|Volume 14, Number 9||4 May 2012|
Welcome to the 331st edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We reflect on Adobe's Creative Cloud, focusing on the creative more than the cloud, before looking at a geeky device for managing archival drives. Then we reveal an email tip before we invite you into the studio for another fun photo project. Enjoy!
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SAN FRANCISCO -- It was an overcast day as we parked the car by Stow Lake and walked over to the de Young museum for Adobe's big announcement. In short, not ideal conditions.
As we rounded the bend by the Japanese Tea Garden, we saw huge balloons floating over the music concourse, a square one for CS6 and a big round red one for the Creative Cloud. Below them, an Adobe guide in black informed us, was the registration tent and breakfast. Quite a rollout.
Adobe had rented the entire museum. Koret auditorium was set up for the presentation, the Piazzoni Murals Room set aside for the press conference following the presentation and the Hamon Observation Tower itself was reserved for a champagne reception.
Similar events were held in London and Tokyo. And the event was streamed live and rebroadcast the next day (http://www.adobe.com/special/cs6/launch-event.html).
Shantanu Narayen, Adobe president and chief executive officer, set the stage with a few introductory remarks about the company's commitment to the creative process and made himself available later at the press conference, just to emphasize how big this announcement is. For Adobe, for you.
We stole away to the empty Piazzoni Murals Room to do some technical setup and then found a seat in the auditorium to live blog the event with text and photos (http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2012/04/23/adobe-creative-cloud-ir-brings-you-live-to-the-event).
We hustled over to the press conference and dropped by the reception for a quick demo of the Cloud. Then we walked back to Stow Lake, got in the car and thought about it.
It's been the goal of your cable company to extract $60 a month from you. And your ISP has the same target. Your phone company is probably a bit more ambitious. Even some free newsletter publishers wonder every blue moon if paid subscriptions wouldn't be easier on the psyche than chasing advertisers.
The attraction is simple. Subscriptions are regular income. A saline drip.
Adobe has been on the income roller coaster with 18-month rollouts of Creative Suite upgrades for a while now. A massive effort like CS5 gets little appreciation because the main (if necessary) feature is architectural.
And, as you may have noticed, updates between revisions are few and far between. That has to do with accounting and taxes, we've been told. You can fix things but you can't embellish them. Ugh.
When you buy the software, it's yours to launch until the next machine you buy with a new processor and its whiz-bang operating system won't run it. There's no small comfort in that. Even if you cancel your cable contract, you can still watch over-the-air HD broadcasts and DVDs.
But Narayen suggested we're living in a different world now. A disruptive one for software developers who find their products demanded on multiple, incompatible platforms from phones to tablets to netbooks to laptops to desktops. Software subscriptions do promise to bring you updates as soon as they're available, not with the next version rollout.
And at $30 a month for students and owners of CS3+ licenses, the first year is the rough equivalent of a buck a day for full access to the Creative Suite, plus Adobe's Touch apps as well as new desktop applications like Muse. In a sense, it's never been cheaper to use Adobe software.
But still it's just one option.
The company confirmed at the press conference that you can continue to pay upgrade and full freight prices for what the company calls a perpetual license, if you prefer. That includes Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium ($1,899), Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Standard ($1,299), Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium ($1,899) and Adobe Creative Suite 6 Master Collection ($2,599). Upgrade pricing from previous versions hasn't been announced yet.
But there's a catch.
Adobe also made it clear there's a lot you'll be missing if you opt for that approach. The Cloud includes storage and media management features as well as Cloud-only apps. And one other thing.
In answer to a question from David Blatner at the press conference, Narayen claimed Cloud updates to applications would flow freely but didn't say the same for perpetually licensed products, which presumably are subject to the same accounting restrictions as in the past.
That means if you publish your Web site or ebook with an Adobe product, it will be created with the latest technology if you're a Cloud subscriber. If you bought the box, though, that isn't necessarily the case.
Cloud technology will eventually even extend to offline processing of some processes, we learned at the press conference.
So a Creative Cloud subscription isn't simply a payment method option. It's a lifestyle choice.
THE CLOUD DETAILED
If you aren't a student or own a license to CS3 and later, Creative Cloud membership will initially run $50 a month. Either way that gives you more than just access to Creative Suite 6.
