed rises well enough when I lock autofocus to a single point.

The Nikon D7000 was a pleasure to use and really makes great images. I recommend it to anyone looking for a high-quality SLR that will help them grow as a photographer.

SAMPLE IMAGES

You can find our Test Shots at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D7000/D7000A7.HTM and the Gallery Shots at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D7000/D7000GALLERY.HTM.

PRINT QUALITY

Printing tells the clear story of the Nikon D7000's image quality. ISO 100 images make a very crisp 20x30-inch print with no trouble. This remains true at ISO 200 and 400, with slight luminance noise starting to encroach in the shadows at ISO 400.

ISO 800 shots finally start to show some softness in fine detail, but it's still quite good in most areas.

ISO 1600 requires the first reduction in image size, looking better at 16x20 inches (though I think 1600 would still pass muster for most photographers).

ISO 3200 still looks good at 16x20, but of course gets better at 13x19 inches.

ISO 6400 is a little rough at 13x19, but usable. Chroma noise is visible in the shadows. This becomes negligible at 11x14 inches.

ISO 12,800 suffers from more chroma noise and snowy luminance noise at 11x14, such that it's not really usable. However, reducing size to 8x10 is pretty impressive.

Likewise, ISO 25,600 is unpleasantly mottled at 8x10, but settles right down at 5x7.

That's what we call an impressive performance, producing excellent images from ISO 100 to 800 at very large 20x30-inch print sizes and even its 25,600 setting produces not just usable but good 5x7-inch prints.

CONCLUSION

The Nikon D7000 is an excellent dSLR and an important player in Nikon's digital camera lineup. It's my first choice for anyone serious about getting great shots of their family, a great choice for the enthusiast photographer and a great starter camera for anyone wanting to get more serious about still or video photography.

Its higher resolution sensor answers a desire many Nikon shooters have had, yet it's done so carefully that high ISO performance is improved over the Nikon D90, despite the resolution increase. I appreciate Nikon's conservative approach.

The truth is in the printed results. You can easily print 20x30 inch sheets from ISO 100 up to ISO 800 and the highest ISO setting of 25,600 produces a nice 5x7. Can't complain about that.

Nikon's controls are easy to use and accessing Live view and Movie modes couldn't seem more natural. I love the grip, as well as the compact body, which makes the camera feel nimble and makes it easier to bring along. Having two SD card slots is another natural choice for the avid shooter, one I hope other companies will adopt.

As the feature set has grown, the learning curve has steepened a bit with the Nikon D7000. I recommend spending a little time with the manual to better acquaint yourself with the extensive capabilities of the D7000. It'll be rewarding, because the D7000 has a lot to offer the curious shooter.

The Nikon D7000 is one of those cameras that's easy to recommend. The only reason to recommend a D3100 or D5000 over the D7000 is a buyer's budget and perhaps a need for more accessible Scene modes and the only reason to recommend the D300S or D700 is the need for more professional features. Most enthusiast photographers will be extremely pleased with the Nikon D7000. It's a certain and highly recommended 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: How Not to Read a Manual

Pesky things. Hardly anything today comes without a manual. Buy a box of rubber bands and no doubt there's an instruction sheet that starts out with a list of warnings, one of which no doubt involves safety glasses.

So, like most intelligent beings, we avoid the things. Manuals, that is, not rubber bands. Rubber bands are actually essential to the smooth running of our Rumbolino, in fact. Manuals? Not so much.

That's partly because the manual to the Rumbolino is in German. And our knowledge of German is limited to the words 'Bitte' and 'Danke,' which we use in a 16:9 ratio. You probably think the Rumbolino is a German car, but no. And finding a Rumbolino mechanic who knows German is something the Knights of the Round Table never had to worry about. We envy them.

We do, however, possess a bilingual manual for the Rumbolino's carburetors (it has more than one, let's just say, officer). And that has been a blessing. Over the years, we've learned how not to read it. And that skill has allowed us to reliably start the beast without, well, resorting to the manual.

Turns out there's a particularly useful page near the end of the manual with precise instructions for priming the carbs without flooding the engine. Flooding the engine is so easy to do that some blessed mechanic no doubt already beatified cut the choke cable. In 26 years of rumbling around in the Rumbolino, we've never missed it. Because, as you might guess if you're following the bouncing ball, we know how not to read the manual.

Or how, to be more precise, to skip the dozens of pages explaining how to take the carbs apart and adjust the mixture and sync them. And get to the one page that tells you how many times to depress the accelerator, how long to turn the key and what to do next.

Cameras are no less complex than carbs. Add that to your list of Universal Truths.

In fact, they're quite a bit more complex, having added to the mechanical mysteries a long list of elusive electronic epiphanies. Add that to that list of Universal Truths while you're at it.

So you won't find one page with the secret to living happily ever after with your camera. Instead, you'll find 11. Or 14. Depends on what sort of photography you do.

You will go mad trying to find even 11 using the index or the table of contents. You will become disabled trying to get to them searching the PDF, if you are clever enough to copy it off the CD.

The worst mistake you can make, of course, is to Read the Filibustering Manual as if it were written by that page-turner Victor Hugo (who was paid by the word). We can only call that sequential suicide, frankly.

The trick is to, well, employ a trick.

We can't take credit for coming up with this trick, although we profess to have employed it for 26 years to start the Rumbolino. No, we have to give credit to Lindsay Silverman whose job, as a senior technical manager at Nikon, is to know how Nikon cameras work. If ever there were a job that required a trick for not reading a manual, that is the job.

In an article entitled How to (No Kidding) Read Your Camera Manual (http://www.nikonusa.com/Learn-And-Explore/Photography-Techniques/fvicbfuv/1/How-to-No-Kidding-Read-Your-Camera-Manual.html), Lindsay explained the trick to Barry Tanenbaum.

"I break [the problem] down," Lindsay said, "into categories of information: What do I already know? What do I need to know right now? What do I need to know a lot of the time? What do I need to know some of the time?"

He already knows how to charge the battery and put it in the camera, how to mount the lens on the body, how to put a camera strap on, stuff like that. And he even knows (because he's a professional) how to set a few menu settings.

Then he worries about what he needs to know right away to look like he knows what he's doing. "For me that's metering and autofocus choices, the speed of the frame advance and details of the custom settings," he admits. For us, it's how to start the Rumbolino when it's cold. For you, something entirely different no doubt.

Then there are the other two categories: stuff you always need to look up and stuff you sometimes have to look up.

With these categories defined (which sounds harder than it is), Lindsay uses color tabs (Post-It Notes around here) to mark the places in the manual for each kind of thing. He writes the subject on the part of the tab that sticks up and uses a different color for each category.

Suddenly, the manual is your best friend. You don't have to sit there paying attention to it as it interminably drones on but when you need it, it's right there with the answer you need. No arguing with the table of contents, no bartering with the index. Just open to the page with the right color tab.

Of course, you will then be obliged to read the manual (in a sense) to get anything out of the exercise. But technically, that isn't really reading the manual. It's reading the page of the manual you need.

And that's the key to not reading the manual. No kidding.

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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 the Sony Alpha SLT-A33 discussion at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.eeb1a7e

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

Read about PhotoRescue photo recovery software at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?13@@.ee8cc4b/0

Read about Tamron lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=7

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

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Just for Fun: Time for Your 2011 Oscar Nominations!

As a subscriber to this image-free publication, you enjoy all the privileges of a free membership in the Ersatz Academy of Sliding Picture Arts and Sciences.

Unfortunately, there is one obligation that comes with this free membership.

Every year at this time, the Board of Directors (that would be us) solicits your nomination for our Academy's 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, Best 4x6 Jumbo Print, Best Inkjet Printer, Best Online Photo Sharing Service and Best Monitor. 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 external flash.

There are quite a few options out there. There are the dedicated units designed just for your camera. Some are built by the camera manufacturer, others by third parties. Some wireless, some not. And there are inexpensive generic units that, under manual control, will do in a pinch.

It's quite a list, really. And that's where you come in. Narrow it down!

Remember, the more words you use, the less hard we have to work the week we announce the winner. Tell us why you love your flash and don't be shy about using terms like guide numbers, zoom heads, wireless capability, filters, built-in bounce cards, PC connectors or anything else you can find printed on the spec sheet. After all the light your flash has shed 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.

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

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Dave's Deals

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We Have Mail

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

RE: Brush, Floss & Scan

I found your site while researching methods to digitize film and have found it quite informative! Thank you very much for providing a useful image-focused review site!

The dentist that I work for has recently opened a second location where we are trying to "go paperless." The reason I have been looking into how to digitize film is we have transferred many patients to the new office and we would like to digitize their X-rays. I was wondering what product you would recommend for this project. The biggest concer I have is we require fairly high quality scans and we cannot have shadows where they shouldn't be. We would also be using it to digitize X-rays at the old office so we don't have to mail the original films to the insurance companies (reducing the risk of losing them and the cost of postage).

