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August 29, 2004

How would you manage on a week-long workshop shoot in a remote location? Do you have the ability to walk away from a shot because there might be something better down the road. Find out more inSwimming with the Sharks.

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August 27, 2004

This is an update on my December, 2005Antarctic Workshop Expedition. The waitlist is still open, but there are now more than 200 names registered and it is likely that not everyone from those that have sent in their requests thus far will be able to attend. But if you’d like to add your name, I am still accepting them for the waitlist.

If you have already registered, please be advised that I expect to start contacting waitlist registrants within a week or so. I’m just waiting to complete a few final details with the expedition company. You will be contacted in the order in which you applied, but you will need to be prepared to respond quickly once you receive my e-mail. Keep an eye out for it beginning later next week.

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August 26, 2004

Most photographers are interested in having their images display as high technical quality as possible. Fine grain film, hi-res sensors, top ranked lenses — we have always been focused on (pardon the pun) achieving optimum image quality. Regrettably though, with the advent of Internet chat forums (some at least), along with digital camera, and software that allows us to look at things at the individual pixel level, this has escalated to a fetish for some people, and in my opinion a destructive one at that. It has little to do anymore with creativity, the joy of seeing, and the making of images.

With this in mind today I am publishing a photograph taken recently that displays both green and red chromatic aberration, is out of focus, has motion blur from hand-holding, is highly underexposed, and which basically looks like crap at 100% onscreen in Photoshop. It is the latest entry on myMiscellaneous Momentspage. I humbly suggest thatCaravaggiomight have approved.

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August 24, 2004

In a sad but likely inevitable sign of the times it has been announced thatIlfordhas gone into receivership. Ilford’s famous product offerings include Ilfochrome (Cibachrome), Multigrade printing papers and highly regarded films such as FP4, HP5, and Delta. Unless someone picks up the pieces (unlikely) these will be sadly missed by those who haven’t yet made the transition to digital, and even by many who have. An item inThe Financial Timesprovides further details.

On Thursday, Sept 9th I will be giving a presentation to theLondon (Ontario) Camera ClubtitledPhotography in the 21st Century, Technology and Esthetics. The meeting takes place at 7:30pm and is open to the general public. You can find out more by contactingthe club secretary.

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August 23, 2004

Part Twoof myCanon 20Dreview is now online.

Threenew portfoliosfrom members of my JulyIceland Workshopsare now online.

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August 21, 2004

The final details for my December, 2005Antarctic Workshop Expeditionare still being worked out, but I am now pleased to announce the roster of instructors for the trip. In alphabetical order the expedition’s photographic teachers and guides will be…

John Paul Caponigro,Steve Johnson, Michael Reichmann, Seth Resnick, and Jeff Schewe

This is possibly the finest group of photographic and digital imaging instructors ever to work together on a single workshop.Chris Sanderson, the award-winning director / cameraman for theVideo Journalwill also be available to work with anyone who will be shooting video during the expedition. In addition to scheduled seminars throughout the 12 day trip all six instructors will be available for one-on-one instruction and print evaluations. Each of us will also be living and shooting alongside workshop members every day.

If you would like to add your name to the waitlist for this workshop expedition, now is the time to do so. It will almost certainly be sold out by the time it is formally announced next month, and people on the waitlist will be given priority in reserving their places.Find out more.

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August 20, 2004

After several days of leaks, "accidential" postings by Canon, and rampant online speculation, theCanon EOS 20Dis now official. ReadPart One of my EOS 20D review, based on a week of field and bench testing a pre-production sample.

There is also a newFeatured Imagefor August, which is shown as well on the site’s Home Page.

A reminder that I am still accepting waitlist registrations for my December, 2005Antarctic Workshop Expedition.

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August 17, 2004

This is a preliminary announcement for my December, 2005Antarctic Workshop Expedition. If you’re looking for the photographic adventure of a lifetime, you won’t want to let this one pass you by. It’s still 15 months away, but when the trip is formally announced next month it will sell out quickly. Put your name on the no-obligation wait list. What are you waiting for?

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August 16, 2004

Windows PC users have a variety of panoramic stitching programs available. Unfortunately Mac users are less well served, especially at the high end. There is now a new first-rate stitching program available for both Macs and PCs. It’s calledRealviz Stitcher 4.0and it’s of industrial strength as well as being easy to use. The fly in the ointment is that it’s the most expensive such program yet made.

Another Icelandic image taken last month is the newHome Pagephotograph.

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August 12, 2004

It’s taken close to 15 months, butEpson’s Ultrasmooth Fine Art Paperis finally shipping. Some countries got it earlier than others, but unfortunately it will now only be available in rolls and large sheet sizes suitable for use with Epson’s wide-format printers. My review is now online.

Two new photographs from my Iceland shoot last month are now also online; one on the home page, and the other illustrating theUltrasmoothpaper review.

Update:In a very surpising move (well, maybe not so surprising) it has been announced thatHasselblad and Imacon are merging. "Shriro Sweden, the holding company of Victor Hasselblad AB, and part of the Hong Kong-headquartered Shriro Group, has announced the acquisition of leading international high-end scanner and digital cameraback manufacturer, Imacon. The move will see Imacon and Hasselblad merge to accelerate Hasselblad’s ambitions in the professional digital photographic sector, and creates the first single source supplier for digital photography at the top end of the professional photographic market".

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August 11, 2004

Late yesterday (Tuesday), some malicious pea brain hacked this site’s home page. It’s amazing that there are people out there with more time on their hands than brains or decency, but such is the state of things, I suppose. Maybe they should consider taking up something creative like photography if they have that much spare time on their hands.

In any event, the site is now likely secure (he said with fingers crossed). I apologize for any inconvenience, which is more than the wanker who did this is likely capable of. And of course sinceVideo Journalsubscriber billing is handled by a highly secure third party there never was and can’t be any threat to subscriber information.

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August 10, 2004

The photographs in my essayThe Black Church — Two Icelandic Portraitspublished a couple of days ago, have lead to a great deal of comment in private e-mails that I’ve received. Many people were quite taken with the one of theBlack Church and Child, which is also the current Home Page image. In a couple of these discussions I started to analyze why there are aspects of this photograph that are visually compelling, and I now explore these in a brief commentary titledCounting Triangles — Understanding What Works, and Why.

And, a reminder, as I do from time to time, that this exists as a commercial free site because of subscriptions to our unique video magazine on DVD calledThe Video Journal. Click on one of the links immediately below and find out more. Support this site and give yourself or someone else a photographic gift. A single issue is just $19.95 and a one year (4 issue) subscription costs just $69.95.

Update:Shortly afterCounting Triangles — Understanding What Works, and Whyappeared I received a very insightful e-mail which sheds some additional light on the geometry of the photograph. It has now beenaddedto the article.

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August 8, 2004

It isn’t often when concentrating on landscape photography that one gets the opportunity to do a portrait, or to capture a unique human moment that incorporates a dramatic locale. On my first Iceland workshop last month we had such an opportunity. It’s described in a new essay titledThe Black Church — Two Icelandic Portraits.

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Every now and again I get an e-mail from some well-meaning soul pointing out that the dateline on today’sWhat’s Newis a day ahead. Maybe my computer’s clock is wrong, they conjecture. No, it’s not. There is a simple reason why I date entries as I do.

I live in Toronto, which is in the GMT -5 time zone. I usually publish my articles in the late afternoon or early evening, local time. This is at about midnight GMT. But for some people, such as the tens of thousands of readers of this site that live in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea and elsewhere in Asia, it is already "tomorrow", and has been for quite a few hours. People in more than 120 countries around the world visit the site each week.

So when a reader in New York, for example, sees "tomorrow’s" date on a listing here, it needs to be kept in mind that it’s already that date in most of Europe, and folks in Asia are starting to think about lunch. For them it’s not tomorrow. It’s today.

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August 7, 2004

The new camera season is coming fast upon us.Photokina,the biannual world’s fair of photography is just a month or so away, and the manufacturers are priming the pump for new product announcements. Some will be fresh and totally unexpected while others will be obvious follow-ups to existing offerings. First out of the gate isKonica Minolta.

