|Volume 13, Number 18||9 September 2011|
Welcome to the 314th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We cover the Adobe Carousel announcement before Andrew focuses on Nikon's new 40mm macro lens. Then we tour DxO's new and improved FilmPack 3 and review a cook book for food photography. Lick your lips!
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Is it a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein? A merry-go-round? A slide projector? An early name for Acrobat?
Whatever springs to mind right now, Adobe hopes you'll associate the name with its new consumer photo application.
During the course of our briefing with the Carousel team last week, we got a glimpse of this new photo ecosystem. And if, on the one hand, it's a landmark achievement, on the other, it raises a lot of questions.
WHAT IT IS
For example, what is Carousel?
At the briefing, the team explained that they had done some research. You can, incidentally, explore the Gigs listings on craigslist.com to see what Amex treat they are offering every now and then for paid research in your area. We presume that's the research they were talking about.
The question they had asked was what consumers want in a photography application. The operating word here is "consumers." At first we suspected they meant those cellphone wielding tweeters who wouldn't know a G12 from a GF3. But it turns out members of the team (burdened with dSLRs, no less) are themselves avidly using Carousel.
So what do they want? Four things, it turns out:
So they invented what they've decided to call Carousel. Strike up the band.
- Ubiquitous (yep, they used that word but what they meant was "from any device with a screen on it") access to their entire photo library ("entire" being a bit vague)
- The ability to browse, adjust (or edit) and share their photos
- Easy ways to collaborate on that library with friends and family (managing the family archive is not a one-person job nor, come to think of it, is shooting a family birthday party)
- Real simple setup, with easy-to-use functions. No learning curve. Gesture-based.
The team didn't actually explain what Carousel is, although they did show it off. We found out it's a set of cute (and free) local apps running on your desktop, your smart phone, your tablet that can:
It's non-destructive editing (Lightroom code would have it no other way) and if two of you happen to be editing the same image at once, you're prompted about which to keep (and, yes, you can keep both).
- Import JPEG images from the device's local storage or from a connected or built-in camera
- Transmit them (in the background as if it were not happening) to Adobe servers somewhere (the press release says Carousel uses "cloud-based smart mesh technology" to do this)
- Instantly (well, nearly) share the thumbnails and database on any other device that it logged into that "carousel" or album
- From which you can display the carousel as thumbnails or individual images and
- "Enhance" the photos with "Looks" (presets) or minor global edits using Lightroom/Camera Raw technology
- From any device. Concurrently.
- And then share the images on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, etc.
We're told the whole Lightroom Develop module has been shoehorned into Carousel -- but it isn't all turned on in this version.
The carousel application looks the same on the desktop, tablet or phone (although the layout is a bit rearranged, of course; our news item at http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1315418246.html shows the various views). The user interface is the same as well, relying on gestures (via Lion on the desktop) and sliders. Very simple. You won't need to learn how to use it.
It isn't clear what kind of trade-offs you make by editing an image on an iPhone instead of your (profiled) desktop Mac, but expect some. We've found noticeable differences editing shadow detail on a MacBook Air compared to a MacBook Pro, so we would expect the same issues with an iPad or iPhone edit as well.
John Nack introduced Carousel (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2011/09/introducing-adobe-carousel.html) on his blog as a sort of Lightroom for iPad, suggesting there will be more integration between Carousel and Lightroom with Raw support in future versions.
During the demo, Senior Product Manager Sumner Paine showed off the editing capabilities of Carousel. They're pretty basic in version 1.0. Real simple Auto fixes for color and tone paired with Looks, which are just like Lightroom presets.
He demonstrated those features as you would use them: one person working on one photo.
But then he showed us how someone else could edit an image in that same carousel (in fact, the same image) at the same time.
Collaborative editing? Indeed.
About how long would it take for this to end up in front of Judge Judy? "Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, sir! I have a question for you. Yes, you. Are you listening? Good. Who ... took ... the ... Picture?"
And of course the litigant mumbles some other story not answering her question, thinking he can slip around it when, "No, no, no, sir. Who ... took ... the ... picture? I don't want to hear your story. I want to know who took the picture. Ever hear of copyright, sir? Didn't think so."
