Topaz Labs introduces DeNoise 5
I hate to sound like a Topaz Labs fanboy but their newest iteration of DeNoise 5 is better than my old standby, Neat Image v6. The difference isn’t huge but TL is somewhat better in the areas of speed, ease of use and detail recovery. NI has a small edge on price. I use the NI Home+ version that includes both the Standalone and Photoshop/Photoshop Elements plug-in version for $49.90 while Topaz DeNoise is $49.99 until August 31. After that, the price jumps to $79.99. Topaz offers free upgrades for current licensees while NI offers free minor upgrades to licensees and a lesser Upgrade Fee for major upgrades.
As always, my readers can use the code “digitalphotoguy” to receive a 15% discount on all Topaz Labs purchases. I am not affiliated with nor do I have any financial interest in Topaz Labs.
Cheap Canon 24-105/4L IS Lens
Here’s your opportunity to bag a Canon 24-105/4L IS lens for an incredibly low price. Every Canon shooter needs this lens.
There’s a link at the top of every page on my site titled Videos. That link takes you to (hold on, are you ready for this) the Videos page. Everytime I repost an old video or article, someone asks, “Where’s the previous/next/other video/article?” I think the worst thing about the Internet has been to foster a mindset that it’s someone’s job to do your thinking/research. Notice how I didn’t link the word Videos to the Videos page because I want you to find it for yourselves.
Long-time students know that a benefit of taking my classes is continued e-mail support. My motto is, “Failure is not an option, you will learn!” I regularly answer questions for students from 5 or more years ago.
Recently, new readers (not past students) have started sending me questions that take time and effort to research and/or craft an answer. While I don’t mind questions that have universal appeal and are of interest to many readers, I don’t have time to answer specific questions about one person’s gear, computer configuration or idle curiousity unless they are past students.
I hope everyone understands that I have to save my limited bandwidth for past and present students who have paid for my expertise.
One final point, in order to consolidate my time and efforts, I respond to Comments on this site before I answer e-mails.
Cool Canon Deals (The Real Deal)
If you have a broken, out-of-warranty Canon digital camera lying around that will cost more to fix than it’s worth, you can upgrade to a refurbished Canon for a great price. For example, I have an old Canon 10D. It’s in fine condition but, for the sake of this example, let’s assume it’s broken. Canon charges a flat fee depending on whether it’s a “Standard Repair” or a “Major Repair” for most repairs. Let’s assume this camera will cost $250 to repair but it’s only worth $200.
Canon will trade the 10D plus $559 for a Canon 40D, a newer and better camera. Current used prices for Canon 40D is about $600-$700 so it’s a great deal when you consider it’s been serviced by Canon and comes with a 90 day warranty. They also have refurbished G11, 50D, 7D and 5DMkII available.
To get more detals, call Canon at 800-753-4200 and ask for Sales.
Keep That LCD Monitor Dust Free
If you’re like me, the sight of dust bunnies, lint balls and cat fur on your monitor is like the screech of fingernails across a blackboard. In other words, it’s enough to drive you up the wall. The only thing worse is trying to keep it clean. Well, for all your dust-o-phobes, I have good news and I have bad news.
The good news is that I’ve found a solution. A 4 inch Kinetronics StaticWisk removes all dust, lint and fur using static electricity. Of course, this does not remove the little spots left behind by your sneezing cat or the coffee stains when you open your brother-in-law’s latest non-PC joke while drinking your morning cuppa joe. I bought the SW-101 with a grounding strap but that’s probably not necessary for most people. The photo of Tylor is simply because she’s so cute. Who wants to edit that photo while looking through dust, lint and fuzz.
Now, the bad news. The Kinetronics people are complete incompetents. I ordered through B&H who doesn’t stock these but has them drop shipped by Kinetronics. It took Kinetronics over 6 weeks to fill the order. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend dealing with such incompetence but, bottom line, the product works. My advice is to search the web for a company that has them in stock.
Click to read more
The Digital Photo Guy Blog Gets a Facelift
This is the 6th year for this site. During the first 4 years, it was a static site that was rarely updated because making changes was excruciatingly slow, complex and costly. In 2008, I resolved to fix the problem and commissioned a web developer to develop a new site that I could easily and quickly update myself. He recommended WordPress and the initial implementation took just 6 weeks. As soon as he was done, I started making changes and quickly learned how to do just about everything by myself. I’m no rocket scientist but WordPress makes everything simple and straightforward.
Now, a year after the initial launch, a new static home page has replaced the previous dynamic home page. A dynamic home page was fine in the beginning but, now, with so many articles and posts, it was quickly becoming unwieldly. Readers couldn’t easily find the information they sought. A static home page can act as “street signs” to help point readers in the right direction. As you can see, some of the signs are still not working. That’s because all the MMTs, posts and articles weren’t always correctly or fully tagged.
Tagging the material at this time would be counter productive because each update would generate an e-mail notification of an update and readers wuld be innundated with e-mails.
Starting in 2010, I’ll be more careful about tagging each MMT, post and article so readers can quickly find all material pertaining to Cameras/Lenses/Gear, Photo Editing and Photography.
In the meantime, the existing tags (right side of main blog) can help you find specific articles or MMTs. You can also use the Seach box along the right side of the main blog.
A website is a never-ending process. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment here. Good light, good memories and good luck in 2010.
Years ago, I read a Wall Street Journal article about successful Vietnam vets. The reporter had been following all the stories about Vietnam vets who had fallen on hard times due to alcoholism, drugs, crime, divorce, mental illness and a host of other difficulties blamed largely on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He decided to find and interview Vietnam vets who were successful and happy and learn what separated them from those who failed.
One story stuck in my mind and has been my mantra for the past 30 years. I suppose I’ve known this ever since I returned from Vietnam but this fellow cut to the chase in one sentence. He said, “No matter how bad things get (in life), I just remind myself that it’s better than getting shot at.” That pretty much sums up how I try to stay focused on the task at hand.
Why am I babbling about this? Standing up my new WordPress blog has been an exercise in frustration and, at times, despair. Sometimes, I feel like web developers and business people speak totally different languages. In fact, I probably would have had the same results if I had hired a web developer who spoke Farsi. He’s interested in the techie, geeky side. I’m interested in the business side. He wants to take hours to understand how a piece of code works, I just want it as cost-effective as possible. Sometimes, I feel like he’s the Viet Cong on the other side of the wire. I just want to get the concertina wire strung and he wants to blow holes in it!
Currently, all I want is to get PayPal integrated with my Workshops page so a visitor can simply click on a PayPal button and be taken to a page to enter their credit card info and register for the class. On one level, this is pretty trivial stuff but, on another level, it’s like using pieces from Erector sets, Lincoln Logs and Legos to building an airplane. Now, where the heck did I leave my screwdriver so I can attach plastic blocks to wooden struts?
For the past 3 days I’ve been dinking (that’s a technical term) with my new blog-style web site. The intent is 3-fold (in keeping with Lee’s Rule of Threes).
- First, I want a site I can maintain myself instead of relying on others to make minor changes.
- Second, I want more interactivity so readers can communicate more easily with me.
- Third, I want better security and PayPal integration to make it easier to pay for classes.
I didn’t think that was asking too much since my misspent youth was wasted in an engineering lab, poring over schematics and software code. Geez Louise, was I ever mistaken. The level of sophistication in today’s software is lightyears removed from 1983, the last time I was in an engineering lab. This stuff is all supposed to be WYSIWYG but you could have fooled me.
My site has 2 different photo gallery plug-ins, appliances if you will, that are supposed to help me manage my photos. Ben installed two so I could compare them and decide which worked better for me. In the first place, the 2 are so completely dissimilar that I couldn’t keep straight which was handling what photos. Next, I couldn’t repeat tasks I’d stumbled across but wouldn’t work when I tried to do the same thing a second time. Finally, I can’t figure out the relationships between photos, galleries and posts. A photo should be a single image while a gallery is a collection of photos which I should be able to embed in a post (such as this rant)! Sometimes it works and other times the wheels fall off with no rhyme or reason.