The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
NEWSLETTER


Volume 14, Number 5 9 March 2012

Copyright 2012, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 327th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We take the test with PhoozL IQ before the guys get their mitts on the new 5D Mark III. Then we describe the new iPhoto. We suggest a simple way to improve your cropping chops and reveal a free utility for synchronizing your files, too. Spring forward!


TOPICS

SPONSORS
This issue is sponsored in part by the following companies. Please show your appreciation by visiting their links below. And now a word from our sponsors:
N I K O N

The amazing Nikon 1: Small is now huge

Huge is unbelievably fast
Huge is incredibly intuitive
Huge is remarkably versatile
Huge is delightfully stylish
Huge is surprisingly small
Small is now Huge

Introducing the Nikon 1 (click for the rest of this huge story): http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?n1s

S I G M A

Go Splash Proof and Stabilized
With Sigma Lenses!

Sigma introduces three new compact and splash-proof lenses:

  • The 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM in wide angle lenses (an arena pioneered by Sigma),
  • The 120-300mm F2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM featuring Sigma's own FLD glassin the telephoto zoom category, and
  • The powerful 150mm F2.8 APO Macro EX DG OS HSM in the prime macro category.

All have been enhanced to include optical stabilization and Sigma's new splash proof design. Coming very soon. Get ready!

Visit http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?sgm for more information.

S O N Y

The New Sony NEX-5N Camera

"Incredible! It's like a DSLR camera that fits in my pocket."

  • Up to 10 fps shooting to capture fast action
  • Exmor™ APS-C HD CMOS image sensor for 16.1-Mp resolution
  • The performance of a DSLR in about half the size and weight

Learn more about the incredible new Sony NEX-5N at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?sy6


Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by approximately 55,000 combined direct and pass-along subscribers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at editor@imaging-resource.com.

Feature: PhoozL IQ -- Bamboozle Yourself

(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/phoozl-iq/index.htm on the Web site.)

As if digital photography isn't perplexing enough, Harald Johnson has just released two versions of PhoozL IQ for iPad to complement the existing iPhone/iPod Touch versions. The larger screen is somewhat more embarrassing.

In addition to larger images (which equate to more obvious clues staring you right in the face), the new versions include updated quiz questions. Harald, who has created some serious photo-education material like his Mastering Digitial Printing book series (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1592004318/?tag=theimagingres-20), knows the correct answers, too.

Not only are there a myriad of quiz questions dealing with imaging, but there are even a few "cultural" ones. As Harald explains, "I feel that while photography is an Art and a Craft, it is also a Culture, and I think not enough attention is paid to its History and Traditions, so I include some of that in this app. Photo history and traditional processes are something most young or new photographers have no clue about, yet they can only be better and stronger with that knowledge."

Or, as our experience revealed, more embarrassed without it.

TWO VERSIONS

PhoozL IQ for iPad is available in both a free and Pro (paid) version. "PhoozL IQ for iPad: A Photo IQ Quiz" is free of charge and "PhoozL IQ PRO for iPad" is $1.99 An optional Extended Play mode is available for $0.99 in the Pro version but we slung away in shame before ever daring to try it.

Both versions are available through the App Store in the Photo & Video category:

Harald set us up with the Pro version because we do this for a living. And he knew we'd have a harder time doing well.

FEATURES

We don't like games at all. We've told Harald. He keeps telling us how much fun PhoozLing is (http://www.phoozl.com). We keep demurring. He keeps sending us feature lists. Like this one for the Pro edition:

HOW TO PLAY (BRIEFLY)

PhoozL IQ is a simple game. Really. You click the Start button and it asks you questions about photography. If it's a tough question, you can get a hint. But the longer it takes you to answer, the less points you score on the question. That's the score deduction feature.

The quizzes aren't as long as an SAT, but they aren't just three questions either. Ten questions is just about right.

And at the end, PhoozL IQ tallies up your score and invites you post it on your Facebook Wall, tweet on Twitter or use email to share your score.

WE TRY IT

We tried the Pro version. All night. We got smart as dawn was breaking and quit any game in which we got the first question wrong.

Harald wanted to know what our highest score was. Tweet it, he begged.

No way. We're not telling anyone. It's embarrassing.

Well, we'll tell you because you won't make fun of us. It was 88. We had to read one question twice once. And there always seemed to be one impossible question like knowing the rules for photographing in the Louvre? Try to Google that before time's up.

