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June 2005 Archives

June 1, 2005

Preview: nik Sharpener Pro 2.0

200506bc_nsp2box By Joan T. Sherwood

Years ago, when nik multimedia first released nik Sharpener Pro, it quickly became the highly recommended third-party sharpener of choice for digital imagers who wanted to bring more to the table than just what was possible in Photoshop with Unsharp Mask. Users of nik Sharpener Pro found a great way to sharpen an image for the right output device and the proper viewing distance, without having to do all the math.

Other software companies got into the sharpening game, like PixelGenius with its PhotoKit Sharpener, now in version 1.2.3 (released 05/2005) and compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Now welcome nik Sharpener Pro 2.0, which goes on sale June 13.

New to Sharpener Pro:
• Works with 16-bit images
• Sharpen with selective brush strokes
• Advanced panel allows you to select a color range (or several) in your image to sharpen more or less. Or, you can change each slider in the advanced panel equally to increase or decrease the sharpening overall. A simple right-click or control-click lets you move all sliders simultaneously.
• Raw Presharpening — not to be confused with sharpening for print. Use this when you shoot in RAW format instead of using in-camera sharpening—here you'll have more control.
• Larger preview window in the interface, which helps you see how much sharpening you're asking for before you apply it.
• Analysis modes give you a chance to see a graphic representation of how much sharpening will be applied to a particular area of your image.

Read the full product preview.

Epson Stylus Photo and Pro line with UltraChrome K3

200506bc_epsr2400 By Joan T. Sherwood

It's always best to get the scoop on a brand new product from someone who has tried it himself. For a first-hand report on the new line of Epson printers used with UltraChrome K3 inks, Professional Photographer talked to editorial and advertising photographer Bruce Dale, who served as an Epson beta tester.

Dale, who has been using the Epson Stylus Pro 4000, 9600, and 1000 as well as the Epson Stylus Photo 2200 and 1280 for his printing needs, tested the Epson Stylus Photo R2400 and the Epson Stylus Pro 7800. He shoots primarily with a Nikon D2X digital SLR. Here's what he had to say about the Epsons' performance and his experience in using it with his workflow.

200506bc_epspro4800 Professional Photographer: Tell us about the improvements to the user interface.

Bruce Dale: The interface continually gets better. The final version of the larger printer hasn't been released yet, so I haven't taken the extra step that I would normally do to build my own profiles. Actually, Epson's profiles get better and better, too.

Continue reading "Epson Stylus Photo and Pro line with UltraChrome K3" »

Painting tips from Karen Sperling

200506bc_sperling01_1 Traditional art concepts
If you want to give your photos a painterly touch, whether you use Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter, or both, knowing some traditional art concepts can help.

For instance, there are millions of random colors in an average photo, so the more you limit the colors, the more your image will look like a painting.

That’s why just cloning an image, where you paint brush strokes using the colors from the photo, really doesn't make the photo look painterly.

Instead, choose a color scheme in which the colors are related to one another and repeat throughout the painting, creating what's called color harmony.

A simple rule for choosing colors is to pick one color and its complement, meaning the color opposite it on the color wheel. If you want to add more colors, I find including the complement pairings gives the image a pleasing look.

Continue reading "Painting tips from Karen Sperling" »

Nikon D2X Review Extra: Noise

A look at photosites and noise control

200506bc_nikonsensor By Ellis Vener

When Nikon released the D2X, I had doubts about the company's decision to stick with the 23.7x15.7mm sensor format. The 1.5X apparent focal length magnification factor didn’t bother me, but the use of smaller photosites (pixels) in the sensor worried me, especially given that it is a 12.4-megapixel camera.

The D2X sensor photosites are slightly smaller than 5.5 microns. Conventional wisdom says smaller pixels are more susceptible to electronic noise than larger ones, especially at high ISO-equivalence settings. Until recently, the predominant view was that a photosite needed to measure about 9 microns across to get a good clean signal.

High ISO equivalence in a digital camera is obtained by turning up the gain on the signal, which increases the noise-to-signal ratio. Artifacts from this electronic noise show up in the image as both graininess and as weaker performance in the shadow areas, where the lower light generates a weaker signal to start with. Like tuning in to a distant a radio station, turning up the volume increases the background hiss.

This noise can be at least partially processed out of an image either in-camera or in post-capture processing, and like all good digital cameras, the Nikon D2X includes an optional noise suppression feature for the ISO 400 to 800 range. There is an optional high setting, which is always active when the ISO sensitivity is set to Hi-1 or Hi-2 (ISO 1600 and 3200).

Using the camera's Noise reduction feature increases in-camera processing time and lowers image buffer capacity. After some experimenting and image evaluation, I decided to keep it off and use Noise Ninja from www.picturecode.com for shots taken at ISO 800 and higher. At very high ISO settings, shadow tones are not quite as smooth as I’d like them to be.

Read the Professional Photographer magazine review.

DigiProofs launches online custom trading cards

Infrastructure to enable custom, personalized, one-of-a-kind trading card created online

DigiProofs, Inc. (www.digiproofs.com), a leading provider of online proofing services, has launched Custom Online Trading Cards. The trading cards are professionally designed to create an elegant and unique look that will be great for one’s own collectibles or memorabilia for friends and family. It is ideally suited for sports and other theme events. Visitors to the online events view proofs online, select the card design, position the photo by pan and zoom, enter the personalized text, proof the final and order the cards, all by themselves. All that the photographer members have to do is set the retail prices to enable the feature.

Continue reading "DigiProofs launches online custom trading cards" »

June 16, 2005

Kodak to discontinue line of black-and-white papers

Kodak will continue to supply black-and-white papers to cover current demand through the end of 2005.

Tim Ciranni, Kodak's worldwide product manager for pro lab media, told Professional Photographer that a steep decline in demand over the last four years spurred Kodak's decision to discontinue its line of black-and-white papers. According to Ciranni, most pro labs now scan black-and-white negatives and print on color paper. The discontinuance applies to any black-and-white paper sold by Kodak.

Kodak will continue to offer black-and-white film and processing chemistry.

Continue reading "Kodak to discontinue line of black-and-white papers" »

Extensis Updates Photoshop Tools products

Extensis posts free updates to Photoshop Tools products (Mask Pro, PhotoFrame, Intellihance Pro, and pxlSmartScale) for registered users, providing compatibility for Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger.

June 30, 2005

Kodak to discontinue manufacture of Kodak Professional DCS Pro SLR/c and SLR/n as of June 30

Kodak will honor warrantees and service agreements for these Kodak Professional DCS models through the end of 2008.

According to Madhav Mehra, director, digital capture business strategy, Kodak remains committed to the professional photographer market and will concentrate on developing its highly regarded line of CCD sensors, which are now employed in digital SLRs and digital backs created by other camera manufacturers, as well as Kodak's printer and substrate products and lab solutions.

The Kodak representative would not go so far as to say that Kodak is not developing any professional digital cameras for the future, only that they plan to discontinue the DCS Pro SLR/c and SLR/n.

About June 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in June 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2005 is the previous archive.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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