Adobe calls the Creative Cloud "a hub for making, sharing and delivering creative work." It's a hub "centered around a powerful release of Adobe Creative Suite 6 software."
It will encompass many products and services. Among those revealed at the launch event were:
Adobe also announced a few future benefits, including:
- Access to download and install every Adobe CS6 desktop application (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Flash Professional and more) plus two new HTML5 products: Adobe Muse and Adobe Edge preview
- Adobe software for iOS and Android, including Collage, Debut and Proto
- A license to access the software on two computers (as before) but now those two can run different operating systems (run Photoshop on a Windows computer and an OS X computer, for example, instead of two Windows or OS X computers)
- Integration of Adobe's creative tablet applications like Photoshop Touch into everyday work, seamlessly synchronizing and storing files in the cloud for sharing and access on any device
- Easy delivery of mobile apps to iOS and Android marketplaces and the ability to publish, manage and host websites
- Access to application upgrades, including new CS point-product features, before they are launched as part of major CS updates, as well as inventive new products and services as they emerge
- A new desktop app, Adobe Creative Cloud Connection, to enable syncing, sharing and storing files across mobile devices and desktop
- 20-GB of online storage with more options available later
- Publishing services, including the ability to easily publish apps, magazines and catalogues to iPad, iPhone and Android devices
- Access to Adobe Typekit, the Web-based font library that pioneered the use of real fonts on Web sites, delivering more than 700 typefaces from leading foundries.
- New Web hosting capabilities
At launch, you get all of this except the future features for the same introductory price. But in the future, apparently, the company plans to offer at least some of these features as options, so you can configure your own benefits.
- Lightroom 4 (which has recently seen a significant price drop)
- the first complete release of Adobe Edge, an HTML5 development tool, which is currently available in a preview version
- Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition, the technology behind the delivery of digital magazines on iPad
- Training, support and community features
It's clear from the feature list that Adobe's plan for the Creative Cloud is quite ambitious, a re-imaginging of the creative process, as Narayen put it.
And the launch engineering was no small feat either.
David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of Adobe's digital media business unit, said the company had already designed network technology optimized for the cloud with redundancy in place to protect your files. Beyond that, Adobe built "a lot of intelligence into the synchronization model" so nervous savers aren't indulged but you have performance enhancing options like "don't use more than 50 percent of my bandwidth if I'm not idle."
So what's it like living in the Creative Cloud?
We've had a taste of it, first with Adobe Revel, where you can invite others to share the viewing and editing of your images by email, and most recently with Photoshop Touch (review coming soon), in which we were able to exchange documents via the Cloud with Photoshop CS6 beta on the desktop. You can also count Kuler (http://kuler.adobe.com) for its color theme sharing community.
As we noted in our Revel review (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/adobe-carousel/index.htm), no cloud is any place for your archive. But Adobe isn't selling the Creative Cloud as an archive. It's more of a stage where you can collaborate with other creatives, perhaps in disciplines other than your own, and proof work for clients.
It's also a distribution point -- or will be -- with publishing tools for any platform, including the Web with hosting services.
Files moved quickly from the desktop to the Cloud during the presentation. That hasn't been our experience with images in Revel and Photoshop Touch over business-grade DSL.
But as Jeffrey Veen, senior director of products, pointed out at the press conference, the kind of files you'll be uploading and downloading on the Cloud are not always going to be the kind you work with on the desktop. They'll be smaller comps (like those Photoshop Touch saves), not full resolution images. Jeff gave a tour of the Cloud at the presentation.
IT'S ABOUT CREATIVITY
Adobe might easily have hosted this event at its San Francisco offices but the company clearly wanted to make more than a business statement.
Narayen emphasized from the start of the presentation that the company is all about "empowering creatives." It has developed ways of making, managing, measuring and monetizing content from its beginnings.
With the Creative Cloud, Narayen said, the company wants to "fuel your creativity through the Cloud anywhere, anytime with anyone."
As his words bounced off the walls of this notable American museum, we had to wonder if you'll really need a cloud to function in the years to come. After all, we were surrounded by impressive works that owed nothing to collaboration.
And no doubt that kind of creative process will continue as it always has. But Narayen was suggesting something else entirely. Inspired by great art, it inhabits a world of art directors, agency personnel, executive boards on the one hand and collaborators with expertise in Web technologies, database design, animation, video, ebook publishing.
