THIS WEEK THAT WASN'T

With the first photography show of the season open in New York, this 3rd week of October, many companies took the opportunity to showcase new products. And they have been both generally and specifically prevalent with all kinds of release e-mails added to my new product folder. I can’t say that I paid detailed attention to them all. Even though Mamiya for instance had significant new digital camera models with alluring features. More general and broader new products affecting how digital photography is edited and processed got a much deeper perusal in my reading and some digging to get below the fluff to the real stuff.

After recently releasing Apple OS 10.6 Snow Leopard and my installation of one of the new Mac Mini’s, Apple announced two new iMac models with new, larger LED backlight LCD displays. Many of the shortcomings of some previous iMac model’s displays have been addressed, by improved overall computer performance and capabilities, but I found these new displays are as bright or brighter than previous. However, Apple advertises them for digital photography without any company recourse made available to prevent “prints too dark”, if a color managed print workflow is used.

After recently releasing a new Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 for both Windows and Apple Mac platforms, that I have installed but barely acquainted with yet, Adobe just provided public access to beta test a new Adobe LightRoom 3 and you can go to http://labs.adobe.com/downloads to get more information and download this beta version. With public beta’s, photographers using the new application, more attention is being paid to processing image quality, as well as making the input portion more effective and efficient. But being able to publish finished images easily including to the latest web facilities, but also to arranging easy print output has been added. It may be more widely applicable as a photographer’s application and not just a shooter’s tool when the results of the beta are seen in a production version, in the not too distant future.

Although Epson is best known for printers and scanners, and they have new models recently at the extremes with professional wide format printers and most recently a new 4x6 inch printer for the home users, this week of photo in NYC, Epson chose to make real the earlier news of providing camera tethered operation support for some Canon and Nikon dSLR cameras with their P-6000 and P-7000 Photo Viewers. I know some photographers who use laptops tethered to their cameras, and have observed others, and it is a rather involved and in some ways not very elegant way to function, although it is an answer for digital to replace the shooting of a Polaroid back to check and give snap prints to the art director on the scenes of days gone by. But there are a lot of uses of cameras, sometimes in difficult remote situations, in technical conditions, and many more I can’t imagine, where tethered operation is an advantage. The Epson Photo Viewers as a replacement of a laptop in smaller size, less costly, and much more transportable and easier to set-up and operate, so it should fill many serious needs. Will it catch on, maybe not immediately with those using laptops, but initially with many others who may find tethered shooting with an Epson Photo Viewer is a solution to all kinds of challenges.

But back to the basics, Microsoft’s CEO led the opening Thursday for the release of Windows 7 to the public. You’ve probably heard enough as both Microsoft and Apple have been running ads knocking at each other on TV - hey guys just because it works for loud politicians….. Anyway, there has been more than enough written about Windows 7, now and for months. And what is it, what Vista should have been for the last three years, and not much more. I particularly liked what the New York Time’s David Pogue had to say, and that is rare for me, “Finally, out of fear of antitrust headaches, Microsoft has stripped Windows 7 of some important accessory programs. Believe it or not, software for managing photos, editing videos, reading PDF documents, maintaining a calendar, managing addresses, chatting online or writing e-mail doesn’t come with Windows 7. What kind of operating system doesn’t come with an e-mail program? Instead, you’re supposed to download these free apps yourself from a Microsoft Web site. It’s not a huge deal; some companies, including Dell, plan to preinstall them on new computers. But a lot of people will be in for some serious confusion — especially when they discover that the Windows 7 installer has deleted their existing Vista copies of Windows Mail, Movie Maker, Calendar, Contacts and Photo Gallery. (Mercifully, it preserves your data.)”

All I can say in conclusion to this week of mostly quiet steps into a fearful future, is who is most likely to benefit, the users or the companies trying to survive in a marketplace that has shrunk very obviously. The digital photography users, not much advantage, particularly those still affected by “too dark prints” none of the companies have even acknowledged is a problem, to not just photographers, who want to make excellent color and density matched prints, but surely a deficit to ink, paper and printer sales. Oh! Well for some there is another week ahead?

If you have a comment, they are welcome, so please post it. If you have a question you want me to answer please address an e-mail to David B. Brooks at: goofotografx@gmail.com

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