The TNT delivery guy was here and delivered my iLife ‘05 pack which I bought solely because of iPhoto. (Apple refused to give me a student discount for the software, even though I ordered via the net. I’ve heared people don’t get student discounts in Apple’s stores.) I use my Canon Ixus, Canon EOS 20D, HP Scanner and Nikon negativescanner much, so being very annoyed about the sluggish performance of iPhoto 2 but loving its way of interacting with my blog and organising pictures, and hearing good thing about performance on iPhoto 4 and that iPhoto 5 would be better performance wise, I decided to upgrade after they threw in RAW handling (which seems to be a total fake).

First impression: the DVD was filthy. I opened the box, took it out of its envelope, and had to clean it before putting it in my drive. Wow, I’ve never had that happen to me with new software before. Was the packaging done by hand or something? Anyways. iLife takes a whopping 4.7 GB, or 5% of my harddrive. The installation took 45 minutes, the converting of my iPhoto 2 library of 800 photos took 2 hours! (I run a 1Ghz iMac with 1GB ram)

Scrolling is indeed much faster. Not as fast as f-spot, but still fast. Opening a 8 megapixel picture takes 3 seconds, opening a 20 megapixel picture takes 6 seconds. Saving a slightly cropped 20 megapixel picture took 37 seconds! Saving a slightly cropped 8 megapixel image took 8 seconds. Each edit must be saved before proceeding to the next picture, no option to make changes on previews and then batch them together in one go. Meaning I won’t be using iPhoto to edit my 20 megapixel photos that my filmscanner makes.

RAW: (what we’ve all been waiting for) No camera color profiles to load, no spot white balance to set. Just lots and lots of impresise sliders so you can see what it looks like and choose a setting based on that. In other word, it’s no replacement for ufraw (or whatever RAW converting application you use). Even Canon’s bundeled software handles development from RAW images nicer, and I really don’t like that bundled software. So even though I have iPhoto, I still want to keep working on RAW support for f-spot, and you might want to stick with your favourite RAW processing software.

Good thing: getting to continue my work while it does the importing. Bad thing: doing so led to my first iPhoto 5 crash, after under an hour of usage. Wee. ;-) I hope we’ll see Apple updating this one quickly. Bug report sent.

Preferences: why can I not choose Thunderbird as my email program?

So, based on my first impressions, this is my wishlist for Apple to improve iPhoto ‘05:

  • REAL RAW support
  • Batch handling for editing
  • No crashing
  • Faster image handling

Apple sent me a mail saying my iLife copy has been dispatched. In the mean time, California Fox reports that iPhoto’s RAW support is, well, fake. It imports RAWs, but rather than use the RAW files as a source when modifying brightness, temperature, exposure, saturnation etc, it uses an intermediate JPG copy. And as we all know, this just isn’t the same. This is not what we asked for when we wanted RAW support, and just not mentioning this and waiting for people’s reactions seems just irresponsible on Apple’s part.

In the mean time, I’ve come across f-spot and I’m currently tracking its CVS and looking at integrating Udi Fuchs’ ufraw into it. This’ll be my first shot at C#, so I’m wondering both how the task will be and how people will respond to it. I do NOT, however, plan to settle on intermediate JPGs. ;-)

Tomorrow I’ll be at Canon’s authorized repair-shop to have them look at my 20D. It’s got what I think is hot pixels even at indoors shooting at 1 second shots. Not good. But, being nervous that my camera will be gone without replacement for a while, I am reading up on the subject. There are quite a number of programs and articles on reducing noise in digital images.

Oh, and thank you Alan Briot for your EOS 300D diary. It’s a great read, and introduced me to Lens baby (review). I’ll be experimenting more with my new 100mm f2.8 macro, though. :) But these babies look like very fun toys. :)

At the moment I use Canon’s EOSViewer Utillity and The GIMP for RAW handelling. While I need to figure out how to use The GIMP without getting heaps of artefacts/noise, I get quite often strange artefacts that are white curves that follow the light within a picture. To give an example, look at this selfportrait (not the best portrait as my eyes are crossing). The first picture is using The GIMP:

Selfportrait using The GIMP

The second one is using Canon’s software and then cropping it slightly in Photoshop:

Selfportrait using Canon EOSViewer Utillity

Any suggestions to how NOT to get these white curve-artefacts with Canon’s software? What kind of RAW handelling software do you prefer, and what do the pictures look like after you’ve exported them to jpeg?

According to DPReview: the P-2000 is a very well-designed, very sophisticated and very desirable addition to any serious digital photographer’s gadget bag. My conclusion from reading their review: drool ;-) Good luck to Epson with the RAW support. My 20D is already supported, but it seems they have just a little further to go.

Oh, and merry christmas to everyone coming by my blog :-)