|Volume 14, Number 21||19 October 2012|
Welcome to the 343rd edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We kick the Canon Pro-100 printer through our favorite images while Daniel and Shawn nearly drown testing waterproof digicams. Then, folks, it's time to get down to serious work with your 2012 Ersatz Nobel nominations.
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(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRINT/canon-pro-100/index.htm on the Web site.)
Canon shipped both the Pro-10 pigment and Pro-100 dye printers to us for review. These are the second generation of Pro printers after last year's Pro-1 introduced the line.
We decided to start with the Pro-100 because we remembered a remark Canon's Katsuichi Shimizu made in an interview (http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2011/11/01/imaging-resource-interview-katsuichi-shimizu-and-michael-duffett-canon) with Dave at the Pro-1 launch.
Today's dye technology, he said, has "a 300 year lifespan, and the fading durability is almost identical to pigment. But in the minds of photographers, a printer must be pigment-based to sell."
In our Pro-1 review we found that the pigment was not as brilliant as the dyes used in the Pro9000 Mark II so we have been anxious to try a Pro dye printer. Even if you have a Pro pigment printer, the Pro-100 might be a worthwhile addition.
The $499 Pro-100 (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/printers_multifunction/professional_photo_inkjet_printers/pixma_pro_100) uses the eight-color ChromaLife 100+ dye-based ink system, which includes three monochrome inks. Previously the Pro9000 Mark II dye-based printer included just one black ink, making the Pro-100 the first Canon dye-based printer with multiple monochrome inks.
Faster than the Pro-10, Canon says the Pro-100 can print a 13x19 high-quality color, bordered image in 90 seconds and a high-quality, bordered black-and-white print in three minutes, 5.4 times faster than previous models.
The 8-ink ChromaLife 100+ dye-based ink set includes Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Cyan, Photo Magenta, Gray and Light Gray inks. A set of setup cartridges is included with the printer.
Replacement cartridges are $16.99 each directly from Canon. A complete set of inks runs $169.90, purchased individually. But Canon typically bundles replacement cartridges at a discount, although no such package was available at launch.
Because the Pro-100 can print varied images on a variety of surfaces a page cost is not feasible to calculate.
From the outside, the Pro-100 looks like a smaller Pro-1 with a bit of a flare on the front panel. The paper feeds on the back are very similar to the Pro-1, as is the output tray in front.
Inside, however, the printer resembles the Pro9000 Mark II. The ink cartridges are not the large tanks of the Pro-1 and they ride in the print head itself rather than sit in separate compartments.
A walk around the printer shows the USB and Ethernet connections in the right rear and the power connection on the opposite side, just as on the Pro-1. Under the front panel is a shallow storage bay for the CD holder, a nice touch. The holder has a small lip at the end to make it easier to pull back out.
The controls are all on the right side of the printer: A Power button with a white LED, a Resume/Cancel button with an orange LED, a blue WiFi lamp to indicate a wireless connection and the covered PictBridge port.
The output tray drawer opens to reveal a two-step extension and, in the printer itself, the inner cover hiding access to the CD printing tray slot.
The hood itself opens for access to the ink cartridges and print head.
Two paper trays are available on the back of the printer. The multi-sheet tray opens with one extension and the heavy paper tray has two small extensions.
Unlike the Pro-1, the Pro-100 is pretty easily handled if not exactly light. There are no wheels to roll it into position but we walked it to the end of our work table without any trouble.
Hardware. Canon's wonderfully clear installation chart made it easy to set up the hardware. Connect the power cord. Wait for the printer to signal it's ready with the small white LED on the Power button, open the hood and install the print head.
The print head, which resembles the Pro9000 Mark II head, just drops in after you open the Lock Lever. Locking the lever back into place, though, requires a good healthy push. It will actually click into place, parallel to the table. Don't be shy.
Then you're ready to install the software.
Software. We had a little trouble with this and that's unusual. We installed everything for a wired connection to our local area network, which is the fastest way to move the data to the printer.
But it seems the installer only managed to install the AirPrint driver. And our laptop doesn't use AirPrint. So we couldn't proceed to the print head alignment because the printer couldn't be found.