To explore the state of creativity in that environment, Adobe sponsored a study (http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/pdfs/Adobe_State_of_Create_Global_Benchmark_Study.pdf). Five thousand adults from England, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S. (one thousand per country) were interviewed in March and April.
"The study reveals a workplace creativity gap," Adobe summarized in a press release, "where 75 percent of respondents said they are under growing pressure to be productive rather than creative, despite the fact that they are increasingly expected to think creatively on the job. Across all of the countries surveyed, people said they spend only 25 percent of their time at work creating. Lack of time is seen as the biggest barrier to creativity (47 percent globally, 52 percent in United States)."
Over 75 percent of respondents felt that unlocking creativity is the key to economic and societal growth. Yet 40 percent felt they didn't have access to the tools they need.
We have a hunch all our friends are in the 40 percent group. Nobody ever has the tools they need.
"Creative tools are perceived as the biggest driver to increase creativity (65 percent globally, 76 percent in the United States)," the study continued, "and technology is recognized for its ability to help individuals overcome creative limitations (58 percent globally, 60 percent in the United States) and provide inspiration (53 percent globally, 62 percent in the United States)."
Making the tools is one thing. Making them available is another. And still another is building a community to share everything from services to tips to inspiration. Adobe is, in a sense, moving beyond the enticements of new features to sell every release to the excitement of a community where your work profits from association. They're building their own global economy.
And to make sure that economy has the workers it needs in the future, the company is investing in today's youth. It also announced at the launch a one million dollar fund to establish Adobe Foundation Creativity Scholarships for high school seniors who participate in the Adobe Youth Voices program (http://www.youthvoices.adobe.com/youth-media-gallery/). That currently includes more than 800 sites in 52 countries.
INTO THE FOG
We rode the elevator up the tower for the reception where we were able to view a personal demo of the Cloud at work. How to log into your account, find your files, check your applications. When we moved around the woman demonstrating this on a large screen to avoid the glare, she picked up the demo on an iPad. It made no difference.
Ah, life in the clouds.
Eight floors up, with a 360 degree view of the western side of the city, we watched the Cloud balloon deflate and come back to earth. Outside, the marine layer was still reducing the opacity of our shadows to nearly zero. But it was nevertheless a bright day.
Adobe clearly has a lot of work to do to sell its Creative Cloud. Much of what was discussed will take a few years to realize. And yet a lot has already been done. The servers are up and running. The software is tuned to them. Adobe has built the ball field.
Grab a glove, pick up a bat, kick some dirt. It's a whole new ball game.
(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/wiebetech-ultradock/index.htm on the Web site.)
As clever ideas go, the $189 WiebeTech UltraDock (http://www.wiebetech.com/products/UltraDock_v5.php) is pretty clever. Why buy enclosures for your offsite hard drives when you can buy one dock to plug them into?
The hermetically sealed drives really aren't at any risk tucked in plastic storage boxes (WiebeTech sells those too (http://www.wiebetech.com/products/cases.php)) as they sit on a shelf. And you aren't paying for an idle interface card and enclosure for every drive.
When you need more archival storage, all you have to do is buy a new bare drive, connect it to the UltraDock, write the next volume of your archive to it, disconnect the drive and pop it into a storage box.
When you next need the drive, you just cable it to the UltraDock again. Mount and unmount as usual. You're just working with bare drives instead of more expensive enclosures.
It saves you a few coins and promises no inconveniences (except perhaps access speed). So how does it work?
WHAT IS IT?
UltraDock v5, announced in February, replaces the USB 2.0 port on the previous v4 with a USB 3.0 port while redesigning the device a bit.
It features five ports on the host side, native PATA and SATA drive connections, two power options, a recessed on/off switch guard and five status LEDs in a 3x4.25-inch aluminum enclosure.
On the host side, you can connect to your computer via FireWire 800 (two ports), FireWire 400, USB 2 or eSATA. All three FireWire ports are daisy-chainable so you can connect up to two more devices with UltraDock.
On the drive side, you can connect 3.5-inch IDE/PATA drives or 2.5/3.5-inch SATA drives without using no adapters. WiebeTech sells a line of Combo Adapters (http://www.wiebetech.com/products/v4_adapters.php) to connect other drives.
