The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 13, Number 3 11 February 2011

Copyright 2011, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 299th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We have condensed previews of both the just-announced Canon Rebel T3i and Nikon P500. Then we explain how to build your own Exif contextual menu (which you can download for free). Go to it!

A gentle reminder: As we explained in the last issue, we're looking for your 2011 Oscar nominations for your favorite external flash. So far, it's pretty lopsided. Where are you other guys? Email your nomination with the subject "Oscar Nomination" to editor@imaging-resource.com soon! Thanks!


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Feature: Canon EOS Rebel T3i Hands-on Preview

By Shawn Barnett, Dave Etchells and Mike Tomkins

(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3I/T3IA.HTM on the Web site.)

Just as the Canon 60D was aimed squarely at the Nikon D90 and D7000, the new Canon Rebel T3i has the Nikon D5000 (and its eventual successor) in its sights. We spent some hands-on time with the Canon T3i, which sports a swiveling LCD screen and a slightly heftier build and both looks and feels a little more serious than past models. Bundled with a new 18-55mm IS II kit lens or the 18-135mm lens that's also available with the 60D, the new T3i rather looks and feels like its prosumer sibling, except for the grip spacing. It'll be ideal for those with small to medium hands, but those will larger hands might be more comfortable with the 60D.

Indeed, the major differences between the T3i and 60D are few. It's down to frame rate (3.7 vs. 5.3 fps), maximum shutter speed (1/4000 vs. 1/8000), maximum ISO (12,800 vs. 25,600 equivalent), viewfinder size (0.87x vs. 0.95x), battery type and grip size. There are other, more minor differences, but those are the big items. As such, the T3i seems like a pretty good deal.

Compared to the T2i, the T3i adds the swivel screen, the new lens, more reduced-resolution JPEG options and an Auto Picture Style mode. The T3i also weighs a little more than the T2i, coming in at 20.1 ounces compared to the T2i's 16.75 ounces. As mentioned, it's a few millimeters larger in all dimensions. Some of those differences will matter and I think many fans of swivel screens will opt for the T3i, while those who don't like them can settle happily into a T2i without feeling like they're missing a lot.

FEATURES

According to our early information, there's little new about the T3i's sensor and processor combination. Canon said they've again reduced the gap between the microlenses, as they've said many times in the past, but they were declared gapless a few versions back, so it's tough to know how much more gapless they can get. We're guessing it's the same four-channel readout as in the T2i's sensor since the frame rate is the same 3.7 fps. Maximum image size in pixels is 5184x3456, with a pixel pitch of 4.3 microns.

The T3i's DIGIC 4 processor and buffer enables capture of about 34 large/fine JPEG images for average subjects (our tough compression target nets 11), six Raw frames and only four Raw+JPEG frames. DIGIC 4 also allows capture of 14-bit Raw images and the 8-bit JPEGs are created from 14-bit data.

Vignetting, a darkening of the corners produced by some lens designs, is reduced via Peripheral Illumination Correction in the T3i. Using a database of lenses, the amount of correction is customized for each lens mounted. Selecting the item from the menu brings up a screen where you can see which lens the camera detected and whether correction data is available. You can then choose to disable the correction if the wrong lens is showing (as sometimes happens with non-Canon lenses) or else re-enable it.

The T3i has nine-point focusing with a central cross-type f2.8 focus point and eight single-axis points. The focusing screen, likewise, is of the etched variety, with boxes surrounding dots, which light up red to confirm focus.

The T3i inherits Canon's latest metering system, previously seen in the EOS 7D, T2i and 60D. It's a 63-zone iFCL sensor, which stands for Intelligent Focus, Color and Luminance metering. The name hints at how the sensor works: the iFCL chip has a dual-layer design with each layer sensitive to different wavelengths of light, allowing subject color to be taken into account when determining exposure. Information on focusing points is also taken into account in metering calculations.

The T3i enjoys an expanded sensitivity range, from a minimum of ISO 100 to a maximum of ISO 12,800 when you enable ISO Expansion via a Custom Function setting. Instead of offering EV compensation from -2.0 to +2.0, the T3i offers a much wider +/-5.0EV exposure compensation range.

