Sunday, 6 May 2012

Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio

Filled under: , ,


Logitech’s Solar Keyboard Folio protests your iPad while powering its built-in Bluetooth keyboard by light—both low light and lamp light, indoors and out. According to Logitech, when full powered, you can type on it for two years, even in complete darkness. The new Solar Keyboard Folio works with all iPad 2 and the latest third-generation iPad.

The Folio provides hassle-free protection for the front and back of your iPad so you can easily slip it in and out of your bag, purse or backpack without having to worry about damaging it. The instant On/Off feature automatically wakes your iPad when you open the folio and sends it to sleep when you close it. But that’s not all since the multi-view stand holds it a so you don’t have to and allows for two viewing options. Entertainment mode allows for easy play, pause and change volume instantly, while typing mode provides a full keyboard at you disposable. The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio is now available at Logitech’s site for $129.99.

Posted By Techspace06:44

Micron Technology’s Pop Video iPhone Projector

Filled under: ,


Micron Technology’s upcoming Pop Video pico projector will beam video at the iPhone’s full 960 x 540 resolution for only $99. While some may patiently dream that the iPhone will some day come with a built-in pico projector, at least now they can pick up one that utilizes the phone’s full resolution for a fairly cheap price. The key feature with the Pop Video pico projector is its 30-pin connector that allows you to dock your iPhone or iPod so that it forms one compact unit. Since it’s designed to be more portable, it doesn’t have an integrated doc like larger pico projectors and it fits into a pocket when not in use. It weighs only 3.5 ounces with 4.4 inches x 1.8 inches x .6 inch (HWD) dimensions.
There’s also a corresponding Pop Video app that will allow you to tweak the images, and allows for you to projector more content directly from your iPhone, including Web pages, Facebook, and videos downloaded from iTunes or iTunes U that are not MPEG 3 protected. It features a built-in Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and on full charge, the portable pico projector can run for a good two hours. You’ll need a pretty dark space to project a pretty decent picture, but its low price certainly makes it a nice little accessory to have. It’s now available for pre-order.

Posted By Techspace06:40

Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao’s Cantilever Pool Allows Guests to “Swim Over Air”

Filled under: ,


The Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao features a cantilever swimming pool, where guests can feel as if they’re swimming over the air. The one-of-a-kind swimming pool is located on the 24th floor of the hotel and is 30 meters long, suspended over the side of the hotel. Guests feel as if they’re swimming in air, 24 floors above the ground with nothing but a glass bottom underneath them. This is one pool those with a fear of heights won’t want to be swimming in!

Posted By Techspace06:39

A Hint of the BlackBerry 10 Camera Features (video)

Filled under: ,

BlackBerry is creating a new camera feature that is being developed for its BlackBerry 10 that allows you to detect faces and then turn back frames until you capture that “magic moment,” or the best frame that doesn’t have anybody’s eyes closed or showing any goofy faces. The new camera feature was shared onstage at the BlackBerry World 2012 keynote general session by Vivek Bhardwaj. You simply touch anywhere to take the photo and then the new feature allows you to go back into time to find that perfect moment that will provide the best picture.

A Hint of the BlackBerry 10 Camera Features (video)

Posted By Techspace06:33

Sponsored Video: Kinect Star Wars Social Networking App (video)

The Kinect Star Wars Xbox 360 game immersed you into the Star Wars universe and helped unleash your inner Jedi without the need of a controller, but its new social networking app further connects you with fellow virtual Jedi masters (or Rancor Monsters) across the web.

But don’t think the app transforms your mobile phone into a lightsaber or tracks your progress in the game. Instead it pulls feeds from your Facebook and Twitter accounts and gives your social networking a Star Wars makeover. For both your Facebook and Twitter pages, there are button controls to post messages, view your profile, search and view the Kinect Star site. The profile page of the app breaks down your tweets, mentions, messages, favorites and your followers/following lists. You can even view your feeds in the style of the iconic Star Wars opening title sequence. The app also provides a Kinect feed full of posts from your favorite Star Wars characters. The app is available for in the iTunes App Store, Android Market and for Windows phones for free.

The Kinect Star Wars game features stunning visuals that transport you into the Star Wars Universe, complete with iconic characters, vehicles, ships, droids and more. The game features experiences from all six movies and allows you to a wide variety of physical play without the need for any remote controls. There’s also a co-op, competitive and dual modes so that you can easily share the Force with friends. And for those who need to have everything Star Wars related can opt to purchase the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars Bundle that includes the game and specially designed console.

Posted By Techspace06:32

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover Review

Filled under: , , ,


Since the release of the iPad, I’ve been searching for a way to completely rid my daily life from laptop use, instead replacing it with a tablet and some sort of physical keyboard. Hardware additions like Logitech’s Tablet Keyboard are a start, but they don’t cover all the bases. To make a tablet replace a laptop requires the right mix of hardware and software, and so far neither is there.
But the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is a real start in the right direction on the hardware front.

Three things make the Ultrathin work wonders: magnets, solid build, and good typing. Like the iPad smart cover, the Ultrathin connects to the iPad 2 or iPad (newest, 3rd generation) magnetically. This makes it act like a case, cover, and provides very solid protection to the screen with an aluminum back that can withstand any damage you can throw its way. And when users are ready to type, just disconnect the magnet and place the iPad into the white slot on the keyboard, which snaps the iPad into place, again, magnetically.

