Volume 12, Number 20 24 September 2010

Copyright 2010, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the 289th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We just bought a cape because Adobe Elements 9 is the magic kit we've always wanted. News Editor Michael Tomkins lists every new camera announced recently with links to the details (in case you want to shop early). And we show you how to set up a product shot at home with nothing more than bedroom linen. On with the show!


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Feature: Elements 9 -- Magic Kit for Photos & Movies

(Excerpted from the full review posted at on the Web site.)

Ah, how the world turns. Once upon a time Adobe's Elements package was one of the best ways to learn about digital photography.

"Nothing quite prepares you for image editing. It isn't obvious what you can do or how to go about it. Elements makes that about as clear as it can be made," we wrote in our review of Photoshop Elements 1.0 (

So last century.

These days what you need is magic. If you can't afford the big-tent abracadabra of something like Photoshop CS5, don't despair. Just pony up for the affordable Elements magic kit and amaze your friends.

"Wow!" they will say. "Amazing!" they will gasp.

We know because that's what all us press people were saying during the Adobe briefing last week for Photoshop/Premiere Elements 9.


The first thing to clear up is that this release is, like your digicam, about both photos and movies. You can buy Photoshop Elements alone or Premiere Elements by itself, but the bundle is almost the same price. So we're calling it Elements 9, period.

And if you're a Mac aficionado and therefore wary of that line, let us reassure you Elements 9 is a different ball game than Elements 8. You get what Windows magicians have been getting all along: the Organizer, Premiere, the whole ball of wax.

So if you don't know much about image editing and you do want to create eye-popping special effects with both your photos and your movies, Elements 9 is the magic kit you want. Even, we dare say, if you own the Creative Suite already.

And to prove it, we'll leave the dry stuff for the end and hit the crowd pleasers up front.


That starts with movies. Premiere Elements Product Manager Mike Iampietro took us through some very impressive features not seen together in lesser products.

We long ago chided Adobe for whining like the little kid next door that "they made me lose" when it withdrew from the Mac hobbyist market in the face of iLife. So let us welcome Adobe back warmly, with applause for its superior movie editor in Premiere Elements.

Import. Iampietro explained that problem number uno for them was those of us who love to take movies with our handcams, digicams and cellphones. We don't use tape. We don't use those bulky video recorders that always needed extra batteries. We use cool little devices that are always handy when stuff happens.

And that have a million different ways of compressing the data they capture, unfortunately. Adobe had to work hard under the hood, Iampietro said, to make it possible to import everything from AVI to MOV to AVCHD into Premiere Elements. And it does it without transcoding the import from its native language to a more generic one. Nope, no transcoding, just the original encoding. So it's fast and natural.

We think that's a good example of one of Adobe's best virtues. The guys developing the product actually use it. They build what they need. A lesser company might have this shiny whiteboard blinding their developers that shows how much less work would be involved for them if they just transcoded everything into one format and dealt with that. The user gets the lowest common denominator but how can they tell anyway?

At Adobe the developers are users. They can tell. They want the benefits of doing it the best way.

Those benefits include being able to preview your clips on your connected device before importing, renaming the clip (so, you know, you know) and picking a theme (or style) to create an InstantMovie right away (in case you have homework to do).

Also new in 9, Adobe told us, is facial recognition for movies with workflows that can be driven by which people appear in the movies.

Audio. The second thing Adobe spent some man years on is The Great Problem With Cheap Camcorders or, in a word, Audio. You can put up with very degraded video if the audio is pristine but you can't really enjoy a movie if the audio isn't clean. It's a law of thermodynamics or something. No way around it.

Adobe's solution in Premiere Elements 9 is a set of filters to clean up audio. You just drag and drop them on your timeline. Very cool. Even if your friends won't gasp in wonder, they will stay out of your refrigerator and keep their eyes on the screen.

Video Effects. Same magic for video as audio, though. Drag and drop filters. But here Adobe had more fun, we think. They didn't just clean up video. They transformed it.

Remember those financial service TV ads that looked like illustrations but were uncannily life-like? You can do that in Premiere Elements 9 just by dragging the Cartoon video effect on your timeline.

This may mean we can all be bankers and get out of this economic mess we're in.

The effect is smart enough to look for edges and turn them into lines while posterizing colors. Even better, you can enhance or dampen the effect using sliders. And when you get it just the way you want, you can save it as a preset so you can use it again on the sequel.

And when your friends see that one, fellow movie makers, they will indeed gasp. And then they will bow down before you offering alms.

