|Volume 14, Number 15||27 July 2012|
Welcome to the 337th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We find Canon's iEPP an impressive solution for iOS/Android printing while Shawn has a brief encounter with Canon's first Compact System Camera. We also talk photo paper and CLUTs and visit a Man Ray/Lee Miller exhibit.
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(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/canon-iepp/index.htm on the Web site.)
Ever jumped out of your chair, run over to the printer and wondered why nothing was happening? Network printing has always been more like a game of Simon Says than a dance party. But things are changing.
OK, they're changing slowly, but they're changing. You just have to remember how things used to be to appreciate where we are now with apps like Canon's mobile version of Easy-PhotoPrint.
It wasn't that long ago we were firing up dot matrix printers at the end of a ribbon cable plugged into the parallel port of our desktop. And not long after that we were proudly showing off color images from our USB inkjet.
Another leap later and we marveled how one WiFi device could handle printing and scanning for the whole household, the whole office. Then we got smart and popped a Bluetooth dongle into the USB port of a PictBridge printer to print images from our cell phone (it didn't even have to be smart).
Of course, it was easy to get your settings wrong and waste paper and expensive ink.
The latest dribble of innovation, though, is pretty radical. It's all about getting documents from your mobile device to your networked all-in-one. And in this game, the documents dance to the music the devices hear your software play.
Our recent printer reviews have pointed out several new bands:
And just after our Canon MX892 review (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/canon-mx892/index.htm), we discovered Canon's free Easy-PhotoPrint or iEPP, and iOS and Android app to scan and print from your iOS or Android device on recent (but not necessarily current) Pixma multifunction devices via WiFi.
- In our HP Envy 110 review (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/hp-envy-110/index.htm), we tinkered with Apple's AirPrint to send an image to that device for a 4x6 print. It was a little like Bluetooth printing, with no options, but it worked just fine. Regular documents worked well, too. As long as the app had a Settings button to host the Print command.
- In our Epson R3000 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/epson-r3000/index.htm) review, we tapped into Epson iPrint, a standalone app that can retrieve documents on your device or from online storage or the Web or from an Epson all-in-one's scanner to print on whatever Epson printers it discovers on your network. It has the advantage over AirPrint of providing some of the options you're familiar with from the usual print dialog box, like paper type, size, borderless, etc. But it isn't a system-wide utility like AirPrint.
We installed it on an iPad to both print and scan to both a current and just-retired Canon all-in-one for this review.
THE CANON SOLUTION
Like Epson's iPrint, iEPP lets you select paper sizes and types, finds images on your device, prints multiple copies, borderless, automatically finds printers (no installation), scan to your iOS device and more.
Newer Canons themselves support AirPrint but iEPP is the only solution for older Canon printers. Not all older Canon printers, however.
Compatible models, according to Canon, include the current MX890, Mx710, MX510, MX430 series; the MG8200, MG6200, MG5300, MG4100, MG3100 series. Also supported are the MX880, MS420, MS410, MG8100, MG6100, MG5200, MP495/499, MX870, MX350, MX340, MP990, MP640 and MP560 series of older Canon devices.
We currently just happen to have a very current MX892 and an older MG8120 on our WiFi network. You know, one for the right hand, the other for the left.
There's really hardly any setup to speak of. You download v2.1.0 of the app from the App Store and click on it.
Seconds later it detects your printer or printers and the printer icon button in the lower left of the screen glows green.
It discovered both of our devices quickly. A popup menu lets you select between the available devices. A checkbox in the menu sets whether the device's scanner is also to be used.
Just above those two buttons in the bottom left corner of the screen, there are three buttons to let you set up some print options, much as you would in a printer dialog box in a desktop application. The buttons are Paper Size, Media Type and Borderless.
Paper size gives you a choice of the available sheet sizes, but seems to presume plain paper will be fed from the lower tray and photo paper from the rear tray. Not a bad assumption -- especially if you're nowhere near the printer.
Media Type lets you indicate what kind of paper you're printing on. This is one of those things it's easy to forget in a desktop application but which makes the world of difference between a usable print and something for the waste basket. So it's nice to see it big and bold.
Borderless is, on the other hand, a bit of overkill. It just lets you select between printing a borderless or bordered image.
To print an image, all we had to do was select an image from our Camera Roll or Photo Stream and tap the Print button. A few seconds later (say, about 20), we had a 4x6 print from our iPad.