CA mode is relatively familiar, giving the more novice user an easy way to adjust the exposure, flash, resolution, drive mode and Picture Style. Setting aperture and shutter speed are converted to simpler concepts of background blur (blurred or sharp) and exposure level (darker or brighter) with a slider adjusted via the Main dial. More complex exposure decisions remain under the T3i's control in CA mode.

New is the new Auto+ mode, similar to Smart Auto on Canon PowerShot cameras. Employing what Canon calls EOS Scene Detection Technology, the new setting replaces the old "Green Zone" Auto icon. The new mode combines information from five of the T3i's systems, including Auto Exposure, Autofocus, Auto White Balance, Auto Lighting Optimizer and Picture Style Auto into one smart exposure mode, according to Canon.

Picture Style Auto is a separate setting, naturally selected as one of the Picture Styles, which you can bring up either via the down arrow on the back of the camera or through the Quick menu or even the main menu. With this new setting, the camera will consider the scene and change the Picture Style accordingly.

Of course, the T3i has a Live View mode with contrast-detect focus as well as Quick AF focus, which uses the camera's phase-detect autofocus system. You can move the AF point around, you can switch between Contrast-detect and Phase-detect (Quick AF) modes and you can even zoom in to 10x. Activating it is as easy as pressing the Live View/Record button on the back.

The T3i has the best excuse for using Live View mode: its swiveling LCD screen, which allows you to compose images from odd angles. You won't want to use it all the time, because both autofocus methods are slower than autofocusing through the optical viewfinder, but when you need it, both the swiveling LCD and Live View mode are ready for action.

MOVIE MODE

While the T2i included significant upgrades to Movie mode, the T3i receives only a few, as the former's offering was pretty complete. We're talking Full HD 1920x1080 pixels at 24, 25 and 30 frames per second. And 720p or VGA video at 50 and 60 fps.

Movie Crop mode has been enhanced as Video Digital Zoom, which allows a cropped zoom from between 3x and 10x magnification in either 1080p or 720p resolutions. You enable it from the Movie Record Size menu option, which starts it out zoomed to 3x. From there, you can zoom in to 10x and back out smoothly, with no steps in-between.

Video Snapshot, imported from the PowerShot line, is designed to help you shoot simple videos in short segments. Set the mode to shoot 2, 4 or 8-second snapshots during the day and the T3i will splice the snippets into a movie. You can also add a soundtrack. When enabled, pressing the Movie Record button records a fixed-length segment, rather than the normal toggle on/off behavior. Clips of the same length will be combined by the camera into albums. After shooting each clip, you have the option to add to the existing album, save to a different album, playback the latest snapshot or delete without saving to an album. You can also edit the Video Snapshot albums with the Video Snapshot Task software included on the software disk.

Omitted from Canon's early dSLRs that recorded video, an audio level control is included on the T3i. You can adjust levels with very fine-grained control and apply a wind filter or let the camera adjust the levels automatically. The level-indicator bar graph shows levels for both stereo channels and operates like a standard VU meter with an indicator for the peak level that persists for a few seconds.

CREATIVITY

First introduced on the 60D are a series of Creative Filter functions, similar to those seen previously in the company's PowerShot compact camera models and fairly common in dSLRs from rival manufacturers. The T3i's creative filters include Soft Focus, Grainy Black & White, Toy Camera effect (which has strong vignetting and some color shift), Miniature Effect and a new Fisheye mode. The strength of each effect is adjustable, as is the angle of the Miniature effect.

The T3i also offers a selection of aspect ratio settings in-camera. Called Multi Aspect mode, the T3i can shoot in the native 3:2 or 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1.

FLASH

Like all Canon consumer dSLRs, the T3i has a pop-up flash, with an X-sync of 1/200 second and a guide number of 43 feet. It lacks a PC Sync terminal, something we really don't expect on a Rebel but did miss on the new 60D. What the T3i's pop-up flash does have is the ability to function as a wireless flash controller or as Canon calls it, an Integrated Speedlite Transmitter.

New to the Rebel, wireless mode can control up to two groups of flashes, selecting from among four channels, using a ratio spread from 8:1 and 1:8. It's not quite as thorough as the mode found on the Canon 7D, which can control up to three groups with considerably more nuance, but it's nice that it's there all the same.

There's also an Easy Wireless mode with just one channel and one group and the ability to adjust flash power via exposure compensation.

Attach a 580EX II and you can set up wireless control for up to three groups right from the back of the camera, which works a whole lot better than using the confounding interface on most Canon flashes.

