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

CreativePro.com 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).