It’s hard to beat the beautiful quality of “natural” light. As I write this I am looking out my studio window at dusk, right when the rays of the setting sun backlight the magnolia leaves swaying in the wind, and there are thousands of facets of illumination that move together as one. Yet, photographers face the fact that light is not always so kind and gentle, and that subjects do not sway in the wind to add grace to the moment, and that there are some times when you have to make the shot when the light is just plain lousy, or the weather, setup, and subject make it an indoors occasion in small rooms lacking any kind of pleasing, or even ambient light worth shooting in.
The Leica X1 ($1,995) is a fixed focal length, non-interchangeable lens compact with a fast f/2.8 lens and 12.9MP CMOS APS-C sensor. Introduced over a year ago in silver and recently in black, it keeps apace with firmware upgrades, the most recent of which is claimed improvement of JPEG quality and enhanced AF speed in low light.
Gerald L. Fine, of Northbrook, Illinois and Rancho Mirage, California, passed away on July 5, 2011 at the age of 85. Jerry was a kind and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was also an astute businessman who, 50 years ago, founded Neil Enterprises, Inc. and guided it to become the largest photo novelty company in the country. A marketing and merchandising expert and innovator, Jerry pioneered a myriad of photo-related promotional products, including the photo mug and photo keychain. He had a vision, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a generosity that always put people over profits.
His dedication and determination helped grow the company into the success it is today. The company is now in its third generation with Jerry’s children and grandchildren working there, including Neil Fine, the current president.
Jerry Fine was born on December 28, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Hyde Park High School and joined the Navy where he was stationed at Pearl Harbor during World War II. He returned to Chicago after the war and attended the University of Illinois at Navy Pier and received his degree in accounting at Northwestern University. In 1947, he met the love of his life, Lois Berman, at the Merchandise Mart where he worked at his uncle’s liquor store and she at her aunts’ lingerie shop. Together, they lived a charmed life, enjoyed a loving, 62-year-marriage, raised a beautiful family, and created a thriving business. He is survived by his wife Lois; his three children, Carol (Robert Jacobson), Andrea (Eric London), and Neil Fine (Karen); his nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
In this issue we feature images from the last roll of Kodachrome film ever processed. Steve McCurry’s work has always been admirable, but here the photographs have a special poignancy because they will be irrevocably tied to the end of an era in photography. These iconic images now reside in the Eastman House in Rochester, a fitting setting for them among the daguerreotypes, albumen prints, kallitypes, and other images created by processes that have become part of history. True, you can emulate the “look” of these processes with software, and even recreate some of the old paper print processes using custom-mix chemicals and old formulae, but I doubt very much that anyone is going to attempt to set up the massive machinery and chemical soups required to allow Kodachrome to be processed ever again.
On-board image processors have become more powerful and diverse in their functions, and cameras like the Ricoh GR Digital IV ($649) offer more than just point and shoot still and video recording. Indeed, the Ricoh seems designed to appeal to those who would rather have their special effects in hand than take the time to apply them later. But the camera offers more than just tricks, though there are plenty of those, and its portability, ease of use and flexibility might appeal to those who want to go beyond cell phone snapshots and effects. Its fast, fixed focus lens, aperture- and shutter-priority exposure modes and a host of Scene modes that go beyond the norm make it a fascinating study in the state of photography today.
The 12.1-megapixel Nikon COOLPIX P500 ($399.95, MSRP) is an integral lens camera with an incredible zoom range of 36x—that’s optical, not digital zoom and it gives you the equivalent angle of view of a wide-angle 22.5mm to a super tele of 810mm! The Zoom-Nikkor ED glass lens can also be used for “super close-ups” with a minimum focusing distance of 0.4”.
The new Nikon P7100 offers many function buttons and dials along with a large mode dial on the top to choose standard exposure modes like P, S, A and M. The camera offers a full automatic mode, scene modes and special effect modes (like B&W, sepia tone effect, “High Key” effect and more). In addition, the P7100 offers three user modes that can be saved as U1-U3 and accessed directly on the mode dial.
The revised website at www.shutterbug.com is now online. This new iteration maintains all the archived stories of the past site—with postings from all our articles from over the past 12 years—plus new features that make searching easier, sharing more accessible, and now the ability for registered users to comment on all our postings. The new site is the result of hard work by numerous people from our team and we trust it will become one of your main sites for photographic news and views and research.
Let’s face it—some images just look better on a glossy surface. Yet, some folks spurn gloss for its “commercial” cachet and snapshot aesthetic. For those who prefer a “crisp” look to their prints but eschew gloss for practical and aesthetic reasons, a paper like the new Lasal Exhibition Luster could do the trick. Replacing Moab’s former Lasal Photo Luster (a 270 gsm paper vs. this one’s 300 gsm), this Resin-Coated (RC) paper has a bright white base, is flexible yet strong, and touts a new coating technology that the company claims yields improved scratch resistance and enhanced “opacity.” The paper is affordable for its class, with letter-size paper well below $1 per sheet (in 50-sheet packs), 13x19” at slightly under $2 a sheet, and a 17”x100’ roll at $143, all quoted from the company’s website.
Being an RC paper, the company says you can print using either dye or pigment-ink printers, although it says pigment is preferred. Lacking a dye printer our print runs were done using an Epson 3800 (pigment) printer using Epson (Premium Luster) and Moab ICC profiles, and both Photoshop and Epson printer controls. Color and black-and-white images of landscapes, people, and graphics were chosen for the tests. Prints were left overnight to cure, although we note that prints were instant dry and the paper showed no signs of ink “wetness” sometimes seen with fiber-based papers right off the press, and there was no dry down effect perceived. Prints were made with Photo Black ink settings.
The Olympus E-P3 is the follower of the E-P2 and E-P1, the first Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras that were offered as “retro style cameras”. The E-P3 offers the same image sensor as the E-P2, with a nominal resolution of 12MP, but the E-P3 uses a newly developed image processor unit called “TruePic VI” plus offers some enhancements in the AF-speed. The automatic focusing system is really fast and showed a very good performance during our tests. In addition it has some special modes like “AF tracking mode”, which will help both photographers and videographers.