The flush design is simple and unobtrusive. It’s small, so for larger fingers or bigger hands this keyboard may not be the best choice; it’s as wide as the iPad, so if you couldn’t use a netbook, you won’t like the Ultrathin any better. I have no problem with the smaller keyboard except for a few of the keys, like the tiny delete key and the very small arrow keys. All of the number keys have secondary functions, like search, cut, paste, and media controls. There’s also a home button, which while unnecessary because it could just be pressed directly on the iPad, is extremely helpful. When your hands are on the keyboard, it’s much easier to leave them there then otherwise.
Typing on the Ultrathin is very good, better than on the Tablet Keyboard but not as good as Apple’s Wireless Keyboard. The keys are rubber, and it’s noticeable, but they are low-profile and very easy to press, and have a nice bounciness to them. They also feel slightly clicky, which makes button presses feel more natural and more definite. Some of the keyboard shortcuts aren’t all that useful however, especially since iOS already utilizes Mac shortcuts like CMD+C for copy, and because the pop-up tools are very quick. I almost wish those keys could be assigned, but there’s no way to realistically do that.

Because the Ultrathin is a Bluetooth keyboard, it has a rechargeable battery that, according to Logitech, should last six months per charge. I don’t know if that’s six months while remaining on, or six months of actual use (meaning turning the keyboard on only for use). Still, that’s a long time, and the rechargeable battery can be charged with a MicroUSB cable.
One more thing: the magnet that keeps the iPad in place when typing (middle magnet for typing, not rear magnet for case use) conveniently, and very smartly, clicks when the iPad is connected to it. A small metallic flap, the actual magnet, is visible when the iPad isn’t in the slot (see picture below). When the iPad is placed in the slot, the magnet jumps up to meet it and clicks. When removed, either by yanking the iPad out or by pulling it forward, it clicks when disconnected. This intelligent design makes it very easy for users to know whether the iPad is secure or not.
That security is the number one feature of the Ultrathin. I’ve completely replaced my Smart Cover with the Ultrathin, and while (ironically enough) it doubles the iPad’s thickness, I feel much more secure about the iPad in my bag. I treat my gadgets and hardware with respect, but my bags with none, even if there are gadgets inside. I can’t say I’ve broken anything because of it, but we all know the feeling of exasperatingly throwing a bag down after a long day, and remembering as it’s an inch away from striking the hardwood at full force that oh, my laptop’s in there! I’ve done that a few times, and have worried about several things I carry about, but never once the iPad. And it has the battle scars to prove it.

There is one thing I’d have liked to see differently with the Ultrathin: instead of two magnets and a slot to hold the iPad, a single magnet that both holds the iPad in place and acts as the cover. It would work like a laptop hinge. There are obvious design problems with such a system, but it would simplify the system so users don’t have to detach the first magnet and place the iPad in the slot every time.
It’s also comfortable to rest on your legs, like a laptop, when sitting without a tabletop or when leaning back. The design fits very comfortably, both because of the minimal weight and the better weight distribution, which wouldn’t be possible if the Ultrathin had a hinge design. So I’d say it’s a give-and-take scenario. I almost wish the Ultrathin had a backlit keyboard as well, so that it would be visible in the dark. That may be an excessive feature, but with how long the battery lasts already, I see no reason not to include it for night use.
I’m very impressed with Logitech’s work on the Ultrathin Keyboard cover. They built a very simple keyboard that takes advantage of the magnetic sides of the iPad to properly secure and manage the iPad in place, keep the screen protected, all while offering a very strong keyboard. It’s more expensive than some Bluetooth keyboards at $100, and it should be. The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is the best overall typing experience for the iPad.

Posted By Techspace06:29

HTC One Comparison: S vs X vs V vs Evo 4G LTE

Filled under:


HTC has made a dramatic change in its business model for smartphones. Instead of releasing 1-2 dozen phones a year, the company will build several key phones and stick to them. The first is the One series, three phones that all are uniquely different from anything that HTC has offered before, and all look great. In fact, I highly recommend two of the four already available.
But what has the most to offer? In this comparison, we check out all four of HTC’s One devices side by side. Each category will have four scores: 4, 3, 2, and 1, where 4 is the highest. The scores will then be tallied and averaged to see which device comes out on top.
And for those of you asking, the Evo 4G LTE isn’t technically considered part of the One line thanks to Sprint’s branding, it also technically is because it uses the same technology as the One line. Just not the same nomenclature.

Size


All three of the HTC One models are respectably thin and light, and they all are pleasant to hold in the hand or the pocket. The difference? Screen size, mostly. The V is the smallest, with a 3.7″ display, followed by the S at 4.3″, and both the X and Evo at 4.7″.  To match those screen differences, the V is the thickest at 9.3mm, followed by the X and Evo at 8.9mm, and the S is thinnest at 7.9mm.
The Evo and X are almost identical in size, except that the Evo is slightly wider by .03″. When I held the X, it felt just wide enough to not be uncomfortable, and the Evo may have passed that mark. Meanwhile the S is super thin and light, and the 4.3″ screen is a good average between all of the phones. The V, however, is the smallest yet thickest device, which makes sense but also keeps it from being the best sized.
The S is overall the best sized phone, followed by the X with its very thin frame and large screen, then the similar Evo, and finally the small but heavy set V.
Winner: S, X, Evo, V

Appearance


All of the One phones have a distinctive yet similar style. They all also come in one color each: black for the Evo, white for the X, and Grey for the S and V. While color isn’t the only difference in looks, it is the biggest one. And quite frankly, the X is brilliant while everything else is, well, a tad dull.
Aside from color though, the X is very sharp thanks to its slight curved body. The Evo is, again, very similar in looks, while the S is very clean cut. The V is no slouch in the looks department, but it does look like a dumbed-down version of its One brethren.
Winner: X, Evo, S, V

Display


There are two major differences between all of the One devices when it comes to their displays: resolution and screen technology. The V uses a resolution of 800×480, the lowest of the bunch, followed by the qHD (960×540) AMOLED display of the S, followed by the 720p displays on both the Evo and X. So clearly the Evo and X win in pixel count and density.
As for screen technology, the V is still a mystery, but considering how it is the lower-end model, it is likely to be a standard LCD display. The S uses SuperAMOLED, the X uses SuperLCD, and the Evo has an IPS screen, the same used in the iPhone. Which is the best? It depends on its use, but OLED displays suffer in bright conditions while LCD and IPS do not (it should be noted that IPS is a type of LCD technology; for the purposes of this article I am using their names to differentiate the devices). IPS typically also has very accurate color representation compared to traditional LCD displays, though the SuperLCD tech that HTC is very good at producing vibrant colors and excellent color contrast.
So which is the better of the two, SuperLCD or IPS? Too hard to say. So the Evo and X tie, until I can have a side-by-side comparison.
Winner: Evo-X, S, V

Processor


The processors used in the latest One series phones are the latest Krait CPU system-on-a-chips from Qualcomm. In the US they offer the CPU and GPU processing, though in Europe its slightly different. For example, the X uses an Nvidia Tegra 3 GPU in Europe, but the Qualcomm Adreno 225 in the US.
Both the Evo and X have the exact same CPU, the Snapdragon S2 MSM8960, a dual-core 1.5GHz CPU. The S has the sightly smaller MSM8960A. The V has a 1GHz as of yet unnamed Qualcomm CPU, which is obviously the weakest of the bunch.
From benchmarks I’ve performed and seen, even though the S has more headway thanks to its lower-resolution display, it doesn’t outperform the X or Evo in processing power. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between the MSM8960 and MSM8960A, but whatever that difference is, it’s big enough to make an impact.
Winner: Evo-X, S, V

Storage


The One series thus far has been panned for not having upgradeable memory. That’s true of the X and S, but not of the Evo and V models. The V comes with 4GB of usable memory while the Evo has 16GB. The S and X both have 16GB as well.
No matter how you look at it, the S and X both come up short in this category thanks to their lack of upgradeable memory. The V comes in second, because it is very limited with its onboard memory, while the Evo earns top marks for combining the two.
Winner: Evo, V, X-S

Wireless Connectivity


The One series isn’t known for its fast connectivity, at least not exclusively. The Evo obviously has LTE, albeit through Sprint’s brand new network. It will also have 4G where available, which means that unless you live in an area already with 4G, chances are you won’t be seeing LTE very soon. Only one LTE device exists on Sprint’s network, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but it only just released and Sprint’s LTE footprint is tiny compared to both Verizon and AT&T. And with its smaller size, it’s hard to tell how quickly their LTE network will grow.
The X, meanwhile, has LTE over AT&T, as well as 4G nationwide (the 3G network no longer exists on AT&T, it’s all 4G now, though Edge is still available). The S has a suped-up 42Mbps chip capable of transferring that much data at once, but their network still remains at about 8Mbps down, 1Mbps up. Finally, the V is like the S, and works over HSPA+ networks.
Which is the best? Because in the US the X, S and Evo are all specific to one carrier (with contract), the X is the obvious choice. It works over the most networks, supporting both CDMA and EDGE as well as LTE. The Evo is limited to CDMA networks, specifically Sprints, but has access to their fastest download rates. The S is a GSM-only model, but assuming 4G speeds pick up it can be as fast as most LTE networks are today. The V works as a worldphone like the X, but has no LTE access.
Winner: X, V, Evo, S

Camera


All of the One phones use brand new technology for the cameras, the best software out for cameraphones to date. The cameras themselves, however, are identical on the S, X, and Evo. They all use the same 8MP f/2 shooter. Only the V has a lower resolution 5MP camera, capable of shooting only 720p video (only, compared to 1080p).
However, while the X and Evo are identical in this category, the S has a lower quality VGA front-facing camera, whereas the X and Evo have 1.3MP cameras capable of shooting 720p video. It may not sound pertinent, but for video chatting and the occasional front-facing shot, you want something a little better than what a Nintendo 3DS can muster.
Winner: X-Evo, S, V

Battery Life


Battery life is a tough feature to really compare without having fully tested all devices, except by taking all of the parts into consideration. Through testing I’ve found that the X has a better battery life than the S, and the Evo should have an even better battery because it’s a 2000mAh battery instead of the X’s 1800mAh unit. The S has a 1650mAh, while the V uses just 1500mAh. The V may be the weakest overall device when it comes to power, but I’ve found that the One phones are all very conservative with power use. Very little is wasted, even when on LTE, though on Wi-Fi power drains surprisingly fast.
Winner: Evo, X, S, V

Carriers


Normally comparison phones come from different companies, generally with contracts for specifically one or multiple carriers. In this case, three of the One phones have a sole carrier in the US, and one is still unknown. The X is exclusive (no pun intended) to AT&T, the S is exclusive to T-Mobile, and the Evo will be exclusive to Sprint. The V hasn’t had any plans officially set.
Taking just that into account, the X would be the winner because AT&T has the largest nationwide network of the three (Verizon is larger), then the Evo, then the S. However, the X also wins because it’s a worldphone and can work over any network, while also working over LTE networks (though it’s AT&T’s LTE network, which means potential international LTE use). The S is a GSM phone, so it’ll work anywhere in the world, but has no access to CDMA networks. The Evo, however, will only work on Sprint; international use will require working with Sprint’s partners. Finally, the V is also an international phone, albeit without LTE.
That means the X is overall the best, because it’s available to the most customers and works everywhere. Then the V, which although isn’t available yet and there are currently no plans for specific carriers, can function on any network. The S and Evo I’m labeling a tie, because while both are stuck on their respective networks, both also offer something positive: the Evo has LTE and the S is a GSM phone.
Winner: X, V, S-Evo

Price


The One is tricky when it comes to price. The V has yet to have any price announced, the X just formally released and can be purchased for $150 plus contract, the S is $200 plus contract, and the Evo doesn’t have a price yet either. Off contract though, the X is $720 and the S is $600.
What does that mean? It means that likely the Evo will be $200, or to be more competitive with AT&T (or at least through Amazon Wireless) $150, and the V will be the least expensive, likely at $100, or if it goes to smaller carriers, perhaps even for $50 or free plus contract.
In any case, the X is the best deal with a contract, and the Evo is likely to get the same deal. If you’re looking to buy it elsewhere, prices are sky high (as per usual for phones), so stick with a contract.
Winner: X-Evo, V, S

Overall Winner


Picking out a winner is surprisingly easy once all of the different categories are taken into account. The HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE both prove to be the absolute best models, and for good reason. They are the most powerful, feature the best hardware, and although they’re the largest, they have the best screens, the best network access, and the best battery life. And they have the best pricing.
But I wouldn’t count the One S out, not just because it’s the T-Mobile exclusive phone if you are already on that carrier. It’s an extremely impressive device in its own right (stay tuned for the full review), and shouldn’t be underestimated. But when comparing it to the Evo and X, it doesn’t look like it stands particularly tall. Don’t be fooled.
The only wildcard is the V, which still has too many unknowns. We don’t know when it will release, we don’t know all of the specs fully, and we don’t know what carrier it’ll be on. And the price is nearly impossible to guess, especially if it ends up going to smaller carriers.
At least with the X, Evo 4G LTE, and S, the One series has a lot to offer on all major carriers except Verizon. They are all great phones, but the X stands out above Sprint’s model. So if you aren’t worried about carriers and are just looking for the best new Android phone, and are seriously considering one of these models, go with the One X.

Posted By Techspace06:28

Best compact camera 2012: 25 reviewed

Filled under: , ,

Finding the best compact camera for your needs is never going to be easy, because the compact camera market is a very crowded place.
There are hundreds of digital compact cameras out there, waiting for you to ogle them, to scratch your heads over them, and eventually hand over your hard-earned cash for them.
Once the transaction is complete and you're unboxing your newest purchase, a nagging doubt enters your mind: did I make the right choice?
The right choice, of course, depends on what you want from your digital camera. Maybe you're looking for a high-end compact camera or perhaps you want something more basic to help someone else get started in photography.
Whichever compact digital camera you might be looking for, we've pulled together a selection of what we believe are the best compact digital cameras on the market now.

Best compact cameras 2012: Advanced

Fujifilm Finepix X100

Price: £695/$1,200
Specs: 12.3MP APS-C fromat CMOS sensor, 23mm f/2 lens, hybrid viewfinder
Best compact cameras

Fuji created a stir when it announced this retro-styled compact with an 12.3 megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor. The fixed 23mm f/2 lens provides a bright aperture for low light shooting and an angle of view roughly equivalent to a 35mm lens on a 35mm camera.
Its design is aimed to appeal to experienced photographers and enthusiasts, who like direct exposure control with an aperture ring, shutter-speed dial . It also sports a raw image mode and has a unique hybrid viewfinder that combines an electronic and optical finder in the same view.
Read our Fuji X100 review

Fujifilm Finepix X10

Price: £390/$600
Specs 12MP CMOS sensor, 4x f/2-2.8 optical zoom, Manual zoom ring, 1080p HD video

Best compact cameras

Manual controls are easily accessible and pictures can be recorded in a raw image format. Even the zoom ring is operated manually, which is unusual for a compact camera and a large bright optical viewfinder is provided for those who prefer this to using the screen for composing images.
Add in 1080p HD video recording and you have a highly specified camera that justifies the high price tag.
Read our Fuji X10 review

Canon Powershot G1 X

Price: £700/$800
Specs: Large 14.3MP CMOS sensor, 4x optical zoom, 1080p HD video, swivel LCD screen
Best compact cameras

Although the zoom range is limited when compared to other Canon G-series cameras, the trump card of the Canon G1 X is its unusually large sensor. A larger sensor has more surface area to receive light, improving image quality at high sensitivities and boosting dynamic range. Interestingly, Canon has opted to stick with the 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than 3:2 as most APS-C sensors are, even though the sensor in the G1 X is roughly the same height as APS-C format.
In order to make the most of what the sensor can offer, Canon has equipped the G1 X with the latest DIGIC 5 processor, which promises better control over noise at high ISO sensitivities, faster operation and smoother 1080p video recording.
The 4x zoom lens provides an angle of view equivalent to a 28-122mm lens on a 35mm camera, and the usual array of direct controls found on G-series cameras should make manual operation a pleasure.
Read our Canon G1 X review

Canon PowerShot G12

Price: £400/$420
Specs: 10MP CMOS sensor, 5x stabilised optical zoom lens, 720p HD video, swivel screen
Best compact cameras

Canon's G-series cameras have been the benchmark by which other high-end compacts are judged ever since the G1 released at the turn of the century. The G12 continues this tradition with it's strong magnesium body, highly sensitive 10MP CMOS sensor, 720p video, 5x Image Stabilised zoom lens and DIGIC 4 image processor.
Experienced photographers will enjoy the direct exposure controls, HDR capability and raw image recording, whereas more casual photographers are catered for by a wide range of automatic scene programs and face detection.
Add to this multi-aspect shooting, and you can see why this compact camera gives interchangeable lens cameras a run for their money.
Read our Canon G12 review

Ricoh GR Digital IV

Price: £435/$600
Specs: 10MP CCD sensor, 28mm (equiv) f/1.9 lens, 1,230,000 dot 3-inch LCD screen
Best compact cameras

A pocketable camera with a high quality lens, equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera, and a fast f/1.9 maximum aperture. The GR Digital IV follows in Ricoh's tradition of producing high quality compact cameras that are ideal for street photography.
Despite the compact dimensions, manual controls are easily accessible and a 3-inch LCD screen with an extremely high resolution of 1,230,000 dots has been squeezed onto the rear. Images can be shot in raw formats too.
Strangely Ricoh hasn't followed the trend of including HD video capability, the GRD IV will record video, but only at VGA resolution.
Read our Ricoh GR Digital IV review

Nikon Coolpix P310

Price: £235/$315
Specs: 16MP CMOS sensor, 4.2x zoom with a fast f/1.8 aperture, Full HD video, Optical VR
Best compact cameras

The Nikon Coolpix P310 builds on the features its popular predecessor sported with a higher resolution 16MP rear-illuminated CMOS sensor, which should enhance the camera's ability to take images in low light. Couple this with a bright f/1.8 lens and you have a formidable, pocketable camera for taking pictures in a wide range of conditions.
If tinkering with raw image files is a feature you desire, this camera may not be for you, since images can only be recorded in JPEG format. But given the bargain basement price, it still represents excellent value.
We haven't completed a full review of the camera yet, so in the meantime, read our rundown of the Nikon 310's main features

Olympus XZ-1

Price: £310/$500
Specs: 10MP CCD sensor, 4x optical zoom lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, 720p HD video
Best compact cameras

As well as being one of the most stylish high-end compact cameras on the market, the Olympus XZ-1 sports a larger than normal CCD sensor and a 4x zoom Zuiko lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, which both enable this camera to take excellent pictures in low light conditions.
Full manual control is possible, but also a comprehensive range of automatic exposure programs and fun art effects that can be applied to images. Add in the 720p HD video mode and the Olympus XZ-1 is well worthy of consideration.
Read our Olympus XZ-1 review

Canon PowerShot S100

Price: £360/$390
Specs: 12.1MP CMOS sensor, 5x image stabilised zoom lens with 24mm wide angle and f/2 maximum aperture, 1080p HD video
Best compact cameras

Canon's latest advanced compact raises the bar set by the S95 by including a 12.1MP high sensitivity CMOS sensor, manual control, and Full HD video.
The combination of a large 1/1.7-inch sensor with Canon's latest DIGIC 5 image processing chip and the bright f/2 lens delivers excellent quality at high sensitivities. The compact body also provides full manual control, with adjustments applied directly via the bezel around the lens and the ability to record raw images.
A strip of rubber on the front of the S100 gives it extra grip over the S95.
Best compact cameras


Posted By Techspace05:53

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 Hands-on Preview

Filled under: ,



Preview based on a pre-production DMC-GF5
The GF5 is the fourth in Panasonic's range of small-bodied 'GF' Micro Four Thirds cameras, and sits below the G3 in the current lineup. The differences between the GF5 and its predecessor are relatively few, and we doubt they'll prove significant enough to tempt any GF3 users to upgrade. But they do combine to make the new camera a more attractive proposition to compact upgraders than the GF3.
The GF3 wasn't well terribly well received by photo enthusiasts at launch. In part this was because it continued the process of repositioning the GF series as a super-point-and-shoot, rather than a GF1-style enthusiast's camera. Since then, however, those needs have fulfilled by the GX1, while the arrival of Olympus' PEN Mini and Nikon's 1 J1 have made it clear that Panasonic isn't alone in believing there's a market for a small, simple and inexpensive mirrorless camera. With the benefit of this context, the GF5's role is clear - to put large-sensor image quality into the hands of people looking to upgrade from their compact camera.
With this in mind, Panasonic is pushing a kit that bundles the GF5 with its extremely compact retractable X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS power zoom lens. The combination is impressively small for a camera that offers near-DSLR capabilities and is the closest any mirrorless camera comes to being pocketable when combined with a zoom lens.
Physically, the most obvious change is a new rubber hand grip, which improves on the rather slick, uncoated grip of the GF3, and a new texture to the body shell. Under the hood, the GF5's newly developed 12MP CMOS sensor is an evolution of the one used in the GF3, but with improved circuitry that doesn't block as much light entering the photosite, giving better low light performance. The image processor is also different, and Panasonic promises that the latest version of its Venus Engine will deliver improved noise performance. These factors, combined with a noise reduction system that treats highlights and shadows differently (since the dominant cause of the noise differs between the two regions), has emboldened Panasonic to offer a boost to the camera's ISO range, with it now being extendable to 12800, rather than the GF3's 6400.
Also slightly improved is the GF5's continuous shooting rate, from 3.8 fps to 4 fps, but more significant are a major bump in resolution for the touch-sensitive rear LCD, and change of video file format offered. With the GF5, you have the option to shoot in the MP4 format, as well as the now-standard (for Panasonic) AVCHD. Video clips shot in the MP4 format are easier to work with, because they're created as a single file, rather than a being split across a complex file structure, separate from your stills. MPEG 4 files are far more widely compatible when it comes to playback. As such, we think MP4 makes a lot more sense for an entry-level camera.

Improved touch screen

The GF5's rear LCD is now 920,000 dots, which matches the best-in class, and means that everything from menu navigation to image composition and review just looks that little bit sharper. The touch-screen interface has also been tweaked and improved. The addition of a hard button for 'Display' on the back of the camera, for instance, means the GF5 doesn't need to have any virtual buttons impeding your view as you shoot.
Other improvements are more subtle - the GF5 gains eight new filter options in its Creative Control Mode (namely Soft Focus, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, One Point Color, Cross Process and Star Filter) and filter effects can be previewed before they are applied. A further refinement for filter fans comes when the GF5 is set to intelligent Auto or intelligent Auto Plus mode. The camera will now suggest filter effects that it thinks might enhance your photo, based on analysis of the scene.
Panasonic's press release talks excitedly about a selection of professional photographs used to illustrate the types of photo the camera can be set to take, but the reality is a fairly standard icon-based interface for selecting between scene modes. These do at least include a couple of shooting tips and an explanation of what the mode is actually doing to the camera's settings.

Panasonic GF5 specification highlights

  • 12.1MP Live MOS sensor
  • ISO 160-6400 (extendable to 12800)
  • '3DNR' three-dimensional noise reduction system
  • 3.0", 920k dot touch-sensitive LCD
  • Full AVCHD 1080/60i video (from 30fps sensor output) with MP4 recording option
  • Stereo microphones
  • Built-in orientation sensor
  • 14 Creative Control filter effects options
  • Scene Guide mode with 23 modes

Differences between the GF5 and the GF3

  • Top ISO of 12800 (vs 6400)
  • MP4 video recording option (vs AVCHD only)
  • Built-in stereo microphones (vs. Mono)
  • Orientation sensor (not dependent on lens IS unit)
  • 3in, 920k-dot LCD screen (vs 460k-dots)
  • New 'Scene Guide' mode
  • 14 filter options in Creative Control Mode (vs six)
  • Redesigned, rubber hand grip
  • New body texture

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.
Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.
To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.
DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.
This article is Copyright 2011 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

Posted By Techspace05:45

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 Review

Filled under: ,

 
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 is a compact travel zoom camera with a pretty elaborate GPS setup. Not only does the ZS20 log your location, it also has a database of a million landmarks and maps of ninety countries. The ZS20 also packs a new 20X zoom lens, 14.1 Megapixel MOS sensor (which Panasonic says has less noise than the CCD used in the ZS10), super-fast autofocus, 10 frame/second continuous shooting, a great auto mode, in-camera panorama stitching, and Full HD 1080/60p video recording.

Compared to ZS10 and ZS15

As with all of Panasonic's recent travel zooms, the ZS20 has a little brother known as the DMC-ZS15. The ZS15 shares much in common with the ZS20, except for its lens (same as the ZS10), sensor (which is the same as the one on the DMC-FZ150 super zoom), and movie mode. It also lacks the touchscreen LCD and GPS functionality found on both the ZS10 and ZS20.
  Lumix DMC-ZS10 Lumix DMC-ZS15 Lumix DMC-ZS20
MSRP N/A $279 $349
Sensor resolution / type 14.1 MP (MOS) 12.1 MP (MOS) 14.1 MP (MOS) *
Lens focal range (zoom) 24 - 384 mm (16X) 24 - 480 mm (20X)
Lens max aperture F3.3 - F5.9 F3.3 - F6.4
AF system Sonic Speed AF Light Speed AF
LCD size/resolution 3.0" / 460,000 pixel
Touchscreen LCD Yes No Yes
ISO range (full resolution) 100 - 1600 100 - 3200
Burst rate (full resolution) 15 shots @ 10 fps 4 shots @ 10 fps 10 shots @ 10 fps
GPS receiver Yes No Yes
Built-in maps No No Yes
Intelligent HDR No Yes Yes
In-camera panorama stitch No Yes Yes
Movie resolution 1920 x 1080 / 60i ** 1920 x 1080 / 60p
Stereo sound Yes No Yes
High speed movies Yes No Yes
Built-in memory 18 MB 70 MB 12 MB
Battery life (CIPA) 260 shots ***
In-camera battery charging No Yes Yes
Dimensions 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.3 in. 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.3 in. 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.1 in.
Weight (body only, empty) 197 g 185 g 184 g
* Different sensor than the one used on the ZS10
** Sensor output is 30p
*** With GPS disabled (if available)
If you read last year's GPS-equipped Compact Ultra Zoom comparison, you may recall that I was quite disappointed with the DMC-ZS10, mostly due to its image quality. Panasonic says they've taken care of that on the ZS20. Did they? Find out now in our review!
Note that the DMC-ZS20 is known as the DMC-TZ30 in some countries. The DMC-ZS15 is also known as the DMC-TZ25.

What's in the Box?

The DMC-ZS20 has a rather unremarkable bundle. Then again, so do most cameras these days. Inside the box, you'll find:
  • The 14.1 effective Megapixel Lumix DMC-ZS20 digital camera
  • DMW-BCG10 lithium-ion battery
  • AC-to-USB adapter
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • DVD featuring PhotoFunStudio 8.1 Premium Edition, Map Tool, and LoiLoScope trial
  • 34 page basic manual (printed) + full manual (on CD-ROM)
Despite being their flagship travel zoom camera, Panasonic has built just 18MB of memory into the DMC-ZS20. Needless to say, you'll want to buy a memory card right away, unless you have one sitting around already. The ZS20 supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards, and I'd recommend a 4GB card for most folks, and an 8GB or 16GB card for movie enthusiasts. You'll want a card rated Class 6 or faster for best performance, especially when it comes to movies.
The DMC-ZS20 uses the same DMW-BCG10 lithium-ion battery as its predecessor. This battery packs just 3.2 Wh of energy into its plastic shell, but thankfully Panasonic manages to squeeze pretty good battery life out of it, as you can see in this table. Note that battery life numbers are provided by the manufacturer, and are calculated with the GPS turned off.
Camera Battery life
(CIPA standard)
Battery used
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS * 230 shots NB-6L
Fuji FinePix F770EXR * 300 shots NP-50A (1)
Nikon Coolpix S9300 * 200 shots EN-EL12
Olympus SZ-31MR iHS 200 shots LI-50B
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 * 260 shots DMW-BCG10
Pentax Optio VS20 200 shots D-LI122
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V * 320 shots NP-BG1
* Camera features built-in GPS
The ZS20's battery life is a bit above the group average. That said, you might want to pick up a spare battery, as that GPS is power-hungry, especially if it's on all the time (more on that later). An extra battery will set you back around $32.
Panasonic has changed the way in which batteries are charged on their 2012 models. Batteries are now charged internally via the USB connector, which can be plugged into the wall or your PC. The reason why manufacturers are using this method more and more is pretty obvious to me: it costs a lot less to include a small AC-to-USB adapter than a full external charger. The bad news is that internal charging is a lot slower -- it takes a whopping 260 minutes to fully charge the ZS20's battery. Thankfully, Panasonic still sells the external charger (model DE-A65BA), which can be yours for about $25. It's more convenient than internal charging, allows you to charge a spare, and it's 100 minutes faster, too.
Something else about the included charger: while it's an AC adapter, you cannot use it to power the camera -- it's for charging only. If you want to use the ZS20 on "shore power", then you'll need to buy the hard-to-find AC adapter listed below.

Optional Accessories

Accessory Model # Price* Description
Underwater housing DMW-MCTZ30 $299 Take the ZS20 up to 40 meters underwater.
External battery charger DE-A65BA $24 An old-fashioned external charger, which is considerably faster than in-camera charging. Also allows for charging of a spare battery.
AC adapter DMW-AC5
DMW-DCC5
$60
$13
While not an official ZS20 accessory, the combination of these parts will let you power the camera without draining the battery. These can be very hard to find.
A/V cable DMW-AVC1 $9 Composite audio/video cable for connecting to a standard television.
Leather case DMW-CT3-K
DMW-CT3-T
$49 A leather case which comes in black and tan. Includes a battery case.
*Prices accurate at time of publication
A pretty short list, yes, but then again, the ZS20 is a compact camera. As I've hinted at several times, Panasonic accessories can be very hard to find - I don't even have prices for half of the stuff!
Panasonic includes PhotoFunStudio 8.1 Professional Edition software with the Lumix DMC-ZS20. This Windows-only software handles basic tasks fairly well, though the whole "wizard" system gets tired quickly. On the main screen you'll see the usual thumbnail view, and you can view photos by folders, date, or by things as specific as scene mode. The software can learn to recognize faces (much like the camera itself), which offers you another way to browse through your pictures. Available editing features give you the ability to crop, rotate, or change the aspect ratio of your photos, as well as adjusting color, brightness, saturation, and more. You can apply special effects to photos, overlay text, or remove redeye. Something else that's nice is that the software maintains a history of the changes you've made to a photo, so you can go back in time if you don't like something you've done.
Another included program is Lumix Map Tool (for Mac and Windows), which lets you choose which maps of the world you want to load onto your memory card. The North/Central America map is 1.88 GB, so maybe getting that 8 GB SDHC card isn't such a bad idea, after all. Another important application, known as GPSASIST, is actually built into the camera itself. When you attach it to your Mac or PC via USB, select "GPS Assist Data" on the camera, and you'll find the software on the virtual disk mounted by the camera. Loading the GPS Assist Data can reduce satellite acquisition times.
As with other recent Panasonic cameras, the ZS20's manuals are split into two parts. In the box is a leaflet that will get you up and running, but not much further. For more information about the camera, you'll have to load up the full manual, which is in PDF format on the DVD that comes with the camera. The full manual certainly won't win any awards for user-friendliness, but it should answer most questions you'll have about the ZS20. Instructions for using the included software is installed onto your PC.
This review was first published at www.dcresource.com, and is presented here with minimal changes, notably the inclusion of a full set of product images, our usual studio comparisons and an expanded samples gallery, plus the addition of a standard dpreview score.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.
Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.
To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.
DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.
This article is Copyright 2012 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

Posted By Techspace04:54

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review

Filled under: ,

Previous page Next page

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review

April 2012 | By | Richard Butler

Review based on a production E-M5 running firmware v1.1
With the launch of the E-M5, Olympus harks back to one of its most fondly-remembered camera systems - the Olympus OM range of 35mm SLRs. The E-M5 is the first camera in an OM-Digital lineup that will run alongside the PEN series and, according to the company, its Four Thirds models. For reasons of clarity, it should be stated that this isn't a continuation of the old OM line - the OM-D models won't be SLRs and are based around Micro Four Thirds, not OM lens mounts. However, they do embody the spirit of the much-loved camera line - a small, well-built camera designed for enthusiasts. And, particularly in silver and black form, the E-M5 is one of best looking cameras we've encountered in some time.
It would be easy to dismiss the E-M5 as simply an upgraded E-P3 with a built-in viewfinder, but that would rather miss the point. Looked at another way, the E-M5 appears to be a synthesis of the best bits of recent Olympus cameras. It offers greater capability than the company's range-topping E-5 DSLR in a compact body with the classic styling of the OM range. It also echoes of the E-620 - the small, photographer-focused camera that, to us, made most sense of the Four Thirds concept. Its magnesium alloy body also manages to incorporate the same extensive weather sealing that the E-5 offered - complementing the similarly-sealed M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ lens the company announced in December 2011.
And it is small - actually slightly smaller than the diminutive OM-4Ti whose looks it apes. But, like that camera, it has plenty of external controls. Twin dials protrude from the front and rear of the narrow top-plate, giving direct access to the major shooting functions in a way that we always hoped the top-of-the-line PENs would. The early push by manufacturers to create beginner-friendly mirrorless cameras means it's still rare to find cameras that offer two good control dials when your hand is in a shooting grip.
The camera is built around a 16MP Four Thirds sensor, which all our testing suggests may well be the same one seen in Panasonic's DMC-G3. This can only be seen as a welcome step forward, as it's a much newer and more capable sensor. The sensor is combined with the company's latest, TruePic VI processor, which appears to bring the usual Olympus magic to the JPEGs. The company claims improved dynamic range and, with an newer sensor and better processing, it's reasonable to expect better performance in terms of noise. And, since dynamic range is the range between highlights and a specified noise level, this would be considered a boost in dynamic range.
The company has also totally reworked its built-in image stabilization system. The new design is described as 5-axis (translational movement vertically and horizontally, and rotational movement around 3 axes - shown below), in contrast to the previous system that only corrected for up/down and left/right rotation. If it works, the ability to correct for rotation around the lens axis caused by pressing the shutter button offers a clear advantage over in-lens stabilization systems. Meanwhile, correction for translational movements promises more effective stabilization for macro photography at high magnifications (like Canon's 'Hybrid IS'). The system continues to work in video. Although none of these systems is inherently original, this is the first camera we've seen to incorporate them all at once, we look at its effect on the performance page of this review.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 specification highlights:

  • 16MP MOS Four Thirds format sensor
  • Weather-sealed body
  • Twin control dials
  • New, '5-axis' image stabilization
  • Shoot at up to ISO 25,600
  • Up to 9fps shooting (4.2 fps with continuous AF)
  • 800x600 pixel (1.44M dot) LCD electronic viewfinder
  • VGA-equivalent 3" OLED touchscreen display - tilts 80° upwards and 50° downwards
  • Latest TruePic VI processor
  • Improved C-AF autofocus with 3D tracking
  • Flash sync speed up to 1/250th sec

Hands-on Preview video*

*Note that this video was prepared as part of our original preview content of the E-M5

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.
Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.
To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.
DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.
This article is Copyright 2012 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

Posted By Techspace04:50

LensRental's Roger Cicala examines Canon EOS 5D Mark III light leak 'cover-up'

Filled under: ,

The ever-inquisitive Roger Cicala at LensRentals has dismantled a light-leak-fixed Canon EOS 5D Mark III and compared it to an unmodified version. The solution, as proposed by every tool-shed tinkerer, appears to be a piece of black electrical tape, which Cicala says successfully stops stray light reaching the camera's metering sensor. When asked if he'd send his own Mark III back to be modified, Cicala points out that he doesn't 'do long exposure night photography with autometering.' But, in the unlikely event that you do, you can rest assured that Canon can fix your camera for you.http://2.s.img-dpreview.com/files/news/9965087548/120/canon_eos5dmkiii.png?v=1490
The 'light-leak' issue for the 5D III involved light from the camera's top-plate LCD illuminator reaching the metering sensor and skewing the results. The metering errors caused by this stray light only came when trying to photograph extremely low-light scenes (a situation in which it's unusual to use the camera's metering).
We got our first “new” Canon 5D Mk III cameras today, the ones with the light leak fixed. You know me, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to take one apart and see what was different. I had photos from the ‘prefixed’ 5D IIIs from a previous post, so comparison would be easy.
Let me say it here first: I knew this was going to be the fix since the first time I took one apart: Canon has this very cool black tape they used to cover circuit boards (I’m assuming either water resistance or electrical shielding or both) and I figured they’d just slap another piece over (or under, depending on your point of view) the top LCD light. Which is exactly what they did. Yes, I’m making fun, but it’s a perfectly good solution and it works flawlessly.


Top assembly from original shipment of 5DIII

Top assembly from new shipment 5D III
And because I know you have enquiring minds: I did power the camera up with the shell off in a dark room. There is no more leak.
Addendum: for those who notice there is a black plastic piece over the shutter button that was removed in the first photo, but not this one.

Read This Please!!!

Sometimes I forget that other people don’t spend most of their days looking in cameras and lenses. Some people seem to think tape is bad or cheap fix. It’s not. Actually, I can’t think of any SLR camera that doesn’t have a bunch of tape inside. Nor can I remember any high quality zoom lens that doesn’t have tape inside (some of the cheaper consumer grade lenses don’t). This stuff lasts for the life of the camera and then some. Trust me, I’ve taken some water soaked equipment apart where the only thing still working was the tape.
In a previous post, I praised the broad sheets of the same tape used to cover all of the circuit boards: it obviously provides added protection. This solution seems silly, but it’s logical and effective.

Posted By Techspace04:48