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The IMAGING RESOURCE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
|Volume 11, Number 7||27 March 2009|
Copyright 2009, The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
Welcome to the 250th edition of the Imaging Resource Newsletter. We start with a report of three developments that hint at the future of digital photography before Shawn reports on the newest Canon Rebel. Then we explain the vagaries of electronic distribution so you can find your newsletter when it doesn't arrive. We also take a look at monitor technology before wrapping it up with a lively news section.
- Feature: A Glimpse Into the Future
- Feature: Canon EOS Rebel T1i Hands-on Preview
- Feature: Where's My Newsletter?
- New on the Site
- Advanced Mode: The Monitor Game
- In the Forums
- Dave's Deals
- We Have Mail
- Editor's Notes
- One Liners
This issue is sponsored in part by the following companies. Please tell them you saw their ads here. And now a word from our sponsors:
IR Shopping Services
Are you in the digital photo business? This newsletter is read by approximately 55,000 combined direct and pass-along subscribers, all with a passion for digital photography. For information on how you can reach them, contact us at [email protected].
We never upgraded our marble collection to a crystal ball. But when the guys building tomorrow let us peek into their garage, we look.
In our interview with Adobe Senior Engineer Jerry Harris (http://www.imaging-resource.com/ARTS/HARRIS/HARRIS.HTM), for example, we learned not just what Graphic Processing Unit programming is bringing to image editing but what that new power has encouraged Photoshop's designers to think about redesigning the user interface.
Maybe Photoshop CS4 doesn't rotate when you angle a Wii controller in front of your laptop (yet), but three separate developments this week gave us a glimpse into the future.
THE USER INTERFACE
Recently, Adobe Senior Product Manager John Nack posted an entry in his blog (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2009/03/adjustments_and_the_future.html#more) titled "Adjustments & the Future of the Photoshop UI." Nack's blog is a regularly updated bean spilling of all things Photoshop/Graphic Design/Cool.
In that particular entry, he laid out some general principles that any new Photoshop user interface should observe. And he suggested that something like the new Adjustments panel in Photoshop CS4 is, despite mixed reviews, a step in that direction.
Three assumptions Nack cited about working on an image worth are highlighting. It's better, he said, to 1) be able to undo anything you do, 2) see a panel of relevant controls rather than have to find them on pulldown, fly-out menus and 3) be able to do anything at any time rather than be restricted to certain operations active in the present mode.
"So, in an ideal world," he suggested, "Photoshop would apply filters, adjustments, and transformations non-destructively by default, and it would let you browse and adjust the parameters through a non-modal interface." It would, in short, do the best thing by default and let you easily tweak best into even better.
The new Adjustments panel (not to mention Masks and 3D) is a very good illustration of just that, Nack argued. But he admitted this is an approach that's more of a work in progress. Photoshop wasn't designed for non-destructive editing and user interaction before CS4 was strictly menus and dialog boxes.
Harris made much the same point about earlier Photoshop designers spending "a lot time trying to make the program draw as little as possible and not draw very often." Moving to more of an interactive experience has been a huge chore, he added.
Nack praised the richness possible in a PSD file with its "deeply nested layers, Smart Objects within Smart Objects, placed raw data/vector art/3D files/video layers, re-editable filters & layer effects, advanced blending options, and so on." But he noted that very richness outstrips the Layer's panel capacity to display and control it.
He proposed a properties inspector, somewhat like Illustrator and Fireworks has, to paradoxically "display more info and yet fewer panels on screen." You can see where that came from. The new Adjustments panel is just one non-modal panel but it's packed with non-destructive adjustments. It would be nice, wouldn't it, to have properties inspector that could tell you all about the file without taking up more than a panel of screen space.
But that's getting a bit ahead of the task at hand, he noted, which is moving Photoshop from Carbon to Cocoa. No simple task.
Still it's not too early to think about Photoshop's changing spots. What they are now, what they need to be (especially with non-destructive editing) and how some features of the CS4 edition point to what they might become. One way or another, Adobe is changing Photoshop's spots.
Nack and his fellow Photoshop product manager, Bryan O'Neil Hughes are continuing this discussion in Nack's blog (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/). And they want your feedback. You know, step into the garage and lend a hand.
The second development this week isn't really very far from that Wii controller.
