Thursday, 20 December 2012

Enthusiast Zoom Compact Cameras

Digital Photography Review has performed a Group Test on the following 'top-end' compact cameras:

- Canon PowerShot G15
- Canon PowerShot S110
- Fujfilm X10
- Fujifilm XF1
- Nikon Coolpix P7700
- Olympus XZ-2
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
- Samsung EX2F
- Sony RX100

The Olympus Stylus XZ-2 and Sony RX100 come out on top.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Oliver Lang has published a review of Samsung's Galaxy Camera.

Excerpts follow:

"I’ve been a mobile photographer for a number of years now. Shooting with a mobile device has changed how I use all my cameras, both film and also digital devices with higher quality sensors. Over the years I’ve developed specific processes for shooting and editing with a mobile phone."

"Devices that give you the freedom to shoot and share from any where at any time don’t have to be the best technical camera equipment; instead they need to be used in a way that gives you the best community experience possible."

"Even though I don’t photograph my food, my feet or some other banal object, I do shoot street, event, portrait and documentary photography with the purpose of sharing the image. My photography is about communication, and supported by the connectivity of the device. I shoot to share."

"Most recently, I’ve been shooting with the Samsung Galaxy Camera. In a flash, this device has zoomed the point-and-shoot camera back into focus, and with a powerful 1.4GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system and 3G/4G as well as Wi-Fi connectivity the camera sets a new standard for the 'point-and-share' market."

"The noticeable differences in feel between the Samsung Galaxy Camera and a similar sized mobile phone include a dedicated finger grip and the raised shutter button. The finger grip is appreciated, and the wrist strap (included with the model provided) provides added security when holding in one hand."

"A comparable grip is only available for mobile phones with the addition of a case. The Galaxy Camera grip allows access to the zoom control and shutter button with the same hand, and with a free thumb you can freely access the main icons on the display screen to help change shooting modes easily with one hand. When you rotate the device to review images, the camera lens makes a nice finger hold and feels comfortable."

"Selecting Mode gives you quick access to three shooting options of Auto, Smart or Expert. I’ve tested most of the Smart functions and they’ll certainly suit general needs for certain situations, including Night, Action Freeze, Rich Tone and others. I’ve usually gone straight for the full control over ISO, exposure and aperture in the manual setting under Expert mode."

"In Expert mode, you can select ISO, exposure and aperture settings. The lens offers 21x optical zoom, which is so far beyond anything offered on a mobile phone camera that there is simply no comparison. I’m really excited by the zoom as I’ve seen countless mobile images with horrible noise created by the digital zoom of smartphones. At full zoom, I found the camera must be held steady to frame accurately, and this is where the large display screen helps."

"The touch screen covers the back of the camera, with no protruding or recessed buttons or dials. The large 4.8-inch display does help to compose images. The onscreen icons are large and responsive to touch."

"In Expert mode the screen displays ISO, aperture and exposure for adjustment in a screen overlay that looks somewhat like a manual camera lens. I found this animated overlay frustratingly slow and tacky."

"The Samsung Galaxy Camera is not the first Android back-ended camera, but it is certainly the best fusion of a point-and-shoot camera and Android operating system that I've seen... it’s the use of a singular device with the capability for shooting, editing and sharing photography in real time.

Friday, 14 December 2012

12 Letters That Didn’t Make the Alphabet

mental_floss has published a fascinating article on some of the letters that got 'left behind'.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Field Notes Expedition Edition

Field Notes reports: [edited]

“FNC-17″ marks the start of our fifth year of FIELD NOTES COLORS. In that time, we’ve explored a wide variety of papers, colors, and printing techniques, but with this new “EXPEDITION” edition, for the first time, we’ve actually expanded the basic utility of our notebooks.

Aesthetically, you’ll find an all-new design with plenty to like: a hi-visibility “Antarctic Survey Orange” front cover and “Polar Night Black” back cover, with a subtle varnish effect featuring a topographic map of Antarctica. The body pages feature our popular ‘dot grid’ graph paper, printed in light gray.