We tried a wireless setup, and while the printer found the network and the network recognized the printer, that didn't help getting us to head alignment because we still didn't have a driver. It's worth noting that you hold the small WiFi button in while you press the Resume button to tell the printer you want a WiFi connection, whereas for a wired connection you hold the Resume button in until the LED on the Power button flashes 11 times. That's how you switch connections.
In the end, we simply reinstalled with our wired connection but selected only the default tools. That went fine. We saw two options when we Added a Printer, not just one that defaulted to AirPrint. Both the options, in fact, used the Canon Pro-100 series driver, not the AirPrint driver, although AirPort was enabled.
We never have any trouble with Canon software installations, so this was a puzzle. But a reinstall resolved the problem.
We should note, however, that the software install list seemed pretty sparse, missing the usual Canon utilities. The Print Driver, on-screen manual, Quick Menu, Canon IJ Network Tool and the new Print Studio Pro, which we discuss below, were the only options.
Quick Menu pops up with every possible option you can think of, much like Canon's Navigator. When we selected CD printing from the options, it launched Easy-PhotoPrint EX v4.0.0, which we already had installed.
You might think the installer is cleverly checking disk contents before it offers to overwrite current versions, but we couldn't find an installer for Easy-PhotoPrint on the CD. It's a curious omission.
Alignment. We put two sheets of plain paper in the printer and let the installer execute the print head alignment. Both pages were used, printing a row and backing up to scan it. Magenta, cyan and gray inks were used.
First Print. For our first print, we just sent an image from Photoshop Touch on the iPad to the Pro-100 using AirPrint. And that worked fine.
PRINT STUDIO PRO
Print Studio Pro is a new printing plug-in from Canon. It's compatible with Canon's Digital Photo Professional (version 2.1 or later), Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
The new plug-in is designed specifically for Pro-series printers, Canon told us. The company interviewed "a wide range of photographers at various professional levels to help determine what users want out of a printing application."
Print Studio Pro consequently provides "a simple and seamless photo printing solution from a number of applications such as the Canon Digital Photo Professional and Adobe's Photoshop, Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop Elements." The user-interface has been designed "to maximize ease-of-use with a number of options to adjust the page formats and layouts, accommodate for different user preferences and manage a number of variables including color management and printer settings."
We installed it and worked with it from Photoshop CS5 where it appears under the File, Automate menu. It didn't handle a PSD file but worked fine with a JPEG. It's a nice attempt to work around what's often a confusing print dialog box, standardizing it in your photo applications for Pro printers.
Just below the image there is a toolbar which allows you to change the orientation of the image on the sheet, rotate the sheet and image together, change the print or Exif information (although that was grayed out), crop the image, zoom in or out, display at 100 percent and display the next or previous image in the filmstrip below the toolbar.
In the Print Settings section, we set it up to use Canon's Photo Paper Pro Luster, letter size from the rear tray with High print quality. We also checked the Black and White option to print the image in grayscale without converting the color image in Photoshop.
In the Layout section, we selected Bordered (x1), which means a one-up bordered image. Options go up to x4 but the preview didn't display the image four-up.
There's also a Color Management section with four settings: Color Mode (use either an ICC profile or Pro mode, which circumvents the rest of this), Printer Profile which displays all installed ink/paper profiles), Rendering Intent (Perceptual or Relative Colorimetric) and Color Matching Method (which was grayed out). There's a Black Point Compensation check box as well.
In the Correction section you can adjust color cast, darken white areas in a photo (apparently to let pigment printers print uniform gloss optimizer), set color balance sliders for cyan, magenta and yellow, plus use a brightness and a contrast slider as well. You can also get a Pattern Print that shows and prints variations of these settings in a nine-row, five-column grid of images.
And once you've got everything the way you want it, you can save the setup.
It's no secret that print dialog boxes are easy to get lost in. Print Studio Pro doesn't hide the complexity from you. You still have to know what you're doing and check all the boxes, although the defaults will take you pretty far. But it does order them intelligently so you don't skip something important. And it does enforce a single interface to the printer from Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Lightroom.
If you're using printers from other manufacturers, though, it doesn't really represent any advantage. You'll still have to navigate the print dialog box for your non-Canon gear, so you might as well master it. But mastering it is easier said than done and we applaud Canon for trying to make life a little easier. They have.
