Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Adobe Announces Photoshop Elements 9

Official Company Press Release.
Adobe Systems Incorporated has announced Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 9 software for Windows® and Mac, offering a complete photo solution to anyone who wants to organize, edit, create and share extraordinary photos. With the newest version of the No. 1 selling consumer photo-editing software,* Adobe delivers powerful new technology to equip every consumer with the ability to achieve professional results easily and quickly.
“The Photoshop brand has been creating groundbreaking imaging magic for 20 years, and Photoshop Elements has been making that magic accessible to mere mortals for nearly a decade,” said Kevin Connor, vice president of product management for Digital Imaging, Adobe. “The Content Aware Fill technology introduced with Photoshop CS5 is one of our most exciting innovations ever, so we’re thrilled to be able to make it accessible to photo and video enthusiasts in this latest Elements release.”
Image Intelligence for Easy Editing
- Photoshop Elements 9 uses powerful technology to make even the most complex results achievable for anyone. Adapted from Photoshop CS5’s celebrated Content Aware Fill feature, the content intelligence in the Spot Healing Brush analyzes what’s in the image and quickly de-clutters or repairs photos (like removing tourists from a crowded scene or an obstruction, such as a telephone pole) with a swipe of a brush, magically filling in the background. The same content intelligence synthesizes missing pixel information to create a stunning panorama from multiple photos, without leaving any gaps or blank spaces.
In addition, the new Photomerge Style Match turns drab photos dramatic by analyzing characteristics of any photo, such as contrast or color tone, and automatically applies those qualities to another photo, allowing users to easily replicate any photo style. Several new Guided Edit options walk users step-by-step through the process of achieving cool editing effects such as Out of Bounds, making an element of a photo appear to leap off the page in 3D, creating pop art masterpieces, or retouching made easy via the perfect portraits feature. In addition, users now have access to Layer Masks for compositing richly layered photos.
Organization Made Easy -
For the first time, the popular Photoshop Elements Organizer is available on both the Windows and Mac platform, to help users quickly organize, find and display photo and video clips from one convenient location. The Auto-Analyzer takes the work out of finding the best shots by automatically searching a user’s collection of photos and assigning a tag based on quality, such as lighting, focus or contrast. People Recognition also automatically creates People tags, so you can find your favorite people fast and it becomes more intelligent over time as it learns to associate specific faces with names.
Sharing Photos Virtually Anywhere
- After users make their photos look better than ever, they have various sharing options, including posting photos directly to Facebook or creating one-of-a-kind interactive Online Albums with animated templates. In addition, users can share their memories with personalized photo creations like scrapbook pages, photo books, calendars and cards that can easily be printed from home or via online print service providers. The flexible photo creation workspace allows users complete control over how they design their photo books, by automatically placing photos within a template or providing access to any Photoshop Elements editing feature from directly within the layout mode.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Plus 
- For added convenience, now Photoshop Elements 9 Windows and Mac users have the option to purchase Plus, which offers 20GB of storage for automatic online backup and sharing (up to 15,000 photos or four hours of DVD-quality video), as well as ongoing deliveries of new tutorials, artwork and interactive online templates sent directly to the desktop software. A benefit to all Photoshop Elements users is virtually anywhere access to photos and videos online or via select mobile devices at Photoshop.com.
Pricing and Availability
- Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 for Windows and Mac is available now at www.adobe.com, and will also be available soon at retail outlets such as Amazon.com, Apple (Mac only), Best Buy, Costco, Fry’s, New Egg, Office Depot, Office Max and Walmart. Photoshop Elements 9 Windows and Mac is available for a suggested retail price of US$99.99, and users can purchase Plus from within the product for US$49.99/year. Plus is available in the U.S. only. 

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nikon Announces New 16.2MP D7000 DSLR

On the heels of Canon’s release of the new EOS 60D, Nikon has announced their latest 16.2MP APS-C digital SLR.  The new D7000 features an ISO range of 100-6400 with expanded range up to 25,600.  In addition to the 16.2MP CMOS sensor there is a retooled 39-point AF system, approx. 100% viewfinder, 1/8000 shutter maximum, 6fps continuous shooting, and captures full HD (1080p) video.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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First Fall 2010 Flag Football Pics Using Canon EOS 7D DSLR

The 2010 Fall youth sports season is finally here.  I captured the first two flag football games of the season this past Saturday (103 degrees in September!) and the kids played extremely well.  I'm looking forward to more games this weekend, including some Pop Warner football.  Baseball and Soccer games are also lined up for the near future.  Below is a link to a small sample gallery of the GYFL Colts and Cardinals flag football.  All images captured with a Canon EOS 7D camera and Canon EF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 IS lens.

Unfortunately the games were at Noon and 1pm so in a few cases that overhead sunlight made for some annoying lighting conditions.  Sometimes you just have to do your best with what you've got.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM Lens

Digital Photography Review is a great resource for digital camera and lens reviews.  I was stoked to see their recently posted review of the new Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens as I’ve been in the market to upgrade to the Canon EF 70-200mm f4 USM.  While this is a very good, very sharp lens, the non-IS version is $700, and the IS (Image Stabilization) version is $1200.  I haven’t even realistically considered the f2.8 version of this Canon lens as the older version is around $1,899 and the new IS II version is $2,299.  The previous version of the Sigma f2.8 70-200mm lens, while economical, didn’t get a lot of respect in regard to AF speed and image quality, and was never really on my wish list to begin with.

