Spending an afternoon with the Nikon Coolpix P6000


My users group gave away a new Nikon Coolpix P6000 at our meeting over the weekend. Before we gave it away, I got a chance to try it (test it to make sure it was a good prize 😉 ) out for the afternoon. I must say that this little camera packs quite a punch. I would guess that this is Nikon’s answer to the Canon G9/G10. This camera is aimed at people that want the best possible quality and feature set that they can get out of a point and shoot camera and just short of a DSLR. This is also the same camera that Phil Shiller showcased during his Macworld Expo Keynote address as being one of the new cameras with a built-in GPS. That feature is key to the new “Places” feature in iPhoto ’09.

Nikon vs. Canon


Without turning this into a Nikon vs. Canon fight (does anyone ever win those anyway?), let me start by saying (again), that I use both. I have Nikon professional DSLRs and Canon point and shoot as well as Canon video equipment. So spare me your my side is better than your side arguments. They’re both good! I’ve just always been drawn to Nikon gear on the DSLR side and Canon gear on the portable/consumer side. When I’m not shooting with my Nikon D700 or D300, I’m using my Canon ELPH 850IS. The problem is that I can’t remember the last time I used it. Not that the Canon is not a great point and shoot camera, the problem is that I’m just using my DSLR more and more. I take it with me when I travel. I use it more on the go than I thought I ever would. The ELPH is nice because it stays in my computer bag at all times. I always have a camera with me.

Why don’t I use the point and shoot camera more?

That’s the real question! I’ve become a control freak. I want complete control over the settings in my camera. While point and shoot cameras do offer manual control, it seems that these options are often buried and not easily adjusted on the fly. Let’s face it! Point and shoot cameras are aimed at people that just want to….. wait for it…… point and shoot! The Nikon Coolpix P6000 changes all that by offering me the same controls I have on my DSLR. As a matter of fact the control dial has basically the same exact settings as my bigger cameras. Also once I’m in manual mode I can easily adjust Aperture and Shutter speed with the jog dial on the back. The other reason I don’t use my point and shoot more is because I really like shooting in Camera RAW. I know that this could easily start another fight/war. So again, if you love JPG and see no reason to use RAW, great for you!

I do see advantages to using RAW and you guessed it the P6000 does have a RAW shooting mode. The next reason for the lack of P&S use is probably the big one that’s not easy to overcome and that’s the great lenses that I have. No easy out for the P&S cameras there. However, the trade off is the P6000 can fit in my pocket. The DSLRs can’t!

The P6000 in action

One of the key features of this model is the built-in GPS for Geotagging. This was actually the most interesting feature to me and probably the only other one (besides RAW support) that would even make me think about upgrading my P&S camera. So I went out to run some errands with P6000 in tow. The minute I walked outside, I fired up the camera (I had already turned the GPS feature ON) and I wanted to see how long it would take to aquire a satellite signal from a cold boot. It took about 1 minute 30 seconds. Certainly not the fastst time in the world, but not unbearable either. I then turned the camera off and drove to my first location. I turned the camera back on when I got out of the car the sat aquistion took only about 33 seconds this time. Much better and about the norm. One word of warning though, other reviews I’ve read warned about excessive battery drain with the GPS turned on. While I’m sure having the GPS on does take more power, I didn’t notice any signficant battery drain. However, keep in mind that I only used this for a few hours on a Saturday. The other thing that makes me chuckle is when people complain about the GPS not working well indoors. All I’ll say to this is, ur um DUH! I wouldn’t expect any GPS to work to well indoors! The complaint about it not working well around tall buildings in an urban environment is more of a valid complaint. However, I see that same complaint about most post portable GPS units. I did notice about a 60 second sat acquistion on a downtown street as opposed to 30 seconds, but it did work.

I took some shots in RAW and JPG. There’s a nice indicator right on the BIG LCD screen that lets you know when you have sat signal. There’s no mistaking it. I just had to assume that it was working. When you go to the GPS setting in the camera, you do see the current longitude and latitude. Also when you review the images you’ve taken, the GPS icon will be lit on the LCD if those images contain GPS data. I of course would have no way of knowing if the location was accurate until I got back to my computer.

