Gaze-Based Cropping

Darren wrote this at 6:04 pm:

Here’s an interesting research paper from Microsoft: Gaze-Based Interaction For Semi-Automatic Photo Cropping.

The researchers used eye-tracking technology to map out where the viewer’s attention was drawn when looking at a photograph. This allowed them to determine which parts of the photograph were important and which were not, and to then crop the photograph down to emphasise the important parts.

This approach actually works pretty well. There are a whole bunch of sample images near the end of the paper, and I have to say that the gaze-based crops look very good. Perhaps one day we’ll see eye-tracking technology used in those photo printing terminals to help inexperienced users crop and print their snapshots better?

The paper is also useful for the references section – there are a lot of interesting-looking references on topics such as composition and visual perception.

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Reuters Drops Freelancer Over Manipulated Lebanon Photos

Darren wrote this at 8:23 pm:

Another week, another scandal surrounding a news photographer doctoring images: Reuters says Mideast photographer doctored shots (

The Reuters press release is here: Reuters withdraws all photos by Lebanese freelance.

There’s a pretty good analysis of some of the images submitted by the photographer in question (Adnan Hajj) over at The Jawa Report, including close-up details from the images.

What I don’t understand is why these photographers keep submitting manipulated photos. Surely they know they’re eventually going to get caught out? The images will be seen by millions of people around the world, and any discrepancies are going to come to light. The photo of the smoke over the city is so badly done that even a schoolkid would know it’s a fake!

I can only guess that the freelance market has such stiff competition these days that photographers will do anything for a ‘blockbuster’, especially when their agencies are pushing them to deliver and threatening to drop them if they don’t. Add to that the unreal situation of being in the middle of a war zone, and I suppose the pressure and temptation just become too much.

Pentax K100D Firmware v1.01

Darren wrote this at 12:45 am:

Pentax has just released firmware version 1.01 for the K100D digital SLR.

Fixes and features:

  • Support for SDHC memory cards (SD cards larger than 4 GB)
  • Focal length input into the Shake Reduction menu can now be displayed accurately in Pentax Photo Browser 3

See Pentax’s K100D Firmware v1.01 web page for download and installation instructions.

Graphics Tablets For Photography

Darren wrote this at 10:54 am:

I was doing a bit of research this week, trying to figure out whether I’d be better off getting a 4×5″ graphics tablet or a 6×8″ one.

A few helpful reviews I found include:

In summary, most people seem to agree that a 4×5″ graphics tablet is best for photographers. Any larger, and you need to move your whole hand rather than just your wrist when working, which reduces accuracy and slows you down. A smaller tablet will also be cheaper and more portable, which is great for photographers who want to take their tablet on the road with them for use with a laptop.

For illustration work, on the other hand, 6×8″ or even larger seems to be recommended. This is especially true for classically-trained illustrators who tend to draw from the shoulder with larger strokes, rather than from the wrist.

Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Review

Darren wrote this at 1:09 am:

DPReview has just published their Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Review.

This camera is the product of the Konica Minolta/Sony joint development deal last year, and the subsequent withdrawal of Konica Minolta from the camera business altogether.

The DSLR-A100 features:

  • 10 megapixel CCD
  • Konica Minolta lens mount (now called Alpha Mount)
  • in-body Anti-Shake (now called Super SteadyShot)
  • anti-dust system
  • eye start AF
  • 40 segment honeycomb pattern metering
  • 2.5″ rear LCD

The A100 gets a pretty good review, giving Sony a solid entry into the DSLR market.

We’ve also added a Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 Reviews page.