Canon cleverly suggests a way to print a Web page using iEPP, too. Just take a screen shot (press the Home and Power buttons simultaneously) and print that. Not a great solution (you only print what your screen can display), but it's a workaround world.
On the iPhone and iPod touch, you can also take a photo and print it instantly.
But we have to confess that we could not find a setting to make multiple copies.
Scanning is pretty simple, too.
On the MX892, we scanned a 4x6 print. We didn't snug it up to the side guides the first time and the MX892 didn't make the adjustment, cropping off the lower right corner. But when we put the print against the side and top, it cropped it appropriately.
So it apparently isn't looking at what's on the platen before it makes the high resolution scan. You have to put it in the target. Which makes sense given the limited resources of a tablet.
It was a pretty quick transmission, too. Less than a minute by our sun dial.
On the MG8120 we scanned a black and white text document. That went well, too, delivering the image so quickly we were waiting around for it to start.
But then what do you do with it?
Tap the Open button and you can copy the document as a JPEG to your Photo Albums or email it. You can also email it as a PDF or open it in an app that can read a PDF.
We elected to open it in Adobe Reader as a PDF. From there we were able to print it to the MX890 using AirPrint with a warning from Adobe that Apple's print routines don't render PDFs accurately. Snipe, snipe.
So what about printing the scanned document directly from iEPP? Sure, no problem. As long as you remember to turn on the printer, that is. We forgot and the Print button was dimmed. We thought iEPP was complaining about printing a letter-size document on 4x6 photo paper, but it was just observing our selected printer was out to lunch.
Once we had the printer back on, the button lit up and we were able to print the document. There's an option to print a range of pages as well.
The biggest complaint at the App Store is that the app doesn't support a particular older printer. A few people also noticed the missing multiple copy command.
A few people complained that the app couldn't keep track of the printer on their networks. In some cases iEPP could not find a supported printer model on the network. On others, it would initially find it and then not be able to find it again.
There really wasn't enough detail in any of the short comments to determine what the issue is but we tried to duplicate it by cycling our older model off and on. But the app found the printer again right away.
Some people complained that they had to enable location services to use the app. Our understanding of that issue is that it's an Apple requirement to access the Camera Roll, where images contain location data in the Exif header.
Canon does provide a support Web site for iEPP (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/iepp_home).
Our own experience with iEPP was stellar with the exception of the missing multiple copies command.
For photographers interested in tweaked prints, there is one little omission in this scheme worth noting.
We observed it in our SpyderGallery review (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/datacolor-spydergallery/index.htm) "the iPad's operating system isn't as open as Mac OS X, so simply creating an ICC profile doesn't allow it to be referenced by the system."
If you stick to the manufacturer's papers (and inks of course), you'll do fine without an ICC profile. And often, a third-party party of the same type as the manufacturer's will do just as well. We run both Canon and HP swellable gel papers through these inkjets with no noticeable difference in quality.
But getting fancy, like using the Epson R3000 with iPrint to print on an Ilford sheet, for example, is not going to work very well without an ICC profile.
The persistence of printing is a peculiar phenomenon. In an era of fleeting images dissolving to flying data, we still like to behold a print or ruffle through a few pages of text. Without a material document of some kind, how would you get a handle on things?
Printing is an afterthought, though, on mobile devices. You just don't pack a portable printer with you. And these days running down to the hotel's business center is about as appealing as taking the ice bucket down the hall in your robe.
Bluetooth shined the light on how you could get a photo from your phone to a PictBridge printer with a Bluetooth dongle. And WiFi turned up the wattage. AirPrint provides on WiFi what Bluetooth gave us.
But device manufacturers have developed more sophisticated mobile applications to both print and scan on their multifunction units. And Canon's iEPP is one of the more impressive examples. It really gets your documents dancing.
It wasn't just an alternative to AirPrint for us, though, because it made wireless printing to a non-AirPrint compatible MG8120 (just a generation behind the AirPrinters) and scanning from it possible. At no cost to us.
That's music to our ears -- the kind our documents can dance to.
By SHAWN BARNETT(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/canon-eos-m/canon-eos-mA.HTM on the Web site.)
Canon's long-awaited mirrorless camera system begins with a simple, consumer-targeted model dubbed the Canon EOS M. Named after the new EF-M mount, the Canon EOS M is best described as the Canon T4i whittled down to a compact system camera.