Sharing. Adobe's research division (wearing team T-shirts under their dry-clean-only white lab coats) knows the dirty truth is we still share our movies by burning them on DVDs and schlepping them over to the DVD player plugged into our TV. Just like, well, the last century.

The Premiere Elements team passes no judgment on that. They're users, too, guilty of the same crime. But if we all want to make DVDs, they figure, we should have DVD menus with an automatic Scene Index so we can author and burn in one app on our machine.

But they've also dropped in a new way to share, which they call WebDVD. This bundles the movie and menus in a tight little package you can upload to any of the sharing sites Elements supports (and there are nearly too many to mention, but we do in the next section).

The only catch here is that the little bundle is brought to you by the Flash team, according to the T-shirts under their lab coats. The movie is converted to Flash, the menus to Flash and a bundled SWF player wraps the whole thing up. So no playback on iPhones or iPads. And Droids may stumble. But not forever. Adobe has been working hard on its Flash players recently (


Those of us who love taking still photos may be a little envious of all the glitz in Premiere Elements 9, but there's no need for such childish behavior. After all, we can get Premiere bundled in the same box (both Mac and Windows versions, too) and it will make us look just as clever as any indie editor without the Goth getup.

But we get our own magic tricks, too. Photoshop Elements Product Manager Bob Gager took us through them.

Stories. Trend Number One is storytelling. In the still world, this looks like a sequence of photos (a slide show) with embellishments that may end up as a photo book (you know, where the captions can be verbose).

So sharing has been expanded to include Facebook, joining, Kodak, Flikr, YouTube, SmugMug, Shutterfly and You're not locked into with Elements 9. And you can add images to an existing album or create a new one.

And Elements is smart enough that when you upload a set of images, it won't upload the full resolution images that the site subsequently downsizes for Web display. Instead, it resizes the images to the site's preferences and then uploads them so they get there quickly.

And the book layout feature has been stripped to the studs and remodeled with granite kitchen counters and brushed nickel fixtures. You can print books on your inkjet or use Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly publishing.

But you don't have to go that far to enjoy the new Elements user interface with -- drum roll and wildly applauding audience -- larger type. Yes, Adobe researchers have realized that some Elements users have crossed over the Age 40 Divide and can not make out miniscule type on their 130-dpi monitors without those cheap magnifier glasses from CVS that make everyone look like a librarian.

Not that there's anything wrong with librarians.

Organizing. In fact, Mac users may find the new Organizer a lot more fun than Lightroom or iPhoto, offering easy ways to tag images for retrieval later (when you can't remember what you shot when or where).

We actually found ourselves starting to enjoy tagging images in Organizer. Most of the time this feels like picking your socks up off the floor, but in Organizer it seemed more like putting extra onions and relish on your Polish.

Guided Edits. But the real fun in Photoshop Elements 9 is in the new Guided Edits. There are a handful of them. Here's their names (which won't tell you much but proves we were paying attention): Out of Bounds (where some part of the main subject sticks out past the borders of the image), Lomo Camera (cross-processed colors with vignetting so people think you still shoot film with a $30 camera), Pop Art (which continues to pop), Reflection (which reflects you image down into water or glass with several gradations of smoothness) and Portrait Touchup (which smooths skin, whitens teeth, remove blemishes and otherwise puts your plastic surgeon to shame).

They're called Guided Edits and not One-Click Wonders for a reason. They take a few steps, all fully explained in the right column as you work through the trick. The best magic tricks -- like sawing a woman in half -- are like that.

So for Out of Bounds (just to take Gager's example), you set a frame inside your image that lets a few features of your subject stick out (say, a head and a surfboard). Then you add a little perspective to the frame so it looks like its coming at you a bit from the side instead of blocking your way. Then you just drag out a little border for the frame so it will look like a photo. Next you just mouse over the parts you want to extend outside the frame (that head, that surfboard). And finally, you fiddle around with a shadow and a gradient if you want.

And your friends drop their jaws in one simultaneous, "Wow! How'd you do that?"

Don't tell them it was a guided edit, please. It discredits the profession. They know it's magic. Let them believe.

Content Aware Fill. Even more exciting, though, is the magic Elements has borrowed from Photoshop CS5. And, yes, we mean content-aware fills!