At any rate, any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

As a side note, I (personally) have a Canon MP620 all-in-one. Would it be reasonable to use that to scan X-rays or actual negatives? I've noticed that newer models have built-in film adapter things, but I'm unsure whether I could find something to work with mine.

-- Elizabeth Power

(No matter what you do, you won't have shadows where they shouldn't be. The trick will be to capture enough tones so the digital image is as informative as the original film. You don't want one shadow obscured by the tones around it. Unfortunately, your MP620 does not do film scanning and there is no attachment to enable it, either. So you do need a flatbed film scanner with a transparency adapter large enough to handle your X-ray film. We'll ask our readers for recommendations, but we have a hunch the software you use to manage your scans will be more important than the scanner. We did find one such product that supports common scanners (http://apteryxware.com/dental/opendesign.html). Meanwhile, have a look at our Short Course on Scanning (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V600/V600.HTM#sho) to familiarize yourself with the subject. It unfortunately remains a bit more complicated than it has to be. -- Editor)

RE: All Else Is Failing

The image facility on my camera is playing up. Images played back have a misty horizontal image on top. I have changed the batteries, inserted a new CF card and the problem is not resolved. Please advise as to next step (if there is one).

-- Kath Bevington

(Best to call your camera's customer service number for an analysis of the problem. There was (once upon a time) a recall on Sony CCDs that has since expired but that doesn't quite seem to be the problem you are describing. The manufacturer will no doubt recognize the problem and give you an option or two, though. -- Editor)

RE: Scan Speed

I really enjoy your reviews, I almost bought a CanoScan 9000F the other day but after using my son's CanoScan 8800F with the four slide holders, I get your point about taking years to finish my 12,000 photos and slides.

I was thinking of buying a semi pro unit in the $3,500 range, like the 10000xL Epson. I have a lot of friends that want their slides converter as well as mine and I could earn a little retirement cash on the side by doing this.

I know the Epson 700 holds 12 slides, but others scanners hold 35 slides. Could you kindly recommend a step up to a relatively inexpensive scanner that can batch scan this lager volume, with reasonable quality and speed. Or would these older models be slower than the new 9000F with LED technology?

Do these scanners that hold many more slides take extra time to scan them.

-- Bill Snyders

(One thing missing from the inexpensive scanning solutions is feed automation. Microtek sold the M1 with two sets of holders so you could load one while scanning one, but that was about it. Nikon Coolscans did offer automated feeding at a higher price. We've heard from readers who have engineered clever copy setups using a macro lens on their dSLR, some even with automated feeding. That's the quickest way to digitize a collection (if you can sacrifice some dynamic range). The time it takes to scan an image varies primarily on the resolution you select. Transmission of large files to your system can also slow things down. Older scanners do require a warm-up time (although, once the bulb is warmed up, it isn't an issue). That's the hierarchy of mechanical delays. So a second set of holders is actually a pretty good idea (particularly since you'll be doing a lot of cleaning with compressed air). That would be our recommendation unless you can engineer a dSLR setup for quick copies. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

Pentax Imaging has released a statement (http://www.pentax.jp/english/news/announce/20110126.html) acknowledging that "the first shipment of our Pentax K-5 digital SLR camera included some products with a stained image sensor." The stains are distinct from normal sensor dust, producing "images with spots which look something like water drops, and which users cannot remove with ordinary cleaning methods."

More on the difference between stains and dust is available at Enticing the Light's K-5 review (http://enticingthelight.com/2010/12/01/review-pentax-k-5/#stains) in which Pentax President Ned Bunnell noted, "I'd like to remind our U.S. customers that their K-5 is covered under the 1-year warranty and that we'll of course honor that. However, until we find out which batch(es) are affected by the stains, we recommend that photographers keep their cameras and refrain from exchanging them for another unit if purchased from an online retailer. Once we fully understand the origin of the stains and how to deal with them we will encourage affected K-5 owners to send in their cameras for warranty repair."


Photographer Jay Maisel had a birthday recently to go with the other 79 in his life. Portrait Photographer Greg Heisler once observed that Maisel's work is "absolutely about appreciating the fact that God gave him eyeballs to see stuff." Don't blink, Jay.


Alan Taylor, creator of The Big Picture at the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/bigpicture), has moved to The Atlantic to edit a new photo site called In Focus (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/), where he plans to tell news photo stories full time.


Roger Cicala (http://www.lensrentals.com) has posted two amusing entries, the first on Stuff I Would Buy and the second on Stuff I Wish I'd Never Bought.