From the new Hybrid AF system to the stepper-motor-driven STM lenses, the menus to the touchscreen and most of the special capture modes, Canon T4i owners will feel right at home with the new EOS M. Naturally the Canon EOS M's resolution is the standard 18-megapixel size in an APS-C format that's propagated across most of Canon's consumer dSLRs. Carrying a fairly hefty $800 price tag with its 22mm prime lens, the Canon EOS M is not priced with the consumer in mind, despite its simple controls.
Overall the Canon EOS M looks very impressive, with one potential problem in its autofocus system, which we'll get to soon.
With a look and feel reminiscent of the Canon S100 pocket premium camera, the EOS M is sized a little more like the Panasonic LX7 or Olympus E-PM1. But it's the overall heft that's impressive. The EOS M really does feel like an EOS: solid as a stone.
The M's use of an APS-C sensor will cheer those wanting dSLR quality in a small camera. The new EF-M mount supports shorter back-focus lens designs, like the new $300 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, available separately. With the $200 EF-EOS M mount adapter, the EOS M is also compatible with Canon EF-S and EF lenses up to 600mm. The EOS M has a small rubber grip in the front and an AF-assist lamp shines out from above the infrared remote sensor, both nice features to have.
With an equivalent focal length of 35.2mm, the 22mm f2 pancake kit lens is perfectly aimed at the street photographer, a smart choice that's incongruous with the EOS M's lack of physical controls for aperture and shutter speed, relying instead on the touchscreen and a rear control ring.
For a Mode dial, the EOS M has a three-position ring surrounding the Shutter release button with three positions: Full Auto, Auto and Movie; full PASM exposure modes are available in the Auto mode via the touchscreen.
It has no built-in flash, but includes a hot shoe, compatible with Canon's EX flashes and wireless flash system like the small $149.99 Speedlite 90EX introduced with the EOS M.
Stereo microphones also appear on the top deck, marked by seven holes each; a stereo microphone jack is also built in, available on the left side of the EOS M. A simple power button is well-placed as the top deck begins to slope toward the rear of the camera, making it easily visible and easy to press from the rear. A small LED lies behind the button.
Unique strap lugs pop out from left and right. We're told those will integrate with leather cases Canon will sell in Asia, but Canon USA is not sure whether they'll bring them to the States. It seems obvious there would also be a quick-release neckstrap made available for these lugs, something I'd like to see myself. I only use straps in certain occasions, so while I want them to be secure, I want a quick way to remove them when I've finally had it with their noisome utility.
Though the EOS M's front grip is scant, it's bolstered by the nice plastic thumbgrip on the back. A small record button, marked with the traditional red dot, appears in the upper right corner and starts and stops Movie recording.
Here's where things get unusual, relying more on the touchscreen.
The Menu button obviously brings up the traditional Canon dSLR menu and the Info button changes among available displays. Pressing the center button, which on PowerShots brings up the Function menu, now brings up the Quick Menu on the EOS M, just as the Quick Menu button does on the Rebel T4i. The Quick Menu looks almost identical to that on the T4i, making changes very easy either with a touch or via navigation with the wheel or four-way navigator.
Nothing about the interface was re-invented for the EOS M, just repurposed, mostly with a very good end result. The EOS team is said to have worked with the PowerShot team to refine the design and the melding of thoughts is evident, if more heavily influenced by the PowerShot side.
Also slated to be available in an attractive white model, the EOS M is a peculiar way to address a market that's long waited for Canon's take on the compact system camera.
In some ways it's aimed clearly at the low-light, street-shooting photographer who wants something small and high quality and who wants more than the small flash that can be wedged into a such a small camera body. Features like Handheld Night Scene, HDR and Multi-shot noise reduction are also aimed at the savvy shooter.
On the other hand, the lack of manual controls and emphasis on the touchscreen are indeed aimed more at the full-auto shooter who just wants to get the shot quickly and without a lot of fuss. Add the $800 entry fee and the EOS M is an odd admixture of intentions.
As I've mentioned, the Canon EOS M is a pleasure to hold and use, with a great feel, good heft and a fast interface, working just like the T4i. In fact, as we were briefed about the EOS M, "just like the T4i" was repeated often.
Unfortunately, they also said that about the EOS M's Hybrid Autofocus system, introduced just a few months ago on the T4i. We've been waiting for the T4i's main kit lens to arrive, the 18-135mm STM lens, so we haven't completed our review. But the sad truth is the T4i's Live View mode autofocus is terribly slow.
