Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Olympus Pen-F

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Olympus' digital reincarnation of their 1963 premium compact.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

“In terms of design, the F is a gorgeous camera, both to gaze at longingly on a table or to physically hold and use. In many ways, the PEN-F is the most physically remarkable Four Thirds camera to date.”

“In the paws the camera sits comfortably; it can easily be used with just a single hand. The touchscreen is especially useful, especially if you are a street shooter: touch-to-focus and touch-to-shoot can help keep things discreet when trying to get candids, and can be near instantaneous.”

“By far, one of the most helpful inclusions is the camera's 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation system. It is extremely robust for both stills and video. In real-world shooting that it gave us an average of four additional stops of handhold-ability.”

“Autofocus performance from the Olympus PEN-F is on par with what we'd expect from a modern contrast detect AF (CDAF) system, which is to say, good. When using Autofocus Single (Olympus calls it S-AF), focus speeds are fast.”

“Image quality from the PEN-F is very good. The PEN-F's JPEGs are (as we expected) very pleasing, with accurate colours. We also found the PEN-F offered better high ISO JPEGs than its closet competitor, the GX8. Raw performance is also very good.”

“The PEN-F is a very capable camera jam-packed with features and tools to help shooters realise their vision. It offers impressive image quality, some of the best image stabilisation available, acceptable video quality, direct controls and ample customisation, all in one incredibly-handsome digital camera.”

Price: £999 (body only)
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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

trueCall38

trueCall38 reports: [edited]

Do you get annoyed when you fill in an online form and have to enter your phone number when you know that the company doesn’t need it?

The solution: enter our phone number 0333 88 88 88 88 as your phone number, and if they call, they will hear our short but sweet recorded message:-

"trueCall38 is handling my calls. I prefer not to be contacted by phone, so please contact me via my email address. Goodbye!"

Note: Some online forms won't accept the full trueCall38 number. If the number is rejected enter 0333 8888 888.

Thanks to Paul Mayers for the link.
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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

HP Spectre 13.3

engadget reports: [edited]

At 10.4mm thin, the Spectre is about as thick as a AAA battery, making it not just the skinniest PC in HP's portfolio but the slimmest notebook on the market. Think of it as HP's answer to Apple's 12-inch MacBook, except with a bigger screen, extra horsepower and a little more bling.

It looks striking in photos and even more so in person. It is is very, very thin, and though it's not technically the lightest, at 2.45 pounds, it is still extremely easy to hold. The combination of metal and carbon fibre helps the machine feel at once compact and well-made.

A piston-style hinge, inspired by upscale cabinetry allows the 13.3-inch Gorilla Glass screen to almost float above the keyboard. (The skinny bezels also add to the effect.) HP had to go with a non-touch screen to keep the machine's thickness down.

Spectre is powered by your choice of sixth-gen Core i5 or i7 processors, helped by up to 8GB of RAM and PCIe solid-state drives with up to 512 gigs of storage. It also brings more ports than you might expect: three USB Type-C connections, two of which support Thunderbolt.

The notebook is rated for a healthy nine and a half hours of runtime.

The Spectre 13.3 goes up for pre-order on 25 April. Price starts at $1,170.
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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100 Review

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Panasonic's latest 'enthusiast' compact zoom.

Excerpts from the conclusion follow:

“With a 25-250mm equivalent zoom lens and jacket-pocket-friendly body, the ZS100 gives users the perfect mix of focal range and size.”

“The ZS100 features a 20MP BSI CMOS sensor which is capable of capturing 4K video. Its video capabilities are also used for the camera's clever Post Focus and 4K Photo features. There's also an electronic viewfinder, which isn't great, but it's better than no viewfinder at all.”

“The ZS100 is a responsive camera in nearly all respects. It starts up quickly, focuses in a snap and can shoot continuously at 10 frames per second (6 fps with continuous AF). In fact, the 'Depth from Defocus' autofocus system is one of the ZS100's best features. Not only does it lock focus quickly but it proved itself to be excellent at both subject tracking and continuous AF. We were also impressed with how little 'wobble' there was in both continuous AF and when rack focusing in movie mode.”

”Image quality is very good, though not the best in the 1" sensor class. The 20MP CMOS sensor captures a good amount of detail, though its lens isn't terribly sharp and JPEG sharpening is on the weak side. Colours lean toward neutral and yellows take on a greenish cast, which can lead to undesirable skin tones. In Raw mode we were able to 'push' the shadows stay without a huge noise penalty. Despite a few quibbles, the ZS100's image quality is light-years ahead of any other compact travel zoom on the market.”

“It strikes the right balance between size and zoom. It ticks just about all the boxes that most photo and video travellers might desire, earning the ZS100 our top award.”

Price: £549
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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge - Best Mobile Camera

DXO reports: [edited]

The 26mm f/1.7 lens delivers very accurate and repeatable exposures, which helped the S7 edges achieve an outstanding Exposure & Contrast score of 90 during our tests. Even in tricky high contrast scenes, it captures great exposures thanks to its built-in auto HDR feature, making it a great choice for landscape or backlit photography.

The new Samsung S7 edge ranks in joint first place for still photos alongside the S6 Edge and Sony Z5. The main strengths of Samsung’s S7 edge photos are its excellent and repeatable exposures in all conditions, fast and accurate autofocus, and a very good compromise between noise and detail.

Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone also offers notable improvements to its video performance, capturing nice exposures, with pleasant colour and excellent video autofocus and stabilisation.
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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Nik Photo Editing Collection Available Free

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Google's Nik Collection of desktop image editing plug-ins is being offered free of charge.

Compatible with Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, Nik's Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine apps are all available as a free download from Google, a substantial savings over the previous $150 price.

- - - - - - -

[Ed. Grey Learning has kindly made a number of previously 'paid for' training videos available free.]
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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

9.7-inch iPad Pro

Essentially a smaller/slightly slower/lighter (437g vs 713g) version of its 12.9" predecessor , it features an upgraded display with less reflective glass, a wider gamut and sensors that adapt the display’s colour balance to complement the ambient light.

It supports the Apple Pencil, there's an optional Smart Keyboard, and it comes with an improved 12 megapixel, f/2.2 camera (12.9" = 8 megapixel, f/2.4).

Price: from £499 - 32GB WiFi, up to £839 - 256GB WiFi + Cellular.
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