But the real innovation here is the paper. It’s maybe not even fair to call it paper. The whole book is printed on Yupo Synthetic paper, an amazing water- and tear-proof paper extruded from polypropylene pellets in Chesapeake, Virginia.

via Daring Fireball

Thursday, 29 November 2012

'Send' 10GB files via Gmail

Mashable reports: [edited]

Google announced Tuesday that it will be integrating Google Drive into Gmail, a move that will make it possible to 'send' files up to 10GB over email.

A new button in the Gmail compose window will give users the ability to attach a file from their Google Drive account rather than attaching the file itself to the message.

Once it’s attached, Gmail will ensure that your recipient has permission to view the file in your Drive account -– or will prompt you to grant that permission –- and then sends the message.

The feature works not only for files you attach to the message, but also for links to items stored in Google Drive you paste into a message.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Where to find free background textures

Creative Bloq reports: [edited]

Background textures are a great way to give depth and originality to your designs and go hand in hand with vector-based work. Even better, there are thousands of free background textures available to download from the web with little fuss.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Dai Nippon 3D Book Scanner

engadget reports: [edited]

With help from the University of Tokyo, Dai Nippon has created a book scanner that can plow through texts at up to 250 pages each minute.

A mechanism flips through pages at lightning speeds while a pair of cameras overhead snap detailed images of each sheet as it flies by. Special software then flattens out the photos and turns the picture into a machine readable, 400 pixel-per-inch scan that can easily be converted to PDF, EPUB or other format.

Unlike many other high-speed scanners, this doesn't require a book be damaged by removing the pages. In fact, it's quite similar to Google's creation that powers Books. Dai Nippon is actually planning to bring this beast to market sometime in 2013, but it has yet to announce a price.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

Digital Photography Review have published a comprehensive review of Panasonic's latest super-zoom digital camera.

Conclusion snippets follow:

"Panasonic has returned to their roots with their Lumix DMC-FX200 super zoom camera. Gone are the days of lenses that get slower as you use more zoom power - the FZ200 can stay at F2.8 from 25 to 600 mm. You pay a premium for that, but low light and action photographers may find the FZ200 to be worth the £430/$599 price."

"Beginners can feel quite comfortable uses Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode, which remains the best point-and-shoot mode on the market. If they want a little more control, there's an iA+ mode, which lets users adjust brightness, background blur, and color balance using "sliders" on the LCD."

"It's ready to take pictures one second after you flip the power switch. Focusing speeds are quite good for a super zoom, only exceeding a second in low light. I didn't notice any major shutter lag, and shot-to-shot delays were minimal, even with the flash. The FZ200's battery life is above average compared to other super zoom cameras."

"The FZ200's photo quality is very good when compared to its peers. Photos are well-exposed, so you won't need to bracket every shot, as on some cameras. Colors were vibrant, and sharpness was pleasing most of the time."

"The FZ200's photos are slightly noisy, even at ISO 100, though that's better than previous models which smudged away fine detail. Things don't get really noisy until ISO 800 in low light and ISO 3200 in good light."

"It's hard not to like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. It has all the bells and whistles that you'd expect on a high-end super zoom, plus an F2.8, 25-600 mm lens that no other camera can match."

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

20 typographers to follow on Behance

Creative Bloq has put together a collection of some of the best typography portfolios available on

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Creative Catharsis

Sharp Suits reports: [edited]

Ireland's creative community got together to release a lot of pent up anger and sadness through the medium of the A3 poster, all in aid of Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Ad creatives, designers, animators, directors, illustrators and more took time out to dress up their favourite worst feedback from clients, transforming quotes that would normally give you a twitch, into a diverse collection of posters.

Thanks to @JayButcher for the link

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Barack Obama's Victory Speech

The Guardian reports:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. (Sustained cheers, applause.)

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. (Cheers, applause.)

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people. (Cheers, applause.)

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.

(Cheers, applause.) I want to thank every American who participated in this election. (Cheers, applause.) Whether you voted for the very first time (cheers) or waited in line for a very long time (cheers) – by the way, we have to fix that – (cheers, applause) – whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone (cheers, applause), whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference. (Cheers, applause.)