Both the T4i and EOS M have a new sensor with phase-detect sites embedded near the center, as well as contrast-detection autofocus. But the Live View autofocus speed is very slow on the T4i with the 40mm STM lens, averaging over 1.2 seconds in single-point mode and over 1.7 seconds in multi-point AF mode. That's just unworkable in a modern mirrorless camera.
While the Olympus E-P1's autofocus was notoriously slow, we really weren't troubled by it at the time, back in 2009. Other reviewers found the E-P1's autofocus frustrating, but we liked the camera's positive points well enough to forgive the slower autofocus. It measured about 1.18 seconds to focus and capture a shot. Three years later, models from Olympus, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony now rival some of the fastest dSLRs, down in the 0.25-0.17 second range, using both pure contrast-detect and phase-detect systems.
Introducing a camera system with a 1.2 to 1.7-second lag time into this market seems unwise.
I'll gladly retract all these words if Canon makes speed improvements over the T4i's Hybrid AF, but I'd be remiss not to report that if the AF system is "just like the T4i" a lot of buyers are going to be frustrated with the EOS M. I only saw a prototype EOS M, but it seemed to perform just as the T4i did with the same lenses. I used the EF-EOS M adapter trying the 40mm STM lens and it focused about as fast as the 22mm STM kit lens.
I'm hoping both cameras' Hybrid AF can be tuned before the EOS M ships in October, because right now only an unaware consumer would put up with its slow autofocus and street shooters would find the EOS M an exercise in frustration.
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:
- Reviewed: Canon PowerShot SX260 HS (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/canon-sx260/canon-sx260A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VRII (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1525/cat/13)
- Reviewed: Olympus OM-D E-M5 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/omd-em5/omd-em5A.HTM)
- Previewed: Panasonic FZ200 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-fz200/panasonic-fz200A.HTM)
- Reviewed: Canon Easy-PhotoPrint for iOS/Android (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/canon-iepp/index.htm)
- Previewed: Panasonic LX7 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-lx7/panasonic-lx7A.HTM)
- Previewed: Panasonic G5 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-g5/panasonic-g5A.HTM)
- Updated Review: Ten Months With the Canon Pro-1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/canon-pro-1/addendum.htm)
- Reviewed: Sony E 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 LE (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1516/cat/83)
We've been doing a lot of photo printing lately. That includes some gorgeous 13x19 prints from the Epson R3000 and Canon Pro-1 printers that will not leave our work table. But it also includes a lot of 4x6 glossies from our iPad.
We load the big printers with a variety of fine arts papers, one at a time. Lovingly, even.
But when we print photos from the iPad, we're usually not in the same room as the printer. So we've loaded it with some 4x6 photo paper we've come to think of as our default photo paper. Just like we've loaded the letter-sized tray with 100 sheets of plain paper.
Pop into your local Big Box office supply store and wind your way to the photo paper aisle to see your options for a default photo paper. It can be a little confusing.
So here's our guide to your options.
First, consider the kind of ink your printer uses. If it's a pigment like the Kodak all-in-ones, you have to pick among the porous photo papers (Kodak) designed to soak up pigment inks. If it's a dye like the Canon, Epson and HP all-in-ones, you want a swellable sheet like the sheets each of those companies brands.
A porous sheet is full of microscopic pot holes that the ink fills up. A clear coating is applied (at least by Kodak printers) to seal the inks in and provide instant-dry handling.
With dye inks, porous papers produce very short-lived prints. The problem is ambient ozone exposure, as Henry Wilhelm of Wilhelm Imaging Research (http://www.wilhelm-research.com) explains in his report on the permanence of all types of 4x6 prints (http://www.wilhelm-research.com/ist/WIR_IST_2007_03_HW.pdf).
But a swellable sheet actually encapsulates the dye ink. Wrapped in an ink vehicle that swells the gel layer of the paper on contact, dyes change their appearance as the vehicle evaporates and the gel shrinks back down. You have to wait a while to evaluate the color of the print as a consequence.
Note, though, that the kind of ink your printer uses dictates which kind of paper you should use.
So once you've decided on either a Kodak porous or a Canon/Epson/HP swellable paper, you get to choose the paper finish: glossy, semi-gloss/satin/lustre or matte.
Matte, of course, is a porous sheet resembling the plain paper in your standard tray. But it's a little heavier so it holds up better. It will still soak up pigment or dye ink like a sponge, though, so your print may look a little washed out. Still, there was a day (back in the black and white era) when everything was printed on a matte paper. With its uneven surface, it isn't reflective, so it can be a calming choice.