SHAWN SHOOTS WITH THE T3I

I'm one of the potential customers who would struggle deciding between a Canon T3i and 60D. Having just wrapped up the 60D review a week before, I had more than a few deja vu moments while working with the T3i. Though the grip size is quite a bit smaller, it's so grippy it felt similar. The appearance of the two cameras is also similar thanks to the T3i's larger profile.

I noticed a bigger difference in the tell-tale sound of the shutter. The T3i still makes a loud winding sound, while the 60D just clicks. Mirror blackout time is also shorter on the 60D. Since I shot the T3 at the same time, its longer blackout time of 150ms and comparatively sluggish winding sound was also a stark contrast to the quicker T3i at 130ms. I was happy with the T3i, but still prefer the 60D with its even faster 100ms blackout time.

The viewfinder of the T3i is also quite a bit tighter than the 60D and technically should appear dimmer than the 60D, as it uses a pentamirror rather than a pentaprism to bring the light to your eye, but I'm so used to shooting with small viewfinders I really didn't even notice.

I liked the T3's swivel screen, though I confess I forgot to use it more often than not. Indeed, shooting in Live View mode still doesn't often occur to me, even though I use mirrorless cameras about half the time these days. When I feel a dSLR in my hand, I naturally want to bring it to my eye to compose images. But I would lean more heavily toward a dSLR with an articulating screen, as I'm sure I would use it, especially when working on a tripod.

Autofocus is good and fast on the T3i when shooting through the viewfinder in its normal phase-detect mode, 0.16 second at telephoto according to our test of the prototype, which is smokin' fast. Shooting in Live View is a little slower. Contrast-detect is about 0.83 second and Quick AF is the slowest at 1.18 seconds. Not great, if not uncommon, so bear that in mind when choosing which to use.

I shot with both the 18-55mm and the 18-135mm kit lenses and liked them both. The 18-135 really makes the camera quite heavy, but it's much more versatile, equivalent to an 28.8-216mm lens, which is excellent for most photographic situations. The 18-55mm is quite a bit lighter, though, with a slightly improved build and appearance. Its new image-stabilization engine also seems more stable. Canon claims it's capable of four stops of correction instead of just three. Neither lens uses an ultrasonic motor, by the way, so they do make a slight buzzing noise when focusing.

We didn't get to shoot in many low light situations, unfortunately, but look forward to getting hold of a production camera to check that out. We noticed what could be a little extra noise suppression in the Still Life shot when compared with the T2i and 60D but the prototype T3i underexposed slightly at ISO 1600, so we'll have to reserve judgment.

The Canon T3i is very promising, though and should satisfy a lot of shooters who are looking for that articulating screen on a camera with Canon's impressive 18-megapixel sensor.

ANALYSIS

We've already read in the rumor mill, "The Canon T3i doesn't seem like much of an upgrade over the T2i." Admittedly, it is harder to justify an upgrade if you already have a T2i and the price leaves one wondering whether it wouldn't be better to just spend the extra couple hundred bucks and get the 60D. With essentially the same imager and processor, it comes down to a question of size, speed and price.

If you like smaller dSLRs, don't mind the smaller viewfinder and think 3.7 fps is just fine, the T3i is a great choice over the 60D. If you don't mind a little more grip, need a bigger viewfinder and plan to shoot more action with that 5.3 fps, then the 60D is probably worth the extra money. Still, there's no question it's going to cause some confusion among camera shoppers.

Confusion or not, though, it's clear the Canon T3i is a very versatile offering, one that fares well against the competition.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Nikon P500 Hands-on Preview

By SHAWN BARNETT
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CP500/CP500A.HTM on the Web site.)

One of Nikon's most popular digital camera lines is its long zoom series, a dominating force now led by the 36x Nikon P500. The P500 breaks new ground, not just with its surprisingly wide-angle starting point of 22.5mm, but also with an 810mm equivalent reach that can retrieve details you can't see with the naked eye.

SENSOR & PROCESSOR

The P500 has some special hardware under the hood. Its 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor is backside illuminated with all the "wiring" on the back of the sensor so light can better reach each pixel.

Making the deal sweeter is the new EXPEED C2 dual image processor. The new processor speeds up image processing, allows for more careful noise reduction and corrects lens distortion for both stills and movies before either are saved to the card. Special video speeds and even high-speed still modes are possible thanks to this new processor.

