Sunday, March 28, 2010

F70EXR – Text Mode

I added a brief note to my “how to shoot it” article for EXR cams today, but I thought it worth illustrating exactly what text mode does for you. I had thought that it just enabled macro mode (which it does) and added some sharpening (which it does I think) …

But in fact it does two other useful thing:

  1. It increases contrast considerably. This creates very crisp looking text and darkens other colors while lightening whites, i.e. the paper. Very useful.
  2. It performs the equivalent of custom white balance by presuming that the background of the text, i.e. the paper, is white … or at least neutral. This is *very* useful, as it makes the text extremely legible.

So … some examples … straight from the camera:

First, I shoot in P mode. My usual settings. Macro mode.


No doubt that nasty color cast is visible to you. The text is readable, but could be a bit clearer, especially at the top right.

Next, I shoot the same settings but with flash enabled.


That’s quite a bit better. The close in area is covered by flash and the white balance is of course set for flash, so the box and paper below are actually white. The text is now perfectly legible. So this is a useful mode in a pinch, but the flash cannot be used when extremely close in, and it clearly did not cover the bottom left area as there is some yellow light creeping in again. Still … not a bad performance.

And by the way … Fuji’s super intelligent flash really is exactly that. Most cams would blow out the reflective ink box from that distance.

Finally, a shot in text mode. Macro is enabled for you and flash is not.


Wow … now that’s almost perfect. The white balance has been correctly set for the whole image! And the text is very legible. Note, though, that the top right background area has been darkened a bit by the contrast adjustment, so in this instance you might actually give the nod to the flash image in P mode.

But clearly, for general purpose text photography in any light, text mode will give you the best results. Crisp text against clean white backgrounds … ideal.


archish said...

Looks good really good :)
Kim any date as when the F80 be reaching you? I am anxious to read a detailed ISO/Noise test from your end.

Kim Letkeman said...

Fuji say delivery to stores in Canada in April. I am guessing first couple of weeks, then it depends on how far down the preorder list I might be.

Anonymous said...

If you can not be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.............................................

Kim Letkeman said...

Those Asian symbols have, of course, no meaning for me since I do not read whatever language that might be in. Thus, you are effectively anonymous on this blog. And since your comment is rather inane, even vacuous, I would normally reject it. However, every now and again I like to remind the readers that some people exist just to find fault and for no useful purpose at all.

r said...

A nice feature. My old LG phone could take pics of business cards and convert to text to expedite adding a contact entry. If Fuji could OCR'ize this feature so you could take pics of a mag, book, etc., and then paste into a word processing doc, that would be very convenient. Any legal mumbo jumbo notwithstanding.

Kim Letkeman said...

r: OCR would be an interesting feature ... generic OCR would probably exceed the processing power of a compact cam, especially a Fuji. But there must be some pretty reasonably priced OCR apps available for PC or MAC ...