Polaroid's DirectPhoto 2.0 software makes it easy
to add images as attachments to e-mail messages and even
includes image-editing capability.
Happy New Year! I'll
leave to others to debate whether or not the next millennium actually
begins at midnight December 31, 1999 or on December 31, 2000. For digital
imagers, the new millennium is already here. It wasn't all that
long ago that a 100MHz microprocessor was considered fast, but now companies
are introducing computers with multiple 450MHz Pentium II chips that
easily turn what were formerly hour-long projects into a few minutes
work. Digital imagers, like race car drivers can never have too much
power, so many of us will harness this horsepower to create new, exciting
images without having to sit and stare at the screen while waiting for
an action to complete or a filter to be applied. Instead, image manipulations
can happen within literally a blink of the eye. Digital photographers
can reallocate this extra time to work on other images or use it to
refine and improve the project they are currently working on. My guess
is that most of us will split the difference, producing more arresting
images in less time. We're entering a millennium where the image
itself--not the technology that created it--will be the focus of attention.
For digital imagers, the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting
times" has turned, instead, into a blessing.
mouse that roared. IXMICRO's GyroPoint II mouse is
a gyroscopically controlled, radio frequency mouse that
frees users forever from the tyranny of the mousepad.
Where No Lens Has Gone
Before. Combining elements of computers and traditional photography,
a company with the intriguing name Be Here has created a system for producing
sweeping panoramic images. Their Portal S1 Imaging System includes the
S1 lens and computer software that decodes and reformats the raw image
data into standard graphics file formats, including JPEG, PICT, and BMP.
The S1 lens can be attached to any digital or film Nikon-mount camera
and will capture an image with 360° horizontal and 100° vertical
views with a single click of the shutter. Panoramic images can be viewed
with software such as QuickTime VR, Live Picture's Reality Studio,
and Be Here's Java PanViewer. For more information contact Be Here
at (408) 873-1300 or visit their web site at www.BeHere.com.
New Scanners. Flat-bed scanners, once limited to only
digitizing prints or other flat artwork, are shedding their cumbersome
transparency adapters and are morphing into the hybrids that can scan
film with dynamic ranges not possible a few years ago with dedicated film
scanners. More and more moderately priced flat-bed scanners include the
ability to also scan film. I predict that dedicated film scanners, except
for high-end publishing applications, will be replaced with hybrid scanners,
such as the new 36-bit DuoScan T1200 from Agfa. Like other members of
the DuoScan family, the T1200 offers separate beds for scanning film or
prints. Agfa calls this "TwinPlate" technology and feels it
provides better control over the scanner's optical path, resulting
in sharp scans with high color quality. The DuoScan T1200 flat-bed scanner
offers 600dpi resolution for reflective scans up to 8.5 x 14" color
and 2400dpi for transparencies up to 8x10". The film scanning bed
can produce a dynamic range of 3.0 and an optional batch slide holder
kit lets you scan more than one 35mm original at a time. The real news
is the price point: The DuoScan T1200 costs $699.
Agfa DuoScan T1200 uses the same TwinPlate technology that
its upscale siblings do, permitting scanning of prints and
film up to 8x10".
For affordable digitizing,
Agfa produces the SnapScan line of scanners. The new SnapScan 1212u is
a Universal Serial Bus (USB) scanner that can be used with any Windows
98 system with this capability as well as Apple Computer's new iMac.
The SnapScan 1212u has a color depth of 36-bits and an optical resolution
of 600dpi that can be interpolated up to 9600dpi. It has a retail price
of $129. The 1212p is a 36-bit parallel port scanner with specifications
similar to the 1212u and carries a price tag of $99. Other new SnapScan
models include the 1236S and 1236 Artline. Both have identical hardware
specifications with the difference being the software bundle that's
included. The Artline scanner bundles graphics-oriented, image enhancement
software package and is a gray instead of the white that's used
for the other scanner. The new SnapScan 1236S scanners feature 36-bit
color depth and a 600dpi optical resolution that can be expanded to 9600dpi
through interpolation. Prices are $249 for the standard SnapScan 1236S
and $299 for the Artline. For more information about Agfa scanners, call
(888) 281-2302 or visit their web site at www.agfahome.com.
Canon Computer Systems recently introduced two new low cost flat-bed scanners.
With a footprint of only 10.1x14.7x2.5", the $79 CanoScan FB 320P
and the $99 CanoScan FB 620P have the smallest footprint of any flat-bed
scanner currently available. The FB 320P delivers 300dpi optical resolution
and can produce images up to 1200dpi with interpolation. The 30-bit FB620
offers 600dpi optical resolution with interpolations up to 2400dpi. Both
feature a 30-bit color depth, a parallel port interface, and a software
bundle that includes Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Scan-Soft's TextBridge Plus,
and EarthLink Sprint Total Access, along with drivers for Windows 95,
98, and NT. For more information, call Canon at (800) 848-4123 or visit
their web site at www.ccsi.canon.com.
the optional Photo Cartridge, the HP DeskJet 697 can deliver
photographic quality output.
Imacon, Inc. recently announced
the FlexTight Precision II scanner, a new generation of the company's
award-winning CCD-drum scanner. The FlexTight Precision II is the first
scanner ever to incorporate an adaptive light source into its scanning
design--it can scan dark originals with detailed shadow areas. It delivers
a resolution up to 5600dpi and a density range from 0-4.1D. In addition,
because of its compact vertical design, the FlexTight Precision II's
footprint is only 9.7x13.8", which takes up considerably less desk
space than a flat-bed scanner. The scanner has a list price of $16,995
and is available through Imacon's distribution channel worldwide.
For more information, call Imacon, Inc. at (888) 462-2668 or visit their
web site at www.imacon-usa.com.
New Digital Cameras And Accessories. Casio's new QV-7000SX
digital camera comes with a swiveling lens along with a 1.32 million megapixel,
square pixel CCD that lets you capture images at resolutions from 1280x960
pixel or 640x480 pixels. Other features include a 2x optical zoom and
2x/4x digital zoom along with an HTML file generator that lets you view
thumbnails of images with your Web browser. A swivel mechanism allows
the lens to rotate 270°. When the power is turned off, the zoom lens
retracts into the camera. Video clips up to 12.8 sec long can be recorded
and played back on the camera's built-in 2.5" high-resolution
LCD screen. The camera stores images in JPEG format on a CompactFlash
card. For more information visit Casio's web site at www.casio.com.
new PDC 640 is an excellent introduction to point-and-shoot
Kodak's new DCS 560 pro-level
digital field camera is built around a Canon EOS body that allows the
creation of six megapixel images at a rate of one image per sec. The CCD
chip provides a flexible ISO equivalent of 80-200 for 18MB image files
that have a color depth of 36-bits. Image resolution is an impressive
3040x2008 pixels. The DCS 560 has a LCD display to provide instant review
of your digital photographs. The suggested list price is $28,500. For
more information call (800) 235-6325 or visit Kodak's web site at
Using rollfilm backs on 4x5 cameras is a time-honored tradition. Now Horseman
brings this concept into the digital age by offering a Digital Back Slide
Adapter that allows you to attach a Hasselblad digital back to most view
cameras. The adapter allows you to make a quick changeover from ground
glass to digital imaging.
Leica has introduced the digilux, a new digital camera available for a
most un-Leica-like price of $995. The digilux has everything you expect
in a Leica: a bright viewfinder, 7.6mm (equivalent to 35mm) f/3.2 lens,
metal body, and leather trim. Image resolution is 1280x1024 at 24-bit
color depth and a choice of five color temperature settings. Power is
supplied by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power the camera's
functions, including a 2" LCD monitor on the back. Depending on
the resolution of your images, the digilux can store up to 11 JPEG images
on a 2MB SmartMedia memory card. Images can be downloaded to a Windows
or Mac OS computer via a TWAIN driver and the package includes Micrografx
Picture Publisher for Windows and Eztouch software for Mac and Windows
computers. For more information, call (800) 222-0118 or visit Leica's
web site at www.leica-camera.com.
Canon-based Kodak DCS 560 professional digital camera can
create six megapixel images with a 36-bit color depth.
Polaroid's new PDC 640
digital camera has an affordable list price of $299. The handsome looking
point-and-shoot camera offers 640x480 resolution images and 2MB removable
SmartMedia cards that can store up to 64 images, depending on the resolution
of the digital photographs. The camera has a built-in flash along an optical
viewfinder as well as a 1.8" LCDD preview screen for more precise
composition. The camera is bundled with PhotoMax Image Maker software,
batteries, PC and TV cables, an AC adapter, and a wrist strap. For more
information, call (800) 343-5000 or visit Polaroid's web site at
Print Me Out. Hewlett-Packard has introduced several
new ink jet printers that produce photographic quality output at bargain
prices. The DeskJet 712C printer has a street price of $249 and can print
six pages per minute in black and white and three in color. The DeskJet
712C uses HP's Photo Resolution Enhancement color layering technology
to deliver photo quality output on any paper. When used with HP's
own Premium Photo Paper the results are remarkable for an under $300 printer.
The DeskJet 697C is expected to sell for $179 and can print five pages
per minute in black and white and up to 1.7 pages in color. To produce
photo-realistic output, you'll need the optional HP Photo Cartridge
that costs under $40. Both printers feature software bundles that include
PrintMaster Gold Publishing Suite, Professor Franklin's Instant
Photo Effects, and Microsoft's PictureIt! Express. HP has also launched
a new web site (www.deskjet.com)
to provide tips on how to integrate photographs into your personal publishing
projects. The site also includes space for users to display their work
as well as a section for support, products, and supplies. For more information
call (800) 752-0900 or visit HP's web site at www.hp.com.
some of the elusive "feel" missing from many
digital cameras, Leica goes digital with the affordably
priced digilux that produces megapixel resolution images.
For the past several months
I've been using a device that's a scanner, copier, fax, printer,
and answering machine wrapped up into a single peripheral. The industry
buzzword is MFP for "multifunction peripheral." Brother International
introduced its first laser-based MFP called the MFC-P2000, which features
600dpi laser printing with an output speed of 10 pages per minute. The
MFC-P2000's copier function produces black and white copies with
enlargement modes of 150 percent and 200 percent and reduction modes of
78 percent and 50 percent. The scanner function has an interpolated resolution
of 600dpi and is TWAIN compliant. While a fax function isn't included,
you'll find it in Brother's new MFC-7150C and MFC-7160C. Both
can print 720dpi color output at up to four pages per minute, offer color
copying capability, and have a 300dpi 24-bit scanner built-in. The fax
function has a 20 page document feeder and a 14.4K fax modem. You can
also plug a digital camera directly into an input port and print color
output of still frames from a camcorder or VCR. The main difference between
the two models is that the 7160C includes an answering machine function
which has a 99 minute capacity and a full duplex speaker phone. The MFC-7150C
has a street price of $499 and the MFC-7160C is $599. Additional information
can be obtained at the Brother fax back line at (800) 521-2846 or by visiting
their web site at www.brother.com.
Digital Back Slide Adapter allows you to attach a Hasselblad
compatible digital back to a 4x5 camera.
Plug-In Of The Month.
This month's outstanding Photoshop compatible plug-in is Vivid Detail's
Test Strip 2.0. If you've had trouble matching what you see on the
monitor to what comes off your printer, you need Test Strip. It's
the first color management software I've found that functions the
way that photographers are used to working--by producing a test strip
showing varying degrees of density and color. You can do this on screen,
but printing a Test Proof lets you make the comparisons of how the printer
has interpreted your on-screen image. Test Strip lets you work with color
or density changes in one percent increments--on RGB or CMYK images--and
has "before" and "after" screens that let you
compare any changes to the original. Vivid details also includes 73 photographic
and 115 special effects filters. For more information contact Vivid Details
at (805) 646-0217 or visit their web site at www.vividdetails.com.
Details Test Strip plug-in lets you produce the same kind
of proofs that you're used to doing in a traditional
Polaroid's new DirectPhoto 2.0 lets you capture, edit, merge, and
e-mail digital pictures from scanners, digital cameras, or other sources.
After installing the software, a DirectPhoto icon appears on your Microsoft
Word or Power-Point toolbar. When you click the Polaroid button, DirectPhoto
allows you to select an image and place it in any of your documents. When
preparing an e-mail attachment, DirectPhoto offers image compression and
a self-extracting viewer allowing the person who receives your photographs
to double-click the attachment and view the image on screen. DirectPhoto
is TWAIN-compliant and can open and save files in the imaging formats,
such as BMP, JPG, and TIFF. To improve the quality of your digital photographs,
the software includes image-editing tools, such as brightness, contrast,
gamma, color balance, color saturation, resizing, sharpening, and cropping.
DirectPhoto costs $29.95 and is available for Windows 3.1, Windows 95,
or higher. For more information call (800) 343-5000 or visit Polaroid's
web site at www.polaroid.com.
For availability in Canada, contact (800) 268-6970.
New Imagebase Program. Sound Vision announced Album Builder,
a Windows 95/98/NT program that allows you to build pages of digital pictures
and text that can be printed or shared via e-mail or web applications.
JPEG images can be placed on a full page and resized or cropped with simple
mouse actions. Pictures can be re-positioned and resized over and over
as you build a final page for printing. Captioning text can also be added,
and the font, size, color, and other attributes are easily modified. Compiled
album pages can be saved, printed, or exported as a composite JPEG file.
When creating output, the full resolution of the original images is used
for the print. Grid lines and page templates that can be customized are
also part of the package. Album Builder makes it possible to build a photo
album of hundreds of photographs in less than 10 minutes. For more information
and to download a demo version of Album Builder, visit their web site
Now That's A Smart Mouse. IXMICRO recently shipped Gyro-Point
Pro II--a "free space" mouse. Using a gyroscope design and
Radio Frequency (RF) technology, the GyroPoint Pro II has a 75'
range and has the ability to transmit through walls, allowing presentations
to become a more relaxed and less structured experience. Inside the egg-shaped
device is a tiny gyroscope that interprets wrist motion to move the cursor,
with no need to point the device at the screen. A presenter can move freely
around during a presentation with no cords or table-bound mouse tying
them to a podium. Infrared-based mice, by comparison, require that they
always be in the line of sight of the receiver. The GyroPoint Pro II has
an easy to hold, symmetrical shape, that's equally comfortable for
right and left-handed users. GyroPoint Pro II is also Plug-and-Play--simply
plug it into your existing mouse port, use the driver you already have,
and it's ready to go. The mouse costs $129 and an audio-visual version,
bundled with presentation software and additional accessories, is $159.
For more information visit IXMICRO's web site at www.ixmicro.com.