Like most digital SLRs, Nikon’s family of digital SLRs offer the ability to shoot in raw mode. However, Nikon’s raw offerings provide a twist, in the form of compressed raw. The promise of compressed raw files, of course, is that they take up less space and allow you to store more images on your card. Data compression algorithms fall into two categories: lossy techniques, which degrade the quality of your image; and lossless techniques, which reduce file size without affecting image quality. Nikon users often ask whether the compressed raw format is lossless or lossy, so I decided to look into the question.
My Favorite New Bridge Feature
Bridge CS3 offers a lot of important improvements over the Bridge 1.0 that was included in Creative Suite 2. Interface improvements, stacking, comparing, importing, and much much more have all been added, and Bridge remains an excellent cornerstone for a Photoshop Camera Raw driven raw-workflow. I covered most of the the new Bridge features in my Photoshop CS3 First Look book, but Adobe managed to sneak in one or two more before the final release of the software. Here’s one of my favorites.
Epson Stylus Pro 3800 reviewed
Over on Macworld.com, I posted a short review regarding Epson’s latest professional-level printer, the 17-inch Stylus Pro 3800.
The 3800 is a funny beast—it has the best print quality of any previous Epson printer, and it is priced in a place where it has no real competitor. There is no roll-feed attachment—17 by 22 inches is the largest standard size it will print on—and it doesn’t have the whiz-bang features that HP and Canon are putting into their pro-level printers, like automatic addition of paper profiles, a Photoshop plug-in, and fancy calibration tools. And, while it fixes the physical ink swapping found in the Stylus Photo R2400 and the Stylus Pro 4800, it still does have to go through a purge cycle when you go back and forth between matte- and glossy-finish paper types.
That said, print quality and repeatability are often what pro photgraphers want most, and the 3800 has that in spades.
Match Color in Photoshop CS2/CS3
With Photoshop CS2, Adobe added the Match Color feature which lets you alter the palette of one image to look like another. Match Color can be used for everything from slight tonal corrections, to ensuring that an image fits better with a design scheme or other imge. unfocusedbrain.com, a “blog with everything” has an excellent demo of how you can use Match Color in conjunction with famous classical paintings to perform dramatic color adjustments. Check it out here.
Capture NX and the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye Lens
Nikon Capture NX provides an excellent auto correction edit for removing distortion from images shot with the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens. Though I mention this feature in Real World Capture NX, I didn’t have enough room in the book to include examples, so we’re going to look at the specifics of this feature here. With the Fisheye Lens edit, you can create cropped, rectilinear images with a single click.
Capture NX automatically recognizes images shot with the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye. It does this, of course, by reading the lens information stored in the image’s EXIF data. When it sees that an image was shot with the 10.5mm fisheye, it adds an extra option to the Base Adjustments entry in the Edit List. If you look under Base Adjustments > Lens Adjustments, you’ll see an entry for Fisheye Lens. Normally, this option is grayed out. Open the Fisheye Lens edit and you’ll see the following.
If you click OK, the adjustment will be activated and applied to your image.
The most immediately noticeable difference in these two images is the change in the shape of the dog’s face. But take note of the buildings in the background, and the edge of the wall. Both have been straightened quite efffectively.
By default, Capture NX crops your images to a rectangle. If you’d prefer to maintain the entire image, complete with its correction, check the “Include areas where there is no image data” checkbox. You’ll see something like this:
The Fill Color pop-up menu lets you specify what color to use for the empty image space.
I love the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye. I think it’s an extremely fun lens to use that yields excellent quality. One of the nicest things about it is that it’s not a terribly extreme fisheye. If you choose, you can actually shoot straight, level horizons with it by carefully levelling your camera. What’s more, with the addition of Capture NX, you can opt to use the lens as a normal, extremely wide angle rectilinear lens.
If you already own this lens and haven’t looked at Capture NX, you’ll want to give the free demo a try. If you haven’t shot with this lens, consider renting one and giving it a try.
Bruce Fraser dies at 52
With great sadness, we heard this morning that our good friend, Bruce Fraser, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006.
To many of us, Bruce was “Mr. Photoshop‚” and/or “Mr. Color Management.” He was the author or co-author of a number of the most successful computer titles of all time, including Real World Photoshop and Real World Camera RAW, as well as one of the founders of PixelGenius. To many people throughout the digital imaging industry, Bruce was an icon, but an approachable soul who was unstintingly fair in his criticism and generous with his time. Our thoughts go out to his family and close friends. He will be missed.
Bruce and I worked together for more than 15 years, starting with my time at MacWEEK, and continuing through my recent tenure at Macworld. A remembrance of Bruce has been posted there.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2017: The Sync Folders action no longer works properly and the links to it have been removed.
You are using the most current version of Sync Folders. Thanks for checking.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2017: This action no longer works and the links to it have been removed.
There is a newer version of Compare Folders.
The new version adds the following features and bug fixes:
* Log generation option, which creates a text file in Text Edit of your comparison results.
* Now checks to ensure that the items you’ve selected are folders. If you hand it something other than a folder, it exits gracefully.
You can download the new version here.
Thanks for checking.