|Volume 13, Number 19||23 September 2011|
Welcome to the 315th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. Publisher Dave Etchells discusses Nikon's new Compact System Cameras with Nikon R&D General Manager Masahiro Suzuki after we explore the new features in Adobe's Elements 10. Then we consider what you can do with a QR code. Have fun!
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(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/adobe-elements-10/index.htm on the Web site.)
With the launch of Elements 10 on Elements' tenth anniversary, Adobe hopes to bring compelling new magic to still photographers exploring video. With both still and video options on everything from smart phones to dSLRs, it's no longer a question of whether to shoot photos or video but of when to shoot which to best tell the story.
In fact, Group Product Manager Mike Iampietro told us at a recent briefing, video quality has surprised a lot of still photographers. They like what they see and want to do more with it.
But that, traditionally, has meant packing a bag to live in a film school for a few months. Elements 10 offers a more pleasant -- and affordable -- alternative.
Not that there isn't some photo magic in 10 too. That includes 30 new filters and effects, all of which can be combined with Quick Select and the Smart Brush to do some crafty techniques. There are also three new guided edits and a couple of other new tricks in the still photo bag.
After the briefing we installed Organizer, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements on an i7 MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard to see for ourselves.
We were glad to see (right away) that the font size was viewable on a screen with 132 pixels per inch (which tends to shrink things).
But we were pretty mystified at some basic performance issues. Dragging the Organizer window from the middle of the screen to the right side wasn't at all smooth. It stuttered so badly that we released the mouse before it moved and then watched it jump off the screen. What's up with that?
One thing up with that is that on the Mac, Elements is still a 32-bit application. On Windows, it's now a 64-bit application. That helps a lot in rendering video. But it really shouldn't matter for something as simple as dragging a window.
There were other performance issues. We noticed our cursor flashing continually when we first opened Photoshop Elements. No action was pending. We'd just launched the program and were admiring the colorful interface (which is somewhat jarring on Lion's monotone icon scheme). Sliders were balky and menus reluctant to pop up. Very strange stuff.
It was almost as if the program were running under emulation. And it spoiled quite a bit of the magic for us.
Iampietro told us the Elements code had gone to Gold Master the week before, so we weren't using a prerelease version of the software. And considering the horsepower we were throwing at it, we really can't explain the behavior on hardware.
One clue, though, is that the first thing Elements required of us was to sign in to our Adobe account. Apparently there's an online aspect to the software that may be behind the sluggish behavior. We noticed this again when we quit Photoshop Elements. It took a good long while to quit. Not at all typical behavior. As if we were signing off.
In subsequent sessions Elements did settle down quite a bit, although it was not as smooth as other applications. We suspect this has something to do with the online Plus account component.
We've asked Adobe what's going on and will report back when we get an answer.
Fortunately other things in Elements are easier to discover. In fact, the Organizer has a few very impressive tricks up its sleeve when it comes to finding your photos.
To test it, we imported about 900 images from earlier this year into an Elements catalog. The import was very quick, taking less than a couple of minutes, but generating thumbnails took considerably longer, though less than five minutes. A status line message at the bottom of the Organizer window keeps you informed.
Finally we had to build an index of the catalog, which again took a minute or two (not very long) before we could search for anything.
There are three image search options: Visual Similarity Search, Object Search and Duplicate Photo Search.
To search for similar images using the new Visual Similarity Search, you just drag one of them into the Search bar and Organizer displays the thumbnails that match. We tried one of our Twin Peaks zoom series and got quite a few hits. But even then, Organizer pushes the bar by looking for other "similar" images.
In a striking act of humility rarely seen in software of any kind, it then grades itself, reporting in a small black box in the lower left of each thumbnail the percent likelihood the images is a match.
Wait, there's more. You can adjust the weight the search algorithm gives to the Color or the Shape of the image (it's a slider). And you can add images to refine the search, too.
With Show All clicked, you can change search methods. We tried Object Search next, dragging a portrait of three women into the search box and enlarging the target around the face of the central one as our search object. A small button below the target starts the search.
The results were amusing. A lot of flowers were matched but so was an old Polish professor we know. At least Elements had the intelligence to grade them as under 50 percent matches.
Duplicate Photo search (which should be much beloved by the lesser organized amongst us) simply runs through the catalog looking for likely matches. Once the catalog has been checked, a new window displays the matches. Only the thumbnail is shown, not even the filename accompanies it, so it can be hard to pick one to delete. And in some cases, the matches were a stretch.
Our catalog, it should be noted, did not have any actual duplicates. It did have similar images (with different camera settings or compositions) and some of these were tagged.
Iampietro's demo of these new searches was a lot more impressive than our actual experience with our own images, but we're pretty careful about our collection to begin with.
Iampietro highlighted four new tricks in Photoshop Elements for still editing: Cropping Guides, three new Guided Edits, Smart Brush and (simplified) Text on a Path.
Cropping Guides help you not only stick to an aspect ratio (or shape) that will match your print (it knows that it needs a 2:3 aspect ratio for a 4x6 print or 4:5 for an 8x10, for example) but they also add some helpful overlays.
You can get to this just using the Crop tool, but from the Edit screen, we clicked on Guided and selected the first one in Basic Edits, Crop Photo. Elements immediately draws a crop box on your image with a rather generous trim area. You don't have to draw the crop yourself, although it's fully editable.
The Guided Edit for crop, though, explains you can set two parameters to help you crop the image:
Guided Edits are beloved for not only telling you how to do some cool stuff but for sticking the buttons to do that cool stuff right there with the explanation. So you don't have to hunt around the Menu system or the tool bar to do what's suggested.
- The first is Crop Box Size, which can be set to No Restriction (the default), Use Photo Ratio, 16:9 and then 2.5x2 inches up to 8x10. Photo Ratio simply enforces the original shape of the image.
- The second is Overlay, which can be set to No Overlay, Rule of Thirds, Grid or Golden Ratio. Although it's nothing more than a simple overlay, this can be pretty useful. It helps you position a subject precisely instead of arbitrarily.
In Elements 10, you get three new ones:
Smart Brush can be used to paint filters and effects on an image. Functioning like Quick Select, the Smart Brush can select just part of an image to apply the effect to. We were unable to get this to work, however, The concept and technique is simple enough. We used the Smart Brush to select an area after selecting an effect to apply. But the effect applied was always Blue Skies, not the one we picked. Text on a Path (Source: Adobe)
- The Orton Effect, named for photographer Michael Orton's variable focus images, presents three sliders to adjust the effect once you've clicked the Add Orton Effect button. Iampietro talked about the "headroom" in Elements, meaning that effects are by design not just slapped on an image but adjustable to individual preferences. And the three sliders -- to Increase Blue, Increase Noise and Apply Brightness -- are good examples.
- Depth of Field in Lens Effects addresses one of the amateur photographer's strongest desires: to blur that background. It's particularly challenging (well, impossible) on cell phones and digicams. But Elements 10 to the rescue -- in two ways. The Simple method uses a sweep of the Gradient tool around a central point to restore sharp focus to the blurred image. A slider lets you increase the default amount of blur. In a couple of seconds, you've done the impossible. The Custom method starts with selecting what you want to be sharp using the Quick Selection Tool, then Adding Blur with a button and finally increasing blur with a slider. It's a good deal less subtle than the Simple method, which we preferred for our test image.
- Picture Stack in Photo Play breaks an image into multiple images with borders (like bordered prints). You simply select the number of pictures (4, 8, 12 are the options), the border width (small, medium, large) and have an option to change the background on a new layer (you can use the Eye Dropper to select a color from the image itself).
Text on a Path was added, Iampietro told us, for the scrapbookers. But, in the grand Elements tradition, it's been simplified. The big problem with this feature as it's found in illustration programs is the path part. Paths are drawn freehand on the screen but refined by pulling on the handles of Bezier curves.
This is fun once you get the hang of it, but not at all second nature. So no Bezier handles. Just points on a path to drag around, delete or add until the path goes where you want it to go. Then you just click an insertion point and start typing. You can change the font, size, color and everything else you're used to changing.
In addition to being a 64-bit native application in Windows, which eliminates the 4-megapixel limit on stills used in video, the Premiere component of Elements 10 adds two exciting color correction options, a new slide show feature and even a few more tricks.
AutoTone & Vibrance for Video. Familiar to the still photographer, AutoTone and Vibrance are new to video. But they do the same job for video that they do for stills.
In fact, they're a little more important in video, optimizing color and tone automatically where it would otherwise take a lot of work.
AutoTone optimizes contrast, clipping to the shadow and highlight data, while Vibrance increases Saturation while protecting skin tones.
But the settings are not applied uniformly to the clip based on the first frame. Instead, they are intelligently adapted throughout the clip. And you can manually adjust the strength of these settings using sliders.
Three-Way Color Corrector. You might think you'd have to be a pro to appreciate Three-Way Color Correction (because Premiere Pro is where it comes from) but it's a pretty simple concept to grasp.
It simply masks the clip into three tonal areas: highlights, midtones, shadows. You then select which to affect with your edit.
So, for example, you can easily fix a sky without affecting the foreground. Just use the highlight area mask controls. In our example, we added a little blue to the white tents to make them look like they'd been washed in bleach. But notice the black hat in the foreground remained neutral.
There's more, including a new approach to creating movies from stills. The Movies from Photos tool takes what had been a manual operation far behind competing products to a competitive offering of intelligent pan and zoom.
Each image gets a start and end box you can move around and resize to create the animation. You can also affect timing, easily setting the time to hold on the frame as you enter and leave it and how long to take panning. A Face Frame option will use facial recognition to move to each face in an image and hold for a set time.
Iampietro observed that Elements 9 fans were excited about being able to burn Blue-ray discs but found they weren't for everything. Sometimes you just want to distribute a 20-25 minute production on less expensive DVD media. So Elements 10 offers HD video using AVCHD compression for those shorter productions that you can burn to DVD.
While you can upload an unedited video clip to Facebook straight from Organizer, Premiere lets you upload your edited production. It manages the login for you, encodes the production for Facebook and uploads it.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
Elements 10 is available as both a new product or an upgrade. And to mark the tenth anniversary (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PSE/PSE.HTM) of the Elements product, upgrade pricing is available for any version of the product.
It's also available bundled or separately. We've been calling it Elements 10 because it's one product to us, but if you prefer to use only the still photo capabilities you can buy Photoshop Elements. And if you just want the video capabilities, you can grab Premiere Elements.
As a new product, the bundle is $149.99 and the separate products are each $99.99
Upgrades to the bundle are $119.99 or $79.99 for the separate products.
In addition, Adobe offers a product called Elements Plus, which adds 20-MB of online storage for $49.99 a year. Plus also provides access to "exclusive libraries of how-tos, movie themes and video effects."
And it's shipping now.
Adobe likes to persuade confused reviewers that each of its products has its own swim lane. And, over the years, each product pretty much sticks to that lane.
But we think Elements is one of those products that, though it stays in its lane, still competes in more than one event. If you're a pro getting your feet wet in video production, for example, Elements offers some spectacular advantages over other entry-level products that make your final result seem polished with a pro product.
Similarly, we can't imagine any publication whose art department should be without these tools and special effects. They are quickly rendered and don't require expensive expertise to apply.
And yet, Elements remains the gold medal holder for the amateur who just wants to do more with photos and video. You know who you are. You polish the family silver, you get the oil changed regularly on the family car, you make your own invitations, you know the rewards of making something yourself. You just need a little help when it comes to your camera.
Elements has delivered that help for 10 years now. And Elements 10 just adds a little more magic to the wonders you can create with your images -- and video.
By DAVE ETCHELLS
Imaging Resource Publisher Dave Etchells had a few minutes to sit down with Masahiro Suzuki at the Nikon 1 rollout in New York the other day and took the opportunity to discuss the new model line and some of the technology that went into creating it. Suzuki is the General Manager, Research & Development Department, Development Headquarters, Imaging Company, Nikon Corp. and managed the team that created the new products. The interview was conducted with the help of a translator.
Dave Etchells: Mr. Suzuki, you were in charge of development for the new Nikon1 product line, but we're curious where the rest of the team came from. Were the engineers from the Coolpix or SLR sides of the house.
Masahiro Suzuki: [smiles] We combined efforts, we took several people from dSLR and also from Coolpix and combined them.
DE: Very interesting, that makes a lot of sense for products like these. This next is not so much a technical question, but I'm curious: In the product briefing, the presenters described Nikon 1 customers as being not Coolpix customers, not SLR customers, but rather a new sort of customer. What sorts of cameras do you think those people are using now? Are these people that are using Coolpix, but they want more? Or are they people using SLRs and they want less?
MS: Basically, they're currently compact-only users, but who are eager to step up, seeking a better quality image; but who feel that a dSLR would be too much, because of the complexity or the bigger size. So, there's some hesitation for a dSLR.
DE: OK, so it's kind of the traditional customer that the industry is seeing as the Compact System Camera user; people who are stepping up who don't want the complexity or size of d?SLRs.
MS: Mmm, yes.
DE: We're curious; what led Nikon to develop its own system, rather than joining Micro Four Thirds or some other existing system. How did that decision come about?
MS: When we started with this development, it was quite some time ago, it was prior to the Micro Four Thirds launch. So we were actually some steps ahead of those guys and our aim was to achieve the most for image quality and high performance -- especially for speed -- responsiveness, compactness and ease of use. Those factors combined led to this camera. So rather than adopting Micro Four Thirds, we believe this new format is better.
DE: And this development began well before the Micro Four Thirds was announced.
MS: Yes. Especially when it comes to lens size. DX format and Four Thirds lenses are bigger. A smaller sensor was essential to achieving compactness.
DE: Yes, yes. We immediately noticed how compact these lenses are. So actually, you said development began before Micro Four Thirds was announced. How long have you been working on this?
MS: Almost four years.
MS: Out of those four years, the first two years was for early-stage development. After that, it was for the production stage.
DE: So essentially, you had two years of early engineering and then two years of preparing to manufacture. I can imagine it's quite an investment in manufacturing, because you have a whole collection of lenses and two camera bodies, so it's a significant investment.
MS: Yes, absolutely!
DE: How did you decide on the size of the sensor? What were the trade-offs that you evaluated and why do you feel that this particular size is the best choice?
MS: This was the answer from the initial development stage, as what gave the best result overall. The first priority was for quality; image quality. The second priority was for responsiveness; speed like dSLR. The third priority was for ease of use, good handling and good compactness. The perfect honing of these three priorities led us to this sensor size.
DE: And you mentioned one inch. So using the videcon parlance -- you know, terms like 1/1.8-inch, 1/2.5-inch -- this is a one inch, 1/1-inch size sensor? [Editors note: In conventional units, the sensor size is 13.2x8.8mm.]
DE: OK. So to use the larger sensor, obviously the cameras would have been slightly larger. But you felt you could get good enough image quality, that you could meet your image quality objectives with this size sensor?
MS: We are quite confident that we achieved almost exactly the same quality as our dSLR.
DE: [surprised] The same quality as dSLRs.
MS: Yes... Please evaluate! [laughs]
DE: Yes, obviously, we'll test and we'll hold you to that! That's very interesting, because this is a much smaller sensor, but you say the same quality.
DE: One of the pre-announcement rumors that turned out to be true was the cameras' high-speed capabilities. At IR, we have a little concern because, we've seen some very high-speed CMOS sensor-based cameras in the past, but image quality was not very good. Can you say anything about what you did to achieve good image quality, in combination with that very high speed? Were there things you did on the sensor that are different from other CMOS sensors?
MS: The major difference from the others is that this camera's image sensor has embedded phase detection AF, so that achieves very fast focusing. Also, that enables this camera for the end-user to have a Motion Snapshot, Smart Photo Selector. Those two big advantages are also enabled by that sensor, as well as full High-Definition movies.
DE: Maybe I can ask that question slightly differently: In making such a high-speed sensor, what challenges did that present, to maintain image quality, with that high speed?
MS: It wasn't only for the image sensor itself, but we also newly developed the EXPEED 3 image processor, that has two processing pipelines and that is five times faster than the current dSLR, than the D3.
DE: Five times faster than the D3? Wow.
MS: That's right. That's the reason why this camera has such a good image quality.
DE: Because you have a lot of processing power....
MS: And also the reading out.
DE: How is the data read out so fast? I know the D3 had multiple channels of read-out on the sensor. Does this have many parallel channels for read-out as well?
MS: Twenty-four channels.
DE: Twenty-four channels, wow. Twenty-four channels and then two completely separate image processing pipelines.
MS: D3's analog output has twelve lines....
DE: Twelve lines? And this has twenty-four?
MS: Yes and these are digital output. The D3 had analog output and this is digital.
DE: Data comes from the sensor digitally here?
MS: Yes. Actually, that makes it much faster.
DE: Ah, so A to D is on the sensor and you have twenty-four channels coming off and each one of those is digital.
MS: Yes, yes.
DE: Very interesting. And that also helps noise and image quality, because you're not having to move the analog data, you can digitize it right there.
MS: Yes, exactly.
DE: OK, very interesting. It's amazing how much more powerful this is than the D3, in this little package.
MS: Of course, we don't deny our dSLR.
DE: Oh, no, no. Well, what this says, too, is how much more powerful your next dSLR will be now.
DE: Either that or the next D3 will only cost $600.
MS: [much laughter] Big pressure for him! [Translator's comment, directed toward Suzuki.]
DE: On the sensor, we at Imaging Resource were very glad to see that it was 10 megapixels, not 16 or 20 or something. Do you think consumers will accept 10 megapixels? I think people that know a lot about image quality will say, "Oh, 10 megapixels, great!" But consumers that aren't as aware, they may see 10 megapixels here but 16 over here and they may want more. How will you communicate about this to the customers?
MS: Our message will be that image resolution is not everything. We offer you additional value. The image quality from 10-megapixel sensor is excellent, good enough for the kind of use that consumers make of their pictures, even for quite big enlargements. On top of that, the Motion Snapshot, the Smart Photo Selector and the movie, all those kind of new elements are things these cameras have to offer. So we'll communicate these additional benefits to the end-user as well.
DE: So the key will be to not just sell them numbers....
MS: That's right, totally. Focus on the whole function. Make sense?
DE: Yes, yes. We're very happy to see people fighting against the megapixel race, so.... If the image quality is there, we'll be very supportive, because we want to educate people that sometimes, fewer pixels are better.
MS: We try too.
DE: Again on the sensor.... So people tend not to think of Nikon as a sensor company. Did you develop the sensor with another company? Is there a partner you work with, who does make sensors? What was the genesis of the sensor? How did it come about?
MS: We developed it; we engineered and developed this sensor inside Nikon. But for the production side, that is done by our partner.
DE: OK, so you did all the engineering in house? You have your own sensor engineers now?
DE: Turning to the lenses, were there challenges for designing smaller lenses like this? What was different about engineering these lenses? What difficulties did you overcome in developing them?
MS: The starting point for us is the sensor size, everything flows from that.
DE: So it's not particularly more difficult to make a lens for this sensor size, versus full frame or any other size. You just do what you've always done making lenses, but now starting with the target being a smaller sensor. The engineering's really the same?
MS: Yes, for the engineering side and development side. Also on the production side, it's easier.
DE: Easier to make them smaller?
MS: Yes. The major difference point is, depending on lens type, for the focusing areas [gesturing] are so much different from this compared to dSLR, DX Nikkor, so that part is more difficult to make.
DE: Ah, so the focusing has to be particularly precise? Let me ask, will there be adapters to mount F-mount lenses on this?
DE: Yes. And presumably, that will only be F-mounts with the motor built inside, so no body motor so it has to be the motorized lenses?
MS: Yes, with the AF-S lens, it can be used.
DE: We're running short on time now, so this will be my last question, then. Let me ask you to take out your crystal ball and look into the future. If we come back ten years from now and look at the Nikon product line then, we'll find consumer dSLRs like the current D3100 and D5100 and we'll also have cameras like this. Ten years from now, will it be 10 percent Nikon 1 type and 90 percent dSLR? Or will it be 90 percent compacts and 10 percent dSLR?
MS: At this moment we don't know what will happen in ten years. There is no crystal ball available at Nikon's side at this moment. We'll have to see consumer's reaction after we launched this one into the market.
DE: So, no one's that smart. You need to see what the market wants and what the consumers want to do.
MS: That's right. This year, we feel that we will capture or maintain or even grow the business for dSLR as well. These new products are creating practically a new market.
DE: So you don't see these cannibalizing dSLRs? dSLRs grow separately, as will the new Compact System Cameras?
DE: OK. Very good! Thank you very much Suzuki-san, we appreciate your time!
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:
- Previewed: Nikon J1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NIKONJ1/NIKONJ1A.HTM)
- Previewed: Nikon V1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NIKONV1/NIKONV1A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Olympus SZ-30MR (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/SZ30MR/SZ30MRA.HTM). This is one of the more handsome digicams in some time, with a good grip and a 24x zoom lens.
- Test Shots: Olympus E-PM1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EPM1/EPM1A.HTM). Trimming size and weight to a bare minimum, it's the smallest and lightest Olympus PEN available.
- Reviewed: Sony WX9 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/WX9/WX9A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Apple iPhone 4 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/IPHONE4/IPHONE4A.HTM)
You see them everywhere all of a sudden, those square, blocky black and white Quick Response codes. It's worse than the Vulcan salute ever was.
Don't be alarmed. They're just a barcode. That can stuff a lot more information into them than your standard zebra stripped barcode.
Toyota started using them in 1994 to track parts for its vehicles during manufacturing. Now an ISO standard, they were designed by Denso Wave to encode a lot of data that could be decoded at high speed.
And in a world of smart phones and the Web, those virtues -- a lot of data decoded quickly -- turn out to be pretty handy.
You can encode your email address, a Web site address, your Twitter feed, your phone number, your mailing address or a text message, print it on your business card or keep it on your phone and when the occasion calls for it, simply display it for a smart phone to scan using any of several apps that can translate the image back into a useful link or important text.
To read a code, you need a scanner app for your particular smart phone. Just Google "QR Scanner" and your phone name. You'll find free iOS and Android scanning apps for any smart phone with a built-in camera.
No smart phone? Don't despair. You can upload a QR image to http://zxing.org/w/decode.jspx to decode it.
To generate a QR code of your own, visit http://qrcode.kaywa.com and fill out the form. You can drag the image created to your desktop and take it from there.
What are they good for? Well, brick and mortar businesses paste decals of them on their windows so you can scan them with your smart phone to get to the company or Yelp Web site. It can't hurt to put them on your baggage tags. And it would help to put them on your business cards. Maybe even some T-shirts.
You know, so nobody with a phone or tablet has to keyboard anything to get to you. Live long and prosper!
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/[email protected]@.ee9b16a
Visit the Canon Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6f773
Read about Digital Photography Software at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6b2b0
Read about Nikon lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=5
Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6b2b2
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RE: Big Printers
Mike, I've read your great review of the Canon Pro9000 Mark II (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/CP9KII/PRO9K2.HTM) but need some more advice. I've got a working Canon Pixma IP8500 and have never needed a large scale printer, but I have the opportunity to pick up a Pro9000 MKII at less than half the suggested price. Other than the ability to print on larger and heavier media, what are the differences between the 8500 and Pro9000? Is it worth paying the money and retiring a working 8500?
-- Ross Dewbre(We're not familiar with the 8500, Ross, but you would be upgrading from ChromaPlus to ChromaLife inks, both dye-based but ChromaLife has much greater fade resistance. And if you've put some miles on the 8500, that's another reason to make the move. There is a point at which Canon printers won't function (the point at which their waste reservoir is full, a calculation they all make secretly, apparently). -- Editor)
RE: Scanning Problems
I recently read your review of the CanoScan 9000F (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/CS9000/9000F.HTM). It was a very thorough and informative article. I have been trying to scan negatives and slides for a few weeks with the 8800F (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/CS8800/8800F.HTM) which I assume is not too different (with VueScan). I'm not getting the kind of quality you are and wonder if you could answer a few questions.
For color negatives (mine are Ektar medium format) I am getting the poorest results, in terms of color and general appearance. I was so impressed with your 9000F scan of the Packard. Can you tell me what settings in Vuescan you used for this?
-- Richard Volet(You should be able to get comparable results on the 8800F, Richard, assuming the resolution is the same. The scanners aren't really much different. Once you've set VueScan's Mode to scan for Transparencies and set Media for Color Negative, set the negative Type in the Color Tab to your film (Kodak) and brand (Ektar). We leave Color Balance in the Color tab on Neutral and make as few changes otherwise as possible. -- Editor)
RE: Large Negatives
I have a bunch of black and white 616 negatives that are 2.5x4.5 that I want to scan so I can reprint them. I am looking for a scanner that can do the job. I am not a pro photographer, just a hobbyist. I have found your Web site very helpful, hopefully you can help me find what I am looking for.
-- Rene Guzman(The trick is the 4.5-inch length of the film frame. The Canon 9000F (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/CS9000/9000F.HTM) has a film holder for medium format film that does not have plastic bars across it for the normal frame size. It's just a wide open frame that will accommodate your elongated frame size. There's a photo of it in the review. If, however, you mean 4x5 film, no, you'll need the Epson V700 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V700/V700.HTM) with a full-size transparency adapter. We also liked the Microtek i800 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/MI8/MI8.HTM) when we reviewed it in 2006, but Microtek (https://store2.microtek.com/shop/) itself makes us nervous these days. -- Editor)
RE: Gang Scanning
You've reviewed the CanoScan 9000F, CanoScan 8800F and Epson V600 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN1.HTM). I found the articles very helpful, but can use one very specific question answered.
I have an Internet business selling baseball cards. My sales depend upon the inclusion of a very accurate clear scan of the card I am selling. I do not enhance, correct or modify the scan in any way as my customers would have my head removed if they received a card that had flaws not shown in the scan.
I currently do over 200 scans per day, so speed is important. My current method is to place six to eight individual cards on the scanner bed and perform a scan. Then I define each card using the framing feature of the software and save each individual card as a separate file. My current scanner has to re-scan each individual card, resulting in six to eight extra passes of the scanner to result in each saved as a separate file.
I had an older model scanner that would just make one pass and then save each card as a separate file without the additional passes. But that scanner died and I cannot find one with that feature.
Can any of the reviewed scanners, or others for that matter, operate as my old dead scanner once did?
-- Ted Holden(This is actually a software issue rather than a hardware capability, Ted. So you may be able to get your new scanner to play ball using new software. But this is one job that was best done by Canon software's Automatic tab. We just loaded some small items on the glass, clicked Scan and the scanner did all the work in one pass, delivering separate files, properly cropped, for each item. And quickly, too. -- Editor)
Western Digital (http://www.wd.com) has introduced its WD 2go and WD 2go Pro mobile apps for its My Book Live personal cloud storage solution. WD's My Book Live drive connects to your home network creating shared storage you can access within and outside the home. Secure remote access to the My Book Live is available on any computer through http://www.WD2go.com, while the WD 2go apps provide mobile access to files stored on the drive using an iOS or Android device.
The company also introduced its newest generation of My Passport portable hard drives specifically designed for use with Mac computers and Apple Time Machine. The all-metal My Passport Studio offers capacities up to 1-TB with two FireWire 800 ports and a USB 2.0 interface. The ultra-compact My Passport for Mac is also available with up to 1-TB drives and a USB 2.0 interface.
Jason Schneider, meanwhile, has listed The 14 Most Influential Cameras of All Time (http://www.adorama.com/ALC/Article.aspx?alias=The-14-Most-Influential-Cameras-of-All-Time).
Camera Bits (http://www.camerabits.com) has released Photo Mechanic 4.6.8 [MW] with slide show and live slide show updates to work with Mac OS X 10.7, support for Raw files from the Olympus E-P3/E-PL2/GF2/GH2, proper handling of PEF files as TIFF-based Raw, cropping for Raw Sony formats ARW/SR2/SRF and more.
In addition to announcing its Nikon 1 Compact System Cameras detailed above, Nikon (http://support.nikonusa.com) has updated Capture NX 2.
Tiffen (http://www.tiffensoftware.com) has released Dfx 3 [MW], adding to the suite of filters Color Shadow, DeBand and DeBlock, DeNoise, film stock emulation, Key Light, Rays, textures, Match (color, detail, grain and tone of one image applied to another) and more.
Lensbaby (http://www.lensbaby.com) has announced its $2,900 Lensbaby Movie Maker's Kit which includes the Composer Pro PL with Sweet 35 Optic, for use on PL mount cameras, plus a wide range of interchangeable optics and accessories.
Marc Rochkind (http://basepath.com) has updated ImageIngester [MW] with PTP support for iOS devices, multi-card ingestions and more. He has also introduced his $4.99 ExifChanger [M] to edit Exif and IPTC metadata.
Canon has announced its Pixma MG8220, MG6220 and MG5320 Wireless Photo All-In-One inkjet photo printers will now support AirPrint wireless printing for iOS devices. AirPrint will be supported by most new Canon Pixma inkjet printers as well (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/AirPrint).
UPstrap (http://www.upstrap-pro.com) has announced the XX-pad, a non-slip camera and bag shoulder strap in either nylon or Kevlar designed by Al Stegmeyer for dSLRs between two and six lbs. The unique ergonomic shape distributes the weight off the center of the shoulder, providing more comfort when worn around the neck.
John Nack blogs about PhotoAppLink for iOS (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2011/09/photoapplink-improves-ios-app-communication.html), which passes an image from one app to another.
Jean-Michel Berts has published The Light of Istanbul, the fourth book in his "Light of" Series. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 37 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1614280304/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Fulcrum Publishing has published Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning by Boyd Norton, about "the history, people, animals and the great migration that makes this one of the most fascinating and breathtaking places in the world." The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 36 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1555915930/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Urban Tool (http://www.urbantool.com) has developed its first camera bags: camBag for a dSLR plus gear, which converts into a backpack and camPouch for a digicam with room for a smart phone, too.
The ACLU has published Know Your Rights: Photographers (http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers).
The U.S. Postal Service (http://beyondtheperf.com/2012-preview) will publish "15 stunning aerial photographs" on Forever stamps in October 2012 as part of the 15 stamp Earthscapes stamp set.
Hubert Burda will discuss his new book The Digital Wunderkammer at the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (http://www.gaffta.org) in San Francisco on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Sekonic (http://www.sekonic.com) has released a free upgrade to its L-758 Light Meter application software [M] and the USB driver for Mac OS 10.7 and OS 10.6.
JAlbum 10 (http://jalbum.net) adds read/write support for XMP metadata, support for more image formats, an embed album function for Web sites and blogs, the ability to move album objects between album projects, filtering by flag/color in the filter bar, an XmpManager API for those skin and plug-in developers and more.
JixiPix (http://www.jixipix.com) has released its $7.99 Hand Tint [M] to colorize photos with a light color tint.
LRPad (http://www.lrpad.com) connects to Lightroom 3 over WiFi to adjust Develop settings using multitouch controls.
Akvis (http://www.akvis.com) has released its $97 Coloriage 8.0 [MW] with Lion compatibility, GPU support, support for selections made in the graphics editor and more.
The robotic Cassini spacecraft drifted in Saturn's shadow for about 12 hours in 2006 and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110904.html
Eye-Fi (http://www.eye.fi) has announced an exclusive distribution agreement with SanDisk to deliver a co-branded SD wireless memory card to consumers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
GroupSmarts (http://www.memoryminer.com) has released its $40 MemoryMiner 2.2 [M] with Lion compatibility, the latest iMedia Browser with support for iPhoto Faces/Events and Lightroom 3, a streamlined process for audio and video recording, enhanced slide show features for the web viewer and more.
Dinosaur feathers? Sure, here are the photos: http://news.discovery.com/animals/dinosaur-feathers-amber-photos-110915.html
The George Eastman House Benefit Auction (http://eastmanhouse.org) of photographic prints and books will be held in New York City at Metropolitan Pavilion at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 and online with iGavelAuctions.com, Sept. 26 through Oct. 7.
Kirk Tuck explains what he learned in his video workshop today: http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-i-learned-in-my-dSLR-video.html
Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan 9.0.57 [LMW] with support for new Epson, Canon and HP scanners.
Photographer John Kaplan has produced Not As I Pictured (http://notasipictured.org), a 54-minute film documenting his "unexpected cancer journey." He's giving away 10,000 free copies to cancer patients of all types, survivors and those who love them.
For just $150 per insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).
Digital Photography Tutorials for Beginners: http://www.photoxels.com
Curtin Short Courses: http://imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?bdc
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
Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher