Archive for February 2010
You will be forgiven for thinking that copyrighting photos belongs to the realm of professional photography. Even if you consider yourself an amateur, providing copyright and contact information for your photos is a prudent thing to do. Embedding copyright info into each photo may sound like a daunting proposition, but digiKam provides a nifty template feature which lets you create copyright templates and apply them to multiple photos in one go.
To create a new template, choose Settings -> Configure digiKam and switch to the Template section. Give your template a name in the Template Title field and fill out the rest of the available fields. When you are finished, press the Add button to save the template. To modify an existing template, select it from the template list, edit the template, and press the Replace button to save the changes. To apply the template to desired photos, select them, expand the Capture/Tags right sidebar, and switch to the Information section. Select the template from the Template drop-down list and press the Apply button.
I love my Kenko extension tubes, and I keep them in my photo bag at all times. They are great, but somewhat cumbersome in everyday use: you have to detach the lens, add a tube, and put the lens back. This may not sound like a complicated procedure, but it takes time and there is always the risk of getting dust on the sensor.
In my search for a more convenient solution, I stumbled upon the Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro conversion lens. At first sight, it looks a bit like those cheap and useless close-up filters you can find on eBay, but it’s most definitely not. Raynox DCR-250 consists of three high-quality coated elements in two groups that provide +8 diopters magnification.
The quality of the glass seems to be top-notch (I don’t have a dedicated macro lens for comparison) and the lens produces pleasing results. DCR-250 comes with a clever snap-on adapter for lens sizes from 52mm to 67mm. Attaching Raynox DCR-250 to the lens is as easy and fast as putting a lens cap on. The price is right, too, so Raynox DCR-250 is an excellent solution for macro shooting on the cheap.
There is one thing you should keep in mind, though: the lens has a razor thin depth of field, so you must use a steady tripod to get sharp photos. While you can get away with shooting handheld with Kenko tubes, it’s virtually impossible to do that with Raynox DCR-250.
Of course, Raynox DCR-250 won’t replace a dedicated macro lens, but it’s the next-best thing you can get. It’s not expensive, it produces excellent results, and it’s extremely convenient — what’s not to like?
Hot on the heels of digiKam 1.0, Gilles Caulier announced the 1.1.0 release of the popular open source photo management application. While the main focus in version 1.1.0 was on squashing bugs, the new release of digiKam does sport a couple of new nifty features and improvements.
The first one among my favorites is the new way digiKam displays photos before and after a certain action is applied. Previously, digiKam split the photo into the Before and After parts. The new version offers a slightly different approach. A full-size result of the specific action is shown in the preview pane, and when you hover the mouse over it, digiKam displays the original photo. This is not a huge change, but it provides a better way to preview results as you can see the entire image rather than only half of it. Update: The mouse-over preview feature was already available for certain operations. In the new version this feature has been added to other actions like Sharpening.
digiKam 1.1.0 also sports a brand new vignetting feature. Usually, vignetting is something you want to avoid, but it can also be used as an artistic effect to lead the eye toward the main subject in the photo. The only way to add vignetting in the previous versions of digiKam was to use a dedicated image editing application like the GIMP. In the new version, it’s a matter of choosing Enhance -> Lens -> Vignetting Correction and ticking the Add vignetting check box. You can then use the available options to tweak the vignetting effect.