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Archive for April, 2007

I’d like to lie and say this was taken in the wild but they were in the otter enclosure of Newquay Zoo. I thought I’d miss the extra zoom of the S5600 as I was using the 50-200mm with the Samsung GX-10 but the extra quality and more pixels allow a crop to make up the difference.

Asian Otters

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The first picture (of many I hope) posted from the Samsung GX-10. It’s unusual for the river Camel to be still enough to get nice reflections like this. It was quite a hazy day and I was still getting used to the camera (first trip). I was fiddling with different settings and this was the JPEG taken using the ‘Bright’ image tone. I did adjust the levels a bit in PSE4 as I managed to under-expose the shot a little.

The view from Padstow to Rock

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My new Samsung GX-10 uses DNG as it’s native RAW image format so I’ve been looking at how I’m going to process these. I use Idimager to catalogue my image files and this can make use of the full size JPEG previews contained in the DNG files. The question is how do I get these previews updated to match the settings applied to the RAW data in the DNG?

If I had the full Adobe Photoshop package it would be easy as Bridge/ACR will regenerate the previews. However, that’s out of my price range at the moment so I’ve been looking to see what my copy of PSE4 and ACR 3.7 will do.

From reading the Elements forums I was under the impression that all the RAW adjustments made in the Elements hosted ACR were stored in the ACR database rather than in the DNG file. I thought that the only way to get the DNG file to reflect the changes was to use the Save As function in ACR to create a new DNG file. I was wrong.

It turns out that it’s really easy to update the DNG preview without having to create a new file. In the Camera RAW Preferences dialog set the “Update embedded JPEG previews” option to “Full Size”. Now when you have applied the RAW settings as you want press the ‘ALT’ key and the “Open” button changes to “Update”. Click “Update” and the current settings are saved to the existing DNG file and the preview file is updated!

Just what the doctor ordered! I’m not sure if this was possible before ACR 3.7 but it certainly works now. All I need now is for Adobe to give us access to all of the ACR functionality when it’s used with Photoshop Elements. 🙂

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You couldn’t possibly buy a Samsung GX-10 or a Pentax K10D without being aware of the debate about the quality of the in camera JPEGs (check out the Pentax SLR Talk forum on dpreview.com). Some reviewers have taken some criticism for suggesting that the default JPEG settings do not give optimal results without some post-processing on the PC.

There will be times when I will just want to take JPEGs (e.g. family gatherings) and when I do I would like to be able to download the files and share or print them with the minimum of time spent on the PC. So it’s in my best interest to find the in-camera JPEG settings that will allow this.

As a start point I decided to take the same test shot in quick succession using with the camera JPEG setting set to ‘Natural’ (the default) and then with it set to ‘Bright’. The test shots had the same aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

The image below is a 100% crop from the JPEG with the ‘Natural’ setting.

JPEG Natural

This is a similar 100% crop from the JPEG with the ‘Bright’ setting.

JPEG Bright

The main difference is obviously the extra sharpening and contrast in the ‘Bright’ version The detail in the blanket, carpet and the wood is much more defined. I was expecting to see more difference in the colours than there is. The ‘Bright’ version is a little more saturated but to my eyes not overly so.

I was shooting RAW + JPEG so I also converted the DNGs for each shot to JPEG using the default RAW conversion settings. As you would expect the ouput from the conversion is not affected by the ‘Natural’ or ‘Bright’ setting but the resulting JPEGs were very similar in appearance to the ‘Bright’ JPEG.

So the conclusion of this little test is that I will initially be using the ‘Bright’ setting for JPEGs. If I find this needs to change then I can easily make a small adjustment to the individual saturation, sharpness and contrast settings to get the results I want without time spent on post-processing.

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Hot on the heels of the Zenfolio API they have just announced some more new features. The full list can be found in the Release Notes but the things that interest me are:

  • You can now search an individual photographer’s photos in addition to all of Zenfolio.
  • There are RSS feeds for individual photographer’s Galleries, Recently Added and Featured Items – great for bloggers.
  • Formatted HTML captions for pictures can now include links.

Excellent!

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After months of thinking about it I’ve finally taken the plunge and bought my first DSLR to replace the Fuji Finepix S5600 I’ve been using for the last 16 months. I’ve had some great fun with the Fuji but I finally got fed up with the fiddly controls when not in ‘snapshot’ mode. There will be some things I’ll miss, the 38-380mm lens for one, but I can’t wait to start using the new camera.

It’s the controls that made me go for the Samsung GX-10 rather than the equivalent Nikon or Canon. The inclusion of front and rear dials should hopefully make it easier and quicker to change the settings to get the shot I want.

Why did I pick the Samsung rather than the Pentax K10D? That’s easy to answer – £150! That’s how much cheaper the Samsung GX-10 with the 18-55 and 50-200 D-XENON lenses is compared to the equivalent Pentax in the UK. Taking that into account and the fact that the latest Samsung firmware (v1.11) gives it the same updated functionality of the Pentax it was a no brainer. Yes, it’s true that firmware updates may be released after the Pentax ones but I can live with that plus I get a 2 year warranty with the Samsung.

On unpacking the camera the first thing that strikes me is that’s it’s bloody huge compared to the Fuji! It feels great in the hand though and the dials seem to fall just right for my fingers. It’s going to take me a while to go through the menus and get all the settings as I want them (the dials can be configured for each mode) but then it will be all systems go – once the battery charges up 😦

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I took this on ‘Old MacDonalds Farm’ in Cornwall during the Easter break. I’m pleased with how it came out as it was taken through a chicken wire fence. I just got the camera up as close to the wire as possible and hoped for the best. Unfortunately I don’t know what sort of owl it is so if anyone knows please leave a comment – thanks.

Owl

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