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Monday, September 25, 2006

LightZone 2.0 Open Beta (and More)

News from Photokina
It's Press Day in Cologne. The rilly rilly big shew starts tomorrow. For those of you expecting torrents of announcements beginning very early in the morning U.S. time, don't—most of the major announcements will already have been made at this point. Although there may be a few more filtering through, from here on, Photokina is mainly cool if you're there. Recent news:

• Leica buys 51% of Swiss view camera manufacturer Sinar. Who knows how or why, perhaps because it wants to be the one to build the lenses.

• Fujifilm announced a new DSLR, but one that's not coming until next year, the Fuji S5—basically a Nikon D200 with a Fuji S3 SR (high-dynamic-range, two sensor areas per photosite) sensor in it. The latter is evidently a very good and useful sensor that does indeed embody Fuji's philosophy of improving image quality rather than image size—it's still 6 MP—but as far as I know it's been hampered by software.

Lightroom Beta 4 has been released for both Mac and Windows.


Pentax K10 on YouTube.

• Lightcrafts releases LightZone 2.0 as an open beta, to be announced formally at Photokina on Sept. 27. LightZone is an image-manipulation program that supports all major camera RAW formats with native custom processing. Its imaging engine uses small files to store its image edits, as well as exporting edited images to standard image formats. It is easy to use as its masking tools offer the photographer precise control and focus with a simplicity and ease of use without par. LightZone's small edit files increase the photographers' productivity and minimize the photographer's storage space. LightZone 2.0 is available now as an open beta for download from the company's website.


• Sigma's German website is showing the DP1, a compact camera with a 2652×1768×3 Foveon sensor—that's either 4.7 MP or 14MP, depending upon how you count, or something in between (each photosite in a Foveon sensor captures all three colors). It has a fixed 28mm-equivalent ƒ/4 lens, and you can do the math regarding the sensor size; the actual focal length of the lens is 16.6mm. This looks nifty and I'm going to be watching for more about it. I'll let you know.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON and a whole gang of tipsters

Featured Comment
by Ctein: Not wanting to be too much of a pedant about this (just enough of one) but...

...The Sigma's a 4.7 megapixel camera, no matter what Foveon or Sigma may want to call it. Pixels are geometric units—how many little boxes the image is divided up into. Nothing more or less than that.

A pixel can be 1 bit deep or 100 bits deep. It can contain monochrome data, 3 color data, hyperspectral or even (in the case of some scientific sensors) full spectral data. It's still just a pixel.

All pixels are not created equal, and it's right to point out the ways in which a Foveon pixel is different from a Bayer filter array pixel. But trying to redefine "pixel" to level the playing field, as Foveon is doing, is a recipe for confusion.


Anonymous Allen George said...

The Sigma DP-1 looks extremely interesting... Is that a 28mm (equiv) 1.4 lens on it?

It doesn't appear to be on the Sigma Germany website however...?

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Allen George said...

Ah f/4 lens. So much for my poor eyesight :)

8:32 PM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

That Sigma DP1 looks interesting, rather like a poor man's M8? (An "MT" in the M8 for those whose pockets are relatively MT?)

9:07 PM  
Blogger Matthew Robertson said...

Am I alone in thinking that the Sigma camera, if/when it reaches the market, will be the biggest news of the show? I've been enamored by the btter technology of the Foveon sensor since the SD9. When it came time to put the money down, I just wasn't that impressed by the SD10, and its Sigma mount. The camera let down the idea.

This camera, with a quality 28mm lens and a Foveon sensor, could be the "Digicam" I've been waiting for. Is this finally our Decisive Moment Digital, Mike?

9:32 PM  
Blogger PatrickPerez said...

Wow, 4+ megapixel full color at each photosite and a prime lens. This looks like it might be Mike's Decisive moment Digital. With the Foveon sensor, conversion to monochrome should be better than anything, when used within the sensor's optimal operating range. I'm intruiged.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Allen George,
The lens is an f/4. I added a link to the page to the posting.


10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No viewfinder; phoey.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Piechal said...

Well, something's changing...
It's the second quality digitalk compact camera with PRIME LENS (YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAA!!!).
Maybe there will be more such things, hopefully.
But I've one BIG and one small regret.
The small one is that the lens is REALLY dark.
The big is: WHERE IS THE FINDER? Someone's called this Sigma "poor man's M8", some other suggest it coul'd be "Decisive Moment Digital".
Sorry guys! It's neither of them. For my opinion Ricoh GR Digital is closer to it. It has at lest accessory quality-finder.The sigma has nothing.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No prestigious, status enhancing, "make me look like a real photographer" name on the front? Phooey!

- A. Needmore

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, guys, calm down, and look at the picture: this camera has no viewfinder. I know a lot of people don't mind this, but really ... I keep seeing what looks like people doing Tai Chi, but turns out to be someone trying to steady a digicam with both hands at arm's length ... Mind, I still haven't quite got used to what seems to be folk with earache talking to themselves in odd corners (mobile phones).

7:47 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Lightroom Beta 4 on Windows is markedly improved. It's now quite usable (due, in no small part, I'm sure, to the addition of RSP's programmer to Lightroom's programming group).

There are some UI issues to be worked out still (panel close bars where scrollbars ought to be), but I think Lightroom is gearing up to be a great Camera Raw replacement, and if the hints of LR getting local corrections are true, it might be able to supplant a lot of the work usually delegated to PS.

Lightzone (I have both it and the Lightroom beta on my Windows laptop), to me, is simply too slow -- too slow gathering the image thumbnails, too slow showing corrections, the UI is not very responsive (it feels to me like Lightroom Beta 3 felt). Hopefully they can address this before they release 2.0.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Player said...

Since this blog is related to new products, I just want to give a heads up to anyone considering an Epson P-2000/ P-4000 Multimedia Storage/ Viewer. Epson has just announced the P-3000/ P-5000 with bigger screens, more colors, and faster transfer rates. Read about it here:

My P-2000 is shipping as I write this. :(

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Allen George said...

Lightzone is ludicrously slow unfortunately.

Also, while I understand their choice to define regions _only_ using polygons, splines etc. it reduces the ease with which you can selectively apply effects to images. Something like "I'd like to apply the effect to this region, but in a non-uniform manner" can be extremely tedious. In many ways that also reduces the utility of a tablet.

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad the lens is so slow and that there's no viewfinder; otherwise I might even be tempted my Contax T3

7:18 AM  
Blogger Albano Garcia said...

I agree with Ctein. It reminds me about my Fuji S5000 with SuperCCD, they say it's 6 mp, but it's just 3 mp. Maybe it gives just a little bit more detail tha 3 mp, but never ever it's like real 6 mp.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Gromit said...

I completely agree with Ctein that Sigma/Foveon should give up the pixel count obfuscation - it only harms their credibility, IMO. But this camera looks like something really neat! For those who (with justification, I suppose) criticize the lack of an optical viewfinder; perhaps some sort of clip-on external viewfinder might be possible (even one made by a third party). That it uses a prime rather than a zoom lens certainly simplifies this possibility for any would-be entrepreneur!

3:05 PM  

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