Bibble Labs (http://bibblelabs.com) has released Bibble 5.2 Pro and Bibble 5.2 Lite [MW] with support for 14 new Raw formats, including the Nikon D3100, D7000, P7000 and Panasonic LX5, GF2 and GH2, plus significant improvements to Bibble 5's Selective Editing capability and other enhancements.


Epson (http://www.epson.com) has introduced its $849 Stylus Photo R3000 13-inch printer, shipping in March. The new printer features eight-color UltraChrome K3 inks with Vivid Magenta and Vivid Light Magenta, advanced media handling with a front-in/out path, AccuPhoto HD2 image screening technology, a micropiezo AMC print head, high-capacity ink system with 5.9 ml cartridges, auto-switching between Photo and Matte black inks and more.


Wanderlust Cameras (http://wanderlustcameras.com) has introduced its Pinwide wide-angle pinhole lens for Micro Four-Thirds cameras. "The pinhole is actually recessed inside the camera, allowing for an ultrawide 11mm (22mm equivalent)," the company said.


Creaceed (http://www.creaceed.com) has released its $79.95 Hydra Pro 2.3 [M] with Lightroom 3 compatibility. The entry-level $49.95 Hydra Express is available exclusively from the Mac App Store.


The Flash Bus Tour (http://www.theflashbus.com) features Strobist David Hobby and Joe McNally traipsing through 29 cities in six weeks to teach the magic of artificial illumination. Just $99.95 to attend. Bright idea.


Phoozl (http://apps.facebook.com/alphabetography) has announced its Alphabetography Photo Challenge with 11 prizes sponsored by Blurb, Datacolor, Frame Destination and Course Technology PTR. Contest participants need a Facebook account and must be at least 18 years old.


Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has released Adobe Photoshop Express 1.5 at the iTunes Apps store for iOS 4.2 devices with full Retina display support, multi-tasking, improved photo uploading and a new camera workflow.


Canon (http://www.usa.canon.com) will debut a collaborative film titled The Story Beyond The Still on Jan. 23 at the Sundance Film Festival. The film "demonstrates the first-hand benefits of shooting still and moving images with Canon's industry-revolutionizing HD dSLR cameras," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Canon Imaging Technologies and Communications Group.


Rocky Nook has published its $39.95 Gimp 2.6 for Photographers by Klaus Goelker covering the basics of image editing and simple adjustments, advanced techniques using layers and masks, stitching panoramic images and preparing high-quality black and white images. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 34 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952490/?tag=theimagingres-20).


Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com) has announced Silver Efex Pro 2 [MW], featuring a History Browser, Dynamic Brightness, Amplify Blacks, Amplify Whites, Soft Contrast, Fine Structure, Image Borders and selective colorization, as well as a variety of speed and quality improvements.


Need a clamp? How about a $44 Nasty Clamp (http://www.nastyclamps.com) to support your digicam or flash?


Xavier Antin has created Just in Time, or A Short History of Production (http://www.xavierantin.fr/archive/Just-In-Time), a book printed through a chain of four desktop printers using four different colors and technologies dating from 1880 to 1976.


No Starch Press has published its $29.95 Create Great iPhone Photos by Allan Hoffman. The title, which shows both casual and serious photographers how to master the world of iPhone photography, is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 36 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1593272855/?tag=theimagingres-20).


onOne Software (http://www.ononesoftware.com/free/templates) has released free album templates, backgrounds and adornments as layered PSD files for use within Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.


Phase One (http://www.phaseone.com) has announced the Phase One IQ180, IQ160 and IQ140 digital camera backs with maximum resolutions of 80, 60.5 and 40 megapixels respectively. This series sets new standards for medium format camera system handling and performance, the company said.


Bert Monroy's Times Square digital painting (http://www.bertmonroy.com/timessquare/timessquare.html) contains over 500,000 layers in almost 3,000 Photoshop and Ilustrator files.


Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan 9.0.16 with fixes for OCR in some languages on Mac OS X, a problem with the Microtek M1/F1 and USB-SCSI adapters.


We note the passing of Milton Rogovin, a social documentary photographer, at 101 (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/01/18/us/AP-US-Obit-Rogovin.html?_r=1&hp). He documented the lives of the invisible -- the poor, the dispossessed, the working class -- around his neighborhood in Buffalo and in Appalachia, Chile and Mexico. A link to Harvey Wang's documentary "Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones" is on the Rogovin Web site (http://www.miltonrogovin.com).

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One Liners

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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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