Category Archives: Camera News

Yelp Extortion: It Only Sucks if You Don’t Pay

yelp extortion

When I was a kid, there was a photography shop in my town.  A real mom-and-pop joint, it had been owned and operated by four generations of the same family.  Those folks loved cameras, but one day the customers dried up, and the business died, and the store closed.

This thing was happening everywhere at the time, and a lot of old shops that couldn’t handle the digital revolution and the rise of e-commerce simply ceased to exist.  Nowadays, if you’re lucky, you can still find some small independent stores that still give you good merchandise and warm, friendly service.  Only now, there’s a new threat:  Yelp Extortion.

yelp extortion

Yelp Extortion,

Now with More Filter!

I’m all for the natural order of things. The strong will overcome the weak. Natural selection has its place in business, too, I believe. But there should be some ethics in there too, not because ethics has anything to do with profits, necessarily, but because all business is founded on human relationships. And if you can’t trust the ethics of the person you’re buying or selling to, can you really trust their business?

Now, thanks to the internet (which brought you such amazing things as BitStrips, Gangnam Style, and the MoneyPak Virus) comes Yelp Extortion.

yelp extortion

Cool, but not as cool as extorting small businesses.

In case you haven’t heard about this, its this teensy weensy little thing where some people are claiming Yelp employees manipulate reviews before, after, or during sales pitches for Yelp’s advertising services.

Yelp would have you believe this is the direct result of A.) raving lunatics or B.) people who aren’t happy with Yelp’s status as the go-to source for consumer reviews.

The stories about Yelp Extortion are real. They aren’t coming from raving lunatics (how many raving lunatics run a business successful enough to warrant paid advertising on Yelp?), and they aren’t coming from shady business owners (who need to have at least 3.5 stars and a certain amount of reviews to get the advertising pitch from Yelp in the first place).

Backdoor deals and faked consumer reporting FROM YELP, WHO WANT YOUR MONEYS, doesn’t help businesses and it doesn’t help consumers. It uses consumer reviews (or the guise of consumer reviews) to extort businesses into paying money to Yelp.

yelp extortion

A Yelp apparel advertisement.  Yup.  Gotta make them bucks somehow.

Yelp Extortion is real, and it doesn’t benefit us, the consumers.  It manipulates data and damages the reputations of businesses that can’t fork over the cash.

Are you ready for the part where I recommend the solution?

Stop using Yelp.  Just stop.  I know, I know:  Where will you find a good coffee shop that serves a soy latte just the way you like it?

Let me repeat:  Stop using Yelp.

Walk or drive (or hopscotch or pogo-stick) to an actual business and see for yourself how well they treat customers, what kind of goods they sell, and what the prices are like.

If it’s horrible beyond belief, just do what people used to in similar situation back in the days before Yelp:  get up and leave.

If it’s truly terrible, at least you’ve got an interesting story out of it.

Then when you go home, sure, tell someone about it.  But putting your review on Yelp won’t help the business or other consumers, ‘cause Yelp is just gonna do what Yelp wants in order to make money.

Do you really want to be Yelp’s biatch?  Do you want to be the leverage the company uses on small businesses to further Yelp’s profits?

yelp extortion

Next time, don’t order the lobster.  

I think, at the end of the day, it’s better to know for yourself – and yeah, talk about negative experiences – but there’s already so much crap online to begin with, do we really need consumer reviews that can be manipulated by the same company trying to sell advertisements to the places you love or hate?

Whatever happened to the joy of discovery, anyway?

 

The City Through Your Eyes Photo Contest

H and B Digital, a camera store in Midtown, is hosting a photography contest this summer called “The City Through Your Eyes,” open to New York City students 14-21 years of age. The contest has been created as an opportunity for students to capture their surroundings and communicate just what living in New York City is all about.

The City Through Your Eyes

The contest starts now and runs through the end of September. Students are asked to submit one photograph to H and B Digital by September 30th.

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All submissions must be in the form of an 8×10-inch print, and must have been taken with a camera. Photographs taken with a cell phone will not be considered. Submissions should be mailed or hand delivered to the following address:

H and B Digital / Photo Contest
29 West 46th Street
New York NY 10036

The contest will be judged by a panel of professional photographers.

