Shootin’ And Scootin’; Products For Wedding And Other Photographers Page 2
Little Ones Outta Big Ones
VSO Software’s (www.vso-software.fr) VSO Image Resizer lets you re-size and convert image files between different formats. Image Resizer 3 supports more formats and adds a watermark feature along with the ability to add a border to the picture. Since the digital frame market is ever growing—even I own two of ’em—the Windows-based software includes a transfer assistant that automatically re-sizes and loads your pictures onto the frame. An integrated search engine lets you determine the technical specifications of your frame and once you’ve plugged it into a computer, VSO Image Resizer uses the info for the transfer assistant and loads the selected pictures onto the frame and re-sizes them to the correct image aspect ratio. The space saved by re-sizing enables you to load more pictures onto your frame and smart content aware re-sizing lets you keep the full content of an existing picture without distortion, avoiding stretching or black bars to fill the frame. The free version has a pop-up window that’s removed when purchasing the full version.
Nostalgic Camera Straps
Remember the 1970s? Some of us have hazy recollections of a time when camera straps looked more like Jimi Hendrix’s guitar straps than the “advertise the company” straps that come in the camera box. Now those wacky Canadians at Booth Photographic (www.boothphoto.com) are offering drug-free flashbacks with new MOD camera straps that are available in a wide variety of colors and styles to take us back to the days when I wore bell-bottoms and flares. The straps have real leather ends and durable webbing throughout and, like the originals, are longish with a total adjustable length of approximately 40-54”. The decorative portion of the strap measures 34” long. The MOD straps are tested to withstand up to 90 lbs and lined with Minky Cuddle Plush (you can’t make up stuff like this) fabric for comfort. I attached one to the relatively heavy Canon EOS 7D that I schlepped all over the SEMA show for three days and was surprised how comfortable it was. When I was wearing my trademark Hawaiian shirts the strap got a little slippy but, then again, most camera straps do with these shirts. Sometimes you make these little sacrifices for style.
HDR For Windows
Unified Color Technologies’ (www.unifiedcolor.com) Windows-only HDR PhotoStudio software uses floating-point technology to accurately edit a 32-bit color gamut and produce realistic looking images for HDR. The program lets you adjust image brightness (including contrast, shadow/highlight, sharpness) without affecting color tones. When color tones (such as white balance, saturation, and color tuning) are changed, the image’s brightness and contrast remains untouched. The program’s toolbox includes noise reduction techniques to eliminate brightness and color noise without diminishing image quality. HDR PhotoStudio also includes a Veiling Glare adjustment to cut down on reflective light that’s often exacerbated when merging multiple exposures.
The software supports Unified Color’s own BEF file format and a BEF-conversion plug-in is included that allows the finished HDR image to be applied to a Photoshop project. HDR PhotoStudio supports Raw files from major camera manufacturers as well as TIFF, JPEG, BMP, and OpenEXR.
Geek Note: OpenEXR is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image file format developed by Industrial Light & Magic (www.openexr.com). System requirements include Windows XP and Vista; 64-bit Windows is recommended for 20-megapixel or larger images. A minimum of 2GB RAM is suggested but 3GB is recommended. The program costs $149.99 and trial copies are available through the Unified Color site. Mac heads are told the company is “working diligently to make HDR PhotoStudio available on Mac OS,” which we all expect really soon now.