Glossy is at the other extreme. It's very reflective, with a very smooth surface, showing the print off with the most vivid color and best dynamic range.
In between, the semi-gloss/satin/lustre finish is slightly uneven to scatter a bit of light while still keeping the color vivid and providing a good dynamic range. Where reflections are a problem, it's the solution.
Those are your choices, with perhaps a choice of paper weight (thinner papers are cheaper than heavier sheets).
Around here we keep the dye-based all-in-one loaded with a stiff swellable glossy photo paper (brand doesn't really matter) so we can have a 4x6 print whenever we want one.
We're settling into a pattern here in which photoshoots go into Lightroom for evaluation, cropping, enhancing and export while our more deliberate images are pulled into Photoshop for, well, magic.
Sometimes in Photoshop we miss a feature in Lightroom. Presets, for example. When we work with a Nik Software plug-in like Silver Efex or HDR Efex, we get something of an equivalent along the left side of the dialog box. But otherwise, we're on our own.
Of course, that's usually where we want to be in Photoshop.
But a recent blog video by Adobe's Julienne Kost (http://blogs.adobe.com/jkost/2012/07/quick-tip-color-lookup-adjustment-layer-in-photoshop-cs6.html) describes a different approach. And she not only describes it, but provides a very elaborate Photoshop file so you can indulge in it yourself.
You do need Photoshop CS6 for this, though. It has a new Color Lookup Table adjustment layer. You'll find it on the Adjustments panel (at the end of the second row).
On the Color Lookup panel (well, it's called Properties), you'll find three sets of color lookup tables or CLUTs created by Adobe Software Engineer Chris Cox, who specializes in Photoshop performance. Building a CLUT is not trivial (and apparently you still can't do it in Photoshop), so here's a beer for Chris Cox.
But wait. What's a CLUT?
CLUTs are treasured in video processing for making efficient color adjustments. They can make the same quick color transformation to every frame of a scene. They are rarely used in still photography but why not? We have nothing against efficient color adjustments.
You might think of them as translators. They take one color value and translate it into another. Any color can be any other color with just a little math (and bless that GPU again). The calculations are independent of each other (it's a table of color changes not a single calculation applied to the whole image). Apply a CLUT to your image and it's transformed, much like a preset.
Cox has built 38 CLUTs for CS6 (although six of them are Mac-only). They are arranged in four categories: 3D LUTs, Abstract, Device Link and Abstract (Mac). They go by descriptive names like Candlelight, FallColors, filmstock, FoggyNight, NightFromDay, Blacklight Poster, Pastel 8 Hues, ColorNegative, Sepia, to name a few.
Clearly you can go nuts trying them out one at a time. And that's where Julienne's blog comes in. She's posted a file called LUTimage_replace.psd that has them all on one (rather large) page.
But the best thing about her file is that the image is a Smart Object. So if you select that layer of the file, you can Replace Contents to use your own image. How neat is that? Very neat. Very very neat.
Julienne suggests resizing whatever image you want to use to 1500x1000. But a little larger works, too. At least for portrait images.
We were able to pop an ordinary JPEG in there but if that doesn't work for you (causing a cascade of Save As dialogs) the workaround is to use a PSD image.
As far as effects go, these aren't particularly subtle. And there's no way to build your own. So we'd recommend them for publication work or special projects or just on a layer of their own rather than one-step image editing.
But we're not complaining. No, sir. We're very grateful!
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/WebX?50@@.ee92fbe
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Read about Canon lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=4
Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b2
We don't often resort to French but the subject, shall we say with a wink, suggests it.
We had just finished talking to Sumner Paine, the product manager for Adobe Revel, a little amused that our discussion had so little to do with the collaborative powers of Revel (pronounced like rebel, actually). That had been its raison d'etre (sorry, we ate the carrot on the first 'e').
Has collaboration become a dirty word all of a sudden?
Well, no. It's just so well implemented in Revel it doesn't need further elucidation, apparently. And we'll tell you later what we did talk about.
But the idea of collaboration (especially in the arts) is right up there with the utility of madness and pharmaceuticals in our list of Things That Get Too Much Credit For Creativity.
We actually find all three fairly destructive in the long run, as George Carlin once explained to Jon Stewart (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj5Sd3BRm_I&feature=related). Not creative at all.
