Software Review: Rune Lindman's QPict
Here are two new software reviews. Well, one is new, and the other should have been posted previously, but due to recent "happenings" (see Dave's entry for August 27), we're just now posting it. But that doesn't mean that it's not an excellent program worthy of your attention. If you are a Macintosh user that works with a large amount of images, don't pass this review up! Rune Lindman's QPict (for Mac OS only) is an excellent image cataloging program that is more valuable than its price lets on. With image indexing, batch processing, and AppleScripting, this program definitely deserves a double take. Check our review for all the details!
Review: ArcSoft's PhotoPrinter 2000
Many of us use a variety of programs to edit and print our images, but if you had to choose just one, which would it be? If you're not sure, then take a look at ArcSoft's PhotoPrinter 2000. Instead of opening one program to edit an image and then another program to layout that same image for printing, you can do it all from this one program. With the program, ArcSoft includes a collection of templates, borders, and frames for printing your images. They even offer support for Kodak and Avery paper product, so you can print anything from the 8x10 family portrait to miniature desk calendars for your office. If you're looking to consolidate some of your software programs, take a look at our review.
FULL review of Nikon Coolpix 880 posted!
We've seen cameras with pre-programmed "scene" modes before, but nobody's taken the concept as far as has Nikon in their just-announced Coolpix 880. They use the very apt term "assisted creative photography" to describe the many special modes the new camera offers. Such as? How about a mode specifically for fireworks pictures? Beach or snow? Indoor "party" shots? - And on and on. The Coolpix 880 is compact, but definitely NOT a dumbed-down version of Nikon's higher-end cameras. It actually includes many of the advanced features of Nikon's flagship Coolpix 990. Overall, WAY too much to describe here, so read the full review for all the details!
August 27 - HUGE review posting!
Well, "Review Week" was looking a little sparse there for a bit, between hassles from forum conversion, bad camera software, crashed computers, Dave's upcoming business trip, etc, etc. The team came through though, and we're pleased to announce no fewer than three new full reviews, a very interesting comparison between Digital SLRs, and our new forum system going "live"! Here's what's up:
(Almost) Full review posted for Canon EOS D30!
Boy, this one was sure a scramble: Geting our hands on one of the *very* few near-production D30s in the country involved Dave actually flying to New York personally to pick it up. We only had the unit for a very few days, and our results have been hampered by the fact that the camera was so new that the latest Canon software wouldn't interpret its RAW mode images. We'll be getting updated software from Canon sometime over the next week or so, and at that time will be able to bring you a number of additional images. We did manage to get quite a few shots taken though, and have put together both a very comprehensive discussion of the camera and its technology (with lots of juicy shots of the actual guts of the camera, for all you tecno-tweaks out there), as well as a very interesting comparsion between all three major SLR digicams currently on the market. The EOS D30 has been eagerly awaited by legions of Canon shooters waiting to go digital at a price south of $5,000. Canon hasn't officially announced the price of the D30 yet, but widespread speculation has it pegged at $3,500 US. If this proves correct, it'll be another huge breakthrough in the high-end digicam market. There are FAR too many features and interesting points about the camera to go into here, but check our review for all the details, including a discussion of CMOS vs CCD (the D30 is the first high-quality camera to use a CMOS sensor). Oh - the picture quality? Absolutely fantastic! Check the review, and the "Three Titans" page mentioned below for some samples, but it looks to us like the D30 will actually be the resolution leader in the under-$5K SLR market when it hits the streets!
Full review posted for Fuji FinePix S1 Pro SLR!
The new Fuji FinePix S1 Pro digital SLR has evoked a lot of interest since it was first announced at PMA last spring. Using Fuji's "SuperCCD" technology, it can interpolate a file as large as 6.1 million pixels, although our take on it is that it's best to just consider it a very good 3.4 megapixel camera. Based on a Nikon N60 body, the S1 doesn't have the extreme ruggedness nor the high speed of high-end pro film SLRs, but we found it to be an exceptionally capable performer, dramatically faster than any consumer-level cameras we've tested. Its images show excellent tone and resolution, and arguably the best color we've yet seen in a digicam at any price point.(!) Low light shooting was exceptional also, with even very long exposures under dim conditions producing bright, saturated color and very little noise. We also liked Fuji's user interface very much, as the rear-panel data readout LCD with "soft buttons" below it really made for very fast operation. Overall, this was probably the hardest camera to send back of any we've ever tested! Highly recommended!
Full review posted for Toshiba PDR-M70!
Toshiba's cameras have consistently been characterized by fast performance, and their new M70 follows that trend. Beyond that, it provides an impressive level of picture-taking control, an external flash connector, in short just about all the "shutterbug" features needed to compete at the high end of the consumer market. Check our full review for all the details on this new 3 megapixel beauty!
The "Three Titans" image comparison!(!)
The level of "buzz" on the internet over the new SLR digicams has been incredible. The question everyone is asking is "how do they compare?" Well, we now have full data on both the Nikon D1 and Fuji's new S1 Pro. Having had the new Canon EOS D30 for only a few days, we didn't manage to collect a complete set of images from it, but did get enough to make some very interesting comparisons between these three leading cameras. We assembled some reference shots from all three, and posted a page with the shots and some of our analysis of what we seen in them. We called this the "Three Titans" comparison because of the impact these cameras will have/are having on the whole professional photographic marketplace. VERY interesting stuff, must-read material for anyone looking at any of these cameras. Exclusively here on the Imaging Resource, the first direct head-to-head comparison between these three cameras, using controlled test conditions! Check it out!