The dock itself is powered by an brick connected to a wall outlet (like most inkjet printers). The power jack plugs into one of the short sides of the dock. Between the three-prong power cable and the jack cable, you get a good long length of cable to reach a wall outlet.
The other short side of the dock has a single switch for USB Admin or Normal modes.
The top of the dock is the command center. A small LCD panel sit above a four-key navigator. At the left are three LEDs (indicating drive status, warnings, disk activity and if a hidden Host Protected Areas/Drive Configuration Overlay area is present) and to the right are two LEDs (indicating power status). A recessed power switch sits just the right of the navigator.
IN THE BOX
Applause to WiebeTech for supplying everything you need to connect nearly anything to the UltraDock and the UltraDock to just about any port on your computer. There are a lot of cables included with the UltraDock. The kit includes:
If you have something other than SATA or IDE drives, though, you'll also need a v4 Combo Adapter (http://www.wiebetech.com/products/v4_adapters.php). WiebeTech sells different $50 adapters for different drive manufacturers.
- UltraDock v5 with a set of little rubber feet
- World-compatible AC Adapter
- FireWire 800 cable
- FireWire 400 cable
- eSATA host cable
- USB 3 to USB 2 cable
- Data and power cables for SATA drive
- Ribbon cable for IDE drives
- Heat dissipation plate (with screws) for 3.5-inch drives
- Quick Start Guide
- Limited Warranty Statement
But we didn't see an ATA connection, a drive interface popular before 2006. If you've been shooting a while, you may have archive drives with the older interface, no doubt in an external enclosure. So this is really a forward-looking solution.
We removed a 2.5-inch SATA drive from its external enclosure to test the dock. We connected it to the dock with the SATA cable, which has a black data connector and a four-wire power connector as well. They plug right into the drive side of the dock.
Next we connected the other side of the dock to a laptop with the FireWire 800 cable included in the box. And finally, we connected the power brick to the side of the dock.
With cables coming out of three sides of the dock, it isn't a pretty sight. And it isn't easy to find the space to set it up. You need room for a drive and the dock within reach of an outlet and your computer. It felt a little like setting up a campfire. But we managed.
USING THE DOCK
With our drive and cables connected all we had to do was flip the little power switch. Our drive spun up, the yellow Disk LED on the left illuminated and the LCD advised us to hit the Enter (or Right) key to get some drive info: "View Drive Info >"
Pressing the Down key scrolls to other options data, like View Dock Info (which is just the product name) and HPA/DCO Auto handling. But we primarily used the dock as an external enclosure.
Curiosity did get the better of us so we did press the Down key and learned the operating temperature of the bare drive at first was 30 degrees Celsius. Warm to the touch. A little later it went up to 37 degrees.
The dock can retrieve a bit more information like Bad Sectors, Disk Health, Hours Used and Number of Power Cycles derived from S.M.A.R.T. data. Just scroll with the Up and Down arrow keys to see it.
When the drive powered up, it also mounted normally on our laptop's desktop. We were able to navigate the file system just as we usually do, copy to and from the drive and otherwise inspect it with drive utilities on the laptop.
Ejecting the drive spun it down and powered it off. The yellow Disk LED turned off as well.
With the drive powered down, you can swap it out for another one. You would do that a lot, we think, searching through your archives.
In our case, we tried a different cable connection to our laptop to test the versatility of the dock. No problem there.
The transfers were speedy, too. According to WiebeTech, "We clocked UltraDock v5 at 211.9 MB/s when used with a solid state drive connected over eSATA." Performance from the FireWire 800 connection seemed equivalent to us of using an external enclosure.
There's something attractive (if not compelling) about using one versatile device to dock handfuls of bare drives holding your archives of images. Storing the bare drives is more efficient and there's really little risk of damage.
While it may seem like avoiding the redundancy of multiple external enclosures is also less expensive, that isn't necessarily the case (shall we say). At $189 for the dock (not to mention $7 storage cases) divided by a generous $30 for each enclosure yields about six enclosures. Is your archive (with 1-TB or 2-TB drives) going to require more than that?
And if your drives are not standard IDE or SATA drives, add a few more bucks for adapters. Got ATA drives? You'll have to upgrade to IDE or SATA drives to use the dock. All of which can be written off for the pro, of course.