And just for the record, Pro-1 owners will need to update their driver to use this package.
We decided to reprint a set of images we've already printed on other 13x19 printers, with both dye and pigment inks. The comparisons, we thought, would be useful.
Black & White. Black and white printing is one of the hallmarks of the Pro line, although only the Pro-1 compares with the Pro-100's three black inks. We had trouble getting a good matte black on the Pro-1, such that its prints on matte paper were clearly inferior to the Epson R3000.
Our first black and white on the Pro-100 was from a color image that Print Studio Pro converted into a black and white. So we didn't fiddle with the tonality at all. We printed it on Canon's Photo Paper Pro Luster.
And we compared it to an Epson R3000 black and white print on Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Gloss. Not exactly equivalent.
The image was shot from the window of City Lights Bookstore in North Beach under an overcast sky.
The first thing we noticed on this low key image was that the middle tone and shadow detail on the Pro-100 print were a bit more distinct than on the Epson.
But the second thing we noticed was that the highlight detail was gone in the Pro-100 print. The sky was washed out and light-colored clothing didn't have as much detail.
Under a loupe, the Pro-100 had a less noticeable screen pattern. With the naked eye you can't detect a screen pattern in either of them, but with the loupe it was clear that the Pro-100 image was smoother.
We really can't draw any conclusions from this. Different sheets, different black and white treatment. We can think of several ways we might get them to match more closely.
Instead, we turned to our troublesome image of the Golden Gate Bridge, the one that had stumped the Pro-1.
We printed the Pro-100 print on Canon Museum Etching fine art matte paper because the Moab Entrada Natural sheet we'd used on the Epson R300 and Canon Pro-1 did not yet have a profile for the Pro-100. Since the Pro-100 uses a completely different set of inks, we couldn't simulate a profile, either.
Printing from the Manual feed tray (rather than what Canon calls the multisheet Rear tray) is pretty simple. Just push the heavy fine art paper in until it stops and, after you give the Print command, press the Resume button (which will be flashing its orange LED). The flashing LED is supposed to give you a chance to load the Manual tray, but there's no need to wait.
The image itself is RGB color but grayscale so we could use color information to adjust tonality. The driver has a check box for black and white printing, so we checked that to make sure the Pro-100 would use its three gray inks instead of its color ink set.
And it did. But the print was a disappointment. It was generally lighter than the other two in the highlights. The Pro-1 actually printed a muddy sky. The Epson R3000 printed a very dramatic sky. The Pro-100 printed a light sky. The black foreground was gloriously handled on the R3000, a middle gray mess on the Pro-1 and a bit darker on the Pro-100.
That, as we suggested in our Pro-1 review, is more about how the ink soaks into the paper than it is about the printer. And to prove it, we printed the image on Canon's Pro Luster sheet.
When we first looked at the dark foreground in the print we thought the Pro-100 had a light vertical line scribed through the middle of the black foreground. But it was actually in the image itself, the side of the bridge anchor. On the matte prints it was sufficiently blurred into obscurity but on the Luster sheet it was sharply delineated.
This print is breathtaking on the Epson with Moab Entrada Rag Natural. The same sheet printed by the Pro-1 produced a forgettable image, the black shadows soaked up by the paper. Luster on the Pro-100 produced an excellent image, rich in detail, demonstrating how important it is to use the right paper for the job.
Dye Color. The advantage of dye color is its saturation. Got sunsets? Got flowers? Got intense radiating light? A brightly-painted vehicle? You'll get a more vibrant print with dye inks than with pigments.
The rap on dyes has been that they are not as permanent as pigments. And, you know, once rapped, forever dinged. But the longevity of dye prints has been greatly improved in recent years and nobody should really worry about fading a properly stored print. What you should worry about is if you want the subtlety of a pigment print on a variety of supports or the vividness of a dye.
We have a favorite image of some yellow-orange dahlias dancing across the scene that can use all the vividness it can get. But we like to print it on a matte fine art sheet, rather than a glossy sheet because it's a flower.
Our first problem, to our amusement, was that Canon does not supply an ICC profile for the Pro-100 and its Photo Rag paper. So that was out. Instead, we used a Museum Etching sheet, much heavier with a rougher pattern. There was a profile for that.
