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Digital Foci PSF-250 Photo Safe 80GB

Recently a question came up about the best portable photo storage device for those who don't want to lug their laptops on the road, but who want to offload photos from their memory cards to a hard drive. Just about everyone loves the Epson P-5000 in terms of user interface, design, and that gorgeous LCD that displays 16.7 million colors, but not so much for the $699 price tag.

For a more reasonable $172, you can get the Digital Foci PSF-250 Photo Safe 80GB Portable Digital Photo Storage with Memory Card Reader. For this kind of savings, you don't get the beautiful color LCD, but you do get 80 GBs of storage, memory card slots for just about every card on the market, and a monochrome LCD featuring copy status indicator that displays percentage completed, transfer confirmation, and number of files copied.

Once you return home, connect the Digital Foci to your computer's USB 2.0 port. It mounts just like a regular external hard drive, making image download a snap. The device was among Pop Photo's Editor's Choices for 2007.

Is the Digital Foci the best portable photo safe for the money? That depends on your tastes. But you have to admit that it appears to be a capable and feature-rich device at an affordable price.

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File this one under "Things I Knew But Forgot." I recently installed iPhoto '08 and the updated version of the Canon EOS Utility software. Suddenly every time I connected a camera or a card reader, Canon's CameraWindow would launch. It was driving me crazy.

Instead of going right to work in Aperture or Lightroom like I wanted to, I'd have to wait for CameraWindow to go through its process thinking it was going to get my photos. I checked its preferences and could not discover how to stop it from launching automatically every time I connected a camera.

Finally, when nosing around in iPhoto '08, I found the preference setting for "Connecting camera opens." Ah Ha! That was it. iPhoto controls all applications with this setting. I knew that. And guess what was selected in the preference pane? That's right: CameraWindow.


I've now changed the setting to "No application" so that nothing automatically happens when I connect my camera... just the way I like it.

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Nikon Answers Back with the D300


Just a few days after Canon released the EOS 40D, Nikon answers back with the tempting D300. This pro body features a 12.3 megapixel CMOS APS sized sensor, 6 fps burst mode, 3" LCD, ISO 6400, 51-point autofocus system, 14-bit image processing, and a wireless networking option.

The D300 will cost a bit more ($1,800 US) than Canon's 40D, but also has nice goodies that the Canon doesn't have such as up to 9-frame auto bracketing and EV compensation up to 5 stops. This highly anticipated successor to the D200 should be available in November 2007.

For those of you with bigger pocketbooks who want a full frame sensor Nikon, they also released the D3 with the estimated price of $5,000 US for the body.

Event Calendar

Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances.

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Improved "Park by the Numbers" Gallery

Park by the Numbers

The Park by the Numbers Gallery is new and improved enabling you to upload your cameraphone pictures directly to the gallery via an email address ( or by using the "Upload" button on the gallery web page. So now you can take your photo and add it to the gallery before you leave the parking garage.

"Park by the Numbers" is a camera phone project that began as a simple way to help me remember where I parked my car in big garages. But as I started to look more closely at these images, I began to enjoy them on the artistic level too, and became interested in taking other types of parking shots. So what started out as a practical use for a smartphone, has evolved into a creative look at an everyday function that many of us have in common.

You can learn more about the project by visiting the Park by the Numbers home page. So next time you park your car in a big garage, whip out your cameraphone, snap a photo, and if you like it, upload it to our gallery. It's fun... and it may just help you find your car after returning from a long flight.

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Wondering how you're going to store those large Raw files and video captured with your modern digicam? Toshiba has announced a new 32GB SDHC memory card, and a 16GB version too. The cards should be available worldwide in January 2008 and October 2007 respectively.

I was just thinking about memory card size the other day when reading about the new Canon G9 that captures 12-megapixel Raw files and 30fps SD video. That is a lot of data! It's good to know that we're going to have memory to store all of that beautiful content on.

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Canon unleashed a torrent of announcements today, but the two cameras that will probably be of most interest to TDS members are the new EOS 40D DSLR and the PowerShot G9 compact. Both cameras are updates that are true improvements over their predecessors.

Canon states about the 40D: "From the camera's newly enhanced, 10.1-megapixel CMOS imaging sensor (designed and manufactured by Canon) and its proprietary and super-efficient DIGIC III image processor, to its completely redesigned autofocus sensor and fast, 6.5 frame-per-second (fps) continuous shooting capability (for bursts of up to 75 Large/Fine JPEGs or 17 RAW images), the EOS 40D SLR puts the fun in functionality and makes serious photo business a positive pleasure." I think Canon shooters are going to love the 6.5 fps.


On the compact side, the PowerShot G9 packs a ton of features into it's handsome body, including the return of RAW: "The PowerShot G9 digital camera features the same matte black, retro-hip design that G-series fans have come to appreciate, with a simplified control layout that is versatile yet easy to understand. This camera is loaded with Canon's latest and most advanced technologies, while raising the bar with the addition of RAW Mode, usually reserved for larger and more expensive SLR cameras. Advanced photographers also have the option of using RAW+JPEG simultaneous capture functionality, giving photographers the best of both worlds - JPEGs for immediate use and RAW images for faithful image reproduction, and extensive, non-destructive image editing capability."

I'm going to enjoy learning more about these cameras over the coming weeks...

It's important to have your copyright information included with every photo that goes out into the wild. Fortunately applications such as Aperture and Lightroom enable you to add copyright information during upload, making it easier to develop this healthy habit. But what can you do if you don't use those applications and sometimes forget to append your files? You can have your camera do it for you.

IPTC data readout from Adobe Bridge 2. The text in the "Creator" field was added by my Canon Rebel XTi during capture.

That's right, Canon DSLR owners can apply up to 30 characters of text to the metadata of every picture they take. This information appears in the "Creator" field when read in Bridge, in the "Author" field in Photoshop, and the "Owner Name" field in Preview. So even though it shows up in different IPTC fields in different applications, it does show up. I even added an image to iPhoto, then exported it out, and my copyright persisted through the export process.

Canon EOS Utility 2


Start by making sure you have the latest version of EOS Utility 2. Launch it, then connect your Canon DSLR. Once the application recognizes your camera, click on "Camera Settings/Remote Shooting." If the application doesn't recognize your camera, disconnect it, change the communication setting to "PC" (in Canon's set up menu), then reconnect.

Now click on the Tools icon and enter up to 30 characters in the "Owner's Name" field. You can't use symbols, so you'll have to spell out "copyright." Click OK, and you're set to go. Now, every time you take a picture, the info you entered will appear in the metadata of the picture.

This information persisted through every test I could throw at it except for one: "Save for Web" in Photoshop, which strips out all metadata. My advice, don't ever use Save for Web for your images. But do set up your Canon camera to write your copyright information to every photo.

I'm guessing that Nikon and other DSLRs offer similar capabilities. If you use one of these cameras and know how to apply this technique, please post in the comments field.

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Only Image Edit Your Best


I'm teaching a workflow class today at Santa Rosa JC, and one of my big time saving tips is to rate your photos right after upload, then only image edit the best of them.

I've noticed that photographers who don't religiously rate their photos (using Bridge, iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, etc.) often waste their time working on pictures that they'll never use anyway. The basic workflow of upload, add metadata, rate, sort, image edit (only the best), output, and archive is still the most efficient system I know.

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The Technique of the 4 F-Stops is an approach to eliminate noise from a photograph. In his article, Guillermo Luijk explains how dynamic range works with your digital camera, then provides you with the steps to expand it. The basic technique is:

  • Shot the scene in a correct exposure according to our usual workflow.
  • Repeat the shot now reducing shutter speed by 4 f-stops that will be corrected in the RAW development.
  • Blend in some way both images obtaining a free of noise final image.

This is not a technique for casual snapshooting. It requires a tripod and attention to your settings. But the examples are compelling, and I think it's worth testing further.

August Photo Assignment

The August photo assignment is Intersection. Make sure your entries are turned in by the end of the month. Tomorrow, I'll post the results from the July assignment (pattern). It's a great looking gallery, and I know you'll enjoy it.

Event Calendar

Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances. I'm teaching a class on workflow this coming Saturday at Santa Rosa JC. You can still sign up or call 707-527-4372

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iPhoto '08's Improved Import Window


One of the small improvements that make a big difference for me in iPhoto '08 is its improved Import window. In prior versions you had few options, including not being able to pick individual images to import. Now, when you connect your camera or iPhone, you're presented with a helpful window that displays your thumbnails and basic metadata in the Information pane.

You can enlarge or reduce the thumbnails with the image size slider, add a custom Event name and description, then import selected images or all of them. iPhoto '08 even has a nifty "Hide photos already imported" checkbox that works great.

I've yearned for a more sophisticated Import dialog from iPhoto for a long time. This latest version finally scratches that itch.

Event Calendar

Events! See the TDS Event Calendar for photography workshops, speaking engagements, and trade show appearances.

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