More plugins than you will probably ever be able to use.
(via Thomas Hawk)
[tags]olympus, passion, commercial[/tags]
Photography BLOG has posted its review of the Nikon D40x:
The Nikon D40x is essentially a 10 megapixel version of the slightly older 6 megapixel D40, and thankfully the increase in resolution hasn’t negatively affected the overall image quality. Indeed, I couldn’t see any noticeable difference in terms of noise between ISO settings on the D40x and the same settings on the D40, which means that the D40x delivers a bigger image without the usual trade-offs of unwanted image artifacts.
It’s a steal for $620 (with lens) currently at Amazon.com!
You can see more reviews of the D40x on this page.
[tags]nikon, d40x, review[/tags]
Bert Stephani is a professional photographer based out of Zaventem, Belgium. His work consists of portraiture, kids, weddings and corporate photography. Fortunately, for you and me, he’s videotaped one of his shoots and then walked back through it teaching his techniques and observations along the way. If you’ve not come accross Mr. Stephani yet, then take a few minutes, sit back and learn something.
1. Lighting Right at High Noon
2. Backgrounds and Light
3. Light Leftovers
Check out more of Bert’s photos and musings on his blog.
[tags]lighting, tutorial, how to, diy, photography, flash, off-camera[/tags]
A new user interface will help Photoshop become “everything you need, nothing you don’t,” said Photoshop product manager John Nack, describing aspirations for the Photoshop overhaul on his blog Monday.
“We must make Photoshop dramatically more configurable,” Nack said. “Presenting the same user experience to a photographer as we do to a radiologist, as to a Web designer, as to a prepress guy, is kind of absurd…With the power of customizability, we can present solutions via task-oriented workspaces,” Nack said. (Read more. . .)
Photoshop functioning as seamless as Lightroom? I like where this is going.
[tags]photoshop, adobe, lightroom, interface, news[/tags]
Interested in taking your photo editing workflow online? Well, don’t get ahead of yourself, we’re not quite there yet. However, if you want to share some family photos or do some fun stuff with photos online, there are plenty of editors out there that can suit your needs. I’m taking a look at seven of the popular editors out there and giving you my short take on their functionality and results. I’ve also included sample images that each editor produced from the same base image.
I’m no expert at post-processing, but I think these images will give you a representative sample of what you can produce with relatively little experience on the particular program. I had never used any of these before this review and I probably didn’t put more than 10-12 minutes of time into each edit (some much less). I got what I thought was the best image out of each program and then saved it. Enjoy!
The Base Image:
FotoFlexer functions quite well. It reminded me that I needed the latest version of Flash to make things happen and allowed me to download directly from FotoFlexer’s site. Additionally, once I restarted my browser my image was up on the site and ready for me to edit. In order to get my image off, I had to register, which was surprisingly painless. FotoFlexer didn’t make me go to my email and click a confirming link, so I got to keep working with my photo.
The editing tool, however, leaves something to be desired. If you want to simply convert something to black and white or do something fun with a photo for your Myspace page, then go for it. It’s an OpenSocial launch partner, so it’s integrated well with Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and Photobucket. The sharpen tool, among others, made my photo look like crap. If you’re used to Lightroom, Photoshop or even iPhoto, take a pass on FotoFlexer.
The first great thing I noticed about picnik was that there’s no registration required. Next, the site is simply beautiful. The menus are where they should be and even the load screens make sense.
Editing options? Check. The editing tools are great. There are plenty of basic editing tools and many advanced tools that I didn’t expect to see, like exposure and temperature adjustments. In fact, for $25 you can upgrade to the Advanced version and get some fancy highlight and shadow adjustments, fine tuning exposure and sharpening and more. It can really chew up some bandwidth though, so no dial up! Even the save and download features are more than you’d expect. Save in .jpg, .tiff, .png, .gif, .bmp or .pdf and adjust your .jpg compression quality. It also has great integration tools for flickr, facebook, picasa and more.
Like picnik, phixr let’s you get right to uploading and editing without any registration hassle. It has a familiar feel if you’re used to Photoshop, with a handy little tool pallete on the left; however, you’ve still got to mouseover the icons to see what each does. Making adjustments is a little clunky though.
Click on an icon and you get a popup window with two thumbnail sized images. When you move sliders inside the popup, the new version only changes after you release the slider – it’s not really “real time” editing. Even the percentages and numbers on the sliders don’t change until you release the sliders. If you can make out the changes on the thumbnails, you click “execute” to update the photo and the popup disappears.
Though Phixr has cool features like sharpen and noise reduction, the preview thumbnails are worthless. Simply put, it’s too complicated for something that should be simple. I actually liked the final results of the photo. It’s just that getting there was not quite as fun as some of the other editors.
“Jump right in” – the invitation I received from Slashup. Again, no registration hassle to try it out. Splashup opens in a separate popup window and right off the bat has a very familiar Photoshop-esque layout. You can open an image by uploading from your computer, picking a flickr image or picking one from any other location on the web. The menu has a title bar that will be familiar to you Windows users out there.
Splashup’s editing tools are very powerful for a web-based photo editing platform. It even offers layers. Several of the tools are equipped with sliders that move and edit the image in real-time preview. Unfortunately, the sharpen tool is not one of those. This is where layers came in handy. I merely duped the background layer and then lowered the opacity of the new layer with sharpening applied. If you’re used to Photoshop and need something quick and handy online, Splashup is for you.
Pixenate shocked me with it’s auto-enhance feature – not in a good way though. Most of the photo editors have a much milder auto-enhancer. Pixenate went crazy with saturation and contrast though. Unfortunately, fine tuning the image on my own didn’t really produce the results and experience I was hoping for. Pixenate seems very clunky to me – much like Phixr. Editing options are limited, slow and lack fine tuning. There’s better stuff out there. Keep looking.
Fast and easy. That sums up Snipshots for me. It’s like iPhoto on the web. The slider tools have a very iPhoto feel and the edits are super fast. I got to where I wanted to be in about 40 seconds. Uploading and saving is very simple. You can get the Pro version and edit RAW files, which is a rarity in an online app. Did I mention it’s fast? Another cool feature is the ability to use shortcut keys, which surprisingly is not a common feature in the photo editors I’ve seen online. Take minute (seriously, a minute) and try it out.
I couldn’t get pixer to work after I uploaded my image on my iMac using Firefox or Safari. After trying it on a Windows machine, I should’ve just taken the Mac incompatibility as a sign that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Pixer.us produced the worst results for basic editing functions of any of the editors I tried. The interface first appeared to be rather slick. However, upon the first move of the slider tools, I came to realize that I’ve got yet another preview window that doesn’t show adustments in real time, so you’ve got to release the slider to see what you’re going to get for every edit that you do. Additionally, you can only undo one previous action and there’s no way to start over short of uploading the image again. (I thought clicking “Original” in the “Undo” menu would do this, but it just took me back to the start page.) The contrast adjustment goes overboard with just a slight adjustment of the slider. I just couldn’t get it to work the way that it should. I’ll pass on pixer.us.
In short, I’m amazed at the quality results you can get from editing your images online. Even the worst of the editors did an okay job of producing a usable image (pixer.us is on thin ice here though). My picks of the litter are picnik and Snipshots. I expect I’ll find the opportunity to use these again.
We’ve come a long way and I expect this market will be booming right along with the social networking boom of late. Google’s OpenSocial will help to prod this movement along. We’ll keep checking up on these tools and eagerly await to see what technology ultimately brings us.
[tags]photo, editor, online, photoshop, post-process[/tags]
PMA is the world’s largest annual photo trade show and it’s scheduled to take place January 31 – February 2, 2008. With over 650 exhibitors, it’s always full of the biggest announcements of the year. (You can see this year’s exhibitors here.)
After a rocking series of announcements this fall from Nikon (the D3 and D300), Canon (the 40D and 1Ds Mk III), Sony (the a700) and Olympus (the E-3), what more can we expect from major camera manufacturers at PMA 2008?
Below is the rundown of the latest developments from PMA. Please note that I will continue to update this page with the latest announcements throughout PMA (hence, I’ll delete rumors and speculations and replace it with news as the information becomes available).
Replacing the EOS Rebel XTi / 400D, Canon has announced the EOS Rebel XSi / 450D, which is a 12.2 megapixel DSLR. Along with the Rebel XSi, Canon announced the availability of the EF-S 55-250mm IS lens for US customers. This lens was announced in August 2007, however, it was previously unavailable in the US.
On the “pro” gear side of things, Canon launched the previously announced EF 200mm f/2L IS USM and EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lenses, priced at $6,000 and $12,000, respectively.
In the point & shoot realm, Canon announced the PowerShot A590 IS, A580 and A470 to update the popular “A” series digital cameras. Additionally, Canon updated the PowerShot SD1000 IS Digital ELPH camera with the PowerShot SD1100 IS Digital ELPH camera.
For details on all of these new products from Canon, please click on the respective links above to go to Photography Bay’s in-depth coverage.
Nikon announced the new 10.2 megapixel Nikon D60 on January 29, 2007. Rather than creating an entirely new DSLR that’s a true “step up” from the Nikon D40x, Nikon settled on the solid 10.2 megapixel sensor that has made the D40x such a great camera and “upgraded” the rest of the camera to include next generation features like built-in sensor cleaning, built-in filter effects, Active D-Lighting (featured in the Nikon D3/D300) and 3D Color Matrix Metering II (also from the D3/D300). For more info, check out the reviews, resources and other info on the Nikon D60 page.
What most people were expecting before the Nikon D60 rumors got to full steam was a successor to the Nikon D80. The D80 was introduced by Nikon in August 2006, which would have made PMA 2008 the proper timeframe for the typical 18-month product life cycle that we’ve grown accustomed to in consumer/prosumer DSLRs. Additionally, the D80 is sadly behind on the technology curve in light of the current offerings from Nikon and other DSLR manufacturers. The D80 remains the little brother of the D200. The introduction of the Nikon D60 seems to convey the message that Nikon has consolidate their line with only one entry-level DSLR. However, you can find any further developments/rumors/etc. on the Nikon D90 page.
In addition, Nikon has added some new lenses for its DSLR lineup, which are as follows:
Finally, Nikon added a number of point and shoot cameras to its stable:
- Nikon COOLPIX S600
- Nikon COOLPIX S550
- Nikon COOLPIX S520
- Nikon COOLPIX S210
- Nikon COOLPIX L16 and L18
- Nikon COOLPIX P60
For details on all of these new products from Nikon, please click on the respective links above to go to Photography Bay’s in-depth coverage.
Additionally, Sony rolled out their next iteration of the Alpha a100 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier in January – the A200. Just prior to PMA, Sony announced the Sony A300 and A350, which share the consumer-oriented body of the A200 and weigh in at 10.2 and 14.2 megapixels respectively. Both cameras will be available in April – at $800 for the A300 with a 18-70mm kit lens and the A350 in a $900 kit or an $800 body-only package.
Sony has also announced several new point & shoot models, which include the following:
For details on all of these new products from Sony, please click on the respective links above to go to Photography Bay’s in-depth coverage.
Olympus doesn’t really have much more to show us as far as DSLR bodies are concerned. We saw the introduction of the E-410 and E-510 last Spring, and the E-3 was introduced just last month. Their entire line is new. We could see updates for the E-410 and E-510 at Photokina next fall, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on any new bodies from Olympus at PMA ’08. Olypmus could (and should) continue to introduce lenses to beef up their 4/3 System. Their new Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD) lenses really boost focus speed, especially when coupled with the new E-3. Expect to see more of these, hopefully at PMA ’08.
Pentax has replaced the K10D and K100D with new models – the K20D and K200D, respectively. The K20D has 14.6 megapixels and the K200D gets 10.2 megapixels and they are priced at $1299 and$799, respectively.
Additionally, Pentax has announced a number of new smc lenses to couple the with new K20D and K200D DSLRs. Details on the new lenses can be found on the K20D and K200D page as well. The lens pricing and shipping dates are as follows:
- smc PENTAX DA* 200mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM will ship in March 2008 for $1099.95
- smc PENTAX DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM will ship in May 2008 for $1299.95
- smc PENTAX DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED will ship in May 2008 for $399.95
- smc PENTAX DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited will ship in April 2008 for $599.95
- smc PENTAX DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II will ship as a kit lens with PENTAX K200D in March 2008 (value $199.95)
Finally, Pentax announced a four new Optio series cameras – the Optio M50, Optio S12, Optio E50 & Optio A40.
For details on all of these new products from Pentax, please click on the respective links above to go to Photography Bay’s in-depth coverage.
Samsung has announced the new GX-20, the fraternal twin of the Pentax K20D, both of which tout nearly identical features but come in a different body, some display variations and other subtle differences. For further details, visit on the Samsung GX-20 page.
Sigma, Tamron & Tokina
We’re interested in what everyone’s favorite step-children are doing with their lens offerings. Sigma has rolled out more HSM lenses to go along with the Nikon D40(x) and D60. Tamron has already announced a few internal focusing lenses that are compatible with Nikon’s consumer grade DSLRs (see below). Now we’re just waiting on Tokina to jump on board.
Also, image stabilization is becoming more and more essential (and marketable) for Canon and Nikon cameras. This is due in part to the push we’ve seen from Sony, Olympus and Pentax to incorporate IS in the body of DSLRs. Sigma has a few lenses that offer Optical Stabilization, as Sigma calls it, including their new 18-200mm OS lens. Tamron’s got the superzoom 28-300mm VC (vibration compensation). Expect more of this feature as these companies introduce new lenses.
New Tamron Products
- Tamron SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO
- Tamron SP AF10-24MM F/3.5-4.5 DI II LD ASPHERICAL (IF)
- Tamron AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II (model A14NII); SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II (model A16NII); and 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di
New Sigma Products (via DPReview.com)
- Sigma announces DP1 to be available spring 2008
- Sigma 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM
- Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 HSM for Nikon
- Sigma 70-200 and 50-150 f/2.8 APO EX DG for Pentax and Sony
- Sigma 10-20mm and 70-200mm for Four Thirds
- Sigma APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
- Sigma APO 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM
- Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 EX DG
Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted with the latest rumblings on the latest gear as it surfaces at PMA and elsewhere on the web.
More PMA Reports
[tags]pma, nikon, canon, sony, olympus, sigma, tamron, tokina, 2008[/tags]