Author Archives: carroll moore

Olympus TG-3 Makes a Splash

olympus tg-3

Perhaps somewhat overshadowed by the news of a point-and-shoot Pen, the Olympus TG-3 appears no less impressive, effectively announced as a replacement to the WG-2 and sporting some welcome improvements.

Olympus TG-3:  Competition-Proof Compact?

Tough cameras may induce wonder from some, but they rarely pique my interest.  I say rarely because the TG-3 has been announced and my interest has finally been piqued.

Here are some pictures of a pre-production model.

olympus tg-3 olympus tg-3 olympus tg-3Here are the full stats.

Model Stylus TOUGH TG-3
Waterproof Submersible down to 50ft/15m
Crushproof Withstands up to 220lbf/100kgf of pressure
Shockproof Resists drops up to 7ft/2.1m high
Freezeproof Puts up with freezing weather down to 14°F/-10°C
Dustproof Yes
Wi-Fi Connectivity The built-in Wireless LAN and free Olympus Image Share (OI.Share) app enable you to:1) Easily share files (JPEG/MOV) to iOS and Android mobile devices,2) Geotag photos with GPS location information from iOS and Android mobile devices,3) Remotely operate the zoom, activate the self-timer, adjust white balance and exposure (ISO, shutter speed, aperture), select the shooting and drive modes, select the AF area, and trip the shutter, all from an iOS and Android mobile device.

4) Apply custom signatures and Art Filters to photos taken and stamps to Photo Story photos.

GPS & Electronic Compass GPS: Quickly locates position within 10 seconds and is more accurate than ever.Location and landmark information can be viewed and geotagged to photos.Electronic Compass: Displays information such as 1) Latitude and longitude, 2) Atmospheric and water pressure, 3) Altitude and water depth, and 4) Date and time.
Zoom 4x Optical Zoom + 2x Super Resolution Zoom + 4x Digital Zoom
Focal Length 4.5 – 18.0mm (35mm equivalent: 25 – 100mm)
Aperture Range Wide:  f2.0, f2.8, f8.0Tele:  f4.9, f6.3, f18.0
Focus Range/Working Distance Wide/Tele: 3.9in/10cm to infinity;Super Macro Mode: 0.4in/1cm to infinity, focal length fixed to 25mm (equiv)
Image Sensor 16 Megapixel – BSI CMOS 1/2.3”
Image Stabilization Sensor-shift
Image Processor TruePic VII
ISO Sensitivity ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, AUTO, HIGH
White Balance Auto, One-touch, Cloudy, Sunny, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Underwater
Shutter Speed 1/2 – 1/2000 (Night Scene: Longest 4 sec)
Continuous Shooting 5fps / 100 images (16M); 15fps / 100 images (3M); 60fps / 100 images (3M)
Self-Timer 2 sec, 12 sec, Custom Self-Timer  (1-30 sec start timer, 1-10 pictures, 1-3 sec interval)
Interval Shooting 1 sec – 24 hrs interval, Max 99 frames, 1sec-24hrs start timer
AF Illuminator Built-in AF Illuminator
Flash Modes Auto, Red Eye Reduction, Fill-in, Off, LED
Focus Mode Face Detection AF, AF Tracking, AF Lock
Shooting Modes Mode Dial: Intelligent Auto (iAUTO), Program Auto (P), Aperture Priority (A), Microscope, Scene Modes (22), Art Filters (11), Photo Story, Custom (C)Microscope Modes: 1. Microscope, 2. Focus Stacking, 3. Focus Bracketing, 4. Microscope ControlScene Modes: 1. Portrait, 2. ePortrait, 3. Landscape, 4. Interval Shooting, 5. Hand-held Starlight,6. Night Scene, 7. Night + Portrait, 8. Sport, 9. Indoor, 10. Self Portrait, 11. Sunset, 12. Fireworks, 13. Cuisine, 14. Documents, 15. Beach & Snow, 16. Under Water Snapshot,

17. Under Water Wide1, 18. Under Water Wide2, 19. Under Water Macro, 20. Snow,

21. Panorama, 22. Backlight HDR

Art Filters: 1. Pop Art, 2. Soft Focus, 3. Pale & Light Color, 4. Grainy Film, 5. Pin Hole, 6. Diorama, 7. Dramatic Tone, 8. Fish Eye, 9. Sparkle, 10. Reflection, 11. Fragmented

Picture Modes: Vivid, Natural, Muted

Panorama Allows you to intuitively pan the camera across the scene; standard and full 360° views available.
Still Image Playback Edit Effects 1. Resize, 2. Crop, 3. Audio Clip (Record 4 sec audio to image file), 4. Red Eye Fix, 5. Shadow Adjustment, 7. Rotate Image, 8. e-Portrait (smoothes skin tone to view on HDTV)
Still Image File Format JPEG
Video Mode, Resolution and Recording Speeds 1080p, 720p, VGA, Time-Lapse Movie (720p),High-Speed 120fps (640×480), High-Speed 240fps (432×324)*When shooting 1080 60p/1080p/720p movies, use SDHC class6 (speed class)/SDXC class6 or higher for best results.
Time-Lapse Movie Images obtained with the Interval Shooting mode can be compiled automatically in the camera into a Time Lapse  Movie lasting up to 10 sec. Movie is recorded in 720p size at 10 fps.
Audio Recording Linear PCM
Video File Format MOV/H.264, AVI/Motion JPEG (High-Speed Movie, Time-Lapse Movie)
 Rear Monitor Size (Aspect Ratio) 3.0″ (3:2)
Rear Monitor Resolution and Type 460K Dots LCD
Removable Media Card SD, SDHC, SDXC, Internal Memory
Internal Memory 36MB
Outer Connectors Multi-terminal (USB Connector, DC Jack, Audio/Video Output), HDMI Type D
Auto-Connect USB USB 2.0 High-Speed (USB Mass Storage)
Language English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croatian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovak, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Korean, Simple Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Bulgarian, Romanian, Persian, Indonesian, Hebrew, Malay, Vietnamese, Japanese
Battery Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery (LI-92B)
Battery Life
(CIPA DC-002)
380 shots; 120 minutes continuous video shooting
Dimension 4.4″ W x 2.6″ H x 1.2″ D  (111.5mm W x 65.9mm H x  31.2mm D)
Weight 8.7oz (247g)
Box Contents TG-3 Digital CameraWaterproof InstructionsWrist StrapLI-92B Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery

USB Cable (CB-USB8)

AC Adapter (F-2AC)

Quick Start Guide

CD-ROM with Instruction Manual and Olympus Viewer 3 Software

Worldwide Warranty Card

 The biggest highlight here?  Built-in WiFi and interval shooting give users that ability to turn the Olympus TG-3 into an action camera with a remote, as well as send of pictures and video to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.  Having used the free Olympus app, OI.Share, I can safely say that it feels fairly easy to use, and once you get used to setting up a connection with between the camera and your phone, it is pretty close to hassle-free.

For those who disdain the ever-increasing social aspect of digital photography can still fall in love with this camera, thanks in no small part to improved macro capabilities, including a claim from the manufacturer that the Olympus TG-3 can focus as close as 1 cm (!!!) – probably made possible with some crazy zoom feature in the camera menu, or the optional LG-1 LED ring light ($59.99).

olympus tg-3

At any rate, the TG-3 has been announced, and will retail for around $349.  While you might rejoice at that price, you’ll have to wait until June for the camera to become available.  It will be available in red and black.

Olympus Stylus SH-1: Pen for Pockets

olympus stylus sh-1

Say what you want about Olympus, they never seem to stop cranking out cameras, and pushing as much technology into those new bodies as possible.  Nowhere is this more true than in the case of the Olympus Stylus SH-1, just announced and packing some nifty features.

Olympus Stylus SH-1, the Pocket-able Pen-inspired Point-and-Shoot

Olympus’s top tier Stylus cameras mostly rock the black, angular svelte of the E-M1, but the SH-1 is a slight departure from that trend, coming in black, silver, or white.  The overall appearance of the camera is easily comparable to the Pen cameras, but with a fixed lens equivalent to 25-600 mm.  Aperture ranges from f/3 to f/6.9.  The big improvement in this camera is the inclusion of 5-axis image stabilization, but that doesn’t mean the camera lacks in other features.  Full HD Video, built-in WiFi, a 3″ touchscreen LCD, and built in stereo mics only increase the appeal.  Even some degree of manual control has been pledged by Olympus.

Here are some pictures of the new Olympus Stylus SH-1:

olympus stylus sh-1 olympus stylus sh-1 olympus stylus sh-1

The back LCD has a decent resolution of 460,000 dots, but there is no ability to attach an electronic viewfinder or a flash via hot shoe.  There is a nifty, Pen-looking flash that sits on the left side of the top plate, but I haven’t been able to narrow down a range for it.

Other specifications of note would include a 12 fps continuous drive (!), an auto focus assist lamp, and the TruePic VII image processor.

olympus stylus sh-1 olympus stylus sh-1

Admittedly, I’m a little curious about what that small bump under the left side of the lens does.  A seemingly-paltry 3 cm minimum focusing distance has me a little miffed, as the just-announced, brand-spankin’-new TG-3 (also from Olympus) features a minimum focusing distance of just 10 mm.  Yeah, that’s right:  10 freaking millimeters.  However this is about my only qualm, and all in all, 3 cm ain’t too shabby for a minimum focusing distance.  But if I had to pick one down side to a camera based on specs made available on the same day it was released, that would be the down side that I choose.

The Olympus Stylus SH-1 comes out in May, with a recommended street price of $399 – a truly affordable price point if you’re given to buying cameras on the street.

Better Street Photography: Five Ways to Up Your Game

better street photography

I’ve always loved street photography.  It’s easy, it’s fun, and it has a colorful history.  But if you want better street photography, what do you do?  Here are five tips I’ve found to be most useful when it comes to taking better street photos.

Five Tips for Better Street Photography

Forget the Rules

better street photography

When you research street photography, you’ll find a lot of opinions on the subject.  Some people even label these opinions as rules.  Truth is, no one has really codified what street photography is or isn’t, in any concrete terms.  Or if they have, I call BS and say you should forget about it.  If you want a working definition, consider it “capturing the essence of humanity – directly or indirectly – in an urban environment”.  Use whatever gear you want (DSLR, point and shoot, iPhone), and take whatever approach you want.

Experiment (…with lenses)

better street photography

Okay, you should just experiment in general, but for DSLR users out there, try different lens setups.  Better street photography is arrived at by not only finding your voice or style, but by finding your tools as well.  A lot of people will vehemently oppose any lens with a focal length outside the 24-28 mm range, while others may extend that to 24-50.  Some even recommend longer lenses.  Each one has its pros and cons, but suffice to say that if you don’t have brass cajones, and shy away from getting up close and personal with your subjects, you may want to work at 50 mm or longer in terms of lenses.  

That being said, my personal favorite would the be 35, 42, or 50 mm focal lengths.  Why?  The 35 mm mark is a great place to start if you like getting lots of stuff into your frame.  Street photography is as much about the environment as the people in it.  One shapes the other, and vice versa.  Around 40 or 42mm, you begin to see images that mimic scenes as they are perceived by the human eye, which can be a very powerful effect.  Of course, the 50 mm focal length gives you a little more distance, but may help in grabbing subjects you don’t necessarily feel right in approaching.

Take Your Time

better street photography

When you’re trying walking all over town trying to get interesting shots of people in an urban environment, you can easily feel out of place and unwelcome.  Everyone else is doing their thing – hurrying to jobs or hurrying home, working or engaging in recreation.  I find myself hurrying to take photos and move along as quickly as possible, caught up in the flow of my environment.  But that isn’t always good.  If you want better street photography, go against the flow and take your time.  Don’t rush, taking in the sights and sounds and be aware of everyone around you.

Sometimes, in sketchy neighborhoods, time can be of the essence.  When safety is an issue (and it may be depending on time of day and location), you can always double back or walk around the block to get back to your shot.

Candid Shots Rule

better street photography

This instance of the word “rule” is a verb, not a noun.  It’s an opinion of mine – and there are other people out there who might agree – that candid shots are better than non-candid ones.  This doesn’t mean you have to be a creep about it, but you should never be afraid or feel bad about taking a photo of someone unawares, so long as it is lawful.  Most people would rather see someone doing what they do with a natural look on their face, than someone posing with an awkward grin or smile.

Recommended Gear

better street photography

Are there certain pieces of photo gear that can lead to better street photography?  Perhaps, but what that gear is, largely depends on your preferences.  Choose bags and cameras and lenses that work with you.  Eschew a backpack for a messenger bag or a holster-style camera bag.  Consider using a smaller, more discrete camera body.  And use a lens you feel comfortable using, or have the most fun using.

Turning Photos into Art

turning photos into art

There’s never been a better time to turn your photos into art with alternative prints.  With the boom of mobile photography, and dropping DSLR prices – as well as the constantly-improving technology of cheap point and shoot cameras – just about any device can land you with a photo worthy of printing.  Of course you could go the easy route and order some 4×6 prints from Walgreens, or break out an all-in-one photo printer for some super 8×10 prints.  But what if you want something a little different?  Check out these options for turning photos into art.

Turning Photos into Art:  3 Ideas for Alternative Prints

There are now many ways to share your photos.  I won’t recommend you put photos on tee shirts or coffee mugs, but you can definitely go that route if you don’t think it’s tacky.

Cardboard Prints

Where to find them:  http://www.staticpixels.com/

turning photos into art

At the time of this article, the website is down for maintenance, but Static Pixels allows photographs to be printed onto corrugated cardboard.  Color accuracy is decent, and the texture of the cardboard gives the photos a grainy appearance.  Sizes range from 5x to 20×20 inches, and prices from $25 to $89, respectively.  Sound steep?  That $25 lands you four prints, so you can save a little money if you go the small route.

Instant Film Prints

Where to find them:  Fuji/Impossible Project/Photojojo.com

There are several options available for those looking to do instant photo prints from digital files.  All of the options are essentially the same, but with their own little quirks.

turning photos into art

On the smallest end of the spectrum, you have the Fuji Instax Share SP-1, which uses Fuji Instax Mini instant film (the cheapest and the most readily-available of all instant films).  You can buy it on Amazon for as little as $230.

turning photos into art

If you want slightly larger prints, you can check out the Instant Photo Lab from the Impossible Project – the dudes from NYC who make film that works in old Polaroid cameras.  Turning your photos into art this way, you’ll get prints larger than the Fuji Instax Mini, but at about twice the cost (for the prints).  Head over to Photojojo.com to snag one of these for yourself, at about $300 a pop.

Sticker Prints

Where to find them:  a mercurial place known only as “the internet”

turning photos into art

Here’s how this works.  You buy the paper and print photos on it (or order transparent stickers from a photo-printing site) and then you slap it on whatever you want.  This can be pretty cool when turning photos into art gets boring, and you want to turn everyday objects into art.  Need ideas?  Ceramic dinner plates, skateboard decks, wood surfaces…just about anything flat might work.  Two things to keep in mind here:  if you print stickers yourself, some will only work with Laser Printers.  Research this before you try it.  Also, don’t eat food off of plates you’ve adhered stickers to.  It just isn’t safe.

So…go ahead and give them a whirl.  Taking the photo and simply saving it for later – or uploading it to an image-sharing website like Flickr, Facebook, or 500px – doesn’t have to be the final step.  Turning photos into art doesn’t have to be curtailed to these three methods, either.  Go wild!  Experiment!  There’s always room to expand and improve.

The Panasonic 4K Action Camera

panasonic 4k action camera

Every one I know who wants an action camera, wants a GoPro.  They seem to dominate the market, with no sign of slacking their grip on consumers’ wallets.  But just arrived on the scene, the Panasonic 4K action camera – the HX-A500 – may carve out a piece of the market share…or fail miserably.

The Panasonic 4K Action Camera:  a Different Approach

Innovation is a lovely thing about camera technology:  with every new feature comes multiple ways of delivering it.  So it might not seem like a shock to some (or even many) that Panasonic’s action camera is a bit different in appearance.

The body of the camera itself – the user interface – looks like my old MP3 player.  Not a Zune or a retro iPod.  No, it looks like one of those MP3 players I picked out of a bargain bin at KMart a la 2005.  Attached to this is a cable, and the camera lens, looking not unlike a microphone, or God-knows-what.

panasonic 4k action camera

As you can see, wearing this sucker in public might not be the most low-key thing you could ever do, but then a Panasonic 4k action camera isn’t exactly low-key in any respect, and least of all in terms of specifications.

Sporting WiFi and NFC, and with added measures of waterproofing and dustproofing, the camera offers video capture in multiple formats and speeds:  4k at 30 fps, 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 120fps, and 480p at 240fps.  

panasonic 4k action camera

So you can use this baby to capture yourself kayaking or mountain-climbing, or walking your dog.  That’s what people use GoPro cameras for, right?

The early adopters will probably be on top of this when it becomes available – the UK will see it in May, and North America sometime in July.  While it may not completely replace its entrenched rival, this Panasonic 4k action camera definitely plays on the latest and greatest in video capture – being the first action camera to record in 4k and thus, already bringing it to the attention of some.

Olympus Photo Contest for Instagram Photographers

photo contest for Instagram photographers

Olympus has announced a photo contest for Instagram photographers.  Here’s how it works:

Photo Contest for Instagram Photographers

1.)  Upload a photo to Instagram showing your baseball spirit, using
      #OlympusMLB

2.)   Ten lucky winners will win the opportunity to show off their
      photography skills using Olympus products at ballparks across the
      country

3.)    The two best photographers will be selected in a fan vote for the
      chance to become a reoccurring correspondent at additional MLB games

So just capture an instance of Baseball Fever and upload via Instagram or Facebook (to the the contest page on Facebook with #OlympusMLB in the title) and you could be one of  ten photographers who will receive a free Olympus E-M10.  Of those ten photographers, only two will go on to photograph select MLB games as correspondents.

What are you waiting for?  This photo contest for Instagram photographers has a deadline and it is looming – March 17, to be exact.  So go out and shoot already.

Also, take a look at the full contest rules here:

http://mlb.mlb.com/instagram/sponsored/olympus_rules.jsp

Canon ELPH 150 IS Review and Samples

canon elph 150 is sample image

It’s not for everyone, and straight out of the box it will disappoint anyone who has already handled anything better.

However, you can still get some great images out of the ELPH 150 IS.

Shooting with the Canon Powershot ELPH 150 IS

Menus and “Ergonomics”

canon elph 150 is sample image

The menus are okay.  You probably won’t need to read the manual if you use cameras fairly often.  Personally, I think Canon has the most intuitive menus for beginners, and this camera is no exception.

I put ergonomics in quotation marks because there are no contours to this camera, really.  It’s a little box that has an on/off button on top, and a shutter release with a scroll for the zoom.  There are some buttons on the back and the thing isn’t as tall or wide as most smartphones, but maybe a little thicker.

Takeaway:  anyone can use this camera.

Lens Performance

canon elph 150 is sample imagecanon elph 150 is sample image canon elph 150 is sample image canon elph 150 is sample image

The lens on the ELPH 150 IS is pretty decent, with relative sharpness at it’s widest focal length (24mm equivalent).  Aperture is automatic, with f/3 at the wide end, and f/6.9 when the zoom is fully extended.  Due to the mostly-automatic nature of the camera, the default ISO of 800 at its 240mm equivalent focal length leads to a fairly grainy picture, but working with decent lighting will allow you to override the ISO in Program Auto mode.  Then you can set your ISO to a clean 100 and get fairly smooth shots.

Takeaway:  the lens is great at the wide end, even in auto.  Zooming way out to the maximum distance will leave you with grainy shots unless you adjust ISO in the menus.

ISO Performance

canon elph 150 is sample image   @ISO 100 canon elph 150 is sample image

@ISO 200

canon elph 150 is sample image

@ISO 400

canon elph 150 is sample image

@ISO 800

canon elph 150 is sample image

@ISO 1600

A little grain is a given when using any camera.  Most of us accept that.  But thanks to a diminutive sensor, and the automatic tendencies of this camera to set ISO to some of the grainier extremes, it’s going to behoove most users to stick with 100 ISO if they don’t want a grainy look.  Personally, I found the image quality at 400 and 800 to be workable, but I would still keep away from 1600 unless I really didn’t care about grain/noise.

Takeaway:  change the camera mode to Program and adjust ISO to 100.  And leave it there.

Exposure Whacking

canon elph 150 is sample image

I can’t use “exposure control” because that is misleading.  You’re in for a struggle when you want to change shutter speed on this camera.  That’s okay – you can easily adjust exposure compensation, but finding the in-menu controls for shutter speed is tough.  Very tough.

Takeaway:  memorize how to get back to your exposure compensation for quick adjustment when taking photos.

Flash

Well, it’s a fairly simple point and shoot flash.  It does seem to have some nice range on it, but it’s positioned to the left side of the lens.

Takeaway:  good most of the time but forget using it for extreme closeups.

Macro

IMG_0022a

Probably the best thing about little point and shoot cameras these days are those stunning macro shots.  In fact, it’s one of the niches that point and shoot and ultra compact cameras still excel at.  The ELPH 150 IS has a close-focusing distance of 1 centimeter (or .39 inches).  Decent, to say the least.

Takeaway:  if you like taking macro shots, shell out $150 for this camera and have some fun.

Creative filters

canon elph 150 is sample image Toy Camera canon elph 150 is sample image Fisheye canon elph 150 is sample image

Monochrome

I guess this is Canon’s attempt to cash in on the same things Fuji and Olympus are doing so well.  The problem with these effects in a point and shoot body is that they wind up looking far, far, far…far far far worse than the same effects from Fuji or Olympus.  Sorry Canon…but you just can’t do it in a body this small.  There is a grid display that users can enable to see a rule-of-thirds guide, but nothing that will save the this camera from the pitfalls of its creative filters.

Takeaway:  avoid cancer of the retina and don’t use these filters.  The rule-of-thirds grid overlay (hidden in the menus) may actually be of more use to creative photographers.

Video

It’s a compact camera with images stabilization (hence the “IS” in ELPH 150 IS), but it’s a tiny 1/2.3” sensor.  And it is only HD - not FULL HD.  So yeah.  Video is kind of there.  It’s wonderful, I guess, if you want video in your camera.  Otherwise, yeah.

Takeaway:  um, yeah.

All in All

canon elph 150 is sample image

Final opinion?  Not a bad little camera.  Clearly an automatic package for someone who just wants to “take good pictures” but might not have heard about camera phones yet.

You do get better image quality if you take the ISO down to 100 and utilize the flash a little, and macro is amazing on this camera.  But since most of the people who are buying this camera probably aren’t going to know how to overcome its quirks, I don’t expect it to hear much about it or see it flying off of the store shelves.

In all honesty, it reminds me of the people who used to buy family cameras and let everyone in the family use it to take pictures.  It would probably be nice for a picnic or a family reunion, but even the 10x optical zoom seems to have a hard time grabbing distant subjects with the kind of clarity most can find in marginally more expensive compacts.

It’ll be interesting to see where this camera goes, and if Canon might start making niche macro point and shoot cameras for those of us who would like something small and portable for unexpected situations.

Getty Embedded Image Viewer Born

getty embedded image viewer

Getty Images isn’t evil.  Despite whatever people say (or what photographers say).  No, Getty Images ins’t evil.  Would an evil company create an embedded image viewer to advertise itself on social media – with files so small that the photographer shouldn’t be paid for their use?  No, of course not.  No evil company would do that.

Say Hello to the Getty Embedded Image Viewer

Imagine some old-time photo cashcow right here, inside a cute and innocent little Getty image viewer.  

The news that stock photography is in dire straits isn’t exactly fresh.  Odds are, you’ve been hearing about it for a while.  If you’re like me, you’re already sick of hearing about it.  But the fact that a Getty embedded image viewer exists at all probably deserves some small amount attention.  Probably.

getty embedded image viewer

Look at those helpful ‘lil buttons in the right-hand corner.  Is that a freaking Tumblr logo?  Awesome.  

Fighting all that negative publicity over the Daniel Morel incident and the fact that bloggers no longer want anything to do with them, Getty Images will now use a free image viewer to help curtail image theft by giving low-res images away.  And hey, because those images are going to be a whopping 0.17 megapixels, there’s really no need to compensate the original photographer, right?

After all, it’s not like the Getty embedded image viewer is advertising material for Getty.  And it’s not like visitors to the blog are going to have the Getty Images brand shoved down their optical nerves every time they view a photo.  It’s not like visitors will keep going back to Getty to embed photos instead of paying for high-res files.

No one’s going to want something for free when they can pay for it.  And is a photo really stolen if it generates tons of traffic to Getty?

No folks, Getty Images isn’t evil.  Evil is something you find in photographers like Morel who want to besmirch the good name of Getty, and its dedicated staff of lawyers, accountants, and now snake-oil salesmen.  Evil is something you find in independent bloggers who use crappy images that were purchased by Getty after a buzzfeed or huffpost article.  But is evil something you find in the Getty embedded image viewer?  Absolutely not.

Unless Getty Images will get some traffic from it.  In which case, yes, you’ll be able to embed the bejesus out of it.

Canon Instant Rebates for March

canon instant rebate sample

Canon Instant Rebates for March!   Up and at ‘em, boys and girls!  Canon Instant Rebates are out for March, and apply to these compacts and point & shoots!  The rebates are effective March 2 through March 29.

March Canon Instant Rebates

 

canon instant rebate sample

 

Like DSLR options, but don’t want to spend DSLR prices?  Try the SX50 HS, which offers you control and image quality for a reasonable price.

PowerShot SX50 HS
Reg. Price $429.99 - $30 Instant Rebate = $399.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate sample

 

Though it might have one of the smallest Canon Instant Rebates, the SX510 is worth the money.  Not only does it take great images, but it’s one of the smallest, most portable cameras available.  

PowerShot SX510 HS
Reg. Price $249.99 - $20 Instant Rebate = $229.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate sample

The SX280 shows you don’t need a bridge camera to get multiple shooting modes, including that macro function that seems to be lacking on smaller cameras.  

PowerShot SX280 HS (black or red)

Reg. Price $279.99 - $80 Instant Rebate = $199.99 Final Price

 

canon instant rebate sample

 

Ah, the ELPH series.  It’s been around forever.  And with good reason:  not only are they some of the slimmest, sexiest compacts ever, but their image quality is astounding.  

PowerShot ELPH 330 HS (black, silver, or pink)
Reg. Price $179.99 - $50 Instant Rebate = $129.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate sample

PowerShot ELPH 130 IS (red, gray, or silver)
Reg. Price $149.99 - $40 Instant Rebate = $109.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate sample

PowerShot ELPH 115 IS (blue, silver, black, or pink)
Reg. Price $129.99 - $30 Instant Rebate = $99.99 Final Price

canon instant rebate sample

PowerShot A2500 (silver, red, or black)
Reg. Price $109.99 - $30 Instant Rebate = $79.99 Final Price

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Fujifilm XT1 Review

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Since its announcement and fairly rapid release, the Fujifilm XT1 has been turning heads – and with good reason.  Sporting a solid retro design and cutting-edge technology, this camera has vaulted to the forefront of the mirrorless pantheon.  But how does it perform?

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Shooting with the Fujifilm XT1

First, let me say that I was very hyped to get my mits on a Fujifilm XT1.  Mirrorless has been growing on me as of late, no doubt helped along by the Olympus E-M10 – a stunningly capable camera in a small, lightweight package.  So it stands to reason the that this newcomer from Fuji would have me on tenterhooks, but reason abandoned me when I actually took one out for a test drive.

Truth be told, the Fujifilm is impressive on paper.  The pixelpeepers and gearheads out there know this.  You probably know this.  The full specs are intimidating.  The viewfinder is A-MAZ-ING.  It feels like any camera should.  You get a drive mode dial like on my Nikon D2Xs, complete with a freakin’ double-exposure setting.  There’s two (2!) kinds of focus peaking.  And let’s not forget that mouth-watering APS-C sensor.

But then you might use the Fujifilm XT1, and feel something vanish.

Let me elaborate.

The Lens

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For my review, I used an XT1 with the 18-55 kit lens at f/2.8-4.  I had my misgivings about shooting with the standard kit.  Much more enticing to me was the 27mm f/2.8.  But as most people just getting into Fuji might purchase the whole kit, I decided to review the body and the 18-55 together.

That being said, you’ll be impressed that a camera manufacturer supplies you with a lens that’s reasonably bright when compared to the competition.  Heck, you even get a lens hood.  But when you start to use the kit lens a couple things happen.

First, there’s the finicky fake-feeling “aperture ring” on the barrel of the lens.  It moves when the wind blows.  So you’ll find yourself changing aperture without meaning to, and missing several shots.  I tried putting adjusting aperture with one of the on-body control dials, but despite my menu telling me that’s what the dial was set up for, nothing ever happened.  So, yeah, that sucked.

Having an f/2.8-4 zoom lens is great an all, but with that crappy plastic aperture ring on there, it just sort of ruins the whole experience.  Some people are used to manual aperture rings.  You set the ring, and when you move your lens, the freaking ring should not change.  On this lens, it does.  And it screws you up.  And you just want to use manual lenses again.

Shutter Speed

I talked about control dials.  Now let’s talk about the shutter speed dial.  You set your shutter speed at full stops – 1/250, 1/500, 1/4000 – and then you can use a control dial below on the body to fine-tune that shutter speed to say, 1/300, 1/600, and so on and so forth.  I guess this stems from Nikon’s design faults with the DF, where users could change the top shutter speed dial to 1/250 and then move the control dial on the camera body to a shutter speed of 1/500 (without the top dial registering the change).  That being said, it makes shutter speed clunkier and more annoying to adjust.

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ISO

ISO is great if you’re shooting JPEGs only.  You get a range of 100-51200.  Then if you shoot in RAW, you get a diminished range of 200-6400.  Aside from that, you’ve got your ISO speeds on a dial that locks every time you have to move it.  So it doesn’t change accidentally, but you no longer get to rapidly change your ISO speed, either.

Drive Modes

Here the Fujifilm XT1 has made some nice headway.  You get all the drive modes you would expect, plus a bracketed setting, a double exposure setting, a panorama setting (which stitches quite well), and an “advanced” setting.

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The Viewfinder and LCD

Both of these are phenomenal.  You can get lost in that viewfinder.  It’s big, it’s bright, and it doesn’t let in any extra light.  It makes optical viewfinders look shallow and dark.  The LCD is crisp and bright.  It tilts.  It does everything a good LCD should do these days.

Image Quality

Image quality on the Fujifilm XT1 is what you would expect – sharp and crisp with excellent resolution and astounding color reproduction.  The added film simulator is a joy to play around with – more so than the Olympus art features, which seem aimed at amateurs, not film buffs.

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Film simulation modes include a black and white mode simulating certain filters, like red (used in the two photographs above), blue, green, or yellow.  

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Velvia/vivid film simulation.

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Astia/soft film simulation.  

Menus

Menus are very intuitive, especially for those coming from a Nikon background.

Overall Impressions

The Fujifilm XT1 has some wonderful features going for it – the best EVF on the market, a rather large sensor, and stunning image quality, as well as a love-it-or-hate-it retro design.  For those willing to learn with the camera, and harness the potential of new interfaces for shutter speed and aperture, disappointments will be few and far between.  For the rest of you old codgers out there, you might actually want to go the Olympus or Sony route, when it comes to mirrorless.

Note:  One thing I did not touch upon in this review was low-light performance.  A review specifically aimed at night-shooting with the XT1 will be coming soon.  

UPDATE:  To see how the Fujifilm X-T1 performs with the 10-24 f/4 R OIS, check out this review.

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