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Zooming in on Photo Plus

A snapshot of highlights from the 2007 show.

This past fall, photographers and imaging creatives flocked to the bright lights of New York City for PhotoPlus Expo, held October 18-20 at the Jacob Javits Center. With more than 27,000 attendees over three days and 310 exhibitors, this year’s event was the largest PhotoPlus show to date, reports PhotoPlus organizers.

Included in the 300-plus line-up of exhibitors were, of course, the big-time players in the digital imaging industry, and several were revealing big-time products that had been previously announced, but not yet shown to the public. Nikon, for example, unveiled its D3-a 12-Mpxl DSLR with the company’s first full-frame image sensor-and Canon showed off its new EOS-1Ds Mark III, a 21.1-Mpxl DSLR. (For more information on the D3 and the 1Ds Mark III, see the October and November issues of The Big Picture, p. 12 and 16, respectively). Olympus, Hasselblad, and Leica also introduced new cameras and lenses to the market, and we provide details on these below.

There was also much to be found beyond the big, flashy, and crowded booths of major companies. Attendees had 100,000 square feet of ground to cover if they wanted to see the entire show and the enormous offering of photography, design, and imaging products and services available, including workflow and image-correction software, fine-art and photography media, and camera accessories. More than 2000 attendees participated in seminars covering both the technical and more abstract aspects of photography.

PhotoPlus 2008 will be held October 23-25. Until then, here are highlights from the products and technologies exhibited at this year’s show.

Olympus (www.olympusamerica.com) introduced its new E-3, now the flagship of the company’s DSLR line. The 10-Mpxl camera is designed for photographers with a need for speed, featuring a high-speed 11-point biaxial cross type AF system, 5 frames/sec continuous shooting, and a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 sec.

The E-3’s 10-Mpxl Live MOS image sensor boasts excellent dynamic range, accurate color fidelity, and a new amplifier circuit to eliminate noise and capture fine image details, reports Olympus. Complementing the image sensor is Olympus’s TruePic III digital-processing engine, designed to use all the pixel information for each image to further ensure precise color and improved detail with low noise, especially for those images shot at the higher end of the camera’s ISO range, 100-3200. The camera also features in-body mechanical image stabilization with Supersonic Wave Drive technology to combat image shake and to help ensure sharp, blur-free images.

The E-3 also features a dual-axis swivel 2.5-in. live-view LCD screen with 230,000 pxl, which provides real-time image monitoring of white balance and exposure. A photographer can also view his subject at 5x, 7x, or 10x magnification directly on the LCD screen.

In addition, the new camera offers a large optical viewfinder with 1.15x magnification, a built-in Dust Reduction System, a durable shutter mechanism with the lifespan of 150,000 exposures, and a sealed magnesium-alloy body that is splash- and dust-proof.

Price on the E-3: $1699 (body only). The camera accepts CompactFlash Type I and II, Microdrives, and xD-Picture cards.

In addition, Olympus introduced three new Zuiko Digital lenses for the E-3, all of which employ the company’s Supersonic Wave Drive technology for quiet, fast auto-focus speed: the 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD, the 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 SWD, and the 14-35mm f2.0 SWD.

In addition to showcasing its EOS-1Ds Mark III, Canon (www.usa.canon.com) made several other announcements as well. The company introduced two new printers, the 60-in. imageProGraf iPF9100 and the 44-in. imageProGraf iPF8100, which will replace the existing iPF9000 and iPF8000. The new models are virtually identical to the previous ones, with the major differences being the incorporation of an 80-GB hard drive and the addition of the newly reformulated Gray, Photo Gray, Black, and Matte Black Lucia pigment inks for enhanced monochrome prints. These reformulated inks help to reduce the occurrence of "bronzing," reports Canon.

Like their predecessors, the printers offer a maximum resolution of 2400 x 1200 dpi and a 12-color inkset (CMYKRGB, photo cyan, photo magenta, matte black, gray, and photo gray). The printers also feature Canon’s FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) printhead technology, with 30,720 ink nozzles, and a dual printhead design, which includes an improved dithering pattern and produces 4-pl ink droplets.

The printers include Canon’s L-COA high-speed controller, which features a new intelligent screen dot pattern and precise ink drop control, eliminating even more visible dot graininess than the iPF9000 and iPF8000. The printers will carry the same pricepoints as their predecessors: iPF9100, $14,995; iPF8100, $5995.

Canon also announced the development of two telephoto lenses for its EOS SLR, the EF200mm f/2L IS USM and the EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM. Both lenses feature an Image Stabilizer and optical systems utilizing special optical materials, such as fluorite, to correct chromatic aberrations, reports the company. The EF200mm is designed for users who seek a brighter lens for portraiture and indoor sports photography, for example, while the EF800mm is designed for those looking for a lens that offers a longer focal length. Pricing and availability information is not yet available.

In addition, Canon introduced its Polished Rag media. Designed for photography and fine-art reproduction, the 300-gsm/15-mil paper gives the look and feel of traditional fiber-based photo paper, reports the company. The paper features a gloss finish and a brightness level of 90%. Available in 8.5 x 11-, 13 x 19-, and 17 x 22-in. sheets as well as 17-, 24-, 44-, 50-in. -wide rolls.

Leaf (www.leafamerica.com) unveiled a new 6 x 6 medium-format digital camera, the Leaf AFi, available in three models: the AFi 7 (33 Mpxl), the AFi 6 (28 Mpxl), and the AFi 5 (22 Mpxl). Designed and developed in conjunction with Jenoptik, the AFi 7, AFi 6, and AFi 5 are capable of taking up to 70 images/min and also feature CCD sensors measuring 48 x 36, 44 x 33, and 48 x 36 mm, respectively. In addition, the AFi 7 and AFi 6 offer an ISO range of 50-800 while the AFi 5 features a range of 25-400. All three models feature Schneider AutoFocus Digital lenses, designed for speed and sharp image capture.

