Stocking Stuffers For Imagers
This year, more and more
people will be doing shopping for that perfect holiday gift by using
the Internet. Why not? It's the best place available to find a
state of the art gift for your favorite digital imager--or maybe even
yourself. A web search using the Infoseek search engine and the keyword
"Christmas" netted me 410,536 possible holiday related web
sites. This shopping expedition could turn into a big job, so you might
need some help. That's why it's time again for my annual
roundup of digital imaging gift ideas for the holidays. Included in
this year's offerings are new hardware and software products that
will make your digital photography easier as well as more fun.
Kodak announced their new DCS330 digital field camera, which is built around the Nikon Pronea 6i Advanced Photo System body. The 330 replaces the 315 which uses the same Nikon body and accepts almost all Nikon's F-mount lenses, including those developed for the APS format. Using an Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) CCD imager with an ISO equivalency range of 125 to 400, the new camera delivers a 30-bit 3Mp image and produces a 9MB file. The ITO sensor is more transmissive than the polysilicon sensors found in many digital cameras and increases the spectral response of the DCS330, allowing 21/2 times for blue light to reach it for improved color accuracy and reduced noise. Image resolution is 2009x1504 and the camera uses a proprietary anti-aliasing filter to eliminate artifacts that often plague digital cameras. The filter has an infrared coating to eliminate IR contamination that, in the past, many digital photographers eliminated with a separate screw-on filter. The DCS330 is priced at $5995 and, coincident with its introduction, the price of the DCS315, which has a resolution of 1520x1008, has been reduced to $4995. For more information about Kodak's DCS series of digital cameras, call (800) 235-6325 or visit their web site at: www.kodak.com/go/professional.
The Yashica Samurai 2100DG is a new 2.4Mp digital camera that features a vertical orientation similar to the company's APS cameras. One of the big advantages of this shape is that it allows you to shoot one-handed to take advantage of the 4x optical zoom controls, shutter release, and image mode selectors. The lens is the equivalence of a 34-140mm on the 35mm format and 4x digital zoom capability is also offered. The Samurai 2100DG includes an 8MB CompactFlash card that lets you store up to 84 images in 800x600 (Normal) mode. Other modes include Fine and Super Fine, which can capture images at a resolution of 1632x1232 using different compression ratios. The camera has a 1.8" LCD preview panel along with an optical viewfinder. The built-in flash has four modes: automatic, redeye reduction, fill flash, and off. With a $899 price tag, the Samurai 2100DG includes a free one-year account on PhotoLoft, a photo-sharing web site that lets you to view, share, and print photographs. Retail locations and additional information can be found by calling (800) 526-0266 or through the Yashica web site at: www.yashica.com.
Ink Jet Printers For Dummies. The ideal stocking stuffer is small, will actually fit in a stocking, and doesn't cost much. If your favorite digital imager has been agonizing over what kind of photo quality ink jet printer to buy, stick a copy of Buying an Ink Jet Printer for Dummies into their stocking. Epson America along with IDG Books Worldwide, publishers of the For Dummies book, have produced a booklet that's designed to help you make a decision about purchasing an ink jet printer. The booklet explores a variety of topics, including the differences between the two popular methodologies of ink jet technology (micro piezo and thermal), print speed, color technologies, droplet size, and the ability to produce photo quality output. Buying an Ink Jet Printer for Dummies provides information about various papers (two samples are bound in) and describes a variety of projects that can be used with each kind of paper. The book includes 10 important questions that you should ask before purchasing an ink jet printer and, not surprisingly, 10 reasons to purchase an Epson printer. There's a brief glossary that defines important ink jet printer terms along with coupons for a free copy of PrintMaster Publishing Suite Software with the purchase of any Epson Stylus Color ink jet printer. Buying an Ink Jet Printer for Dummies is available only though the Internet. Visit Epson's web site at: www.epson.com/whatsnew/promotions/dummies.html and click the "order" button. The offer is valid for US residents only and orders require a credit card charge of $2.99 for shipping and handling.
