Wacom Announces New Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet, Great for Photographers and Filmmakers

Pen tablet maker Wacom introduced the latest version of its popular Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet and, from the specifications, it raises the bar for pen-based input when editing yet again.

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I have used Wacom pen tablets since the days of Apple ABS connectors after observing how my designer coworkers suffered so much from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, RSI or whatever the current term is for skeleto-muscular overuse and have only had such problems myself when employers refused permission to take my Wacoms into the office.

Wacom pen tablets do more than allay repetitive overuse injuries and this latest version of the Intuos Pro is very tempting indeed. I have a small Intuos 5 Touch, which looks very close to the Intuos Pro S, on this desk in my photography and video editing workroom, and there are Bamboo pen tablets attached to two other computers here.

My older Wacoms have found homes with grateful non-creative owners who had never used anything but a conventional mouse then developed overuse pain and injuries. I always make the point that anybody can benefit from relying on pen tablets as their primary pointing and clicking device. I have seen the benefits in action many times.

Some people, however, never seem to get the hang of using pen tablets, which is a real pity, or outright reject the idea of giving up the mouse. I have no answer for the naysayers, but I suspect the reason some cannot abide tablets is this, that they seem to want look at the pen on their tablet, move it, look up at their computer monitor, check what they have done, look back at the pen, make a move, and so on.

Doing all that is enough to wear anyone out. Watching it has certainly made me feel exhausted. The answer, for those with enough resolve, is simply to look only at the monitor while moving the pen over the tablet in the very same way that people learn how to use a mouse.

There are alternatives too. Wacom also makes a range of monitors that you can directly draw upon, at a number of price points, under the MobileStudio and Cintiq names. I haven’t tried any of them yet but I certainly hope to.

Although my current Wacoms are small, my very first was a large model. I replaced it with a smaller one when I began travelling and have stuck with small ones ever since for the sake of travel and commuting while carrying 15-inch Mac Book Pros.

Now that I am editing on an iMac 27-inch 5K Retina computer in my home office, I am wondering whether it is time to give a medium or large Wacom a go once again. This standing desk has enough space from front to rear and left to right to accomodate larger input devices as well as two monitors next to the iMac.

I used to know a top graphic designer/magazine art director who had a curved multi-level desk with side arms custom-built to hold the biggest pen tablet he could get, but he always sat to work. I prefer the many health benefits of standing. I am glad this desk is larger and more versatile than any I was given when working in agency and corporate offices.

Image Credits:

Header photoillustration aka featured image created for this website in Affinity Photo by Karin Gottschalk. Product photographs kindly supplied by Wacom.

Affinity Photo Update 1.5.1 Adds Camera and Lens Profiles, Focus Merge, HDR Merge, Batch Processing and More

This year, 2016, has been stellar for new raw processing and image editing software and updates to well-established products like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, and up-and-comers such as Macphun Aurora HDR 2017 and Luminar, Serif Affinity Photo, DxO OpticsPro 11, Capture One Pro 10PixelmatorAlien Skin Exposure X2 and soon-to-appear On1 Photo Raw by On1, Inc. And let’s not forget Photolemur, currently in beta. 

Affinity Photo raw developing with lens corrections applied.
Affinity Photo raw developing with lens corrections applied. Photograph made with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera and Olympus M. 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 R lens.
Affinity Photo 1.5.1 has an excellent HDR merge function and a set of presets including this one, Detailed. Three-bracket HDR image merged from raw files shot on Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R lens.
Having been developed from scratch without years’ worth of legacy code and concepts to build upon, Affinity Photo is fast, contemporary and contains features not usually seen in more traditional image editors. For example, a video-editing vectorscope view. Photograph made with Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujinon XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens.

Serif has just released its version 1.5.1 update for Affinity Photo and the subset of additions and improvements in its full feature list is a doozy, and too long to cover in depth here.

Affinity Photo’s photographically-oriented additions and improvements include camera and lens profiles for raw processing, HDR merging and 32-bit photo processing, panorama image stitching, focus merging for deep-focus still-life close-up photography, 360-degree editing for immersive interactive images, dust and scratches filter, batch processing, live perspective projection and more.

As Affinity Photo is made for graphic designers as well as photographers, it contains a host of design-oriented features too including close integration with Affinity Designer, Serif’s vector graphics application and the coming Affinity Publisher, its offline and online publishing software.

Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are made for the Mac and Windows.

Postscript

I have noticed some queries on online photography fora about Affinity Photo’s support for lens and sensor profiles. The folks at Affinity kindly sent me these links:

I am pleased to note that the list of Serif Labs-supported cameras includes the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T2 flagships as well as a vast array of other digital stills and video cameras. The Lensfun list of supported lenses includes seven Fujinon XF zoom and prime lenses, a good start that I hope will grow to encompass all of Fujifilm’s interchangeable lenses.