The AFi models also offer a 6 x 7-cm LCD touch screen and allows for viewing of a true 1:1 raw image. A combined analog and digital interface allows users quick access to camera settings, reports Leaf. Additionally, the cameras feature an adjustable viewfinder system (waist level or 90? prism view), and users can also switch between portrait and landscape mode by turning the camera back instead of the whole camera. An adjustable control grip allows users to shoot at ergonomically optimal angles. Photog-raphers can also have full remote control of the camera from a computer.

Hasselblad (www.hasselbladusa.com) introduced the H3DII-39MS, a multi-shot version of the company’s H3DII-39 DSLR, which was available in September of last year. Designed for still-life and architectural photography, the camera combines the benefits of multi-shot technology with the functionality of the H3DII-39 DSLR, eliminating the need to interpolate images and enabling both single- and multi-shot DSLR capability.

The H3DII-39MS will incorporate all of the key features of the H3DII including a raw converter; Ultra-Focus technology, which allows for the optimization of digital-lens performance; Digital Auto Correction technology for APO correction; digital-distortion correction; and anti-vignetting to deliver full digital-lens correction when used with Hasselblad lenses.

Price on the H3DII-39MS: $43,995. A newly announced trade-in program enables Hasselblad users upgrade to the H3DII system, including the H3DII-39MS

The company also announced that it is discontinuing its H2 camera line, although it is now offering a simplified film-only H2F.

DxO Labs (www.dxo.com) previewed the latest version of its automatic image-quality enhancement software, DxO Optics Pro version 5. The upgraded software features a new raw-conversion engine that includes a de-mosaicing algorithm, providing images with more detail and fewer unwanted artifacts. The new software also applies its noise-reduction technology to the image prior to de-mosaicing, before the noise is increased by the raw-conversion process.

Version 5 includes a new dust/blemish-removal tool and a revamped user interface designed to improve workflow and provide greater ease of use. A new Snapshot feature allows users to create several "virtual versions" of an image and then apply different corrections to the image for processing. And, the software can now read from and interact with image libraries from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Both Windows and Macintosh versions of the software are available. Support for the Canon EOS 40D has also been added, and DxO expects to add support for the Canon 1Ds MKIII, Nikon D300, and Nikon D3 DSLRs in the coming months.

Price: DxO Optics Pro v5 Standard, $169; DxO Optics Pro v5 Elite, $299 (upgrade price: Standard, $95; Elite, $125).

OnOne Software (www.ononesoftware.com) announced the availability of several new Adobe Photoshop plug-ins. PhotoTools and PhotoTools Professional Edition provide a range of imaging tools including effects, corrections, and production automation. The plug-ins are designed to reproduce camera filters like neutral density, color correction, and polarization as well as darkroom techniques and alternative processes like solarization, cyanotype, and palladium printing. The software also allows users to preview effects individually or use multiple effects together. The effects can then be applied to a whole folder of images via batch processing.

PhotoTools includes more than 150 effects, PhotoTools Professional Edition includes an additional 100 effects. Price: PhotoTools, $159.99; PhotoTools Professional Edition, $259.95.

With the acquisition of Photoshop plug-in company, PhotoTune Software, onOne Software has introduced PhotoTune 2.0, a Photoshop plug-in that incorporates plug-ins acquired from PhotoTune, ColorTune 2.0 (previously known as 20/20 Color MD) and SkinTune 2.0. The ColorTune uses Color Wizard technology to correct color and the SkinTune plug-in contains a library of between 125,000 and 150,000 skin tone colors; the plug-in instantly finds the nearest acceptable skin color from the selected library and automatically corrects the image. Price: PhotoTune 2.0, $129.95. An upgrade from 20/20 Color MD 1.0 and/or SkinTune 1.0 is available for $69.95.

Moab (www.moabpaper.com) by Legion Paper introduced its line of Moenkopi Japanese Washi papers designed and coated for digital photographers and artists. The papers are made from sustainable and environmentally friendly fibers.

The line includes: Kozo 110, Unryu 55, and Bizan 300. Kozo 110 is a 100-gsm paper made of Kozo (mulberry) fiber with a smooth surface; the paper is available as A4 and A3+ (13 x 19 in.) sheets; rolls available as special order. Unryu 55 is a natural white 55-gsm paper that’s ideal for adding depth to a print, reports Moab; the paper is available in A4 and A3+ sheets and 44-in. x 15-m rolls. Bizan 300 is a sun-dried paper made from Kozo and hemp fibers; the 300-gsm paper is available in A4 and A3+ sheets.

Hahnemuhle (www.hahnemuhle.com) displayed two fine-art papers, FineArt Baryta 325 and Bamboo 290 (for more information on the Bamboo paper, see the October issue of The Big Picture, p. 22). Designed for black-and-white and color photography, the 325-gsm FineArt Baryta paper is a bright white, high-gloss paper with a baryta coating. The 100% alpha cellulose paper is compatible with both dye and pigmented inks and boasts a high dmax value and a wide color gamut.

Leica Camera (www.leicacamerausa.com) unveiled its new Summarit-M class lenses for analog and digital Leica M rangefinder cameras. The handcrafted lenses feature a maximum aperture of f 2.5 and are available in four popular focal lengths: 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 90mm. The 35mm and 50mm lenses offer a minimum shooting distance of 0.8 m while the minimum shooting distance for the 75mm is 0.9 m and 1 m for the 90mm. The lowest aperture value on all of the lenses is 16.

The lenses may be purchased individually or in sets of two, three, or four lenses.

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