Photos © 2004, Joe Farace,
All Rights Reserved
"You live and learn. At
any rate, you live."--the late Douglas Adams
In last year's Shutterbug's
Photography Buyer's Guide (do you have the 2004 edition?) I suggested
a few improvements to the current crop of digicams and some camera manufacturers
may have been listening. I asked for a Black & White mode that emulates
real film, and while nobody has quite done this yet, high-quality cameras, such
as Leica's Digilux 2, let me shoot in black and white or color. I hit
a home run when I said, "A digital Hexar using Konica's manual focus
Hexanon lenses would be a wonderful traveling companion." Answering my
plea was Cosina and Epson, who have teamed to build the first interchangeable
lens digital rangefinder camera.
Leica Digilux 2 lets you capture a raw image in color while simultaneously
capturing a JPEG file in black and white! Using Adobe Photoshop
CS' Layers and placing one image file on each Layer, I partially
erased the color Layer to reveal the monochrome beneath it. This
puts the focus on the classic blue Ford convertible that would
have been lost in the busy background in a full-color photograph.
All digital cameras suffer from
an advanced case of featureitis, but it's not too late to save the patient
with some feature cutting. Let's start with video clips. If I want to
shoot video, I'll use a DV camcorder, such as Canon's ZR80 (www.canondv.com).
A digicam that records 3240x480 video, even at 30 fps, is still a novelty, not
a capability we need for a still camera. I think Electronic Viewfinders are
the result of camcorder envy, too. They may let you see 100 percent of the image,
but can be "mostly useless" when wearing Polaroid sunglasses and
add needlessly to the cost of the camera while adversely affecting usability.
few months after my appeal for a digital rangefinder camera, Epson
showed a prototype of the R-D1 at PMA 2004 and will be shipping
production cameras by the time you read this. Or was it just a
Pixels On The Half Shell
More and more I'm shooting raw image files to squeeze the maximum image
quality out of each pixel. Hamrick Software's (www.canondv.com) VueScan
8.0 is not only the Swiss Army Knife for 100 different scanners but now supports
raw files for 109 digital cameras. VueScan automatically adjusts images to optimum
color balance, eliminating the need to do this manually inside Photoshop and
includes built-in color calibration, plus supports more than 100 kinds of negative
film. It also offers options for scanning faded slides and prints and batch
scanning. The Mac OS and Windows Standard Edition of VueScan costs $59.95, but
the Linux version is free for personal or educational use. A Professional Edition
costs $79.95 and can create raw scan files and ICC profiles. This edition also
supports multiple color space and IT8 color calibration. A fully functional
trial version can be downloaded from Hamrick's website.
Software's VueScan 8.0 is the Swiss Army Knife for 100 different
scanners and now supports raw files for 109 digital cameras. It's
available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows and automatically
adjusts images to optimum color balance.