Scan Me. Imacon
announced their FlexTight Progression scanner, a film and reflective CCD-drum
device based on the company's FlexTight Technology but designed
to be as easy to use as a flat-bed. The new scanner uses a magnetic holder
that automatically feed wraps an original around a "virtual drum."
By bending the original, the FlexTight Progression scanner holds the line
of sight to the scanner's lens straight, flat and in focus, eliminating
any inaccuracies that might cause registration errors or color flaring.
The FlexTight Progression has an optical resolution of 5760dpi, magnification
up to 2400 percent, and a Dmax of 4.1. The scanner can capture 42-bit
color and up to 16,000 levels of gray allowing highlight, shadow, and
gradation settings to be accurately represented in the software preview.
This large format CCD scanner lets you batch scan prints or use a built-in
light box to mount and batch scan film originals. The scanner weighs 77
lbs and, with a footprint that is 19.7x31.1", occupies approximately
the same space as some flat-beds. The FlexTight Progression has a list
price of $19,995 and is bundled with ColorFlex, Vivid Details' Test
Strip, and Canto Cumulus Desktop image management software. For additional
information, call (888) 462-2668 or visit the company's web site
An Even Better Digital Imaging Bargain. JASC Software makers of the Windows-based Paint Shop Pro image-editing program announced the release of Version 6 which now includes a copy of their Animation Shop 2.0 program. At $109, the price is up slightly from previous versions but still represents a bargain for cost conscious digital imagers. Unlike other image manipulation programs, Paint Shop Pro offers editable text, vector-based graphics, multiple image printing capabilities (on the same sheet), and provides direct support for over 120 digital cameras. Some of Version 6's new features include digital watermarking of copyright information, adjustment layers for applying color corrections to multiple layers, and a multicolor gradient tool for creating and saving custom gradients. Image management capabilities are provided by an enhanced Browser that lets you drag-and-drop files onto other folders while working within the Browser interface. Paint Shop Pro supports Photoshop compatible plug-ins and includes some of its own special effects filters, such as Bevel, Weave, Blinds, and a bunch of others. An OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) Screen Capture module lets you grab screen shots directly from any host application. If you want to see for yourself, a demo copy can be downloaded from the company's web site at: www.jasc.com.
A Battle Is Over. The
battle between magnetic and optical technologies for dominance of digital
imaging removable media is over and optical has won. The reason is simple:
low cost and content portability. Optical media, in the form of CD-R and
CD-RW, won the battle by providing lots of capacity at low prices for
a disc that will run on practically every computer that's been built
in the past few years. If optical media has had any drawbacks at all,
it's recording speed. The drives and the recording process can be
slow, but now that's changing. Ricoh announced their new speedy
CD-RW drives combining CD-R recording at 6x, CD-RW "burning"
at 4x, and reading at 24x speeds. Tests conducted by the XXCAL Testing
Laboratories in Japan showed that, when recording data onto CD-R discs,
Ricoh's 6x recording drives were faster than other manufacturer's
8x drives. The price of the internally mounted MediaMaster MP7060A (ATAPI)
and MP7060S (SCSI) drivers are $349 and $299 respectively. An external
SCSI version priced at $499 is expected to be available by the time you
read this. More information about the drives can be obtained by calling
Ricoh at (877) 742-6479 or by visiting their web site at: www.ricohdms.com.
Put Your Pictures In
A Vault. Photo Vault is a shareware program that lets you organize
your digital photographs, along with captions, in a convenient user-definable
format. Like many imagebase programs, Photo Vault has a search feature
that lets you locate specific images on a photographic collection that
can be stored on disk, CD ROM, or the Internet. Photo Vault can display
your images individually or as slide shows, and lets you e-mail pictures
to friends and family members. If you have a CD or DVD writer, you can
use Photo Vault's AutoPlay feature to automatically load an album
when that CD or DVD disc is placed in the drive. The program requires
a Pentium powered computer running Windows 95, Windows 98, or NT 4 and
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 or later. Photo Vault's registration
price is $20 and you can download a copy from: www.personalmicrocosms.com.
For more information about the product, visit their web site at: www.personalmicrocosms.com/html/ss_pv.html.