Thursday Bram

If you took photographs before digital cameras became prevalent, it’s quite possible that you have full slide carousels sitting around. You can scan those slides and create digital images, but it tends to be a time consuming task. I once had the chore of scanning in a full carousel by hand, and I wouldn’t wish that task on anyone.

If you’re planning to scan a whole bunch of slides, it might be worth investing in a slide scanner, like the Slides 2 PC scanner. Ion Audio makes this sub-$100 scanner that digitizes slides automatically at 5 megapixels. Up until recently, dedicated slide scanners have been horribly expensive. Despite the low price, the Slides 2 PC seems like a good little machine and worth the price.

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Mamiya announced a new digital back at Photokina: the ZDb 22 megapixel Digital Back. The new model has several upgrades from the current Mamiya ZD back: a buffer with up to twice the memory, compatibility with SDHC cards and more. The ZDb is compatible with the Mamiya 645AFDII, Mamiya 645AFDIII, RZ67Pro-IID and RB67Pro-SD. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced, but will be available later in the fall. The specifications are:

  • Compatible cameras: Mamiya 645AFD/II/II, RZ67Pro-SD, RB67Pro-IID
  • Image sensor: 48x36mm full-frame transfer CCD
  • Total pixels: 21.70 mega pixels
  • Effective pixels: 21.30 mega pixels
  • Filter: Interchangeable: IR cut filter (standard), Low pass filter,
  • Filter for IR photography
  • Media card slot: Slot 1 for SD/SDHC, Slot 2 for CF card (type I & II)
  • Capture rate: 1.2 fps (burst rate: 22 frames)
  • Recording formats: RAW, JPEG (exif2.2), simultaneous RAW & JPEG
  • File size of RAW: approx. 35MB
  • JPEG Quality: L (5328×4000 pixels), M (4096×3072 pixels)
  • S (3008×2256 pixels)
  • JPEG compression: Fine, Normal, Basic
  • Color space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Strobe
  • Color temperature & Preset 1 & 2,
  • Sensitivity: ISO 50 to 400
  • LCD monitor: TFT 1.8”
  • External interface: IEEE1394 4-pin
  • Power source: Lithium ion rechargeable battery
  • Dimension/Weight: 106(W) x 90(H) x 62 (D) mm / 470g (body only)

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The legendary Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21Carl Zeiss has launched a new 21mm super wide angle lens: the Distagon T* 2.8/21. The lens is suitable for both digital and analog full-format SLR cameras with EF (ZE), F (ZF) and K (ZK) bayonets. It’s a modernized version of the the Contax system. The Distagon T* 2.8/21 is scheduled for delivery by the end of this year with the ZF and ZK versions. The expected selling price will be 1,399 euros.

The lens is ideal for architectural, journalistic and landscape photography, according to Carl Zeiss’ press release. The shortest possible distance setting of 0.22 m promises great perspectives.

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Editing photos in your web browser usually require Flash, Java or some other heavy-duty plug-in. But DrPic is an online image editor entirely based on Javascript. With DrPic, you can open an image and make your edits in less time than it takes a Flash-based site to finish loading.

DrPic is a free tool and, although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some photo-editing applications, it does have the most useful. If you simply need to make a few quick edits, DrPic is a great option — no application to load or software to open. It won’t replace other photo-editing options, but DrPic can be a useful tool.

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Akvis Software announced LightShop 2.5 today. The new version of the light effect software has a ‘quick start’ option: a ready-to-use set of light effects have been added to the software. Version 2.5 also has improved compatibility with Vista Service Pack 1, as well as a new interface language (Portuguese).

LightShop is available for both Windows and Macintosh. For Macintosh, there are actually three separate options available: a standalone application, a plugin for Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Elements 6, and a plugin for earlier Photoshop versions. LightShop is available as a download from Akvis for $117. A free trial is also available.

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Leica’s D-Lux 4 was spotted in Chasseur d’Images, priced at approximately $980. At first glance, the D-Lux 4 looks very similar to the D-Lux 3, but there are some changes. The most significant difference is the addition of a hotshoe on the top of the D-Lux 4. The lens for the new camera also has a wider and faster lens (24-60mm, ƒ2-2.8). The camera does have a slightly lower pixel count: 10.1 megapixels. The D-Lux 3 had 10.4 megapixels. The sensor size is almost identical, shrinking from 1/1.65″ to 1/1.63″.

It’s expected that confirmation of the new D-Lux model will occur at Photokina.

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