Then we remembered the sunny afternoon when we were stuck waiting for the bus longer than anyone has a right to expect. We amused ourselves by observing the pack of very young adults (or nearing-expiration children) who were also waiting (because they were too young to drive). Three boys, two girls. The guys in well-worn T-shirts and jeans, the girls dressed in their very best, however uncomfortable.
One of them was snapping smart phone photos of the others doing outrageous things like smooching. And immediately uploading them to someone else's Facebook page.
Now we could see a cute little photo war uploading images and then escalating that war by editing the photos and everyone laughing about it all until the bus finally came.
But that's only one vision of collaborative editing.
The apps may be free but Carousel is not.
Obviously, the app doesn't completely reside on your device. There's the cumulus aspect. And where there's a cloud, there's a storage charge. In fact, Adobe said while the apps are free (you just need a someone to invite you to share their carousel to get them), you do have to pay for storage.
So for the second time in a month, Adobe has introduced a product based on the subscription model. If you're scoring at home, the first was Muse (http://muse.adobe.com), a Web site builder for designers who prefer not to learn how to write any code.
In this case, the magic number is $60. That's the introductory rate for a year. There's also an introductory monthly fee of $6. Those will eventually rise to $100 and $10 (rounding up) but early adopters are price protected for three years, we understand.
For that you get:
The equivalent of a demo is Carousel's 30-day complimentary sub.
- Unlimited image storage of unlimited size (but just JPEGs)
- Up to five carousels (or albums, we reiterate; but Adobe imagines you'll use one as your primary photo collection and use the other four as ad hoc ones for sharing; but, uh, just one for thousands and thousands of images?)
- Sharing among five people with compatible devices (non-subscribers can see and edit your carousel with the free apps)
- No limit to how many phones, tablets or computers you use
The subscription model always reminds us (and we're not alone) of a friend's advice long ago to not buy anything you have to feed.
That would apply to things like cable television, data plans and subscription-model software with recurring charges. Not to mention rent, mortgages, utility bills, auto loans, etc. There are an awful lot of these sorts of things. Way too many.
Ask yourself if you'd be willing to pay $100 a year for remote storage of your JPEG image collection. No? What if you could access it (and even edit images) from your computer, phone or tablet? No? What if other people could, too? No? Pass on.
It is a clever idea to use a remote server as an image repository (available anywhere the Internet is) and push changes to clients as diverse as phones, tablets and computers that all can edit the images with Lightroom technology.
But that one main carousel thing mystifies us. How are you going to find anything if you have a hundred thousand images in one shoebox? There's no tags, no keywords, no stacks, no film rolls. No organization, in short. Other than Date.
There's also no Web album, slide show (how nice it would be to show a carousel on your HDTV) or printing or even a Web client. It isn't even available in any language but English.
Version 1.0, emphasizing the Carousel ecosystem, almost looked to us like a proof of concept for a new feature in an existing product. But there's apparently a lot more functionality ready to burst out in the next version. Something more like Lightroom for iPad.
There are some well-thought-out pieces in place already. Sharing a carousel is as simple as entering your friend's email address in the Settings dialog box (but why just five?). Right away, whatever device your friend is using will show your carousel in the Friends' Carousels list.
You can also tag images as favorites. Your tags are yellow. Tags from other people are gray. Gold or silver, if you're into precious metals these days.
This all works nicely on Macs, iPhones and iPads (which is how the demo was done). Support for Windows and Android is coming, we were told.
Carousel does address the problems the team discovered from their research. That no mobile device has enough storage for all your photos, that it can be hard to connect to your photo library (especially if it's on offsite media), that syncing your collection is a pain, that sharing is hard, that editing software is written for just one device.
Some of those issues have already been addressed by a number of companies. Eye-Fi View (http://www.eye.fi), for example, makes your last seven days of images available on any device (Android or iOS). And if seven days isn't enough, you can upgrade to Eye-Fi Premium for $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year to get unlimited storage (for Raw and video files, too). WD Photos (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/WDP/WDP.HTM), a smart iOS app to see your entire photo library as it's stored on an external WD hard drive accessible on the Internet (no subscription fee), is another solution. And Apple's iCloud (http://www.apple.com/icloud) promises to be yet another approach to solving the sharing issue.
Adobe, though, adds Lightroom to the show -- on every device. Version 1.0 doesn't have much of it, but nobody else has anything like it.
If that appeals to you, stay tuned. Carousel will be bustin' out all over before the end of the month.