LENS

Ranging from 22.5mm to 810mm is an impressive feat for any $400 digital camera. Note, though, that the maximum aperture is f3.4 at the wide end -- smaller than the P100's f2.8 -- zooming to f5.7. Still, to the experienced long zoom photographer, it'll be an amazing tool.

Of course, the problem with making a camera that goes to extremes is that that's where most of its users will use the camera, at least at first. Most everyone shoots pictures of their friends and social events at the default setting, which is usually the widest angle available. The P500's widest setting is too wide for most people-pictures, introducing distortion that stretches heads and distorts bodies with unflattering results. On the positive side, it grabs darn near everything that comes within site of the lens, at least compared to any other long zoom digicam you've ever used.

At the telephoto end you run into the opposite problem: finding your subject among the rapidly shifting video image presented in the viewfinder. The view is so tight, you'll want to start about halfway zoomed and track in as the zoom progresses to help stay on target. Otherwise it's like trying to find a star through a telescope.

And once you've found it, the next problem is holding the camera steady enough to keep it framed, let alone get a blur-free shot. Nikon employs both optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization. Even with all that, two of our most steady SLRgear stabilization shooters had trouble keeping a subject centered.

AUTO PANORAMA MODES

The dual processors also allow a new trick for Nikon: Easy Panorama. The P500 allows you to capture either 180-degree or 360-degree panoramic images by just pressing the shutter and sweeping the camera over the image area. It's pretty straightforward and seems to work pretty well. Press the shutter button and the camera displays a cross with four arrow tips, prompting you to sweep in any one of those directions. Once you start to move, the camera starts capturing and a small slider appears on the bottom of the screen, indicating how much further you need to sweep. When it reaches the end, the P500 starts to process and save the image. It also works with the camera oriented vertically.

CONTINUOUS

At its highest speed, the P500 can capture five full-frame images per second in a single burst. That's about as fast as a mid-range dSLR, which is pretty fast. Some of the competition in this category can do up to 10 and even 40, for reference.

Like those others, namely the Sony HX1 and Casio FH20, the P500 does other tricks with this high speed capture capability. Separated into separate Scene modes on the Mode dial, these multi-shot modes capture several images and combine them into one to compensate for difficult lighting situations.

Backlighting Scene mode, for example, captures several images at different shutter speeds to capture both the shadows and bright highlights and merge them to create a special HDR image right inside the camera. Every time I tried it, the camera asked me to raise the flash before it would take the shot. Night Landscape mode is also more sophisticated, capturing up to five high shutter speed images into one single image and combining them into one, allowing a user to get a shot in low light that would normally require a slow, non-handholdable shutter speed. Night portrait mode, which still uses a flash (the camera insists), is also enhanced by capture of separate images, one with flash, the others without, to create a well-lit image that maintains the ambient light in dark settings.

There's also the new pre-capture mode, which uses the power of CMOS sensor and processor to continuously capture images. Unfortunately, the P500 reduces the image size to two megapixels in this mode. You can also opt for 120 frames per second or 60 frames per second, both at two megapixels. Old Nikon standbys like Best Shot Selector, Multi-shot 16 and the Interval timer are also options.

MOVIE MODE

Movie options are split between High Speed and High Definition and you can rapidly choose one or the other with the Movie mode switch on the back of the camera. Which of the many modes you choose to use within those two options must be preselected in the Movie menu.

Movie modes include 1920x1080 Fine, 1920x1080, 1280x720, 960x540 and 640x480, all at 30fps. High speed options include 320x240 at 240 fps, 640x480 at 120 fps, 1280x720 at 60 fps and 1920x1080 at 15 fps.

SHOOTING WITH THE P500

Easy access to the functions I want is the main feature I look for in a digital camera and the P500 gives me that. Some cameras are so capable, it's blinding to dig into the menus -- and you must if you want to change major settings. I don't feel that way with the P500. When I do go into the menus, I find what I need right up front. I like that.

Compared to the P100, one of the P500's basic features is more readily accessible: Drive modes. That's as it should be, especially in a camera with such a wide array of drive modes available. Best Shot Selector is one of the more consistently offered and consistently ignored features that now has more reason to be publicized. Even with dual image stabilization, it's difficult to get a tack sharp shot at full telephoto with the P500. At 810mm, it's a loooong lens and handholding it is tough. But with BSS on, just hold the lens on target as well as you can and hold the shutter button down. The P500 will choose the least blurry shot and save it to the card.