Speed or not so much speed

Shooting in JPG the speed of the camera was as good as any other point and shoot camera I’ve used. No complaints there. However, shooting in RAW was a different story. There is a noticable lag from the time you press the shutter until you can take the shot while it clears the buffer. This lag was about 3-5 seconds. Yes, even with a fast SD card. So if you’re going to use this camera to shoot in RAW, you’re not going to be shooting anything with fast motion like sports. For portrait or landscape work you’ll be fine.


I was pleased with the image quality of both my RAW and JPG files. The RAW format is not the standard NEF format that is common amongst Nikon DSLRs. It’s actually NRW. Apparently this is a RAW format specfically aimed at the Coolpix line of cameras. To be honest, I don’t really care what the extension is as long as it’s supported in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW and it is! I brought my shots into Lightroom with no problem. I even converted one of the NRWs to DNG with with no problem.


The JPEG above actually has the GPS data in it.

I then checked out the GPS data in Lightroom using the Google Maps integration and here’s where it took me. It wasn’t dead on, I was standing about 30 feet from the spot pin pointed on the map, but that’s actually within acceptable parameters for GPS units in general. It may be a little less accurate than my di-GPS Pro, but certainly still usable.

The Bottom Line

If there was a situation where I couldn’t or didn’t want to take my DSLR, then this would be my camera of choice. I like the size and I’m comfortable with the controls. Also the hotshoe should be compatible with my Nikno speedlights, Pocket Wizards, etc. I do wish the RAW capture speed was faster and since I’m in no hurry for a new P&S camera, I may wait for the next rev. My only other complaint with this model is that it comes with a AC adapter that plugs into the camera to charge the battery. I would much rather have an external battery charger (like the ones that have always come with my Canon ELPH cameras) so that I can charge one battery while shooting with another. I’m sure that there’s probably another charger out there that does this, but I would have liked to have seen it in the box. Also at the $499 asking price, I would definitely expect it! Lastly the camera comes with an Ethernet port built-in. I didn’t even bother with trying this out because everything I read was that this is for uploading your pictures to Nikon’s Picture Town sharing site. While that’s all fine and good, if you’re going go through the trouble of putting a high speed ethernet port on your camera, let me use it for other things like a super fast way of downloading my images to my drive or uploading them to other sites beside the Nikon one. I should also mention that this camera does record video and audio too. It does 640×480 video at 30fps. I did not get a chance to test this. However, I did test the voice annotation feature and it worked great! That’s pretty much it! I only had one afternoon with this camera and it does what it claims to do.

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 13.5MP, 4x Wide Angle Optical Zoom with Vibration Reduction. See the full specs here. Also Amazon has it now for only $357! The price seems to vary daily.

iPhone App of the Week – Upcoming Events


If you’ve ever forgotten someone’s birthday or worse an anniversary, then you’ll appreciate this app. Upcoming Events has a basic function and that is to keep track of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. The cool part is that it picks up the birthdays from your Contacts automatically. However, you can still make manual entries too. So it’s the best of both worlds.


I’m a visual guy! So I really like that it uses the contact photo instead of just a list of names like other apps. It also shows you how old the person will be and how many days away their birthday (or anniversary) is. When you tap the app icon to load it, it takes a couple of seconds to come up with the list of upcoming events. This time delay will be dependent on how many contacts you have. I have over 1,000 so I expect it to take a second or two to go through that list.

Once you tap on a particular upcoming event you are then taken to the contact’s record in Upcoming Events so that you can call the person, send them an email or SMS message. Very convenient! I wish it had a tie in directly to 1-800-flowers so that I can just order the flowers too. 🙂

The one draw back

The app works exactly as advertised. However, the one missing piece is that although the app can show you a numeric badge of upcoming events that are less than 7 days away, it has no other way of alerting you. That number is only updated each time you launch the app.


This problem is the same with all iPhone apps. It’s not the fault of the developer. Apple doesn’t yet allow for background processing or background notification in 3rd party apps. For example, Apple’s built-in Mail app can check for new messages in the background and update the badge with a new email count without having to actually open the Mail app. This feature is not currently accessible by 3rd party apps. Therefore Upcoming Events has no way of working when you’re not in the app. The badge of “2” upcoming events you see on the screen shot above means that I have 2 birthdays/anniversaries coming up within 7 days. However, that number 2 will not change until I launch the app again. So if I don’t launch the app for 2 weeks, that 2 will never change.

