Friday, March 30, 2007

O'Reilly Media Authors At Upcoming Photoshop World Expo

The annual Photoshop World Conference & Expo takes place in Boston, MA, USA from April 3rd to 6th, and some of O’Reilly Media’s bestselling photography authors will be hosting a series of talks. Below is text taken from their official company press release.

Sebastopol, CA--Each year thousands of die-hard Photoshop aficionados from around the globe flock to Photoshop World Conference & Expo. This year fans are off to Boston. There, from April 3 to 6, conference goers can network, get the inside scoop on new products, and learn more about the latest tools and techniques. And with anticipation building over Adobe’s recent announcement of its soon-to-be-released Creative Suite 3, you can bet filmmakers, videographers, graphic designers, as well as digital photographers, have zillions of questions about the new features and functions of this dynamic new software.

To answer these queries and more, along with assisting digital photographers at every skill level, O’Reilly Media is delighted to host many of its own bestselling photography authors at this year’s expo. In a series of thought provoking and illuminating talks, these O’Reilly authors plan to share their knowledge at O’Reilly Booth #203.

“With the release of CS3, many photographers are wondering if they should stick with the Bridge workflow and all of its new enhancements, or consider Adobe Lightroom to manage their photography workflow,” says Derrick Story, the digital media evangelist for O’Reilly, as well as the author of “Digital Photography Hacks” and “Digital Photography Pocket Guide.” “I’m going to help answer that question by taking visitors to the O’Reilly booth on an accelerated exploration into Lightroom and its benefits for photographers. It’s going to be fun.”

For more information about Photoshop World, conference and class schedule, visit: photoshopworld.com

HP Announces Street Photography Gallery And Competition

HP has announced the launch of the Street Photography online gallery to give professional photographers the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Recontres d’Arles photography festival in July 2007.

Photographers can display their work for free through the Street Photography online gallery at hypegallery.com. They can also enter the competition to have their images displayed at Arles, where they will be reproduced professionally on an HP Z-series printer, and even attend the festival with Stuart Franklin, a leading Magnum photographer and the current Magnum president

Street Photography Online
Riding on the success of the HYPE galleries, the Street Photography gallery encourages photographers to look at the urban landscape in innovative or unusual ways. Cracks in the pavement, peeling walls, shadows cast by stairwells, could all be included in Street Photography.

By following the instructions on the Street Photography website, photographers can upload their images to the gallery where they are displayed online.

The gallery works in a similar way to the HYPE galleries through which thousands of participants have exhibited their work online and seen them printed to a professional standard on HP Z-series printers in capital cities across the world including London, Berlin, Paris and Singapore. The most recent Hype event in Berlin in November 2006 had 13,000 visitors to the exhibition and 60,000 unique visitors to the online gallery.
Above is partial text taken from official HP press release.

PhotoZoom Pro 2.2 Upgrade From BenVista

BenVista has released an update to their digital image resizing software, PhotoZoom Pro version 2.2, a program that claims to create large-scale images without artifacts and blurred edges which can occur during digital photo enlargements. BenVista introduced PhotoZoom Pro back in August 2006. The application is a photo enlargement software tailored for large-format digital printers, Web design, and online publishers. PhotoZoom Pro can also be used for examining images up close in space technology, security, medical and forensic fields, according to the company website.

PhotoZoom Pro 2.2 improvements include faster performance, enhanced preference settings, and a new manual. BenVista claims its S-Spline XL interpolation algorithm differentiates it from other photo enlargement software. For example, if a user wanted to print a 400x300 pixel image at 4x its dimensions, a 1600x1200 pixel image would need to be created, with the software filling in the missing pixels. Unlike other enlargement software programs that consider the averages of pixels, the S-Spline algorithm is adaptive and evaluates the values of pixels, yielding better results, according to the website.

The software is compatible with Photoshop 6 or higher and Corel’s Paint Shop Pro and Photo-PAINT. With compatibility for both PC and Mac computers, PhotoZoom Pro supports current Microsoft-supported Windows operating systems and Mac OS X 10.3 or higher. Users can download the software as a stand-alone program or as an Adobe Photoshop plug-in companion. The software is available for download for $149 for the full version while the update is free for existing users. A free trial version of BenVista’s PhotoZoom Pro 2.2. is available for download at www.benvista.com.
Image provided by BenVista.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Website Packages From LiveBooks

LiveBooks introduces "Wedding Platinum and Gold" website packages that simplify the creation of multimedia photography websites. Below is the official company press release.

San Francisco, CA. – March, 2007 – liveBooks, Inc., a leading provider of fully editable website solutions for professional photographers, has announced it will begin providing two new website packages created specifically for the needs of wedding photographers. These new packages -- liveBooks Wedding Platinum and liveBooks Wedding Gold -- will enable wedding photographers to transform their websites into compelling multi-media presentations that capture the imagination and hearts of potential clients.

Delivering an engaging rich-media site is an effective way to create an emotional connection with potential clients is a great way to deliver a complete emotional experience. In the past this has been accomplished by hiring a web designer. Now with liveBooks Wedding Platinum and Wedding Gold photographers are empowered to create and control this experience in an easy-to-use environment.

Both Wedding Platinum and Wedding Gold include custom design time with the liveBooks design team, the ability to upload slideshows, movies, and music, a selection of background graphics, an information request form, as well as the ability to link to third party services such as blogs and print fulfillment suppliers. The new packages also include the liveBooks editSuite, a revolutionary web-based editing software that gives photographers complete creative control over all the content on their website through a series of intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces. All these features combine to provide wedding photographers with a simple and intuitive way to take their web presence to the next level.

Why is a media-rich website so crucial to the wedding photographer? Today’s brides are selecting their vendors online. Securing a wedding photographer is a very personal and emotional decision, and for many potential clients the website is the first and possibly last place they will visit to select their photographer. Therefore, having a professionally designed, up-to-date website that clearly communicates your creative vision is a base requirement to be a successful wedding photographer. The new liveBooks packages deliver on these requirements and more, giving photographers a distinct advantage over their competition, and a leg up on the future.

“The wedding photography market is very competitive, to under estimate the value of having a website design that sets you apart from the competition is a big mistake,” says Jay Sandifer, wedding photographer and liveBooks wedding marketing and development manager.
“Combining the custom design delivered by the liveBooks design along with the power of the liveBooks editSuite means that photographers can clearly communicate their unique style and personality with the ability to fully control the content keeping it fresh on a daily basis.”

A Customized Website
Included in both packages is the ability to deliver specific design input to the liveBooks design team as well as a design comp review on a temporary url, and a final revision with the liveBooks design team. Through this process the design team works together with the photographer to create a professional design identity for the website that incorporates the clients existing graphic identity, or together they create something entirely new. The end result is a unique website for each client in a process that ensures the client is completely satisfied with their new site design before it goes live.

Slideshow and Movie upload
The ability to easily upload movies and choreographed slideshow presentations enables wedding photographers to transform a simple portfolio website into a compelling multi-media experience. Wedding photographers commonly create slideshows for their clients that they host on FTP sites but incorporating them into their site is a new way to enhance their online presence. Taking it one step further, the photographer can choose to upload movies introducing themselves and their philosophies giving them a way to personally connect to their clients prior to ever meeting in person or on the phone.

Used together, the slideshow and movie upload features empower photographers with the tools they need to capture the imagination and trust of potential clients before they even meet them.

Music
Adding music to a website can set a mood for the site but to truly create an emotional reaction a photographer needs to upload different tracks for different parts of the site. For example, one might want to upload a sentimental track to accompany a portfolio of wedding images, and an energetic track to accompany the reception party photos. The liveBooks editSuite empowers photographers with this level of creative control over the music on their site.

