More news from Cologne: Photoshop Elements 9, an “entry-level” Hasselblad, Datacolor's digicam calibration, new Epson workhorse pro printer, Sony's digital camera roadmap, a 3-D Minox and more.
Photoshop Elements 9: Content-aware fill, more!
It has to be quite a show to push off coverage of a new version of Photoshop Elements to day 2 coverage, but it's worth the wait, as Adobe has brought CS5's Content Aware Fill tool to the masses. This is the way-cool feature where, if you erase an object and there's a complicated, detailed background, the software automatically replaces the erased area with a continuous, seamless background that makes it look as if the unwanted object had never been there. I think this feature alone is worth the very reasonable cost of the new version.
Other new features for Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, announced yesterday:
- “Out of Bounds,” which creates the effect of a subject coming out of the frame via selections and cropping, is cool but is bound to be overused.
- Photomerge compares your image to a selected style reference image, and attempts to match the reference image's style.
- Photomerge panorama stitches together multiple images and fills in the blank areas automatically.
- Create pphoto books
- Share photos on a variety of web sites and portable devices.
At $79.99, Elements 9 looks like a must-have update. It's also available bundled with Premiere Elements 9, video editing software that becomes more important as digital video becomes a standard feature on most digital cameras. Download a free trial version.
Fujifilm Finepix X100 Update: Yesterday's announcement by Fujifilm of a classic rangefinder-like digital compact, the FinePix X100, has created quite a buzz around the web. Today, Fujifilm announced a U.S. release date, and a price: March 2011, and approximately $1,000. Put the cotton in your ears, the buzz is about to get louder.
Hasselblad $13K “entry-level” medium format digital camera
“Bargain” is a relative term, and by Hasselblad standards, a $13,000 digital camera would indeed be a bargain. Meet the H4D-31, a 31MP medium-format digital camera that brings Hasselblad quality and cachet to a wider audience, if not the masses. The price includes an 80mm prime lens or a CF lens adapter for mounting V-system lenses, easing the transition for film shooters who are already invested in Hasselblad optics. For portrait photographers and some wedding shooters, this camera's price tag might be enough to lure them away from their film Hassies—or back to Hasselblad from 35mm-sensored cameras.
At the other end of the spectrum is a version of the H4D with a 50GB sensor that, though multiple image combining, is claimed to effectively boost resolution to 200GB. This camera is in the testing phase but would be marketed to museum photographers, jewelry photographers and others who need color critical, highly detailed accuracy. Price? Don't ask.
Minox's 3D surprise
One of the mini-trends at this show is 3D cameras and lenses. Minox has come seemingly out of nowhere with a concept camera that they say is totally new but looks to me like a sideways digital Nimslo. The Minox PX3D has four vertically-arrayed lenses and four sensors. The images are printed so that as you move the image up and down, it will seem to move, reflecting the four different perspectives. Again, kinda like Nimslo prints, but vertical. No special viewers or glasses are needed, but presumably a new process will need to be created. Users could also choose to shoot the image in conventional 2D. Minox says the camera will be ready next summer. This video, courtesy Minox, explains it all. I wish them better luck than Nimslo had!
Datacolor SpyderCheckr calibrates cameras
Datacolor announced SpyderCheckr, a new tool for color calibrating cameras through RAW workflow. Why would you need this? If you shoot with multiple cameras, subtle differences in how each camera renders color can cause inconsitent results. The product is based on the handy Datacolor Color Passport. Shoot a target in RAW, import in Photoshop or Lightroom, import into SpyderCheckr, click a few buttons, and a calibration preset is imported into Lightroom or Camera RAW.
Confused? Watch this demo video:
SpyderCheckr and SpyderCheckr pro will be available for $129 and $169.
Epson rolls out pro printers
And what would you print out those perfectly color balanced images on? Perhaps one of the three new photo printers introduced by Epson. The Epson Stylus Pro 4900 is a 17-inch photo printer with and 11-ink Ultrachrome HDR inkset, a claimed wide color gamut that is being marketed as a studio workhorse, available in November, while the 24-inch Epson Stylus Pro 7890 and the 44-inch Epson Stylus Pro 9890 will take over large format printing duties once they're available early next year. Pricing TBA.
Sony unveils an Alpha & NEX roadmap
Fresh from the introduction of its fixed-pellicle-mirrored compact interchangeable lens cameras, the
a55 and a33, Sony is teasing the world with a higher-end camera that would use the same non-moving mirror technology that could replace the a700. While details are scant, the inference is that this would be a full-frame DSLR with a pellicle mirror, the camera would shoot full HD video (Sony is the only camera maker that hasn't introduced a DSLR with video capabilities) and would accept A-mount lenses. Sony also showed prototypes of seven new E-mount lenses for the NEX-3 and NEX-5 MILCs.
Back to the here and now, Sony announced a firmware update for the NEX-3 and NEX-5 that improves the functionality and user interface. Improvements include customizable buttons, aperture control in Movie mode, support for A-mount lenses with internal motors, and a couple of menu navigation features.
Novoflex innovates tripod heads
Novoflex introduced the MagicBalance, a small, sturdy leveling device designed for panorama and 3D photography. Very small and lightweight, it is said to be usable with one hand. The Ball NQ is a more traditional ball head that supports up to 15.5 pounds, boasts high precision and stability, has an integrated level, and permits a 360-degree rotation. The head is lubricant-free and designed from non-corrosive material, making it well-suited for outdoor use. Both models will be available in November.
Many more gadgets, doodads and goodies both practical and otherwise have been introduced and I'll be covering the highlights in our post-Photokina Wrap-Up in the early October!