As we mentioned in our Photoshop CS preview (, "There are a lot of snapshots that could stand removing some protruding element that could not have been avoided at the time. In fact, don't be surprised to see this show up in Photoshop Elements. 'We have a pretty good history of sharing technology between the two applications. That certainly goes both ways,' Bryan [Photoshop Product Manager Bryan O'Neil Hughes] admitted when we asked. 'I will tell you we all talk to each other and we're all friends. There's certainly that possibility.'"

Elements applies content aware fill in two places. The first is the Healing Brush, which now includes a content aware option (on by default, too). That means if you don't like something in your image, you can just mouse it away. Like magic.

The second application is filling in the edges of panoramas. You stitch a few images together and you have all this white background left unfilled in the canvas. You can crop it off (the traditional method), but you'll have less to feed your family that way. Instead, just use content aware fill to paint in the blank spaces for you. It's, um, like magic.

Style Match. Another CS5 technology Elements has inherited, according to Gager, is the photomerge style match. Just drag a style bin example onto your image and fiddle with the sliders that control the look.

You can also paint and erase just the style from your image. And the style can even be another image. Gager used a scan of an Ansel Adams' shot of Yosemite (well, according to him, anyway; we're not sure which box of negatives he found it in) as the style for his similar shot of Yosemite, turning his color shot into a dramatic black and white.

And just to show off a little (and get another gasp from his audience no doubt), he used a sunset image to turn his original taken at 10 a.m. into a romantic sunset shot (assuming you've got a room at the Ahwahnee Hotel, anyway).

How cool is that? Refrigerated, that's how cool.


Pricing remains the same. The retail price is $149.99 for the bundle or $119.99 with the mail-in rebate. Either product alone is $99.99 or $79.99 with the rebate.

But here's the deal. No prior purchase is required for the rebate, just the claim form in the box, proof of purchase tab and a copy of the sales receipt. Very nice.


There's a fine line between image magic and the Encyclopedia of Immaturity but Elements 9 keeps well clear of it with useful tricks for stills and amazing transformations for movies. And the price is ridiculous.

We've had only a couple of days to play with both updates, so we're sitting on our hands until we've had a chance to thoroughly test the new features. But when we do, we'll tell you all about it right here.

Meanwhile, what we've already seen is enough to cast a spell on us.

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Feature: Photokina 2010 Camera Roundup


The biennial Photokina trade show is now well under way, as readers will doubtless know from the veritable flood of dSLR announcements lately, not to mention all the other new digital cameras in various shapes and forms.

With so many companies trying to gain attention for their products amongst a truly staggering number of announcements, things started rolling surprisingly early, with the first announcements appearing a couple of months ago -- and so many of them have long since scrolled back into our archives. Hence, we felt it might be helpful to summarize them all in one place.

Following is a full list of the camera announcements we've covered in the run-up to Photokina. We've split the list into interchangeable-lens cameras (be they SLRs, SLDs or pellicle mirror-based), fixed-lens cameras and camcorders. For each camera, we've summarized the basic details in the list, including information on pricing and availability where known. For those interested in a summary, there are no less than 17 new interchangeable cameras and camera backs/modules, 55 fixed-lens digital cameras and 18 camcorders in the list.






























Oregon Scientific





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New on the Site

At you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:

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Beginners Flash: Lighting Like a Pro

We had an interesting assignment the other day. We were engaged to shoot some pottery for a new book.

"What's interesting about that?" you may ask (as we did). Two things.

First the pottery was delicate stuff and really couldn't be moved. So we had to pack up some gear to light it on location.

Second, we had to design a setup that could be reasonably emulated by the potter himself, who had a lot of other stuff at another location out of our range.

So we had to come up with a lighting approach that could be mimicked with no gear. Here's what we did, using all the King's horses and all the King's men.

For our shots, we used a light tent illuminated by window light at 45 degrees and one strobe on the other side at 45 degrees. We also popped a circular polarizer on the lens to minimize any glare (although the Photoflex Lite Igloo we used helped out a lot there).

Our advice to the potter was much simpler, though. And it worked well enough to pass along to you for those times when you need a good product shot for an online auction or want to document something for insurance but neither the King's horses nor his men pay any attention to you.

"Drape a white bedsheet over a hard chair facing it three-quarters to the window but in shade," we emailed him. "Put a white pillow on the other side to reflect the light back at the object. Overexpose a good bit (the white will throw the meter off). Should get you close."

The trick, really, is to avoid some common mistakes.

Pick a bright room but stay out of direct sun. If you can't avoid the sun, put a transparent shower curtain or flimsy curtain over the window to diffuse the light. Don't use the camera's flash.

The white bedsheet creates an infinite horizon and whatever folds inevitably show make a nice background. The white pillow reflects the main window light back to the dark side of the object -- you should be able to see it with your naked eye. So just adjust the pillow until the dark side looks bright enough.

The scene is high key with all that white and a small light subject, so tell your camera to overexpose a good bit. Probably 1.3 EV to start, but take a range of shots and evaluate the histogram in Playback mode to make sure you have tones at the highlight end of the scale. You want to avoid an image that's too dark.

The results? We'll just quote the potter, who emailed us to thank us for immortalizing his (gorgeous) vases.

"Thanks also for the photo tips. Made it easy," he wrote. And, we hasten to add, doesn't cost a King's ransom.

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You can email us at [email protected]. You can read our Letters policy at in the FAQ.

RE: Scanner Resolution

Being an amateur at scanning with an older UMAX PowerLook II scanner and not keeping up with new technology, I have a question about flatbed scanner resolution.

My question is prompted by your very informative article "CanoScan 9000F Scanning at 9600 dpi" ( In the article you mention the Plustek OpticFilm 7600i film scanner, which has an optical resolution of 7200 dpi. Since this scanner handles only 35mm slides, I assume that the 7200 dpi are distributed across each line that is scanned across the slide.

With respect to flatbed scanners such as the CanoScan 9000F, my question is how are the 9600 dpi distributed for the different items being scanned? For example, when scanning a 35mm Kodachrome slide, does the CanoScan 9000 distribute 9600 dpi across each of the scanned line of the slide?

While I plan to scan mostly Kodachrome slides I don't expect to print to sizes that need 9600 dpi resolution. I have been told that scanning a 35mm slide at 3000 dpi would give a good 8x10 print. According to Mr. Pasini's article this is clearly within the CanoScan 9000F capability.

-- Arthur Franz

(Yes, it is. Scanning for an 8x10 from a 35mm frame is no problem for either the CanoScan 9000F or the 8800F or the Epson V600. As the chart at the end of the review suggests, a scan at 7200 pixels per inch will print up to 48x32 inches. Scanning at 3000 ppi, a printer that wants 300 dpi will yield a 10x15 print. If you're using an inkjet to make 8x10s, you may find that a 150-ppi scan is indistinguishable from a 300-ppi scan. So you could say a 9600 dpi scanner is, um, overkill. -- Editor)

RE: Print Matching

I have read your Pixma Pro9000 Mark II review and as a consequence am now awaiting delivery of the printer from Pixmania. I owned a Canon A3 printer with which I had to make test prints to match the colors to my monitor. Your review suggests that this will not now be required.

I need to make about 50 different 13x19-inch prints and will be using Permajet Lustre, a highly regarded paper here in Europe. I have a printing profile for the paper.

I am now 75 years young and find the rigmarole I've been reading very confusing. As I will be using the same paper throughout could you please outline a procedure for me. I would be most grateful. My OS is Vista. The work is for an exhibition which I am mounting for charity.

-- Bob Rock

(Well, Bob, the trick to repeatable results is to profile the ink and paper your printer uses. Buying a different printer isn't a solution to anything. It's true that the Pro9000 Mark II software installation includes ICC profiles for Canon's papers and ink, so if you use those, you're good. But if you want to use Permajet Lustre, you need an ICC profile for the Pro9000 Mark II from the paper manufacturer. You can, of course, create your own with several of the calibration devices we've reviewed, but that's work (and not cheap). As for the printing settings, the general approach is outlined in the graphic Important Print Settings in the Pro9000 Mark II review ( Those settings apply to any application, really. Take a look. We'll be happy to answer any questions about them. -- Editor)

RE: Print Resolution

In your review of the Pixma Pro9000 Mark II printer a major reason I bought one -- you state that the resolution is up to 2400x4800 dpi. As you would know, the "print quality" choices are not in dpi, but fast to high or a 1-5 custom slider. Canon techs can't or won't tell me what the dpi is for each of these -- indeed, they claim not to know that the top is 2400x4800. Do you know or can you point me to a source?

The printer also seems to have a cutoff in how much file size it will digest: it won't print a file that's 10.5x7 inches at 1400 dpi, but will accept the same file resampled down to 300. Canon says the printer will accept any size file, there is no cutoff, and they don't know why the 1400 file wasn't read. Any thoughts?