We compared it to our Pro-1 print, which was all pigments. It's such a nice print, you would be happy to pay us $500 to have a copy. And every morning, when you rolled out of bed, it would make you dance.
But the Pro-100 dye print is noticeably more intense. This extends to the blacks in the background, not just the bright flowers themselves. Seen side by side, everyone prefers the dye version printed by the Pro-100.
So you can have your dye and sell it, too.
Skin Tones. And if what you'd sell most often are portraits, you'll want to know how the Pro-100 renders skin tones. We printed our profile portrait of five sisters and compared the print to the Epson R3000 and Canon Pro-1 pigment prints.
You do have to give the swellable Luster sheet a while to relax back into its normal surface, encapsulating the dyes. At first blush it's hard to evaluated the results. We routinely waited 24 hours before comparing the prints.
We sent the same image data we had sent to the Epson R3000 to the Pro-100. It was, on screen, how we wanted the print to look.
And the R3000 had printed them beautifully. The five faces were so natural, you might easily mistake them for the people themselves. The Pro-100, however, simply rendered them with more saturation than the R3000. Unnaturally so.
This isn't so much a fault as it is a demonstration of the difference between pigments and dyes. We would have to tone down the saturation a good deal to make a good dye print of skin tones on the Pro-100.
Canon i9900 Comparison. For a long time, the Canon i9900 was our 13x19 dye printer. It can't handle heavy media but you usually print on thin glossy and semi-gloss sheets with dyes anyway. Our favorite sunset photo was printed with the i9900.
So we printed the same image on the Pro-100 but on Luster paper.
The images, apart from the finish, were identical. That's a good thing because pigment printers just don't come close to capturing either the intensity of the orange sky or the deep black of the silhouetted landscape. We have an HP pigment print of the same image that is dull in comparison.
But that's what dye printers are all about.
Canon Profiles. Dyes, however, rely on encapsulation in a gel layer of the sheet to protect themselves from fading. Porous sheets (like instant-dry glossy papers and all matte papers) are the wrong medium for dyes.
Consequently, Canon provides profiles for its Photo Paper Plus Glossy&Gold, Photo Paper Pro Luster, Photo Paper Pro Platinum and Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss, which are all coated sheets, and its Museum Etching, Other Fine Arts papers and Matte Photo Paper uncoated sheets. If you must.
Third Party Papers. Give Ilford credit for already posting Pro-100 ICC profiles for its Galerie papers, including Smooth Pearl and Smooth Gloss in both weights. Moab hasn't been as quick.
Just for laughs, we made a 4x6 print using HP's Premium Plus glossy photo paper. For the profile, we selected Platinum Pro, telling the driver we were printing on Platinum Pro, too.
The image was taken on Twin Peaks on a sunny day. We lined up a row of relatives with the city in the background and the sun coming in strongly from the side.
Why Platinum Pro instead of the Other Photo Paper setting? Well, we didn't want the Pro-100 to do less than its best. After all, if you confess from the start that you're using Other Photo Paper, why should the printer try to exceed what it can do with its own brand?
Anyway, the print was just gorgeous. A perfect equivalent to what we'd wrestled out of the DNG image, adjusting the shadows to show a good deal more detail in the bright sun.
But note that we didn't use an instant dry sheet (like the Kodak porous papers). Those require pigments to stand up to the light. With dyes, they would fade before you could get out of town.
We'll be testing a few Galerie sheets shortly. And by that time maybe Moab will have some profiles available. But you can see from our HP experiment that a swellable glossy sheet from a third party shouldn't be a problem.
CD Printing. In our Pro-1 review, we observed that Canon's software isn't nearly as refined as Epson's, which has been printing CD/DVD media much longer.
There are a number of layouts to select from and you can import any of your images into the layout and change the type. But the options are pretty limited, enough to aggravate anyone who's done any graphic design.
There are third-party alternatives, as Michael Steinbach of Bach Photography in Wisconsin mentioned. He recommended Discus (http://www.magicmouse.com) [MW], a CD label printing application by Magic Mouse.
We tested CD printing with the included Easy-PhotoPrint EX, which took a very long time to find the Pro-100. Don't touch the printer until you've gone through Easy-PhotoPrint's routine. All the way through Print. Then you'll be switched to your printer driver display for the all-clear to load the CD tray. You'll notice that the Resume button is flashing orange when the printer is ready for that.