On Friday afternoon at 4PMKonica Minoltalauncheda new web siteto promote their upcomingDynax/Maxxum 7 DigitalSLR. First announced at thePMAshow this past spring the 7 will be the first DLSR to incorporate a vibration reduction mechanism involving the sensor, thus providing stabilization capability to all Minolta lenses. This technology was first seen in the A1 and A2 digicams released during the past half year.

The new site is long on glitz and short on substance at this point, but it looks as if K/M will feed it with new material as the weeks progress. Possibly a clever way of trying to maintain interest, but based on a recently publishedinterviewwith the company’s president it seems that even they aren’t sure at this point when it will ship, at what price and even what the final name will be. Such is marketing in the Internet age.

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August 5, 2004

In many ways these are still early days in the photographic industry’s transition from the world of film to digital. One area where there continues to be misinformation is with regard to the advantages of shooting raw files rather than JPGs.

The preeminent raw conversion program, and one that can handle raw files from more than 60 different digital cameras, isCamera Raw, a component ofPhotoshop CS. Now, highly regarded authorBruce Fraserhas written what will likely be the definitive book on the subject. It is titledReal World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS. My review, the first to appear anywhere, is now online.


Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

One of the greatest documentary photographers of all time passed away on Wednesday.Henri Cartier Bressonwas 95. If you have not yet seen it, you may want to read my review of his major retrospective book and exhibition from last summer titledThe Man, The Image and The World.

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August 3, 2004

The winner of our8 Megapixel Digicam drawisEva Liof Vancouver, BC.Congratulations Eva! Eva has decided to accept aMinolta A2as her prize, and one will be shipped to her this week.

Ournew contest, which begins today and runs through December 15th, is for a free next-generation digital camera from one of the world’s leading manufacturers. At Photokina in September, 2004 many new digital cameras will be announced, but one will stand out from the crowd, and will be available prior to Christmas, 2004. It could be yours! You can’t win it if you’re not in it, so support this site and subscribe now.

There are nowthree new portfoliosonline from Iceland workshop members.

Update:Apologies for the problems with some of the links at the top of each page. This began yesterday when I tried to fix something else, and more things broke. All is now well — I think. Thanks to everyone that drew it to my attention.

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August 1, 2004

It’s the first of a new month and that means a new article by our favourite observer of the passing photographic scene, Mike Johnston. For August Mike places his tongue firmly in cheek and gives usUses and Applications of 35mm Lenses.

Members of my two Iceland workshops last month have now started to submit their work. I’m pleased to publish todayportfoliosfromthis shoot by five of the 23 workshops members —Ian Lyons, J. David Levy, Frank Forward, Jonathan SachsandMike O’Callahan. It’s fascinating to see how different people interpret the same environment. Additional portfolios will be published as they are provided, and more of my own photographs from Iceland last month will appear as illustrations in upcoming articles.

Video Journalsubscribers should note thatStephen Sauveis now your primary contact for issues related to subscription services. If his name seems familiar, it is because Steve is also the composer of the wonderful music featured in each issue of the Journal.

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July 29, 2004

Mac owners will be pleased to learn thatPhase Onehas now announced and made available for the first time anLE version of Capture One. This means that now all three versions ofCapture One, LE, SE and Pro are available for both the Windows and Mac platforms.

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July 28, 2004

There are three items of interest today.

The first is the publication of a new article titledAbstracting The Landscape. It is an examination of the differences between what I callSnapshots, Postcards and Images. It also contains descriptions of the making of two of the best photographs from my recent three week shoot in Iceland, one of which is now featured as the site’s newHome Pageillustration.

The second item is a mention thatMamiyahas announceda new version of their medium formatRZ67 Pro. It is called theIIDand features the same MSCE (Mamiya Serial Communication for Exchange)interface as found on their645 AFDcameras. There are some that think that with the increasing pixel count and excellent image quality of high-end 35mm DSLRs, that the days of medium format cameras are numbered. Think again. Every advantage that MF had over 35mm in the days of film still hold true today, along with some new ones.

True, the best MF digital backs are pricey, and are likely to remain so for some time, but for working pros this is less of a factor than in the amateur market. In the meantime, MF digital has become a vibrant part of the new photographic landscape, and Mamiya’s introduction of theRZ Pro IIDis just another sign of this return to vitality. The only losers are those medium format camera makers likePentaxwho were too thick to see the digital writing on the wall, and photographers who abandoned their MF systems a couple of years ago in the belief that medium format would be supplanted by high resolution 35mm digital. For some, maybe. But, to paraphrase Mark Twain,the stories of medium format’s demise are somewhat premature.

Finally, a heads up forVideo Journalsubscribers.Issue #11was due by now, but its publication has been delayed by some weeks. The reason for this is twofold. Chris Sanderson, the Journal’s producer and editor, moved to a new home in June, and his editing system along with the rest of his life was in boxes for several weeks before and after the move. Once that was past he joined me in Iceland for three weeks during July, assisting me with my workshops there. The bottom line is that Issue #11now won’t be out until some time in September. We’ll keep you updated here as the publication schedule becomes clearer. Chris and I both regret any inconvenience that this delay may cause.

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July 25, 2004

Alain Briottoday provides us with the seventh installment of his exclusive nine part series for this web site onEsthetics and Photography. It is titledKeepers, and in it Alain explores issues related to selecting, categorizing and storing your work.

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July 22, 2004

What are the ingredients needed for strong outdoor photography? Certainly a great location. And the right equipment definitely can’t hurt. But more important than anything else islight, which I provide an example of in a new essay titledIt’s About Light.

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July 18, 2004

I have just returned from three weeks in Iceland where I conducted two photographic workshops. Here are the basic stats… Including a 5 day break in between sessions we drove some 6,500 kilometers (4,000 miles), the majority of it over unpaved roads. We had 24 workshop members in all, including men and women from Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the U. K., and, of course, the U.S.

I shot some 2,500 frames, which filled up 35 Gigabytes on my laptop. My main landscape camera was theContax 645withKodak Proback, and my snapshot camera was theMinolta A2. We also ate more hotdogs and hamburgers at gas stations than I care to remember.

A portfolio of my work from this year’s trip to Iceland will appear on these pages later this summer. I will also be publishing a sampling of work by each of the workshop members as they are submitted.

One of my favourite photographs of the trip has just been made the front page image on the site. How it was made is detailed on theFeatured Imagepage as July’s entry.

My mailbox contained some 1,700 e-mails when I returned yesterday. If you wrote, it may take me a while to reply. If you don’t get a reply by the end of this week and the subject was important, please resend the e-mail as my mailbox overflowed during my time away.

Mike Johnston’s July column is titledComparisons and the Odious: Fakery, Actual and Conceptual. It is an insightful and entertaining look at one of photography’s perennial topics. I’m sorry to have to have made you wait more than two weeks for this very fine article.

The semi-finalist for June in the8MP Digicam DrawisDavid Van Gosenof Baltimore, MD. Congratulations David!

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June 26, 2004

FromJune 27th though July 17thI will be offline, conducting two fieldworkshops in Iceland. During these three weeks I will not be able to respond to either e-mail or Forum postings. (The currentfront page photographis from my shoot there last July.)

Video Journalorders are automated and shipped by our fulfillment company the same day that they are received. If you have questions regarding new or existing subscriptions please contactStephen Sauve. He will be able to answer your questions and solve any problems. If there are issues with theLuminous Landscapesite itself that you’d like to report you can contactNeil Cowley. Neil will be administering both the site and the Discussion Forum during my absence.

For regular readers used to two or three new articles every week you can turn to the more than2,000 previous pageson the site. These contain feature articles, tutorials and product reviews. There likely is something there that you haven’t yet read.

A reminder that this site is supported solely though subscriptions to our quarterly DVD video publication —The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. Click on one of the links above or below to find out more, and then please consider a subscription or the purchase of an individual issue. You’ll be supporting this site and also will discover a unique photographic resource.

See you again in mid-July. Cheers!

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June 24, 2004

There are hardly any web sites producing reviews of medium format digital backs, and few such reviews appear in print. To fill that void, during the past half year I have been trying to review most of major backs available. I have been particularly interested in versions that can be used in the field rather than just in the studio.