So we were morally obliged to take ourselves to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco for the "Man Ray, Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism" exhibit (http://legionofhonor.famsf.org/legion/exhibitions/man-ray-lee-miller-partners-surrealism). There are "115 photographs, paintings, drawings and manuscripts" on display by both of them in the exhibit. Quite a tour de force.
We told Lee Miller's story in "Shooting the Unseen" in the Aug. 29, 2008 issue of the Newsletter. It's quite a fascinating one (starting in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), in fact, and if you want the goods, we'll wait for you while you read that piece.
Man Ray made an earlier appearance in the Newsletter but only in the Editor's Notes of the May 17, 2002 issue where we revealed his real name was Emmanuel Radnitsky and he grew up Brooklyn.
These two Americans found each other in Paris in 1929. Lee apprenticed to Ray. They became lovers and worked together for three years, discovering stuff like the Sabatier effect (you read the Miller piece, right?) before Lee broke it off to open her own studio in New York City.
Rejection, you could argue, is a form of collaboration. And a good deal of what the exhibit shows us after 1932 is Man Ray's letters, sculpture, painting and prints in coping with the loss of the woman he loved. The very last thing in the exhibit, in fact, is his friendly letter to her which, nevertheless, ends with a profession of love.
She was loved by a lot of men. Earlier in the exhibit we can see one reason why. She modeled in Paris and one of the photo labels explains there was quite a debate in 1920s Paris about who was more beautiful, Lee Miller or Greta Garbo.
Man Ray was no slouch, though. He had befriended Marcel Duchamp, become a Surrealist and developed his own photogram technique he called Rayographs featuring objects placed on photo paper or film in the darkroom.
They did photograph each other and shared a darkroom and what one (Man Ray) would throw away, the other (Lee Miller) would rescue and print. But this two-person show suggests it is probably more accurate to think of their work together as an intersection forming a knot of two paths rather than one body of work made by two people.
Isn't that the way it always is?
For Miller the association settled into a life-long friendship. For Man Ray, a life-long subject.
We were curiously unaffected by Man Ray's drawn-out exploration of Lee Miller, we confess. We had the feeling we had stumbled into a watering hole, found a seat at the bar to recuperate from a long walk, ordered a thimble of what was a surprisingly expensive aperitif only to find ourselves sitting next to a convivial drunk who could not stop talking about his divorce.
But we were quite moved by Miller's black and white images taken in the deputy mayor's office at Leipzig in 1945. She had managed to get herself onto the continent after D Day as a war correspondent for Vogue (if you go to the exhibit, be sure to see her Vogue colleague Rene Bouche's drawings (http://legionofhonor.famsf.org/legion/exhibitions/ren-bouch-1905-1963-letters-post-war-paris) of post-war life in Paris in the adjoining room).
There in the office are three bodies. Slumped over the large desk is the deputy mayor. Facing him, his wife. On the couch, his daughter (http://arts.guardian.co.uk/pictures/image/0,8543,-10704533962,00.html). All three had poisoned themselves with cyanide as the city was under siege by the Allies. As the battle wore on and they slept their dreamless sleep, plaster loosened by the bombardment coated them in dust.
Not long after, Miller took her series of portraits. You can see her groupings in the contact sheet in the exhibit. The plaster dust had not turned her subjects into marble, not memorialized them, not idealized them.
We told ourselves we knew why. Posed in dust, she showed them for what they had finally revealed themselves to be. Collaborators -- in suicide.
As the Little Prince had it, "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur." We see well only with the heart. Our own heart.
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I've been using the $22 Op/Tech 3501242 Utility Strap-Sling Connector for several months on a Canon 5D III (and 5D) with 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8 and other lenses. Properly set up this is far better than any of the cross chest strap products reviewed if the uni-loop connector is attached to the camera strap mount on the side opposite the shutter button. This allows the camera to hang snugly and comfortably at the right hip, ready to grasp and raise quickly. Adjust the strap length to allow the camera grip to rest in your curled fingers of the right hand with the lens pointed to the rear and downward.
My customizations: Two sliding snap connectors are provided on the strap. Cut off the unneeded male connector. Install the supplied male uni-loop connector to non-shutter button side camera strap mount. I replaced the snap connector on the rear side of the shoulder strap where the strap connects to the shoulder pad with a 1/8-inch Quick Link (Lehigh #7032 $3/3) so no one messes with the disconnect behind me. I did not replace the one at the front shoulder pad connection. This enables the strap to be removed quickly without having to pull it over my head.
This is a great accessory. You can easily walk through crowds while keeping your camera secured in your shooting hand and much more concealed than a standard neck strap or front mounted camera holster.