-- Philip Siekman

(The output resolution of the printer, according to Canon's specifications, is indeed 2400x4800. We didn't make that part of the review up <g>. But that doesn't mean you are obliged to send 1400 dpi to the printer. In fact, we routinely print at 150-200 dpi (but we're always in a hurry). Image resolution is not quite the same thing as print resolution. Prints are screened to simulate continuous tones. So all that resolution goes into making spots or dots that mimic tones. In fact, Lightroom 3 restricts you to 720 dpi, as I recall. Now, getting back to the failure of your printer to digest that 1400-dpi image, let's try an experiment. Create a 1400x1400 pixel RGB crop of your non-printing image. Does that print? -- Editor)

The 1400x1400 RGB prints. So, as you seemed to have guessed, it is not resolution size, but file size. The original file appears to be simply too large for the printer to digest. It would be interesting to know if that's correct and, if so, what might be the file size limits. Thanks for your willingness to help.

-- Philip

(Well, a file can indeed be too big for a printer's buffer. But that's why data is spoon-fed from your computer to the printer using a flow-control protocol -- and a free beer to anyone who can 1) recall X-On/X-Off and 2) catch me. Sounds like your computer isn't spoon feeding the printer appropriately. -- Editor)
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Editor's Notes

HP ( introduced a revamped lineup of Photosmart all-in-one devices, all of which include the company's ePrint technology to email documents to the printer and direct printing from iOS 4.2 devices like the iPad. Among the more interesting:

DataRescue ( has released PhotoRescue v3.2.0.12789 [MW] with improved movie recovery and the ability to extract large usable JPEG thumbnails from Raw files damaged beyond recovery. You can always get the lastest version from our affiliate site (

Extensis ( has introduced its $1,999 Portfolio Studio image archive server designed for the small studio without an IT department. It takes folder-based workflows to the next level with Web-based tools to locate and convert photos and graphic files.

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International ( has announced its first WPPI U, a university-style, two-day workshop on the fundamentals of photography. WPPI U will be held Saturday, Feb. 19 and Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 during the WPPI 2011 annual convention at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Datacolor ( has introduced its $129 SpyderCheckr, a color reference tool to help obtain consistent, accurate color within a standard Raw processing workflow, perform precision in-camera white balance, create custom camera calibration and record known color references.

DxO Labs ( has unveiled DxO Analyzer v4 with texture measurement and video measurement. Version 4 also features new optical and sensor measurements for color fringing, advanced color shading and green channel imbalance, along with interface and workflow improvements.

The Plugin Site ( has released Standalone/Lightroom versions of its five PhotoWiz Photoshop plugins for Windows. PhotoWiz consists of ColorWasher, FocalBlade, LightMachine, B/W Styler and ContrastMaster.

6Sight 2010 ( in San Jose, Calif., this November will feature two emerging photo imaging technologies: 3D and augmented reality. The conference will also focus on camera connectivity with a keynote by Stanford University Professor Marc Levoy, who codesigned the Google book scanner and is now at work on "Frankencamera," a programmable camera.

Akvis ( has released its $75 Chameleon 7.0 [MW] in a standalone version with improved compatibility with Snow Leopard, a Smooth Transition parameter in Chameleon mode and Blend mode, faster processing in Emersion mode, compatibility with Photoshop CS4 64-bit and other changes.

Burn37 ( has released its $39 GuestReel 1.2.0 [M] to set up a video guestbook at any special event. Guests can record, preview and re-record video messages using a built-in iSight or external video camera. Recorded video can be exported for processing in iMovie and burning with iDVD.

Houdah Software ( has released its $30 HoudahGeo 2.6.2 with an option to reveal current coordinates on or, the ability to override incorrect time zone information in image metadata, improvements for GPX file loading and bug fixes.

Google ( has released its free Picasa for Mac 3.8.1, adding creation of Face Movies from a selection of photos, preservation of original JPEG quality when saving from Picnik, fixes for problems upgrading facetags from 3.6 and other more.

Clem Cole and Russell Williams discuss what makes Photoshop tick from a developer's point of view (

Wondershare ( has released its $29.95 Photo Recovery for Mac 1.0 with previews of recoverable photos (including Raw files), metadata recovery, file name search and a deep scan/recovery option that supports HFS+, FAT (16/32), NTFS and NTFS5 volumes.

The Thames in Focus: London's River Through a Lens (, a free contemporary photography exhibition of the Thames' rich history and fascinating environments, will be on display in Discover Greenwich at the Old Royal Naval College in London through Nov. 1.

Hamrick Software ( has released VueScan v8.6.61 with support for more Epson and HP scanners, improved speed on Nikon LS scanners and several fixes.

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