And then, too, you have no idea how hard it is to make notes for the review when every answer is being timed.

So 88 was the best we did.

But we didn't tell Harald that. We told him we hit 100. How about that, Harald?

"100, eh? Not too bad ;-)," he conceded. "But I can see that you did not submit the score 'cause there ain't no 100s in there. I guess you're shy. That's OK, I'll trust that you got a 100. By the way, a perfect score on the Pro Edition is 150. Gotcha!"

Hmmm.

On the Free edition, 100 is a perfect score.

SECRETS

But get this. Harald explained how you score. And no, you won't read this in other reviews. It's top secret. Don't pass it along.

One point is deducted every two seconds (one second in the Pro edition) but you get 20 seconds (15 in Pro) to read the question. Why pick on pros? "It's more challenging!" Harald enthused.

So if you're playing against someone, advise them to read each question at least twice because they're often very "tricky." That way, they should be a minute and a half into each one before they come up with an answer.

MORE SECRETS

Harald told us the there are 10 questions in each quiz but an unlimited number of quizzes.

The free edition has 50 questions total in its Question Pool and all of the questions are shuffled each time you play or replay.

For Pro Edition, the Question Pool is 100 questions. With the added challenge that much harder questions are added to the pool. Extended Play Mode on Pro Edition is slightly different in that you can play all 100 questions straight through (but you get time outs) for a perfect score of 1,500.

Eventually, of course, you'll start to see the questions a second time. But that's part of the plan, Harald revealed, when we complained that to score 100 you'd have to speed read. And to get 150 you had to be clairvoyant!

Harald responded, "Regarding speed reading and clairvoyancy, there is an underlying educational strategy at work: the more times you go through the quizzes, the more times a question can repeat, which means you will remember that question and that answer. So it's also a memory test as a side benefit, or as some might call it: 'Brain Training"! Some may think they are gaming the system, but it's actually set up that way. In theory, everyone should eventually be able to hit the perfect scores if they just stay at it long enough. You see, I've actually thought this through ;-)"

Deviously, we might add.

CONCLUSION

As Harald put it, "I find the border between Playing and Learning to be a fascinating one, and that's the arena I'm exploring with PhoozL. Now go play!"

And learn something, we might add. Without having to read a review or study a technical article. Or listen to some old grouch complain about his low score all night.

You have only your embarrassment to lose.

Return to Topics.

Feature: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Hands-on Preview

By SHAWN BARNETT with MIKE TOMKINS and ZIG WEIDELICH
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/canon-5d-mkiii/canon-5d-mkiiiA.HTM on the Web site.)

Though Canon makes many excellent dSLR cameras, none has reached the superstar status of the Canon 5D series. The original 5D's 12.8-megapixel full-frame sensor produced legendary image quality and the 5D Mark II raised the resolution to 21.1 megapixels, adding superb video quality to the mix. The Canon 5D Mark III raises the game in overall camera performance from frame rate to autofocus while increasing the resolution to 22.3-Mp.

Of all the additional features, probably the most important is the new autofocus system used in the 1D X. In addition to having more points and more cross-type points, it covers considerably more of the Canon 5D III's image area. The AF system of the past two models were brought over from the company's APS-C cameras, thus covering much less.

Other additions include a DIGIC 5+ processor, said to be 17 times more powerful than the DIGIC 4 processor in the 5D II. The 7D's 63-zone dual-layer metering system reappears in the 5D Mark III, instead of the 1D X's 100,000-pixel RGB sensor.

Other highlights include:

DESIGN

The size and shape of the Canon 5D Mark III is similar to the Mark II, only a little heavier. The grip is sized right for the camera body, though somewhat large for small hands. It fit my medium-sized hands comfortably. Canon specs the body weight at 30.3 ounces body only. That's 1.7 ounces heavier than the 5D Mark II. Dimensions are 6.0x4.6x3.0 inches. Only height and thickness have increased a millimeter or so.

Two minor elements are moved on the front of the Canon 5D Mark III: the infrared port is now on the grip (where you'll find it on most every other Canon dSLR with the feature) and the Depth-of-field preview button has moved to the grip-side of the body. The Self-timer lamp moves up to its usual position and the monaural microphone moves from below to above the EOS 5D logo.