However that has apparently changed with the new OS (Optical Stabilization) version.  Sigma has engineered this new lens from the ground up including an all-new optical design and the company’s silent ultrasonic-type HSM focusing.  My choices have suddenly increased now that this new f2.8 lens is available at around $1699, a full 600 bucks less than the Canon EF f2.8L 70-200mm IS II.  That is quite a bargain for this type of fast glass and focal length.  The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax mounts and according to dpreview it is quite a good, fast focusing lens that's a great improvement over the older non-Optical Stabilizer model.  I think I have a new lens on my ‘wish list’.

Read the lens review at dpreview.

New Olympus E-5 DSLR Announced

The Olympus E-5 camera will be available in October 2010 at an expected retail price of $1699.99.  Here is an exerpt from the official company press release.

Olympus announces the E-5, a new digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera that builds on the company’s tradition of innovation to meet the rigorous demands of professional photographers and experienced amateurs. In recent years, Olympus has changed the DSLR marketplace by pioneering groundbreaking features, including the first 100 percent digital-specific lenses, the award-winning Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System, the first Full -Time Live View system and a completely splashproof and dustproof magnesium alloy DSLR body. Olympus continues this legacy by pairing these technologies with several new breakthrough features developed for the E-5 camera, providing further proof that Olympus lets you capture it all.
                Superior Image Quality: The E-5 camera achieves the highest image quality of any Olympus camera by pairing a 12.3 megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor with a TruePic V+ image processing engine that boasts new “Fine Detail Processing” technology for greater detail in the photograph. Optimized to maximize the performance of the Zuiko® Digital Lenses, Fine Detail Processing takes digital photography to the next level.
                270 Degree Swivel LCD: A 3.0-inch dual axis swivel HyperCrystal® LCD with 920,000 dots makes it easy to frame High Definition (HD) videos and still images at any angle from low to high and side to side to ensure accurate composition.
                Limitless Creativity: Ten in-camera Art Filters including new Dramatic Tone round out this DSLR’s impressive feature set. For the first time, photographers can use Art Filters in all shooting modes, program auto, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes and movies with expanded control. Both still and movie capable, the E-5 camera offers HD video in an E-System DSLR for the first time.

Superior Image Quality
- The E-5 camera utilizes a unique combination of cutting-edge technologies to deliver the highest image quality in the Olympus family. Together with its 12.3 megapixel High-Speed Live MOS image sensor, the Olympus TruePic V+ Image Processor produces clear and colorful photos using all the pixel information at an individual pixel level to provide the best digital images possible. The image processor is noted for accurate natural color, true-to-life flesh tones, brilliant blue skies and precise tonal expression; it also lowers image noise in photos shot at higher ISO settings (ISO 100 to ISO 6400), enabling great results in low-light situations.

Head-Turning High Definition Video -
Shooting video is as easy as ever with the new Olympus E-5 camera. The camera captures all the action in crisp 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. With more than 20 Four Thirds® lenses, people can shoot video with a selection of lenses ranging from an extreme wide-angle fisheye lens to a super telephoto lens for a variety of expressive options. Photographers can capture great stereo sound quality by plugging any microphone with a standard 3.5mm jack into the camera’s stereo microphone terminal. A built-in microphone also records clear monaural audio.

- Accepting both CompactFlash Type I UDMA and SD cards (SDHC/SDXC compatible), the camera provides a choice of data storage options for enhanced flexibility, and it is possible to transfer image files from one card to the other right inside the camera. Class 6 or higher SD cards are recommended for optimal movie shooting.

View the hands-on preview at dpreview.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sports Portraiture Using The Canon EOS 7D and Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM

Another sports portrait I'm very happy with.  I setup two cold lights, each one at about 45 degrees and three feet behind the subject.  Front lighting was just the ambient room light.  In front and left of camera was a large white reflector.  At each side of the subject I set up a single black 2x3 piece of black foam board about head height just off camera to reduce light spill from the back lighting.

Image was taken, hand-held using a Canon EOS 7D with Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM AF Lens (my favorite for portraits).  Exposure was 1/60 @ f2.8 set at ISO 400.  Image was adjusted using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.2 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.  Hard to believe this is a nine year old boy.  He looks like a high school kid.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Another Image From Old Downtown Scottsdale

Here is another image from a recent walk around the old downtown Scottsdale shops on 5th avenue.  Taken with a Canon EOS 7D using Canon EF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 IS AF Lens at 35mm.  Exposure was 1/60 @ f5.6, ISO 400.  Image adjusted using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.2 and the new HDR Toning feature of Adobe Photoshop CS5.

I had originally taken three exposures of this bench to import into Photomatix Pro for HDR, but really didn't like the way the software rendered the final image.  However, I discovered that importing just a single exposure into the HDR Toning feature of Adobe Photoshop CS5 provided the look I wanted.  Sometimes you just have to try different tools to accomplish your goal.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Canon EOS 7D Takes a Walk Around Downtown Scottsdale

These shots are of  the 5th Avenue fountain in downtown Scottsdale taken one June morning.   Both shots were hand-held using the fantastic Canon EOS 7D DSLR with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 IS Lens.  Exposure of the left image is f3.5 @ 1/4000, 18mm, ISO 400.  The right image was captured at f16 @ 1/250, 32mm, ISO 400.  Both images were processed for HDR using Photomatix Pro, then adjusted with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.0 and Photoshop CS5.  I decided to go ‘over-the-top’ with the HDR on these two images.  I just liked the comic book look to them.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

More Images Captured Using Sony Alpha 300 DSLR

Here are a couple of other images taken with the Sony Alpha 300 DSLR and Sony 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DT lens.  The lighting was simple, a single tungsten hot light on either side of the camera about 45 degrees to the subject.  The left image was taken with a setting of F6.3 at 1/50 using ISO 800 and a focal length at the lens maximum of 250mm.

The right image was taken with a setting of F4 at 1/60 using ISO 400 and a focal length of 210mm.  Both images were hand held.  Gotta love Image Stabilization.  Both images were also adjusted using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

New Apple iPhone OS Offers Built-In HDR Feature

I only steal from the best.  Here is an excerpt from Popular Photography and Imaging regarding the new Apple iPhone 4.

Apple’s updated mobile operating system, iOS 4.1 gives iPhone users a whole slew of new features, including an HDR feature, which is integrated directly into the camera app.  Like most automatic HDR modes, it takes three bracketed images and combines them into a single picture.

iPhone video shooters will also be able to upload their HD videos directly to the web from their device, as long as they have access to a WiFi connection.

 The hugely popular iPod touch also got some optical updates, taking its total camera count from a zero up to two. Like on the iPhone, the rear-facing camera captures 720p HD video, which can be edited in the device using a mobile version of iMovie. The front-facing camera is meant for utilizing Apple’s WiFi-only video chat feature, FaceTime. Not only can you talk to other iPod touch users, but you can also get face-to-face with iPhone 4 users as well.

Ipad users will have to wait until November for iOS 4.2 to hit, at which point they’ll have access to the brand new Print Center app, which makes it even more valuable to the corporate set.

Panasonic Announces New 8GB and 16GB SDHC Memory Cards

Panasonic has announced 8GB and 16GB SDHC cards with UHS-I specification. Both memory cards have The maximum read speeds of both cards can reach up to 60MB/s and work well for 3D and full HD video recording features of recently released cameras. The new cards feature protection against power failures and a Super Intelligent Controller that cleans up errors preventing data damage, similar to the company’s ‘Gold’ line of memory cards. The memory cards will be available in November 2010.

Carl Zeiss Distagon 35mm f1.4 Lens Announced For Canon

Got 18 Hundie burning a hole in your pocket?  Carl Zeiss will release a new Distagon 35mm f1.4 lens for Canon and Nikon.  Here is the official company press release.
Company Press Release:
A woman is sitting at the bar of a dimly-lit cafe. Lost in thoughts, she doesn’t notice the glass of wine the bartender places before her. From a distance, a photographer tries to capture her mood. He brings her face, which is leaning toward her phone, into focus. Everything around her becomes a blur, and the lights in the background coalesce into a wild “dance” of diffuse shapes.
This shot will only work with a fast lens with short focal length and harmonious bokeh. Carl Zeiss introduces a new lens for just such images: the Distagon T* 1,4/35.
By introducing the Distagon T* 1,4/35, Carl Zeiss is complementing the Planar T*1,4/50 and T*1,4/85 lenses with a wide-angle lens that shares the same high speed. Crisp, sharp images work every time, whether at dusk or in the weak lighting conditions of a café, and without the need for a tripod. With its 35-mm, the Distagon T* 1,4/35 matches the classic and versatile standard focal lengths when used on cameras with APS-C sensor formats.
Due to the special bokeh effects in both the foreground and background areas, the Distagon T*1,4/35 opens up new creative possibilities, giving photographers more options to ‘play’ with focus. Thanks to its large focus ring, photographers can also create highly accurate, sharp pictures, even at maximum aperture opening. In addition, the optical construction of the lens guarantees high image quality across the entire image range. Furthermore, with one step less than the full aperture opening, the light fall-off toward the edges is just one f-stop.
With the ZEISS T*‘s anti-reflective coating, its sophisticated stray light reduction and the excellent flare control the new Distagon also takes pictures of bright light sources without artifacts. The Distagon T*1,4/35’s extremely long-lasting and robust all-metal precision mechanics, for which Carl Zeiss is known, make this lens perfect for use on-the-go and for photo reports.
The Distagon T* 1,4/35 will be available in first quarter of 2011 at a recommended retail price of $1775.

Focal Length                      35mm
Max Aperture                     F1.4
Min Aperture                      F16
Lens Construction              11 elements/9 groups
Min Focus                          0.3m
Filter Thread                      72mm