The P500 is just the right shape and size for a day at the airshow or the park. It's not too cumbersome hanging around your neck and fits nicely in your hand when you feel the need to protect it or keep it at the ready.

Though I like the new zoom control on the left side, I find myself still using the zoom ring on the shutter, since most of the cameras I use have their zoom control there. With my fingers under the lens barrel, my thumb finds the control instantly, but I'd have to train it to handle the subtle motion necessary to zoom like this. It's also a little more useful when using the EVF rather than having the camera out in front of me and then the camera is braced against my face well enough that using the more traditional zoom toggle is just as easy.

When I was out shooting in my usual stomping grounds, I noticed the extreme wide-angle lens's tendency to grab everything in sight, more than I'd even considered photographing. I've grown accustomed to thinking in 28mm terms and 24mm tends to satisfy me. But 22.5mm captures noticeably more. Shots I usually make of particular buildings require me to frame my images by carefully moving left or right to dodge large trees that are in the way. At 22.5mm, I found myself instead including those trees as part of the composition. It became part of a new story in my usual photos just how far some of these very large Georgia trees rose high into the air over these otherwise imposing structures.

The other aspect I explored more in-depth was Panorama mode. Nikon's method may be even easier than Sony's iSweep. You have to sweep somewhat evenly and it seems you need to maintain a relatively straight horizon line. If I just kept up a stable speed and pivoted with my spine (I'm not advocating this practice as a good one, it's just what I did), the images stitched just fine, with very few errors. Doing a 360 was a little more difficult, but the camera did well as I just carefully stepped around in a circle. Spit spot, the camera stopped, processed for a few seconds and served up a nice 360-degree strip. I pressed Play, then OK and it started to play back the pan, in the direction I'd moved, like it was easy.

I didn't feel like I had to wait unduly for anything on the P500, which significantly raises my opinion of it. Though we can't comment on image quality, potential interested parties should not deceive themselves into thinking that the P500 will deliver dSLR-quality images in near darkness at high speed at full telephoto, nor that its images will be as good as a more conservatively endowed digicam, like a P7000, but it'll probably deliver some good images that you'd not likely get with either of those cameras without spending thousands more (or cropping heavily).

With the caveat that you should not always shoot at the extreme ends of this zoom, I think the P500 will be a very fun photographic tool for a lot of long-zoom-loving photographers when it's available in March at the pretty decent price of $399.

Return to Topics.

New on the Site

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

Return to Topics.

Advanced Mode: Exif With a Right Click

Windows has a wealth of options for installing a contextual menu to display Exif data when you right click on a JPEG (just Google "exif context menu"). But Snow Leopard killed PhotoToolCM, the free Power PC contextual menu which we relied on for years to take a quick peek at the dimensions of an image, for example.

What to do, what to do?

Well, roll your own, that's what. The tools you need are free and the effort is a great deal less taxing than a crossword puzzle.

The key to the project is to download and install Phil Harvey's ExifTool (http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/), a utility we've mentioned in regard to resetting the time on your image files.

And while you're there, bookmark his ExifTool Tag Names page (http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/TagNames/index.html). It may come in handy later.

The next step is to launch Automator (it's in the Application folder). When it asks you what kind of project you want to build, tell it to use the Service template.

Services are available from the application menu but they're also right under your cursor when you right click. In effect, you're creating a contextual menu.

The context part is defined in the top right panel above the big workflow panel on the right. Use the popup menus to configure the Service to receive selected "image files" in "any application." That means when you right click on a JPEG (or any other image file, including Raw formats) you will see this new service listed.

Next make sure the Library is selected in the left panel so all available actions are at your fingertips. Then in the search box type "Run AppleScript." Drag the Run AppleScript action in the second panel under the search box to the big workflow panel under the Services setup.

You may notice a graphic indicating that whatever the Services setup grabs is being passed to your AppleScript. There's a little link halfway across the two panels. Cute.

Between the "on run {input, parameters}" and the "end run" lines we do all our work. And that's just three things. We massage the file name passed to the AppleScript, we set up and execute an ExifTool command and, finally, we display the results in a dialog.