Drop a printable CD or DVD into the tray. The tray itself is loaded into the printer with big arrow pointed forward.
To load the tray into the printer (with the orange Resume button LED flashing), open the output tray drawer and find the finger opening just above the "Canon" on the front of the tray drawer to open the CD slot. Then slide the tray into the narrow opening until the two white arrows on the tray align with the two white arrows on the slot.
Printing was quick after that and the results were gorgeous. But they aren't waterproof. A rinse under tap water erased the image but you can buy waterproof CD/DVD products like the JVC Taiyo Yuden Watershield and the Imation Aquaguard discs.
With the Pro-100, Canon has expanded its Pro printer lineup by cross-breeding the Pro-1 and the Pro9000 Mark II. From the Pro-1 we get the improved media handling and CD/DVD printing as well as a three-ink black and white printing option, although not the same inks. From the Pro9000 Mark II, we get the fast print head, the more affordable if smaller ink cartridges and dye-based inks, although not the same set.
Canon has also tossed in a replacement print dialog plug-in that keeps your eye on the ball. It's hard to get excited about alternatives here, but it's attractive and it does the job nicely.
Image quality was excellent, the dyes doing what the Pro-1 pigments just can't do. Performance was reliable without the delays of the Pro-1 priming, making it more suitable for infrequent use.
Outright prolonged applause for the Pro-100.
By DANIEL GROTTA with SHAWN BARNETT(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/waterproof-2012/waterproofA.HTM on the Web site.)
One of my all-time favorite film cameras was the Nikonos V. Originally designed for underwater photography, the Nikonos also doubled as my go-to rugged, shockproof, waterproof camera for photography in extreme environments. Until I recently sold it on ebay for a pittance, the Nikonos V was my trusty, never-fail camera that always got the shot, in snow showers, dust storms and even monsoons. No matter how muddy or wet or dusty the Nikonos became, all I had to do was dunk it into a bucket of water and wipe it down with a towel to clean it up. And despite its accumulated assortment of dents, scratches and dings, it took a lickin' and kept on tickin'.
There might not be any modern digital equivalent to my beloved Nikonos, but camera manufacturers today still recognize the demand for all-weather cameras for active enthusiasts who love to shoot and play hard. For Imaging Resource's Waterproof Shootout, we tested and reviewed a half-dozen of the most popular waterproof compact digital cameras on the market -- models you can take anywhere without worrying if they get wet or banged around. Our contenders (in alphabetical order) are the Canon PowerShot D20, Nikon Coolpix AW100, Olympus Tough TG-1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4, Pentax WG2 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20.
Just how rugged and element-defying are these cameras?
All but one can be submerged down to at least 33 feet (the Sony's maximum depth is 15 feet) and they all are rated for drops from at least five feet without incurring damage. They're also dustproof and freezeproof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The cameras we chose also share a lot of the same features and photographic limitations, such as zoom lenses that are recessed inside the body and protected by waterproof optical glass plates, but only have a 4x or 5x maximum zoom range. They are all capable of capturing Full HD video, but shoot stills in strictly JPEG format (no Raw files here).
As they say, the devil is in the details and we found that each of our six waterproof cameras we tested side-by-side has its strong suits, weaknesses and quirks.
You can see our combination Lab Test results at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/waterproof-2012/waterproofA4.HTM.
Following are the camera evaluations in order of preference:
Big and bold, Canon's first foray into folded optical design was certainly a success, even if telephoto optical quality suffered a bit. The Canon D20's overall performance put it at the top in a fairly close race. Its large display performed well outdoors and the Canon D20 captured good quality stills and video. Chromatic aberration and corner softness were quite high, but the Canon D20's positives far outweighed those issues. When it comes to outdoor and underwater performance, the Canon D20's results speak for themselves, with good color, good detail for the category and satisfying pictures.
