Friday, 23 December 2011
Friday, 16 December 2011
iphoneography reports: [edited]
Hipstamatic introduces the new D-Series iOS app, set to release this Thursday December 15th.
Hipstamatic's Disposable camera makes it a snap to create and share a camera with your friends. From the first snap to the last, everyone shoots to one roll, and at the end photos are instantly exchanged to all of the camera's contributors. You'll never have to swap doubles or email from your friend's phone again.
Sharing a roll of film has never been this much fun. Users share a set of 24 exposures through a cloud sync'd camera creating a social sharing application to instantly connect and exchange with friends. The D-Series launch, marks Hipstamatic's first ever FREE download and will launch with three in-App Purchase Cameras to create sharable analogue images."
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Digital Photography Review have published an in-depth review of Sony's high-end 'EVIL' camera.
Excerpts from conclusions follow:
There's little doubt that the NEX-7 is one of the most exciting cameras of 2011.
The EVF is excellent, stills image and video quality both superb, and the handling is remarkably good for such a small camera. The use of three dials to control each of the main exposure parameters makes so much sense that it seems odd no-one's done it quite like this before. The fact that these dials can also be used to change a wide range of other settings, cycled through by pressing a button on the top plate, borders on genius.
In fact the NEX-7 is so good in so many respects that any criticism almost feels like nit-picking. It's not perfect, but then again no camera is, and its imperfections can generally be overcome.
The NEX-7's image quality is difficult to fault. The 24MP sensor is capable of recording huge amounts of detail (just as long as your lens can deliver it), while also offering excellent high ISO performance for low light work, with quite useable results up to ISO 6400.
It's no stretch to say that, at its best, the NEX-7 offers the finest still image quality of any APS-C camera, bar none.
If there's a problem for the NEX-7, it's the ambition of launching such a sophisticated, high-end enthusiast camera into a relatively undeveloped system. Once you look beyond the camera body to the lenses you'll want to use with it, your options are - at launch at least - rather limited. There's the Carl Zeiss Sonnar E 24mm F1.8, which is without doubt a fine lens, but is larger than the kit zoom and costs almost as much as the camera again.
Even if you have the money to shell out for the NEX-7 and 24mm F1.8, there's also little doubt you'll get better value elsewhere - at least in terms of building a flexible system to work with now. For example, for the same price you could buy the Olympus PEN E-P3 with EVF, 20mm F1.7 and 45mm F1.8 lenses, and have plenty of change to spare. The sensor's not as good, but the lenses give you more creative options.
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: The image quality of this camera could tempt me from my Panasonic G1, however the combination of cost, lack of lense choices and the promise of a successor to the GH2 in early 2012 will keep me watching and waiting.
Friday, 9 December 2011
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Harry McCracken has published an excellent article entitled 'How the iPad 2 Became My Favorite Computer'.
The whole article (and the comments) should be read for balance, but for the time-pressed/attention deficit disordered among you here are some highlights...
I think it’s possible to use an iPad as one’s primary device for professional-level content creation. Actually, scratch that. I’m positive it’s possible – because I’ve been doing it for the past three months, and I’ve been having a really good time.
This hasn’t been one of those experiments-for-the-sake-of-experimentation in which someone temporarily forsakes a PC for another device in order to write about the experience (like, say, this). No, I’ve been using the iPad for my daily activities – running Technologizer, writing for TIME, CNET, and AllBusiness.com, and more–because I find it to be the preferable tool in multiple respects. I’ve been using it about 80 percent of the time, and using my MacBook Air about 20 percent of the time.
The ZaggFolio [Bluetooth keyboard/case] changed the way I use my iPad. Without the ZaggFolio, I used the iPad mostly for reading and light productivity. I’d happily type brief e-mails on it, but never anything as long as a meaty blog post or article. But Zagg’s no-compromise keyboard made typing every bit as comfy as it is on a notebook. All of a sudden I could write hundreds of words on the iPad. Or thousands of them.
[On the importance of battery life] With the Macbook Air, or almost any other portable computer I’ve ever used, I’m lucky to get three or four hours of life out of a charge, and therefore have to bring my power brick and obsess about plugging in whenever possible. It’s an enormous hassle, and sometimes I simply run out of juice.
With the iPad, I didn’t even bother to bring the power adapter to the IFA show: I worked all day, going online as much as I wanted, without fully draining the battery. I ended up only using the MacBook Air in my hotel room.
My iPad 2 has one other hardware attribute that’s a huge upgrade over the Air: It has AT&T wireless broadband built in.
Another simple joy of using the iPad as a blogging/writing tool: Its utter predictability and simplicity.