Blogs & Print Service Providers
Most wedding photographers have a blog in order to communicate the latest news to their clients. In addition, it is common for photographers to have an existing relationship with a web based proof review and print fulfillment provider. The liveBooks Platinum package includes the ability to link to both an external blog and a third part provider while the Wedding Gold includes one of these two links as standard with the option to upgrade to include two links.

liveBooks Wedding Platinum includes seven portfolios with an image size of 920 pixels wide with hide/reveal navigation. This package comes standard with five menu item pages and two additional menu items that can be used to link to external sites such as a blog and a print fulfillment provider as well as a selection of background graphics, an information request form and as described above the ability to upload movies, slideshows, and music.

liveBooks Wedding Gold includes three portfolios with an image size of 750 pixels wide along with persistent navigation. This package includes two menu item pages and one additional menu item that can be used to link to external sites as well as a selection of background graphics, an information request form and as described above the ability to upload movies, slideshows, and music.

liveBooks Wedding Platinum and Gold packages are sold as a one-time, non-recurring fee and are $3,300 and $2,100, respectively. All liveBooks websites are hosted by liveBooks at their state-of-the-art server farm for an annual hosting fee of $90 a year or $7.50 a month. For more detailed information, visit livebooks.com to download the Wedding Product Comparison document available in the “Products Overview and Pricing” Section.

New Powergrip For Nikon DSLR From Ansmann Energy

Below is the official company press release from Ansmann Energy regarding the release of their new Powergrips for select Nikon digital SLR cameras.

March 2007 - ANSMANN ENERGY supply even more power for your digital camera! After the huge success of the Powergrip C-400 for the Canon digital cameras EOS 350 D and EOS 400 D, ANSMANN now offers two new battery grips for Nikon users. Designed for the digital cameras Nikon D 80 and Nikon D 40/D 40 X Ansmann now offer the new Battery Grips N-80 pro and N-40 power that gives; "power nearly without end" for Nikon fans.

The Battery Grip N-80 pro is the ideal power partner for the Nikon D 80. Up to 5000 shots with one charge (battery capacity approx. 3600mAh) is now possible! The handling of the camera is improved, in particular for users with large hands and for portrait style photography the handle is equipped with an additional shutter release, function wheels and memory key. It is deal for globetrotters as a car DC input plug is also supplied (along with the AC mains adaptor) to charge the pack whilst on the move.

The Battery Grip N-40 is perfectly adapted to the housing of the Nikon D 40/D 40 X. With the integrated, extremely light Li-Polymer rechargeable pack (battery capacity approx. 2200mAh) it is possible to take up to 2000 pictures between charges. Designed for the volume user groups that need the most attractive price the Battery Grip N-40 will be delivered without the portrait format shutter release and the car DC charging cable.

Both Battery Grips can be used with the power supply also as a direct current supply for the cameras. Both grips are available end of April 2007.
Image provided by Ansmann Energy.

Mitsubishi Announces CP-9800DW Photo Printer

Mitsubishi Photo Imaging has announced a new high-volume dye-sub printer. The CP-9800DW is marketed toward professional photographers and photo retailers.

The CP-9800DW will be available in July for $2,595. Like other Mitsubishi digital photo printers, it is backed by the company's Express Replacement Assistance program, which guarantees a replacement product to be shipped within 24 hours of a claim.

The 37.4-pound printer connects to a kiosk interface or computer via USB 2.0. Mitsubishi claims the CP-9800DW can output a 4x6-inch print in 8.7 seconds, which means that it can produce 100 prints in less than 15 minutes. It can output 300-dpi borderless prints in four sizes: 3.5x5, 4x6, 5x7, and 6x9.
Image provided by Mitsubishi Photo Imaging.

New ActionBook Photoshop Plug-In From Imagenomic

Imagenomic has released ActionBook, a set of Adobe Photoshop actions and tutorials designed to improve digital photographers’ workflow. ActionBook is a plug-in companion to the company’s Pro Plug-in Suite, which consists of Noiseware, Portraiture, and RealGrain.

The plug-ins simplify time-consuming digital photography adjustments – reducing noise in photographs shot at high ISOs, multi-step portrait retouching, and realistic looking grain overlays – via actions, which are a set of automated tasks Photoshop performs with the click of a button.

“The goal of ActionBooks is to take proven automation steps using Imagenomic's advanced tools and combine them with non-linear learning so the knowledge-building process becomes visually intrinsic, dynamic, and highly-relevant to the photographer's own workflow process," said Imagenomic CEO David McDonell in a company press release. In future releases, photographers will be able to create their own actions and share their editing process with fellow photographers.

For more information, trial downloads, or to purchase ActionBook, visit http://www.imagenomic.com/.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Images Of New Sony DSLR Possibilities

I don’t speak or read Japanese but I did come across a website with close-up photos of new Sony DSLRs and lenses that were showcased at the recent PMA in Las Vegas, NV behind glass. The images on the Japanese site were actually taken at a recent Photo Imaging Expo in Tokyo where Sony had three DSLRs out and about. It looks as if the A100 is featured, along with a ‘pro-sumer ‘model, and the other (with pointed prism housing) is a professional model that might possibly feature a full-frame sensor. All of this is speculation at this point, as Sony is being quite closed-lipped about the camera specifications and street dates.

The supposed ‘pro’ model, resembling a modified Minolta Maxxum 9, has a hot shoe but no built-in flash, and as the images indicate it has a robust body construction and available vertical grip. The possible ‘pro-sumer’ version is also pictured with vertical grip, but looks less like a Minolta Maxxum 7 than the Konica Minolta 7D, as the second knurled control dial on the top of the camera body has been removed. The third DSLR pictured is the already available Alpha 100. All models are displayed with one of the new Carl Zeiss lenses attached.

All of the cameras look great in the images on this Japanese website, and it is maddening that Sony won’t divulge their release plans and specifications for these cameras. The new Carl Zeiss lenses are also featured within the photos. It seems good things are coming from Sony this year, I just wish I had more patience and was able to read Japanese.

Graphicxtras.com Provides Plug-In Repository

Graphicxtras.com is the Grand Central Station of Adobe plug-ins. Discover both free and commercial plug-ins for Adobe graphics and imaging applications. Paint Shop Pro and Painter accessories are also available, even font packages can be purchased.

Some recent packages available this month include a Nozzles/Grains/Patterns Collection for Corel Painter; 100 brush stroke displacement maps, distortions, and textures for Adobe Photoshop; and a Patterns Pack 4 ‘SquareContours’ package for Adobe Photoshop containing 160 contour mixed designs.

Graphicxtras.com even supplies an RSS feed in order to allow users the ability to be notified of newly available plug-ins.

Urban Disguise Camera Equipment Bags

Photography equipment manufacturer Think Tank Photo has announced the release of Urban Disguise bags, designed to ward off the attention of camera crooks. The over-the-shoulder bags are nondescript and resemble run-of-the-mill luggage. The bags are available in six sizes - the largest models are roomy enough to hold multiple digital SLR cameras, lenses, and laptops.

“This design concept is the culmination of years of observation of photojournalists and other photographers who have jury-rigged their bags to decrease their public exposure,” said Think Tank Photo founder and lead designer Doug Murdoch. “Whether you are a professional who wishes to maintain a lower profile in potentially dangerous situations or a serious amateur who wishes to lessen the risk of having your gear ripped off, the Urban Disguise’s low profile design allows you to carry the right gear with less fear.”

A portion of sales of Urban Disguise bags will be donated to Reporters Without Borders USA. The bags retail for $69 - $189 and are available for purchase at thinktankphoto.com and select photography equipment retailers.

PictoColor Releases iCorrect Color Correction Software

Below is the official company press release from PictoColor regarding the release of their new iCorrect EditLab ProApp 6.0 application that provides a simplified, high speed solution to color adjustment of large volume image workflows.

March 2007 - When asked, most professional photographers and photo enthusiasts say that one of the most time consuming parts of their digital workflow is getting the color right. With its highly-acclaimed technology, smartly arranged tools and workflow enhancing features, iCorrect EditLab ProApp will save hours and minimize the frustration of making color adjustments so photographers can spend less time in front of the computer and more time behind the camera.

Time-Saving Workflows with ProcessQ
At the heart of iCorrect EditLab ProApp is the new ProcessQ, a completely redesigned image queue that allows photographers to easily view, sort and manage their color corrections for more efficient, time-saving workflows. After images are added to ProcessQ, the entire collection is displayed as thumbnails at the bottom of the main panel. With ProcessQ, users can step through and correct and save any number of images -- either one at a time or as an entire group. Adjustments can even be synchronized across multiple images almost instantly for rapid fire batch processing.

