Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Unusually Useful Software for Photographers

Have you ever wondered how a photographer managed to make that spectacular shot? Or have you ever wondered whether an image you saw online was processed in Adobe Photoshop using Adobe Camera Raw, instead of being shot in jpeg? Well, a truly useful piece of software is Opanda's iExif viewer. With iExif, you can right-click on the image in question, select iExif from the drop down menu and instantly view all the available EXIF data stored within the image itself, including things like shutter speed, aperture, white balance settings, flash usage, metering modes, and even lens focal length. Best of all, iEXIF is FREE. That's right, FREE. Here's the link:

Now for printing, I swear by Qimage. It's designed for printing, not image editing. So, you can print proofs, contact sheets, pre-set sizes, and a whole lot more. You can change background printing colors, add text to photos, or even put the file name on each print. Qimage can be found here: Unfortunately, it's not free, but upgrades are free for as long as ddisoftware sticks around.

Finally, one of the most useful tools is a file viewer. Camera companies love to ensure that they use proprietary file formats. As a result, if you're a Canon user, you can't see Nikon NEF files (or vice-versa) without using an expensive program like Photoshop---unless you use a free third-party file viewer, like Irfanview. This viewer is fantastic, because you can see Nikon NEF's, Canon CR2, Pentax PEF, Fujifilm RAF, Adobe DNG, Olympus ORF, and even Sigma's raw format. More than that, Irfanview also reads JPEG2000 files, a host of audio files like ogg vorbis, MP3, ASF, and others. Best of all, Irfanview is also FREE. Here's that link:

So, check out these software options, and I'll bet you find them useful too in your work.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Image Quality versus Megapixels

With Photokina safely behind us, it's time to evaluate where the industry is going. We really have seemed to hit a line in the megapixel wars, with no magical increases in megapixels. The Nikon D2xs is probably about as big as an APS sized sensor is likely to get at 12.4 megapixels, while Canon's 1Ds Mark II tops out at 16.7 megapixels on a 35mm frame-sized sensor.

Realistically, anything more than these numbers and issues like diffraction take away from image quality.

Not too surprisingly, Fujifilm is going in a totally different direction--their proposed S5pro, the successor to the S3pro, remains with a 6 megapixel imager that has 12 megapixels of sensors. Fujifilm did not up their megapixel counts as many had hoped.

Why? Fujifilm claims that it has chosen to focus on image quality as paramount--low noise images with lots of dynamic range.

Is Fujifilm right? Well,I'd say it's safe to say that Fujifilm is betting the company on it.