But the real issue we had with the UltraDock was convenience. Rather than a tidy unit that we could tuck behind our laptop, it sprawled over our light table with cables running out in three directions. That has its merits, of course, primarily accessibility, but in a cramped studio it's not appreciated.
So while it might make sense for offsite storage, we can't recommend it for routine access to external drives, particularly if you catalog your collection with software like Lightroom or Aperture.
Taking the drive out of the box is a clever concept but the UltraDock implementation is inconvenient for routine studio use. It isn't so much the design of the device itself as it is the octopus-like cabling. You really need a some space to set it up.
On the other hand, the UltraDock did do what it promised. It connected our bare drive via FireWire or USB to our laptop. Swapping drives is no more trouble than plugging another one into the cable.
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:
- News Story Comments: All you need is a free Disqus account (http://disqus.com) to comment on an IR news story. Well, that and an opinion.
- Reviewed: Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1395/cat/30)
- Reviewed: WiebeTech UltraDock (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/wiebetech-ultradock/index.htm)
- Reviewed: Nikon 10mm f/2.8 1 Nikkor (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1472/cat/12)
There is no School of Internet Basics. We checked. So it's easy to miss a lesson or two. One of those we notice with frequency in our own email correspondence is that some subscribers haven't been introduced to the efficiencies of quoting an email when replying.
Take an extreme example -- like this newsletter.
It arrives in your email inbox, you open it and you read it. You see something you want to comment on and hit the Reply button in your email software.
What happens next depends on your software. And software varies (man, does it vary). But most likely what happens is that the whole 48K newsletter is copied into a new email. It will look different than what you type as a reply but it will be there.
That's quoting an email.
Some software is so clever it can even quote a series of emails on the same topic. The entire conversation, that is. Which can drive your recipient nuts.
So where's the efficiency?
Well, you could reply without quoting. But that might confuse your recipient. Say you wanted to reply to this newsletter's lead story with the remark, "Nice but way too expensive!" And say you didn't quote a reference. We'd be sitting here scratching our head wondering what is too expensive.
The efficient approach is to quote just what your recipient needs to see to know what you're referring to. You can do this (usually) by making a selection in the original email before you hit the Reply button. Just drag your mouse (with the button down) over the stuff you want to address in the original email before you Reply.
That quotes just the selection in most email software (but not all), instead of the whole 48K newsletter. Which makes for a much more efficient conversation. And often a quicker reply.
If you have trouble getting it to work, use your favorite search engine to look for "email reply quote selection" plus the name of your email software to see if there's a trick or if a plug-in is required.
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 about Canon dSLRs at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee92fbe
Visit the Nikon Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6f781
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
We know how these things get started. But we have no idea where they're going to go. Or if they'll ever end. Which, you can conclude, is what makes them so much fun.
This project started with the vague desire to shoot some macro shots. We'd been reviewing digicam megazooms, closing in on faraway subjects, often with GPS tracking our location.
And we kind of just wanted to stay home and focus on the little things that amuse us every day. It was the weekend, after all.
We also thought we'd stay away from the digicams. They've all got a handy macro mode, yes, but we had grandiose plans for our images. We didn't want to settle for images from a small sensor. Call us a snob, if you want.
But we've have been impressed by the image quality of Compact System Cameras. We've enjoyed a long loan of a very persuasive Olympus E-PL1 (still available and at a ridiculously low price) and spent months with a Nikon V1. Both have a bit newer sensor technology than the dSLRs we love and live with, too.
Getting your toe wet and jumping into the lake from the end of the dock are two different things. What's keeping us from the CSC dock is CSC glass.
Nikon did introduce System 1 with a prime and two zooms and added an adapter for its F-mount lenses. And Olympus has gotten raves for its 45mm f1.8 prime, which Ctein used on his 17x22 print offer of the Bay Bridge (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/04/print-offer-small-sensor.html). Then there's Derrick Story sneaking into the Oracle Arena (http://thedigitalstory.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?search=Warriors&IncludeBlogs=2&limit=20) with long lenses less than three inches in length for his Olympus PEN.
We have been following these CSC lens reports without much enthusiasm until it struck us that we had a Nikon adapter for the E-PL1 sitting right next to us.
