Sunday, January 25, 2009

Canon G10 shooter VidarNM on describes his image processing workflow. IMO it's too much trouble for casual shooting, but if you want maximum quality, this is the way to go:

1,474 Megapixel Inauguration Panorama shot with the Canon G10!

It contains over 2GB of photo data and comprised of over 220 images shot from a Canon G10 Bridge camera on a Gigapan robotic camera mount.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Vintage Computing

Multiprocessor System

File Server



Wireless Router

Tape Backup

All clickable
From the Library of Congress via

The new AGO is a usability nightmare

"If you ask me whether I am going to come back to the gallery or buy a membership, the answer will be a definite “no”. I do not feel welcomed there."
– from the article about the new AGO building written by my friend Tanya, whose keen and critical eye I've always admired.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lenticular Blog

All about lenticulars – magical animated 3D cards – in the new Lenticular Blog:

Lots of beautiful images and interesting info from very creative people of RR Donnelley, world's largest printing company. Turn animation on in your browser!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The rules of good Flash design

There must be three prominent buttons on the front page:
1. Sound off
2. Skip intro
3. HTML version

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Canon Powershot G10

After selling my Canon 20D and Mamiya C330, Canon G10 is (and will be for a while) my only camera. I bought it in the end of last October and paid early adopter's price, which I don't regret, because I got a chance to take some nice pictures before the end of beautiful Canadian fall.

When the first pictures of the G10 appeared on web, I liked it immediately. Its classic rangefinder-style design appeals to serious shooters. In real life it looks (and feels) every bit as good. Build quality is very solid and finish is nice (click on the image to enlarge). It is reasonably heavy to hold it steady, but not too heavy to carry all day in a jacket pocket.

Ergonomics is good and I especially like the new exposure compensation and ISO selection wheels. Very handy!

The new high-resolution screen is just gorgeous, and pictures look better than in real life, no kidding! It reminded me Apple iMac glossy screens, which I didn't like because of too much reflection, but for a small camera screen it doesn't matter. The viewing angle is very wide and it compensates a bit the fact that screen is not flip-out.

About image quality. Does it really have 14 megapixels? Good question. I compared my old Powershot G5 (5MP) with the newer A720 IS (8MP) and didn't find any difference in detail, despite larger file sizes. Here the resolution increase is obvious. Not sure if it's exactly 14 MP, but under ideal lighting it may be close. Of course, this huge resolution comes at a price of higher noise. It is a problem of all compact cameras and the G10 is no exception. Noise reduction is visible in shadow areas even at base ISO 80. To make things worse, G10's default sharpening is way too strong, which in combination with noise reduction makes fine detail look coarse. I set sharpening to lowest -2 and saturation +1, saved it as custom colour and got much better results. Unfortunately, in-camera noise reduction cannot be adjusted and custom colours are not available when shooting RAW+JPEG.

Is RAW really necessary? Only if you shoot something very important and want the highest possible quality, or shoot at high ISO and want to apply better noise reduction. Otherwise, if you shoot at ISO 80-100 and care to set correct white balance and exposure, your JPEGs out of the camera will be as good as you can get from a RAW converter.

My only gripe about G10's image quality is very pronounced chromatic aberrations in 28-50 mm range. There is no way to correct them either in camera or in supplied software, which is too bad, rival cameras from Nikon and Panasonic can do that. I hope the lens profile will be included in later versions of DPP program. In the meantime I'll have to use Photoshop 'Lens correction' filter.

Per pixel quality is not exactly as good as DSLR, but for prints it doesn't really matter and for screen preview 14 megapixels are just too much. I downsize photos to 8 MP and without sacrificing much detail get smooth and sharp pictures very similar to 20D. Photos taken at ISO 200-400 can be downsized to 5 MP with good results. As for ISO 800-1600, I think they are not usable for colour shooting at all. Though you can shoot RAW, convert to black & white and get pictures very similar to 35 mm film scans, not too bad :)

How does it compare to other digital cameras I used?

Canon EOS 20D  One can say it is not a fair comparison, but I think it is. In terms of image quality, focal range and maximum apertures, the G10 is almost identical to the 20D and Sigma 17-70, my favourite walkaround lens. Worse high ISO performance is compensated by the image stabilizer, which can gain extra 2 stops.

G10 advantages: Better screen, faster preview, movie mode, small, light, quiet, non-intrusive.

20D advantages: Much faster and more reliable autofocus, faster continuous shooting, interchangeable lenses.

Canon Powershot A720 IS  The G10 is simply better in every aspect. Its shorter lens (140 vs 210 mm) is compensated by higher resolution.

Canon Powershot G5  This is the most interesting comparison. How did the Canon's flagship compact camera change in 5 years?

G10 advantages: Much faster (start up, shutter lag, preview and everything), higher resolution sensor, large and higher resolution screen, wider lens (28 vs 35mm), no purple fringing, better ergonomics, more compact (lens is fully retractable).

G5 advantages: Faster lens (F2-3 vs 2.8-4.5), no CA and sharp corner to corner, flip-out screen, IR remote control. 

I miss the last two features most of all and think dropping them was Canon's biggest mistake. It is possible to connect the camera to an external display and buy the optional cable release, but it would be not nearly as versatile and convenient. Even smaller but flip-out screen and IR remote could make this very good camera really great.

Autumn in Asia 100 years ago

Add ImageTaken by S. M. Prokudin-Gorskii near Samarkand, Russian Empire (now Uzbekistan) between 1905 and 1915.

Winter morning

Taken with Mamiya C330, 65 mm
Fuji Provia 100F