With its aggressive Transformers-like design, the Pentax WG2 rose above the Olympus TG1 primarily thanks to its superior image quality in the situations we imagine people will use it: Underwater and in outdoor sun. The Pentax WG2 just turned out better shots more often. It also turned in a great print quality result, making a decent 4x6 even from ISO 6,400 images and a good 11x14 at ISO 125. Timing factors, like startup and shutter lag, were slower than others in this roundup, but not by much. If you want a little faster AF, look to the Canon or Olympus, but we're talking a tenth of a second difference, so it's not a big issue. Our reviewer also had trouble with the buttons and had a hard time viewing the LCD underwater, as our sample video demonstrates, so take note if those issues will be a problem for you.
Better in most ways than other recent Olympus Tough cameras, the TG1 came in third with a good physical design and impressive speed. The Olympus TG1 was fast, had good print quality and very low chromatic aberration. Distortion at wide-angle was a bit of an issue and in our tests the TG1 struggled to maintain good exposure. Where the Olympus TG1 shines is speed. It's faster to start up, faster shot-to-shot and even its flash recycles quickly. Its battery life is best-of-class too, all of which amounts to a lot. The Olympus TG1 also turned in the best print quality numbers of the group, especially as ISO rose. So if speed and print quality are important, the TG1 is a top choice, but the exposure problem is a major issue, which is why we couldn't rank the Olympus TG1 any higher.
By far the most universally popular camera when first held, the Sony TX20 flies in the face of its burly competition with James Bond-like class and finesse. Fast shutter lag, good Movie mode and good print quality stand out as the TX20's high points. Optical distortion at wide-angle and chromatic aberration at both ends were mild problems, as were occasional exposure inconsistencies, both over and under, which is undesirable outdoors. However, we liked that the TX20 turned on the flash in our outdoor portrait test. It made a big difference in the image. This is just how a camera should behave for the snapshooter who just wants the best shot. Battery life was about average for pocket cameras, at 250 shots, but was lower than all but the AW100.
We really liked the look and feel of the Panasonic Lumix TS4, but its performance in certain key areas left us wanting more. In our full review of the Panasonic TS4, we noted that image quality was good at wide-angle, but suffered from lens flare as we zoomed it even a little. We still think it'll serve just fine as a rugged camera for snapshots, but don't expect excellence when you zoom. Underwater, the camera tended toward underexposure and videos weren't quite as colorful as we'd have liked. Exposure also varied on land, sometimes under, sometimes over-exposing images. Battery life was among its stronger points, supporting capture of about 310 shots per charge.
By performance, the Nikon AW100 was on track to win second place in this shootout, but somewhere along the line it sprung a leak, we think around the LCD. Thorough drying brought the camera back to life and made us doubt if it even leaked, but on our second try in the water proved the leak became more pronounced. In its defense, it survived a full review process (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AW100/AW100A.HTM) prior to our shootout, but a leak is a critical failure in a waterproof shootout. Provided it can stay sealed, though, the Nikon AW100's strong points include low chromatic aberration, good color, good indoor performance, good print quality, good autofocus speed and a good display. Low points include only fair underwater movie performance, very soft corners and underexposure in outdoor portraits. We think its probably a fine camera as long as it doesn't leak. If ruggedness is more important than water-resistance, the AW100 might still be a great choice.
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:
- Gallery Shots: Sony NEX-6 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/sony-nex-6/sony-nex-6GALLERY.HTM)
- Gallery Shots: Sony A99 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/sony-a99/sony-a99GALLERY.HTM)
- Gallery Shots: Sony RX1 (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/sony-rx1/sony-rx1GALLERY.HTM)
- Updated Review: Sliding Camera Straps (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/straps/index.htm). Added two Carry Speed straps to the review.
- Reviewed: Canon EF 500mm f4L IS II USM (http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1418/cat/10)
Richard Benson's "The Printed Picture" Web site (http://www.benson.readandnote.com) is devoted to an exhibit that closed in 2009. The exhibit wasn't the thing, though.
The book for the exhibit was. You can still get that. And you can get it at a 37 percent discount using the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0870707213/?tag=theimagingres-20).
But the story Benson tells is also available at no charge from the Web site as a video-taped talk at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City during the exhibit. It's an eight-hour talk but it was eight hours like no other eight hours we've experienced.
Like Benson, we've spent our adult life visiting the worlds of commercial printing, film photography and digital imaging. His love of these processes that make multiple prints available comes from having used them as a fine arts photographer and a commercial printer. And we heard many technical echoes from our past during those eight hours. He was right -- even illuminating -- on every one of them.
The videos tell the story historically from cave stencils to wood cuts to engravings of various types to black and white photography to color photography to printing technologies to inkjet printing. You can jump in anywhere but we took it from the top. And we weren't bored for a moment.
Because one of the most fascinating aspects of Benson's talk is his appreciation for the reproduction issues each technology tried to resolve, usually creating other issues, and how the incessant desire to find something better led from one invention to another. Sometimes.
So it's a little like a detective story if you start at the beginning.
He has a lot to say about digital imaging -- and how lucky we are -- at the end. That includes how affordable high quality imaging is (even more affordable than at the time of his talk, in fact).
He's right on the money when he explains why a print will never match what you see on your screen. And he explains it so clearly you'll never be tempted to complain about your prints always being darker than their screen images.
But he finds that translation from computer to sheet an artistic opportunity that calibration nearly ruins. Is he kidding? Well, you can see for yourself.
Edgar Matias graciously extracted the URLs for the individual videos in a comment on Mike Johnston's The Online Photographer's site (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html), which we've mentioned here before. So instead of watching the talks in our browser, we downloaded each video and copied them to our first generation Apple TV, sat back and lost a weekend.
Rather than repeat the URLs here, just visit the article on Johnston's site (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/10/richard-bensons-video.html) and scroll down to the comments. You can't miss them.
Of course then you'll want to buy the book because the video follows Benson around and all too often neglects to (or simply can't) show us the image he's discussing.
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:
Steve asks about the next camera to choose after a Nikon D3000 at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?50@@.eebba77/0
A reader asks about troubleshooting a Kodak Z1275 camera at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.eebbb13/0
Read about Nikon lenses at http://forums.slrgear.com/index.php?showforum=5
Visit the Beginners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/WebX?14@@.ee6b2b2
Every year we wait patiently for that other Nobel committee to pass out its awards, hoping they'll see the light and quit squandering it on trivial things like physics and peace.
The issue of our time, it's clear to anyone with a credit card, continues to be the one for which we award our own Nobel, the Ersatz Nobel for Extraordinary Customer Service.
We were heartened this year to learn the European Union won the Nobel peace prize for its six decades of reconciliation after World War II despite the recent social unrest. No matter how hopeless things often seem, nothing else is quite as promising as a little faith in the future.
You could say, as we've been saying since 2000, the same thing about customer service. Or, we should say, the same thing you have been saying since 2000, when we started giving away this award based on your nominations.
Every year at this time we ask you to tell us about some little incident from the last year that demonstrates "extraordinary customer service." You be the judge.
If you need a little inspiration, take a look at the past winners in our Index of Articles (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-indx.html). It will warm your heart to the task.
To submit your entry, simply email us at email@example.com with the Subject line "Ersatz Nobel Prize." Expand on the topic, please.
And thank you for making the world a better place.
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RE: Scanning Old Film
Like Ron Light, I have heaps of long-obsolete format negs to digitize. When I started Primary School in the 1940s, many home photographers still used pre-War cameras taking such formats as 116, 127, 620 and 120. Box Brownies and other Kodak models used all those formats. Not everyone could afford Leicas, but cheaper 35mm models were becoming common, also Rolleis and their copies by the 1950s. I used a 127 Brownie a few times and also a Coronet Conway, an English Brownie rival, format 120. During the 1960s, I switched to 35mm, but also used a couple of Japanese copies of a Rollei 4x4 and some "2 1/4 square" cameras when I got active in a camera club. I persevered for some years with Olympus Pen half-frames. The overall result is a very large trove of odd sized images on film, some as mounted transparencies.
I sympathize with Ron in his efforts to scan things.
For a while I used an Epson Perfection 1200U flatbed with its optional filmscanning adapter. The largest size it accommodates is 5x7 inches, I cut size 5x7 pieces of mounting board (cardboard approximately 1.5 mm thick) black on one surface, to have an opening a tiny bit smaller than the standard image size for the format I needed to scan: 18x24 mm for Olympus Pen, 24x36 for full frame, and so on. I improvised retaining "rails" from thinner card to hold the film strip flat during the scan. These worked vastly better than the cheapie plastic film carriers issued by Epson. The plastic adapters issued for the Epson 4990 strike me as ticky-tacky.
