...so that google can help organize my head.


Good Camera, Good Printer, Good Software & Bad Software.

Agapanthus Bud

I am totally digging the Digital Rebel XT. It is a hell of a lot of fun. As previously mentioned, Derrick's Digital Photography Pocket Guide has been tremendously helpful in getting me over the first-time-SLR-confusion hump.

I also picked up a Canon Pixma iP6000D printer. The print quality is beautiful and the consumables are reasonably priced (though still quite the "first hit is free" business model). It will be interesting to see how the ink holds up over time. Epson's ink seems to be the most stable. Lexmark's ink was pathetic; images would fade to yellow in only a month or so.

Canon's print drivers for Mac OS X are surprisingly good, it seems. It gives the user quite a bit of control over print quality, media type, and other parameters. As well, iPhoto has proven to be totally rock solid at handling and printing the images from the camera. There are any number of features I would love to see in iPhoto, but that it "just works" and, via Frasier Spear's FlickrExport, integrates seamlessly with Flickr makes up for the handful of rough edges. Also, being able to order prints and have them sent directly to family members makes for a wonderful source of personal gifts.

Now, as far as the rest of the software that came with the Camera, it pretty much defines The Suck. Seriously. Worst user experience ever. All of the applications have totally weird-ass one off user interfaces that do not follow any standard guidelines. Worse, in all cases they are specifically optimized around an unworkable approach to a workflow.

Example: When you launch "Easy-PhotoPrint", it displays an iTunes like interface only with the top level volumes on your computer where the playlists would be. If you want to print a photo, you are expected to start at that level and navigate down to wherever the bloody hell your photos are -- deep in iPhoto's world, in my case -- by toggling the stupid little disclosure triangles. And, no, this flaming piece of UI does not accept drag and drop.

Given that atrocity, I have no idea what "Easy-PhotoPrint" even does. I couldn't get past the atrocity of the initial UI to find out.

The "Digital Photo Professional" software is equally as painful to use. I did tolerate the pain long enough to process some images, given that it appears to be the only software provided with the camera that can process RAW images. A totally broken app, though. If you crop an image, there is no way to actually see the frickin' crop in the work area. You effectively end up stacking up a series of "effects" that are then applied when you "export" the image. This makes it really difficult to tell exactly what is going to be exported.

Canon also provides something called "PhotoStitch" that allows one to stitch together a series of photos into a larger shot, including a QTVR "movie". It works, but is also amazingly painful. For example, if it decides that you have images that are out of order or overlap too much, the software happily pops up a dialog box informing you that there are too many pictures or it wraps too far or it is being dense. The dialog is totally ambiguous and, far worse, the stupid software doesn't actually indicate which pictures or pictures are in err. Instead, it tells you to "remove pictures that are unnecessary". I'm sorry, I have 60 bloody pictures in the damned panorama and I could really use a damned pointer or two. Especially since the software already figured out what was wrong. Sheesh. Dumbasses.

"PhotoStitch" will also happily tell you that it looked at every photo and decided some photos have a different focal length than others and, therefore, it isn't going to bother trying to stitch anything together. Of course, the stupid POS software doesn't actually allow you to see the focal length anywhere. Again, the helpful "remove pictures that are unnecessary" message.

About the only thing going for it is that the stitching algorithm is actually pretty good and the software doesn't crash. More than can be said for the software I had previously used.

So. Canon camera good. Apple good. Canon printer good. Canon image software pathetically awful, but -- at least -- it works if you manage to keep from spewing on your keyboard in disgust at the UI/UE.

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