The top deck includes a Mode dial with the Auto+ mode, combined from the Creative Auto and Green Zone modes on the 5D Mark II. The 5D Mark III's power switch juts out from beneath this dial, as it does from the Canon 7D as well. Also from the 7D is the Multi-Function button behind the Shutter button. Canon has remapped the Status LCD.

The control cluster on the back of the Canon 5D Mark III resembles the 7D more than the 5D Mark II. Even so, keeping with Canon tradition, many buttons have shuffled around and new ones created. Menu and Info buttons are well-placed on the upper left side of the LCD. Five buttons left of the LCD are Creative Style, a new Rate button, a Zoom button and finally the Playback and Delete buttons. Rather than silkscreen the logo next to the button, Canon's eliminated the doubt and put the logo right on these buttons.

Lower left of the LCD are three holes for the speaker and a small window for the ambient light sensor, used to automatically adjust the LCD backlight.

Right of the LCD the controls are nearly all 7D, except for the new, more logical position of the Quick menu button, just upper left of the Quick Control dial. The Movie Record/Live View control includes a switch to select between modes and a button to either start and stop Movie recording or to start and stop Live View mode. The Quick Control dial turns with its normal coarse click stops, but in Movie mode it also responds to touch for making silent adjustments whose noise won't appear in the audio track.

The LCD itself is a 3:2 aspect ratio design that's just as gorgeous as recent models have been, with a 1.04-million dot array.

The thumb grip on the right is a little better than on the 5D Mark II, with a more comfortable taper down the length of the back, rather than a simple arc that didn't match the contours of the thumb.

INSIDE THE III

The 5D Mark III's 22.3-Mp, full-frame CMOS image sensor has a pixel pitch of 6.25 microns. Although resolution is almost unchanged, it now features eight-channel readout, gapless microlenses and boasts improvements in transistor structure and on-chip noise reduction that should yield improved image quality, even for Raw shooters.

Two reduced-resolution Raw modes are also available, providing 10.5 or 5.5-Mp resolution.

Sensitivity ordinarily ranges from ISO 100 to 25,600 equivalents and can be expanded to encompass ISO 50 to 102,400 equivalents. For video mode, the upper limit is capped at ISO 25,600 equivalent.

Canon's DIGIC 5+ processor first appeared in the 1D X. Although the 5D Mark III uses only a single processor, Canon says it's 17 times more powerful than the Mark II's DIGIC 4 chip.

As well as enabling faster six fps burst shooting, there's also more power for noise reduction and Canon is predicting a two-stop improvement for JPEG shooting. The greater performance is also used to add real-time chromatic aberration correction for both still and movie shooting.

The Mark III's 61-point autofocus sensor is also borrowed from the EOS 1D X. As in that camera, there are 41 cross-type points, of which 20 work to f4.0 and 21 are f5.6 capable. Of the latter, five will work as high-precision points to f2.8. The remaining points are horizontal line-types, sensitive to f5.6.

Also new since the 5D Mark II is Canon's AI Servo III, which is quicker to start tracking your subject and should handle momentary obstructions between camera and subject more gracefully.

The 5D Mark III's 63-zone dual-layer iFCL metering sensor was first seen in the EOS 7D. The top layer is sensitive to red and green, while the bottom layer detects blue and green. This full-color metering allows better subject detection, information which is also fed back to the autofocus system to further aid subject tracking.

As well as evaluative, partial and center-weighted, there's also a tighter 1.5 percent spot metering mode.

OPTICS

Like its predecessor, the 5D Mark III has a Canon EF lens mount and doesn't accept sub-frame EF-S lenses. Thanks to its full-frame sensor, there's no focal length crop.

The shutter mechanism is rated as good for 150,000 shots, unchanged from the 5D Mark II. A 'Silent' shooting mode reduces operation noise, but reduces burst-shooting speed to three frames per second.

The 5D Mark III's viewfinder now has 100 percent coverage and a 22mm eyepoint, both slightly upgraded from the previous model. As in the EOS 7D, there's an on-demand grid function and you can also display the locations of the 61 focusing points.

Like the 1D X, there's a 3.2-inch Clear View II LCD panel with a high resolution of approximately 1,040,000 dots.

Of course, there's still a monochrome status display on the top deck, as well.

VIDEO

The EOS 5D Mark III's video functionality is similar to that of the 1D X, but with an important addition: a headphone jack for audio monitoring, useful given the ability to adjust audio levels during recording. You can also adjust ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and aperture as the video is captured.