-- Gregory Law(Nice solution! -- Editor)
Really enjoyed your sling strap review. I wish it had been available when I was picking one last fall, but it will be there for others in the future, which will be helpful. And there was a real lack of reviews. So really appreciate your filling the gap! And there were a couple in your review that I did not find when I was looking.
I ended up buying a Black Rapid Sport and it worked well for use during Cross Country race season. But I found I needed a different approach for the rest of the year when I wasn't outdoors quite as much. And so I ended up with an Op Tech Pro Loop (http://optechusa.com/pro-strap.html) with Sling Strap Adapter (http://optechusa.com/sling-strap-adaptor.html) and extensions (http://optechusa.com/extensions-1041.html), which has a lot of flexibility. (I still keep the Black Rapid strap for extended outdoor use.)
-- Michael Greene(Thanks for the kind words, Michael! We're big fans of Op/Tech's gear, too. And the solution we use from UPstrap (http://www.upstrap.com), which we wrote about in the March 23 issue, isn't a lot different from their adapter/strap arrangement. -- Editor)
Thanks for the survey.
I wanted to mention one important point. In your survey, you mentioned, "The main argument for the BosStrap is that it attaches to an eyelet instead of the tripod socket. We're sympathetic to that argument (we have other things to do with our tripod socket) but not because we believe tripod sockets are weaker than eyelets."
Mechanically there are three issues that may cause problems with suspending a camera from the tripod socket so that in is supported upside down:
First, for a brass, cast iron or aluminum -20 screw thread it's recommended that at least 1 to 1.5x the major diameter (1/4") be the engagement length. (http://euler9.tripod.com/bolt-database/23.html). This means that 1/4 to 3/8 inch thread length (along the screw) be engaged. At 20 threads per inch, 5 to 7.5 complete threads should be engaged. Tripod sockets typically bottom out about 4 thread deep! Harder materials would require less thread engagement length, but Canon indicated that their socket material is similar to aluminum.
Another resource for an Australian fastener company places the minimum length at 4.25 threads: http://www.ajaxfast.com.au/downloads/Technical%20notehowmanythreads.pdf. See the first two paragraphs of the Conclusion section on page 4 of this reference.
With regard to the eyelets, these are typically fastened in the chassis by a mild steel cross screw. A simple calculation based on a 1.6mm cross screw shows that a force of 155 pounds axially applied would be necessary to reach failure by a double shear (see attached photo for typical eyelet (post) with cross screw). Actual testing showed failure at 125 pounds of force (reasonable agreement with calculation, considering assumptions about materials and variations in screw manufacturing).
Slot type eyelets typically have one or two screws fastening them to the chassis and one or more pins aligning and strengthening the connection to the chassis. My engineering opinion is that these types of eyelets are even stronger than the post type.
Nikon indicated two additional issues:
This link to my Web site has email exchanges with Canon and Nikon techs about connection points: http://www.bosstrap.com/wheretoattach.pdf
- There are internal seals within the camera body that are not designed for the load an inverted camera suspended by the tripod socket would impose. This could cause unseen damage.
- The bottom of chassis is not designed for the inverted load.
Hope this clarifies the connection point issue.
-- Tom Fama, BosStrap(Thanks, Tom! -- Editor)
RE: Testing a Camera
I am in a quandary over a compact super zoom. I had (and loved) the Canon SX210 but my flash has decided to depart this world. I then bought a Nikon S9100 and have hated the choice I made over the SX230. I'm now trying to upgrade from my SX210 and have looked at the SX260 and Sony HX20V. Some aspects of the Sony would be very nice to have plus its "lightning fast" focus, but I got burned once before going away from Canon.
I was thinking about going into a brick and mortar store armed with a SD card and snapping off a few images with each camera but wanted to get your advice on the best way to evaluate the camera and lens performance this way. Sharp images are important to me. Is there a quick battery of images you would recommend?
-- Kevin(Some quandries are better than others, Kevin. Looking for 20x pocket zoom these days is one of the better ones. They are some nice cameras out there! Don't bother with the SD card, though. Store lighting is hideous and there's nothing to shoot there but dark subjects, which won't tell you anything about portraits or landscapes. We do have this Comparometer feature on the site that lets you compare identical images from two different cameras. At the moment, the Sony isn't available, though. And we don't seem to have gotten one in yet, either. If you can, I'd wait for the test shots to be posted. A comparison is really the only way to resolve this quandry! -- Editor)
RE: Slide Show Software Comparison
I would like to suggest a topic for your excellent Newsletter.
