Thursday, July 31, 2008

Converting Nikon RAW files

For some time now, in fact since I owned my D70, I almost always capture in RAW+JPEG. Of course on the D300 this means each exposure consumes ~20Mb, but hey storage is cheap!

Anyway, I do this for three basic reasons:

- most of the time the JPEG is fine

- if the JPEG is not fine for some reason eg compression artifacts, colour balance etc, I can use the RAW

- using the Nikon software, currently NX, you can convert from NEF to TIF or 16 bit, with the settings the camera used to make the JPEG.

So since most of the time I am happy with the white balance and profile etc used by the camera to make the JPEG, this works really well.

No other RAW converter can do this even Bibble, Adobe etc.

Even better, you can adjust the following parameters in the NEF file without changing the underlying data:

white balance
color space


Friday, July 18, 2008

Quick browsing of EXIF data from the Finder

The 'get info' command in the Finder has another option few people know about: The Inspector. Instead of cmd-I you do opt-cmd-I.

The info window opens, but now it auto-updates the file you have selected. Then you can use Quick View as well.

Nikon D700 - which lens?

Another day, another post about the Nikon D700 and lenses. Ken Rockwell has a page which goes through the various options. I found it very interesting.

He also has some thoughts about the D300 vs D700 vs D3 and D3 vs D700 vs Canon 5D.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nokia Maps part II

So you've read my adventures with Nokia Map Loader, well it turns out that v2 should be able to load maps from PC Suite when the phone is in PC Suite mode.

Well maybe. If you launch Map Loader and it just sits there saying “waiting for device” then you need to delete a directory on the SD card in the phone.

OK, you say. But check the directory. Its where the maps are. So the advice is delete the maps and download them all over. Grrrrr!

From Nokia forums, posted by Nokia person:

- People having problems with “waiting for device” or “Unable to read all information…”, you could try the following:

1. make sure you have maps 1.2 wk30 or later (or 2.0)
2. connect the device in mass storage mode, it will show up as a drive in windows
3. delete the folder E:\Private\20001f63 (including sub folders)
4. start maps on the device once, it will recreate the folder in a different location
5. connect the device in pc suite mode and start maploader

Yes, great. I'll connect in Mass Storage mode, thank you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nokia Maps vs OSX

Nokia, bless them, have only released the Map Loader for WinXp / Vista. Which is a pity if you don't have / want to use those systems.

You would think it wouldn't be too hard to write a little java app that works cross platform like on OSX. They must have enough customers using OSX. I mean its not as though they invested any effort / money in the GUI, is it? And they wrote a photo downloader for N series to iPhoto workflow.

Well anyway, I don't use those systems (by choice) but if I want to download the maps in advance of a trip, then I guess I have to sigh.

The current versions of PC Suite (7.0) and Map Loader (2.0) in theory can transfer the maps by bluetooth.

In practice I never got this working... so I used the USB cable.

Oh yes, and another thing... why does Map Loader not allow you to selectively delete the cached maps on your device? I have a 2Gb card in the N73, a substantial amount of which is used for cached maps. Do they really want me downloading another 2Gb from their server? Bandwidth is that cheap for them?

If you are wondering why I want to cache the maps, well when you are places with no signal eg Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree, Yosemite etc...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kill / force quit a program / process in OSX

Sometimes a program or process gets into an unresponsive or other undesirable state and you cannot quit it from the GUI.

What you can do is to force quit, or kill it, from the command line. You can either do this locally or by SSHing in.

First run 'top' and see if you can find the culprit. If the process is consuming too much CPU you can find it using 'top -o cpu'.

Make a note of the PID (process ID), so if the PID is 1292, then you do

kill -9 1292

and it'll be gone.

If you get a no permission error then it could be that the process is owned by root or another user, n which case you can do

sudo kill -9 1292

put in the root password, and its killed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

DX or FX lens?

Now that Nikon have released the D700 with its FX (full frame sensor) its becoming obvious that in a couple of years most serious DSLRs will be full frame. But, everyone knows that its the glass thats important.

This means that if you buy a lens and you think you'll still be doing semi/serious photography for at least another year or two, you really need to consider if you buy FX capable lens or not.

But knowing whether a lens can do FX is tricky! Would that Nikon had adopted a consistent naming scheme...

Into this breach steps Thom Hogan and his page which lists current lenses and their FX / DX capability.

Of course I have considered getting the D700... who wouldn't! But its a big big spend. Not only do I need the $3000 camera, then I need glass to do it justice.

I LOVE my Tokina 12-24 on my D300, example picture here. The FX equivalent would be 18-36, so the nearest equivalent would be ummm well there isn't one at the moment that I would want to buy. Its only a matter of time before Nikon fix this of course.

More pictures from Yosemite

Friday, July 11, 2008

Growl says requires updating, even after updating

If you get this you may need to upgrade to 1.1.4, or, you ay need to check that you have got rid of all the pref panes.

Check your users pref pane ~/Library/PreferencePanes, as well as the system one in /Library/PreferencePanes.

Might require a log out / in afterwards.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Nokia N800 - version check

If you've flashed your Nokia tablet, you'll want to check that you're running the correct version.

To do this on the tablet Application menu, select Settings > Control panel > About product.

On mine it now says "Internet Tablet OS: meamo Linux based OS2008 version 4.2008.23-14"

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nokia N800 - flashing from OSX

Flashing your Nokia Internet Tablet 770, N800, N810 from OSX is not formally supported, however, it can b done using a 3rd party piece of software, from

  1. ensure your tablet is off. You can have it connected to your USB.
  2. download the file 770Flasher-2.0.dmg
  3. open and drag the application to your applications folder
  4. download the latest .bin file for your model from
  5. double click the flasher application and when it asks open the .bin file you downloaded from Nokia
Turn on the tablet and watch the messages as the image loads to the 770/N800/N810 after which it reboots automatically.


If the host doesn't see the tablet on boot then try removing the memory cards. For me at first it wouldn't. I removed the cards and it went through no problem.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Apple OSX reducing PDF file size

Everyone knows that OSX can print to PDF, and you can do this 2 ways: in the print dialog box you can select "save as PDF" which does exactly that, or, you can "open PDF in preview".

An advantage of opening the PDF in preview is that when you can save you can apply some filters, courtesy of the Quartz engine.

You can also save in a different file format, which is cool.

But what about a PDF thats been sent to you? Well you can load it into the ColorSync Utility

and you can then select 'export'

since the underlying engine is the Quartz engine you get the same options. Cool!