When you use a PC/Mac you get dragged down by the responsibilities and obligations of using a computer. Even if you’re very familiar with a program, you need to bob and weave your way around icons and menu items you don’t require at the moment to get to the ones you do need. Programs other than the one you’re using may vie for your attention...
With the iPad, all that goes away. You can devote nearly every second of your time to the task at hand, rather than babysitting a balky computer. I don’t feel like I’m “using an iPad to write.” I’m just writing. It’s a far more tranquil, focused experience than using a PC or Mac.
Monday, 5 December 2011
Rob Cubbon reports: [edited]
I’m giving away free 2012 calendars as PDFs. I’m also making available the InDesign and Illustrator files that were used to create the PDFs, so you can create and brand your own calendars and do the same thing, if you so wish!
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Monday, 28 November 2011
You The Designer reports: [edited]
One of the most essential elements in a minimalist design is typography. Let’s face it, you can’t do justice to minimalism with pre-installed fonts like Arial, Century Gothic, Georgia, Verdana, Times New Roman, etc.
Here are 30 sleek fonts you can download for free that could fit perfectly on your minimalist designs.
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: I would take issue with the term 'minimalist' for some of these, and I've blogged about a few of them already, but there are some interesting ones here, including Dalle and Satellite, alongside a few not-so-interesting specimens.
Friday, 25 November 2011
Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]
Fujifilm has announced the X-S1, a premium-grade superzoom compact. The X-S1 is part of the company's high-end 'X Series' and is built around the same 12MP 2/3" CMOS sensor as the X10 compact.
Despite the comparatively large sensor, it manages to include a 26X 24-624mm equivalent F2.8-5.6 zoom lens. It also features Raw shooting, a 1.44M dot electronic viewfinder and 460,000 dot rear LCD along with a rubberized coating and metal dials to emphasize its premium 'Made in Japan' status.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Infinite Loop have prepared a compare/contrast review of the image-taking performance of an Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot, a Canon 20D DSLR with EF-S 10-22mm lens, an iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy SII.
"In real life use, each camera has a mix of benefits and drawbacks. The iPhone 4 was our previous favorite in smartphone cameras, and the iPhone 4S improves on that. The lens is a bit sharper and the hybrid IR filter seems to improve color rendering and possibly white balance. The new sensor also seems to have slightly less noise, better dynamic range, and three million more pixels to work with."
"The combination of an updated sensor and the dual-core A5 processor also make the iPhone 4S much faster to start up and take pictures. It was nearly as fast at launching, focusing, and snapping sequential images as the Olympus XZ-1, and certainly faster than previous compact cameras we have used."
"For snapshot purposes, the iPhone 4S is comparable to the 8MP Canon 20D when it comes to image quality. But that comparison is a little unfair — you can easily achieve better results with newer DSLRs in terms of exposure, noise, and megapixel count. What you can't do with any DSLR, though, is (again) slip it into your pants pocket. Lenses that have as bright an aperture as the iPhone 4S's f/2.4 will also either be limited to a single focal length or generally be much larger and heavier than the lightweight kit lenses that many users have."
"As we said at the outset, every camera choice comes with its own set of compromises and won't suit every individual photographer. Still, we have no qualms recommending the iPhone 4S as great alternative to compact, point-and-shoot cameras. It can take great photos when travelling or out with friends. Since it's also your phone, you'll always have it with you, so you may be able to grab shots in situations when you might not be able to otherwise take pictures at all."
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
behance.net reports: [edited]
This is the revised and improved version of Novecento, an uppercase-only font family inspired on European typographic tendencies between the second half of 19th century and first half of the 20th.
It looks rational and geometric. However, it is optically corrected and balanced.
This font face is designed to be used mostly for headlines, visual identities or short sentences, both in big and small sizes.
Novecento is available both in opentype format (.otf) and as a webfont (@fontface), with 6 weights available free.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Thursday, 17 November 2011
This recent offering from Fujifilm is getting excellent reviews.
For £500 you get a pleasingly 'retro' looking body, an optical viewfinder, a bright (f2.0-2.8) 28-112mm manual zoom lens, fast focus and decent low-light performance.
For ePhotozine's review (including sample images) click here
For more sample images, courtesy of Digital Photography Review click here
Monday, 14 November 2011
shapecatcher.com reports: [edited]
You know what some character looks like, but you've forgotten its name or its Unicode code point. Now what do you do? Shapecatcher is a new website, that helps you to find specific Unicode characters, just by sketching their shape. Currently about 10000 of the most important Unicode characters are compared to your sketch and are analysed for similarities.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Christian Annyas has published a lovely collection of Chevrolet speedometers. I heartily concur with his comments, including...
"The design of speedometers hasn’t changed much over the decades. Recently, however, there’s a trend towards digital meters. They’re probably supposed to look fresh and new, but due to the use of digital stopwatch-like typefaces they actually look extremely primitive and dated."
Monday, 7 November 2011
Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]
Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GX1, an enthusiast-oriented Micro Four Thirds camera that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Lumix DMC-GF1.
The GX1 sports a 16MP 'Live MOS' sensor, a maximum ISO sensitivity setting of 12,800, a touchscreen interface and a revamped AF system. The GX1 is also the first camera compatible with Panasonic's brand new high-resolution LVF2 viewfinder, sold separately.
The GX1 is available in a black or silver body with the excellent super-compact 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 (28-84mm 35mm equivalent) H-PS14042E-K Power Zoom Lens for £765.
For a hands-on preview and video click here.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
The 13" MacBook Pro now comes with 2.4GHz and 2.8GHz processors, up from 2.3GHz and 2.7GHz. The standard hard drive sizes have been increased from 320GB and 500GB to 500GB and 750GB.
The 15" models have been given 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz processors, replacing the 2.0GHz and 2.2GHz processors in previous models. The graphics cards have also been updated — the 2.2GHz gets an AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 512MB GDDR5, and the 2.4GHz version gets an AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 1GB GDDR5.
The 'base' 17" MacBook Pro has a 2.4GHz processor, 750GB hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 1GB GDDR5.
Prices remain unchanged, starting at £999, although if you're visiting the US you could pick up a shiny 13" MacBook Pro for £250 less.
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
My 64GB iPhone 4S arrived yesterday morning.
Transferring the O2 microSIM and the 28GB of information that had previously resided on my iPhone 4 proceeded without a hitch. I still get a kick out of how easily I can transfer so much data from one machine to another.
Can't comment on iCloud, because I haven't made the switch to Lion, but MobileMe is working fine for syncing my calendars, etc.
Operations are significantly quicker, registering more as 'smoothness' than 'speed'.
My first attempts at using Siri were promising, but a 'live demo' to some colleagues ended in a mixture of hilarity and profanity. However, I did create a couple of texts and reminders on my drive home that I would have otherwise not been able to.
The camera is significantly better than the (far from rubbish) one on the iPhone 4. Compact camera manufacturers must be wondering how long it is before sales hit terminal decline.
I think the speaker/amplifier may have been upgraded (or the one in my iPhone 4 was defective). The sounds seem louder, richer and clearer... my alarm this morning made me jump!
Otherwise, everything is comfortably familiar. No new case to purchase, the same beautiful build quality, the same beautiful screen.
Friday, 14 October 2011
Thursday, 13 October 2011
type.method reports: [edited]
Your mission is simple: achieve pleasant and readable text by distributing the space between letters. Typographers call this activity kerning. Your solution will be compared to typographer's solution, and you will be given a score depending on how close you nailed it.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]
Over-extended metaphors aside, as every photographer knows, the best camera you own is the one that you have with you. And the funny thing about phones is that (with the apparent exception of my mother) most people carry them around pretty much all the time.
I never learned to love the 3G's 2MP output, but I did learn how to exploit the camera's few strengths (good metering, nice colors and acceptable detail in decent light) and to use its 'distinctive' characteristics creatively.
For me though, what really transformed the iPhone into a serious photographic tool was not the hardware, which until the iPhone 4 was poor compared to most compact cameras, but the huge ecosystem of applications which sprung up around it. In the years since the iTunes app store was launched, the impact of both the iPhone as hardware and the idea of 'apps' on consumer level digital imaging has been profound.
With a range of carefully-chosen apps installed, my iPhone can create moody black and white images, atmospheric lomo-esque shots and fake Polaroids. Of the thousands of photography apps available for the iPhone, Hipstamatic is one of the most popular, and fun.
The iPhone has made me more open-minded. I don't get out with my DSLR as much these days as I'd like to, but when I do, this new open-mindedness extends to my more 'serious' photography as well. I'm less liable to get hung up on the technical risks of attempting a certain shot, and more likely just to go for it, and see what happens.
My iPhone has also proved invaluable for keeping in touch with friends and family back home in England, and I'm not just talking about phonecalls. Services like Instagram allow me to share photographs I've taken on my various wanderings around America. Friends follow my Instagram stream, and I follow theirs. It's no substitute for a conversation, but it is nice, nonetheless, and helps narrow the 5,000-mile gap a little.
At a major tradeshow last year I got talking to a fellow journalist who was using his iPhone 4 exclusively to illustrate his online coverage of the event. His reason? He likes the images it takes, the quality is fine for the web, and it's much less bulky than his normal DSLR. My initial reaction was that there was no way I could - or would - use my iPhone in the same way, but the conversation made me think. Why not?
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Monday, 3 October 2011
- 30% lighter than before, less than 170 grams
- 18% smaller body, same 6" screen size - fits in your pocket
- Most advanced E Ink display, reads like paper
- Built-in Wi-Fi - Get books in 60 seconds
- 10% faster page turns for seamless reading
For more information, click here.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Thursday, 15 September 2011
Emigre reports: [edited]
Emigre's award winning type specimen catalogs are now available as downloadable PDF
So if you haven't received these in the past, or have lost your copy, here is your opportunity to receive these beautifully designed type catalogs delivered directly to your computer for immediate typographic perusal.
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
iSmashPhone reports: [edited]
Introducing the perfect solution for memory expansion via a USB Flash Drive. The small accessory is a USB memory stick which sports a universal USB plug at one end while on the other sporting an Apple 30-Pin connector.
It uses a free downloadable App for file management. The USB connector means users don't have to carry a separate USB stick. The PhotoFast i-FlashDrive is compatible with both Mac, Windows, Linux and all iOS powered devices.
The i-FlashDrive is available with 8GB, 16GB and 32GB.
Price: $95 - $180
Thursday, 8 September 2011
BibliOdyssey reports: [edited]
D. A. Sanborn, a young surveyor from Somerville, Massachusetts, was engaged in 1866 by the Aetna Insurance Company to prepare insurance maps for several cities in Tennessee. Before working for Aetna, Sanborn conducted surveys and compiled an atlas of the city of Boston titled 'Insurance Map of Boston, Volume 1, 1867'.
The atlas includes twenty-nine large plates showing sections of Boston at the scale of 50 feet to an inch. It is believed to include the earliest insurance maps published by Sanborn.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]
The Samsung NX200 is built around a completely new 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor and wrapped in the series' first all-metal body. The result is a handsome camera of similar size to Sony's NEX models.
The latest sensor uses architecture that includes integrated analogue-to-digital conversion (an approach Sony has used for some time now) that is intended to reduce noise.
Samsung has also re-worked the key elements that go in front of it - a redesigned color filter array to offer greater sensitivity and revised microlenses with smaller gaps between them to boost light capture, placed closer to the sensor so that they can better deal with the light reaching the edge of the sensor at very oblique angles from wide-angle lenses.
The NX200 also features a lighter anti-aliasing filter and advanced moiré-suppression processing.
For pre-production image samples, click here.
Thursday, 1 September 2011
Inkling, a new digital sketch pen that captures a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its ballpoint tip on any sketchbook or standard piece of paper.
Designed for rough concepting and creative brainstorming, Inkling bridges the gap between paper sketching and digital drawing by giving users at the front end of the creative process a way to rough-out ideas with real ink on paper and capture their concepts digitally so that they can be later refined on their computer.
Inkling even allows users to create layers in the digital file while sketching on paper in the following creative software applications: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
£149.99, available October 2011.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
JPEGmini reports: [edited]
JPEGmini is a photo optimization technology that reduces the file size of photos by up to 5x, while preserving the resolution and quality of the original photos.
JPEGmini files are optimized JPEG files, whose parameters have been tuned to significantly reduce the file size without affecting perceptual quality.
You can upload your photos to our online service, and download the optimized JPEGmini photos. Single photos do not require registration, and batch uploading full photo albums requires free registration, and there is currently no limit on the amount of photos you can process.
Thursday, 25 August 2011
Adobe reports: [edited]
Create websites as easily as you create layouts for print. You can design and publish original HTML pages to the latest web standards without writing code. Now in beta, Muse makes it a snap to produce unique, professional websites.
Free to download and use until the end of 2011.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
IngoFonts produces a wide range of commercial typefaces, including the impressively authentic Biro Script.
One of the unique features of the IngoFont website is that all the typefaces can be downloaded free. The catch being that the free version only provides uppercase and lowercase from A to Z. However, this does provide the opportunity to try the typeface out before deciding to shell out for the full commercial version.
For a PDF of their type specimen brochure, click here
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Monday, 15 August 2011
Digital Photography Review have published an in-depth review of Panasonic's latest Micro Four Thirds 'compact'.
Excerpts from conclusion:
"The GF3 is a satisfying camera to use that is small and light enough to carry around all day. Its 12MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, though showing its age, is capable of producing lovely images that will be a revelation to users migrating from compact sensors."
"When used in full auto mode, the GF3's autofocus and metering system do an admirable job under a wide range of conditions of producing a pleasing image. On-camera dials and buttons are pared down to the bare essentials, but advanced shooting controls are easily accessible via Panasonic's well-implemented touchscreen interface."
"We like the GF3, but it isn't perfect. It misses out on a silver award by a whisker, due to its aging 12MP sensor, and some questionable design decisions as regards flash and lens mount position. Both issues have the potential to annoy all users, regardless of their experience or their expectations."
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
Monday, 1 August 2011
Friday, 29 July 2011
Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]
Olympus has announced the SP-810UZ superzoom with a 36x (24-864mm 35mm equivalent.) zoom lens - the world's longest optical zoom in a compact camera. Successor to the SP-800UZ, the SP-810UZ also boasts a 14MP CCD sensor, 3.0" LCD and 720p HD video recording. Also included are a 3D capture mode, AF Tracking and Magic Filters including a new 'reflection' effect.
Priced at $329.99, the camera will start shipping from September 2011.
Friday, 22 July 2011
Lion already installed, significantly faster (Wired says they compete with the MacBook Pros), the backlit keyboard is, erm, back, and a Thunderbolt port. When the price of 480GB SSDs come down a bit (the SSD is replaceable), I'm going to be very tempted to replace my 17" MacBook Pro with the 13" MacBook Air.
Prices start at £849, but if you know anyone travelling to the States, they begin at $999 (£619) over the pond.
For everything Apple wants you to know about them click here.
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Apple's latest OS upgrade has (according to Apple) over 250 new features, the most interesting being multi-touch gesture control (think iPhone-type navigaion), AirDrop (easy mac-to-mac file sharing) and a revamped version of Mail.
It's a download-only product, available from the Apple App Store for £20.99.
For everything you want/need to know about Lion, click here.
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: If you don't need any of the features, it might be worth leaving it for a while to let the early adopters discover any gremlins that have evaded the beta-testers. And if you have any older apps that relied on Rosetta to run, they won't run on Lion. Looks like I'm going to have to find an alternative to Adobe GoLive. Gotta hate progress.
Friday, 15 July 2011
Digital Photography Review have published an in-depth review of Panasonic's third-generation Micro Four Thirds offering.
Snippets from the conclusion follow:
"The G3 occupies a unique place in Panasonic's G-series lineup. With its impressive 16MP sensor and high quality built-in electronic viewfinder, this model would seem to hold appeal to DSLR owners looking for a lighter carry-everywhere camera."
"The G3 is a satisfying camera to use. Small and light enough to carry around all day, it can produce usable images even at the high end of its ISO range."
"The G3's rendering of finely detailed subjects stands up surprisingly well against entry-level DSLRs. Along with the more expensive GH2, the G3 represents a benchmark for Micro Four Thirds image quality at this point in time."
"At low ISO values, the G3's image quality compares very well with even the best APS-C based DSLRs in its price range."
"JPEG rendering still exhibits some less-than-pleasing characteristics seen in previous Panasonic models. Color rendition, particularly along the red hue can be inaccurate."
"One of our long-standing criticisms of the G-series, poor skin tone rendering, has been improved in the G3. The G3's default white balance yields more realistic flesh tones among a range of complexions."
"The G3 is a very comfortable camera to carry around on an all-day excursion and using the basic functions of the camera is intuitive."
"The G3's touchscreen interface is a joy to use and makes other manufacturers' implementations feel poorly designed by comparison."
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: The DMC-G1 that I have been using for over 2 years is the best compromise between bulk and image quality that I have ever owned. If you're looking for a DSLR-type camera in the £500 price range (including lens) then my advice would be to take a look at the G3.
Me, I'll be holding off from trading in my G1 until I find out whether the rumours of a soon-to-be-launched GF PRO are correct.
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
MWE Labs reports: [edited]
Hand built to your requirements, the Emperor 200 is the ultimate computer workstation with several exclusive features such as touch screen control center, air filtering system, light therapy, electric powered leather seat, 3 x 24" LED screens and breathtaking sound.
MSRP: €31,400 (computer not included)
- - - - -
Brett's 2p'orth: For the skinflints among you, there is a (IMHO better-looking) budget version available for a mere €4,350 (monitors and computer not included)
Friday, 8 July 2011
hardlywork.in [geddit? Ed.] reports:
Long hours at the new summer job? Feeling unprofessional when you check your Facebook profile at the office? Well there's nothing more professional than a nice spreadsheet. Sign in with Facebook, and see your news feed rendered into an innocuous corporate form.