There will be 10 winners of the contest. One Grand Prize Winner will receive a Canon Rebel T5i kit with an 18-55mm lens (retail value $849). One Second Place and one Third Place winner will each receive a Canon Rebel T5 kit with an 18-55mm lens (retail value $549). Seven runners-up will each receive a Canon PowerShot Elph camera. All winners will also receive a certificate of excellence for participating in the contest.

H and B Digital is also scheduling a photographic exhibition at the end of the competition. This exhibition will display many of the photographs submitted to the contest, and will be open to the public so we can all see “The City Through Your Eyes.”

For more information about the contest, or to read the submission guidelines in full, a webpage can be found at the following web address:

http://www.handbdigital.com/info/City_Through_Your_Eyes

the city through your eyes

The brainchild of Hershel and Benjamin, two brothers who own H and B Digital, the contest endeavors to reveal the best student photographers in New York City today. Through its stringent submission guidelines, “The City Through Your Eyes” seeks to elevate the most passionate and dedicated youth photographers, and to nurture their talents.

Auctionata is Selling Rare Prints for the Next 24 Hours

auctionata

If you’ve been longing to get your hands on a Henri Cartier-Bresson, or one of Weegee’s photos, head on over to Auctionata, where (for the next 24 hours, at least) they are conducting an online auction to sell off some rare prints from masterful photographers.

Auctionata:  Eisenstaedt, Goldin, and Richardson, Oh My!auctionata

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), Ahmedabad, India, 1966

The digital auction is being held today, June 12, at 6 pm Central European Time.  If you want to get your mitts on some of these opuses, be prepared to shell out massive amounts of cash.  The solitary Cartier-Bresson starts at 2800 Euro.  The estimated value is at 5,000 Euro.  But honestly, it’s probably going to sell for twice that.  Other photographs that jumped out at me as I perused the catalog included several from Nan Goldin and several from Alfred Eisenstaedt.  Weegee is in there too, at an affordable price, I would say.  Even Terry freaking Richardson shows up with a picture of a woman on a bed, legs spread.  The rest of the catalog is breathtaking as well, from landscapes and nudes to street and celebrity photography (including Sharon Tate, Briggite Bardot, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Marilyn Monroe).

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Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), American Ballet, 1937

auctionata

Peter Brüchmann (b. 1932), Sharon Tate, 1960s

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Weegee – Arthur Fellig (1899-1968), Bowery Bum, New York, 1940.  (Dear God, if only I could afford to buy this.)

The whole gamut is astounding, and includes prime examples of classic photography and its more modern counterpart.  If you have the funds, you should probably jump at this chance to own a little bit of photographic (and art) history.

Medium Format Mirrorless

medium format mirrorless

Rumors have been flying about a medium format mirrorless camera, purportedly being developed by such manufacturers as Sony and Fujifilm.  Such rumors might seem wild, but more than possible given both companies histories.

Medium Format Mirrorless:  Probably Pretty Possible

While I’m hesitant to jump on top of just any rumor that appears on dubious camera news sites, the likelihood of Fujifilm or Sony releasing a medium format mirrorless camera actually seems fairly positive.  Sony’s the innovator at the forefront of the industry, quick to follow up on the success of the Sony A7 and A7r cameras, and the point and shoot RX series.

medium format mirrorless

Given the success of the company’s full frame mirrorless cameras, the impact they’ve had on the photographic community, and the niche they dominate, is it strange to believe Sony could be considering an even larger sensor niche, with greater profit margin?

One thing that might stand in Sony’s way:  that relative dearth of lenses many photographers keep joking about.  Lacking much of a lineup for their existing cameras, this new medium format mirrorless camera might need to sport a mount to accommodate an already-existing roadmap from some other manufacturer.  Bronica Strikes Back, anyone?

medium format mirrorless

Of course, Fujifilm seems even likelier to churn out a medium format mirrorless, especially when one considers the company’s long-running successes in medium format film cameras.  In addition to this history, recent success with fixed-lens digital range finders like the X100 and X20 mean the biggest hurdle for Fujifilm would simply be a larger sensor and (maybe) a larger body.  

