Effective communication with color begins with the capture or creation of your content, requires special care as your message is shaped and edited, and demands that output media be optimized for your intended audience and application.
It’s a lot easier to produce beautiful color output when you start off with a great picture. The new Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT has set a new price/performance standard for high-end digital image capture. With its 8 megapixel sensor and DIGIC II processor, the featherweight (17.1 oz.) Rebel XT produces superb quality images in a wide variety of shooting conditions, yet costs less than $1,000 with an interchangeable Canon EF-S 18-55 mm, f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens.
For simpler photo needs, try the sleek, 5/8-inch thin, 5-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7 ($499) or Epson’s super-compact L-500V ($399). Both take excellent snapshots, but lack optical viewfinders — making it difficult to frame shots in bright sunlight.
The new and improved Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 Standard Edition ($899, Mac or PC) integrates several of the company’s best-of-breed photo and graphics applications, and adds powerful color management tools for print and Web publishing. Photoshop CS2 delivers extraordinary imaging power, while Illustrator CS2,makes it possible to design and create great graphics and layouts. GoLive CS2 enables the creation of dynamic content for the Web and portable devices, and InDesign CS2 integrates advanced page layout and publishing capabilities with Adobe’s other powerful tools. Version Cue CS2 improves productivity by organizing files, tracking versions across applications, and enhancing work group collaboration.
The dozens of new functions in CS2 include: Image-Warp, which can wrap images around a shape to create packaging mockups; and Live Trace, which quickly converts photos or scans to editable line drawings, and multi-image digital camera raw file processing to maximize image quality and optimize workflow. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 also provides a powerful integrated environment for the creation and editing of a wide range of visual communications. The $399, Windows-only suite of applications features CorelDRAW, a powerful yet surprisingly easy-to-use tool for the creation and editing of vector-based graphics and page layouts. Photo Paint delivers Photoshop-like image editing capabilities, and Corel R.A.V.E enables the creation of dynamic Flash-compatible animations.
What You See
The right display system can assure that the audience will receive the full benefit of your brilliant color work. By selecting the appropriate display system (projectors and LCD or plasma screens) for your business presentations and other applications, you can deliver brilliant images with great color accuracy.
For fixed installations and small workgroup use, high-resolution plasma screens with advanced image processing and ultra-high contrast ratios deliver eye-popping HDTV and video reproduction. In a 42-inch plasma display, look for a unit with at least 1024 x 768-pixel resolution. The new Hitachi CMP4211 (less than $6,000), the Pioneer PDP-434CMX (around $8,500), and Panasonic’s TH-42PHD7UY (under $4,800) are superb for video content, and also work extremely well for PowerPoint presentations and graphics display.
Mobile professionals who need to display spreadsheets and data files where text legibility is paramount should look for a portable projector with native (actual) resolution of XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) or better. The Hitachi CP-X345 (less than $7,500) is a laptop-sized portable that delivers 2000 ANSI lumens of native XGA imaging power, and weighs only 5.5 lbs. Thanks to the unit’s three 0.7-inch Poly-Si LCD and advanced image processing, the CP-X345 also provides superior reproduction of video and HDTV programming.
Road warriors will appreciate the compact new NEC LT20. This 2.2-lb., DLP-based native XGA projector measures just 2.9 x 7.8 x 5.9-inches, but delivers a screen filling 1500 ANSI lumens of high contrast picture for presentation and video applications, for less than $2,000.
Architects, engineers and others using CAD/CAM and other advanced imaging tools, need a display system that makes it easy to see all the fine detail that these applications produce. The new Hitachi CP-SX1350 with native SXGA resolution of 1400 x 1050 pixels delivers 3500 ANSI lumens, and a 650:1 contrast ratio. This 17-lb. projector is intended for installation or AV cart use, and packs enough picture power to fill even a 100-inch wide screen in a well-lit conference room or lab area. The Canon Realis SX50 is an 8.6-lb. projector with SXGA+ (1400 x 1050 pixels) resolution. The LCOS-based unit produces 2500 ANSI lumens of brightness for viewing of highly detailed images and HDTV content, and sells for less than $5,000.
High-speed color laser printers deliver near photographic-quality printouts of presentations, reports and brochures at a much lower cost (less than 10 cents per page) than inkjet printers. Konica Minolta’s new magicolor 5450 can deliver up to 27 pages per minute (ppm) of consistently high-quality output on plain paper, 9600 x 600 dpi-class resolution. The 5450 costs less than $1,800, is equipped with browser-based management tools, high-speed Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 interfaces, and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Options include a duplexer, up to 1 GB of RAM, 1,600 sheet-feed capacity, and a 40 GB internal hard drive for storage of fonts, forms, and printing jobs.
Inkjet printers are still the best choice for true photo-quality output with glossy and premium grade paper. Medium format, 8-color printers such as the new Epson R1800 ($550) and Canon’s i9900 ($499) can produce gallery-worthy prints and posters up to 13 inches wide.
With the right tools, a little patience, and a clear idea of the image you want to create, you should have no trouble tapping into the power of color to enhance your business communications.
Sidebar: Bright Multimedia Projection
With a brightness of 1,500 ANSI lumens and weighing only 4.84 lbs., the new Performa(TM) model CP-RS55 projector from Hitachi features the high-end performance required for use in corporate and small business environments, and an intuitive user interface that makes it ideal for home use.
Moreover, because of its light weight and connectivity options, the Performa allows for hassle-free portability between the home and the workplace, making it a true-to-form, dual-use projector. Its user-friendly features make it easy to set up, and make the adjustments you want simple with the remote control.
The Performa model CP-RS55 features Progressive Scan Technology, which allows users to enjoy realistically beautiful images with no flicker. Its Equalizing function (Gamma Correction and Color Balance) lets users make adjustments to achieve the desired picture quality. Three Picture Mode settings (Normal, Cinema, and Dynamic) enable users to choose the best mode to match the source.
The Performa also allows for a Whisper Mode option, which reduces fan noise to 32 dB. This provides quiet performance in a variety of applications, from living room to boardroom or classroom.
For more information, call 1-650-589-8300 or visit www.hitachi.us/digitalmedia.
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