Photography


Olympus TG-3 is a new release of the popular TG series of waterproof camera. Here is what is interesting:

  • Waterproof: you can go diving with it up 15m.
  • Shockproof
  • Crushproof: you can throw it around and literally jump onto it.
  • Has GPS, so you can tag the location of your photos
  • Also records altitude/depth and pressure
  • e-Compass, to get directions if you get lost
  • Wifi with Android application
  • 16 MegaPixel
  • Wide Aperture: F2.0 for those great pictures in low light conditions
  • 1080p video shooting
  • fish eye and telephoto lenses options (at additional costs)

 

Nikon is releasing the CoolPix S800C in September. With the Android and WiFi powered, you will be able to use your favourite application (Whatsapp, Facebook, Ubuntu One, DropBox, etc.) to share photos easily. Here is the cool features of the CoolPix.

  • 3.5-inch OLED touchscreen with 819,000-dot resolution,
  • 10x optical zoom
  • GPS, 1080p video capture at 30 frames per second
  • 1.7 GB onboard storage
  • SD and SDHC external storage support
  • 18 filter effects
  • HDMI Out (up to 1080i resolution)
  • USB port, and Wi-Fi
  • Weight than a half-pound (6.5 ounces)
  • 1.1-inch depth.

Olympus Pen E-P3 12.3MP DSLR Camera Black & 14-42MM 2RK Lens BlackOlympus E-P3, the third generation of Micro four-third camera is now available.This is a perfect camera for someone who wants a professional camera in a compact body.

Whats nice:

  • Built in Flash
  • Fastest auto focus
  • Built-in auto focus illuminator light
  • 12 Megapixel
  • Touch sensitive LCD. What would be better if they had a varied angle LCD like the Panasonic G3 which can be swivel screen.
  • Full HD 1080i60 movies in AVCHD format
  • In-body image stabilisation.
  • USB 2.0 (have yet to see cameras with USB 3.0)

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 16 MP Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Free-Angle Touch-Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 Lens

This is Panasonic’s third generation of mirror-less Interchangeable Lens Camera. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3.

Whats cool:

  • 16-megapixel
  • 3D photos with optional lens
  • 3.0-inch free-angle LCD with touch control
  • New Pinpoint AF feature, just touch anywhere on the screen to select a focal point
  • 1080/60i HD video capability in AVCHD format
  • ISO 160-6400
  • 4 fps continuous shooting (20fps at 4MP)
  • Electronic View Finder
  • HDML Port
  • SD / SDHC / SDXC card support
  • Micro four-third standard

What would be even better:

If it had an in-body image stabilisation, which is there in Olympus micro four-third cameras.

Ever since Panasonic started offering their first micro four-third, interchangeable lens cameras, they have been rolling out  models with lots of features.  They call this the Lumix G Micro-System.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is the latest in the family, its got more advance video capabilities than the G2, whcih is primarily for still photography.

Advantages over its predessor GH1.

  • 16 Megapixel vs 12 Megapixel. The actual sensor is 18 Megapixel but gives you 16 Megapixel in different aspect ratios.
  • ISO range 160 – 12800 (vs 100-3200)
  • Video shooting at 1080p 60 or 50 fps vs 24 or 25 fps
  • Faster AF
  • Larger EVF (852 x 600 rather than 800 x 600 pixels)
  • Touch-sensitive LCD screen (same as G2)
  • And yes the camera can shoot in 3D with 3D Interchangeable lens.

Panasonic claim to fame is this model has the fastest auto-focus.


The Canon Photoshot G12 is targeted as a backup camera to professional gear like DSLRs. These have a lot of features found in professional cameras in a compact form factor.

Canon was the first to reduce the megapixel with the G11. The reason for reducing megapixel was that with each increase in megapixel, there was a drop in image quality. Hence Canon decided to focus on improving image quality rather than increasing megapixel. If quality matters to you in a compact camera, then this camera is for you, if megapixel matters to you, then you need not read further :)

Here are some key features of the G12 which are carried over from G11:

  • 10 Megapixel camera
  • 5X wide-angel optical zoom
  • 2.8″ swirl LCD
  • Support for RAW
  • HDMI connectivity
  • Lithium Ion battery
  • Built in flash
  • 28-140mm (35mm equiv)
  • ISO from 80-3200 (the G12 has more ranges)
  • Weight: 355g

New features over G11:

  • HD Movie mode (new addition)
  • Hybrid IS (better image stabilisation)
  • Support for SDXC cards.

My suggestions: If you don’t need the additional features, go with the G11 as you may get a nice deal.

Canon has announced the SX30 at Photokina 2010. This is new addition to the super zoom family. Earlier Canon was still limited to 20X while competition had gone to 30X. With this release canon has now beaten most of the competition by releasing a 35X Optical Zoom.

Here are some cool features.

  • 14 Megapixel
  • HD Movie Recording (Upto 1280×720)
  • 2.7″ Vari Angle Lens.
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • HDMI mini-port to connect to High Definition TVs
  • Memory card support: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HCMMCplus
  • Weight: 601g (a bit heavy)
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Full Manual Controls

I have used over a dozen bags from LowePro, Case Logic, Samsonite, Belkin, Hush Puppies to name a few known brands. I have also evaluated Targus, Swiss Gear and some other brands in detail.

I have founds that a few are well designed to carry laptops while others are well designed as professional camera bags. I have come across very few bags which are well suited for both. As a matter of fact most IT professionals, specially the young ones are buying Digital Camera. After the laptop their next purchase  is usually an expensive gadgets (iPhone/iPad) or high end cameras.

Remember bag is no more an accessory to carry your device, it provides security to the customer that all his/her devices are going to be safe in this bag.

For me, my bag is my office while I am travelling. I use the bag to carry a laptop, sometimes a second laptop/netbook for demos. Brochures, Business Cards and CDs. I also carry a camera with a lens and other accessories.

Here is my wish list for what a bag should do. Also I have found that most of the bags do a few of these well but not all of the following:

  • Stroller backpack: Strollers are good to use when you have lots of stuff to carry around and don’t want to strain your back. The challenge is to make the bag light weight at the same time able to have a stroller. Solution: Explore alternative material like titanium/carbon fiber for stroller.
  • All terrain stroller wheels: The stroller wheels should be big ones which can work in difficult terrains. I have used bags, where the stroller is designed only to be used in offices/hotels and not designed for outdoor use. You may not always have a smooth train specially if you go outdoor for photography. I am currently using a bag which has silicon wheels, lets see how that goes.
  • Weight Bearing Capacity: Some of the bags that I have used, give way once you put all your things. Most of the bags don’t publish their weight bearing capacity so you don’t know how much you should or should not load. Solution:Publish the Weight Bearing Capacity.
  • Solar Panel: I saw some bags which had solar panels on the top, these are nice for emergency charging of cellphones and other devices. They are also environmental friendly.
  • Laptop Slot: Since the bag is primarily going to be used to carry a laptop, the slot must be well padded from all sides include the base. It should also not directly face the stroller metal bar as this could damage the laptop.
  • Impact resistant base: The base should be designed to be able to take a small amount of impact/drop from a desk in case that happens.
  • Mobile phone/mp3 player slot: Many people user their mobile phone as an Mp3 player, the bag should have a slot to put these. This should be easy to drop it as air travellers need to quickly drop their mobile phones at airport security.
  • Removable Laptop Sleeve: The bag should have a laptop sleeve, so people can remove the laptop from the bag and yet have some protection. This is useful for airport security or if customer just want to take the laptop with him/her without taking the entire bag.
  • iPad Compartment: Many customer already have a second device (Netbook) or will invest in a iPad like device. The bag must have a compartment for a second device such as a second laptop which is required for demos, second netbook or an iPad.
  • Removable laptop battery case: in one of the bags that I used, it has a little case for laptop battery which was removable. This is a nice feature and can have Velcro to strap it inside the bag.
  • Removable Camera Compartment: There should be a compartment to carry a digital camera with some accessories or an SLR. This should be removable so customer doesn’t have to carry multiple bags when he/she wants to keep the bag but move around with the camera.
  • Adjustable pockets for accessories: Many people need to carry additional accessories/lenses, etc. The bag should have a pockets which should be adjustable to carry one big device or a few small ones.
  • Water bottle/drink slot: A few bags have them, while others don’t. While travelling people want to carry water or their favourite drinks.
  • Key ring hook: A key ring hook is a nice feature, so people can secure the keys inside the bag. A few bags have them, however a few of them have key-chains inside, which one needs to use to use the hook. Its better to just provide a key hook so people can use what ever key-chain they want to use.
  • Secure compartment: Bags usually have a place to store your passports/cash but they need to be secure enough so people trust them and use them to keep their cash and other important document.
  • Slots for Brochures, pens, business cards are given and found in most bags.
  • Phone Slot: People still prefer to keep their phones in their pocket, but at times they need to keep their phones away like at Airport Security. They bag should have slot where they can keep their phone away at the same time have easy access.
  • Sleeve for Luggage: Some bags have a sleeve which can be used to attach your laptop bag to the luggage, this makes it easy if you have to carry two bags.
  • Not just black! I have see so many nice bags, but all that they have is a black colour. I know black is the corporate colour and many business laptops are black too but its time to experiment with more colours.

I must now like to admit, that after writing this article I came across Crumpler bags. They were able to satisfy most of the requested features but not all. I will write my review once I check them out.

Canon has released the 550D as an upgrade to 500D. It has inherited some of the features of their high end 7D while offering a cheaper alternative to 7D.

Key features:

  • 18 Megapixel! Will this megapixel race ever end?
  • ISO 100-6400 (Expansion to 12800) , similar to 500D
  • 1920X1080 Full HD Movie Recording
  • SDHX compatible
  • External microphone support 3.5mm stereo jack
  • Weight 530g

Limitations:

  • Fixed LCD
  • No in camera RAW conversion

Canon 7D Advantage over 550D

  • Faster burst speed 8fps vs 3.5fps (550D)
  • Weather proof sealing
  • Top LCD

If faster burst speed or weather proofing is not your requirements, 550D would work out better for you.

Panasonic is expanding their micro-four third lines by introducing two new cameras.

Both these:

  • 12 Megapixel
  • Support high-definition video
  • 3″ LCD Screen
  • 1:1 Aspect ratio for square photos

Here is a comparison between the two:

Features
Lumix G2
Lumix GMC-G10
Video Mode
Motion JPG + AVCHD
(smaller file size)
Motion JPG
Interface First one to have touch interface No touch, just regular button
LCD Screen
Tilt and Swing Fixed
Movie Recording High Definition High Definition
HDMI Yes Yes
Weight 371g 336g (lightest Micro 4/3)
List Price US$ 899 US$ 699
Support this site. Buy Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2
Buy Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10

People often send large photos via email. These file sizes are usually large, typically a few megabytes because they are taken from multi-megapixel camera. The more the megapixel, the larger the file size.

I prefer to reduce the image size before I email or post on the web, these file sizes are small (couple of 100 kilobytes) and typically occupy 10 percent the disk space of those taken directly from your digital camera. They are also easier to send/forward and you can send many of them at once.

I found a very nifty plugin for Nautilus called Nautilus image converter. Nautilus is the default file manager on Gnome (Linux/Unix Window Manager). Under Ubuntu, startup synaptic and look for nautilus-image-converter.

After installation, you need to either logout or re-start your PC for it to take effect.

Once loaded, you just need to right click on the image/s and resize them. You can select one or multiple files. By default your original image is not replaced, new image is created with the name: filename.resized.jpg (or whatever is the file type)

You can also replace your original image if you like and rotate them.

For those who prefer command line, you can install this package called imagemagick and use this tool called mogrify.

If your work required very high megapixel camera, this is for you. And yes it costs an arm and a leg – 25,000 dollars! Check out more.

Hasselblad H3D II 50 Digital Camera 50MP

Olympus and Fuji have both released 30X optical zoom cameras. This is amazing amount of zoom for those wildlife enthusiasts

Here is a comparison between the two:

Features
Olympus SP-800UZ FinePix HS10
Optical Zoom 30X 30X
Digital Zoom 5X 2X
Megapixel 14 10
Image Stabilisation
Dual Triple
Display 3″ LCD 3″ Tilting LCD
Movie Recording High Definition High Definition
High Speed Movie 10 fps 1000 fps
HDMI Yes Yes
ISO Upto 10,000 Upto 6,400
Raw support No Yes
Internal Memory 2048 MB (2GB) 54 MB
Battery Lithium Ion AA or Lithium Ion
(not included)
Weight 435g 636g
Aperture F2.8-F5.6 F 2.8-F11
Pricing US$ 349 US$ 499
Support this site. Buy Olympus SP-800UZ Buy Fujifilm FinePix HS10

Olympus has been bringing Micro Four-Third cameras to the market faster that expected. After the E-P1 and E-P2, they have now released E-PL1 which is cheaper by US$ 200.

Here are the specs.

  • Kit includes 14-42 Zoom lens
  • 12 MegaPixel
  • 2.7″ LCD
  • HD Video support
  • List price US$ 599

E-PL1 has a few advantages over E-P2:

  • Dedicated REC button
  • Magnified live view button
  • Up to 14x live view magnification
  • Lighter low-pass filter
  • Built-in flash

E-P2 advantages over E-PL1:

  • Two control dials
  • More direct-access buttons (including ISO and white balance)
  • Superior image stabilization system
  • AE/AF lock button
  • Orientation sensor
  • Larger, 3.0″ LCD
  • More substantial construction
  • 1/180 sec flash sync speed (rather than 1/160)
  • Maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 sec (rather than 1/2000)
  • Maximum ISO of 6400
  • Virtual level display
  • Built-in stereo mics/speakers
  • Optional wireless remote
  • Electronic View Finder (EVF) bundled, in EPL-1 it is optional

Detailed comparison of all the three models at DP Review.

Olympus  has launched the E-P2 soon after they launched the E-P1. E-P2 has an electronic view finder which was absent in the E-P1.

Rest of the specs remain more or less the same as the E-p1.

If you have a point-and-shoot and long to have more professional features, you don’ t need to buy expensive new cameras yet. You can just enable many new features:

  • With this tool, you can enable advance features in any Canon Camera.
  • Supports advance features such as RAW support, additional to jpeg. This makes it easy to change white balance and other settings.
  • More versatile shutter speeds from 1/60,000 to 34 Min
  • You can write your own scripts or use ready scripts for motion detection and other features.
  • Live Histogram capabilities allows you manage exposure correctly.
  • Completely open source and GPL.
  • And yes many other features.

Check the CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) website

My earlier post on this.

Please make sure your camera is supported before you mess with your firmware and yes, this may void your warranty or could make your camera paper weight, so standard disclaimer applies :)

See some really cool sample images created using this.

1/60,000 shutter speed.

Hummingbird.

Lightning captured using motion sensing.

Nikon has released P90, which is a prosumer camera, featuring functions found in professional cameras. This is a good alternative if you need more than a point-and-shoot but are not yet ready for an SLR.

Many people buy an SLR and then they continue to shoot in auto mode because they don’t know how to use the other features. Or once they start using those features, they don’t have the means to buy all the lenses.

A very good alternative is the Nikon P90, which has several features found in an SLR with the only limitation that you can’t change the lens. The need of which may not arise as the lens included is quite versatile.

What I liked.

  • 24X Optical Zoom
  • 12Megapixel camera
  • Vari-angle LCD
  • Image Stabilisation
  • 3″ LCD
  • 2.8 Aperture
  • ISO 64-6400
  • Electronic View Finder
  • Option of Manual Mode, apart from Program model, Aperture/Shutter priority
  • Face detection and Smile mode, automatically releases the shutter when the person smiles.
  • Blink warning, warns you if the person has blinked.
  • Macro mode
  • Li-on battery
  • SD Card
  • 460g Weight
  • Shutter speed upto 8 seconds, wish they had more

What I didn’t like:

No RAW mode.

    After all the megapixel race where camera manufacturers were increasing megapixels with each new model, Canon is the first to reduce 14.7 megapixel to 10 megapixel.

    I have been saying this all this while, that megapixels don’t matter any more and I am happy that Canon is doing the right thing.

    When Canon came up with a new model of G11 which replaces the G10, they decided to reduce the megapixel and improve the image quality. What they found was that while increasing megapixels was making the customer feel that they are getting something better, it wasn’t adding any much value other than increasing the file sizes. In fact it was generating more noise at higher ISOs, resulting in poor photo quality.

    Here are some key features of G11, which is a professional quality point-and-shoot. Designed to be as a backup camera for professionals.

    • 10 Megapixel camera
    • 5X wide-angel optical zoom
    • Optical Image stabilisation
    • 2.8″ swirl LCD
    • Support for RAW
    • 2 Stop advantage over G10, due to reduction in megapixel and increasing sensor sensitivity
    • VGA Movies
    • HDMI connectivity
    • Lithium Ion battery
    • Built in flash
    • SD/SDHC card support

    Looks like a good option of you need better photo quality and features, want to move up from a point-and-shoot and are not yet ready for an SLR.

    Canon 7D
    Nikon D300s

    Canon has launched a new 18 Megapixel Digital Camera. I don’t know if Megapixel matter anymore unless you are going to print large banners. Anyways here is the specs.

    • 18 Megapixel
    • 1080p HD Video recording at 30fps
    • 8 Frames aper second continuous shooting
    • Environmental sealing for those harsh environments: Beaches, Deserts and dusty places.
    • Metallic Body
    • CF Card (wonder why they didn’t standardise on SD)
    • 19 Focal points
    • Live View
    • Built in Flash and optional external flashes
    • HDMI Connectivity
    • Weight 820g
    • Option for Battery Grip (for extra batteries) or Wireless Grip which can directly upload to an FTP server or even have GPS capabilities.

    Advantage over Nikon D300s

    • 18 Megapixel vs. 12 Migapixel of Nikon D300s
    • Full HD Video 1080p, Nikon D300s only support 720p

    Nikon 300s Advantage

    • 51 Focal Points vs 19 of Canon 7D
    • Dual Card slot: CF and SD, Canon only support CF

    I have been using the Flipbac with the Olympus E-P1. This is a great product to use, if you have a camera with a Fixed LCD and want some flexibility.

    If you already have an LCD Protector film installed, you need to first remove it.

    Advantages:

    • Acts as an LCD Protection
    • Provides flexibility to take pictures at different angles
    • Can move Horizontal and Vertical as well

    Limitations:

    Is not a replacement for a Varied Angle LCD which you can flip around.

    • Image is inverted in the reflection of Flipbac, so takes a while getting used to it.
    • good for partial views, not complete views.

    I ordered off their website. The good thing was they charge the same amount to delivery anywhere in the world. I put my India address and voila, after 2 weeks it showed up.

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