While it might be preferable to see interchangeable lenses for a medium format mirrorless Fujifilm camera, it seems doubtful as the vast majority of Fuji’s rangefinders (especially those in medium format) tend to sport a fixed lens.

medium format mirrorless

While all of this is pure speculation, it doesn’t seem too far out there, given the facts, and way the industry seems to be headed, with every manufacturer (except Nikon and Canon) attempting to find their niche.

Canon N100 Review and Samples

canon n100

Announced earlier this year at CES, and following the innovative design of its predecessor the PowerShot N, the Canon N100 is nice enough camera with a few quirks that might need working around…or just plain understanding.

Shooting with the Canon N100

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Controls and Handling

The Canon N100 looks and feels mostly like a real camera.  Not that square monstrosity that predated it (the Powershot N).  Gone is the weird shutter-release-on-the-lens design.  Gone is the…well, not much else.  But just be thankful they got rid of that lens design, sheesh.

You still get built in WiFi, but now you also have a rear-facing camera.  Taking these features into account, along with creative filters (and even a film-simulation mode), one can tell this camera is meant to be fun, even if that comes at the price of performance.

Despite this relative emphasis on ease-of-use over performance, we can’t write the Canon N100 off completely:  a 1/1.7” sensor puts it just a smidgen above some of the competition out there, and with some nice IS and a decent f/1.8 aperture when the lens is at its widest (a 24mm equivalent).

In other areas, the performance seems a little handicapped, with a relatively low ISO range (80-6400), no outward controls for rapidly changing shooting modes, and that weird screen that only flips up 90 degrees (Why Canon?  WHY?).

Lens

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The lens on this camera is does not offer a lot of zooming power.  Aimed predominantly at people who want to take portraits of their friends and family, this camera doesn’t really need the zoom range that other manufacturers are putting into their products.  However, if you’re looking for some zoom, the Canon N100 has 5x optical and a little digital left over (though I didn’t use it, ’cause who wants to see that eyesore?).  If you’re looking to shoot distant birds, or photograph people from half a block away, there are other cameras out there that might suit you better.

ISO

canon n100

100 ISO

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200 ISO

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400 ISO

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800 ISO

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1600 ISO

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3200 ISO

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6400 ISO

ISO performance on the N100 isn’t terrible, with decent results up to ISO 800.  For dimmer situations necessitating higher sensitivity, I would still try to stay at 3200 or under, as ISO 6400 does show a fair amount of grain.

WiFi

Like most Canon point and shoots with built in WiFi, the N100 is easy to sync to a smartphone using the Canon Camera Window app, which allows transfer to smartphones and tablets, as well as remote shooting and geotagging.  The remote shooting functions were fairly bare-bones with the N100, and silent mode is co-opted by some weird beeping that goes on with the camera when the shutter is triggered.  So, the WiFi isn’t ideally suited for any sort of candid captures, but works great if you just want a basic remote or wish to share photos with smart devices.

Dual View

canon n100

The Canon N100 has a rear-facing camera, so you, the photographer, can still have pictures of yourself when you’re presumably photographing your friends.  I don’t have any friends, but I do love Zeikos camera gear, so I shot that with me making ducklips in the corner of the frame.  CLASSIC.

Filters

canon n100 canon n100

Like almost every point and shoot or compact camera out there these days, the Canon N100 also comes with a plethora of artsy filters.  Now, normally these filters suck on small sensors.  Something just seems off, whether it’s the way the image processor handles them, or some curse that befell all smaller sensors by some sort of full-frame warlock.  At any rate, the 1/1.7” sensor and the Digic 6 Processor seem to work in tandem to deliver moderate results, even when using the Toy Camera filter.  (These images were also shot using the camera’s macro focusing mode, which is quite nice, but not as good as some of the competition.)

Image Quality

canon n100 canon n100 canon n100 canon n100 canon n100Image quality on the N100 is surprising to say the least.  Even though I was working with JPEGs, there was still a little room for tweaking, and I even managed to save one slightly under-exposed photograph.  In general, the automated performance seems intelligent enough to do it’s job, while the hardware (and software) give you images with a teeny bit of leeway.  Colors are very nice, and you won’t find a real need for the Vivid Effect unless that’s really your thing.

Conclusion

The Canon N100 is a decent little camera with enough features, gizmos, and doohickeys to keep younger photographers on top of their passion.  Canon has pushed this camera as a “story camera” and there’s a lot going for it in that niche.  The social inclination of the N100, from the rear-facing camera to the built-in WiFi, speaks to the denizens of Twitter and Facebook.  However, a lack of prosumer features, and the half-implementation of some decent ideas (again, a 90 degree articulating LCD…) means this puppy isn’t going to see the audience that the SX700 will, even though both cameras sit at around the same price.

If you’re in the mood to try something new and fun, or you want to be connected while you shoot with your compact, this camera might just be the One.

Olympus SH-1 Review and Samples

olympus sh1

The first impression you might have pulling the Olympus SH-1 out of the box is how much this camera looks like a Pen Camera.  For better or for worse, it isn’t.  Instead, the SH-1 is decidedly a point and shoot camera with a large zoom range and excellent video.  But what else does the Olympus SH-1 boast?  And is the camera’s price tag a fair indicator of image quality?

Shooting with the Olympus SH-1

So it isn’t a digital Pen, but is it still worth buying?  For some, the Olympus SH-1 will make a big difference in terms of what can be captured, and when it can be captured.  The biggest feature on this small camera is, without a doubt, the 5-axis image stabilization, which is being implemented in compact FULL HD video for the first time (so Olympus says, at least).

At any rate, that IS is really helping out video and Image Quality and long ranges, so it’s safe to say that those looking for a compact megazoom – or a pocketable camera that also delivers excellent video – will find this little runt appealing.

olympus sh1

Controls

Like most compacts, especially Olympus compacts, the controls and their layout are minimalist but functional.  Missing are any dials for shutter and aperture, and between the mode dial on top and the concise menu layout, it’s plain to see that the Olympus SH-1 is an easy-to-use camera streamlined for a more automatic shooting experience.

Built in WiFi is easy enough to sync to your smartphone or tablet, and the relative ease with which one can change shooting modes (set the mode dial, then press the “ok” button to select different options), gives this camera a certain appeal not readily found in other brands.

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Zoom

What can I say, the reach on this sucker is fantastic.  From a 25mm equivalent at it’s widest, to a whopping 600mm equivalent at it’s furthest in, the lens is great.  That 5-axis image stabilization only bolsters the performance.

olympus sh1

“Manual”

Manual Mode on the Olympus SH-1 is a bit of a pain.  Like most compacts, here you’re working with a D-Pad to adjust your settings – from Shutter Speed and Aperture, to ISO.  If you’re working in a location with constantly-changing lighting, it may not be the easiest way to use this camera, but if you can set it and run with it, you won’t be disappointed.

olympus sh1 olympus sh1

Art Modes

As usual, Olympus throws in some nifty art filters for certain effects.  While most might seem gimmicky, I personally like the Grainy Black And White effect, which tends to offer extreme contrast for a love-it-or-hate-it feel.

olympus sh1

Panorama

Panorama mode allows wider images with decent stitching.  It works best with still subjects, and if you wanted a panoramic shot of architecture or landscapes, this feature would prove itself useful.  If you’re looking to capture busy scenes with lots of movement, you may want to look elsewhere, as the stitching software still seems to mar some difficult, moving subjects.

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Image Quality

Image quality is the big bust on the SH-1, and while it might not be perfect, it certainly isn’t abysmal.  As with most small-sensor cameras, the big point one should keep in mind when considering this camera is that you’ll want to get the image right while in-camera.  TRYING TO SAVE A SHOT IN POST IS VERY DIFFICULT.

That being said, I’m still surprised at how this little puppy held up.  I especially enjoyed setting up the WiFi and using my old iPhone as a remote LCD while I held the camera nonchalantly, taking some pretty nice candid shots of people walking by.

Conclusion

It’s no RX-100ii, but the Olympus SH-1 may be the compact to look at.  Generally, it strikes you on paper as being a go to workhorse for stable handheld video, and long-distance lens performance.  With the added WiFi and some minimalist design, however, it could lend itself to almost anyone who wants a basic camera with some decent output.  In general, I would say it performs about as well as – if not better than – Fuji’s X20.  You might lose a viewfinder and a lot of manual controls, but a more portable design will have many right in the Olympus Brand pocket.

Fuji 10-24 F/4 Review and Samples

fuji 10-24

Recently out in stores (since early March), the Fuji 10-24 f/4 R OIS is a lens of great construction with pretty awesome performance.  Is it worth the $999 price tag, though?  Here are some sample images and some personal input on a lens I became addicted to the moment I used it.

Fuji 10-24 f/4:  Classy Camera Companion

fuji 10-24

 

This review’s setup:  the Fuji 10-24 f/4 on the X-T1.

When it comes to wide-angle lenses, I’ve almost always used primes.  I’ve handled some nice Tokina wide angle zooms, and I’ve personally owned the Sigma 10-20, and I’ve sometimes been impressed by the performance I’ve experienced or the samples I’ve seen.  Well, Fuji’s new lens has its hooks in me.  It’s truly a great lens.  It may not be worth the money, though, depending on who you are and what you shoot.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

I found the easiest way to use this lens to be setting the camera to aperture priority mode.  On the X-T1, this simply meant setting shutter speed and ISO to auto, and trying desperately not to fudge the aperture ring too much.

The Aperture Ring

This is the only negative thing I really have to say about the lens:  the aperture ring sucks.  Okay, maybe not sucks.  But it’s just too easy to move inadvertently.  Some basic prep time spent memorizing the position of the three rings – aperture, zoom, and focus, probably would have helped, but I’ve got too short of an attention span for that so I hit the streets and cursed at the camera in my head every time I scrambled to get a shot.  In summation, it’s not so much a deal-breaking flaw as it is something you can learn to work around, or work with.  Just be prepared to drop one or two mental f-bombs.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

The Glass

Astounding glass can be found in this lens.  Maybe it’s the quality of the glass itself, or the coating they’ve put on the glass, or a spell cast by wizard from another dimension, but the performance here is fantastic.  There is some drop in sharpness at the extreme corners of the lens, but when you shoot at f/8 and up, you can kiss that hiccup goodbye.  And given that this lens is primarily aimed at landscape and architecture photographers, I don’t image many people would be shooting at f/4 to begin with.

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Image Quality/Color

Probably having just as much to do with the fact that I’m using the X-T1 as it does the lens, the colors and image quality are still impeccable with this camera.  Given the choice of pairing the Fuji 10-24 with the X-T1, or sticking with the kit lens, I would pick the 10-24.  Mostly because I love shooting wide, and photographing on the street, but also because I personally feel the images that I am getting with the 10-24 maybe be just a little better.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

Weight/Construction

Again, the Fuji 10-24 has some great construction, with a mostly metal exterior and interior (although there is still a little plastic on the front and rear inside barreling).  The heft of the lens is nice, with what I would say is just the right amount of weight.  It may put off some prospective buyers, especially those looking for a lightweight mirrorless setup.  Luckily, most of those people tend to go for Olympus and Panasonic, so this lens shouldn’t be disappointing to them.

fuji 10-24 fuji 10-24

Who It’s For

Generally, I’d recommend this lens to people who love the wide-angle look.  Duh, right?  But that price tag ($999) can be a bit steep for some, and it really is a specialty lens.  Couple this with the fact that you still get a keystone effect in shots of architecture, and it may not be everything Fuji has claimed it to be.  Definitely a high quality beast, but more suiting to people who can live with distortion than those who can’t or just outright abhor it.  Also, as I mentioned above, it isn’t very light, so weight may throw some people off.  I would say this is ideal for street photography and landscapes, but I would definitely suggest you try before you buy.

fuji 10-24

Conclusion

I’m addicted to this lens.  I love the 15mm focal length, I love the weight (it doesn’t feel like it’s another plastic lens with an over-inflated price tag), and I love the image quality.  I still detest the aperture ring, but maybe I’m just becoming a crotchety old man.  Who knows.

fuji 10-24

Just for fun, here’s a Toynbee tile I found while testing the lens.

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.

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.

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