Adobe is a software company but they played an important role in Wacom's redesign of its Intuos graphic tablet. The Intuous4 (http://www.wacom.com/intuos/) may not be a Wii controller, but it's not far from being as natural to use as a Sharpie.
The new pen features Wacom's new Tip Sensor technology with near-zero, one gram starting pressure and 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. The pen's new touch is much more like using a felt-tipped marker than the plastic tip pens of the past.
But that's just the tip of the new design innovations, so to speak.
Nack quotes Wacom's Joel Bryant, "One direction that was totally changed based upon Adobe feedback was using the Touch Ring vs. the existing Touch Strip design (customer research had them with even preference). From the Adobe perspective, the Touch Ring fit much better with the CS4 Rotate Canvas feature especially. So we actually made that change directly based on Adobe feedback."
The Touch Ring, which can be positioned on the left side of the tablet for right-handers and on the right side for lefties, is a lot like an iPod controller. A center button easily changes the function of the ring (zoom, brush size, canvas rotation, layers navigation, you configure up to four functions). And, like the buttons above and below it, it's LED illuminated.
Those functions weren't afterthoughts, either. Bryant said Wacom worked with Jerry Harris "to get the right code into Photoshop to support it," too.
So what you get with the $230-and-up device is a controller designed for Photoshop CS4. Designed, that is, by both Wacom and Adobe.
At the Game Developers Conference (http://www.gdconf.com) in San Francisco this week, we spent a day with some developers as the Khronos Group (http://www.khronos.org) announced the release of OpenGL 3.1 and impending release of OpenCL 1.0. These are the open source programming languages for getting more horses in computing horse power. OpenGL, the graphics language, makes GPUs more programmable while OpenCL, the command language, improves CPU parallel computing. They work together to make graphics programming more portable.
You can see what OpenGL 3.0 can do right now on Mac OS X with Adobe Photoshop CS4. That's what's behind features like canvas rotation (canvas twirling, we should say) and bird's-eye view (Google Earth for photos). But the interesting thing is that using these tools to code graphics applications (not just games), lets those applications run on a wide array of devices. That includes, we learned, devices as ubiquitous as a smart phone.
The other thing that struck us listening to Neil Trevett, president of Khronos Group and vice president of graphics chip company Nvidia, is the cooperation among hardware vendors (over 100 are active in the group). Version 3.0 of OpenGL was released just nine months ago. And the rapid pace of development has been inspired by the hardware and software vendors themselves because they really want this stuff.
They want it because it not only makes current hardware perform better, but it's also a blueprint for future hardware development. There is a clear development path for new functions to move from the introductory stage into the core library and, at end of life, to be marked for a release as a deprecated function before being moved out of the core into a library where support for the old function can be maintained by the hardware vendor if necessary. So not only is there backward compatibility, but there's a clear model for developers to follow (avoid the deprecated functions) and a set of future candidates for the core for hardware developers to focus on.
If you think that's all Tomorrowland, you're probably suffering a little Van Winkleism. Dr. Jon Peddie (http://www.jonpeddie.com) told the group that this stuff is happening on everything from mobile phones to game consoles to computers to your TV and possibly even your car soon (assuming there are still companies building cars). OpenCL and OpenGL make it feasible for developers to write the same code for all those devices. And that opens more markets for everything the developers write, so it's a no-brainer for them. Your image editor can run on an iPhone, a PSP, a Mac, an HDTV -- just by using these libraries.
We've already seen image editors on the iPhone, an OpenGL 3.0 device. Phanfare Photon (http://help.phanfare.com/index.php/Phanfare_Photon) may be the slickest of the bunch.
And yet, Peddie noted, there are still people who insist on developing proprietary Application Programming Interfaces. Those are dead-end streets, he insisted. The developers, all of them, eventually find they simply don't have the resources to support those APIs. So their products become shelfware -- stuff you bought but can't run any more.
We've all got a little of that laying around, no doubt.
What's the alternative? Initiatives like OpenGL supported by an industry that devotes resources to and charts its development. When the entire industry has a stake in the future of a technology, it doesn't wither with the stock price of a single company.
As he went on to talk about the 102 million OpenGL 3.x-capable computers in use today (and the 400 million cell phones that can run 3D), I wondered about the one device not mentioned in his list: cameras.
Why aren't camera manufacturers part of this consortium? If cellphones can use OpenGL why aren't cameras using it?
Is it because camera vendors tend to think in terms of proprietary technology rather than cooperative technology? Don't mention DNG around most of them unless you're wearing a helmet. And yet what's a proprietary Raw format if not the shelfware of the future?
If it weren't for Adobe, which continues to build GPU functionality into anything that pushes a pixel, we'd have felt like the poor country cousins of these game developers. But we knew better. We've seen the future (see the Sept. 26, 2008 issue). And we can't wait to see what happens next.
By SHAWN BARNETT(Excerpted from the full review posted at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T1I/T1IA.HTM on the Web site.)
Canon's new flagship consumer dSLR gathers the best from its more expensive brethren into a more affordable, compact package. The Rebel T1i now sports a 15.1-megapixel sensor like the EOS 50D and records HD video like the 5D Mark II. Naturally, a few features are also missing, most of which consumers will not know to want at all, but that enthusiasts should consider when deciding from among these three cameras.
The prospect of capturing video with a wide array of lenses, from super-wide-angle to long telephoto is what makes capturing video with T1i interesting. Before now, you'd have to save a pile of cash and join the long lines at camera retailers to get a Canon 5D Mark II to explore these new video features, but the availability of the T1i should shorten those lines for many aspiring videographers. There are a few shortcomings, however.
Live View mode works pretty much the same as Live View on the Canon 50D, with Quick mode, Live mode and Live Face Detect mode. The latter mode was not included on the XSi. Live View mode is only available, surprisingly, in Creative zone modes (Program, Shutter, Aperture, Manual and A-DEP). The order of these modes has been inverted on the T1i, starting with Live Mode, then Live Face Detect and finally Quick mode.
None of these Live View autofocus modes is particularly fast. If you're used to using a digicam, however, you'll be most accustomed to the two Live modes, which are contrast-detect. You can see the camera focusing onscreen and it will tell you where it's decided to focus; or if you've selected a focus area with the floating box, that area will turn green once focus is achieved. Thanks to the new high-resolution LCD, you'll be able to tell whether the area is indeed in focus. You can even check by pressing the Magnify button on the upper right of the camera back and zoom in by five or 10 times.
Select Live Face Detect mode and the T1i can find and set both exposure and focus based on the faces in finds, up to 35 faces.
To more precisely select an autofocus point, switch to Quick mode and use one of the nine phase-detect autofocus points (phase-detect vs. face-detect: there's a near homophone that linguistic historians will have to explain). Phase-detect is the same method the T1i uses when you're looking through the optical viewfinder, so it will be more familiar to most experienced dSLR users. It's also historically faster and more accurate than contrast-detect systems; but that's not true here. To use phase-detect autofocus, dSLRs have to leave Live View mode because their autofocus sensors are dependent on having the mirror down for the light to reach them. So when you press the star button on the back of the T1i, you're going to lose Live View while the camera does it's phase-detect operation. Live View will come back and the selected autofocus points will light up to tell you which areas are in sharp focus.
Of course, exposure simulation is also part of the T1i's Live View capabilities. The camera shows you onscreen what the image will look like when you press the shutter release, at least for non-flash shots. This is a great feature, especially when you're shooting in Shutter, Aperture or Manual modes, because you can see what each setting adjustment will give you in terms of exposure.
Capturing movies with the T1i is not as easy as using a camcorder. It's still really for "artist" videographers, rather than casual users. The primary reason is the T1i can't autofocus as quickly as our camcorders and it won't autofocus continuously; you have to press the AE-Lock/AF-Lock button (marked with an asterisk or star) on the back to activate it. When you do, the exposure will gain up a bit to let in more and less light, perhaps to help the processor find the best contrast and the focus will move around until it locks on something. You can do this while recording, but both the exposure and focus changes will be recorded in the movie.
If you can wrap your mind around the concept of setting up and capturing video snapshots, however, you can begin to use the T1i's video the way it was intended. I was trained early on by Canon camcorders that have a 10 second timer in the viewfinder. I recall the manual suggesting I use the snapshot method, recording only 10 seconds of a scene and moving on, to avoid making a boring video. I also edit my videos on the computer, so it doesn't bother me too much if I have to refocus a scene while recording, because I'll just cut it out of the video on the computer. Following action is out of the question, though, which isn't ideal.