As well as 1080p 24/25/30 fps and VGA 25/30 fps, there's now a 720p 50/60 fps mode. The 4-GB recording limit is gone and you can save clips as long as 29 minutes, 59 seconds in all resolutions. Compression choices are ALL-I intraframe or IPB interframe, with embedded free-run or rec-run timecode. Canon says that video moire has been greatly reduced since the 5D Mark II.

As well as the previously-mentioned microphone and headphone jacks, the 5D Mark III also offers up a PC sync terminal, combined standard-def AV output/USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port, wired remote control port and high-def HDMI video output.

MEMORY & BATTERY

Dual card slots mean that the 5D Mark III can now record to either UDMA 7 CompactFlash or Secure Digital cards, including SDHC and SDXC. Interestingly, as well as using the secondary card as an overflow or duplicate or to segregate by file type, you can also record different Raw or JPEG types to each card. For example, you could save full-res RAWs on one card and reduced-res mRAWs on the other.

The 5D Mark III takes the same LP-E6 battery pack as the 5D Mark II, letting you save a little money if you're planning on upgrading from the older model, but have a stack of batteries on hand.

Battery life is rated to CIPA testing standards at 950 shots with the viewfinder or 200 shots in live view mode, at 73 F / 23 C. This can be approximately doubled by shooting with two packs, using the BG-E11 battery grip.

CONTROLS

Although the target market is clearly experienced photographers, the 5D Mark III caters to the occasional time when you want to lend your camera to a less-experienced photographer, perhaps to get in the shot yourself. The Full Auto mode has been upgraded and Canon says it will now do a better job of recognizing the appropriate scene type.

The Mode dial has a central locking button, as seen on the 60D. (This was also available as an option on the 7D and 5D Mark II, but here it's the default.)

A new Rate button to the left of the LCD provides instant access to image rating functionality, letting you assign anywhere from one to five stars for each image. The 5D Mark III also adopts Canon's Q button, just to the right of the LCD, for quick-control functions.

On the top deck, you can now assign the Multi-Function button to instantly switch between Raw and JPEG shooting with a single press.

The EOS 5D Mark III's body includes weather-sealing to a level said to be better than that of the 5D Mark II, but not to the same degree as an EOS 1-series body like the EOS-1D X.

FIRMWARE

There are quite a few significant changes to the 5D Mark III's firmware, as well. For the first time in an EOS model other than the 1-series, the 5D Mark III can now capture 2, 3, 5 or 7 shots in a bracketed sequence. There's also an in-camera three-shot HDR mode, a first for an EOS model. Four different processing effects are available. You can also opt to have the source images saved along with the HDR shot, so if you're not satisfied with the result achieved in-camera, you can reprocess the HDR on your computer.

The 5D Mark III also offers up a multiple exposure function. Just like the 1D X, you can combine up to nine frames into a single exposure in-camera. There's also a dual-axis level display, similar to that of the EOS 7D.

In Playback mode, you can now process Raw images in-camera and take advantage of the lens correction functions when doing so. Among the user requests that Canon has heard and answered with the 5D Mark III, there's now a side-by-side comparative playback display (including synced magnification and a histogram function), plus the ability to manually set the first four characters of image file names.

NEW STROBE

Canon also launched a new flagship flash. The Speedlite 600EX-RT supports the line-of-sight optical wireless functionality of existing units plus new two-way radio connectivity with a 98.4-foot range. Remote camera triggering is possible from a flash strobe. Fifteen radio channels are available (plus auto) and up to 15 Speedlite flashes can be used on a channel in as many as five groups, each group able to be set to E-TTL or controlled manually. A 4-digit wireless radio ID can be assigned to separate radio networks.

The 600EX-RT has a guide number of 197 feet at maximum zoom and has a zoom range of 20 to 200mm. It also has a more rugged shoe mount and ships with a gel filter holder and tungsten/fluorescent filters.

The new ST-E3-RT transmitter, similar to the existing ST-E2, supports the new two-way radio system.

ACCESSORIES

The 5D Mark III uses a new BG-E11 battery grip, which includes a duplicate multi-controller for portrait shooting.

The new WFT-E7A wireless file transmitter includes 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and gigabit Ethernet and also supports the EOS 7D and 60D.

An external GP-E2 GPS receiver connects to the camera via USB and mounts on the hotshoe or off-camera. As well as recording latitude, longitude, altitude and UTC time in Exif headers, it has a compass function and can capture GPS track logs.

A new version of Canon's Digital Photo Professional software ships with the 5D Mark III. It adds a Digital Lens Optimizer function for still images. This refers to a built-in database that allows automatic correction of both spherical and chromatic aberration, astigmatism, curvature of field, diffraction and low-pass filter effects.

SAMPLE IMAGES

You can find our Test Shots at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/canon-5d-mkiii/canon-5d-mkiiiA7.HTM.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

Canon expects to ship the 5D Mark III to the U.S. market at the end of March. Pricing is set at around $3,500 body-only or $4,300 with an EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens.

The BG-E11 grip is around $490 and the WFT-E7A wireless file transmitter about $850. The GP-E2 GPS receiver costs around $390. All three accessories ship in April.

Finally, the new Speedlite 600EX-RT costs about $630 and the new ST-E3-RT transmitter is priced at approximately $470. These will be available with the camera itself in March.

Return to Topics.

Feature: The iPad Gets iPhoto

At Tuesday's rollout for the new iPad (http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/123pibhargjknawdconwecown/event/), Apple showed off a new touch-driven version of iPhoto which also runs on the iPad 2. Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, listed the apps highlights:

Randy Ubillos, chief architect for photo and video applications, gave the demo.

The first significant feature, of course, is that iPhoto is actually available on the "light and portable" iPad. That hasn't been the case, although quite a few photo editing applications have migrated to the glass screen already.

Ubillos showed the "shelves" that organize your images by album or event. It's not the only interface aspect of iPhoto that struck us as cartoonish but it was the first. Click to enter an album or event.

The display features a two-column thumbnail view (in which every image is cropped to a square) which can be dragged to either side of the screen, leaving the bulk of the screen to display the currently selected image.

Or display a set of similar images selected by iPhoto when you double tap on an image. It displays them in a grid so you can evaluate which exposure is the preferred one. Swipe down to remove an image from consideration and tap to enlarge one for a closer look.

And that closer look can handle 19-Mp images.

You can flag photos you like and then just select the flagged photos, as in other apps.

There are sharing options to push these images to services like Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and email.

Editing is fun on a touch screen and iPhoto enhances that fun. There's an Auto Enhance button. There's an Auto Straighten button, too (you don't have to rotate the image). You can also Show Original at any time with the button of that name.

Gestures let you zoom, rotate and crop.

To adjust tonality in various parts of the image, a uniform slider control is available but Ubillos used a gesture much like Nik Software's Snapseed onscreen controls to lighten shadows. "It's really fun and really easy," Ubillos observed. Just as it is with Snapseed.

There is some automatic and unseen masking going on here that is not like Nik's U Point controls (which, however, are neither automatic nor unseen).

White balance has a new skin-tone sensitive feature that applies a correction as you move a loupe over the image. It doesn't restrict the correction to skin tones, though. And indeed, why should it? A color cast is uniform.

Ubillos next showed Brushes, which are "set up to work in a very soft way" to do local corrections. There are brushes for Repair, Red Eye, Saturate, Desaturation, Lighten, Darken, Sharpen and Soften.

All the edits are non-destructive.

Effects are displayed via a cartoonish sample book borrowed from Pantone. They include Artistic, Vintage, Aura, Black & White, Dutone and Warm & Cool categories.

Creating a Journal lays out a set of images in a template which is "really easy" to adjust. You can change sizes, move photos around and tell your story with text panels, calendars, maps and weather reports you can drop into the page which you can share through iCloud.

Ubillos noted at the end that all this is available on the iPhone as well. It's an iOS thing (5.1 seems to be required), not a new iPad thing.

Return to Topics.

New on the Site

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

Return to Topics.

Beginners Flash: Learning to Crop

Nobody is born knowing how to crop an image. It's a skill. And like any other skill (say, base stealing), you have to acquire it to actually have it.

We aren't talking about how to use the cropping tool in your image editing software. We'll take for granted you know what it looks like, can click on it and click in one corner of your desired crop and drag no further than the other.

We're talking, instead, about composing an image. You can do it in the camera. You can do it in software. But however you do it, how do you learn how to compose an image?

So we're not going to recite the Ten Commandments of Cropping. And we're not going to send some lucky winner to The University of Photo Editing. There are no such things for a good reason.

Instead, we're going to recommend an approach that, practiced over time, will improve how you compose images. Immediately and continually.

But before we get to the good stuff, let's clean up some of the bad stuff.

It's OK, for example, to slice off half of something in your image. Don't feel morally obliged to include the whole door frame, the whole car, the whole head. Cropping is cutting.

It's OK to end up with a non-standard shape. That's what mats were made for. Not everything has to end up in a 4x6 frame with no mat or fit a 5x7 mat or even an 8x10 mat. Any rectangle at all is legal, even a square. Cropping is aspect ratio agnostic.

It's OK to throw away most of the image. There's just one calculation to keep in mind, of course. You have to have enough pixels left to feed your display medium. You may not want less than 720 pixels for an HDTV, say. Or 600 pixels for a 4x6 print. Otherwise, you are not obligated to include over half of your image. In fact, with a lot of megapixels, you can find more than one picture within your picture. Cropping is selective.

It's OK to ignore the emphasis the camera gave to the scene. You're not a camera and neither is the viewer of your image. You can recompose the image as you see fit. It doesn't have to be a camera image. Cropping is more intelligent than a sensor.

It's OK to crop an image more than once. There just may not be one perfect crop for any particular image. There may be three. Cropping is expressive.

It's OK to crop every image. The photographer, after all, is rarely on the scene long enough to see everything in the frame. Maybe all they can do is center something or get the horizon level. And that may be good enough. But you can almost always do better sitting in your chair and leisurely considering a better composition. Cropping is always appropriate.

Now that the bad stuff is out of the way, let's suggest an approach to cropping.

As convenient as the software approach is in practice, it's not the best way to learn. It's the best way to do it, but not the best way to learn how to do it.

That's because cropping a scene is really about seeing the subject.

So start with a subject in the real world. Like the real world itself. Bring your camera. Find something you are not at all attracted to. That's the trick, really. Do not be seduced by the view. Find something you don't like. And look at it.

We found ourselves waiting nine minutes for a bus the other day. We were staring at a concrete planter that ran alongside the sidewalk. At first we were just trying to distract ourselves. Boy, is that ugly, we thought. Good thing we didn't bring a camera along.

But that's exactly the right subject to learn how to improve your image composition. The question isn't whether the planter is beautiful or ugly, but how to compose an image of it so it's interesting.

We thought about it a while. And that's key, too. You have to take this slowly. Nine minutes is fine. We warmed up to the task by picking a view. We could sit on the planter to change perspective, walk up the block a few feet, bend over it. We could look at in different ways before deciding how we were going to frame it.

Then, finding one approach we found promising (looking straight down at it), we considered how to crop it. With a few leaves of a some plant spiking out of one corner over the rough dirt and breaking over the straight concrete wall of the planter bordering the bottom of the image.

Suddenly this litter bin had some life.

If we had a camera with us, it would have been fun to compose the image using different aspect ratios. A long, thin 16:9 would have emphasized the concrete border. A 1:1 square would have made the plant more prominent. Turn that into a diamond, even. A normal 3:2 or 4:3 might have left the plant in conflict with the planter even if we'd rotated a horizontal approach to vertical.

On the computer, you're stuck with the world inside the image. But out in the field, you have the whole world to crop. You learn fast.

The trick is to include the unattractive scene in your view. Don't just look for the beautiful things out there. Look for a skyscape ruined by street lights or a street scene confused with signage and ask yourself how you could crop it into something interesting to look at.

That's how you acquire the skill. In no time.

Return to Topics.

Advanced Mode: Synchronizing Files

We finally found a reliable, multiplatform and free solution to a long-standing problem of synchronizing files.

The problem arises when you use more than one computer. Maybe you have a work computer and a home computer. Or a desktop computer and a laptop. Or some such.

This isn't a backup problem, where you want to copy an original set of files to a safe place. Because original files could be anywhere. They could be created on the desktop during the week and on the laptop at the cabin on the weekend.

You need a way to synchronize your computers so you have the current files on both.

For a while, we've been using the free Unix utility rsync. We wrote some scripts to copy from a source directory to a destination directory.

But a funny thing about rsync. It really doesn't work two ways. It doesn't synchronize. It just updates a destination with what's in the source.

That can leave a lot of old files in the destination directory unless you use the --delete option. But if you do that, you'll also delete anything new in the destination.

Of course that means the destination was really another source. How does that happen?

Say you copy images to your desktop using the CompactFlash reader attached to it. They end up in the desktop's Pictures directory. Then you shoot some images on your digicam and pop the SD card into the built-in SD reader on your laptop. They end up in the laptop's Pictures directory.

You need something that does more than compare files to make sure you end up with both the CompactFlash and SD card images on both computers.

Enter Unison (http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/) for Unix (including the Mac) and Windows.

At heart it's a command line utility but we've been running it from a graphical user interface that works just fine. Just drag a directory to the First Root field and another to the Second Root field (which can be local or remote) and tell it to get to work.

It analyzes the two directories and presents a file list showing what will be copied where. If there are any conflicts, those are indicated as well. You can scroll through the list and change any of the copy plans just by setting a different direction.

We didn't think we'd like reviewing the list but it quickly gives you confidence in Unison.

In our hypothetical case, Unison would indicate it had to copy the CompactFlash image to the laptop and the SD card images to the desktop. We'd confirm that and off it would go.

Deep down it uses rsync to make the copies, so it doesn't have to copy entire files, just the changed parts. That makes it pretty fast to update things. It also keeps track of what's where in a database, so although the first run can be slow, subsequent runs are quick.

And no, you don't have to drag folders to the dialog box every time. In fact, the first field in the dialog box asks for a Profile name. The Profile stores your directory names. And you can add options and other commands to Profiles so the sync manages exactly what you want it to manage.

Our Profiles only contain the two paths we want to sync plus a line pointing to a file the has the computer names and all the options that matter to us. Like preserving the file times and ignoring certain operating system files and caches.

When we start Unison, it shows us a list of all our Profiles. There's one for our email, another for our Web browsing, one for our software projects, another for our photos and on and on. We just select the one we've been working on and in a few blinks of an eye, both machines have the same files. No matter which machine they were created on.

That's what you call a solution.

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In the Forums

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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: Tethered Shooting

Regarding your statement: "When you shoot tethered, the data is redirected out your camera's USB port. It doesn't get stored on the camera's memory card. So make sure you back it up from your computer."

Actually, with Canon software at least, you can choose to write to both the camera card and computer or just the computer. When I shoot large machinery on location I do both, since when you're on location, pretty much every day is "Anything Can Happen Day."

But glad you wrote this, just the same. Too many people who should be shooting tethered think it's just too complicated, when in fact it simplifies a lot of things. My personal workflow is to use the EOS Utility to download the images to the laptop, but then use Bridge to view and subsequently edit later.

Thanks for the continually informative newsletter.

-- Jay Busse

(Thanks, Jay. We were a bit too concise there. Nikon cameras don't save both places but Canons do. -- Editor)

Thanks for the Poor Man's Guide to Tethering article. I have Lightroom 3 and, since it sounded so simple, I downloaded a trial version of Nikon Capture Control Pro 2 so I could try out your technique.

The Nikon software recognized my camera and all controls worked, but when I started up Lightroom and attempted tethered shooting, it told me "no camera available." I then downloaded a trial version of Capture NX 2 and when I took a shot, Capture NX 2 opened up and I was then able to see the pictures on my monitor.

Have I missed a step or is there something wrong?

Gentlemen, thank you for a truly valuable Resource for the Imaging world.

-- Al Harvey

(Not every camera works with Lightroom, Al. What are you using? -- Editor)

I'm using a Nikon D200.

-- Al

(Ah, that explains it. The D200 is not supported for tethered shooting by Lightroom (http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/842/cpsid_84221.html). -- Editor)

RE: Wolverines in March

Have you guys looked at the Wolverine F2D14? An interesting approach to scanning slides and negs: http://www.adorama.com/WVF2D14.html

-- Jack Gray

(The basic unit has been around for years (marketed by various companies). We've tried to arrange for review units, but the companies involved never responded.... A quick look around the Web reveals Costco sells them but commentaries at the Costco page are revealing (http://reviews.costco.com/2070/11314537/wolverine-wolverine-f2d-35mm-film-to-digital-image-scanner-converter-reviews/reviews.htm). And it does bother us that VueScan doesn't support any Wolverine scanner (http://www.hamrick.com/vuescan/vuescan.htm#supported). That would at least overcome whatever shortcomings the scanner software had. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) released Lightroom 4 with new adjustment controls, photo books from Blurb.com, native video support and soft proofing for a lower price of $149 or $79 for the upgrade.