Massaging the filename is a two-step dance. The first part is to turn what Snow Leopard passes to the AppleScript into something that works with ExifTool in a Unix shell script. That's easily done:

	set myFile to quoted form of POSIX path of item 1 of input 

Then we want to snag just the filename from that string:

	set tid to AppleScript's text item delimiters	 
	set AppleScript's text item delimiters to "/"	 
	set theFilename to (text item -1 of myFile) as text	 
	set AppleScript's text item delimiters to tid 
	set theFilename to text 1 thru -2 of theFilename 

That's a bit of work. We break up the string on the path symbol, a forward slash, and get the last word, which is the filename. Then we trim off the last character, which is always a single quote. We also have a couple of lines in there to save the current text item delimiters and restore them after we've changed them to the forward slash.

Now the fun stuff. At first, we decided to list the image size on one line, then the three main exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) on a line of their own followed by any copyright information in the Exif data. But as we used the new tool, we decided to report a few more settings. And why not?

To do that, we simply built a little string to pass along to ExifTool using its -p switch. The string often includes a label so we know what we're looking at. And it contains a return character to end the line (which in ExifTool turns out to be "$/"). Of course, we need the tag, too. With a dollar sign in front of it.

So if you dissect our ExifTool command line, you should be able to figure out what our display will look like (beware our line breaks, though):

	set cmd to "exiftool -fast -m -p '$ImageSize pixels$/ 
		f/$Aperture - ${ShutterSpeed}s - ISO $EXIF:ISO$/ 
		$ExposureProgram mode$/$ExposureCompensation EV - 
		$LightValue Light Value$/$FocalLength focal length$/ 
		$Orientation orientation$/$/$Make $Model$/ 
		$LensModel$/$/$Copyright$/' " & myFile 

Two ExifTool switches are important for this project. The -fast switch skips reading to the end of the JPEG file for a quicker run. The -m switch ignores minor errors and warnings, which in this case means not getting flustered if the LensModel isn't reported (often the case).

Alternately, you might want to see everything:

	set cmd to "exiftool -S -fast " & myFile 

But this requires sending the output to a document window because it's too much for a dialog box to handle. We'll explain that later.

Next we run the shell script:

	set results to (do shell script cmd) 

And finally, we display the results:

	using terms from application "Finder" 
		display dialog results & return with title 
			theFilename with icon note buttons {"OK"} 
	end using terms from 

That's a little trickier than it has to be. There's more than one kind of dialog and we want the more elaborate one the Finder uses. That lets us set the dialog's title bar to the filename, show an icon and just one button.

If you elected to see everything using the alternate ExifTool command line above, you'll want to send the output to a new text file. TextEdit is installed by default on every Mac, but we prefer TextWrangler:

	tell application "TextWrangler" 
		activate 
		set myTitle to "Exif Data for " & theFilename 
		make new text document 
			with properties {name:myTitle, text:results} 
	end tell 

That opens a new scrollable window in TextWrangler with the data.

The final step is to name our Service by saving it. We called it "Exif Data." For the full listing (why not have both, after all?) we named it "Exif Data - all."

Now when we right click on a JPEG, we can slide down to the Services fly-out menu and select "Exif Data" and immediately get a report of the essential Exif tags.

If you use the abbreviated form, your essential tags might be different, of course, but by referring to that Tag Names page we mentioned above, you can pick and choose whatever you like to put into your command string. Or just use the output from "Exif Data - all" to pick and choose Tag Names.

Services are stored in System/Library/Services and /Users/[yourname]/Library/Services. We've put ExifData.zip on the Newsletter Web site at http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/archive/v13/ExifData.zip so you can download it, uncompress it and pop them into your Services folder to try them out. You can also open them in Automator to make any changes you want, too.

Turns out there are a couple of advantages to using this Service over the old PhotoToolCM. The first is that the dialog or text window stays up after the right click has been lifted. You can even move them around.

The second is, well, ExifTool. To update these Services to handle the latest and greatest cameras, all you have to do is download and install the latest and greatest ExifTool.

That's pretty nice.

Return to Topics.

In the Forums

Visit the Imaging Resource discussion forums at http://www.photo-forums.com to find out what people are saying about the latest digicams, hard-to-find accessories, friendly suppliers, clever techniques, you name it! Recent hot topics include:

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

Visit the Digital Cameras Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2a8

Read ongoing comments about the CanoScan 9000F scanner at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eeb0378

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

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

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Just for Fun: Want to Stay In Touch?

Over the past few months your reclusive editor has received an increasing number of requests to connect on one or another social network.

This would be different from the company Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Imaging-ResourceSLRgear/71017033450) and Twitter account (http://twitter.com/IR_Lab/lists/memberships), managed from the Home Office. This would be requests to connect with Mike Pasini on your social network.

It's true that we have an account here or there on one social network or another (not the popular ones, though). Obscure business networks, alumni connections, etc. We used to indulge, we admit. But it did us no good. We swore social networking off in a 12-step plan that lets us eat flavored yogurts as a diversion.

So we aren't actually active on any social network. Our accounts point the curious to our Web site, which we do update. Perfect hobby for a recluse.

Having given networking up, we simply don't respond to requests to connect as a matter of policy. Nothing personal.

We thought we should explain that. It's in the FAQ (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-faq.html) now so we won't bother you again about it.

We have nothing against social networking for other people. We just can't do it. We don't have the strength of character (or enough yogurt) to stop when we should.

If you want to stay in touch, though, there is a way.

And you're in the right place. We've always promised to respond promptly and personally to any subscriber who emails us. Over the years more than a few of you have -- and they can attest that the system works.

It just needs a name. How's the Buddy System sound?

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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: Scanning Methodology

Thanks for your detailed test of scanners. In your review of the CanoScan 9000F there is an image of a red Maserati which is compared to a scan from the Epson V600 (the scan appears in the V600 review). There is a big difference in sharpness of the scans as far as I see. Have you used any extra software or hardware sharpening on scan from Epson?

-- Gabor Bagics

(Our general approach is to mimic typical use by relying on the software tool (ScanGear, VueScan, SilverFast, etc.) at hand to get the best scan both the hardware and software can deliver. That does include unsharp masking. And often some color correction. For the Maserati, color correction is also typical. But what we don't do (unless we're trying to prove a point -- and in that case we tell you we've done it), is use some other software to improve the scan. So we wouldn't open the scan image in Photoshop and run Nik's Sharpener Pro on it (without telling you so you could see if it makes any difference). We did that with the Rodin image in the 9000F review, for example. In that same review, there are three grill thumbnails that continue to confuse people because the thumbs are the same size but the scanned images are not. In that case we tried to show what using something like Sharpener Pro can do for a larger, high resolution image. The thumbnail is irrelevant. When you look at an image on the LCD of a digicam, it always looks sharp. But when you get it up on your monitor (which is a higher resolution display), you can finally see if in fact it is sharp or not. The LCD image is lower resolution. But is it sharper? -- Editor)

RE: 4x5s on CanoScan 9000F?

I'm considering replacing my Epson Perfection 1200 with a much newer, higher resolution scanner before I scan my father's World War I 4x5 glass negatives. I narrowed it down to the Epson V700, which is too pricey, and the Canon 9000F, which is less than half the price and rated higher. The problem is, I can't tell from the review whether the transparency unit will cover them. I know the transparency unit on the V700 covers the entire area (which is also great for live scans of items), but I can't tell if the 9000F covers the whole area or just a strip.

-- Michael Myers

(In the specification section of the 9000F review it states that film scanning is limited to "35mm film/120 format film." Further, the review says of the transparency adapter that "the actual scan area is 3.125 x 9 inches." There is even a picture of thing. So no, the 9000F won't scan 4x5 negs. It wasn't designed for that. Your best bet is the Epson V700/V750. We've rated no scanner higher than the Epson V700/V750. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

The New York Times reports hospitals are increasingly banning video in the delivery room (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/us/03birth.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&hp). "Video is a particular worry because it picks up actions that a still camera might not catch and the sound can make a situation seem worse than it is," the story maintains.


Extensis has launched its DAM Learning Center (http://www.damlearningcenter.com), a community Web site on digital asset management offering articles, Webinars, tips and tricks, tools and case examples, with information and guidance from experts across the digital asset management industry.


DxO Labs (http://www.dxo.com) has released DxO Optics Pro 6.5.4 [MW] with support for the Olympus PEN E-PL2, the Panasonic Lumix LX5 and Sony Alpha A580.


The $29.99 Pixelmator 1.6.5 [M] (http://www.pixelmator.com) adds new blending modes (Subtract and Divide), improved shortcut operation when the brushes editor or the gradients editor is open, interface tweaks and more.


Adobe reports the way the Optional Extension Plug-ins for Photoshop CS5 are installed may create performance issues when running Photoshop CS5 on Mac OS. To check for and correct the problem, see http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/889/cpsid_88974.html.


MyPix2Canvas.com (http://www.mypix2canvas.com) has announced a 30 percent discount on any personalized photo canvas print through its online store. Enter the coupon code LOVEMYPIX in the shopping cart to receive the discount through Feb. 28.


Digital Film Tools (http://www.digitalfilmtools.com) has released PhotoCopy plug-in [MW] for Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop, Final Cut and After Effects. It uses image analysis to apply the attributes of one still or moving image to another. Photocopy for stills is $95 and $195 for video.


JAlbum 9 [LMW] (http://jalbum.net) adds a 2048x2048 image linking option, startup improvements, creation of a lifeboat.zip file for published albums containing all project settings (including captions) to simplify recovery, improvements in generated code, updates for the Turtle and Galleria skins, local sharing of albums to root of Web site using JAlbum's embedded web server and more.


The Plugin Site (http://www.ThePluginSite.com) has released the free Harrys Filters [W] with 69 image effects in one dialog.


Phanfare (http://www.phanfare.com) has released new album layouts including Collage, Jounral, Filmstrip and Proofing. The new layouts are optimized to run on the iPad and Phanfare photo slide shows with music also run on the iPad.


Akvis (http://akvis.com) has released ArtSuite 6.7 [MW] with an improvement in the transformation of photos in hand-painted frames, a Recent Files list which is accessible by right-clicking on the Open Image button and a new Valentine-themed frame.


Tenba (http://www.tenba.com) has announced its colorful Vector Collection of camera bags with prices for bags in Krypton Green, Oxygen Blue, Cadmium Red and Carbon Black ranging from $12.95 to $79.95.


Lemkesoft (http://www.lemkesoft.com) has released its $39.95 GraphicConverter 7.1 [M] with a digital lightroom mode in the browser, a 100 percent preview option in the browser, a Scale to iTunes Cover size option, scaling options for slideshows, support for alpha channels in PDF exports and more.


Arthur Bleich, Adrian Coakley and Tim McKenna will lead a Photo Workshop Cruise from Tahiti to 10 French Polynesian islands April 16 on the luxury liner Paul Gaugin. Each attendee will receive a $500 shipboard credit. For more on the 14-day adventure visit http://www.dpcorner.com/cruise.


Spider Holster (http://www.spiderholster.com) has announced its $49.99 Black Widow camera holster, a quick-release belt clip designed for entry to mid-level dSLRs, camcorders and mirrorless cameras.


Rocky Nook has published its $29.95 The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2: The Unofficial Quintessential Guide by Brian Matsumoto and Carol F. Roullard. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 36 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952776/?tag=theimagingres-20).

The company has also published its $39.95 Serial Photography: Using Themed Images to Improve Your Photographic Skills by Harald Mante, explaining how to focus on themes, objects, shapes, colors and moods. This title is also available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 36 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952733/?tag=theimagingres-20).


"I was wondering if it is possible to visualize on a photo a full day, from the morning to the next morning," writes the photographer of this intriguing 24-hour shot (http://greeksky.gr/GreekSkyForum/index.php?topic=2.0).


Two PhD students sent a helium-filled balloon with two cameras and a tracking device up into the atmosphere. They knew just where it would come down, too (http://www.shef.ac.uk/mediacentre/2011/1834-video-earth-edge-space.html).


If cockpits are your thing, visit http://blog.360cities.net/airplane-cockpits for 14 of them in 360-degree spherical panoramas. Talk about motion sickness.


Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan 9.0.17 [LMW] with reduced CPU use while scanning, among other improvements.


We note the passing of Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital Equipment Co. whose PDP and VAX minicomputers brought computing to many organizations that couldn't justify a mainframe. We were great fans of the DEC Rainbow, a multiprocessor personal computer of the early 1980s which greatly expanded our horizons.

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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).

Personal photo prints on canvas at http://www.mypix2canvas.com

Digital Photography Tutorials for Beginners: http://www.photoxels.com

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

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

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Signoff

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

Daily News: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS.HTM
New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM
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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