The Bottom Line

This app has a very basic yet important function. Although I would love for it to be free, I also appreciate the fact that time and effort goes into app developement and the developers should be compensated. However, I think $2.99 would be the right price for this app. Nonetheless, it does what I need it to do and I had no problem paying the $4.99 asking price at the time because I simply like the way it works. I will be even happier with it once Apple allows for background processing so that the app can actually alert you/sound alarms when an event is getting closer. Again, this limitation is not the fault of the developer. Their hands are tied until Apple rolls out this important feature. So to really stay on top of things, you need to launch the app and check it on a regular basis.

Upcoming Events works on the iPhone and iPod touch. It goes for $4.99 and you can check it out at the App Store.

An Evening With Terry White – Photoshop Essentials


I don’t get to present in front of customers as much as I used to. Also in this economy travel has become a luxury. So I was thinking how could I spend some quality time with you and it hit me: “An Evening With Terry White!” Here’s how it works: I will pick an evening and a topic and do a one hour live session on that topic over the internet. There will be no cost to the attendees, It’s on me (well actually it’s on Adobe).

The First Topic

This first evening will be on “Adobe Photoshop Essentials.” Although this is going to be kind of basic for some, I really want to gear this session towards covering the kinds of things that my friends and customers ask me all the time. Topics like: How to remove someone from a background. How to fix blemishes and other artifacts. How to fix the color of an image, etc. So this session will be made up of several mini-tutorials. I will cover as many of these as I can fit in in an hour. Also realize that in Photoshop there are usually several ways to do the same thing and I only have an hour. So I may not do it the way you would have done it or the way you were thinking. Breathe, it will be ok.

Although I’ll be using Adobe Photoshop CS4, you’re not required to have CS4 to benefit from this session. Many of the techniques I plan to cover will be applicable to users of older versions. However, if you just want to be up-to-date and all, feel free head over to the Adobe Store. You can buy your upgrade and download it on the spot 🙂

When and where? R.S.V.P.?

This first evening will be Tuesday, March 17 @ 7PM E.T. and it will take place via Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro. Here’s the URL: http://my.adobe.acrobat.com/eveningwithterry

Sign on as a GUEST with your real name. While there is no pre-registration required, this session will be limited to 100 attendees. So it’s first come, first served. I advise you to log in 15 minutes before the 7PM start time as I plan to start on time.

Will you be able to ask questions?

There will be a Q&A session at the end. You will be able to submit your questions throughout the presentation in the Q&A pod. I will address as many of the submitted questions as I can at the end. Although I plan to end the presentation part within one hour, I will probably be able hang out a bit afterwards to continue answering questions. This will give people that only have an hour the chance to see the entire presentation before having to leave.

What you will need to participate

If you’re reading this blog, you probably have the necessary equipment to watch this session. You will need a computer (Mac or PC) with a web browser, a high speed internet connection and the Flash Player. The audio will come through your computer’s speakers. That’s pretty much it! There is no software that you need to install. If you want to make sure that your computer and internet connection are up to par, you can run this test. Although the last part of the test checks to see if you have the “add-in”, it’s not necessary to have it for this session. Go ahead and run the test now so that you’ll be ready in time for Tuesday. Also keep in mind that if for whatever reason your connection is not up to par or it’s not going well for you, there’s nothing I can do about it on my end and please accept my apology now.

What if you can’t make it or you’re 101st person?

If all goes well, this session will be recorded and I will post the link to it the next day on my blog. So if you can’t attend or if you don’t make it into the session due to a large turnout, you will be able to enjoy it afterwards at your leisure.

Why am I doing this and what’s next?

Although I can post videos anytime I want on my Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast, nothing beats live interaction. I like talking with customers and this will give me real-time feedback.  If this goes well I will do it again with different topics. If not, well we can’t say that I didn’t try. 🙂 See you on Tuesday!

