All posts for the month January, 2013

PermaJet Mercury Ultra White Matt Canvas +
PremaProtect varnish review



PermaJet is a market leader in high quality papers, they offer the world’s largest range of inkjet papers and canvases, these include Digital photo papers, Fibre based papers, Smooth and Textured Fine art papers and canvases.

Canvas has been around for hundreds of years as a popular artist medium. It’s now a favourite for portrait and landscape photographers who want to produce a Fine Art or artistic look to their work. Printing on canvas is no more complicated than standard inkjet printing, albeit there are a few extra steps. In this review we are testing PermaJet’s latest products, Mercury Ultra White Matt Canvas and PermaProtect canvas varnish.

Mercury Ultra White Matt is a textured, heavy weight product (405gsm) with a brilliant white surface which is ideal for bringing out details in a photograph. The canvas is compatible with both Dye and Pigment ink printers from desktop size through to large format printers.  The media is available in the following sizes; A3+ (10 sheet pack), 17”, 24”, 36”, 44” and 60” wide rolls (length 15 metres). For this review we are using an Epson Pro 3800 printer together with a custom profile.

For producing colour accurate prints on specialty media you need to use a custom profile, most printers, from Epson Canon or HP do not offer profiles for third party media. However, you can in most cases, download a profile from the paper manufacturer’s web-site. At the time of writing PermaJet do not  have a profile available for this new canvas, but you can download a target file from the PermaJet web-site and print it using your printer. Post the printed targets to PermaJet and they will create a custom ICC profile for you, free of charge. The profile will be unique to your printer, ink and media combination,  new profiles need to be created for each media type being used.


For printing, select Photoshop Manages Colour and from the profile drop down list select the custom profile (I have created one called PermaJet MUW Canvas). Go into the printer’s properties and make sure that No Colour Adjustment is selected, this prevents the printer from also applying a profile. The media type should be the same as used when printing the target files. The Media Type setting controls the amount of ink that is placed on the media and determines whether Photo Black or Matt Black ink is used, for our test prints we used the Epson Watercolour – Radiant White as the media type.

Canvas media is best suited to large format printers that have the facility to accommodate roll media, smaller desktop printers require rigid media. A support sheet is provided with the A3+ media as you can’t load canvas via the rear media tray, it needs to be loaded via the front  straight paper path together with a rigid support. Place the canvas sheet onto the support sheet and feed this into the front straight paper path holder. The rigid sheet ensures that the media is gripped and pulled into the printer. Now you can use the printer in the same way as you would with using any other media.


The Mercury Ultra White canvas has a brilliant white textured surface which may not suit all subjects, for traditional style portraiture it can look too cold and clinical. However, it is well suited to a contemporary style of photography that makes use of a whiter than white backdrop. Generally, subject matter printed on the smaller A3+ canvas needs to be large and fill as much of the area as possible, otherwise the textured canvas surface can break up some of the finer details in a photo.


The PermaJet canvas produced dynamic colour photographs using a variety of subject matter. Colours have a wide gamut and are vibrant to the point that they seem to jump of the canvas. Primary colours are particularly strong, yet at the same time the subtle colours maintain a delicacy of tone.  Black and White photographs worked particularly well, the blacks are strong whilst still retaining sufficient shadow detail. There was also plenty of subtlety in the lighter grey tones although on close inspection the actual canvas texture was showing more than I would have liked.

Canvas texture can interfere with image

Canvas texture can interfere with image

The other new product is the PermaProtect, this is a fast drying water based varnish that is applied to the printed canvas. The clear varnish offers protection against, UV, handling, abrasion and airborne pollutants as well as increasing the lightfastness of the canvas. The varnish also has the benefit of increasing the colour saturation and density of blacks.  PermaJet claims “that the varnishes will not discolour or change over 85 years.”  This claim is based on independent tests by a well known UK laboratory. The varnish is available in Gloss, Matt and Satin in 250ml pots and 2.5 litre cans. There is also a custom foam roller kit (sold separately) for applying the varnish. The roller has very fine pores to ensure an even application, don’t be tempted to use a roller from your local DIY store as these are generally designed for use with thicker emulsion paints. The varnishes can also be applied to other canvases and Fine Art papers.


Before applying the varnish, you should ensure that the ink on the canvas has dried for at least 24 hours. Stir the varnish for 2 minutes and then pour a small amount into the tray, this has a milky white look but will dry clear. Load the roller evenly for consistency and then apply a single coat to the entire canvas making sure all areas are covered. You can apply more coats to increase the colour vibrancy but it will extend the drying time. The canvas will be dry in less than 20 minutes. Applying the varnish using the roller kit was a simple task, we didn’t encounter any problems, although you should apply it in a well ventilated room. The roller and tray can be washed in water after use and then re-used again. The finished canvas print can be mounted on acid free museum board or stretched onto a wooden frame, PermaJet can supply all the necessary items for this



PermaJet produced vibrant colours on our test reels

Large photographs printed on Canvas and displayed on a wall look impressive and can add another dimension to your pictures. The PermaJet Mercury Ultra White Canvas produced vibrant well saturated colours on our test photographs, together with an exceptional brilliant white canvas base. However, I should point out that we used our own custom profile created with an X-Rite i2Pro spectrophotometer. We were informed by PermaJet that this is the same spectrophotometer that they use to create their profiles, so in theory you should be able to achieve a similar result.  A coating of PermaProtect varnish ensures your photographs will be well protected against dirt and air borne pollutants.



  • 10 sheets of A3+          £ 47.95
  • 17” roll (15 mtrs)          £102.00
  • 24” roll (15 mtrs)          £144.00
  • 36” roll (15 mtrs)          £219.00
  • 44” roll (15 mtrs)          £264.00
  • 60” roll (15 mtrs)          £360.00
  • Foam roller kit              £    4.50
  • Varnish 250ml              £    7.49  Gloss, Satin & Matt
  • Varnish 2.5 Litre          £  53.99  Gloss, Satin & Matt


Highly recommended



Here is another picture that I took last week with the new Pentax K5 II. I have been using this camera for a couple of weeks now and it is producing well exposed shots every time even in difficult lighting. The snow was magical this year and seemed to stay on the trees for longer than usual. The Robin just popped into frame as I was about to take the picture – good to have friends.  I am working on a full review of the Pentax camera and will publish it in a few days time.

Camera Pentak K5 II fitted with 18 -135mm lens  1/50 sec @  f5.6  ISO 200. – enlarged from a center section of the file.



Yet another visitor to our garden – Pentax K5 II  fitted with 18 – 135mm lens –  1/100sec @ F6.3  ISO200



Today’s photo is of the latest member to our family – Matilda. She was born (created) on 21 January 2013 by Sophie and Elizabeth, with a little help from mum and dad (yours truly).

Photograph taken with Pentax K-5 II and 18 – 135mm lens  (f8 @ 1/200 sec ISO 200 with a +0.7 exposure compensation applied.

I am in the process of reviewing this camera, so far it has performed beyond expectations, I think this is going to be a camera to watch, Pentax are producing some nice equipment.

A full review will be published in due course



Chislehurst Woods photo taken with Pentax K5 II – 21 January 2013


All new high-performance digital compact camera

Pentax MX-1

Pentax MX-1


PENTAX RICOH IMAGING UK LTD. is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX MX-1 digital compact camera. Featuring a four-times optical zoom lens with a maximum aperture of F1.8 to F2.5 and a 28mm wide-angle coverage (in the 35mm format), the camera delivers sharp, high-quality images and allows photographers to produce beautifully blurred backgrounds for portraiture and still-life photography.


The camera also features a 1cm Macro mode to capture dramatic close-up images of a subject from just one centimetre away. An Intelligent Zoom function extends the zoom coverage up to approximately 7.8 times, (for a focal length of approximately 218mm in the 35mm format) without compromising image quality.


The MX-1’s high performance assures sharp, well-defined images even when the zoom lens is set at maximum aperture and the widest angle of view, allowing the photographer to use faster shutter speeds in dimly lit locations and take advantage of a beautiful bokeh (out-of-focus) effect in the background.


Further enhancing the camera’s performance is a newly designed back-illuminated CMOS image sensor. With a top sensitivity of ISO 12,800 and approximately 12.0 effective megapixels, it boasts remarkable high-sensitivity, low-noise characteristics and high-speed image data readout to deliver super-high-resolution images.


The MX-1 also features a state-of-the-art imaging engine. Supported by the latest Super Resolution technology, this engine offers outstanding image-processing performance to produce clear, high-quality images with well-defined details. In addition, its unique Handheld Night snap mode helps photographers capture blur-free night-time images by taking multiple images at one time, then synthesizing them into a single composite picture.


Pentax MX1 with tilt

Pentax MX1 with tilt

Equipped with a large 3.0-inch, tilt-able, high-definition LCD monitor* – the MX-1 allows photographers to adjust the monitor to the easiest viewing angle. It also provides a clear view of menus displayed on the screen for quick, effortless check of recorded images and swift, easy setting changes.


Combining state of the art technology with a classic design reminiscent of film cameras, the MX-1 features a textured-rubber grip, and brass top and bottom panels. In addition the camera features a pop up auto flash, along with a number of metallic parts, including a metallic lens ring, to complete the tasteful, high-class retro design finish.


The PENTAX MX-1 will be available in Black and Black and Silver from February 2013. RRP. £399.99



Additional Features


Exposure compensation dial

Exposure compensation dial

1. In-body RAW data development and dedicated exposure compensation dial for SLR operability and RAW DNG data capture

Thanks to a dedicated exposure compensation dial, users can directly access the exposure compensation setting without the need to recall the menu screen. It also features a mode dial for swift, effortless setting of 10 different shooting modes — ranging from the hands-off Auto Picture and the all-purpose Programmed AE, to the more creative Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE and Metered Manual.


What’s more, the MX-1 comes equipped with a host of SLR-standard features to optimise its operability, including advanced user interface functions, easy-to-access controls and in-body RAW data development.


2. Dual shake-reduction system to assure sharp, blur-free images

The MX-1’s dual shake-reduction system couples the PENTAX developed sensor-shift SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism with a digital SR mode to effectively compensate for annoying camera shake. This hybrid system enables  the photographer to take sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting with incidental light only in poorly lit locations, or photographing sunset scenes.


3. Full HD-standard movie recording for extended recording of high-quality movies

The MX-1 features a Full HD movie recording function employing the H.264 recording format to capture high-quality, extended movie clips (with 1920 x 1080 pixels, at a 16:9 aspect ratio, and at a frame rate of 30 frames per second). A dedicated movie recording button on the top panel of the camera, allows users to instantly start recording a movie from any shooting mode.


The camera also offers a range of creative movie capture modes — including a High-speed Movie mode** for slow-motion playback and a Time-lapse Movie mode* for fast-forward playback. A micro-HDMI terminal (Type D) is also provided on the camera body for the output of recorded movies and sound to external devices.


Pentax MX1 rear controls

Pentax MX1 rear controls

4. Other features

I.           Remote control sensors on front and back panels

II.         Dual-axial digital level for accurate horizontal and vertical alignment

III.        15 digital filters, including Miniature and Toy Camera, to add creative touches to captured images

IV.     A range of creative image-processing tools including Stretch and Small Face filters and Collage function

V.       A choice of four aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9. 3:2, 1:1) to accommodate specific applications

VI.     SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 LE for PENTAX RICOH IMAGING RAW data development software (designed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included, in addition to in-body RAW data development

VII.    Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN SD memory cards


*With approximately 920,000 dots

** In these modes, the recorded size is fixed at VGA dimensions (640 x 480 pixels).

♦Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.
♦This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III compliant.
Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Print Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
♦Mac OS is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
♦HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.
♦All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
♦Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.



PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY LTD is a leading supplier of recreational cameras and photographic equipment world-wide, with a long standing UK brand heritage.  Its product range is extensive and includes state of the art digital SLR, medium format, interchangeable lens system (mirrorless) cameras, zoom compact cameras and an extensive range of high performance lenses and accessories.  In addition, it has a superb range of binoculars, suitable for a variety of leisure activities.


PENTAX RICOH IMAGING UK LTD successfully distributes its products through a number of channels, including independent camera shops, mass merchandisers and national multiple retailers – both on and offline. PENTAX RICOH IMAGING UK LTD is a subsidiary of PENTAX RICOH IMAGING COMPANY LTD of Japan.


DXO Viewpoint review

When shooting buildings with a wide angle lens, the photograph can display unwanted perspective distortions, especially if the camera is tilted upwards to get everything in. There are several solutions to correct these problems including; choosing a longer lens and moving further back, use a Perspective Control lens, or just take the picture and manipulate it in PaintShop Pro X5 or Photoshop. The alternative solution comes from DXO with Viewpoint software.

Uncorrected photo

Uncorrected shot showing building leaning inwards

DXO Viewpoint is an application for correcting perspective and distortions in an image, perspective can be in the vertical or horizontal plane, or even a head on shot that hasn’t been correctly aligned. Viewpoint installs both as a standalone product and as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom. As a standalone version it opens JPEGs or Tiff files  (RAW and Photoshop PSD files are not supported).  However, when using Viewpoint as a plug-in you can use any file that is open in Photoshop or Lightroom.

The DXO Viewpoint interface

The DXO Viewpoint interface

The interface is simple in appearance, the tool bar at the top contains 9 icons; Display Corrected image, Before and After image, Fit to screen, 1:1 view, Zoom settings, Grid, Pointer, Hand and Zoom slider.  On the right hand side are the Correction options; the first panel is Anamorphosis, this corrects distortions made by wide angle lenses. The second panel contains the Keystoning effects. At a simple level you can choose between Vertical, Horizontal or Rectangle. Clicking on the drop down arrow reveals the advanced settings, these enable you to add numeric values for the amount of corrections needed or simply drag the sliders.

The DXO Viewpoint interface

The DXO Viewpoint interface showing before and after

Below this is the Horizon tool, this can be used on a horizontal or on a vertical element in a picture. A slider can also be used to fine tune the correction. The next panel is a crop tool, the correction options are Auto and Manual, plus an Aspect Ratio drop down list which includes several options from Unconstrained, 16:9, 5/4  through to 1/1. The last panel is Visualization Loupe, this is a 100 or 200% magnification of the cursor position or it can be set to magnify the anchor point that is being positioned.

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