Frustration-Free Color Correction with Professional Results
For photographers looking for an easier way to make the color right, iCorrect EditLab Pro offers an intuitive, straight-forward tool set. iCorrect EditLab ProApp consists of four separate tools logically arranged from left to right providing a wizard-like approach to accurate color. The tools are designed in such a way that as photographers progress from left to right, adjustments made with one tool will not and in fact, cannot be affected by any of the tools to its right. This alleviates the common frustration of correcting for one thing while throwing off another. With iCorrect EditLab ProApp, one pass through the tools and that's it. Plus, each tool has an optional SmartColor feature which analyzes the image and adjusts the settings to their initial recommended settings.

Perfect Companion Program for Raw Workflows
For digital photo purists who want to take full advantage of all the benefits of Raw capture, iCorrect EditLab ProApp is the perfect complement to any Raw conversion software. It simplifies enhanced color adjustments with intuitive, easy-to-use tools that eliminate the frustration of fine-tuning images for final presentation. After converting Raw image files with a favorite converter, photographers can add that extra punch more quickly and easily with iCorrect EditLab ProApp's unique wizard-like tool set.

Advanced Black-and-White Conversions and Sepia Tones
For photographers looking to add creative artistic effects, iCorrect EditLab ProApp's advanced technology makes black-and-white conversions and sepia tones easier than ever before. iCorrect EditLab ProApp's unique approach allows users to control how the colors map to gray scale as well as selectively retain certain colors of the original image for stunning results.

Pricing and Availability
iCorrect EditLab ProApp 6.0 may be purchased at PictoColor's online store at
http://www.pictocolor.com for an introductory price of $99.95 as a software download. iCorrect EditLab ProApp 6.0 will later sell for $149.95. An upgrade is available to current users of any of PictoColor's iCorrect products for an introductory price of $79.95 as a software download. Upgrades will later sell for $99.95. A free downloadable demo version is available at http://www.pictocolor.com. Recommended system requirements are Macintosh OSX 10.4.3, 1-GHz PowerPC G4 processor or Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Window Vista, Intel Pentium 4 Processor and 768-MB RAM and a 1024x768 resolution screen. iCorrect EditLab ProApp 6.0 is a Universal Binary application that will run natively on PowerPC and new Intel-based Macintosh systems.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Release

Adobe will provide its initial release of the new Creative Suite 3 today which will be the largest software release in the company’s history. Macromedia products such as Dreamweaver that were recently purchased by Adobe will now be integrated into the Creative Suite products. A live webcast will take place today at 3:30pm EST on the Adobe website.

Creative Suite 3 comes in six configurations, covering the spectrum of creative professionals. The configurations are Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Design Standard editions; Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Web Standard editions; and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium. Rounding out the product line is Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection which combines 12 of Adobe’s new design and development applications in a single box.

Standalone application upgrades are also available if you choose to upgrade the applications individually. Upgraded applications in the suite include Photoshop CS3 Extended, InDesign CS3, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional and Dreamweaver CS3.

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Standard and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Standard will begin shipping in April 2007. Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection will begin shipping worldwide in the third quarter of 2007.

Creative Suite 3 Design Premium will cost $1799, Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium will be $1599, Creative Suite 3 Production Premium is $1699 and the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection will cost $2499. There are also numerous upgrade paths available for Adobe customers.

Fujifilm Launches Customized Postage Stamps

Fujifilm launched a new service for personalized postage called YourStamps.com, which allows photographers to put their photos on customized stamps for retail pick-up or have the personalized stamps shipped to them.

“YourStamps exemplifies Fujifilm’s commitment to supporting its retailers by providing innovative new ways to increase revenue and drive in-store traffic,” said Fujifilm vice president of Marketing and Strategic Analysis Gael Lundeen. “YourStamps is a very affordable and extremely easy way for retailers to create potential year-round new revenue streams,” said Lundeen.

Americans spend $22 billion on stamps each year, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Research shows that as much of 20 percent of those consumers would buy customized postage, stated a March 14 Fuji company press release. With Fuji’s YourStamps, users can purchase stamps worth 24 cents up to $4.05, including the standard 39 cents for a regular-sized letter. Users can choose not only the image but layout, font, text, and borders. Fuji states on their website that customized postage could be used for wedding invitations, showcasing personal artwork, or even promoting a new business.

Restrictions on the personalized stamps include that consumers must have copyright ownership or authorization for using a photo or logo. Consumers are also prohibited from using obscene or pornographic images. The size of Fuji YourStamps postage is larger than a regular U.S. postage stamp, measuring 1.3 x 2.1 inches with the actual photo measuring 1 x 1.7 inches. One sheet, consisting of 20 x 39 cent stamps will cost $17.99, about 10 dollars over the standard $7.80 that people would pay for regular postage. If there is not a participating retailer in your area, the stamps can be shipped for an additional charge.

This is a perfect promotional tool for photographers who want to display images, company name and website URL on a postage stamp. Place these on your company mailings or give a sheet to clients as part of a photo package. Interested photographers can make their own customized stamps at http://www.yourstamps.com/.

Custom Photographic Services On The Rise

Photographers can now do much more with their photos than simply turn images into prints, with options including bound books, clothing, and even pottery. Markets have made a definite shift to customized photo services, according to a Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Data Watch briefing released today.

“It was no longer about if companies should embrace custom services but when and what they should be offering,” said PMA Marketing Research Director Dimitrios Delis about the selection of services exhibited at this month’s PMA show.

According to PMA, over one-third of Americans (38 percent) bought customized photo merchandise last year. In 2008, the market for photo merchandise is estimated to gross over $1 billion, according to research by PMA. Another market research firm InfoTrends, however, predicts that photo merchandise will not develop at nearly as fast a rate as PMA forecasts, predicting that customized photo gifts will gross $800 million at a little later in 2010. Regardless, market analysts generally see photo merchandise on the rise. Photographers can expect more custom photo services to come, along with more competition between the manufacturers who offer those services.

PMA recommends that marketers should strategize depending on target customer groups. For instance, DSLR users tend to value quality while seasonal photographers tend to value price, according to PMA. “Servicing the custom market, by definition, means configuring the appropriate strategy for the appropriate customers in your market,” said Delis.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New Digital Photography Contest From Harman

The following article is from Andrew Shafer at PopPhoto.com:

To coincide with the launch of its new professional photographic inkjet paper, Harman Technology has announced a photography competition.

The competition is unrestrictive, and entrants can photograph any theme and any subject matter they wish, in color or black and white. Although Harman, a Mobberley, England-based company, has sponsored many competitions involving its Ilford Photo traditional monochrome photographic products, for which the company is most well-known, this is the first time the company has developed a competition solely for digital photographs.

First prize in the competition is an exclusive, two-day personal workshop with renowned fine-art photographer Les McLean, who has written for numerous photography magazines and had his first book, Creative Black and White Photography, published in 2002.

McLean began his obsession with photography in 1976, when he traded in his guitar for a camera. He had been playing since the '50s, when he worked in a coal mine during the day and played with his band at night. After leaving the mine and traveling around the UK with his band for several years, McLean returned to school and soon began a job as an accountant, still playing music on the side. But, in 1976, he discovered photography and quickly became obsessed. He toiled away with his accountant job for years afterward, though, and finally gave up the job to take on photography and writing full-time in the early 1990s, after the publisher of Pro Photo, a UK photography magazine approached him to write a monthly column, making him realize that he might be able to make a career out of photography. McLean has solely focused on the art side of photography since then, eschewing the corporate aspects of the business.

In addition to the one-on-one comprehensive course with McLean, the winner of the Harman competition will receive 150 British pounds ($295 USD); the second-place finisher will receive 100 pounds ($197 USD) and the third-place finisher will receive 50 pounds ($98 USD).The deadline submitting photos is August 31, 2007; winners will be announced September 28. Full details can be found at the Harman Photo Web site.

HARMAN Announces New Photo Inkjet Paper

HARMAN announces springtime launch for second HARMAN PHOTO inkjet paper in official company press release below:

March, 2007 - HARMAN technology has officially announced launch plans for the second product in its pioneering HARMAN PHOTO professional inkjet media range – the HARMAN PHOTO MATT FB Mp WARMTONE paper. Details of the new warmtone product were first unveiled at this year’s Focus on Imaging exhibition, held at Birmingham’s NEC.

Howard Hopwood, marketing director at HARMAN technology commented:“Whilst researching and promoting the launch of the first HARMAN PHOTO paper at various photography events, it became clear there was a huge demand for a high-quality warmtone paper. Interest was particularly high amongst black and white enthusiasts familiar with our ILFORD PHOTO traditional monochrome photography products.”

Warmtone products are generally manufactured for a black and white market, enhancing the tonal qualities of an image, and the HARMAN PHOTO’s use of real photo baryta will further augment these qualities.

Howard Hopwood explained:“HARMAN PHOTO products incorporate real photo baryta, which on the Matt FB Mp product offers enhanced colour brightness, archival properties and tonal range. However, through our heritage in monochrome photography, we understand the facets baryta can bring to black and white images, and the warmtone product really brings these benefits to the fore.”

“However,” he continued, “The HARMAN PHOTO MATT FB Mp WARMTONE paper will still be suitable for colour images, and we have noticed in our testing that it is particularly effective in enriching skin tones on colour portrait images.”

The HARMAN PHOTO professional inkjet papers are manufactured through an entirely unique process, using some of the same technology and equipment used to produce ILFORD PHOTO silver monochrome products. Exclusive anti-curl technology has been developed at HARMAN’s plant in Mobberley, Cheshire, which ensures the paper lies completely flat before, during and after printing – helping to recreate the look and feel of traditional photographic prints.

The HARMAN PHOTO MATT FB Mp WARMTONE paper is due for launch in May this year, with further products in the range to follow over the course of 2007 and beyond.

Howard Hopwood added:“At HARMAN technology, our sole aim is to produce products that help photographers create the best possible images. As such, we are committed to the development of new and innovative imaging products that not only adapt to new technologies and trends, but genuinely drive both digital and traditional photography forward. The new Warmtone inkjet paper is testament to this approach.”

Memjet Claims Color Printing Breakthrough

New Color Printing Technology is the First to Deliver High-Speed, Quality Color at a Breakthrough Price/Performance according to the companies official press release below:

Global Ink Jet Printing Conference, Prague - March, 2007 - The new Memjet™ color printing technology, the first to combine high speed and quality color at a leading price/performance, was unveiled today in Kia Silverbrook’s keynote address at the Global Ink Jet Printing Conference in Prague.

The new technology prints full color images at 60 pages per minute (ppm), many times the inkjet industry standard. The technology, which will be a fraction of the price of high-speed color laser devices, will soon be available for OEMs targeting the home/office, photo-kiosk and label markets.

The Memjet technology, which has been in development for more than 10 years, is backed by more than 1,400 U.S. patents; about 2,000 more are pending. Silverbrook Research, the developer of the Memjet technology, received 452 Memjet-related patents from the U.S. Patent Office last year alone. Patents have also been awarded and are pending in many other countries.

“Memjet’s technology delivers on the promise of inkjet for the broader market, with very fast speeds, high-quality color, and significantly lower purchase and operating costs,” said Robert Palmer, director of printer research for InfoTrends, Inc., a market analyst firm headquartered in Weymouth, MA. “With its strong patent portfolio, Memjet is in a favorable position to expand the market opportunities for inkjet technology. Clearly, this is a technology to watch.”

“Conventional wisdom is that you cannot have high speed, quality color and low cost all at once,” said Bill McGlynn, CEO of Memjet’s home and office business. “This technology turns that notion on its head, making page-wide color printing practical and cost-effective. We believe this breakthrough technology will change the printing industry by eliminating the cost and performance barriers of color, and by allowing both incumbents and non-incumbents to compete on a new playing field.”

Speed, Color and Price/PerformanceThe page-wide, ultra-compact technology combines the low cost and ease of use of inkjet technology with the speed and quality of laser, all at a competitive price.

Speed: The technology can print full-color, photo-quality images (4x6” or A6) at 30 ppm, full-color and black-and-white business communication (8.5x11” or A4) at 60 ppm, and draft mode at 90 ppm. In the label, tag and ticket market, this translates into 6 inches per second for full 1600x1600 color printing and 12 inches per second for 1600x800 color printing. This compares to industry standards of about 1 to 2 ppm for 4x6” photos, 10 to 15 ppm for cost-effective “business” color, and 30 ppm for draft mode. The technology also replaces similar-speed, 200 dpi label-printing technologies with a high-resolution color alternative.

A customized driver chip controls each printhead and can calculate 900 million dots per second. Because the Memjet technology prints the whole page at a time, without any warm-up time, the optimized system virtually eliminates waiting for a print job.

Color: The technology prints at native 1600x1600 dpi full resolution with the industry’s smallest drop size (just over one picoliter or one trillioneth of a liter). This design enables high-quality color photos, labels and business documents with virtually instantaneous drying times and low operating costs.

Price/Performance: The Memjet technology boasts the industry’s leading price/performance ratio. A business-class, 60 ppm Memjet-based printer is expected to retail for under $300. The ink pricing is expected to lead the market and help eliminate the price penalty for printing color. The technology is scalable from 20mm to more than 2 meters (6 feet), making it appropriate for everything from small-format phone and camera printing to large-format commercial printing applications. The technology is available now for OEMs interested in home and retail photo applications (4x6” or A6), general business devices (8.5x11” or A4) and on-demand label, tag and ticket- printing devices.

Technology ImplicationsThe technology has major implications for the printing industry. It will allow new brands to quickly enter the market without large development costs, and enable existing brands to extend their portfolios and improve their competitive positions. By setting a new performance standard and significantly lowering acquisition and operating costs, the technology will likely accelerate the shift from monochrome laser printing to color printing in businesses. It will also encourage businesses to decentralize color printing, making it more practical for the workgroup.

Whether printing at home or in retail, the Memjet technology offers a fast, convenient option for printing photos. The technology will also expand the retail options for photo printing by enabling smaller-format, lower-cost, photo-kiosk printers.

And, by adding color and increasing the quality and reliability of label, tag and ticket printing, the technology can potentially disrupt existing thermal label-printing applications.
Patent-backed TechnologyThe Memjet technology is comprised of three highly integrated components: page-wide printheads, driver chips and ink.

The printhead consists of a continuous row of 1mm x 20mm silicon print chips connected end-to-end. Each chip contains 6,400 nozzles, equaling 32,000 nozzles in total for a 100mm (4”) printhead and 70,400 nozzles for a typical lettersize/A4 printhead. The nozzle density is 17 times higher than the nozzle density the market leaders offer in their leading printhead designs, which contributes to the cost effectiveness of the new technology.

The ultra-compact, continuous color printhead stretches from one edge of the page to the other. Unlike traditional scanning inkjet printheads, the Memjet printhead does not move, reducing vibration, noise and mechanical complexity, while dramatically increasing performance.

Leica Introduces New C-Lux 2 Digital Point-And-Shoot

Leica has announced the new C-Lux 2 point-and-shoot digitial camera featuring a 7.2MP sensor, a 2.5-inch LCD, sensitivity range of 100-1250 ISO including a separate high setting of ISO 3200, and captures in standard JPEG format. RAW is not supported on the C-Lux 2 unlike the Leica D-Lux 3 which does support RAW. The C-Lux 2 has 20 scene modes and includes built-in toning effecting for black and white or sepia photos. Users can also record movies in Motion JPEG video at 320 x 240 pixel resolution at 30fps.

Leica’s long-time partner Panasonic launched three FX-series cameras this month at PMA with similar features to the new Leica-branded C-Lux 2. Similar to the Panasonic DMC-FX 30 introduced in January, the Leica C-Lux 2 features a Leica DC Vario Elmarit zoom lens with 3.6x optical zoom and a 28mm wide angle. The C-Lux 2 also sports Mega O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilization.)

The Leica C-Lux 2 accepts Li-ion batteries and SD, SDHC, and MMC memory media. The camera will be available in black and silver at a retail price of $499.95. It will be available in May.
Image provided by Leica.

Friday, March 23, 2007

National Geographic Photo Store Announced

Ever thumb through National Geographic and admire a photograph so much you’ll like it on your wall? Or does your child need a photo for a class project? The magazine has now made these scenarios possible. National Geographic has announced it is launching the National Geographic Photo Store.

The store, available through the magazine's web site, offers more than 25,000 photos ranging from very early editions of the nearly 120-year-old magazine to the most recent issue. "National Geographic magazine has been bringing the wild places and creatures of the world into people's living rooms for nearly 120 years," says Maura Mulvihill, vice president of the National Geographic Image Collection. "We're thrilled to be able to give consumers the opportunity to select their favorite image, frame it and hang it on the wall. It brings the world that much closer."

Powered by Pictopia, the photo-commerce provider for The Associated Press, Gannett and the Washington Post, provides photos separated by subject: animals, cities and places, nature, people and cultures, underwater, and weather and natural forces. The photos are available in art-quality reprints of 10, 14, 20 or 30 inches and range in price from $19.95 for an unframed 10-inch print to $275 for a 30-inch framed photograph.
Image provided by National Geographic.

Photomatix 2.4 Update Released From HDRsoft

HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging is quickly becoming a mainstream digital darkroom technique, and if you can’t afford Adobe PhotoShop, or Adobe PhotoShop Lightroom, there is a more affordable alternative to utilize this exciting process.

HDRsoft announced the release of Photomatix Pro 2.4, the latest version of its dynamic range increase software. Designed for professional photographers and advanced amateurs, Photomatix Pro creates and processes High Dynamic Range images produced from differently exposed photographs of a high contrast scene.

Version 2.4 adds an option to reduce ghosting artifacts when the scene is not still. Other additions include undo and redo settings on the Tone Mapping window, a gamma slider for the Details Enhancer method, and naming options for output files in Batch Processing. Photomatix Pro is a stand-alone application that runs on Mac OS X (Universal Binary) and Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista. The software enables users to blend exposures hassle-free, create 32-bit HDR images, and reveal their details in highlight and shadow using a powerful tone mapping tool.

A license for Photomatix Pro costs $99(US). For more information and to download a free trial version, visit the HDRsoft website.

Adobe Won't Upgrade Current CS2 Products

Adobe does not plan to offer upgrades for its previously released Creative Suites to ensure full compatibility with Windows Vista. According to Adobe’s website, “Adobe is already preparing to release the next versions of its professional creative products, including Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, and After Effects, in 2007 and does not plan to issue updates to current versions of those products for Windows Vista compatibility.”

However, Adobe has already released upgrades for Photoshop Elements (version 5.0.2) and Premiere Elements (version 3.0.2) and plans to release updates for Acrobat 8 and Reader 8.

Adobe recently announced it will release two versions of Photoshop CS3. The all new Photoshop CS3 Extended will broaden Photoshop’s audience to include a variety of creative professionals. Photoshop CS3 makes improvements on Adobe Bridge and introduces Adobe Device Central, which is designed for creating and testing mobile content. The Extended version incorporates 3-D and motion graphics, image measurement and analysis.

"We never imagined that Photoshop would someday help make major motion pictures, let alone save lives," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of the Creative Solutions Business Unit at Adobe, in a March 8 company press release. "Whether it's a video producer texture editing the backdrop of a movie or a researcher counting hundreds of cancer cells, diverse industries are already relying on the professional standard in digital imaging."

Both Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended will be available March 27, 2007. A beta version of Photoshop CS3 is available for download at http://labs.adobe.com

For more information about Adobe products’ compatibility with Windows Vista, visit www.adobe.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Photo Mechanic 4.5 Update Announced

Photo Mechanic, a workflow management program from software developer Camera Bits Photo has been updated to version 4.5. The updated version includes an HTML exporter, improvements in the Unicode IPTC, and a new Structured Keywords feature.

According to Camera Bits President and Founder Dennis Walker, "Photo Mechanic is one of the few applications available that can be trusted to flexibly, properly, and safely handle IPTC and XMP metadata editing for photos, especially RAW photos."

Photo Mechanic is geared for professional photographers with large volumes of photos to browse and manage their images with select editing functions. The existing version of Photo Mechanic allows IPTC/XMP metadata to be read in different photo file formats including JPEG and RAW. Version 4.5 now allows users to choose to encode IPTC as Unicode or another specific character such as Mac Cyrillic. The new Structured Keywords function lets users attach a hierarchical keyword system to their images, essentially ranking the photo metadata by relevancy. Other features include a new HTML exporter to create web galleries, a five star rating system, and Caption Safe that allows users to undo metadata changes for RAW images.

Interested users can preorder Photo Mechanic 4.5 at http://www.camerabits.com/. Version 4.5 is free for users who purchased it after March 1, 2006. Photo Mechanic 4.5 ships this month for $150 for new users or $90 for existing users.

New HDR Techniques Article On PopPhoto.com

Debbie Grossman of PopPhoto.com provides a concise, to-the-point, explanation of the HDR digital darkroom technique that is becoming quite popular. High Dynamic Range photos combine multiple exposures of a single scene, creating a wide exposure range within a single image. Until now the best practice for HDR editing is to use a tripod to take the image. However, the upcoming Adobe Creative Suite 3 will merge multiple hand-held shots while automatically aligning and cropping them.

Additional links to other HDR posts are included in Debbie’s on-line article.

Lightroom Techniques From Adobe Design Center

Create a web gallery in minutes using the new Photoshop Lightroom. Adobe Design Center is a wonderful resource for on-line tutorials covering several Adobe applications. If you have taken advantage of the current price break for Photoshop Lightroom ($199 until April), Adobe Design Center can provide a better understanding of the product.

Learn how to work with Lightroom by watching this short video tutorial.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New LightZone Update From Light Crafts

Light Crafts has released version 2.3 of LightZone, its image editing software based on the Zone System. Highlights of the new release include:

• Seamless integration with Apple's Aperture, iPhoto, and Adobe's Lightroom via the new Direct Save preference.

• New Red-Eye Reduction tool. The Red-Eye tool allows users to easily and accurately correct red eye problems.

• New Black & White tool features an easier to use interface and replaces the Channel Mixer tool.

• The Sampler now includes Lab color information.

The Mac & Windows downloads are available on the LightZone download page.

New Sharpcast Photos 1.0 Image Organizer

Backing up image files can be the most important step in the digital photographic process right behind pressing the shutter button. Original files can be lost if a backup is performed incorrectly or hardware fails. The recenty released Sharpcast Photos 1.0 is a desktop photo organizer that syncs a user’s PC to the Web and their mobile phones.

The interfaces of the Sharpcast Desktop Organizer and Web Album are drop-and-drag friendly, which allows for the easy transfer and arrangement of large photo files. The Desktop Organizer and Web Album mirror each other; new photos and edits made to photos automatically appear in both places. Cell phone shutterbugs can have their photos sent to the software. Photo collections are also viewable from mobile phones. Other features include a photo widget, which can turn an album into a slideshow for a website or blog, import directly from digital cameras, and has the ability to share photos and chat with other Sharpcast Photo users.

Sharpcast offers free and subscription plans. The free plan allows users to store photos for 30 days at full resolution. After 30 days, the photos are resized to a 1600x1200 resolution. The subscription plan includes unlimited storage of full-resolution photos and is $5.99 per month or $64.99 per year.

For more information, visit: the Sharpcast website.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Farewell Monte Zucker, 1929 - 2007

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Monte Zucker at the age of 78. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, he was one of the best modern portrait and wedding photographers, and was also quite a prolific and inspirational instructor. His training courses and workshops were quite popular and the handful of instructional videos I own have been very helpful. He was a master of lighting with many studio lighting kits available with his moniker, and it should be no surprise that he wrote and contributed to several photography books and manuals. The United Nations honored him as Portrait Photographer of the Year 2002.

The official Monte Zucker website contains his portfolio, a must-see to anyone interested in photography. A memorial service is to be held in Washington DC on the afternoon of Sunday April 22, and fans who plan to attend are asked to RSVP with the number of people attending. There are two additional avenues to celebrate his life from the Monte Zucker forum including a thread that contains favorite images of the man himself, and another with memories of how the wonderful photographer inspired those around him.

He will be missed.
Image provided by www.montezucker.com

New RS-16K Carbon Monopod From Monostat

Monostat has introduced a new carbon fiber monopod, the RS-16K Carbon. It features Monostat's "Swivel Toe Stabilizer" rotating foot, which the company claims provides steady support for an SLR of any weight, even with a super-telephoto lens. The 16.75-ounce RS-16K Carbon has a four-section twist-lock design and a reversible three-eighths to one-quarter-inch camera mount. Its maximum length is 60.6 inches, and the pod measures 20.9 inches when closed. The foot has a rubber bottom that grips a wide variety of surfaces, and allows the monopod leg to tilt down to a 60-degree angle from the horizontal.The RS-16K Carbon is available now for a retail price of $309 and comes with a lined case, a shoulder strap and a two-year warranty.
Image provided by Monostat.

Perfect Portraits With Reallusion's FaceFilter?

Reallusion’s latest version of FaceFilter aims to make every portrait picture perfect. FaceFilter 2.0, a photo enhancement software, is designed to offer a simpler, more affordable alternative to professional photo editing programs when optimizing portraits. New features include Smart Portrait, which compensates for camera operator errors, red-eye reduction, high resolution rendering, and the ability to create prints and stickers.

The application is part of an emerging software trend that simplifies complex photo alterations such as changing frowns to smiles, slimming appearances, and smoothing out skin tone. FaceFilter 2.0 is immediately available for $59.95 (MSRP). A software upgrade is available for $19.95. A free 15-day trial version is also available for download.

Extensis Portfolio RAW 3.2 Now Supports A100

I’d like to let fellow Sony Alpha 100 DSLR users know that software developer Extensis has released an update to their digital assets manager Portfolio 8.1. The new Portfolio RAW Filter 3.2 adds support for 36 recently available cameras, including the A100. The Portfolio RAW Filter 3.2 is currently available now for download and is free for existing users of Portfolio 8.1.

Portfolio continues to be a leading digital asset management solution for photographers and creative professionals that use high-end cameras,” said Extensis product manager Halstead York in a company press release today. “Extensis aims to continually update its Portfolio product, staying current with the file formats that matter most to our customers,” he said.

With the added camera support, Portfolio 8.1 now supports a total of over 100 cameras, according to the company website. New compatible cameras include the Sony Alpha A100, Canon Digital Rebel XTi, Pentax K10D, Nikon D80, and the Olympus EVOLT E400.

Geared for creative professionals, Portfolio 8.1 is a cataloguing system that organizes graphics, text, video, audio files into galleries. Highlights of the system include image auto rotation and full support for Microsoft Office, DNG, RAW, Quark, and Pro Video. For new users, Portfolio retails at $199 for the stand-alone version. Existing Portfolio users can download the RAW Filter update at http://www.extensis.com/portfolio at no additional charge.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Free Cybia SkyGrad PhotoShop Plug-In

Out taking shots, but forgot your sky gradient filter? No worries. Try the SkyGrad Optical Gradient Filter Plug-In for an after-shot solution. Compatible with most Windows and Mac-based image editing applications that support the Photoshop *.8bf format plug-in standard, the best thing about the SkyGrad plug-in from Cybia Digital Resource Studio is that it’s free!

The filter will overlay a colored gradient from the top of the image fading to transparent toward the bottom. Color tint is controlled by three RGB sliders and brightness using a single exposure slider. Presets can be saved and loaded using Windows-based applications only. Version 1.3 for Windows and Version 1.1 for Macintosh can be downloaded from the Cybia website.
Image provided by Cybia.

Casio Releases Digicam Firmware Updates

Casio Computer Co. Ltd. has released updated firmware for three of its digital camera models, as well as software updates for two programs bundled with certain of its cameras.

Published on the Casio Worldwide digital camera downloads site, the new firmware releases include the following:

Casio EXILIM EX-S770 Version 1.02 - adds support for SDHC memory cards with capacities of 8GB or greater, as well as support for Windows Vista PTP image transfer;

Casio EXILIM EX-Z1000 Version 1.03 - adds support for SDHC memory cards with capacities of 8GB or greater;

Casio EXILIM EX-Z850 Version 1.20 - adds support for SDHC memory cards with capacities of 8GB or greater;

Casio EXILIM EX-Z850 Version 1.2B - an alternative to the 1.20 firmware above, this contains the same SDHC card compatibility change, but also offers improved HQ mode movie quality (less noise, smoother lines) but this is achieved at the cost of a 40% narrower field of view in HQ movie mode. This firmware is also said to fix a problem with snapshot processing in the V1.1B firmware.As for the software, Photo Loader with HOT ALBUM Version 3.1.6.1 for Windows allows users of the company's Photo Loader software to migrate to the newer HOT ALBUM software, while Photo Transport Version 1.0.1.2 for Windows adds compatibility with the new Windows Vista operating system.

All of the above can be downloaded from the Casio Worldwide digital camera download site.

VirtualPhotographer Plug-In From OptikVerve Labs

If you find some free time to play around in Photoshop try a free Photoshop plug-in called virtualPhotographer. The plug-in is Compatible with Photoshop®, Photoshop® Elements, Paint Shop™ Pro®, Photo-Paint and other popular imaging applications. The download is less than 300k, and once the files are downloaded and extracted to your desktop, simply view the ‘readme.txt’ file in the extracted folder to install correctly into your image editor’s plug-ins directory.

VirtualPhotographer includes over 50 presets that automatically apply combinations of film grain, color modification, B/W, soft focus, high contrast and many artistic effects to achieve the same professional-looking images that used to take hours of photo editing. According to the OptikVerve Labs website, get results in seconds!

Ricoh Releases Ultra-Thin Caplio R6

Ricoh has released what they claim is the “World's Thinnest Digital Camera with 28mm Wide-Angle 7.1x Optical Zoom Lens,” at least for the time being. Below the is the official press release.

Tokyo, Japan -- Ricoh Co., Ltd. (president and CEO: Masamitsu Sakurai) has developed and launched the new Caplio R6 digital camera featuring a 7.1x optical wide zoom lens (28-200 mm in 35 mm camera format) packed into a slim body just 20.6 mm at its thinnest point. The new Caplio R6 exhibits features such as a 7.1x wide zoom and high performance CCD-shift vibration correction from the Caplio R5 (open priced, launched September 15, 2006, featuring 7.24 megapixel CCD).

Vibration Correction eliminates the shake from hand movement, which is the main cause of blurry images. The Caplio R6 also incorporates advancements over its predecessor with new features such as a slim body 20.6 mm at its thinnest point (26 mm for the Caplio R5) and a face recognition mode that automatically recognizes the subject's face or faces and records the image at the optimal settings.

In addition to functional improvements, the Caplio R6 adopts the Caplio R5's design image while creating an anticipation of high performance through new design features. Those features include generous use of metal to house the lens, a distinctive strap attachment, and curves on the top. The Caplio R6 also features improved feel of robustness and texture.

Main features of the new Caplio R6
1. 7.1x wide-angle zoom lens in the slimmest body in this class of camera, measuring in at a mere 20.6 mm at its thinnest point
By completely rethinking the design of the double retracting lens system -- an original mechanism that makes it possible to equip the Caplio R6 with a 28-200mm optical zoom lens in a 20.6mm thin body -- all parts could be miniaturized through Ricoh's own technology at 0.01 mm levels. The lens setup was optimized by employing highly refractive glass lenses along with the double retracting lens system and by optimizing the distribution of thickness in the lens assembly. A wide range of photographic options are supported from panoramic landscapes and wide-angle photography and indoor shooting under low light near the subject to impressive telephoto photography.

2. New face recognition mode that automatically identifies faces to photograph people easily and clearly
The face recognition mode for automatically recognizing and identifying faces uses a Ricoh-original algorithm to differentiate overall facial characteristics from other images viewed in the scene, thereby automatically detecting faces. Focus, exposure, and white balance are automatically adjusted to fit the face even if the subject is not in the centre of the frame. If more than one person is in the frame, adjustments are automatically made that are optimum for the group as a whole.

3. Attention to high-quality design
On top of great portability, design features such as generous use of metal around the lens, a distinctive strap attachment, and curves on the top create an anticipation of high performance. The Caplio R6 also sports an improved feel of robustness and texture.

4. Well-received vibration correction function as well as a variety of other innovations to prevent poor pictures from situations such as being out of focus or white saturation occurring
Improvements have been made to the correction algorithm for the Ricoh-original CCD-shift vibration correction method for picture taking at macro and telephoto. A new feature in quick review lets you enlarge the image 16 times at the touch of a button. That way, you can check that the shot was in focus right away. A new function has been added to prevent white saturation by highlighting and flashing in quick review and playback areas with high luminance values when photographing. An auto high sensitivity mode has been added to allow clear shots in dark places. Sensitivity can be raised up to ISO 1600 depending on the brightness of the subject. Coupled with the vibration correction function, this gives even better blur prevention.

5. High picture quality photography through high-performance CCD and image processing Engine
The 7.24 megapixel CCD allows for high-resolution photography. High-level image processing is achieved and images with low noise are produced through an original image processing engine that operates at speed. Thanks to that, even photography at ISO 1600 sensitivity is possible.

6. Diverse range of original functions
The dual size recording mode allows you to record two files at the same time with one shot: a normal sized image and a reduced size image. You can choose from 1 megapixel, VGA, HVGA, or QVGA for the reduced size. This is convenient for using photos on the Internet such as when attaching to e-mail or placing in blogs. Internal memory is boosted to 54 MB (26 MB with Caplio R5). This lets you take 34 shots at 7M size normal mode even without a memory card. Multiple individual files can be selected for deletion. Furthermore deleted files can even be recovered with the new File Recovery feature. You can skip 10 images forward or backward in playback. This lets you quickly search for the image you want when many images are stored on large-capacity memory.

A Ricoh-original macro mode allows close-in shooting of objects at as close as 1 cm with wide macro and as close as 25 cm with telemacro. A Zoom Macro function is included to allow use of digital zooming from the optical zoom position where subjects can be captured at their largest. The Caplio R6 includes an Auto Resize function that automatically changes the image size when shooting at 7M size and zooming in excess of 200 mm optical. This enables high zoom photography of up to 34.1x* (equivalent to 960 mm) at high image quality without image correction processing.

7. Large, high-resolution LCD
The Caplio R6 has a bright, high-resolution, high viewing angle 2.7-inch LCD (Caplio R5 LCD is 2.5 inches).

8. Long-life rechargeable battery for approx. 330 shots under CIPA standards (standard accessory)
The power-saving features of the internal circuit allow for a battery life equivalent to previous models, even with the smaller battery in the slimmer Caplio R6.

9. Skew Correction function
Through an original algorithm that automatically detects trapezoids in images based on composition when shooting and corrects them to rectangles, images can be corrected to look as though they were shot from the front. The function is most effective in business environments where subjects such as blackboards, overhead projector images, time schedules, and signs cannot be shot from the front.

Accessories included:
Rechargeable Battery DB-70 / Battery Charger BJ-7 / USB Cable / AV Cable / Handstrap / Software CD-ROM / Instruction Manuals
Images provided by Ricoh.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kodak Creative Network Available For Small/Home Businesses

Kodak has announced a new online printing service for home and small office customers. Here is the official company press release.

ROCHESTER, N.Y., -- Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: EK) today announced the launch of KODAK Creative Network (creative.kodak.com), a new, online design and printing solution for the small office/home office market. Distinguished by online convenience and professional design tools and assistance, KODAK Creative Network gives entrepreneurs the combined benefits of an experienced design firm and a high quality printing house and offers one-stop online shopping for the wide range of printed marketing materials essential for small business growth.

"For more than 100 years, Kodak has established itself as an innovator and leader in new imaging solutions," said Mark Cook, Kodak's Marketing Director, Consumer Imaging Services. "KODAK Creative Network is a natural extension of the high quality products and services our customers have grown to trust and respect from Kodak. Our latest service offering gives small business owners all the tools they need to design and print the professional materials that will help them stand out and grow their businesses."

KODAK Creative Network's unique and high-quality marketing materials provide the same look and feel of professionally-designed products at a fraction of the cost. They are easy to create with the design tools that are provided, such as industry-specific templates and finishing options including a variety of binding styles, unique sizes, and coatings. Customers enjoy the added convenience of having their orders delivered straight to their door.

KODAK Creative Network makes it even more economical for small business by offering ultra short run orders and no set-up fee, as well as providing professional consultations online at no additional cost. Customers' orders are saved so future reordering is easy and hassle-free.

Small businesses - from real estate agents to beauty salons and home services - can tailor a broad range of products to suit their needs including business cards, postcards, flyers, calendars, posters, rack cards and sales sheets.

"The postcards I made with KODAK Creative Network were exactly what I was after to help promote my new business," said Linda Witt, President, Witt & Witt Interior Design. "The postcards have helped me gain new customers and I have been able to creatively and effectively show off what my business could provide. The site gave me the flexibility to tailor my designs and produce unique marketing collateral."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Apple's New Mac OS X Update Improves Aperture

Apple has released a Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update which includes a handful of enhancements to Aperture, its image editing software.

The Mac OS X 10.4.9 Update includes many benefits for Aperture:

• Adds support for the Raw image formats of these third-party cameras: Leaf Aptus 17, Leaf Aptus 22, Leaf Aptus 65, Leaf Aptus 75, Leaf Valeo 11, Leaf Valeo 17, Leaf Valeo 22, Leica Digilux 3, Nikon D40, Pentax K10D, Pentax K110D, Pentax K100D, Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1, Samsung GX-1L.

• Improved Spot & Patch results: The update contains changes to Core Image that improve the visual correctness of images using Spot & Patch adjustment.

• Reduces issues of temporary "black" Viewer: Mac OS X 10.4.9 addresses several issues that could cause the Viewer to temporarily turn black when displaying adjusted images.

• GPS metadata is preserved when image versions are exported.

• Incorporates all Raw file format compatibility and other imaging issues originally addressed in Digital Camera Raw Support Update 1.0.1. This update improved Raw file format compatibility for the Canon Digital Rebel XTi / 400D / Kiss x Digital, Nikon D80 and Pentax *ist-DS. It also addressed the following issues: Handling of large Canon Raw files (.CRW); DNG compatibility on Intel-based Macs; Lines sometimes appearing in images exported from Aperture. For more information, see this page or this page.

IPHOTO
At the same time, the company released an update to iPhoto to address "issues associated with Exif data compatibility and Photocasting."

Sony Press Release Regarding Upcoming DSLRs

Sony has released an official press release regarding the two prototype DSLR models they had displayed at the recent PMA 2007 convention in Las Vegas, NV.

March 2007 - At the PMA2007 International Convention and trade Show which was held between March 8th and 11th in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Sony exhibited two prototypes of digital SLR camera bodies and interchangeable lenses currently under development. These products are planned to be launched in addition to the existing portfolio of the 'α100' camera body and the 21 interchangeable lenses including Carl Zeiss® lenses and more than 45 pieces of accessories.

"We need to further solidify our position in the digital SLR market. To do that, we must cater to varying degrees of customer requirements, and we are working on the second wave of products in order to expand the world of 'α'," said Toru Katsumoto, head of Sony's AMC division responsible for digital SLR products, when speaking at Sony Electronics Inc.'s press conference. "Specifically, we are developing two new camera bodies targeted at higher market segments compared with the 'α100'," he added.

The extended line-up is expected to give customers more options and allows them to trade up products as their skills mature. The second wave of products also includes interchangeable lenses suitable for high-end enthusiast and professional use. "With the added choice of camera bodies coupled with enlarged interchangeable lens portfolio, we believe 'α' helps our customers spur their creativity and putting it differently, 'α' unlocks the full potential of digital SLR," Katsumoto concluded his speech.

Reinforced 'α' Portfolio
One of the prototypes displayed at the PMA2007 was a camera body positioned higher than the current 'α100' to appeal to high amateur users. This new camera will deliver a high picture quality drawing on a new image sensor and new BIONZ image processing engine, both of which are currently under development. The new camera will also feature 'Super SteadyShot inside.' Already implemented in the 'α100,' this optical image stabilization system is effective with the full range of 'α' system lenses.

The other camera body prototype will represent the flagship model of the 'α' range. Offering features that meet demanding requirements from even professional photographers, this highest-end camera body also incorporates a new image sensor, BIONZ processor as well as 'Super SteadyShot inside.' One of these two new cameras is scheduled for launch during this calendar year.

Furthermore, 8 prototypes of interchangeable lenses currently under development were exhibited, including a large-aperture standard zoom; telephoto zoom; large-aperture wide angle zoom; super telephoto zoom; fixed super telephoto; fixed telephoto; fixed wide angle and large-aperture fixed wide angle.

Wthin the next 12 months, Sony is planning to launch five or more lenses suitable for high amateur and professional use, including 24-70mmF2.8; 70-300mm F4.5-5.6; DT18-250mm F3.5-6.3.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Vivitar Reissues Popular 285HV Flash Unit

At last week’s PMA ’07 convention Vivitar displayed their popular 285HV Zoom Thyristor external flash unit. This is interesting considering Vivitar discontinued the flash unit back in 2005 after a long product life beginning in 1979. The company is bringing back the flash, and should satisfy disgruntled consumers who were sad to see the long-time unit discontinued. With a maximum range of around 70 feet, the 285HV features automatic exposure with four selectable distance ranges. Including a sturdy metal mount for attaching to grips and tripods, the flash is available now with a retail price of $90.

Better Light Offers 416MP Super10K-HS Digital Back

Got $23,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Why not pick up a new Super10K-HS Scanning Back from Better Light. This 416MP back fits 4x5 view cameras and allows scanning of originals up to 34 x 45 inches in size at 300 pixels per inch. Here is the official company press release.

March 2007 - Better Light, the leading designer and manufacturer of large-format digital scanning camera backs, has announced the addition of a new digital scanning back to its SuperModel family that captures up to 416 megapixels of true RGB image data in every scan.

The combination of large high-resolution files, extraordinary detail and superb control of color and tones, has made Better Light scanning backs the device of choice for a wide variety of advertising, commercial, reproduction and archival applications since 1994.

Better Light scanning backs are widely acknowledged for capturing image quality superior to film or fixed-array digital cameras. Used on a 4x5 view camera or any device accepting 4"x5" film holders, the capture area is 72mm x 96mm (120mm diagonal), creating a huge pixel population with the scan movement of its tri-linear sensor. Each pixel receives pure red, green and blue data so there is no interpolation of color data, or typical digital artifacts, or moire pattern issues to deal with in post-production.
The new Super10K-HS™ answers the call of museums and similar institutions for larger native file sizes. It has the ability to create a direct digital image at a native resolution of 10,200 x 13,600 pixels. This high resolution allows scanning of originals up to 34 x 45 inches in size at 300 pixels per inch without stitching or interpolation, and generates a 794 MB 48-bit RGB file size.

"This new file size capability will be of special interest to those portions of the art repro market that deal with large originals, and who demand very fine detail in reproducing line art, text, scrolls, and other subjects where absolute clarity is of maximum importance," said Better Light President Michael Collette.

"A unique aspect of the increased resolution possible with the new Super10K-HS back is that its resolving power can exceed that of the camera lens. At its 100% resolution setting, the Super10K-HS captures 70 line pairs per millimeter with 60% contrast, which is higher than most lenses can deliver."

The new Super10K-HS offers an ISO range from 64 to 1000, line times from 1/8th to 1/120th of a second, and a 40 GB (or optional 80 GB) internal hard drive for image storage. The unit provides 11 resolution settings that can be used to capture the perfect file size for each imaging project, independent of the selected ISO sensitivity. The camera is also ICC profile-compatible. The Super10K-HS is priced at $22,995 and will ship at the end of March.

Each of the company's scan back models includes Better Light's ViewFinder™ camera control software, which allows the user to fine-tune exposure, ISO sensitivity, color balance and contrast, matching the subject, lighting and output conditions for a perfect digital image - like having a customized "digital film emulsion". Quality judgments are made based on a high-quality preview image on the monitor, prior to the capture of the large, high-resolution file. This software is provided for both Macintosh and Windows computers.

Better Light offers six models with image file size capability up to 1.1 GB (48-bit RGB). Priced from $6,495, any model is upgradeable to a higher performance model, enabling the photographer to upgrade as requirements change. The product line covers the diversified range of photographic applications including commercial, catalog, still life, landscape, art reproduction, scientific and archival imaging.
Image provided by Better Light.

Nikon View Pro Software Release Cancelled

Despite a February announcement to do so, Nikon has decided not to release its Nikon View Pro software. Below is the official Nikon press release:

Tokyo Mar. 2007 - Nikon Corporation has made the difficult decision to cancel the release of high-speed image management and browsing software, Nikon View Pro, the launch of which had been announced on February 21, 2006.

We offer our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause to customers who had anticipated the release of this product, as well as to distributors, retailers, and any other concerned parties.

Despite our preparations to release the software on schedule, the environment surrounding image handling is undergoing major changes. We decided to suspend the release based on our judgment that the new software's performance would not be optimal for the new environment. We are currently developing a new generation of image management and browsing software for download from our website, and plan to begin offering this before the end of 2007.

We assure you that we are diligently working to develop innovative new products in response to market demands, and thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to your continued patronage.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Two New DSLR's From Sony...Sometime

Sony announced at the PMA ’07 conference last week that they intend to release at least two new Digital SLR cameras, a ‘pro-sumer’ model and a ‘pro’ model. No specifics have been released regarding the camera and at least five new lenses will see the light of day this year. Watch the Imaging Resource video live from PMA’07 on YouTube. So the wait continues…

New Portable Inkjet Printer From General Imaging

General Imaging has introduced a new General Electric-branded portable inkjet printer. The P1 outputs 4x6 prints with 4800x1200 dpi resolution and features both multi-format memory card slots and a USB 2.0 connection for receiving images from PictBridge-compatible cameras. The printer can also receive photos wirelessly with an optional Bluetooth adapter plugged into the USB port. The P1 will be available in April 2007 with a black or silver finish. The price is expected to be under $150.
Image provided by General Imaging.

HD Photo Format Officially Announced By Microsoft

Microsoft has formally announced HD Photo, a new file format aimed at digital photographers and high-end image manipulation which claims to offer higher image quality and better compression than existing image formats, while adding features for advanced image editing programs. According to Amir Majidimehr, corporate VP of Microsoft's Consumer Media Technology Group, "With HD Photo, we're taking a new approach to creating and editing photos that simply isn't available to photographers with today's formats. HD Photo fully preserves the original image fidelity with high dynamic range while still allowing for significant improvement in compression size."

Microsoft claims that HD Photo offers up to twice the compression of the existing JPEG image format while producing fewer artifacts: in Microsoft's words, producing "higher-quality images in one-half the size." The new format offers the ability to decide only a portion of an image or region (rather than having to decompress an entire image to utilize or manipulate a section of it), and Microsoft claims its compression technology better preserved image fidelity, enabling higher-quality image manipulation even in compressed images. HD Photo also supposed lossless image compression, and enables applications to change color balance and exposure data without discarding or truncating image data, so those changes can be undone or re-done later without a loss of fidelity.

Windows Vista offers native support for HD Photo by a Windows Imaging Component (WIC) codec, and support can be rolled back to Windows XP and Windows 2003 Service via a WIC download. HD Photo support is also rolled into Microsoft's .NET Framework 3.0. What's new today is that Microsoft is offering a beta HD Photo plug-in for use with Windows versions of Adobe Photoshop CS2 and CS3; Microsoft expects to release final versions of the plug-in for Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Mac OS X within two months.