The company also released its $9.99 Photoshop Touch for the iPad 2 on the iTunes App Store with core Photoshop features, Scribble selections and options for creating and sharing in an app custom-built for tablets.

Adobe Labs (http://www.labs.adobe.com) has posted version 6.7 release candidates for Adobe Camera Raw and DNG Converter.


Canon (http://www.usa.canon.com) announced its $3,499 5D Mark III with a 22.3-Mp full-frame Canon CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor, 61-point High Density Reticular Autofocus System , Full HD video and six fps continuous shooting speed. The announcement coincides with Canon's 25th anniversary celebration of the EOS camera system.

The company has also announced its $199.99 Pixma MX892 wireless multifunction device using ChromaLife 100+ ink in five individual tanks. The device can print a 4x6 borderless photo in 20 seconds, scan oversized documents, scan from a 35-sheet duplex auto document feeder and fax.


Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com) has released Snapseed Desktop for Windows, its $19.99 photo enhancement and sharing app with a suite of imaging filters and tools.

The company has also released updates to its Dfine 2.0, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro 3.0, Silver Efex Pro 2 and Viveza 2 plug-ins to support Lightroom 4.


Tamron (http://tmrn.us/itunes) has launched its MyPhotoExhibits iPad app to showcase your favorite images on its free online venue of the same name (http://myphotoexhibits.com). The app helps you set up a user avatar and bio, upload your favorite high-resolution images and create a personalized exhibit space.


Delkin (http://www.delkin.com) has started shipping its 700x CompactFlash cards in 16-GB, 32-Gb and 64-GB capacities with 128-GB coming this month at $54.99, $99.99 and $224.99 respectively. The UDMA 6 cards feature transfer rate to 105-MB/second and write speeds of 67-MB/second.


Novoflex (http://www.novoflex.com) has developed adapters to fit older lenses on the Pentax Q and Nikon 1. Supported lenses include Canon FD, Contax/Yashica, Leica-M, Leica-R, Minolta AF/Sony Alpha, Minolta MD/MC, M42, Nikon, Olympus OM, Pentax K, T2 and 39mm screw thread.


Skyhorse Publishing has published How to Create a Successful Photography Business by Elizabeth Etienne with "everything from templates for legal documents to pricing your services." The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 33 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1581158866/?tag=theimagingres-20).


Wacom (http://www.wacom.com) has introduced its Intuos5 pen tablet in three sizes, all with multi-touch input (so no mouse), ExpressKeys and 2,048 levels of pen pressure.


The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9118778/The-dark-side-of-Facebook.html) reports The Dark Side of Facebook is its reliance on "poorly vetted workers in third world countries paid just $1 an hour" to police the billion pieces of content shared every day by 845 million users.


The inaugural issue of Ian Coyle's Edits Quarterly (http://editsquarterly.com) "is a personal retrospective on the ideas of exploration and home."


The $24 JAlbum 10.4 [LMW] (http://jalbum.net) includes an option to create complete Web sites, multi-core processing support, an option to override the max image size for individual images, support for orientation in any direction and more.


ImageSnap (http://www.imagesnap.com) prints your photos on standard ceramic tile at reasonable prices.


JetPhoto (http://www.jetphotosoft.com) has released its free Studio [M] 5.3 with TIFF support, Flash gallery improvements, Google Earth 6.2 compatibility, automatic photo bearing setting from GPS tracks and more.


Lemkesoft (http://www.lemkesoft.com) has released its $39.95 GraphicConverter 7.6.2 [M] with version browsing on Lion, trackpad zoom during slide show, font preview in the font pop-up, improvements for the Xe847 interface and more.


Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan 9.0.86 [LMW] with fixes for a variety of scanners.


The March/April issue of Sierra magazine features High Art, profiling five photographers who are climbers at heart (http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/201203/high-art/default101.aspx).


One place we've always wanted to go: http://www.behance.net/gallery/ART-DIRECTION-INSTRUMENTS-FROM-INSIDE/340016


We note the passing of Stan Stearns (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/us/stan-stearns-who-caught-jfk-jrs-salute-on-film-dies-at-76.html?hpw), famous for his photo of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's casket.

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One Liners

For just $150 per insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).

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

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

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

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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
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New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/new-on-ir
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Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/BETTERPICS.HTM

Happy snapping!

Mike Pasini, Editor
editor@imaging-resource.com
Dave Etchells, Publisher
web@imaging-resource.com

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