By ANDREW ALEXANDER(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1448/cat/12 on the Web site.)
Announced in July, the APS-C compatible Nikon 40mm f2.8 macro lens is designed for Nikon's line of consumer dSLR cameras including the D3100, D5100 and D7000. It provides an effective field of view of 60mm on these cameras and vignettes on a full-frame camera.
The lens takes 52mm filters, comes with a round lens hood and is available now for around $300.
Results for sharpness were excellent. The lens is almost tack-sharp at f2.8, showing just a touch of corner softness. However, stop down to just f4 and the lens provides its sharpest performance. Stopping down further to f5.6 or f8 provides no further gains in sharpness. Our testing showed signs of diffraction limiting at f11, impacting slightly on overall sharpness, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any practical impact. It's only at f16 there is any significant reduction in sharpness and even then it's slight. Fully stopped-down at f22, results are somewhat soft across the frame.
Overall CA is low and our sample images bear this out. I'm hard-pressed to see any color fringing in areas of high contrast. However according to the test results there is some increase in the prevalence of CA as the lens is stopped down, reaching an apex at f11 or smaller.
Corner shading is only noteworthy when the lens is fully wide open at f2.8, at which point the extreme corners are around 1/3 EV darker than the center. At any other setting, there is no corner shading to speak of.
Distortion is well-controlled by the lens. Technically there is a very small amount of pincushion distortion, but otherwise distortion is effectively negligible.
As a macro lens, the Nikon 40mm f2.8 micro has a lot of extension built into it and thus it takes a significant amount of time to move through its focusing range. It took slightly more than one and a half seconds to focus from close-up to infinity. However, small changes in focusing are quick. The lens features a Silent Wave Motor so there is no noise from the lens and attached 52mm filters won't rotate.
Designed specifically for macro use, the 40mm f2.8 micro offers full 1:1 macro resolution with a minimum close-focusing distance of just over six inches. It's worth noting this distance is calculated from the sensor and, taking into account the length of the lens (64.5mm), you end up with a working distance of around 4 cm from the end of the lens to the macro subject. This isn't a huge amount of room and that's without the lens hood in place.
It's also worth noting our testing isn't done at macro distance, so our test results show the lens in regular use, not in macro use. Focused on a subject on macro distance, you should expect to see much more corner shading. Also, the lens literature indicates if the camera is set to Aperture Priority or Manual modes the aperture will adjust automatically for different focusing distances up to 1.2 stops. So the lens will show up to 1.2 stops of light loss due to the barrel extension.
BUILD QUALITY & HANDLING
The Nikon 40mm f2.8 AF-S Micro is nicely finished in Nikon's standard black wrinkle texture. The body mount is metal and the 52mm filter threads are plastic. As well, the lens features a rubber gasket on the metal lens mount to keep dust and moisture out.
There are two switches on the lens, one to enable or disable autofocus (M/A or M settings) and the second as a focus limiter. The limiter will allow for the full range of focusing or to focus from Infinity to just under eight inches. The lens features a distance scale labeled in feet and meters, as well as a reproduction scale, all in place under a plastic window. There is no depth of field scale, neither is there an infrared index.
Optically the lens is fairly simple, using just nine elements in seven groups, however the focusing system employs Close Range Correction which no doubt aids in macro photography. Finally, the lens employs Super Integrated Coating to reduce ghosting and flare.
The focus ring, a rubber ring half an inch wide with deep rubber ribs, is mounted near the front of the lens. The ring is a quite stiff, but will not change positions once it is set. Given the precise focusing occasionally required in macro photography this will be quite welcome. When focusing this lens at infinity the front lens element retracts deeply into the barrel. When focusing at close distances the front lens element extends a full inch beyond the end of the lens housing. There's quite a lot of fidelity in manual focusing, as well: the ring will turn a full 180 degrees from infinity to closest focus, but it ends at soft stops, with just an increase in resistance to let you know you've reached the end of the focusing range.
The included HB-61 lens hood is a round model that attaches via a bayonet mount and can be reversed and stored on the lens. When attached, the hood adds just over an inch to the length of the lens.