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. (Cheers, applause.) We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service. And that is a legacy that we honour and applaud tonight. (Cheers, applause.) In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

(Cheers, applause.)

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America's happy warrior, the best vice-president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden. (Cheers, applause.)

And I wouldn't be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. (Cheers, applause.) Let me say this publicly. Michelle, I have never loved you more. (Cheers, applause.) I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you too as our nation's first lady. (Cheers, applause.)

Sasha and Malia – (cheers, applause) – before our very eyes, you're growing up to become two strong, smart, beautiful young women, just like your mom. (Cheers, applause.) And I am so proud of you guys. But I will say that, for now, one dog's probably enough. (Laughter.)

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics – (cheers, applause) – the best – the best ever – (cheers, applause) – some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.

(Cheers, applause.) But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together. (Cheers, applause.) And you will have the lifelong appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way – (cheers, applause) – to every hill, to every valley. (Cheers, applause.) You lifted me up the whole day, and I will always be grateful for everything that you've done and all the incredible work that you've put in. (Cheers, applause.)

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym or – or saw folks working late at a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something else.

You'll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organiser who's working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. (Cheers, applause.) You'll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who's going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. (Cheers, applause.)

You'll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who's working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home. (Cheers, applause.)

That's why we do this. That's what politics can be. That's why elections matter. It's not small, it's big. It's important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won't change after tonight. And it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter – (cheers, applause) – the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future.

We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers – (cheers, applause) – a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation – (scattered cheers, applause) – with all of the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened up by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. (Cheers, applause.)

We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known – (cheers, applause) – but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag – (cheers, applause) – to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner – (cheers, applause) – to the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president.

That's the – (cheers, applause) – that's the future we hope for.

(Cheers, applause.) That's the vision we share. That's where we need to go – forward. (Cheers, applause.) That's where we need to go. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It's not always a straight line. It's not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward.

But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. (Cheers, applause.) A long campaign is now over. (Cheers, applause.) And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead. (Cheers, applause.)

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. (Cheers, applause.) You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours.

And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together – reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do. (Cheers, applause.)

But that doesn't mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us; it's about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. (Cheers, applause.) That's the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared – (cheers, applause) – that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That's what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)

I am hopeful tonight because I have seen this spirit at work in America. I've seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbours and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job. I've seen it in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb and in those Seals who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back. (Cheers, applause.) I've seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm. (Cheers, applause.)

And I saw it just the other day in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his eight-year-old daughter whose long battle with leukaemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for healthcare reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care. (Cheers, applause.) I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd, listening to that father's story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes because we knew that little girl could be our own.

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That's who we are. That's the country I'm so proud to lead as your president. (Cheers, applause.)

And tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future. (Cheers, applause.) I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.

[Audience member: "We got your back, Mr President!"]

I'm not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I'm not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting. (Cheers, applause.)

America, I believe we can build on the progress we've made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. (Cheers, applause.) You can make it here in America if you're willing to try.

(Cheers, applause.)

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

And together, with your help and God's grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you, America. (Cheers, applause.) God bless you. God bless these United States. (Cheers, applause.)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Free Font - Verb Black

Font Squirrel reports: [edited]

Verb from Yellow Design Studio is an 18-font sans-serif family that’s friendly and approachable, but trades huggable roundness for confidence and energy.

Verb is lively, motivated and industrious but not too busy to say “hello”. It’s packed with features including true italics, small caps, ligatures, oldstyle and tabular numerals and extensive language support.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Adobe InDesign Features Panel

Creative Pro reports: [edited]

Adobe has released a new extension for InDesign that adds a panel you can use to explore all the new features in CS6.

To get the InDesign Features panel, you first need to download and install the Adobe Exchange panel. Inside the Exchange panel, you can browse for many other extensions (both free and paid) to add features to your Adobe applications.

Browse the free extensions for InDesign to find the InDesign Features panel.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

iPad Mini hands-on review

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has published his first thoughts on Apple's 8" tablet. The article is worth reading right the way through, but here are some snippets:

"It’s really light and easy to hold one-handed. The hardware design — chamfered edges, less tapered back, metal rather than plastic buttons — strikes me as better, more elegant, than that of the full-size iPad 3/4."

"But it’s disappointing to go non-retina after using the retina iPad for the last seven months. I adore the size and form factor of the iPad Mini, but I also adore the retina display on my full-size iPad. My ideal iPad would be a Mini with a retina display."

"After a week of using it as my main iPad, the individually discernible pixels are no longer jarring to my eyes. The non-retina resolution is the one and only significant complaint I have with the iPad Mini, and it’s an issue that is only apparent to those of us who already own a nearly-new iPad."

"The Mini weighs less than half a full-size iPad 3 or 4, and the difference that makes is tremendous... it’s just plain fun to hold."

"It also seems optimised for kids. My third-grade son loves the size and weight of the Mini. Reading apps may not be computationally taxing, but games are, and there is no compromise in the iPad Mini’s performance. In both the Geekbench and SunSpider benchmarks, the Mini performs identically to the iPad 3."

"If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I’m going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini’s size and weight so much that I’m going to swallow it."

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Nikon Photomicrography 2012

Gizmodo reports: [edited]

Nikon has announced the winners of their classic photomicrography competition. All the entries are spectacular, but these are the very best.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

And so Skynet moves one step closer...

TechCrunch reports: [edited]

Nithin Mathews, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Rehan O’Grady, and Marco Dorigo are researchers from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Instituto Universitario de Lisboa and they are leading us down the primrose path towards human extinction.

More precisely, they’re using a method called spatially-targetted communication. The flying robot selects ground robots and communicates with them by changing LED colours. Once the airborne robot sends the right signals to the ground robots, they can work together to move over and around obstacles that the ground robots cannot see.

Most important is that the only wireless communication required are the LEDs used for signalling. The flying robots tell the ground robots to do what they do best – self-assemble – and then guide them where they need to go.

You have to see the video to understand it, it’s serious robot interaction. The method requires no GPS, no maps, and no outside control. The flying robots just need to know what the environment looks like and the ground robots just have to follow orders.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Shedloads of new Apple kit

- iPad mini: 7.9", 1024 x 768 pixels, from £269

- 13" MacBook Pro: 'Retina', 2560 x 1600 pixels, 1.7kg, from £1,449

- Skinny iMac: faster, no internal DVD drive, from £1,099

- Upgraded Mac mini: faster, from £499

- Upgraded iPad 'Retina': faster processor, faster WiFi

- 'Fusion' Drive: flash memory intelligently combined with HDD

For more info, including a video of the keynote address, click here.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Apple iPod Nano (7th Generation)

review on Apple's seventh generation £129 'Nano'

Snippets follow:

"The larger screen means that the Nano’s overall size and weight have increased, stretching from 40mm to 76.5mm in height, and going up from 21g to 31g in weight. However, it’s also quite a bit thinner than before, slimming down from 8.8mm to an extremely svelte 5.4mm."

"It’s like a having a little musical credit card in your pocket. And like all the best Apple products it has that tactile elegance that makes you want to pick it up and roll it around in your hand just so that you can admire the way it feels."

"The new screen isn’t in the same league as the 'retina' display on the new iPod Touch, but it’s fine for the device’s icon-based graphical interface"

"The Nano supports Bluetooth."

"The iPhone earpods have received somewhat faint praise in the reviews I’ve seen, but I have to confess they sounded better than I expected. The Nano puts out a decent sound with any other headphones you care to plug into to its 3.5mm socket."

"Battery life is improved, up from 24 to 30 hours for music playback."

Friday, 19 October 2012

GoPro Hero3

Core77 reports: [edited]

They're calling it 'The world's most versatile camera', and it's hard to disagree. At midnight yesterday/today GoPro began selling their new model, the Hero3.

I don't know what kind of black magic they've got going on in their labs, but the thing is 30% smaller than the previous model and weighs just 2.6 ounces.

Tech stats: Waterproof to 197' (60m), capable of capturing ultra-wide 1440p/48fps, 1080p/60 fps and 720p/120 fps video and 12MP photos at a rate of 30 photos per second.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Panasonic's DMC-LX5 successor.