Apple shuffles out a 3rd generation iPod shuffle


Hey it’s Wednesday! Apple traditionally releases new products on Tuesday so as usual no one saw this coming 🙂

Apple introduced the 3rd generation iPod shuffle. No I don’t have one yet. I just woke up to this news like everyone else. So I’m writing this based on what I’ve read and seen so far. The new shuffle is the smallest shuffle yet. Smaller than a AA battery. The first thing you might notice is that the controls are GONE! Well, they’re gone from the case itself. The controls are now on the earphones cord.

The shuffle now gets playlists

The shuffle never had a display which meant that you never had a way to navigate multiple playlists. So the previous shuffle models could only play songs from a single list of songs. That all changes because the new shuffle has Voice Over! Voice Over announces things like the name of the song, artist and you guessed it, playlists. This is a clever work around for not having a display and it also makes it much easier to use for sports activists because you don’t have to look down to make any changes. You can focus your attention on your run or activity.

Specs and the Bottom Line


The shuffle has 4GB of memory and comes in Black or Silver for up to 1,000 songs. It requires iTunes 8.1, which will probably be available for download soon. While moving the controls to the earphone cord means that they can make a smaller shuffle, it will limit the number of options for using your existing 3rd party earphones/headphones. The Apple store is quoting a 3-5 day ship period. This would be a great iPod for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot on iPod, but still wants to easily carry around their favorite music and purchases from the iTunes store. While this is probably the best shuffle Apple has delivered to date, I have no desire to get one. I’m quite content with the army of iPods and iPhone that I already have 🙂

The iPod shuffle goes for $79. Apple has posted this cool video guided tour to show the features.

What an honor. Thank you Westcott!


As a photographer, I can’t think of a greater honor than to have an internationally recognized lighting equipment company come to you and say “we would like to use one of your images for our 2009 catalog!” As you can probably imagine I just about fell off my chair when I received that very email from F.J. Westcott. You’ve heard me tout Westcott Spiderlites in the past and I’m a big fan of many of their products. Just yesterday in my post about the Joby Gorillapod Focus, I used a Westcott collapsible background for that shot.

Of course my answer was YES! I’ve been on pins and needle ever since and I just got the final version of the spread. My image is the one in the lower right corner. Westcott said that they used 100% Raw Talent in this year’s catalog. I’m very honored and just flat out tickled to be a part of that talent pool.

A PDF version of the full 2009 FJ Westcott Catalog is here. I look forward to grabbing a huge supply of these babies at Photoshop World in a couple of weeks. There’s a small room in my house that needs wallpapering 🙂

Joby’s Gorillapod Focus for the Big Jobs


I’ve been taking my Nikon D700 or D300 with me on all my recent trips. I’ve also started traveling with more lenses and bigger lenses. One of my favorite lenses to shoot with is the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens. As you know I’m a fan of the Gitzo Traveler Tripod. Although as small and lightweight as it is, I don’t always have room for it in my luggage. This is what led me to using my Gorillapods more. Although I have the Gorillapod SLR, which is a great tripod for travel, it’s just not quite sturdy enough or strong enough for my bigger lenses as it only supports up to 1.75 pounds.

The Gorillapod Focus to the rescue

The Gorillapod Focus is the top of the line Gorillapod. It’s their professional model. It’s geared specifically for large cameras with large lenses. It’s rated at supporting up to 11 pounds. This puppy is solid! I could tell a difference right away when I took it out of the box and started adjusting the legs. As you can see in the above picture it has no problem supporting my Nikon D700 with the battery grip, Kirk L-Bracket and Nikkor 70-200mm lens. I’ve found it to be quite flexible in adjusting positions as long as you keep the feet pointing down. I took that shot with the Focus on my conference table and when the feet were at an angle they tended to slide on the slick surface of the table.

Although the Focus is not as small as the Gorillapod SLR, it’s smaller than the Gitzo. This means that it’s more likely to make its way into my carry on bag than any other tripod I own.

The Bottom Line

The Joby Gorillapod Focus is a nice blend between size, versatility and support. Although it is more costly than the other Gorillapod models, it’s much cheaper than the more expensive carbon fiber tripods by other manufacturers. It’s also great for video cameras. The Gorillapod Focus goes for $109.95 on the Joby site. Amazon has the Gorillapod Focus for $92.14.