The enthusiast videographer will enjoy the T1i's Movie mode, but there are some shortcomings for them as well. They can't control shutter speed, aperture or ISO, nor can they tell what the camera is using. Most camcorder users don't expect to be able to select fast or slow shutter speeds, except perhaps in sports mode, but in a camera where you can set both aperture and shutter speed for stills you can be forgiven for expecting a little more control in Movie mode.
Shutter speed in Movie mode is limited to 1/30 to 1/125 second and from there the T1i varies the aperture and ISO to adjust exposure.
Not having an external microphone jack is another real downer for the enthusiast videographer, because capturing direct audio is essential in many situations, especially outdoors. The T1i also has no wind filter, another common feature of the average camcorder.
There's a lot of beauty still to be had in Movie mode, including the use of all of Canon's EF and EF-S lenses, from super-wide-angle to long telephoto, which allow you to see the world in a way few camcorders will let you. And though you can't control aperture with the T1i, you can still take advantage of the bokeh available with prime lenses so long as you can control the light and movement of your subject for the duration of each video snapshot. (Bokeh is the out of focus area in front of or in back of the in-focus area, which many photographers use to set their subjects apart from the background; usually more blurring occurs with the lens wide open and decreases as you stop down.)
Just like the Canon long zoom PowerShot S-series cameras, you can capture a full-resolution still image in the midst of recording a movie. The video stream is interrupted with a still image while the full-res image is saved to the card, taking a little over two seconds. That's regardless whether you capture a low-res JPEG or a Raw+JPEG. Incidentally, the artificial shutter sound recorded into the video, consisting of a light clicking sound, is much quieter than the T1i's actual shutter sound, which is still fraught with a stamping and winding noise. At least you don't hear it in the video.
The T1i's 15.1-megapixel CMOS design is apparently not identical to the Canon 50D's sensor, though it does raise the resolution from the XSi's 12.1 megapixels. The sensor and processor combination in the T1i seems to be a little better overall, producing sharper images with greater detail. Judging from our test images, Canon has indeed managed to improve image quality while raising ISO and increasing resolution at the same time.
Where the T1i's sensor differs is in the data path and the microlens array: whereas the 50D's sensor has a four-channel readout, the T1i's sensor uses a 2-channel readout, which means that the image data will come off the T1i's sensor more slowly. Since the T1i has a slower frame rate, the four-channel readout may have been deemed unnecessary.
As for the microlens array, we initially assumed it was the same as the 50D's gapless microlenses, as we were told that the only difference between the two sensors was the data path; now it seems that the microlenses in the T1i's sensor do indeed have gaps, which should mean the sensor will let in less light overall. We'll have to see how it does in our low light tests, but the T1i's beta sensor still looks remarkably close to the 50D's.
A new small flash was announced with the T1i, the Speedlite 270EX. We're betting it's going to be quite popular thanks to its easy pocketability, light weight (five ounces) and reasonable range. Powered by only two AA batteries, the 270EX has the same range as the older Speedlite 220EX that uses four AAs (charging time is 4.5 seconds instead of 3, though). Manual zoom ranges from 28mm to 50mm coverage with a guide number of 22 meters/72 feet wide-angle and 27 meters/89 feet telephoto, both at ISO 100. Even better, its head can tilt up and lock in three positions: 60, 75 and 90 degrees.
Unfortunately, it doesn't tilt down for macro shots and it doesn't go back beyond 90 degrees for more face-filling bounce shots. It also can't control other flashes, nor can it be controlled. The camera's menu is the only way you can control the 270EX. We spent the shortest time with the 270EX, but were pleased with its coverage and light weight. If you want to bounce flash off the ceiling when shooting in vertical mode, you'll still require at least the 430EX, but for basic snapshots, the Speedlite 270EX looks like a handy accessory.
Like the XSi, the T1i is easy and fun to shoot with. Though I'm weary of Canon moving the Live View activation button around, I do like its current location on the Print/Share button. It's more natural to transition with this button than having to hit the Display button on the left side as on the Canon 50D.
Though the 18-55mm IS lens is of good quality and light, I chose to take the far more expensive and heavy 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens to the zoo for our test shots. I also tried the 18-200mm f4.5 IS lens. It was easy to see which I was using, of course, especially once I got back to the computer. The T1i didn't feel too tiny behind the large pro lens and I managed to squeeze off a few good shots.
I was mostly impressed with the T1i's handling of the scenes. What threw me at times was trying to judge the exposure from the T1i's LCD. Though the coating does cut glare significantly, the blue cast can sometimes hide the overall contrast captured in an image. I had shots where the default exposure looked quite dim, often due to backlighting, so I made an exposure adjustment to compensate. The results on the LCD looked fine, but on the computer, the ones that had seemed dark to me were actually properly exposed and the ones I'd tweaked were over-exposed.
Another problem I ran into with the T1i was not unexpected, but nonetheless a limitation for shooters like me. Whether shooting animals or people, I take many shots in rapid succession as my subject moves, in hopes of catching that perfect pose or expression. Not just holding down the shutter, mind you, but grabbing each shot as a new pose presents itself. I quickly ran into the T1i's buffer limitation when shooting in Raw+JPEG and had to wait way too long for it to clear, even with a Class 6 SDHC card, as my subject often continued to present interesting poses I wasn't happy to miss.
Part of the problem is that SDHC isn't as fast as a fast CompactFlash card, but the bigger problem is just moving 15 megapixels of Raw data. Switching to Large Fine JPEG eliminated the problem, but I lost the post-processing flexibility that Raw gives me, which was a shame. Casual consumer snapshooters won't likely come up against this limitation, with the ability to hold up to nine Raw+JPEG images in the buffer, but anyone shooting models, kids or animals for work will not enjoy this limitation.
My advice with the cutting-edge stuff like Live View and Movie mode is to learn to use it as it is and don't expect too much. Know that though the T1i has some digicam-like features, it's still a dSLR and it should be judged primarily on how it performs as such.
In that arena, I have some very good news. The T1i's images look as good as the Canon 50D's images and in some cases better.
So it's pretty clear, if the Beta unit's quality holds up, that the T1i's image quality is at least as good as the Canon 50D, delivering more detail than most of the 12-Mp cameras on the market for less money. Noise suppression is a bigger factor, but you can also turn that noise reduction down or off completely or shoot 14-bit Raw, something we'll explore in greater depth when we get a shipping version of the T1i.
Our experience with the T1i was a good one and shows Canon is taking its dSLR challengers quite seriously. Though the T1i doesn't challenge the Nikon D90 on all fronts, it does take it on in the still resolution and movie mode department and beats it in the price war, coming in $100 to $200 cheaper (depending on how soon and where you buy) in the body-only category.
More than ever, the T1i will serve as a consumer's first camera or a pro's second body. And you can learn to use the T1i's Movie mode to good effect (you might need to upgrade your computer to handle HD video). It's well built, smartly designed and easy to use. And even though "T1i" sounds odd at first, we're sure people will get used to it and it will be extremely popular.
If you're suddenly not getting the newsletter, well, this isn't the place to look. You can't look here, after all. That's the problem.
So what should you do?
We gave this a little more thought than usual a few days ago when our move to a new server caused a few Internet Service Providers (like Bell South, AT&T, Yahoo and a few others) to block the newsletter as spam.
The new server is a different computer, after all. So it has a different Internet Protocol address (you know, like our new one, 220.127.116.11). And that confused the ISPs. They were expecting the newsletter from the old IP address and didn't trust the new one (even though they knew our domain name imaging-resource.com had been switched to the new IP address by then).
After 250 of them, sending the newsletter is pretty foolproof from our perspective. These days we just call up a Web form, paste the text into one of the fields and click the send button (more or less). And off it goes to all of you through our server.
Well, off it goes to your ISP.
That's where things can first get sticky. Sending thousands of 48K emails to an ISP from one IP can appear like spam to them. They can, caught unawares, block every one of them just on principle.
To avoid that, we petition them to be whitelisted. That identifies our IP as one of the good guys so what we send gets passed along to you. Unfortunately, whitelisting can take a good long time.
And it's threatened when some subscribers cancel their subscription by clicking on their ISP's Spam button. It may be convenient, but it tells your ISP that we're bad guys. They count those up (there's always a handful each issue) and hold them against us. We do remove those addresses just before each mailing, but it's much more polite to do it yourself.
The way to unsubscribe is the very same way you subscribe. Visit the Subscriber Services page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-subs.html). Your wish will be instantly executed.
But even whitelisted, your copy of the newsletter (with the actual email address to which it was sent reported in the text at the bottom of each issue) can still be blocked. You may have enabled some spam filtering either at your ISP or in your email software that inadvertently blocks 48K emails like ours.
So what should you do?
Well, the first thing to do is check our Subscriber Services page (http://www.imaging-resource.com/IRNEWS/index-subs.html), where we'll post a little sidebar explaining any general problem with the mailing. We did that last week for the first (and let's hope last) time. If there's nothing up there, you may be sure we sent the issue to you. And you can confirm you're in our database by trying to subscribe -- you won't be able to enter a second subscription if you're already in there.
The second thing to do is check your email software's filters to make sure you aren't blocking the newsletter.
The third thing to do is contact customer support at your ISP to see if they have some Junk or Spam filter blocking the newsletter. That's generally the problem, by the way, but they hate to lift a finger if you haven't done anything yourself.
Funny that after 250 issues we'd feel compelled to discuss this, but Internet security, spam and junk email have gotten so problematic that we thought we should explain the situation. After all, every one of you matters a great deal to us.
At http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEW1.HTM you can keep track of what's new on our main site. Among the highlights since the last issue:
- Previewed: Canon Rebel T1i (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T1I/T1IA.HTM)
- Reviewed: Fujifilm FinePix F60fd (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F60FD/F60FDA.HTM)
- Reviewed: Sony 70-400mm f/4-5.6G (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1223/cat/83)
- Reviewed: Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1186/cat/23)
More than we care to admit, what the camera captures, what we see on our monitor and what we print are not only reductions of the scene before our eyes, but also merely equivalents of each other. The trick has always been to arrange things through profiling so they were credible equivalents.
We have no trouble grasping that the range of brightness in the real world is vastly greater than what we can capture. We may be a little shocked to find out what a small range the four-color printing process is capable of, but we can understand it.
And if we think a little about the difference between light reflected off a page or a print and light transmitted by a monitor, we can appreciate that a credible equivalent is, in itself, an achievement.
We can't do much about extending the brightness range of the print. But as monitors become the primary viewing device for digital images, we may have reached the point where we don't much care.
Even billboards are moving from print to electronic displays.
Recently photographer John Paul Caponigro interviewed Will Hollingworth, senior manager of product development for NEC (http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/wordpress/?p=329). In that interview, Hollingworth revealed a few things to consider when thinking about a high-end monitor.
By high-end monitor, we mean simply something at least 24-inches diagonal costing roughly between $800 to $1,500 where hardware calibration and even illumination are not foreign concepts and a wide color gamut is the Holy Grail.
Odd as it may seem, though brightness range may be unattainable, color gamut is apparently not. As Hollingworth observed, Epson UltraChrome K3 inks have a color gamut beyond that of traditional displays.
So what should we look for in a high-end monitor?
Hollingworth suggested the LCD panel itself is the place to start. There are three types used in high-end monitors:
He cautioned about giving too much weight to the dynamic contrast ratio, which matters more for watching movies than editing stills. Contrast ratio for prints, he said, equates to 300:1 or less. Much less, in our experience.
- TN or Twisted Nematic panels, whose elements twist to block light, are the low price leader with high response rates. On the downside, however, they lack color fidelity and have a very narrow viewing angle. Great for gamers, not so much for photographers.
- VA or Vertical Alignment panels, whose elements shift to allow light through, have better color than TN panels and high contrast ratios but when you view them at an angle, color shifts, particularly in the shadows.
- IPS or In Plan Switching panels, which uses two transistors for every pixel and a brighter backlight, have great color fidelity and wide viewing angles but are expensive.
Instead, look at the color gamut and match it to the kind of work you do. If, for example, you don't go to print, but display your work on the Web, a traditional sRGB color gamut would be fine. But if you shoot Raw to print with K3 inks, you need a wide color gamut monitor.
And a monitor capable of hardware calibration can automate monitor calibration, configuring the monitor's internal settings to maximize its performance, including compensating for any non-uniformity in the screen (and they all suffer that defect).
On the other hand, Hollingworth observed, no monitor is perfect. While he expects to see improvements in viewing angle, color uniformity and color gamut, there are unresolved issues that photographers should keep in mind.
Chief among those is that the resolution of today's LCDs is too crude to simulate print sharpening at 100 percent. Soft proofing is limited by the inability to simulate dot gain, as well.
But as the resolution of the monitor increases, other problems start to surface. Icons, menus and fonts don't scale up as the resolution increases making many applications very difficult to use on large monitors. Of course that problem isn't limited to running Lightroom on an Eizo. Ever try running Photoshop Elements on a 24-inch iMac?
And wide color gamut displays create chaos on the desktop, too. It was one thing when only 16 colors were available. But when you get beyond millions of colors, the lack of color management on the desktop and in your Web browser can make icons glow and oversaturate images. Look for an sRGB mode in a wide color gamut monitor to work around that while your operating system catches up with display technology.
With wide color gamut displays finding their way into studios now, Hollingworth suggested even sRGB images should be tagged with ICC profiles.
DisplayPort, the new video connection seen on MacBook Pros, provides for video color bit depth greater than eight bits. But the operating system, color management system, applications and GPU drivers all have to be on board to make deeper bit-depth displays work.
There are some beautiful displays being produced right now but, like any long-term relationship, it helps to know a bit more about them before you decide to live with one.
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 various Canon cameras at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6f773
Visit the Sony Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6f789
A reader asks about memory cards at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.eea8e79/0
Read comments about the Canon MP980 printer at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.eeab4ee/0
Visit the Scanners Forum at http://www.photo-forums.com/[email protected]@.ee6b2ae
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RE: Losing Metadata
When I copy (drag and drop) vertically-orientated images from iPhoto, the Exif metadata is missing. If I copy the original in the Finder, it is OK. Has anyone else seen this problem?
-- Robert Mark(When iPhoto '08 "copies" your vertical Nikon image, it is actually rewriting the data in a vertical orientation (which Nikon does not do). And, in doing so, it eliminates the Exif exposure data. The workaround would be to import your images using Image Capture and use a lossless rotation utility to orient the image data of vertical images before import into iPhoto. In fact, we use an old pre-Microsoft version of iView MediaPro just for image rotation. -- Editor)
RE: Buying Ink Cartridges
I feel your pain. I have never been able to buy ink for my Epson 2200 in retail stores around my home. There is nothing worse than getting caught up in the excitement and creativity of a project only to realize you are out of ink! I have found that the number one place for fast, free shipping is Costco. I sometimes get my order the next day!!! And it's the cheapest price, too.
-- Marlee(Thanks for the tip, Marlee! We didn't realize how quickly they can ship (but with warehouses all over, we're not surprised). -- Editor)
RE: Large Prints
Enjoyed your review of the HP B8550 13x19 printer.
I had trouble finding the past articles you mentioned showing how printing big prints is easy and cheap.
I've looked in several stores and can't find any frames that handle 13x19. You mention using a larger frame and matting. Can't find 13x19 mats either. So, are you recommending a mat cutter?
I love the idea as you proposed (filling my walls with large prints) but it seems daunting. The $300 for the printer is the least of it.
Keep up the good work.
-- Dave Warnock(We discussed this in the August 31, 2007 issue (the article "Framing a 13x19 Print" suggests 18x25 frames). And see the Letters column of the next two issues for reader ideas. In the March 30, 2007 issue, look at the first Editor's Note discussing Scotch Mounting Squares -- no frame needed. Once all the mysteries are revealed, it's a piece of cake. We think it's harder to print birthday cards, actually <g>. -- Editor)
RE: Olympus E-510
I own an Olympus E-510. If I can find a old SLR wide angle lens will it work on my E-510?
-- John Sheckells(Olympus OM Series lenses can be mounted on E-System dSLRs but you need the $100 MF-1 OM lens adapter. Since they don't have electronics, they won't be able to autofocus (and OM Series autofocus lenses can't be manually focused), spot metering doesn't work and there are a few other limitations. See http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_support_faqs.asp?id=1295#9 for details. -- Editor)
I enjoyed your article on double exposures but had to sigh loudly when you mentioned the Argus! One of my first cameras ... my dad had it before he died suddenly when I was 9 -- I am now 79! I had helped him build his darkroom, which then became mine!
-- Gene Hastings(Ah, that's quite a story, Gene! Certainly beats the flea market. -- Editor)
What happens when a mouse invades the kitchen of a guy feverishly trying to put the finishing touches on his remote triggering device for strobes? Read what kind of mouse trap Pocket Wizard's Jim Clark devised (http://strobist.blogspot.com/2009/03/building-better-mousetrap.html) for his "intern."
