New Sunday Morning Photographer

Darren wrote this at 7:12 am:

Mike Johnston has just released another issue of his Sunday Morning Photographer column. This one contains:

  • personal and subjective bokeh ratings of 35 lenses
  • brief review of Rangefinder Photography, a book published by Lulu, a print-on-demand publisher
  • announcement that The Empirical Photographer is available in print from Lulu
  • back issues of The 37th Frame newsletter available on Lulu (PDF download only)
  • Lenses and the Light-Tight Box will soon be available on Lulu
  • First Annual 37th Frame Lens Awards

AgfaPhoto GmbH Files For Insolvency

Darren wrote this at 9:31 pm:

It doesn’t look good for AgfaPhoto. After years of struggle, they’ve filed for insolvency. The AgfaPhoto group is a private group of companies owned by management, NannO Beteiligungsholding and a small number of financial investors.

Visit DPReview to read the AgfaPhoto press release.

New Versions of Neat Image

Darren wrote this at 8:31 pm:

ABSoft has released new versions of its Neat Image noise reduction software – v5.0 for Windows and v3.0 for Mac. Touted features include:

  • significantly improved quality and efficiency of noise reduction
  • stronger integration with the latest image editors
  • enhanced usability
  • works 2.0-2.5 times faster than the previous version
  • profile quality indicators
  • improved image viewers
  • new command line format

Read the full Neat Image press release at DPReview.

Digital Outback Photo Releases New FotoEspresso

Darren wrote this at 9:31 am:

Digital Outback Photo has released FotoEspresso 1+2/2005.

FotoEspresso, by Uwe Steinmueller, Gerhard Roßbach and Jürgen Gulbins is a great (roughly) quarterly newsletter. This latest edition is packed with useful information about using histograms during shooting, Adobe’s DNG RAW file format, working with the 10.4mm Nikon fisheye lens, a HP DesignJet 30/130 experience report, and several detailed book reviews.

Past issues and more information is available on the FotoEspresso site.

Adobe Photoshop Customer Story Videos

Darren wrote this at 7:38 am:

Adobe has some interesting customer story videos in the Photoshop section of their web site. They include interviews with:

  • Martin Evening
  • Nick Vedros
  • Seth Resnick
  • Larry Peters
  • Michael Elins

as well as various PDF files about other Photoshop users.

While the videos are basically ads for Photoshop, they do show a little bit about how the various photographers work, what their workflow is like, and what sort of work they do. They’re not long (around 3 minutes or so each), so check them out.

Lensbaby 2.0 Review

Darren wrote this at 6:27 am:

Edwin over at CameraHobby.com has posted a Lensbaby 2.0 Review. He compares the new version of the lens with the original Lensbaby, and really likes the update.

The Lensbaby 2.0 is a rather interesting beast compared to the original Lensbaby. Increased resolution and quality are definite pluses and nearly on par with a good prime lens. For users who liked what the Lensbaby offered for creative photos, but wanted better quality for the part of the photo that they wanted in focus, the Lensbaby 2 addresses that need.

The Lensbaby 2.0 is available in mounts for Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Olympus E1, Minolta Maxxum, Olympus OM, Canon FD, Leica R, Minolta Manual, Sigma, Contax/Yashica, and Screw mounts.

There are several Lensbaby sample photos at the end of the review to show the kind of images this unusual lens creates.

Check out Edwin’s original Lensbaby Review for an explanation of how this unusual lens works, and to see some more sample photos.

Review of Kaidan 360 Degree Lens

Darren wrote this at 11:27 pm:

This review of the Kaidan 360 One VR MK/II contains a good discussion about 360 degree lenses, how they work, what they look like, and how you can use software like PhotoWarp to process the circular 360 degree photos into panoramas and create ‘virtual reality tours’.

The basic concept of the “one-shot” 360 degree lenses is that they have a mirror element that the camera shoots into. This mirror reflects a full 360 degrees, eliminating the need to rotate the camera and shoot multiple photos. This creates images that are circular when viewed unprocessed. A Photoshop plug-in or stand alone processing program is then run that essentially slices and “unfolds” the image into a long narrow panoramic format. Programs like Quicktime or Java can then read these files in such a way that they are played as a continuously rotating movie.

While the resolution of the final image won’t be as high using a 360 degree lens as it can be using the more traditional stitching methods, these lenses rate highly on the convenience factor. Capture the image in a single frame, and then feed that one file into PhotoWarp and you’ve got your final product. You could batch process a whole stack of photos overnight without any of the labour involved in stitched panoramas. That’d be a great time-saver for people like real estate agents wanting to create QTVR tours for web sites.

DNG Workflow Part II

Darren wrote this at 6:29 am:

Jeff Schewe has posted the second part of his DNG Workflow series: DNG Workflow Part II.

In this article, he describes a process for using Adobe DNG Converter to handle the actual transfer of images from your CF card to your computer (the “image ingestion” step). DNG Converter will find all the RAW files in all the subfolders on your CF card, and can process them all into DNG files in a single folder on your disk. It also has a variety of options for renaming the files as it goes, and can verify the integrity of each file.

Using DNG Converter for image ingestion is slower than simply copying them, but if you add in the time required to get the files out of subfolders and into a single folder and rename them, there probably isn’t much difference. Besides the philosophical advantages of using DNG, you’ll also likely gain a 20% saving on disk space compared to using proprietary RAW files.

GretagMacbeth Improves Eye-One

Darren wrote this at 10:48 pm:

GretagMacbeth has just released a new version of their Eye-One Match color management solution:

Latest enhancements to GretagMacbeth’s Eye-One color management solutions set new benchmark for speed and error-free handling

  • New accelerated Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer and enhanced Eye-One Match software incorporate improved, intelligent algorithms, making chart reading twice as fast and even more effortless
  • New, easy-to-use Digital Camera module addresses primary photo workflow tasks

Read the full press release for more detailed information.

Epson Stylus Pro 4800 Blog

Darren wrote this at 7:26 pm:

Australian photographer Pete Walsh has started a blog about his experiences with his new Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer. It’s both entertaining and informative joining Pete on the journey from manhandling the printer out of his car and up a ladder into his attic office, to charging up the ink lines and watching $500 worth of ink dump into the ‘nappy’, to his delight with his first B&W print.

Over the next few days Pete will be testing out the printer with both color and B&W photographs, checking for bronzing (especially on glossy papers) and overall color accuracy and print quality. It should be very interesting to follow his progress.

While you’re there check out Pete’s Magic Pixel main site. He has some excellent photos on display in his galleries, and sells them for very reasonable prices.