In the next week or soPhase Onewill start shipping itsP20andP25backs. These are completely self contained medium format backs that will be available in versions for all of the major camera systems. The P20 is a square format 18 Megapixel back while the P25 is 22 Megapixel almost-full-frame 645 in size.

Though only introduced to dealers 10 days ago, thanks toVistekandPhase OneI was able to spend two days last week field testing one of only five pre-production samples of the P25 that exist in the world. My exclusivePhase One P25 First-Look Reviewis now online.

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June 22, 2004

Advanced fine art photographers as well as professionals and commercial studios know the advantages of using a RIP when printing.Colorbyte Softwareis one of the oldest and most respected names in RIPs for both Iris and Epson inkjet printers. They have just released their latest versionImagePrint 6and at the same time added support for the newEpson 4000printer. My hands-on review ofImageprint 6 for the Epson 4000is now online.

The site’s front page photograph has been changed. Keeping with the seasonal theme, this is of spring planting in rural Ontario. I have driven by this rich farm area regularly for years, and each spring have visualized such a shot, but it never came together properly.Last week it did.

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June 20, 2004

After six months to a year or learning and using Photoshop many photographers are keen to explore some of the more advanced image processing capabilities available. Sometimes these are arcane and only relate to the more esoteric aspects of image interpretation and control. But when a new tool is uncovered that really helps produce superior images, especially ones that can compensate for shooting errors, we all perk up our ears.

Today we begin publishing a series of advanced Photoshop tutorials byGlenn E. Mitchell II, Ph.D.It is titledRestore Those Clipped Channels, and it explains how to use a saturation mask to repair severe saturation problem s. Additional tutorials in this series written byMitch, (as he prefers to be called) will appear here every few weeks.

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June 18, 2004

One of this site’s recent Home Page images has generated a lot of reader comment along with questions about how it was shot and processed. I have therefore made itJune’s Featured Imageand have provided an in-depth look at how it was made.

My colleague and photographic guide and instructorSteve Kossackstill has a few spaces left on hisColorado Fall Color Workshopin September.

On Sunday I will publish the first of a series of advanced Photoshop tutorials byGlenn E. Mitchell II, Ph.D. Anyone looking for improve their image processing skills will find this new series to be very worthwhile.

I will be spending this weekend shooting with the newPhase One P2522 Megapixel full-frame 645 medium format digital back. The industry has been buzzing about this new back since it was announced several months ago. It was first shown to dealers at a launch event in Copenhagen last week. I now have access to one of the few pre-production backs available, and will be field testing it as well as putting it on theDxO Analyzertest bench. I expect my review to appear here by the middle of next week.

June 17, 2004

Earlier this year this site had the first online review of thePanasonic LC1, and then again a two-part review of its dressed up sister theLeica Digilux 2. Both of these were done by contributors, but I was keen on seeing for myself how these cameras handled, and how they would perform both on location and on the DxO test bench.

I recently spent a month using an LC1, and myLeica Digilux 2 / Panasonic LC1 Test Report and 4th Opinionis now online.

As regular readers may recall I am a contributing editor toPhoto Techniques Magazine, and my writing appears there several times a year. The latest issue (July / August, 2004) contains my articleComparing the New 8-Megapixel Cameras.

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June 15, 2004

With some digicams now offering 8 Megapixel imaging chips and 28-200mm f/2.8 equivalent zooms a lot of photographers are asking themselves — self, which one is best for me? And, why should I prefer one over the other? To try and make sense of this I have just published an essay titledDigicams vs. DSLRs.

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We’ve just made it easier for everyone to discover and enjoyThe Luminous Landscape Video Journal. Based on the tremendous response to our single issue promotion last month we have decided to make the current, and indeed all issues available for just$19.95. No subscription necessary.

But when we announced this a couple of days ago we made a mistake. We didn’t properly consider the consequences for existing and new annual subscribers. So, here’s how it now works.We’ve reduced prices across the board by30%, including subscriptions.

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June 13, 2004

Many of the best photographic locations for landscape work in the United States have become clichés. I’m thinking of locales likeYosemiteandAntelope Canyon. That isn’t to say that they aren’t enjoyable, or than original work can’t still be done there. But, landscape photographers are always on the lookout for somewhere fresh to ply their trade.

The Buffalo National River, located in Arkansas, appears to be just such a place, and in this exclusive report by contributorMike Boydhe shows us in words and images just how spectacular it can be.

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June 10, 2004

The correct settings that need to be made when printing are one of the leading causes of confusion and frustration among photographers. InUnderstanding Printer Colour ManagementI provide a brief tutorial on how to set up both Photoshop and your printer to use profiles properly.

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I made a purchase today that I never thought I’d make in my lifetime. I purchased aLacie 1 Terabyte hard disk. For those of you who skipped Grade 9 math class the day that terabytes were discussed (if they were at all), a terabyte is a thousand gigabytes. And since a gigabyte is a thousand megabytes, a terabyte is a million megabytes. The mind boggles.

In any event, theLacie D2 Bigger Disk(to give it its formal name) is the first terabyte drive to become available. It has a list price of U.S. $1,195. This makes the retail cost per gigabyte about a $1 a gig. The drive has Firewire 800 / 400 and USB 2 interfaces and works with both Macs and PCs. The rotation speed is 7200 RPM — as fast as standard IDE drives usually get. I’ve started using it with Firewire 400, but I have a Firewire 800 card on order. Once I’ve used the drive for a while I’ll publish my usual hands-on review.

For anyone wondering what on earth one needs a terabyte drive for, here’s one answer. Each of my finishedCanon 1DsandKodak DCS Pro Backfiles, withAdjustment Layers, ranges in size from 250-500MB. Thus, at an average of 300MB per file that’s only 3 files per gig. The Lacie drive therefore willonlyhold some 3,000 processed images. A lot, but not as infinite as it seems. Of course it’ll also hold 100,000 ten MB raw files. Guess I’d better got outside and start shooting.

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June 8, 2004

Back in December, 2003 I published a first-look review of theEpson 400printer, months before it started to ship. In April I took delivery of one of the first production 4000s to become available, and have been using it daily since. MyEpson 4000 Review Updateis now online.

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June 7, 2004

Very good news for current and prospective owners of theKonica / Minolta A2. Many user (myself included) have experienced autofocus problems as well as spontaneous camera resets. As is usually the case with Japanese companies, Minolta did not admit publicly that there was a problem. But there was, and they have been working aggressively to correct it.

The fix has been completed, and it will be available within the next 48 hours on theKonica / Minolta U.S. web site. The problems that have been addressed with this firmware release (V1.12u) are (to quote Minolta)…

— Improved the symptom that visibility of LCD decreases depending on the subject brightness while using the Flex Digital Magnifier function.

— Improved the symptom that LCD turns off or the camera cannot focus on the high brightness subject with the Flex Focus Point at the focal length of 100mm.

— Improved the flash metering accuracy.

— Changed the viewfinder operation from the viewfinder turns off immediately after leaving the eye to it remains 10 sec. when the display mode switch is at EVF

I have updated the firmware on my camera with an advance copy of this new version and the installation went smoothly, and so far at least it appears to solve the problem. Just download the files, extractKM003.appandKM003.brdby running the.exefile, and copy them to a CF card’s root directory. Make sure that a fresh battery is installed, and place the card in the camera. Set the A2 toPlaybackmode, and turn on the camera. There will be a message asking if you want to update the firmware. Confirm, and about a minute later it’s done.

This is a welcome relief to a problem with what I regard as the best of the current crop of 8 Megapixel digicams.Thanks Minolta!

June 6, 2004

Mike Johnstonreturns today with his now monthly column and observations on the passing photographic scene. This month’s article is titledScenic Fatigue.

June 4, 2004

The second of two new lens reviews to be published here this week is now online. TheCanon 70 – 300mm f4.5-5.6 DO ISis only the secondDiffractive Opticlens to be introduced by Canon, and it turns out to be a very appealing and versatile piece of glass.

TheMiscellaneous Momentspage and theHome Pagehave both had new, related, photographs added.

June 2, 2004

This is a first announcement for aMaster-Class Workshopto take placeAlgonquin Parkin north-central Ontario in early October. This unique workshop is intended for experienced landscape and nature photographers who would like to spend an intensive long-weekend working withMichael Reichmann, and in a spectacular location for fall colour. The main focus of the workshop will be onseeing,compositionand theestheticsof fine-art landscape photography, rather than on equipment or technique. Workshop members will bring their portfolios for review, critique and roundtable discussions.

Anyone may apply for the workshop, but attendance will be based on acceptance of application and a small portfolio review. If you are interested in joining this exciting gathering of photographers, don’t hesitate. My workshops always sell out very quickly.Sorry —SOLD OUT.

Afall colour workshopin Colorado with Luminous Landscape associate Steve Kossack still has a few spaces available.

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The May semi-finalist in the8 MP Digicam DrawisBret Douglas of Chattanooga, TN. Congratulations Bret!

June 1, 2004

Just a couple of weeks ago Canon began shipping two new lenses, the28 – 300mm f3.5-5.6L ISand70 – 300mm f4.5-5.6 DO IS. I have now used both of these lenses in the field and also run them through theDxO Analyzertest bench. My review of theCanon EF 28 – 300mm f3.5-5.6L IShas just been published, and the one on the70 – 300mm f4.5-5.6 DO ISwill appear here before the end of the week.

May 30, 2004

As regular readers know Mike Johnston’sSunday Morningcolumn will now only appear on the first Sunday of each month. Which means that Mike will be back next week. For this week I offer up insteadSymmetry— an essay on patterns in the way we see.

May 27, 2004

ContributorJoe Bedatoday provides us with an introduction toCreating Digital PanoramasusingPanotoolsandPTAssembler. There are simpler panoramic stitching tools available, and certainly more expensive ones, but these two in combination do a very impressive job.

The new photograph on thehome pagewas taken yesterday inAlgonquin Parkin north-central Ontario. Each Spring I do a wildlife shoot there for a couple of days, and this time saw and photographed a large number of moose, but unfortunately had rotten weather. It has also been added as the May entry on myFeatured Imagepage.

Part of the purpose for the trip though was to conduct field tests of two new Canon lenses, the 28-300mm f/5.6L IS and the 70-300mm f/5.6 DO IS. My reports including DxO Analyzer tests and field results will appear here next week.

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UPDATE:

Phase Onehas announced today the release of V 3.5 of theirCapture 1 PROandSEraw conversion programs for both Mac OS X and Windows. The new version of LE is for Windows computers only. New cameras are supported and there are many new features. I will have a review of the new version available shortly.

(Note that there was some controversy over the past 24 hours regarding features in the new version of LE that were announced to have been deliberately reduced from what was available in the previous version. Many voices were raised against this, including mine, and wisely Phase Ones management saw the wisdom of not continuing with the implementation of these limitations).

On a related frontMichael Tapes, a friend and sometime contributor to this site, has put hisPictureFlow.comweb site to rest and has today launched a new expanded site calledRawWorkflow.com. This is still the only official North American support and sales site forCapture 1 RAW Workflowsoftware. The site also includes many other workflow related products, services and information. Definitely worth your time to explore.

Readers in Asia should also be aware ofPIXOURCE Digital, another authorized online source ofCapture 1downloads and updates.

May 25, 2004

One of the most common queries among wildlife and sports photographers using Canon equipment is — how does the Canon100-400mm f/5.6L ISzoom compare in image quality at 400mm with the Canon400mm f/5.6Lprime telephoto? I now have a long-promisedDxO Analyzer comparison of the these two lensesonline.

May 24, 2004

Haven’t gotten around to subscribing toThe Video Journalyet? OK. You’re forgiven. But we’re going to do our best to help you discover what a great photographic resource it is. You can receive the current — just released Issue #10 — foronly $14.95. This includes free shipping to anywhere in the world, and yes, theVideo Journalwill play on any DVD player, as well as DVD equipped PC or Mac, in any country in the world.

And if you like it we have an additional offer that can save you a total of nearly $50. What have you got to lose?

The next few weeks will see a large number of feature articles and exciting product reviews, including a DxO Analyzer comparison of theCanon 400mm vs 100-400mmzoom, and a field report and DxO Analyzer test of the new and just shippingCanon 70-300mm IS DOand28-300L ISlenses. In addition I have put the newLeica Digilux2 / Panasonic LC1on the DxO Analyzer test bench and provide my own hands-on field report as well. Finally myEpson 4000review is nearly finished, along with a first look atImageprint 6.0for the Mac.

No other site offers this breadth and frequency of in-depth features and tests, but its continuation is all dependant on subscriptions to theVideo Journal. We have no commercial sponsors or relationships, no pop-up ads and we make no compromises nor do we play favourites. Help support this site and give yourself the gift of photography.Subscribe now.

Attention Video Journal Subscribers — Downloadable PDF format Jewel Box art for Issue #10 is now available.

May 23, 2004

Mike Johnston announces today that he is making a number of changes to his writing and publishing activities, including altering the schedule ofThe Sunday Morning Photographerfrom weekly to monthly. I for one am going to miss my weekly hit of Mike’s observations and insights into the photographic scene. Fear not though — I will be scheduling other new content for publication on Sundays, beginning next week.

May 21, 2004

Following up on my trip to Spain last month I am now publishing two brief articles. The first is titled theKonica Minolta A2 on Location. I describes my experience using this 8 Megapixel digicam during that trip. The second related article is on theSeville Fair, which takes place every April and which is one of the cultural highlights to be experienced in Andelucia.

May 19, 2004

Every photographer shooting with a digital camera needs to choose between shooting in JPG or raw mode. But do you have all of the information needed to make that decision? InUnderstanding Raw FilesI look at the pros and cons (mostly pros) of shooting in raw mode.

If you have never taken a photography workshop or seminar — why not? They are a great way to improve your technical skills, hone your eye, and meet like-minded people. Some expert instructors are associated with this site and so you might want to look at some of theupcoming field and fixed-location opportunitiesthat are coming up this summer.

May 16, 2004

Mike Johnstonis taking the week off and therefore there will not be aSunday Morningcolumn this week. Instead I am publishing an essay by Dutch photographerStefan HeijdendaeltitledFrom Digital to Analog, and Back. In it Stefan explores a minimalist approach to developing ones photographic skills.

Isn’t it time that you considered subscribing toThe Video Journal? It’s what keeps this web site in business, and is the world’s only quarterly DVD video magazine created exclusively for creative photographers. Issue #10 is now shipping. Join thousands of like-minded photographers around the word in exploring the passion of photography.

May 14, 2004

Nikon expertThom Hoganprovides us with an article titledFocus Sensor Locations on the Nikon DSLRs, which looks at some of the issues faced by owners of Nikon DSLRs that utilize autofocus sensors derived from film-based cameras.

Update:On another discussion board (which I no longer participate in directly), I have been accused of either falsifying my data or ignoring defects in a sample image found in myDxO Optics Proreview of earlier this week. Regrettably this personal attack is caused by a fundamental lack of understanding of the basics of digital technology (and a further example why one shouldn’t judge everything at 100% magnification (AKA pixel-peeping)). I have now added to my reviewan explanationof what’s actually being seen.

May 11, 2004

Every now and then a product comes along that has the potential to change an industry. I’m not sure yet ifDxO Optics Prois such a product, but it just might be. Imagine a software program that can correct a lens’ optical distortion and chromatic aberration, and also increase sharpness and remove lens vignetting. In other words, make an inexpensive lens better, and a good lens great.

DO Labshas today announcedDxO Optics Pro, and the first review to appear anywhere on the web or in print is now online here.

CurrentVideo Journalsubscribers please note — if your subscription does not renew automatically (which it does for anyone who began their subscription with the past 12 month), you may now begin your renewal with either the current issue, Issue #10, or Issue #11 which is due out later this summer.

Not yet familar withThe Video Journal?Find out more.

May 10, 2004

What do you do on a rainy day? Stay home and watch TV? Sometimes, particularly when I’m traveling in a foreign city, I’ll head out and photograph umbrellas. No, notwithan umbrella, but people with umbrellas — that most graphic of personal accessories. Two examples recently taken in Spain are found in a new small essay titled, simply,Umbrellas.

May 9, 2004

Concern about the best media for archiving ones digital files is common to all photographers. This weekMike Johnstonshares with us some definitive information onFinding the Best CD-Rs.

May 7, 2004

Bullfighting is a traditional sport in many parts of Spain, as well as in Mexico and other parts of the world. Its historical roots are an the province of Andelucia and its heart is in Seville. I attended my first bullfight there last week, and inDeath in the Afternoondescribe photographing a bullfight as well provide a small portfolio. If you’re squeamish or have objections to bullfighting, you are under no obligation to view this page.

May 6, 2004

The Grand Prize winner of theIceland Workshopdraw isStig Sundgaardof New South Wales, Australia. Stig wins an all expenses paid one week photographic workshop in Iceland this coming July. Congratulations Stig!!

Ournew drawoffers an 8 Megapixel digital camera as its prize.Find out moreabout our unique quarterly DVD publication. You could be the next winner.

I have updated both theFeatured ImageandMiscellaneous Momentspage with photographs taken in Seville last week.

May 5, 2004

I have just returned from my vacation in Spain — 10 days in Barcelona, Seville and Cordoba. Beautiful country, great food, lovely people, lousy weather. I’m told that it was warmer, sunnier and drier in Toronto the past two weeks. Sigh.

But I did have an opportunity to do some street shooting at theApril Fairin Seville, and also some very exciting photography at a bullfight. I’ll have portfolios and commentary online soon. In the meantime the newhome page photographis from the bullfight series.

ContributorAlain Briotprovides us with the sixth installment in his nine part tutorial series entitledAesthetics and Photography. This one is onDetermining The Best Exposurewith both film and digital.

May 2, 2004

Mike Johnston had a computer hard disk crash and lost the article he was working on for this week. He’ll return nextSunday Morningwith his usually provocative observations on the world of photography.

For your Sunday read I’ve just published a small observation onphotographing architecturewhen traveling.

May 1, 2004

TheGreat Iceland Workshop Drawhas now closed. Thesemi-finalistfor April isStig Sundgaardof New South Wales, Australia. Congratulations Stig! The grand prize winner of a free photographic workshop in Iceland this July will be announced next Wednesday, May 5th, when I return from my current trip to Spain. Ournew drawoffers an 8 Megapixel digital camera.

April 28, 2004

In a new tutorial titledHybrid ConversioncontributorJonathan Wienkeexplores how to utilize a combination of RAW conversion techniques to produce images with expanded dynamic range.

I am currently traveling, and shooting daily with a digicam, the second time this year that I have used one on location. (I used a Sony F828 in Tanzania in January, and am using a Minolta A2 this monthin Spain). Those who still regard digicams solely as appropriate for snapshots will be interested to learn thatMagnumphotographerAlex Majolirecently won the NPPA’sMagazine Photographer of the Yearaward for his work in Iraq and China and also theOverseas Press Clubaward for his work in the Congo. All of the photographs leading to these awards were taken with anOlympus C-5050, what some would consider a consumer digicam; andlast year’s modelat that. Food for thought.

© 2004Alex Majoli

April 25, 2004

Newspapers yesterday were filled for the first time with pictures of caskets containing the remains of U.S. servicemen and women being returned from Iraq. InAlmost Every Night We Send Them HomeMike Johnstonshows the photograph which started the furor and explains the story behind its creation as well as subsequent events. You can read more about the fallouthere.

"Buying a subscription to the Journal was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I debated it for 18 months, and then bought a DVD player just to watch the Video Journal.
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April 24, 2004

As of today I am on vacation until May 5th. I will be traveling in Spain and may or may not have regular Internet access. The site will therefore be updated irregularly during this period.

I was told by our duplicator this morning thatIssue #10ofThe Luminous Landscape Video Journalwill start shipping to subscribers on Monday. Depending on where in the world you live (and the vagaries of the post office) you should receive your copy within a week or so.

This is our biggest and best issue yet. Almost 2.5 hours of broadcast-quality programming. You can view low-res Quicktimevideo clipsof some of the featured segments, and if you’re not yet a subscriberread what’s being saidabout this unique publication for passionate photographers. Also, remember that you just have until May 1st to enter theIceland Workshop Contest— a prize worth U.S. $6,000. If you subscribe today you could be the winner next week!

Users ofPhotoshop CSwill be pleased to hear that a new update toCamera RAW has just been released. It contains support for virtually every RAW file format in existence, including most medium format backs and recently released DSLRs and digicams. Thanks Thomas! (If the Adobe site doesn’t show the latest version yet, it will very soon. Check back again tomorrow.Ithasbeen released).

Several readers have inquired about my pendingEpson 4000review. I’ve been using the printer heavily for the past several weeks and its performance is exceptional. But, Epson Canada still has not shipped 17" roll paper, and so I’m waiting to complete my review until I can properly test the roll paper function. Should be within the next few weeks.

Natural History PhotographerCC Lockwood,with whom I have co-led Master Class workshops in the Grand Canyon and on Lake Powell, is currently 7 months into a 4 year public awareness project that will culminate in two books, a traveling exhibit, and a 4 year web page entitledMarshmission.com. CC and his wife Sue are living full time in a house boat in the swamps and marshes of South Louisiana. This Sunday, March 25th between 8am and 9am, this project will be featured onCBS Sunday Morning. Check your local programming guide. Catch it if you can.

April 22, 2004

The digital era has brought into sharper focus (no pun intended) the perennial topic of image alteration. In a new essay titledCloning out the CanI explore some of the moral and technical issues that are raised whenever we take a photograph.

_______________________

I had my portrait taken yesterday, but it wasn’t a regular photograph — it was a daguerreotype.Mike Robinsonis a Toronto-based photographer, master printer, educator, and expert in 19th century photographic processes. He is one of only a handful of people in the world still making daguerreotypes. These went out of fashion about 150 years ago.

Mike has an exhibition of his work upcoming at theRyerson Galleryin Toronto, May 19 — June 5, 2004, and he also is offering one-day workshops on making daguerreotypes, on both Saturday, May 8th and Sunday, May 9th. The cost is CDN $350 and you can find out more and enroll by calling Mike at1-416-469-8128, orvia e-mail. An interview with Mike as well as an in-depth look at the daguerrian process will appear in a future issue of theVideo Journal.

"Buying a subscription to the Journal was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I debated it for 18 months, and then bought a DVD player just to watch the Video Journal.
I strongly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge yet. Your photography will improve!"

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April 21, 2004

If you’re not yet bored or overwhelmed with reviews of the current group of 8 Megapixel camera you will find that a whole new batch of them were published yesterday atDPReview. Do they jibe with my own reviews? No, not really. Guess you’ll have to draw your own conclusions.

Update —8am EDT:Quite a few people have written in the first 12 hours or so sincePhil Askey’sreviews appeared online asking why we have such divergent opinions on these cameras. As I see it the answer is simply that while I accept the fact that there are measurable difference between these cameras, in the end these are much less important to me than how they handle. A camera that can’t get the shot doesn’t have much use to me, regardless of how well it might have recorded it if it had.

My reviews are done from the perspective of a working photographer, whether I’m reviewing a thousand dollar digicam or an eight thousand dollar DSLR. I test them on location in the real world, sometimes under extreme conditions — desert to arctic — and only then do I look more closely at image quality differences. It’s these field experiences that colour my biases toward a camera. Other reviewers have different methodologies. There’s no right or wrong, simply different priorities. Readers need to become familiar with these differences in reviewer’s approaches and then draw their own conclusions based on the type of work that they plan on doing with a particular piece of gear.

April 20, 2004

Based on the e-mail that I’ve received recently readers either are…

1 — bored with the 8 Megapixel camera reviews that have appeared here over the past couple of months and wish I’d never write another word on the subject, or…

2 — have really enjoyed these reviews and now want a summary conclusion and a winner declaired.

I just checked my statistics program and it appears that up until today these reviews have been read by some 350,000 people, so I guess that love-’em or hate-’em, there is considerable interest in this genre. So in the spirit of ecumenicism I’ll try and satisfy both factions. InThe Winner is…I look briefly at each of the five cameras and provide a summary judgment on them. I also promise that this is the last piece that I’ll be writing here on this subject.

April 19, 2004

I believe that attending a workshop or seminar is one of the fastest ways to enhance ones photographic skills and creative potential. In addition to my own offerings, from time to time I promote on these pagesteachers and eventswhose work I am personally familiar with.

Rick Bellis one of Canada’s leading professional photographers and educators. He has organized a major week-long workshop in late August, near Niagara Falls, Ontario, calledImage Explorations EAST. Rick had asked my to join the faculty, but regrettably a scheduling conflict prevents it this year. I am promoting this event here because I believe it to be an exceptional opportunity for working photographers to hone their skills, work closely with their peers, and learn from some outstanding instructors. Highly recommended.

April 18, 2004

This weekMike Johnstonlooks at what it takes to be successful in photography in hisSunday Morningessay titledSecrets of Success. By the way, I will be on vacation in Spain and therefore off-line between April 23rd and May 4th, so the next twoSunday Morningcolumns will not appear until my return.

Issue #10of theVideo Journal, our unique quarterly DVD video magazine about photography, is at the duplicator and will ship toward the end of this coming week. In the meantime, we have postedvideo clipsfrom the new issue to whet your appetite. If you’re not yet a subscriber, find out what thousands of passionate photographers around the world areraving about.

April 17, 2004

The gap in megapixel count between high-end DSLRs and digicams is now over. Indeed, the current generation of 8 megapixel digicams have higher counts than current mid-range DSLRs from the same camera makers. But this month Canon has released two quite different 8 megapixel cameras, the1D Mark IIand thePowerShot Pro1, both recently reviewed here.

Of course it didn’t take me long to become curious as to how these two cameras would compare in terms of image quality, and so in my latest article —Canon’s 8 Megapixel Alternatives— I explore whether there a $3,500+ difference in image quality between these cameras.

April 15, 2004

The exciting news this Spring for fine-art and professional photographers has been the long-delayed shipment of theEpson 4000printer. (Full review coming soon). But Epson usually demonstrates its latest technology on consumer models first, and this they have done with the also just-shippingEpson R-800. Using aGloss Optimizercartridge along withDurabrightinks theR-800is the first printer using pigment inks that is able to utilize glossy papers without displayingbronzing.

Contributor, fine-art landscape photographer and teacherAlain Briot, today provides us with his hands-on review of Epson’s latest printer, theR-800.

April 13, 2004

With the coming of Spring — in the Northern Hemisphere at least — many people with an interest in astronomy are going to be dusting off their binoculars and telescopes for another season. If looking into doing some astrophotography is of interest to you,Jeff Ball’snew article titledThe Luminous Heavensmay prove of value. This is an introductory overview of a very big subject, but if it piques your interest there are links included to additional resources as well.

We have just deliveredIssue #10ofThe Video Journalto the duplicator. As soon as we know when shipments to subscribers will begin we’ll announce it here, along with details on the new issues contents. It’s our biggest and best edition yet, with a brand new look.

April 11, 2004

Since the beginning of time (or at least since the invention of photography), reviewers have been accused of "being in the pockets" of manufacturers whose products they praise. Of course it’s totally naive to think this, and it shows a total lack of understanding of how the real world works, but the myth continues. In recent months, specifically on the forums atDPReview, I have alternately been accused of being on the take from both Canon and Minolta. EvenPhil Askey, the publisher of DPReview has been accused of a Nikon bias following his recentNikon D70review.

But when it happened toMike Johnston, super-curmudgeon and fearless gumshoe, he decided to fight back (or at leastironyback), and you can now read about his adventures in payola-land in this week’sSunday Morningessay titled —The Reviewer’s Life.

I’ve already linked to it elsewhere on the site, but given the number of e-mails received on the topic it’s worth repeating. I won’t be reviewing the newNikon 8700, the only one of the five 8MP cameras that has not yet been reviewed here. The reason why is simple. After repeated requests to Nikon’s representatives in two countries over a period of many weeks the company hasn’t provided one to me for testing. More on this is foundhere.

April 9, 2004

Ben Lifsonis one of the world’s most respected photographic educators and critics. In an essay written exclusively for this site, titledLeica Digilux 2 — A Second Opinion, Ben not only examines theDigilux 2but provides us with a provocative look at the nature of photographic equipment as well as issues relating to a camera’s interface and usability.

I recommend this essay to every photographer, not just to those interested in this specific camera or the broader topic of digital image capture.

Ben would like to apologize to readers for the delay (due to illness) in the publication of this promised third part to Sean Reid’s Digilux 2 review.

TheLuminous Landscapeis looking for a short-term contract programmer to help us in developing a new on-line transaction processing and service offerings. We are looking for someone with skills that include MYSQL, transitioning to XML, as well as Java and Quicktime. If you have this skill-set and would like to work with us to bring a radical enhancement to this web site, we’d enjoy hearing from you.

Please send a brief e-mail with your CV and links to sites that display your work toMichael Reichmann.

April 8, 2004

In an article titledThe Tyranny of Choicethe currentScientific Americanmagazine examines some of the same topics that I’ve been exploring in several recent essays. InMaking The Right ChoiceI discuss the magazine article’s premise. Read it to determine if you’re amaximizeror asatisficer.

Alain BriotandUwe Steinmueller, two photographers and writers whose names will be familiar to regular readers, are producing theSecond Annual Digital Fine Art Photographers Summit. To take place in Phoenix in November, this three day seminar / conference will be of interest to photographers who care about their art and digital technology.

April 7, 2004

I have just published the last of my 8 Megapixel digicam reviews. This is of the just releasedCanon PowerShot Pro1. It is accompanied by aDxO Analyzer report.

Canon’s horse in this race ends up running in the middle of the pack. It’s not the best of the breed, but it’s also not the worst.

Please note that this site’s database server will be down between midnight and 6am Eastern U.S. time on Wednesday morning. This is for routine maintenance and a system upgrade. The main site will be unaffected but you will not be able to place an order forThe Video Journalduring these hours.

The January 2005 workshop inBangladeshis nowsold out. Thanks to everyone for your interest.

April 6, 2004

Phil AskeyatDPReviewhas just published his review of theNikon D70. He rates it very highly — superior to theCanon Digital Rebelin terms of build and also image quality. I haven’t tested the D70 myself, and likely won’t, but I have used one and it clearly is an excellent camera — possibly the best 6MP DSLR for the money.

But I have to laugh, because it’s now Phil’s turn to catch heat from thePixel-Peeping Nit-Pickers. Whereas I’ve been the brunt of their attacks for a while, Phil (their erstwhile hero) is now seen as the Great Satan; in Nikon’s pocket; anti-Canon, or some other such nonsense. But he’ll catch a break tomorrow because that’s when I publish my review of theCanon PowerShot Pro1. Trust me — the PP-NPs won’t know what to think then.

My colleagueAndy Biggs, who co-lead this past winter’sTanzanian Safari Workshopwith me plans another one for next January. If you’d like to find out morehere’s a pagewith complete details.

My January 2005 workshop inBangladesh, which was announced yesterday, now has just one place remaining. Going, going…

April 5, 2004

This is an announcement for my next major international photograph workshop. It will take place inBangladeshin January of 2005. Bangladesh, you say? Yes – one of the most exotic locations for landscape, wildlife and cultural photography that you could imagine. Bangladesh is located on the Bay of Bengal, just to the east of Calcutta, India. Co-leading this photographic expedition isPierre Claquin, a widely experienced photographer who has lived in Bangladesh for 13 years, and who intimately knows the people, the land and the language. Pierre is a French epidemiologist who has spent most of his professional life working and photographing in Africa, Central and South-East Asia.

There are only six places available on this workshop, and two of them are already spoken for. This 10 day adventure next January is expensive, and only a few dedicated and passionate photographers will have the time, the money and the passion to join Michael and Pierre on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Find out more about theBangladesh Workshopnow.

April 4, 2004

If the Japanese wordbokehdoesn’t mean anything to you, and especially if it does, you’ll enjoyMike Johnston’sSunday Morningcolumn this week, titledBokeh in Pictures.

April 2, 2004

I’d like to thank the literally dozens of people that have written over the past few days supporting the position taken in my essay of earlier this week titledLet’s Play Another Game. I have received more correspondence on this issue that on anything else that I have ever written. And remarkably, it has been 100% supportive.

I am unable to reply personally to everyone that wrote, and so a big publicthank youto all.

My review of theCanon Pro 1has been delayed until next week. Also,Issue #10ofThe Video Journalis now in final preparation and we hope to ship some time later this month.

I just took delivery of myEpson 4000printer this morning, after a delay of some 4 months. It appears that deliveries started this week in the U.S. and Canada. I have no information about delivery status anywhere else in the world. Apparently though this printer is going to be in a huge backorder situation for some time as I’m told that the factory is really backlogged.

Mypreview of the 4000, done a few months ago, will be updated in the weeks ahead as I gain experience with the printer. I also expect to have a review soon of the new V6.0ImagePrint RIPfor the Epson 4000.

April 1, 2004

In the world of digital imaging there is only one truth —the only constant is change. The constant that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to recently is the fixation that many people have with image quality, especially regarding testing, analyzing and comparing digital cameras based on online test reports and download files.

I’ve written on this topic twice in recent months, and now have done so again for what I hope will be the last time. This new essay is titledLet’s Play Another Game, and it also points to a new direction that I’ll be taking on this site from now on regarding my digital camera reviews.

The semi-finalist for March in theGreat Iceland Photographic Expedition DrawisKen Schusterof New Hampshire. Congratulations Ken!

Haveyouconsidered subscribing theThe Video Journal? You could be the winner of a free trip to Iceland and a week-long photography workshop this July, worth U.S. $6,000. Remember — April is the last month in which you can enter this contest.

March 30, 2004

Canon’s1D Mark IIwill start to ship to retailers within the next week or so, and interest in this new model is very high. I have been testing a production camera for the past two weeks, and have shot something like 1,000 frames with it on location, primarily on a wildlife and landscape shoot in Nebraska and South Dakota.

My field review of theCanon 1D Mark II, the first such review to appear anywhere, is now online. Is this the ultimate DSLR for photojournalists, wildlife and sports photographers?

Updatedwith responses to some common questions.

March 28, 2004

Mike Johnston’sSunday Morningcolumn this week featuresa guest articlebySteve Rosenblum.In it he describes his experience attending aCone Editions Press Complete Digital Workflow Workshop

March 26, 2004

Many photographers, even most pros, carry a small pocket camera with them much of the time. Passionate photographers are always looking for images, testing themselves, and practicing the art ofseeing. One of the sweetest little pocket digicams that I’ve yet seen is theSony DCS-T1, and it is the subject of my latest review, including aDxO Analyzerreport.

I have just returned from a three-day wildlife and landscape shoot in Nebraska and South Dakota, during which I was field testing two new Canon 8 Megapixel cameras, the1D Mark IIand thePowerShot Pro1.I am in the process of preparing myreviews and will have them online next week. But for those that can’t wait for the bottom line on theMark II— it is a truly remarkable camera, with image quality rivaling that of the industry-leadingCanon 1Ds, and shooting speed and responsiveness exceeding that of any camera I’ve seen in the past 40 years. A stunning achievement.

March 22, 2004

I will be traveling on a shoot in Nebraska this week, field testing two newCanon8 Megapixel cameras — the1D Mark IIand thePowerShot Pro1. Both are full production cameras. WhyNebraska— you ask? Because of theSandhill Cranemigrations. Every year around this time about a half million cranes decent on thePlatte Rivervalley in central Nebraska on their way to the Canadian Arctic, Alaska and Siberia. What better place to test a high-speed camera than this wildlife opportunity?

I am therefore now off-line until Friday the 26th and unable to respond to e-mails or forum discussions. Since my mailbox receives some 200 spams and viruses a day, on top of an equal amount of normal e-mail, please hold your correspondence until I get back. Otherwise my mailbox is bound to overflow.

My reviews of these two cameras, along with theirDxOlab reports will both appear here before the end of the month.

If the coming of spring and the thought of a location shoot has you thinking, why not think about taking a workshop? My colleagueSteve Kossackhas several coming up this summer and fall. Steve is an excellent photography instructor and guide. He has helped me conduct and teach most of my field workshops over the past three years.

— There is still one place left on hisGrand Canyon Rafting Expeditionin May

— Steve has twoYosemite High Sierraworkshops scheduled — one inAugust, and the second one inSeptember

— Also in September Steve will doing doing aColorado Fall Color Workshop

Speaking of workshops; I am now planning my next major international expedition / workshop. It will take place inBangladeshin January of 2005. No firm details yet, but if the idea of a photographic adventure with a small group of like-minded photographers in an exotic location appeals to you,drop me a lineand I’ll put your name on the waiting list. There will only be six places available, and it’s bound to sell out quickly.

See you at the end of the week with field results from theCanon1D Mark IIandPowerShot Pro1.

March 21, 2004

Mike Johnstonis taking the week off from his regularSunday Morningcolumn. Unless you’ve been a constant reader for the past three years you may want to browse some of his back essays and articles. Mike remains one of the most consistently amusing, bright and annoying writers working in this field.

But, so that regular readers have something new to mull over this weekend, I’ve published today a brief new essay titled —Practice Mutha, Practice. Something that committed photographers should do every day. Also, an activity that will help alleviate the urge to indulge in too muchpixel peeping.

March 20, 2004

Not everyone was as positively disposed toward the newKodak SLR/nwhich I reviewed earlier this week, as I was. I have addeda letterand some sample images received earlier today from professional photographerJon Roemer,who also recently tested the camera.

I also would like to mention a correction to myMinolta A2review. In it I mentioned that there was a firmware upgrade available, and that this upgrade fixed a "beat" problem that some early purchasers had seen. This is not the case. There was a firmware upgrade to all A2 cameras shipped in Canada, prior to release, but its only purpose was to allow the use of tele and wide-angle converters. It does nothing to affect image quality one way or the other. The error was mine, and I regret any inconvenience that it may have caused.

March 18, 2004

I’ve recently had a brief opportunity to test the newKodak Pro SLR/n, the just released update to theKodak 14nfrom last year. I was quite negative about the 14n when it was first released, but Kodak has vindicated itself with the new camera, which I have found to be able to produce very fine image quality, though some of the ergonomic issues remain.

The coincidence that Kodak chose yesterday to announce a Canon lens mount version of this camera will make this review of even broader interest to photographers of all stripes.

Regular readers know that I am a big fan of doing landscape and wildlife photography in Iceland. In fact I’ll be leading two field workshops there this summer (sold out). I mention this because I just heard fromÞórdís H. Yngvadóttirthe editor and publisher ofIcelandic Geographic, which publishes some very fine photography. She now hasa web site onlinefor the magazine.

An excellent new book has just crossed my desk. It’s Tim Grey’sColor ConfidenceThe Digital Photographer’s Guide to Color Management. It is clearly written. beautifully illustrated and contains everything that a photographer needs to know about this oft-times confusing subject.

Whenever I write a negative camera or product review (and even sometimes when it’s positive), I get scads of e-mail, most of it beginning with words something like… "How dare you insult the XYZ…? You’re wrong. You’re a jerk, Your mother wears army boots…". You get the idea.

Well, maybe all of the above are true (except the part about my mother — she’s 94 years old and couldn’t walk in army boots). I try to respond to such writers by telling them that what I have written is simply my opinion, but that opinion is seasoned with some 40 years of experience as a photographer, educator and reviewer. Since people like to know about what credentials a critic brings to his reviews, I’ve put together a page titledcredentials. The intention is to provide some background as to the basis for my opinions.

March 18, 2004

Well, knock me over with a feather!Kodakannounced today at theCeBITshow in Germany theDCS Pro SLR/c, their new 14 Megapixel DSLR, except this time in aCanon EOSlens mount. You’ll find details and photographs atDPReview.

I would have been less fascinated by this announcement if (by total coincidence) I hadn’t spent the day yesterday testing theKodak DCS Pro SLR/n, the just introduced replacement for the14n, which of course is in Nikon lens mount. When Itested the 14n a year agoI was not very impressed, especially with its image quality. But my initial tests of the Pro SLR/n show it to be capable of very fine images. I was impressed.

MyKodak DCS Pro SLR/nmini-review will be published here tomorrow.

March 17, 2004

Today sees a major new camera review, as well as an update to a previous one. TwoDxO Analyzerreports are also provided for these cameras. Because of the inevitable strong interest in comparing these two cameras along with the previously reviewedSony F828, I have decided to publish them at the same time.

The first report is an update to my review of theOlympus C-8080camera from earlier this month. I now have had the chance to shoot with and test a full production version, and these results are now online. TheC-8080 review update is here, and the accompanyingDxO Analyzer report is here.

TheKonica Minolta Dimage A2is a remarkable new camera. Building on the strengths of its predecessors, it now offers so many unique features and capabilities along with its 8MP sensor that preparing a full field review took longer than I had planned. Thereview of the Minolta A2is now online, as is theA2’s DxO Analyzer report.

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Enjoy reading and pondering these tests, but remember what photography is all about — the joy of recording the world around us in images that we can share with others. Whether it be family snapshots, vacation memories or fine art images hanging on a gallery wall, the technology of photography is only part of what our art and craft is about.

Also please remember to check out our unique publication, theThe Luminous Landscape Video Journal— the world’s only quarterly DVD video about photography. Each issue contains two hours of broadcast quality video, containing product reviews, interviews with famous photographers, shooting adventures in exotic locations and photographic as well as image processing tutorials.

Remember, this site does not accept advertising, and has no commercial relationships of any sort. Our only source of financial support is through your subscriptions.Find out more.

March 16, 2004

Sadly, my print exhibition at thePikto Galleryin Toronto finished its run yesterday. I want to thank everyone who visited — especially those who made the effort to come from other cities. I enjoyed meeting many of you and look forward to another opportunity in future.

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Natural History PhotographerCC Lockwood,with whom I have co-led Master Photoworkshops in the Grand Canyon and on Lake Powell, is 6 months into a 4 year public awareness project that will culminate in two books, a traveling exhibit, and a 4 year webpage entitledMarshmission.com.

CC and his wife Sue are living full time in a house boat in the swamps and marshes of South Louisiana. This productive wetland is losing 24 square miles of land a year due to subsidence. His web page and journals are update biweekly. I urge you to visit his site and discover more about his project.

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MyMinolta A2review which was scheduled for publication today has been delayed until Wednesday.

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I recently received a final production version of theOlympus C-8080, which Irevewed hereearlier in the month. I have just completed aDxOanalysis and hope to have it and my image quality evaluation online soon, likely by Friday.

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If you live in or near Toronto I highly recommend a visit toThe Art Gallery of Ontariothis month. A photographic exhibit titledManufactured Landscapes, byEdward Burtynsky, is on display until April 4th. The show consists of stunning colour prints shot on large format, showing the hand of man in the landscape. A unique perspective.

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Sean Reidtoday continues his three-part review of theLeica Digilux 2withPart Two— a field test, some exceptional photographs, and also a detailed image quality comparison with theCanon 10D.

March 14, 2004

Mike Johnston’sSunday Morningcolumn this week is subtly titledMoving Pictures. See whatyouthink.

The last two issues of your Video Journal were really top notch. You have arrived at a nearly perfect combination of articles to keep me interested and suit my needs. The production values keep improving. You are producing a really great and useful product. Thanks a lot, I very much appreciate what you have done".

Find Out More

March 11, 2004

A quick word of thanks to the literally dozens of people who have written in the past 24 hours with their comments and support for the thoughts expressed in yesterday’s essay —The Case of the Nit Picking Pixel Peepers.

I am on the road this week and can’t possibly reply personally to everyone, but I did want to express my thanks for the overwhelmingly positive feedback. Cheers!

Mycurrent print exhibitat thePikto Galleryin Toronto closes this Sunday, March 14th. I will be at the gallery on Sunday from noon till 2pm to say hello to visitors who would like to chat about the show. I hope to see you there.

Epsonhas provided additional information on itsR-D1digital rangefinder camera that was displayed under glass at last month’sPMAshow. You can see additional photographs of this remarkable newCosinadesigned 6 MegapixelLeica Mmount camera and read more about it onDPReview.

March 10, 2004

Since my first-look review of theOlympus C-8080camera last week a number of the Olympus faithful have been all shook up. I actually dared to criticize the camera, and noted several significant design flaws, while not even mentioning image quality (since Olympus asked me not to). Some of the Net’s discussion forums have since been filled with Olympians ready to lynch me for writing such a negative review.

Disagreement is one thing, but amazingly not one of the comments that I’ve read on these forums has disputed my findings — they’re simply pissed-off that I made them, and therefore take whatever pot-shots they can. So be it. But this does raise some interesting points about what aspects of a camera’s capabilities are important. Since a number of new camera reviews will be appearing on these pages throughout this month, I explore this topic in my new essayThe Case of the Nit Picking Pixel Peepers.

The last two issues of your Video Journal were really top notch. You have arrived at a nearly perfect combination of articles to keep me interested and suit my needs. The production values keep improving. You are producing a really great and useful product. Thanks a lot, I very much appreciate what you have done".

Find Out More

March 8, 2004

ContributorSean Reidtoday gives us the net’s first hands-on field report on theLeica Digilux 2. This is the first part of a three part review by Sean and photographerBen Lifson.

I am currently shooting in Arizona, field testing the newMinolta A2. My net access will be intermittent this week and therefore I am not able to respond to e-mails and Forum messages as promptly as usual. I’ll be back on Friday, March 12th. (My A2 review will be completed and published next week).

Newcomers as well a regular visitors to this site are reminded that we also publish the world’s only quarterly DVD video about photography —The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. Each issue contains two hours of broadcast quality video, containing product reviews, interviews with famous photographers, shooting adventures in exotic locations and photographic as well as image processing tutorials.

Remember, this site does not accept advertising, and has no commercial relationships of any sort. Our only source of financial support is through your subscriptions.Find out more.

The last two issues of your Video Journal were really top notch. You have arrived at a nearly perfect combination of articles to keep me interested and suit my needs. The production values keep improving. You are producing a really great and useful product. Thanks a lot, I very much appreciate what you have done".

Find Out More

March 7, 2004

This SundayMike Johnstoncontinues his look at truth in photography with his thoughts on what’s involved in recording reality in photographs . It is titledEvidence, not Proof.

The last two issues of your Video Journal were really top notch. You have arrived at a nearly perfect combination of articles to keep me interested and suit my needs. The production values keep improving. You are producing a really great and useful product. Thanks a lot, I very much appreciate what you have done".

Find Out More

March 5, 2004

Dealing with digital camera noise, especially when shooting at high ISOs, has had many solutions over the past few years. But none are as effective asNoise Ninja. It delivers a karate chop to digital noise.

Due to a last minute cancellation contributor and well known landscape photographerAlain Briothas two openings on hisNavajoland Workshopcoming up mid-month. If you’ve got the time available on short notice this could be a great workshop to attend.

March 3, 2004

The second entry in the 8 Megapixel digicam derby to cross my desk for review is theOlympus C-8080. It should be in stores later this month. See how it compares to theSony F828.

In addition to Steve Kossack’sGrand Canyon Rafting Workshop, which I mentioned last week, Andy Biggs still has a few places left on hisJuly workshop / safariin Tanzania. If you’re looking for an amazing photographic adventure this summer you should consider one of these trips. These gentleman are both remarkable guides and instructors.

MyFine-Art Inkjet Printingseminar which took place this past Monday evening in Toronto was a sell-out, and there were several people left on a waiting list. TheCanadian Photographic Centrehas therefore scheduled another session for later this month — the evening of March 29th. I hope to see you there.

March 1, 2004

Torontowide.comis a web site devoted to happenings in the arts inToronto, Canada. The publisherDouglas Brownis also an avid panoramic format photographer. I mention this because the site’s featured event this week and itscover page imageis of yours truly and mycurrent exhibitat thePikto Gallery.


Doug Brown — Torontowide.com

Doug — seen above while setting up for the shot that appears on his site — has agreed to write an article forThe Luminous Landscapeon his approach to panoramic photography. Watch for it in the weeks ahead.

The semi-finalist for February in theGreat Iceland Photographic Expedition DrawisDerek CookofAuckland, New Zealand. Congratulations Derek!

Haveyouconsidered subscribing theThe Video Journal? You could be the winner of a free trip to Iceland and a week-long photography workshop this July, worth U.S. $6,000.

What’s Newlisting for prior years are also available…

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