Conclusion snippets:

"The DMC-LX7 is a mid-sized camera made mostly of metal. Build quality is good, though I wasn't a fan of the cheap-feeling rear dial, which doesn't turn smoothly. As is usually the case, the plastic door over the battery/memory card compartment is flimsy, as well."

"The LX7 fits well in your hand, thanks to a right hand grip that's just right. The biggest feature on the camera is undoubtedly its F1.4-2.3, 3.8X Leica zoom lens (equivalent to 24 - 90 mm). This is the fastest lens you'll find on a compact camera.

"Panasonic has put an aperture ring around the lens, which allows you to quickly adjust this setting when in A and M mode. The LX7 also features Panasonic's Power OIS image stabilization system, to reduce the risk of blurry photos and jumpy videos."

"If you're a 'set it and forget it' kind of person, then look no further than Panasonic's great Intelligent Auto mode. It literally takes care of everything for you, whether its picking a scene mode, avoiding blur, handling back-lit situations, or intelligently sharpening an image."

"Performance is top-notch in nearly every area. It starts up in just 1.1 seconds, focuses very quickly, and takes the photo as soon as you press the button. Shot-to-shot delays are minimal, even if you're using the RAW format or taking a flash photo."

"Photo quality on the Lumix DMC-LX7 is excellent. The camera takes well-exposed photos, without too much highlight clipping. Colours are nice and saturated, and accurate in most situations (the LX7 still struggles a bit in artificial light)."

"The LX7's lens is high quality, with good sharpness across the frame. The LX7 has very little noise and no detail smudging at low ISOs. It keeps noise levels low through ISO 400 in low light and ISO 1600 in good light."

"Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 is an excellent premium compact camera. Its fast lens, performance, and manual controls will make enthusiasts drool, while those just starting out can get great results using Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode."

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

How to switch from iOS to Android

Gizmodo has published a helpful article with step-by-step advice on transferring from Apple's iOS to Google's Android operating system. Worth reading the comments below for additional stuff.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Nokia PureView Image Quality Review

Register Hardware has published an article looking at Nokia's 42Mp camera technology.


I have to say that despite its photographic excellence as a phonecam, I will not be rushing to trade in my iPhone nor my camera for a Nokia 808 PureView just yet. The camera and the PureView technology are very attractive but the Belle OS puts me off making such an investment.

For now though, if you're looking for a quality camera on your mobile, the Nokia 808 PureView is the best you can get.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Enfocus Pitstop Pro 11 has posted a very positive review of the latest version of Enfocus' £650 high-end PDF pre-flighter/editor.


"If you deal with a high volume of PDF files, PitStop Pro 11 should be an essential part of your software toolkit. The time it saves, and the problems it avoids, can quickly repay its cost. If you’re using a previous version, the “Smart Preflight” features can justify the upgrade cost by making it easier to create PDF preflight workflows for multiple output scenarios. And the new ability to combine lines of text into paragraphs, and to Find/Replace text are indispensable."

Monday, 8 October 2012

Free Font - Metropolis 1920

Josip Kelava reports: [edited]

Metropolis 1920 comes from the industrial movement of the 1920s where skyscrapers where born. Using a double line technique, I wanted to create my own Art Deco style font that represented this era. The result is a bold, bumptious typeface with a stolidly calm disposition.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Nimbus Cloud Dome

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The Nimbus Cloud Dome is a plastic bell-shaped light diffuser designed to allow you to capture evenly-lit images of small objects using a smartphone.

The Nimbus Cloud Dome is available on its own for $79 or as part of the $149 Nimbus Cloud Dome Horizontal kit, which is what I recieved for this review. The Horizontal Kit includes the Nimbus Dome Photography Base and Nimbus Cradle for holding the apparatus horizontally. All three pieces are constructed of a high impact, non-yellowing, crack-resistant translucent plastic.

The top of the Nimbus Cloud Dome is equipped with a trio of spools that hold a thick elastic band. This elastic band securely pins a smartphone in place.

