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Tracking the Hottest Trends in Image Capture

(March 2007) posted on Wed Mar 21, 2007

A look at the latest trends in image capture and where the technology is heading.

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By Jeff Dorgay

Meanwhile, a series of camera features have become standard on many digital SLRs. Here are a just a few of the features I’ve noted across a range of cameras:
* Dust-reduction: Whether it be an ultrasonic protective feature in front of the sensor (Leica’s DigiLux 3) or a Dust Delete Data function such as that on the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi SLR, these features are intended to rid an image of dust.

* Shake-reduction system: a la the Pentax K10D and the Fuji-film FinePix S9100, this works to help prevent blurred images.

* Preset modes: Some cameras are now offering a score of these; the Olympus Evolt E-330, for instance, offers 20 pre-programmed Scene Select modes including Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Children, Sports, Underwater, and Panorama.

* In-camera editing/retouch features and built-in digital filters: the Nikon D40, for example, offers D-Lighting to brighten dark pictures, Red-eye correction, Image Trim, Image Overlay, Small Picture, Monochrome, and Filter Effects (Skylight, Warm filter, Color balance).

Don’t rule out scanners
An often forgotten part of the capture equation is the trusty scanner. This technology has also plummeted in price in the last few years and, as a result, there are some great flatbeds out there that make fantastic scans and will cost you less than $1000.

And if you just need something to produce comp scans, you can pick up a low-end flatbed for $100; you’ll be startled at how good the scans are compared to the quality of a scan from just 5 to 10 years ago. Even scanners in the 11 x 17-in. range have become much more reasonably priced, which opens up a lot of possibilities for the design community.

A quick sampling of recently released flatbeds includes:
* Microtek’s ArtixScan M1 is a film and flatbed combo capable of scanning 35mm, 6cm, and 4x5-in. film and can take on reflective art and prints up to 8.5 x 14 in. The scanner offers 4800 x 9600-dpi resolutions and 48-bit color depth. It has autofocus capabilities and also features EDIT-Microtek’s glassless scanning architecture that allows the optical system to scan the film emission without looking through the glass plate that supports reflective materials on a flatbed scanner (the film is supported in a tray inside the scanner below the glass plate). MSRP: $699.