Phase One Releases Capture One Pro: Verson 5

Capture One Pro is arguably one of the best RAW image processors available, and today Phase One has released a major update: Capture One 5. Capture One supports not only Phase One’s medium format backs (for free) but also many other camera makes and models for the none-too-cheap price of US$399 (€299). Capture One is not known for its workflow or library features, though many pro users do prefer it’s workflow to others such as Adobe Lightroom or Bridge, etc., it’s generally recognized for its RAW file conversion quality and tethered shooting features. Some features in Capture One are remarkably simple and clean to use, while others can be a little confusing, but the output from this software is typically among the best for many camera models.

You may have to wait for the smoke to clear a bit, as the Phase One servers are a little choked today.

Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 in News • (0) Comments

Jane Bown: The Eyes Have It

This is a good article on iconic photojournalist/portrait photographer Jane Bown: The Eyes Have It. She has photographed some of the great personalities of much of the last century and is said to be continuing to do the same in this one, at the age of 80. With a remarkably simple kit, and with a special attitude and talent, she gets her shot, typically in just a few frames. No fancy-schmancy digital gear, no entourage, just remarkable images. Watch the video for a very interesting narrative by the photographer.

From Nixon to the Beatles, Bette Davis to U2… Over the past 60 years, The Observer’s Jane Bown has photographed many of the world’s greatest personalities. On the eve of her retrospective, she talks to Robin McKie about her life’s work.”

Check out the article and video here.

Posted on Saturday, October 24, 2009 in Ramblings • (0) Comments

Adobe Releases Lightroom 3 Beta

Adobe has released for imediate download, Lightroom 3 public beta. It is expected that the version update will ship in April of 2010, but this beta will give users a taste of what’s to come. According to reports, Adobe is reworking the RAW conversion engine, which is good news for Lightroom users. Image Quality of RAW conversions is probably the single most frequent complaint of Lightroom… well, maybe second to the lack of softproofing. Adobe has tweaked the print tools in this beta version 3, so it is hoped that Adobe will surprise users with softproofing capabilities in the shipping version next spring. Alas, the beta doesn’t have a softproofing feature. “State-of-the-art noise reduction” is listed as one of the updated features, which should help to wrangle those high ISO images if one doesn’t wish to use a third-party noise reduction tool such as NIK Dfine or Noise Ninja.

You can download the Lightroom 3 beta here. It’s a free download. There’s a “First Look” preview of the beta at The Luminous Landscape, in which Michael Reichmann sheds some light on the upcoming version features.

I’m not a Lightroom user, but I’m happy to see this version upgrade coming for those who are. Users of the beta can provide feedback to Adobe via the Lightroom forums.

Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009 in News • (0) Comments

It’s a Small World: Nikon Photomicroscopy Competition

Nikon has sponsored a photomicroscopy competition each year for the past 35 years. The entries are judged on both scientific and artistic qualities. This year’s winners can be viewed here.

Photomicroscopy is photography of microscopic subjects using cameras attached to microscopes or similar devices. Nikon is one of the preferred brands of microscopes for such photography because of the quality optics and the rigidity of certain models. Other quality brands include Leica Microsystems and Olympus. Isolation from vibrations is of paramount concern for this type of photography. I have two Leica MZ12 stereo microscopes and lots of fiber optic lighting equipment. I need to dust off my camera adapters (they’re not really dusty, just in storage) and try this subject again. I have never gotten the quality of the results shown by most of the samples in the Nikon competition. I’ve not been able to isolate my microscopes from vibration in their current locations. Maybe this winter I’ll give it another try.

Some of the images in the winning and finalist sets are amazing. Take a look.

Posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 in Ramblings • (0) Comments

Canon Unveils New Series One Camera: EOS-1D Mark IV

imageFor some time now there have been rumors of the new model 1D Mark IV and its sibling, the 1Ds Mark IV, but today Canon have officially announced the new EOS-1D Mark IV digital camera body. With impressive specs, this APS-H sensor body (1.3x crop factor over full-frame 35mm) boasts approximately 10 frames per second; 45 auto-focus points with 39 cross-type, and any one of them can be selected manually; Digic 4 processor; full-HD movie capability; and a huge ISO range. Check out the specs on Canon’s site for the whole skinny.

The Imaging Resource has posted some details which explain some of the features as well. And the Canon press release is available here.

This adds interest to the anticipated update of the EOS-1Ds Mark IV, Canon’s flagship model. The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV goes on sale from late December, 2009.

Posted on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 in News • (0) Comments

Inventors of the CCD Image Sensor Awarded Nobel Prize

It was announced today that the co-inventors of the CCD image sensor technology were awarded a share in the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physics. Williard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, of Bell Labratories, U.S.A., are the inventors of the technology that has contributed to so many fields including medicine, research, photography and even the success of on-line social networks by giving us a way to capture images digitally. The announcement, as published on DPreview, includes a photo of the inventors with their early camera.

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 in News • (0) Comments

The South Fork of the Yuba River


Last week I needed a break from the drudgery of office work, computer coding, file sorting and the like. The weather was beautiful, but not what I would call “photography weather”, still, anything would be better than what I was doing. So, at around 3:30 p.m. or so we (my wife, Chris and I) went for a drive “up the hill” for a change of scenery and to stretch our legs, clear my head, and exercise the Mamiya camera a bit. These shots were taken on the south fork of the Yuba River, about 45 miles (72 km) from my home, so it’s a pretty easy drive. I waited for the light to soften as evening approached even though the light was rather flat, but the distraction from work back home was really enjoyable. We poked around the area until it was too dark to shoot, including a few exposures lasting around 15 seconds. Regardless of photographic outcome, I need to make more of these impromptu outings.


Posted on Monday, October 5, 2009 in Ramblings • (0) Comments