Wondering what Microsoft's new PC operating system, Windows Vista, offers the professional photographer? So were we. Studio Photography arranged a meeting with Microsoft to learn what enhancements and innovations pro photographers would find in the long-awaited operating system. Highlights of what we discovered follow.
- RAW support. Windows Vista supports RAW images with a plug-in model called Windows Imaging Components (WIC). WIC allows different image formats to be added to the system any time through a plug-in, called a codec. RAW codecs, for example, are delivered by the digital camera manufacturer, which means the RAW processing you do in Vista will actually be performed by the camera company's codec.
- Metadata handling. There are numerous metadata standards, and each application stores metadata differently. Windows Vista simplifies metadata handling in two ways: (1) It supports the most widely used standards (EXIF, IPTC, and XMP) and ensures that each standard is used appropriately; (2) it stores all user metadata in the digital image itself, ensuring that any information about the file is in the image and always travels with it. (iView MediaPro, recently acquired by Microsoft, also supports this capability.)
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) PIPELINE. The Imaging Pipeline—the under-the-hood engine that processes images from start to finish—is now fully high-dynamic range. This means that images with greater than 8-bit color depth can be acquired, organized, edited, and printed without loss of fidelity.
- HD Photo. A new still-image format, HD Photo captures all the high-bit depth and dynamic range information contained in a RAW file, with lossless compression. This new format lets you work with high-quality images in small, manageable file sizes.
- Photo Import. With Windows Vista, it's easy to import your pictures from your digital camera, memory card, or scanner to your PC. The photo import features can be tailored to specific applications through plug-ins written by software developers.
- Windows Photo Gallery. Windows Vista includes a new application for organizing, sharing, editing, and printing digital photographs: Photo Gallery. Photo Gallery, which uses capabilities such as RAW support, the HDR pipeline, and metadata handling, lets you tag and rate your photos, perform basic editing capabilities, transmit photos to online photofinishers, create slideshows, and email your images.
- photo Print Wizard. One of Windows Vista's most dramatic improvements is the addition of the Photo Print Wizard. This single-screen wizard simplifies the process of printing photographs while accommodating a high degree of customization. The Photo Print Wizard lets you select any number of photos, then select from a number of layouts, including borderless, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 3.5x5, wallet, and contact sheets. Additional layouts can be added by printer manufacturers for specific printers and paper sizes.
- Search. Searching for specific images is more intuitive now because you can look for them the way you remember them. To find the picture from a particular shoot, just type the client's name, the date the photos were taken, and so on. If you are in the habit of rating your images, you can organize or search for them based on those ratings.
Find out for yourself how Vista can transform your workflow.
For details, visit www.windowsvista.com