I always enjoy watching slide shows and nowadays there is a bewildering choice of software for creating them. I've tried several over the years but have never found the perfect one. I've given considerable thought to what would be my ideal specification but I'm sure others might have different ideas. So, my suggestion is that IR research the market and produce an article comparing the features, specifications and prices of the leading slide show creation programs.
With the ongoing convergence of camcorders and upmarket still cameras, the ability to handle video clips as well as stills is one of my priorities. My latest purchase has been PicturesToExe Deluxe (http://www.wnsoft.com) which is not cheap but very impressive.
-- Robert Wellbeloved(Great idea, Robert! In fact, we did years ago run a series on slide show software (which you can still find in the archive). Times have certainly changed, though. For Macs, it's pretty simple. Fotomagico. For Windows, well, it's never simple. We've had a few recommendations in the Letters section from time to time but nothing comprehensive. Then, too, there's the online issue. How do you do a slide show on a Web site? Any suggestions, readers? -- Editor)
The New York Times reports bicyclists are using video cameras like the GoPro and Contour to protect themselves from drivers (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/technology/bicyclists-using-cameras-to-capture-accidents.html?hpw). "Footage from these cameras," the article notes, "has begun to play an invaluable role in police investigations of a small number of hit-and-runs and other incidents around the country, local authorities say."
DataRescue has released PhotoRescue 3.3.1 [MW] (http://www.imaging-resource.com/SOFT/PHR/PHR.HTM) with support for the Canon Powershot G1-X/SX220/1D-X/5D Mark III, Casio EX-Z8, Fuji X-Pro1/X-S1/F5/F6/F7/F8/F77/HS3, Nikon D3100/D3200/D4/D800/D90, Olympus E-M5, Panasonic DMC-GF5, Samsung NX2/NX20/NX200/NX210 and Sony NEX/SLT-A37/SLT-A57. There has also been a slight modification to registration system.
Canon's free Try My Photo program (https://www.trymyphoto.com) prints your JPEG on one of their Pro printers (Pro-1, 9500 Mark II or 9000 Mark II) using your choice of Canon, Ilford Prestige or Moab paper. We discussed these papers in our Pro-1 update (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/canon-pro-1/addendum.htm).
Rocky Nook has published The Sony SLT-A77: The Unofficial Quintessential Guide by Carol F. Roullard and Brian Matsumoto. The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 45 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/193753801X/?tag=theimagingres-20).
MacMall (http://www.macmall.com/n/Supreme-Studio-Makeover/macCustomPages-2007) has launched its third annual Supreme Studio Makeover contest for professionals in the creative fields. With over $14,000 in total prizes, the contest runs until Aug. 31.
Pholium (http://pholium.com) has released Pholium 1.2, overhauling the way books are shared, adding captions and permitting an unlimited number of photos in each book. Sharing is now free and handled via your Apple iCloud account. To thank early adopters, the company is distributing $10 iTunes gift cards.
BlackRapid (http://www.blackrapid.com) has introduced its Sport-L left-handed strap, Protect-R 1.5mm steel security cable that prevents straps from being cut and a white version of the RS-W1 women's strap.
Leica (http://www.leicaakademie.com) has expanded the schedule for its Leica Akademie, North America to 16 cities with 36 program sessions designed to inspire creativity while strengthening skills for photographers of all levels.
Akvis (http://akvis.com) has released its MultiBrush v.6.0 [MW] with new options for the Clone Stamp, compatibility with Adobe Photoshop CS6 and more.
Lemkesoft (http://lemkesoft.com) has released its $39.95 GraphicConverter 8.2 [M] with support for Flickr and Google, a local thumbnail database, support for PICT import (64-bit version), Photoshop plug-in support, an option to print selection and more.
A retrospective exhibition of work by British photographer Cornel Lucas (http://www.cornellucascollection.com) will be held at Fiorentini + Baker in New York City. The extensive show will feature both modern and original vintage prints of some of the world's most celebrated film stars, spanning nearly five decades.
We want to salute Rob Galbraith who recently announced he is putting his respected Digital Photography Insights (http://www.robgalbraith.com) on hiatus after accepting a teaching position at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
We also want to wish Michael Reichmann of Luminous-Landscape (http://luminous-landscape.com) a speedy recovery from his recent surgery.
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Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher