While I was walking around the 2002 Photo Marketing Association Convention in Orlando, Fla., I felt like a kid in a candy store. Dozens of new digital darkroom tools were introduced and shown.
Here’s a quick look. You can learn more about them by doing a Web search. Simply type the name of the company in the search window.
ACD Systems showed its ACDSee 4.0, a program designed for amateur picture-makers who want to do basic image-enhancing and correcting. The program also lets you easily find, rename and organize digital files (which is becoming increasingly important as you store more and more digital images).
Adobe demonstrated its latest version of Photoshop, Photoshop 7.0. The new professional program, while featuring many of the image-correcting and enhancing tools that have made Photoshop the standard imaging program for professionals, now offers a Healing Brush, for easily removing wrinkles and other imperfections on a person’s face; a File Browser, so you find an image before you open it; and an improved system for creating Web pages.
Apple was not an exhibitor, but the company’s flat panel displays were attracting attention at several booths. With a resolution of 1600x1024 pixels, the 22-inch Apple Cinema Display is two times sharper and has three times the contrast of most standard displays — making it a useful tool for serious digital photographers.
Canon was proud of its new S9000 bubble jet printer, which uses six individual ink cartridges to achieve accurate and full color. The printer uses inkjet paper up to 13 x 19 inches.
Espon had a new printer, too. The Epson Stylus Photo 820 uses Epson’s new Image Matching Technology, designed to produce consistent color from a compatible digital camera to the final print.
Jasc Software released a program called After Shot, which helps users organize, fix and share pictures from a digital camera. After Shot also offers an automatic stitching feature — for stitching (or splicing) several pictures together for a panoramic image. Slide shows are possible, too.
Nikmultimedia demonstrated software, nikColorEfex!, that can mimic traditional lens filters, including polarizing, graduated, warming — to name but a few. The company’s nikSharpener Pro! also drew the attention of digital darkroom artists who want to get the sharpest print.
Ulead announced its DVD PictureShow Imaging Suite — the first complete slideshow-generating software that lets users share digital photos on television. With the program, slideshow projects can be saved onto CDs and DVDs that play on most home DVD players.
WACOM showed an interactive tablet-flat screen display called the Cintiq that lets photographers work (with a special, pressure-sensitive pen) and see their results directly on a flat screen, much like an artist paints directly on a canvas. The device offers more precise control than a standard tablet — and much more control than a mouse on a mouse pad.
A closing thought. With all the digital tools and toys that are readily available, some photographers I’ve met recently are more concerned with what happens after a picture is taken, than when a picture is taken. They feel they can fix it up and save it in the digital darkroom. My advice is to start with the very best original possible — and then take it from there!
Rick Sammon is the host of the Digital Photography Workshop on the Do It Yourself (DIY) cable and satellite network.