New forum system goes "live"
Well, after a couple of false starts, due to some ISP downtime, we've successfully converted ALL the thousands of messages from our old forum system into our new one. The new system has lots of categories to help you find exactly the area you're interested in, including dedicated discussion areas for every camera we've reviewed. (Ask us, we'll set up a forum for your camera if it isn't listed- our goal is to provide communities for *every* camera out there.) There'll be a number of slick new features popping up here in the weeks to come, but even now there's lot more material, a lot more easily accessible than ever before. Check it out!
Day two of "Review Week" on the Imaging Resource brings a detailed image analysis of the Fuji S1 Pro SLR digicam's pictures for your reading pleasure! We'll have the full review for you in another day or two, but in the meantime, check out the test images we shot with it. Our conclusions? Some of the best color we've yet seen in a digicam, extraordinary low-light shooting, and excellent detail. Stay tuned for our full review, but you'll find a wealth of detail (and well over a hundred sample images) in our S1 picture-analysis page! (And check out those low-light results!)
For those of you who've been wondering where all the Imaging Resource reviews have gone to, this is your week! We'll be having a number of new postings throughout the week (including some *really* interesting stuff later in the week, culminating on Saturday). Today, we start with our full review of the new Ricoh RDC-7 digicam, or (as Ricoh prefers) "Image Capturing Device". This is an interesting unit, obviously aimed at the "mobile professional", in that it incorporates a host of multimedia and audio-recording features, as well as a 3 megapixel digital still capability, all in an incredibly sleek, attractive case. It lacks some of the advanced exposure-control features we've come to expect in high-end prosumer digicams, but the targeted "mobile professionals" probably don't care about full-manual exposure control anyway. One of the more interesting aspects of this camera is its "PRO" mode still-image exposure capabilities, which use two successive, slightly shifted shots to compose a single higher-resolution one. We studied the PRO mode feature in some detail, and have extensive coverage of it in our review. If you're an advanced amateur photographer, you'll probably want more sophisticated exposure controls than the RDC-7 provides. On the other hand, it could make a great "second" camera to carry along on trips. If you mainly want a compact camera with high image quality and multimedia capabilities as well, this could be the camera you've been waiting for! Read the full review for all the details!
Full review posted for Sony MVC-CD1000!
We had the honor of breaking the news of Sony's amazing CD-R based digicam, the Mavica MVC-CD1000 to the world back in June. Now, we (finally) have our usual exhaustive full review of the camera posted, complete with a full set of our standard test shots. As we noted in our previous "First Look" review, the MVC-CD1000 is a dramatic advance over earlier Mavicas, both in terms of image quality and storage capacity. The huge capacity of the CD-R drive let Sony significantly reduce the amount of JPEG compression used, as well as offer an uncompressed TIFF option for the first time on a Mavica. The year-2000 Mavica electronics inside also contribute to the excellent image quality, with the 12-bit digitization bringing superb tonal range, lower noise levels, more accurate color, and excellent low-light capability. Overall, we found the MVC-CD1000 to be comfortably in the top tier of current 2 megapixel digicams in the image-quality department. We also found the CD-R mechanism to be surprisingly free of problems, even when subjected to fairly severe vibration. (We knocked it pretty good with the heel of our hand while it was writing, and never managed to make it skip.) Check out the MVC-CD1000 review for full details! (We have a partial set of images in the Comparometer(tm) as well, should have the balance there by the end of the day tomorrow.)
Full review posted for Kodak DC4800!
As Kodak's first true 3 megapixel digicam, the new DC4800 has elicited a lot of interest. (Their previous highest-resolution camera the DC290 could produce 3 megapixel files, but only by interpolating up from the 2 megapixel sensor data). We expect that the DC4800 will also be interesting for the extent to which it is designed to cater to the "enthusiast" rather than the point & shoot camera user: It offers multiple metering modes, aperture priority and manual exposure control, and sports a connection for an external flash. It also offers options for both "saturated" and "neutral" color rendition, an optional uncompressed file format, variable ISO settings to 400, and a maximum exposure time of 16 seconds. In our tests, we were impressed with its accurate color, and liked the fact that you could choose between the subtly boosted color saturation of its "saturated" color mode, or the more accurate "neutral" option. Rather than the often wildly saturated colors produced by other cameras we've seen that have a "saturated" color mode on them, the variations between the DC4800's saturated and neutral options are more like the variations between different emulsions in the film-based world. Until now, color handling was generally set by whatever camera you happened to choose: With the DC4800 you really have two viable options. The DC4800 also incorporates a fairly fine-grained white balance control that lets you choose color temperature in fairly small increments, as well as a unique manual white balance adjustment that lets you set the color balance based on a white target, and then fine-tune it manually. (We've seen the option of using a white reference target before, and like it quite a bit. The DC4800 was the first time we've seen the ability to subsequently fine-tune the manual setting, a very nice feature.) The other standout feature of the DC4800 was its extraordinary performance in low-light shooting: We were absolutely amazed by just how good its pictures were even when shot at the lowest light levels we test for. Not only did the color balance hold up unusually well, but the noise levels were some of the lowest we've yet seen in a consumer-level digicam. Very impressive! Read the review for all the details! (Images should be available in the Comparometer(tm) by the end of the day tomorrow.)
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420