Also be sure to check out my video interview with the Gorillapod product manager back at Macworld Expo.

iPhone App of the Week – Kindle for iPhone


Although I’m not an avid book reader, it’s hard to ignore the significance of having an iPhone (iPod touch) version of the Amazon Kindle Book Reader. I never really paid much attention to the Kindle because I knew I would never buy one. If I read books a lot, I could definitely see the advantage of having a single device with a nice big crisp display that you could download your favorite books to and read on the go.

I figured this would be a natural for the iPhone. Also it would mean having one less device to have to worry about. When Amazon announced that the Kindle App for the iPhone was available, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to play with it. Although the app was a FREE download, I didn’t have any books in Kindle format. Although there are free sample chapters you can download to test, I wanted something real! Since I didn’t have any novels in mind that I wanted to purchase, I looked around my own book collection and it hit me! There was a book that I would LOVE to have with me on my iPhone. It was Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book. This was the perfect book for me to buy in this format. Although I’ve already read the book from cover to cover, there’s no way that I’m going to remember everything and every setting that Scott mentions. So I figured it would be great to have this book on my iPhone for reference when I’m out in the field at a photo shoot or headed to one.


So I logged on to my Amazon.com on my computer and bought the book ($9.99). Then I went back to my iPhone and launched the Kindle App. The Kindle App started the download process. For some reason it took longer than I expected and at times acted as if it wasn’t even connected. I had to work on other things, so I quit out of the app. When I tried it again later it downloaded the book quickly. There it was on my Kindle home screen, Scott’s complete book. I tapped on it and there it was, the first page of the book.

Navigating and reading

I was amazed at how well this actually works. The text is very readable and you can adjust the font size. The pictures were in color, which is an advantage over the Kindle hardware that only has a grayscale display. You can either flick to change pages or use the slider.


Of course you can also jump back to the table of contents which has links to each chapter. There is also a very handy bookmark feature. This allows you to add a page you’re currently on as a bookmark so that you can immediately jump back to it whenever you like. This is great for reference books. The Kindle app also keeps track of where you left off. So you don’t have to remember or advance the pages each time you launch the app.

kindle-4 kindle5

What’s missing?

Besides my iPhone Book LOL (it’s in the works), I was stunned that there doesn’t appear to be a keyword search. Since I’ll likely be using this app for reference books, I want the ability to search for things that I’m looking for. In the meantime I’ll used the bookmark feature.

The Bottom Line

I haven’t really experienced many book reader apps for the iPhone, but this one certainly does the things I would expect. If they were to add keyword search I’d be 100% sold. Although the experience was good and the technology worked, my main concern with doing this on the iPhone would be battery life. The iPhone 3g is already pretty tough on its battery, add an app that keeps the display on for hours (or several minutes at a time) and you might not be able to make any calls after you’ve read that book. Of course this is less of a concern for iPod touch users. The iPod touch battery seems to keep going and going. Check out the selection of Kindle Books here. Download the Kindle App for iPhone here from the App Store.

More Mac for the Same $$$


Apple revamped its entire desktop lineup today introducing updates to the iMac, Mac mini and Mac Pro. Each new update is awesome. More speed, more RAM, more/faster ports, faster video, bigger, better, faster! Probably Apple’s best and fastest line up of desktops ever.

They also updated both the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule wireless base station and backup devices with simultaneous dual band support (2.4GHz and 5GHz). This means that you would no longer have to setup two wireless networks to optimize for 802.11n and 802.11 b/g traffic.

This is all great news and normally my credit card would have already been out and orders placed, but the problem is that times are uncertain. This is making me hesitant to upgrade. Unfortunately that is one of the major problems with our economy right now. People that have the money to buy things are holding off buying things. This in effect is going to slow the recovery even further.

My normal buying cycle for a Mac Pro tower is every other release. I’m now 3 releases back. I’ve been making due with the Mac Pro I have. Although Apple is certainly providing more bang for the buck with better specs at the same prices, that’s not enough to move me at the moment. I didn’t upgrade last year, because I had other priorities. This year I’m just afraid to spend the money! I could always use faster rendering times, but I can also continue to make do with what I have. Should I take the plunge and help get this economy moving again or hold off?

Adobe Updates Lightroom to 2.3 and Camera RAW to 5.3

Both Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Camera RAW get updates with support for the latest and greatest cameras and bug fixes.

Lightroom 2.3 (Mac|Win)

New in Lightroom 2.3

Newly Supported RAW File Formats:

  • Nikon D3X
  • Olympus E-30
  • Plus unofficial RAW support for the recently announced Epson R-D1x camera

The goal of this release is to address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom 2 and provide additional camera raw support. A comprehensive list of issues fixed in this release is included below:

Lightroom 2 Bugs – Fixed

  • In the Windows 64-bit version of Lightroom an sFTP upload process could cause Lightroom to crash.
  • Slideshows could return to the first image randomly during playback. (ouch, I got bit by this one during a family reunion presentation!)
  • A memory leak could cause Lightroom to crash while attempting to process files with local adjustments.
  • Canon EOS 5D Mk II sRAW files could process with artifacts in Lightroom 2.2.
  • Lightroom 2.2 could cause disc burning to fail for Windows customers.
  • Attempting to undo(CTRL-Z) a single step in Lightroom 2.2 on Windows could cause a series of previous actions to be undone.

Photoshop Camera Raw 5.3

Adobe applications must be updated with the Camera Raw 5.3 plug-in in order to ensure compatibility with Lightroom 2 develop module settings and Photoshop integration features. Photoshop CS4 users can update the Camera Raw plug-in automatically using the Update tool listed under the Help menu. The Camera Raw 5.3 plug-in can also be downloaded and installed manually by visiting the Adobe web site. Please follow the installation instructions carefully.

iV TruePower iPhone/iPod touch Backup Battery


Although I certainly get a full day’s charge off my iPhone 3g on most days, there are times that I might not make it a full day if I’m using a lot of apps on it. If I’m near my computer or an AC outlet no problem, just plug it in. However, If I’m on the go like traveling through an airport on in the back of a cab, I don’t always have access to power to charge my iPhone 3g.

iV for iPhone, TruePower

I was introduced to the iV for iPhone at Macworld Expo this past January. Fastmac was one of the vendors showcasing iPhone and Mac accessories. Now this is not the first iPhone battery I’ve seen. However, what makes this one better is simply the versatility in the design of it. First off the iV is a cradle/case for your iPhone/iPod touch. Some batteries actually clip on to the bottom and therefore limit their use to just charging and maybe talking on the phone as long as you don’t move around much.

The iV is also Dock friendly. Because of the design of the base, you can simply Dock your iPhone into an Apple Dock (or 3rd party solution) without having to first remove the iV from your iPhone. This brings me to the next advantage and that is no third party charger required. You can either dock your iV with iPhone into a charging dock or simply connect your existing USB cable to the bottom of its 30 pin connector. The same connector on the back of your iPhone. Since the iV charges using your existing cable, that’s one less thing you’ll have to keep up with.

What kind of juice do you get?


The iV will charge up an iPhone that is in the red. It has an on/off button on the back so that the battery is not trying to charge an iPhone that is already charged. There are even LEDs on the back to let you know how much juice is left. So effectively the iV doubles your iPhone’s battery life. It’s also not just for iPhones! There’s a standard USB jack on the bottom too. You can use this battery to charge up your other USB powered devices.

An added bonus for iPhone photographers

There’s even a light on the back that you can turn on/off as needed when you’re taking pictures with the iPhone’s built-in camera. Since the iPhone doesn’t have a flash, this light certainly can’t hurt.

The Bottom Line

If you find yourself running out of power before the end of the day on your iPhone or iPhone 3g and want an external battery, this is one of the best I’ve seen. There are a couple of downsides: the first is a basic one and that is with the iPhone in the iV Battery chances are it won’t fit in your existing case. I use a DLO Hipcase and there is no way that the iPhone and iV will fit in it. Also since there is no belt clip on the back of the iV, I’m out of luck there. The next downside is simply the price. The iV retails for $99.95. Luckily for me they were selling them at Macworld Expo for only $59. I didn’t realize how much of a deal that was until now. At $99.95 (half the cost of a new subsidized 8GB iPhone 3g), I’d really have to think twice. However, now that I have one it has become a permanent part of my bag. If you need one, Amazon has them for $99.95.

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