Wacom (http://www.wacom.com) has unveiled its Intuos4 pen tablet in four sizes: small ($229), medium ($369), large ($499) and extra large ($789). The new model introduces a new pen tip with Wacom's Tip Sensor technology and a user-defined Touch Ring and side-positioned ExpressKeys with illuminated labels. The tablet can be flipped for either right- or left-handed use. A mouse, pen stand and choice of software products (including Photoshop Elements) are also included.
The Plugin Site (http://www.thepluginsite.com) has announced its Postcard Contest 2009. The top seven entries (not to mention six consolation prize winners) in each of two categories will win prizes consisting of 57 software products and five books. The categories are Best Purchased Postcard and Best Created Postcard with extra points for a witty message and interesting stamp on the back. Entries must be received by Aug. 31.
ACD Systems (http://www.edeei.com) has developed its $39.99 ACDSee Picture Frame Manager [MW]. The software lets you drag-and-drop to load the frame with images optimized for the frame size and resolution, converting various formats to JPEG. Settings can be saved for multiple frames, as well.
Found a camera and can't find the owner? Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures (http://ifoundyourcamera.blogspot.com) can reunite owner and camera. Just post one of the shots you found and where you found it and who knows?
CHROMiX (http://www2.chromix.com/colorvalet/pro) has announced ColorValet Pro, an ICC color profiling service offering unlimited profiles for a single printer for $199 ($179 introductory). ColorValet Pro profiles are anonymously shared into the ColorPool for their printer. The ColorPool is a shared collection of profiles for all users of a specific printer model. ColorPool members have immediate access to previously-built media profiles while they determine if a custom profile is necessary to meet their needs. ColorValet Pro beta testing is expected to begin March 31 and the service will be live mid-April.
Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) has released Creative Suite 4 benchmarking results from a study (http://www.adobe.com/go/cs_productivity) conducted by Pfeiffer Consulting and commissioned by Adobe. Tests covered workflow-related productivity measures as well as market-specific design and publishing activities. Bottom line: CS4 provides productivity increases up to several thousand dollars per workstation per year.
Phase One and Mamiya Digital Imaging have announced that Phase One is making a significant financial investment in Mamiya (http://www.mamiya.co.jp) to accelerate the development of advanced, world-class medium format camera systems by leveraging engineering expertise and efficiencies in product development, marketing and sales.
O'Reilly has published Ben Long's The Nikon D90 Companion, available via the Imaging Resource Amazon affiliate program at a 34 percent discount (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0596159870/?tag=theimagingres-20).
Deke McClelland has performed The Droplet Song (A Love Song to a Lost Feature in Photoshop) to kick off the next round of his video podcast series (http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2009/03/18/dekepod-droplet-song.html).
In an email to Kodak Gallery members, Kodak announced that members must make qualifying annual minimum purchases to maintain their albums on the service. Members storing images that use 2-GB or less "make annual minimum purchases totaling at least $4.99." And members storing over 2-GB must "spend $19.99 annually to continue storage of your photos." See the new Terms of Service (http://link.kodakgallery.com/u.d?HYGtvP8jviSr9z8nEJTp=291) for details.
Iridient Digital (http://www.iridientdigital.com) has released RAW Developer 1.8.3 [M] with support for the latest new camera models, GPS metadata support, improved default camera curves for the Nikon D3X and Sony DSLR-A900 and fixes several bugs.
Imagenomic (http://www.imagenomic.com) has released its $199.95 Portraiture 2 for Aperture following a public beta test by over 1,000 Aperture users.
An exhibit of prints by Andrew Darlow will be held at Alfa Art Gallery in New York City through April 15. Andrew is also hosting a Photography Lecture on April 3 with Ron Wyatt (http://wyatt42.eventbrite.com) and an Inkjet Printing Workshop on April 4 (http://darlow44.eventbrite.com).
Hamrick (http://www.hamrick.com) has released VueScan v8.5.08 [LMW]. Since v8.5.07, the program has supported the Microtek M1, which escaped our notice until reader John Banister pointed it out to us.
Hungry but can't afford the calories? Try a scanwich (http://scanwiches.com), probably the best idea for using a girlfriend's old scanner yet invented.
For just $150 per insertion you can list your URL or 800 number here (up to a maximum of 70 text characters).
Digital Photography Tutorials for Beginners: http://www.photoxels.com
Curtin Short Courses: http://imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?bdc
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