Nikon 60mm f2.8-GB ED AF-S Micro. Full frame camera users would need this equivalent lens from Nikon, which offers very similar performance. ~$560
Nikon 85mm f3.5-GB ED AF-S VR DX Micro. The Nikon 85mm offers an effective field of view of 127mm and our testing found you had to stop it down considerably to obtain maximum sharpness. But it offers a substantial advantage in the form of Vibration Reduction, meaning you could theoretically leave the tripod at home. The working distance is also significantly longer than the 40mm, meaning you don't have to get quite so close to the flower or bug you're photographing. ~$500
Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro. Sigma offers 50mm and 70mm macro lenses, but at the time of writing neither of these have been implemented with an HSM motor to enable autofocus on consumer "screw-less" bodies. The 105mm does have an HSM motor, though we have not yet tested this lens. ~$1,400
Tamron 60mm f2 Di II LD IF Macro 1:1 SP AF. Tamron offers a 60mm lens which is compatible with Nikon's consumer bodies, allowing autofocus. We haven't yet tested this lens. ~$500
Carl Zeiss 50mm f2 Makro-Planar T*. If you're unconcerned with autofocus, the Carl Zeiss lineup removes it altogether, offering a lens with exquisite build quality at a significantly higher cost. The lens is full-frame compatible, but did quite well on our APS-C body; however, we found you needed to stop down considerably to obtain maximum sharpness. ~$1,000
Small, economical and excellent performance -- there's a lot to like here. Nikon markets this lens as an introduction to macro photography and I think they've done very well here to make that happen. Macro enthusiasts may want a bit more working room to accommodate lights and modifiers, but for a small lens that's easy to work with, you can't go wrong for the price.
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/FP3/filmpack-3.htm on the Web site.)
The French software company DxO worked on an update to its FilmPack emulsion emulator while updating Optics Pro to v6.6 (http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/DxOv6/optics-pro.htm) but the new FilmPack 3 stands on its own. Literally. Like FilmPack 2, it functions as either a standalone application, within Optics Pro or as a Photoshop plug-in, but FilmPack 3 adds support for Lightroom and Aperture.
FilmPack 3 includes a few new tools as well, including: Customized film effects, Hue/Saturation/Lightness sliders, a Channel Mixer, Creative Vignetting and a Noise Removal tool.
That wasn't all that DxO was coding, though.
The company revised a number of the emulsion renderings and added 10 more while updating the user interface. FilmPack 3 is a healthy upgrade from FilmPack 2.
And how they did it is interesting. They shot the film and had it processed in leading labs both in New York and Paris -- Picto in Paris and Duggal in New York -- before analyzing the results to build the renderings.
The full list of 60 emulsion renderings includes four categories (not counting a Custom Preset category of settings you can save derived from variations of the standards). The four categories are, as you might expect, Color Positive Film, Color Negative Film, Black and White Film, and Cross Processed Film.
The Color Positive emulsions include:
The Color Negative emulsions include:
- Fuji: Astia 100F, FP 100C, Provia 100F/400F/400X, Velvia 50
- Kodak: E-100 GX Ektachrome 100, Ektachrome 100 VS, Elite ExtraColor 100, Elite Chrome 200/400, Kodakchrome 25/64/200
- Polaroid: 669/690, Polachrome
- Generic Fuji: Astia 100, Provia 100, Velvia 100
- Generic Kodak: Ektachrome 100 VS, Kodachrome 64
- Agfa: Precise 100
- Fuji: Sensia 100
- Lomography: X-Pro Slide 200
The Black and White emulsions (with a few infrared) include:
- Agfa: Ultra Color 100, Vista 200
- Fuji: Superia Reala 100, Superia 200, Superia X-Tra 800, Superia HG 1600,
- Kodak: Elite Color 200/400, Portra 160NC/160VC
- Lomography: Redscale 100
Cross Processed Film includes:
- Agfa: APX 25/100
- Fuji: Neopan Acros 100, Neopan 1600
- Ilford: Delta 400/3200, FP4 Plus 125, HP5 Plus 400, HPS 800, Pan F Plus 50, XP2
- Kodak: BW 400 CN, HIE (High Speed Infrared), Kodak HIE filtered (High Speed Infrared), T-Max 100/400/3200, Tri-X 400
- Polaroid: 664/667/672
- Rollei: IR 400, Retro 100 Tonal, Retor 80s, Ortho 25
- Ilford: Delta 100
- Kodak: Elite 100
- Fuji: Superia 200
The user interface includes a number of controls you can fiddle with to fine tune the effect or even radically alter it.
At the top is a histogram, which you can configure to display all the RGB channels at once or individually. You can also display just the Luminance channel.
There are both Color and Black and White Control panels. You can save your settings as a preset from the little gear icon menu.
Under Color, the options are:
Under Black and White, the options are:
- Color Rendering: Film rendering popup (perhaps an easier way to select them than the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen because you can see the full name, sacrificing the small thumbnail preview) and Intensity to modify the effect
- Basic Settings: Contrast, Hue, Saturation, Lightness
- Hue-Saturation-Lightness: Channel(s), Hue, Saturation, Lightness
- Noise Removal: Luminance, Chrominance
- Film Grain: Film rendering popup, Intensity, Size
- Creative Vignetting: Intensity, Midpoint, Roundness, Transition
- Tonality: Film rendering popup, Intensity
- Filter: Filter (color), Intensity
- Toning: Toning (Gold, Selenium, Sepia, etc.), Intensity
- Basic Settings: Contrast, Saturation, Exposure
- Channel Mixer: Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta
- Noise Removal: Luminance, Chrominance
- Film Grain: Film rendering popup, Intensity, Size
- Creative Vignetting: Intensity, Midpoint, Roundness, Transition
USING FILMPACK 3
There are several ways to tap into the magic of FilmPack 3:
However you've launched FilmPack 3, the interface is the same.
- As a standalone application, you merely have to launch FilmPack 3 and open a JPEG image.
- FilmPack 3 is built into Optics Pro, so you can access it from the menu system while working on an image.
- In Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture, you open an image first and then call FilmPack 3 to edit it.
If you elect to Hide the controls, you can just sample the various options displayed in the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen. Which, you know, is kind of fun. And certainly beats the pantaloons off buying rolls of the stuff to see what it looks like.
Or you can show the controls, pick a rendering and fine tune it with sliders. If you want to save the result for another day, you can save it as a preset. Which is a bit like creating your own film.
It's all very simple.
But it only takes a second to realize how powerful it is, too. You can, for example, remove noise before you apply grain, improving the results. And, despite DxO's exhaustive efforts to eliminate it in Optics Pro, you can now add vignetting to your image, too.
There are several view options, as well. A single image view which you can toggle, a split image view and a double image view. You can change the magnification and use the Hand tool to move around the image, which you can quickly take to full screen or 100 percent views. There's also a navigator window you can drag around the image.
A 100 percent view is particularly interesting in FilmPack 3 because it shows you the distinctive grain patterns of the various emulsions. The renderings are, in fact, quite detailed.
DxO told us the company was surprised to find FilmPack devotees like the program for "its creative capability." After a few minutes with it, we could see why. Film is the grandfather of all presets.
Film has, if nothing else, personality. And by rendering a pristine digital image in the contrast, saturation, color and grain characteristics of one emulsion or another, you quickly get a different look, a different feel.
We asked Tom Abbott, a former Kodak research scientist, to sit down with us and informally review the Kodak emulsions for their color fidelity and grain characteristics. Particularly interesting to us was his impression of the relative difference between the Kodak emulsions.
Frankly, it's impossible to test this sort of thing. We thought of taking digital shots of our local Kodachromes but outdoor shots from years ago are impossible to replicate accurately. DxO told us they do get feedback from photographers that feel one or another emulsion should be tweaked one way or another. But the advice is often contradictory. And, as Tom put, perception is all in the mind.
The results of our half-hour emulsion review? He was impressed, confirming the various renderings accurately portrayed the emulsions, including the color shifts in Kodachrome. Kodak got away with that, he observed, because it wasn't widely appreciated. As he was involved in the development of some Kodak emulsions (notable its instant film), that was a better evaluation than we alone might give.
But it's easy to make too much of the accuracy of the renderings. There's no real need to match an emulsion as much as to evoke one. And they do, as Tom confirmed, evoke the character of the emulsions they simulate.
We've put together a few rollovers (http://imaging-resource.com/SOFT/FP3/filmpack-3.htm#rol) to illustrate each major category in FilmPack 3. They are not comprehensive, just a few examples at 100 percent to see how the renderings alter the original.
The image is left in its original state on the left and rendered with the indicated emulsion on the right. There's a good deal of sky and textured concrete to show off color shifts, saturation, tonality and grain.
PRICING & AVAILABILITY
Compatible with Mac and Windows, DxO FilmPack 3 is available in two editions, Essential and Expert, which differ in terms of available film renderings and features.
A free 31-day trial version of DxO FilmPack 3 is available on DxO Labs' Web site to test it on your own pictures.
DxO FilmPack 3 is available immediately from the DxO Labs e-store and from popular photo stores at a special introductory discount through Sept. 30 of up to 30 percent:
EUR suggested retail prices, including VAT:
- DxO FilmPack 3 Essential Edition: $49 instead of $79
- DxO FilmPack 3 Expert Edition: $99 instead of $129
- DxO FilmPack 3 Expert Upgrade from DxO FilmPack 1 or 2: $39 instead of $49
GBP suggested retail prices, including VAT:
- DxO FilmPack 3 Essential Edition: 49 euros instead of 79
- DxO FilmPack 3 Expert Edition: 99 euros instead of 129
- DxO FilmPack 3 Expert Upgrade from DxO FilmPack 1 or 2: 39 euros instead of 49
- DxO FilmPack 3 Essential Edition: 49 pounds, instead of 69
- DxO FilmPack 3 Expert Edition: 79 pounds instead of 99
- DxO FilmPack 3 Expert Upgrade from DxO FilmPack 1 or 2: 29 pounds instead of 39
Having spent no little energy and no small fortune escaping the clutches of film technology, it may seem odd to return to it for what are essentially it's limitations. Love is blind, but as technicians and craftsmen, we're supposed to have standards.
But it isn't nostalgia that makes FilmPack 3 compelling. It's the variety of different renderings, interesting even if you've never shot a roll of film or fell in love with Tri-X. They're presets by any other name.
And those defects? The grain in high ISO emulsions? The color shifts? These days they distinguish a look, a style from the vanilla digital capture. They're most often used, it's true, to mask low resolution, poor quality cell phone cameras. But why should the kids have all the fun?
And fun it is. Which is no small thing these days.
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:
- Test Shots: Sigma SD1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/SD1/SD1A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1448/cat/12)
- Reviewed: Sony W570 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/W570/W570A.HTM)
Written more for chefs who want to take photos of their food than photographers interested in food photography, Helene Dujardin's Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling is nevertheless a treat.
She covers some pretty basic topics on her way to divulging the secrets of food styling but who couldn't use a little brushing up on the basics? We even found a little inspiration in her use of A clamps on a reflector as we flipped through the early chapters.
There are a lot of those early chapters, though. Take a peek:
Chapter One: Photography Basics is about 15 pages on photography in general. She starts by pointing out the importance of light, that the camera isn't the whole show, that it does take some skill and the importance of shooting Raw.
But before you dismiss the chapter, note that it does reveal what the book is not about. It's not about commercial food styling, where tricks are invented to make dishes look delicious if inedible. Instead, Helene focuses on natural food styling, in which the food, while primped, remains palatable.
Chapter Two: Camera Settings and Modes covers Exposure (Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Finding Balance, Metering), White Balance and Camera Modes (Auto, Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority) in another 12 pages.
Chapter Three: Natural Light Photography discusses Hard vs. Soft Light, Diffusion and Reflection, Natural Light Sources, Light as a Story Teller, Direction (Front, Back, Side Light). If you haven't thought about these topics as your food sat under a warming lamp, this chapter will give you something to chew on.
Chapter Four: Artificial Light Photography continues the lighting discussion with Lighting Gear, Studio Kit (Lights, Umbrellas, Scrims), Equipment Setups, Remote Flash, Radio Waves, Free Standing Light and Soft Boxes.
Chapter Five: Composition covers Subject Placement, Rule of Thirds, Focus, Depth of Field, Perspective and Angle.
Chapter Six: Setting Up for Capture discusses Establish a Photography Work Area, Plan the Shot, Pick Garnishes (aha! a food topic, which actually includes a recipe for Cream of Celery Soup), Create a Scene, Feature the Dish (Props, Backgrounds, Surfaces and Linens), Height and Color, Shooting Tethered.
Those 166 pages, as you can see, is a lot of book on the basics. Fortunately, they're slathered in food images. And the text itself illustrates the basic concepts with examples taken from the table. So you're not quite as far from the subject of food styling as it may appear from the chapter titles.
"All I had to do for the eggs and asparagus photo," she writes in Natural Light Photography, referring to the image on the same page, "was bounce the light on the right with a white foam core and diffuse the light on the left. In almost no time at all, we were able to enjoy a warm and satisfying meal." Which is what you do with natural food styling. Eat it.
The meat and potatoes of the book, however, is Chapter Seven: Styling. Here's where Helene writes about photographing Herbs and Spices, Bread, Nuts, Fruits and Vegetables, Sauces, the Main Dish (Fish and Meats; Stews, Stir Fries and Pasta; Burgers and Sandwiches), Breakfast Baked Goods, Desserts (Cakes, Pie, Ice Cream and Frozen Treats), Hot and Cold Beverages (including a brief note on lighting Stemware). She continues with an inventory of Helpful Tools, which include tweezers, cotton swabs, paper towels, paint brushes, water spritzers, squeeze bottles and drinking straws. Anything handy, it would seem.
Chapter Eight: After Capture covers more familiar territory for photographers if not chefs. Transferring images, Editing (Software, Corrections and Adjustments, Color Space, Effects), Store (creating folders), Backup and Storage, Sharing (Email, File Sharing Programs, FTP, Dropbox, Printing) and Copyright Considerations.
Helene's discussion of copyright illustrates what most disappoints about the book. It jumps from watermarking images (surely the least effective and most counterproductive approach) to registering with the U.S. Copyright Office. But she neglects entirely the most effective and simplest approach: embedding copyright in the image header. It's also the most popular -- one might even say, essential -- approach among professional photographers.
But you wouldn't buy this book to learn about using PocketWizards or establishing your copyright. You'd buy it to learn how to photograph food. Chapter Seven. In that one chapter there's plenty of advice to justify the price of the book for the photographer dealing with food intended to be eaten not just photographed.
Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling by Helene Dujardin, published by Wiley, 266 pages. $29.99 (or $16.01 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0470932139/?tag=theimagingres-20).
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Using my old SLR lenses on my dSLR works fine except for the fisheye -- the effect is lost on the small sensor of my Nikon D-70. I don't want to invest in another one and wonder if you might know of a lens attachment available for my 50mm lens, which would still allow the use of auto-exposure.
-- Lynn Maniscalco(It's an interesting problem because of the small sensor. A 16mm fish-eye on a 1.5x sensor, for example, would have to be 12mm (if our math is correct). And an 12mm would have to be 8mm. And that can get pretty expensive. But Lensbaby makes an affordable fish-eye optic for its Composer: http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/LFS/FESF.HTM -- Editor)
RE: Scanner Evaluation
I've read your review on the Epson V700 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V700/V700.HTM) and found it quite helpful. I'm currently aiding in the decision making process regarding equipment for the digitization of heritage materials and was hoping you might supply me with some insights.
We are currently using the Epson Expression 10000XL to scan all of our transparencies and film (various formats and media, including glass) in addition to textual documents, maps and photographs. Our goal is to create master .TIF files at 4000 pixels on the long edge for most formats and so far we've been fairly happy with the results we've yielded from the Epson 10000XL. My questions to you are as follows:
Is the V700 much better at scanning slides and negatives than the Epson Expression 10000XL?
We're trying to decide if it's worth it to purchase the V700, if it will provide us with a significantly better scan than we are already capable of producing or if the 10000XL will suffice for our purposes. Any advice/information that you might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated.
- I understand that the V700 has a greater Dmax value of 4.0 and I believe the 10000XL has a Dmax value of 3.8. Will this difference make much of a difference in the scan quality of transparencies?
- Is the dual-lens system much more effective than that of the 10000XL?
- The 10000XL has an autofocus technology whereas the V700 does not, which yields the sharpest image?
-- Mandy Malazdrewich(The V700 scans at higher resolution, so it would be more appropriate for 35mm slide formats that must be significantly enlarged. That's about it, though. The Dmax difference, as we explain in our Short Course on Scanning (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V600/V600.HTM#sho), isn't significant because it's the range rather than the absolute Dmax value that matters. Images can be scanned twice, once for the highlight detail and once for the shadow detail and the two scans combined by the scanning software (multi-exposure, it's called). Both SilverFast and VueScan can do that. And regarding autofocus, you can adjust the film carrier height (laboriously) for the V700 if focus is an issue. There are also after-market carriers with easier height adjustments. In practice, it isn't something you do except 1) when installing the scanning and 2) for warped originals. -- Editor)
Adobe has introduced Carousel (http://www.photoshop.com/products/mobile/carousel) as "a new way to enjoy your photos, making all of them available across your Mac and iOS devices, so you can browse, enhance, and share them easily."
Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Larry Price resigned as Director of Photography at the Dayton Daily News when he was asked to lay off half the paper's photographers (http://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/blog/2011/08/pulitzer-photojournalist-takes-a-stand.html?page=all).
The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association has announced its third annual Portraits of Love Project (http://www.pmdaportraitsoflove.com) will launch in October to provide 10,000 deployed military troops with free family portraits in time for the holidays. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, military families can sign up for a free portrait session. Military families can receive a free personal family portrait and one that is sent to their loved one on active duty overseas by participating at select USO facilities, military bases hosting on-base sessions and a the Project's nationwide network of local photography studios.
PocketWizard (http://www.PocketWizard.com) has updated its ControlTL firmware for both Nikon (v3.0) and Canon (v6.0) versions of its MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios with several new features and updates to make the system more powerful than ever including HyperSync Automation, SpeedCycler and Off Camera Power Control. Current owners can install the updates for free using the PocketWizard Utility.
Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com) has announced its $199.95 Color Efex Pro 4 with stackable filter combinations, visual presets, filter recipes and new filters including Detail Extractor, Vintage Film Efex and Image Borders. The release also includes a new History Browser, improvements to imaging algorithms, greater performance, and enhanced usability.
Tamron has announced Eternity at a Moment -- The Vision of 60 Photographers (http://www.tamron60.com/en/) to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
Iridient Digital (http://www.iridientdigital.com) has released RAW Developer 1.9.2 [M] with support for the Nikon D5100, Olympus E-P3/E-PL3, Panasonic DMC-G3/DMC-GF3, Sony NEX-C3/NEX-5N/SLT-A35/SLT-A65/SLT-A77, Leaf AFi-II 12, Samsung NX11, Pentax Q, Sigma DP2x and Ricoh GXR Leica Mount Module. The updated also includes expanded support for non-Raw DNG format images including DNG files from many scanners and other processing software.
DxO (http://www.dxo.com) has released FilmPack 3 [MW], reviewed above, with 60 film renderings and a revised user interface at introductory prices through Sept. 30.
HP (http://www.hp.com) has announced new updates to enhance the HP ePrint experience for iOS, Android and Symbian customers who now have the ability to print from virtually anywhere with HP ePrint through HP mobile applications. HP's cloud printing solution means if you are connected, you can print from most devices.
Delkin (http://www.delkin.com) has announced a ruggedized, waterproof CompactFlash memory card with "the fastest read and write speeds in the world." Available in 8-GB ($149.99) to 64-GB ($899.99) sizes, the cards transfer data at speeds up to 685x or 103 MB/s.
Penguin Press has published Believing Is Seeing by Errol Morris, a collection of essays that considers "the mysteries behind an eclectic range of documentary photographs." The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 38 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594203016/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Fantasea Line (http://www.fantasea.com) has announced that its shock resistant Nikon Coolpix P7100 waterproof housing depth-rated to 200 feet will be available early next year.
Bobby Cronkhite Software (http://bobbysoftware.com) has released its free Film Genie 1.0 for iOS devices with video capabilities. Film Genie adds 13 "Hollywood quality visual effects and animations" to HD videos.
Apple (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1445) has released its Digital Camera Raw Compatibity Update 3.8 with support for the Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200, Olympus PEN E-P3, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3/DMC-GF3, Samsung NX11/NX100 and Sony Alpha NEX-C3/SLT-A35.
Elgato (http://www.elgato.com) has released Turbo.264 HD 1.2 software [M] for the HD version of its USB hardware-accelerated video encoder with support for subtitles, custom artwork in exported files, 1.85:1 and Stretch 1.85:1 aspect ratios and several bug fixes.
Leica has announced Magnum photographer Steve McCurry (http://www.vimeo.com/28448318) is the winner of the inaugural Leica Hall of Fame Award, awarded to "photographers who have rendered outstanding service to the Leica brand and to the genre of photography."
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Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher