Monday, 22 December 2014

Nikon D750

Digital Photography Review has published a glowing (90%) review of Nikon's mid-range full-frame DSLR.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"The D750 is essentially a lower resolution, less expensive version of Nikon's D810 but if actually offers quite a bit more, including a better autofocus system, faster burst mode, tilting LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi. The major trade-offs are build quality/durability and resolution. If that sounds like an impressive camera to you, then you're absolutely right."

"The Sony-designed sensor in the D750 produces high resolution images with very little noise and an exceptional amount of dynamic range. Noise levels are very low, even at the highest sensitivities."

"One of the other high-points on the D750 is its expansive dynamic range. What's really impressive is what the camera can do when you expose for the highlights and let everything else go dark. So much is captured in the shadows that you can brighten them to the desired level with very little increase in noise."

"It's not often that we review a camera that does nearly everything right. The Nikon D750 is one of those cameras, due in large part to its top-notch sensor and autofocus system. It also wins points for its responsive (but buffer-limited) continuous shooting mode and video quality. While it has a few flaws, they're minor and won't affect the majority of photographers."
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Better Portable Graphics (BPG)

Fstoppers reports: [edited]

There is a new image format called BPG (Better Portable Graphics) designed by the French programmer Fabrice Bellard and it promises to deliver better visual quality at half the file size of JPEG.

JPEG has been around for over 20 years and has become the accepted means of displaying images on the web. As our web experience grows ever more visual, and as mobile browsing becomes the preferred method for many folks, JPEG begins to show its limitations.

BPG is a format based off the H.265 video codec by utilising the open source x265. This means BPG offers the ability to render 14 bits per colour channel as opposed to 8 with JPEG. It also offers an alpha channel, and a lossless compression option.

To give BPG a test run and see how it compares to JPEG you can go here and go through a variety of comparison images.
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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Solid State Hard Drives reliability test

Engadget reports: [edited]

Most heavy data users can't wait for the day when conventional hard disks are put out to pasture for good. But just how much better are SSDs? Despite any horror stories you may have heard, the answer is a lot, according to tests on recent models by The Tech Report. It forced six drives - including Kingston's HyperX 3K, Samsung's 840 Pro and Intel's 335 series - to continuously write and rewrite 10GB of small and large files.

Two drives - the Samsung and Kingston models - have both written two petabytes worth of data and are still going. Given that a typical user might write a couple of terabytes of data a year on an SSD, that adds up to a thousand or so years based just on usage. It's worth noting that it was just a small, informal test - but it bolsters the case that SSDs are far less likely to give you failure stress than hard drives.
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Friday, 5 December 2014

High-end pocketable compact cameras

Digital Photography Review has published a review of the following cameras.

- Canon PowerShot G7 X
- Canon PowerShot S120
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
- Fujifilm XQ1
- Nikon Coolpix P340
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1

Snippets from the conclusion follows:

Best high-end pocketable compact - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III

With the RX100, RX100 II and now the RX100 III, Sony has had three opportunities to perfect the concept. The RX100 Mark III offers advantages in its superior battery life, added options/features for video shooters, better image quality, and its built-in EVF.

Best affordable high-end pocketable compact - Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is not the newest high-end compact around, nor does it offer the biggest sensor, or the cheapest price tag. That being said, it is still an incredibly capable compact with a built-in electronic viewfinder for under $300 [£250, Ed.]. The Panasonic also leaps ahead of the pack in its massive zoom range, a 28-200mm equivalent. The other compacts all max out at 120mm or less.
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Google Devices and Activity dashboard

Google reports: [edited]

A new Devices and Activity dashboard gives additional insight over the devices accessing your Google account. The page shows a comprehensive view of all devices that have been active on an account in the last 28 days, or are currently signed in. And in case any suspicious activity is noticed, there’s a setting to immediately take steps to secure an account and change a password.
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Friday, 21 November 2014

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Panasonic's premium compact zoom camera.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"The LX100's image quality is amongst the best we've ever seen from a compact. The lens performs well across most focal lengths and apertures, and the sensor performance means the camera is able to lives up to the expectations its spec sheet sets. Taken together, this means the LX100 will continue to offer excellent image quality in a broad range of shooting conditions."

"In Raw the LX100 will comfortably match its high-end rivals (the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III and Canon PowerShot G7 X), gleefully trump what should be its closest competitor (the G1 X II) and delight in rendering the rest of the enthusiast compact crowd irrelevant. That's not enough to gain it honorary membership of the prime-lens, APS-C club but it narrows the gap like never before."

"It's not a small camera, but it's not that much bigger than the likes of the Canon PowerShot G12. And, importantly, it offers significantly better image quality than pretty much any zoom compact ever made. It's not a camera entirely without flaws but most of them are so minor that it's unlikely they'll ever be more than slight irritations about a camera you'll love."

"Other than size, it's the camera's zoom range that stops it being the ideal camera for a majority of dedicated photographers. I did find the 24-75mm equivalent range a touch restrictive, but it's the only major concern I had: my overall experience has been much more about what the camera can do than what it can't. The LX100 is a pleasure to use and offers superb image quality. I'd consider it one of the best photographers' cameras on the market and probably the best zoom compact ever made."
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Microsoft offer Office free on iOS & Android

The Verge reports: [edited]

Microsoft's Office suite for iPad, iPhone, and Android is now free. You no longer need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents or store them in the cloud.

The move comes just days after Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox to integrate the cloud storage service into Office across desktop, mobile, and the web.

You can now download Office for iPad and store all your documents on Dropbox without paying Microsoft anything at all. Microsoft is also releasing a brand new iPhone app today, alongside a preview of Office for Android tablets, all with Dropbox integration.
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