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Olympus Studio (cont.)
By Les Freed

Printing Features

Viewer and Studio both provide very flexible image printing features. Both programs can print single or multiple (up to 144) images on a page. The print feature has three separate modes - photo, index, and contact sheet - that let you tailor the printed output to your needs. The photo mode is best suited for on-the-spot proofs and prints.

Multi-image printing with Olympus Viewer

The Index print mode creates multi-image prints with optional file name and date/time information below each image. The Contact print mode is similar, but allows you to choose from a long list of EXIF header items that you can print below or alongside the images.

Image Editor

The Image Editor in Olympus Studio isn't an editor in the true sense of the word. It does not have any brushes or drawing tools and is not intended to replace Photoshop or any other program in your workflow.

Multi-image printing with Olympus Viewer

The Image Editor toolbar contains tools to adjust brightness, color balance, and image size, just as you would expect. It also contains some more unusual items, including tools to control distortion correction, shading compensation, noise reduction, and filter effects.

The major attraction of the Olympus Editor isn't its feature set but rather its ability to save a set of image adjustments in an image processing file (similar to a Photoshop actions file.) After you have created an image adjustment file, you can use Studio's batch processing feature to apply the image adjustments to several files or even an entire directory full of files. This can be a tremendous time saver when you wish to apply the same set of changes to a large number of similar images at once.

Image adjustment files can be saved and reused, so users can build a library of adjustment files to suit their needs. For example, a sports photographer could build a library of files to perform color correction for different sports venues, and a product photographer could build a library of adjustment files to suit each client's product line.

Camera Control

The Olympus Studio Camera Control software allows for tethered shooting with a USB or FireWire-connected Mac or PC. Camera Control provides complete control over camera functions, including shutter release, exposure, focus, white balance, flash mode, and ISO sensitivity.

Camera Control can operate in one of two modes. In PC shooting mode, you control the camera from the PC, using pull-down menus to make all camera adjustments. Camera shooting mode is just the opposite; you make all of the shooting adjustments at the camera, just as you would for normal, standalone shooting.

The Shooting Setup screen gives you complete control over the E-1

In either shooting mode, the Camera Control software immediately downloads and stores your images directly onto the attached computer's hard drive. This eliminates the need for any storage media in the camera. In PC shooting mode, you can save all of the camera's settings into a settings file, and recall the exact same camera settings at a later time. This is a handy feature for catalog and product photographers who need to maintain a consistent look over a large number of images or a long period of time.

Camera Control adds intervalometer functionality to a tethered E-1

The Camera Control software includes a time lapse feature that allows you to take any number of images over a specified period of time. You can set a shooting interval, number of pictures to take, and a stop time, and the camera will do the rest.

Conclusion

Obviously, we'd prefer that Olympus provided the full Olympus Studio - rather than the less-capable Olympus Viewer - as a standard part of the E-1 package. If you plan to shoot mostly in JPEG mode and don't need the remote control features, you probably don't need to spend the extra $150 for Olympus Studio. The slower RAW image conversion in Viewer won't be an issue if you're only working with a few files at a time.

High-volume shooters will find the extra $150 to be money well-spent. The faster RAW conversion teamed up with batch-mode processing can automate a good part of your daily workflow, and the remote control software is a must-have for portrait, catalog, and product photographers.

Les Freed

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