Overall, I was impressed with the performance of the Nimbus Cloud Dome after I got the kit dialed in. However, certainly with the iPhone 4 that I used for this test, I found that it was necessary to do a bit of tinkering to find the ideal lighting setup.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

iPhone 5 Camera Review

Digital Photography Review have published an impressively objective review of the iPhone 5's image capture performance.

Summary Snippets:

"The iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 offer genuinely useful image quality that, in favourable conditions, is hard to tell apart from the output from 'proper' cameras."

"The iPhone 5 is a fine mobile device, with an excellent camera. In qualititative terms it's not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honour) but it offers satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and it is supremely easy to use."

"It isn't much better than the iPhone 4S, as far as its photographic performance is concerned, but it isn't any worse (notwithstanding a somewhat more noticeable propensity towards lens flare)."

"When manufacturers employ pixel-binning to achieve higher ISO settings we don't normally celebrate the fact, but in the case of the iPhone 5, it gives you greater flexibility in poor light and the drop in quality is unnoticeable when the images are used for sharing/web display."

Monday, 1 October 2012

Free Font - Rex

Font Fabric reports: [edited]

Rex is an all caps display family with three weights – light, bold and bold inline.

Available for personal and commercial use (read the EULA).

Friday, 28 September 2012

Barnes & Noble Nook HD and HD+

Register Hardware has published a review of Barnes & Noble's latest tablets.

Excerpts follow:

"The specs tell part of the story: the 7in Nook HD sports a screen resolution of 1440 x 900 - the same as my 15in MacBook Pro, for example. That, says B&N, is the highest resolution yet found on a 7in tablet."

"It's certainly knocks the socks off my Nexus 7's 1280 x 800 display. Text is crisper, obscuring the pixellation I can see on the Nexus, especially on italics. It's also brighter and colours are much more vivid. It's a gorgeous display – the best I've seen on a seven-incher."

"The 9in Nook HD+ has a more standard 1920 x 1080 pixel array, close enough B&N claimed, to the iPad's 2048 x 1536 to make no odds. I'm not sure I agree, but I have to say the HD+ display is a worthy alternative to it."

"The HD will come with a choice of 8GB or 16GB of on-board storage. The HD+ will have 16GB or 32GB. Users wanting more space can slot in a Micro SD card. The 8GB and 16GB HDs will retail for £159 and £189, respectively, both very competitive prices, matching the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7, both of which present lesser screens."

"The HD+ will come in a £229 for the 16GB model and £269 for the 32GB version. That's £170 and £210 less than the equivalent iPad 3 for a tablet with a retina-level display that's only eight per cent smaller in the diagonal. As a comic buff, reading digital comics on the Nook was no less a joy than it is on the iPad's slightly larger screen. It's the first large-format tablet other than Apple's I'd consider buying."

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Box - 10GB free online storage

TUAW reports: [edited]

The Box app has just been updated for compatibility with the iPhone 5 and to celebrate, Box is offering some excellent cloud storage deals for new users. When you download and sign in to the free app, you will get the 10 GB + Sync Box service for free. If you are a new user, that's yours for free, and if you're an existing user with a 5 GB account, you'll get another 5 GB for free as well.

Box not only allows you to save you files on its cloud service, but also lets you make use of the Box API, with lots of different services for various document types and apps. And Box Sync allows you to connect all your documents up together to your desktop computers, so you can access and use them from anywhere.

This offer is available until 31 October 2012.

Monday, 24 September 2012

5 ways to source copyright-free images

Creative Bloq reports: [edited]

The images used can often make or break a design, but they usually cost money. Here's how to get hold of the perfect picture for free...

In the world of print even the most stuck-up high-brow journalist knows that the picture will sell the story. Sourcing good copyright-free images online can be a pain and if you want to play nicely it's always worth checking that the picture you're using is legit. Knowing a few tricks will make the process a lot easier.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The GH3 is the company's largest Micro Four Thirds camera yet, with dimensions that match those of the APS-C Sony SLT-A65.

The GH3 gains a weather sealed (dust/splash proof) magnesium alloy body. Additional highlights include 6 fps shooting (or 4fps with live view) and five customizable function buttons. While the camera's still image resolution remains at 16MP, the GH3 has a new Live MOS sensor, three-core Venus 7 FHD processing engine and a new low pass filter. Panasonic claims improvements in high ISO shadow detail, color reproduction and white balance over its predecessor.

The GH3 also offers in-camera HDR and multiple exposure image modes, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity that Panasonic hopes to leverage with its own (as yet unreleased) remote triggering and image transfer apps for iOS and Android phones.

The GH3's new EVF is a 1.7 million dot OLED panel with a 16:9 ratio of 873 x 500 pixels. Panasonic lists a robust 1.34x magnification (equivalent to 0.67x on a full frame SLR) ,and says that because information is transmitted to the panel 8x faster than the GH2

The rear display panel is a 3" 614k dot resolution OLED unit that, like that of its predecessor, is touch-sensitive. For both stills and video shooters looking to extend the camera's abilities, the GH3 offers a 3.5mm mic input (GH2 users had to resort to a 2.5 - 3.5mm adapter), headphone jack, PC sync socket and a new optional battery grip that attaches to base plate providing the option for additional power.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

iPhone 5 Reviews

For a good summary of the first reviews, visit MacRumors.

If you're interested in the look, feel and design philosophy behind the iPhone, give John Gruber's opinion piece a read.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Fujifilm XF1

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

The enthusiast compact sector has undergone a distinct revival in recent years, with every major manufacturer now producing a model or two that offers full manual control and RAW format recording, aimed as a second camera for enthusiasts who usually carry an SLR.

The XF1 is the latest model in Fujifilm's premium X-series, that originated with the FinePix X100 and has since expanded upwards to the interchangeable lens XF system (including the recently-announced X-E1), and downwards to the X-S1 superzoom and fast-lensed X10 compact. The XF1 shares much of its innards with these last two models, including the larger-than-average 2/3" EXR-CMOS sensor and EXR processor. To these it adds an optically-stabilized 25-100mm equivalent lens with an impressively fast F1.8 maximum aperture at wideangle, but a more pedestrian F4.9 at telephoto.

The Canon S100 and Sony RX100 are both functionally-styled black-bodied cameras for photographers who wish to stay discreet; the XF1, in contrast, is designed to be noticed. With its two-tone body it's a very attractive camera. There's a choice of three colours - the deep red shown, alongside light tan and a relatively-sober black - each of which gets a matching slide-in leather case as an optional accessory for fashionistas.

The second stand-out feature of the XF1 is its lens mechanism - the zoom ring is mechanical, and like on the X10 doubles as the power switch. But there's a a further twist - it also collapses into the body in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of the iconic Rollei 35 film compact. This gives the XF1 the distinction of being the smallest camera to offer a mechanical zoom ring around the lens.

Friday, 14 September 2012

New iPhone, iPod touch & iPod nano

iPhone 5: bigger screen, slimmer, lighter, faster, better headphones

iPod touch: ditto

iPod nano: touch screen, credit card size, better headphones

for everything you need to know, click here

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Free Font - Citizen Slab

Joel Felix reports:

​Citizen Slab is a typeface that pays homage to a vintage aesthetic without losing its modern sensibility.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Brand Colours

Galen Gidman is curating a helpful list of a wide range of company brand colours.

Thanks to Brook for the link.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Free Font - Vezus Light

Typedia reports: [edited]

Serbian foundry Tour de Force has released a tidy, semi-flared serif by Slobodan Jelesijević. The four weight Vezus features sharp, angular joinery and a number of interlocking discretionary ligatures.

Feel like giving it a test drive? You can download the light weight for free.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New Ultra-thin Lens Technology

Gizmodo reports: [edited]

Using an ultrathin wafer of silicon and gold to focus lightwaves, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created a revolutionary new kind of camera lens that completely eliminates the image distortion created by traditional glass lenses.

It could not only pave the way for lighter cameras that are still as capable as today's swappable lens models, but even cameraphones that snap images as impressive as a DSLR.

The lens measures in at 60 nanometers thick, so for all intents and purposes it's almost a 2D object. It's made by plating a thin wafer of silicon with a layer of gold that's then etched away to create a series of V-shaped structures across its surface. When light hits these structures it's slowed ever so slightly which changes its direction—like the glass in a traditional lens does.

And by carefully tuning the angle, size, and spacing of these V-shaped structures across the surface of the lens, it can capture wide-angle or telephoto images without the distortion that's seen from something like a traditional fish-eye lens.

Mirrorless swappable lens cameras have already taken a bite out of the DSLR's market share, but if and when this technology hits the market it could serve as a death blow to the heavy bulky cameras preferred by professional photographers.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Logitech Washable Keyboard

core77 reports: [edited]

Logitech has just announced they're making a washable keyboard. You can run it under the tap or dunk it in a basin full of water, rinsing away the remnants of two weeks' worth of takeout. The letters are laser-etched into the keys so they won't wash off. And it is, of course, coffee-proof.

Available to pre-order for $40.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ten Android Smartphones for under £100

Register Hardware's review gives the Huawei Ascend G300 a big thumbs up.

"Huawei's first major do-it-yourself smartphone release is a surprising gem of a blower, particularly in terms of display. While some rivals also feature resolutions of 480 x 800, none of them boast the G300's 16m colour palette, a trait that brings real vibrancy to its 4in screen."

"The handset also dominates the budget blower category in terms of processing power, thanks to its current-gen 1GHz S1 chip, usually reserved for more mid-range priced devices. Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread it's extremely responsive."

"The G300 raises the bar with what to expect when spending less than £100 on your blower. It's a little weighty at 140g but it doesn't get much better than this for the money."

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

700 free icons

iconmonstr hosts a wide range of free icons, in png and svg formats.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

BERG Cloud Little Printer

Announced last year, BERG Cloud's Little Printer Starter Pack is available for pre-order for £199, with a ship date of mid-October.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Monday, 13 August 2012


The Atlantic reports: [edited]

I've yet to find anyone who reads the terms-of-service contracts that we 'agree' to on the various websites of the world. But now, a group of technologists, lawyers, and interested parties have created TOS;DR, a project to create peer-reviewed summaries of all those documents you will never actually read.

Launched in June, it's a brilliant and already-useful tool for some of the more heavily trafficked sites on the web. For example, if you're uploading photos to TwitPic, you might want to reconsider. They give the site their worst grade, a 'Class E'. Why? Well, they have an easy-to-understand summary right here. If you click on "Read the Details," you get an extended explanation of these warnings and can also link back (almost like a Wikipedia page) to the TOS;DR discussion that led to the thumbs-down.

Thanks to Conrad for the link.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

'iPad mini' product shots

Gizmodo, in collaboration with Nickolay Lamm to produce some high quality visuals of what Apple's heavily-rumoured iPad mini might look like.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Free Font - Source Sans Pro

Adobe have released this News Gothic influenced typeface in 6 weights and complementary 'proper' italics. A monospace version is also being developed.

The fonts offer wide language support for Latin script, including Western and Eastern European languages, Vietnamese, pinyin Romanization of Chinese, and Navajo. These fonts are the first available from Adobe to support both the Indian rupee and Turkish lira currency symbols.

Source Sans is available for use on the web via font hosting services including Typekit, WebInk, and Google Web Fonts, and will shortly be available for use directly in Google documents and Google presentations.

To find out more about the project, click here.

To download the font package, click here.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Sony Cyber-shot RX100

Trusted Reviews have given Sony's latest large-sensored, wide-aperture compact a 9/10 review


"The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is an excellent advanced compact that offers a near-perfect blend of size, performance and image quality."

"At over £500 though the RX100 doesn’t come cheap, putting it into the same kind of price bracket as many CSCs and even some entry-level DSLRs."

"Clearly the RX100 is a different kind of camera altogether that is designed to appeal to a different kind of user with a different set of needs, however if portability isn’t your number one priority then this is certainly something to think about. If not and you're looking for a premium advanced compact, then the RX100 certainly fits the bill."