Enquiring Minds Want To Know
How I Select Products For Digital Innovations
Enquiring minds want to know what
it takes to have products featured in this column. I begin by asking myself
if it's something I think Shutterbug readers can use and with only 10-11
columns a year, I hate to waste the space.
Before a product appears, it's evaluated for 30 days, sometimes longer. Digital imaging software and hardware are installed on a 730MHz Apple Power Macintosh G4 (www.apple.com) using OS X Panther or a 2.2GHz AMD Athlon XP 3000+ eMachines computer (www.emachines.com) running Windows XP Professional. These two are networked via a wireless router that includes a broadband Internet connection. A separate eMachines 1.6GHz Windows XP home computer is not networked or connected to the Internet to keep it virus free from external sources.
To find these products I attend
trade shows, get suggestions from readers, and receive lots of press releases.
Most press releases get tossed, some get filed, but interesting products elicit
requests for review copies, but the ratio of products received vs. requests
sent is low. Similarly, when asked why certain companies' products never
appear in Digital Innovations, my reply is simple: Some companies won't
send me products. More than a few, it appears, expect me to write about products
without actually using them.
The bottom line for me is that, like the late Lester Bogen who wouldn't sell a product he would not use, I won't write about any product that I won't use myself.
Plug-Ins Of The Month
When it comes to image quality, Schneider Optics (www.schneideroptics.com) is an industry leader. That's why I was thrilled when they added a series of digital B+W filters to their product line. These Mac OS and Windows Photoshop compatible plug-ins are available as Portrait & Family and Outdoor Sets. Each set provides six different effects that can be selected, adjusted, and applied to any image or selection. The B+W Portrait & Family Set includes Black and White (cool), Enhance Colors, Luna, Summertime, Warming, and Soft Focus. Soft Focus produces an effect similar to a "real" B+W Softar filter and I like using it with glamour and fashion images. Special effects found in the Outdoor Set include Brighten, Graduated Blue, Graduated Neutral Density, Polarizing Enhancer, Summertime, and Warming, which might be redundant if you're already using Photoshop CS and will be a godsend if you're not. Each set costs $65, and an overview of the effects possible with both sets can be seen at: www.schneider optics.com/software/b+w_software_filters.