For mounted 35mm, 127 Super Slides and 110 slides the easy way out is putting a slide duplicator and bellows on the front of a dSLR to get a very high resolution copy image ready for Graphic Converter or Nikon ViewNX2. For larger formats I'd use some suitable light box with a fitted cardboard spacer to avoid Newton's Rings if the glass neg touches the surface of the light box, with a suitable close-up lens on the dSLR.
Seeing I have taken so far 60,000 or 70,000 images since my early teens, I won't be paying a service bureau any time soon.
I hope Ron gets to help he needs soon. Cheers for the Newsletter!
-- David Evans(Thanks for the hard-won advice, David! -- Editor)
RE: Sparkling Eyes
Is it possible to find out what software program Diedre Elzer-Lento used to produce the Photo of the Day image for Oct. 11? It is a well-done sketch with nice fine detail, especially in the hair.
I enjoy your site. Keep up the good work.
-- Bill McClymonds(We forwarded our inquiry to Deidre, Bill. She's a "public school photography teacher and never minds sharing." So how'd she do it? "This photo was processed in Lightroom 4 using the Red Hi-Contrast Filter preset under the B&W Filter Presents in the develop module. A white vignette applied then it was exported to CS5 for sharpening, and a few tweaks using layer adjustments. Hope this helps other photographers achieve the results they want!" -- Editor)
Boinx Software (http://boinx.com) has released its $99.99 Fotomagico 4 [M] with up to six layers per slide to mix photos/videos/titles, a new Timeline mode, sound syncing improvements, Waveform view for audio, non-destructive color correction, Retina display support and an improved user interface.
Epson (http://www.epson.com) announced its $89.99 V37 and $119.99 V370 LED Perfection scanners with scan-to-cloud with Document Capture software. The V370 includes a transparency unit for scanning 35mm film.
Rocky Nook has published The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer by NK Guy. The handbook "demystifies optical technology, decodes arcane terminology and provides practical tips." The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 47 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933952970/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Adobe has released v1.4 of the DNG Specification, which now includes a default user crop, transparency in stitched images, HDR floating point data, lossy compression. Lightroom Journal has a quick summary (http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2012/10/dng-1-4-specification-notes.html).
The company also updated its free Mac version of Revel (http://www.adobe.com/products/revel.html) to v1.6, adding red-eye removal and export of full-resolution photos to the iOS Camera Roll.
And Adobe's Jeff Tranberry has published How to tune Photoshop CS6 for peak performance (http://blogs.adobe.com/crawlspace/2012/10/how-to-tune-photoshop-cs6-for-peak-performance.html) on his Digital Imaging Crawlspace blog.
Custom SLR (http://www.customslr.com) has its $49.95 M-Plate mini, a universal quick-release tripod plate compatible with most Arca-Swiss and Manfrotto RC2-style tripod and head systems. The product will ship in November.
Getty Images (http://rise.gettyimages.com) has launched RISE, showcasing cultural trends "based on insights drawn from Getty Images' rich imagery and data.".
DxOMark Mobile (http://www.dxomark.com) has reported that current mobile phone image quality surpasses that of 2007 compact camera models. And as for video, the best mobile tested in this category, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, outperformed the Canon Powershot 100.
DxO Labs (http://www.dxo.com) has released Optics Pro v7.5.5 with nearly 400 more camera/lens combinations.
PhoozL (http://www.phoozl.com) has launched Weekly Wednesdays, a new, free photo contest series focused on a weekly theme. Winners, selected by the week's Judge, are added to the Winners Showcase and the PhoozL Points scoreboard, which puts them into the running for the PhoozL Photographer of the Year.
Sierra Magazine (http://www.sierraclub.org/costofcoal) traveled to three states to document how coal damages lives when it's extracted, when it's burned and when the leftover waste is discarded.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has published Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan. The New York Times Lens blog recently featured a piece by Egan on Curtis (http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/immortal-images-of-native-americans/?hp). The title is available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 40 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0618969020/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Hamrick Software (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan 9.1.17 [LMW] with support for over 25 new Epson scanners and eight new HP scanners and more.
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Mike Pasini, Editor
Dave Etchells, Publisher