It's the body half of the Lensbaby Composer with Tilt Transformer we reviewed a while ago (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/LBT/LBT.HTM). That would be the Tilt Transformer itself.
Mount that pointed straight ahead and you have a Nikon adapter.
Well, we knew that. But we hadn't thought it through. We hadn't thought of attaching a BR-2 Macro Adapter Ring to it.
The ring screws into the filter threads on the front of a few of our older Nikkor lenses. The other side of it is an F-mount. So, in effect, you can reverse a 50mm lens to make it a macro lens (with a very tight focusing distance).
We did that and had some fun for an afternoon before we remembered our old Vivitar Series I zoom. We ran across one for $99 at a camera dealer a while ago. No one knows what to do with them, but in their day they were highly praised for their optical quality. A slide switch turns the Series I 70-210mm zoom into a macro lens when you move the barrel close to the mount.
We mounted it in the adapter, slipped it into macro mode and slid the barrel grip to focus. Wow.
Of course, there's a more obvious solution, too. That's Lensbaby's own macro converters. We put the other half of the Composer with Tilt Transformer on (that would be the Composer half, which includes a Double Glass optic), noted the f2.8 aperture disc and screwed in a +10 37mm converter (one of the original macro converters).
Suddenly we had a stable of macro lenses. We went all over the place shooting closeups of our favorite knicknacks. Then we took a few shots of some of the things we're always looking at. Like the bricks of the patio.
Sometimes these are the first shots we take with a review camera to get a feel for it. It's always like looking through a microscope and discovering life in some common object you easily dismiss on your way to another cup of coffee or the broom closet.
So we had a ball shooting macro with the E-PL1 for a few days. In Manual mode no less, picking an aperture for depth of field, and setting a shutter speed somewhere in the hand-holdable range most of the time, using ISO to get there.
One of the objects we keep walking by, though, is our Robert Tress-inspired 12-panel 13x19 of an afternoon we spent going to the Marina. We wrote about that in our Imitating a Master article in the March 23 issue. We keep it in view because we like it. Good thing, too, because it inspired our grandiose plan.
We did swap out one image (which duplicated the subject of another) and rearranged them a bit to remain in chronological order. But otherwise, we really like the print we made on an Epson R3000 using Legion's Moab Entrada Natural Rag (http://moabpaper.com/), an uncoated sheet. We tried a different driver setting (you'll be able to read all about it in our R3000 review soon) to shift the tone of the monochrome image but that's the only change we made to the print.
How about something like that for our household macro shots? A sort of bento box print. This in that corner, that in this. All artfully arranged. In fact, it's the arrangement itself that would be part of the fun.
The black and white had been easy to arrange because it was chronological. It told a story. This was more like putting things in a jewel box. Or a bento lunch box. There was an order to establish and some conflicts to avoid (not too many verticals next to each other, faces looking inward not out, etc.). Old magazine layout stuff, really.
We knew we wanted to keep the 12-panel arrangement of square images. But this time we wanted them in color.
We copied the black and white, deleted the layers of images and brought into the Photoshop CS6 beta file each of the macro shots we wanted, using Bridge CS6 beta to look them over. We moved things around, sharpened a few to bring out the texture, improved the exposure on the Vivitar shots (it's a long barrel that tends to underexpose, no matter what the E-PL1 meter says).
We cranked up the Canon Pro-1 for the print. It took half an hour (we were finishing a set of tanks and, one by one, installing new ones -- but you can read about that travail in our update to the Pro-1 review also coming soon) but we got our print.
We used Museo Silver Rag (http://www.museofineart.com). Gorgeous sheet. Archival, all cotton, no brighteners, gloss finish from Crane paper. It's the kind of thing you just want to frame with nothing on it and imagine what you could put on it.
There are Canon and Epson ICC profiles for it on the Web site, so we installed them and went to town. In a few minutes, we had our print. We just looked it over for a bit, lost in the small square worlds it revealed.
But we aren't done with our bento yet. We'll have to run it off the Epson R3000 on the same Museo Silver Rag. You know, just for fun.
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RE: Paintings of the Day?
Some of your Photo of the Day winners appear to be pictures of paintings. Do those that even qualify?
-- April Larkin(The rules are pretty lax when it comes to what sort of photo you can submit, April. "The image may be edited, enhanced and modified as you see fit," is about the extent of it. The reason our rules are so lax is that we want to encourage post processing just as much as the capture itself. There's such a wide range of image manipulation options available today that they really can't be ignored. That might be the judicious application of a filter or more painstaking HDR manipulation. It could indeed mean dropping out the background or applying an unusual crop. It's all good. Actually photographing a painting wouldn't, in itself, be competitive, really. It wouldn't, that is, make it to the winner's gallery. And it's a lot harder to do than it sounds. You have to evenly light the canvas and avoid any glare (tough if it's behind glass). Great question. Thanks for asking! -- Editor)
RE: Stars in Canon Prints
I currently have a Canon 9500 Mark II. I get those awful pin marks from the gripper wheels. I'm currently trying to get this resolved with Canon but it seems like there won't be a resolution. I am using thick art paper.
Could you tell me if the Pro-1 has these wheels as well? I read somewhere that it uses suction but can't find that site now. I'd be so grateful if you could tell me about the feed system about this printer as I may have to upgrade!
-- Richard Battersby(There are pins in there, Richard. Star rollers, actually. We just took a peek under the hood. Same, in fact, as on the Epson R3000 sitting right across from it. We were discussing the R3000 with Epson a few days ago (the review is coming along nicely) and they confirmed they use the pins (which ride on rubber wheels) to feed the sheet through the printer for borderless printing. They are "super, super invisible," Epson said. We strafed a flashlight beam over the blue sky area of a print on Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl 260 and looked over the print with a 10x loupe, side to side. We could see every little defect in the image and even droplets of ink but no marks from the wheels. So you shouldn't be able to see marks from the star rollers. But that assumes your paper is within specs. Not too thick (we're talking millimeters not gsm here). On a sheet thick enough to get through but too thick for star rollers, you might indeed see marks. On borderless prints. Which may be another reason why Canon insists on a border for thick art papers. -- Editor)
RE: Replacing a Coolscan
I have had the Nikon Coolscan LS-50 ED for many years and used it to scan my black and white negatives and color negatives and transparencies of Bob Marley and other reggae performers I shot in the mid '70s for my book Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae. But lately the controls screen has been refusing to show up on my MacBook Pro screen and I managed to misplace the single slide transparency holder and it has been discontinued by Nikon so I can't replace the missing slide holder.
I need an easy to use, minimum 4000-dpi, 35mm negative and slide scanner I can rely on.
(I spent hours touching up each negative scan in Photoshop to make them perfect so that I can do large art prints from them a well as prep them for the books I'm making. I have precious negatives from the '60s and '70s that I want to scan for reproduction myself for my next few books.)
What can you recommend, under $500 (preferably well under) that will suit my needs?
-- Kim Gottlieb-Walker(Price considerations knock out the Epson V700/V750 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V700/V700.HTM), a flatbed that remains alone at the top of the desktop scanner pile these days. The only dedicated film scanner (similar to your LS-50) is the Plustek OpticFilm 7600 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/PLTK7600/7600.HTM) at about $360. The CanoScan 9000F (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/CS9000/9000F.HTM) is a flatbed with very high resolution (but all of these can do 4K scans) and an LED lamp that has proven very popular, particularly since it's under $200. It's true that Nikon hasn't kept the Coolscan software up-to-date but both SilverFast and VueScan offer competent alternatives if you want to stick with it. But that doesn't solve the single slide adapter issue. -- Editor)
Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has been busy again, introducing the Creative Suite 6 and the Creative Cloud (http://www.adobe.com/special/cs6/launch-event.html) as we mentioned above.
Adobe Labs (http://www.adobelabs.com) has posted Lightroom 4.1 Release Candidate 2, which fixes reported issues, adds support for HDR files and provides new controls to correct for color fringing. Raw file support has been added for Canon EOS 60Da, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Samsung NX1000 and Sony Alpha NEX-VG20.
The company also released Camera Raw 6.7 (http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates), the last ACR update for CS5, with Raw file support for nine new cameras including the Pentax K-01 and Olympus OM-D E-M5 plus over 30 new lens profiles.
The National Press Photographers Association (http://www.nppa.org/news_and_events/news/2012/05/free.html) has called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to focus attention on "the alarming number of arrests of people documenting Occupy protests." There have been over 70. "NPPA firmly believes that the right to film government officials or matters of public concern in public places is virtually self-evident and fundamental to First Amendment protections," NPPA president Sean D. Elliot said.
DxO Labs (http://www.dxo.com) has released DxO Optics Pro v7.2.3 [MW] with support for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Pentax K-01.
Little Mule Productions (http://mulita.com) has published George Jardine's $24.95 Lightroom 4 Library Videos, a set of 16 videos (six hours instruction) that walk you through every aspect of the program on your computer, iPad or TV set. We'll have a review shortly but there's no need to wait for our recommendation. As clear as clear can be.
Lensbaby (http://www.lensbaby.com) has announced its $750 Pro Effects Kit, which bundles the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic, the Edge 80 Optic, Macro Converters, Lens Cleaning Cloth and the Lensbaby System Bag.
MyPix2Canvas (http://www.mypix2canvas.com) celebrates Mother's Day with discount code MDAY2012 that gets a 16x20 canvas on a 1.5-inch frame for $29 (regularly $85.53). A $50 gift certificate for any size canvas is available for $25.
Arthur Bleich (http://www.dpcorner.com/cruise) will host his digital photo, printing and imaging workshop for 20 attendees on the Royal Caribbean's luxury liner Jewel-of-the-Seas Oct. 21-28. It sails from Boston to Halifax and St. John in Canada and then to Bar Harbor and Portland, Me., providing colorful fall scenics to put your new knowledge to the test.
DataRescue has updated PhotoRescue (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHR/PHR.HTM) to v18.104.22.16869 with significant changes under the hood, "especially on the multi-threading side." A new command rebuilds damaged Raw files as well.
Think Tank Photo (http://www.thinktankphoto.com) has also been busy, announcing its $299.75 Airport 4-Sight carry-on four-wheel roller and three carry-on backpacks (the $279.95 Airport Accelerator, $199.75 Airport Commuter and $175.75 Airport Essentials) with quick access pockets for laptops and tablets. We're testing the similarly-sized 4-Sight and Accelerator, which maintain the company's impressive design and production standards.
Verbatim has announced its Store 'n' Go V3 USB 3.0 Drive for USB 3.0 ports in 8- to 64-GB capacities (and seven colors) starting at $19.95. A 16-GB version is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 34 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007LLYBWE/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Rocky Nook has published Darrell Young's Beyond Point-and-Shoot to smooth the transition from newbie to photographer. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 34 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952954/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Mamiya Leaf (http://www.mamiyaleaf.com) has announced its $19,495 Leaf Credo platform comprised of the Credo 80, Credo 60 and Credo 40 featuring 80, 60 and 40-Mp resolutions respectively with a 1.15-Mp touch screen.
Andrey Tverdokhleb (http://www.raw-photo-processor.com) has released his free Raw Photo Processor 4.5 [M] with support for the Nikon D4/D800, Olympus E-M5/E-PL3/E-PM1, Panasonic GX1, Canon G1X/5D MkIII); reorganized menus; a new mechanism for import/export of multi-file settings; 8/16-bit sRGB TIFF output; and more.
HDRsoft (http://www.hdrsoft.com) has released its $99 Photomatix Pro 4.2 [MW] with new display options for preset thumbnails, a Finishing Touch palette, 20 new presets, a new fusion method for natural-looking interiors with bright windows, grouping of custom presets, support for more Raw formats (Canon S100/5D Mark III/G1 X, Nikon D4/D800, Panasonic GX1, Fuji X10 and Sony NEX-7) and more.
Akvis (http://www.akvis.com) has released its $69 Enhancer 13.5, $49 Noise Buster 8.5 and $39 Refocus 2.0 [MW] with plug-in versions compatible with Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop Elements 11.
GIMP 2.8 (http://www.gimpusers.com) has been released with single window mode, grouped layers, an improved text tool and more.
For just $150 per insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).
The Best Learning Resource for Lightroom: http://tinyurl.com/23x9m4k
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 SLR Gear: http://www.slrgear.com New on Site: http://www.imaging-resource.com/new-on-ir Digicam index: http://www.imaging-resource.com/camera-reviews Q&A Forum: http://www.photo-forums.com Tips: http://www.imaging-resource.com/BETTERPICS.HTM
Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher