Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Samsung Reveals New Cameras for CES

Posted by Andrew at 6:22 PM on January 4, 2014

Ahead of Samsung’s CES event on Monday, the Korean company has announced two new cameras to get the show on the road, the NX30 and the Galaxy Camera 2.

Aimed at the prosumer, the NX30 compact system camera extends Samsung’s NX range, though my guess is that it will replace the current NX20 model. The heart of the camera is a 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and combined with Samsung’s NX AF System II, should provide fast and accurate auto-focussing. The shutter speed can be cranked up (down?) to 1/8000 sec and in continuous shooting mode takes 9 frames per second. NX30 has a 3″ Super AMOLED touch screen for a viewfinder which can swivel out and rotate so that it stays in view from difficult angles. Hopefully the AMOLED screen won’t wash out in bright sunlight.

There’s also Remote Viewfinder Pro function that lets the photographer control several functions of the NX30 from a smartphone, including zoom, shutter speed, aperture and taking the photograph. That’s neat and as you might expect in this day and age, the NX30 has advanced sharing capabilities and can transfer images using both wifi and NFC to smartphones and beyond.

Samsung NX30

The NX30 continues the evolution of our award-winning NX series of cameras, bringing with it new and improved features such as a better imaging processor and our advanced SMART Camera offering. Not only does this camera deliver the performance users demand, it is also easy-to-use so that moments are never missed,” said Myoung Sup Han, Executive VP and Head of the Imaging Business Team at Samsung Electronics. “The NX30 allows photographers to shoot with confidence, providing a seamless ability to capture moments and share them immediately, delivering exceptionally beautiful photographs while creating an unmatched photo-sharing experience.

The NX range also saw the introduction of a new premium S Lens, the 16-50 mm F2 – 2.8 S ED OIS and a zoom lens, the 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom. Both have a focal length of 16 – 50 mm (equivalent to 24.6-77 mm in 35 mm format) but I’m not an expert in photography so I’ll point you in the direction of the press release if you want to know more.

Moving onto the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2, this is an update of the previous Android-powered Galaxy Camera. As you might expect, the focus (sorry) is on the ease of picture-taking followed by easy uploading and sharing of the photos. The camera itself has a 16 megapixel CMOS sensor with a 21x optical zoom and is paired with a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM. As with the NX30, the Galaxy Camera 2 has wifi and NFC transfer capabilities and 50 GB of cloud storage is provided via the pre-loaded Dropbox app.

For Instagram generation, the Camera 2 comes with Smart Mode, which lets photographers choose from 28 different pre-set modes all designed to address different shooting scenarios and for those unsure which mode they want to select, the Smart Mode Suggest analyses the scene at hand and then recommends the best Smart Mode for a perfect shot. New Smart Mode “Selfie Alarm” takes five consecutive, high resolution images so that narcissists hipsters can select their best view and share immediately on their favourite social media site.

 

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

From the press shots, it looks like it will be available in both black and white finishes as per the current model. More info on the Galaxy Camera 2 in the press release.

“Consumers love the GALAXY Camera, and this next-generation version was designed to improve on the successful predecessor, with upgraded and new features that will enhance the photography experience,” said Myoung Sup Han, “The result is a more powerful and portable device which continues to embrace the public’s passion for the social features of smartphones, yet also provides superior image control and quality. We are dedicated to making it easier for more people to achieve great results and with the GALAXY Camera 2′s host of creative features, anyone can capture stand out images.

If you want to know more and you are at CES, you’ll find Samsung at booth #12004 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Pricing was not announced but I imagine it will be inline with the current models.

Sony NEX F3 Camera Review

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 11:55 AM on June 13, 2013

Sony NEX-F3 I purchased the Sony NEX-F3K/B camera through Amazon recently and have been using it for a couple of weeks now. The camera comes with a removable 18–55 F3.5–5.6 OSS Zoom lens kit, a battery along with a charging cable, charger and a camera strap. The Sony NEX-F3 is a mirrorless camera with an exchangeable lens. It is small and without the lens it can easily fit into a purse or even a large pocket.

It is easy to hold with a grip on the right hand side. When you hold the camera by the grip you can easily reach the trigger with your first finger. The viewing screen is about 3 inches across and 2 1/2 inches high. It can be tilted up to 180 degrees, making it perfect for taking self portraits. There are two buttons and one wheel to change the controls on the camera to the right of the viewing screen. The top button is the menu button which allows you to make changes to how the camera will work, you can decided whether to use automatic or manual mode, control the aperture, flash, track objects, use face detection, do initial setup and much more. The bottom button seems to let you go in and out of digital Zoom mode. The wheel lets you move through the choices that are available on the screen. I have to admit that there are a lot of controls and possibilities, many which I will probably never use such as a toy filter. I think that sometimes companies try to please everyone and end up just making things confusing. It has a sensor resolution up to 16.2 megapixels. The camera can also be used to record video with a resolution up to 1920 X 1080. On the top of the camera is the built-in flash, next to that is the play button which allows you to play through the pictures you’ve taken. Next to the play button is the record button. I did find how the record button work a little confusing. When you hit it, there is a slight beep and then the recording starts, when you hit the button again the word Recording pops up and the recording stops. I found that very confusing at first I kept on thinking I was recording when I was not and vice a versa. In front of the record button is the power switch. On the left hand side of the camera is the USB dock. The cover for the USB dock feels a little flimsy to me and I can easily see it getting broken over time. There are clips on both sides to connect a camera strap to. As I said before a strap does come with the camera, but I found that strap fairly flimsy and ended up buying a more substantial one. On the bottom of the camera is a tripod connection point. Next to that is the covered slot for an SD card. Right next to that is the battery compartment. The battery is removable and can be replaced. This is not an internet connected camera, so if that is something you are looking for this camera is not for you.  You can find a full review  of the camera specs. at Digital Photography Review

Overall I am very happy with this camera. The camera feels good in my hand, the grip makes it easy to hold on to while you take a picture.  I have included some pictures I took with it just to show some examples. I do this strictly as a hobby but I hope these pictures show the camera off at its best. The camera is available through Amazon for $499.00, I actually purchased it through the Amazon Warehouse for $378.17. If you are not ready for a DSLR but are looking for a camera that has a removable lens and that is above a point and shoot, than I recommend taking a look at the Sony NEX F3.

Showcase Your Summer Photos on RebelMouse

Posted by JenThorpe at 6:12 PM on June 2, 2013

RebelMouseRebelMouse is an aggregator that organizes your online presence into one place, to make it easier for other people to find the things you post. It can be used for free by individuals (or companies or websites) who want to have it showcase certain things that you have posted on Facebook, Google +, Instagram, or Twitter.

I use it as an individual. As such, I receive their newsletter. The most recent one was sent today, and it suggests that people use RebelMouse to showcase their summer photos.

To do it, you will need to create a new sub-page in RebelMouse for your photos. Next, connect your Instagram, Flickr, or a photo RSS feed to it (through the Content & Feeds tab). There is also a way to add other photos to your RebelMouse by dragging them in.

I thought this was interesting for a couple of reasons. One, it appears that RebelMouse wants to get people thinking about using it as their primary way to show other people the photos that they took for a specific event. (Instead of Flickr, Instagram, your Facebook page, or your personal blog). I had not considered this possibility before I read their newsletter.

Two, it looks as though you can add things to your RebelMouse page that are not from the website that you sign into RebelMouse with. For example, you can sign in via Facebook, Twitter, or Google +. You can’t sign in through Flickr, but you can have RebelMouse put your Flickr photos onto your RebelMouse page.

Flickr Offers a Free Terabyte of Space

Posted by JenThorpe at 6:44 PM on May 20, 2013

Flickr LogoFlickr looks a lot different today than how it used to. Yahoo! (which owns Flickr) has given Flickr a makeover that includes a brand new design. What once showed you small thumbnails of photos, with a lot of white, empty, space surrounding them, now features the photos much more prominently.

To me, it seems like Flickr’s new look resembles that of Facebook, or perhaps Pinterest. The photos are bigger, filling up the screen. Users now have a homepage that includes an activity feed that combines your friends’ recent uploads with the activity on the photos that you have uploaded. I wasn’t thrilled with the new design at first, because it takes me a long time to “re-learn” how to use social media when it visually changes. Eventually, I figure the new design will grow on me.

In addition to the very obvious design change, Flickr also announced that users will get a free terabyte of space. Their blog says:

At Flickr, we believe you should share all your images in full resolution, so life’s moments can be relived in their original quality. No limited pixels, no cramped formats, no memories that fall flat. We’re giving your photos room to breathe, and you the space to upload a dizzying number of photos and videos, for free. Just how big is a terabyte? Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.

In December of 2012, Flickr released a Flickr iPhone app. Today, it announces the release of the Flickr app for Android users, which can be found at the Google Play store.

Create Beautiful Photo Collages Free and Without Software

Posted by Alan at 6:21 AM on May 17, 2013

There are numerous apps that you can download and install on your computer to allow you to bring together multiple photos into one single image, known as a collage. But why would you want to junk up your computer with yet another app? These days, web apps can do much of what we need, from file conversion to word processing and image editing.

So you want to create a beautiful collage as a gift for grandma? You can do this, as well, without purchasing expensive software or downloading and installing an app that may or may not work. In fact, you do not even need to pay for the privilege of gaining this capability.

There is more than one source for pulling off this fete, but let’s focus on just one that can do almost whatever you wish, does not force you to open your wallet and has plenty of capability. This web app has the cryptic name of piZap.

piZap does more than just create a collage. The online service is also a more than capable photo editor that is designed with real users in mind. In other words, you do not need a computer science degree here because this is made for every user from advanced to beginner.

Let’s get Started

From the homepage, it is rather hard to miss that large green “Start” button – it is an obvious beginning point. Click it and you will be transported to a Flash-based webpage that presents five options, including “Edit a Photo”, “Timeline Covers”, “Backgrounds”, “WebCam Effects” and our choice – “Make a Collage”.

menu screen

When “Make a collage” is clicked you will be bombarded with options. These are shapes broken down by number of images included and patterns, collages with backgrounds, ones that are framed, even those specially crafted for holidays.

Let’s be rather boring and choose square images. As you can see in the screenshot below, we have numerous options to choose from. Pick a pattern by clicking on the design that suits your tastes.

pizap collage shapes

Add Photos and Effects

Each image space contains an “Add Photo” option, plus there are a number of effects down the right side of the web page. There are also more options presented across the top of the screen, including such gems as text, frames and stickers.

You can upload images from your local computer, or ones stored elsewhere on your network. In addition, the app provides the ability to grab images from Facebook or through your webcam.

add photos

As an illustration of just what piZap is capable of, I elected to use the same image in all four areas of my chosen collage pattern. I then applied a different effect to three of those, while leaving the top left in original form.

The results can be seen in the image below, but this gives only a minor idea of all of the options and effects that are available from this free service.

add effects

Now What?

So now that you have perfected your new collage, what’s next? Well, you could go to the top menu and add one of the many frames available, or perhaps include some text.

However, once you are satisfied with your new masterpiece you can click the green “Save” button that appears at the top right. This will provide options to share the image on Facebook, Twitter or your My piZap account (make it public or private), as well as the more traditional option of simply downloading the collage to your computer.

If you choose to download, and I imagine most customers do, then you can always use traditional desktop apps like Photoshop to make additional refinements. You can then make the image your desktop wallpaper, print the collage yourself or use an online service such as Shutterfly for printing. You could also simply email it to grandma or other interested friends and family members.

Wink to Take a Photo

Posted by JenThorpe at 6:33 PM on May 3, 2013

bigstock-Businessman-winking-at-you-26984798 Taking a photo with Google Glass just got even easier. The hands free device was designed to enable users to take a photo, of whatever they are looking at, by using a simple voice command. “Ok, Glass take a picture.” To me, that sounds pretty easy. That being said, someone has already found a way to improve upon the ease of use for photography through Google Glass.

Mike Giovanni (who works at Roundarch Isobar) has released something called Winky. It allows uses to take a photo through Google Glass by winking. The voice command would no longer be necessary. Just wink, and Google Glass will take a photo. He posted information about Winky on his Google + page, along with the link where you can grab the code.

I haven’t quite decided whether or not I am comfortable with the idea of Google Glass. In some ways, I can see where Google Glass is basically a hands free improvement over what people already can do with a smartphone. People take photos with their smartphones all the time.

My best guess is that the majority of photos taken with smartphones are of whatever people had for lunch or dinner, or possibly of cats. There is an abundance of cat photos on the internet! In other words, I figure that most people are taking harmless photos. Somehow, though, the idea of connecting the act of winking (which people typically use to flirt with someone) to the act of taking a photo, just feels creepy.

To be clear, I do not believe that Mike Giovanni designed Winky as something that would be used in sneaky and ethically questionable ways. His post mentions a “lifelog”, and I can see where Winky would make doing that a bit easier and how it would streamline the process.

My concern is not with him, or his intent. Instead, I am worried about what other, morally challenged, people would use Winky for. Is the person over there who is wearing Google Glass winking because he had something irritating his eye, or because he was secretly taking my photo?

Image Stock Photo Businessman Winking At You by BigStock

BlackMagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera and Production Camera 4K

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:51 PM on April 10, 2013

BlackMagic BlackMagic is introducing a lot of great products in 2013 including

The two products that has me looking at my finances are the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K . The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is extremely small. It is 128mm across, 66mm high and 38mm thick and weighs only 355 grams. It has an extremely high-resolution 3.5″ LCD screen. At the bottom if the screen the camera status is displayed including record status, shutter angle , time-lapse interval and more. Despite its small size this is a true digital film camera. It produces a true film look with high-end television commercials and feature films quality. It has a super 16 size 1080HD sensor with 13 stops of dynamic ranger. It offers various lens mount options including a Micro Four Thirds™ for low-cost lenses and an adapter for Super 16 Cine lenses. By using the Super 16 lens plus the Super 16 sensor size and the 13 stop dynamic range you can shoot like you are shooting Super 16 film. Switch to larger lenses and you are ready for bigger jobs too. It has a built-in 3.5mm stereo mic and headphone jacks. You also get a 2.5 mm jack connection for LANC remote control. The micro HDMI output lets you connect to electronic viewfinders, monitors, external disk recorders and more. The Blackmagic Pocket camera has a built-in SD card that captures stunning ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless compressed CinemaDNG files to SDXC cards. The solid grip handle holds a removable Nikon EL-EN20 battery. The battery charges within about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera supports true open file formats so you can use what ever editing software you want. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera will be shipping in July for $995.

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4k is the first ultra HD products this year. It has a Super 35 size sensor with global shutter. It offers great shallow depth of field and the ability to shoot fast motion shots. It has an EF compatible lens mount. It records to solid state disk using CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes 422 (HQ) formats. It has built-in Thunderbolt and 6G-SDIoutput allowing Ultra HD video out. It’s sensor features 12 stops of dynamic range. With the Blackmagic Production Camera 4k you can use 6G-SDI output to allows for monitoring on an Ultra HD displays. The user can down convert to regular HD for viewing on a smaller monitor. The Blackmagic Production Camera is great when used with the new ATEM Production Studio 4K. The Blackmagic Production Camera will be available in July for $3,995.

Blackmagic is showing off these and their other products off at NAB and will be releasing them all this year. Allowing independent film makers to produce great quality products.

Red Digital Cinema : Red Dragon is Here

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 11:45 AM on April 9, 2013

Red Anyone who is interested in working with videos or professional still photography has heard of Red Digital Cinema. When the Red camera was first announced many “experts” said it was vapor ware or a scam.

History has proven that this was far from true. Movies such as Thor: The Dark World and series such as House of Cards were made using the Red Camera. Magazine such as Vogue are using it to shoot their still photos. Well Red Digital Cinema is at it again, introducing Red Dragon at NAB. The new Red Dragon sensor shoots 6K resolution at 100 frames per second. It translate at 9 times the resolution of HD at over 19 megapixel. These upgrades are going be available to Red Epic and Scarlett owners. Coming with the upgrade is REDCINE-X PRO a post-production advance coloring toolset, integrated timeline and post effects collections program. This is one area were being an early adopter definitely has its advantages.

Memoto Selected as Finalist for SXSW Accelerator Competition

Posted by JenThorpe at 9:49 PM on March 5, 2013

MemotoMemoto is a Swedish startup company that began as a Kickstarter project in 2012. They are the creators of the Memoto Lifelogging Camera. It is a tiny device that allows users to not only capture, but also share, whatever special moments of their life that they choose to. The idea was to make a camera that was small enough so that it wouldn’t get in the way. The camera allows people to organically capture the small, but important, moments of their lives.

The Memoto Lifelogging Camera takes 5 megapixel pictures. It comes in Memoto Orange, Graphite Gray, and Arctic White. Clip the camera onto your clothing, and it will start taking pictures for you at a rate of 2 photos per minute. When you want to stop taking photos, just put the camera down or put it into your pocket.

Those photos are then safely stored on Memoto’s storage service. There are Memoto apps for both iPhone and Android that will automatically organize the photos on a timeline for you. The Memoto Lifelogging Camera has GPS and records time data, so you won’t have to remember the name of the restaurant you went to while using the camera. It will have the name recorded for you. From there, you can easily share your photos on Facebook. Memoto is currently in the pre-launch phase. Their first edition is expected to ship in April of 2013.

The Memoto Lifelogging Camera has been selected as a finalist in the Innovative Web Technologies category for the 5th Annual SXSW Accelerator competition. The SXSW event takes place from March 11th – 13th, 2013. On March 12th, judges will announce a winner to each of the categories. Their decision will be revealed on March 13th at 6:00 p.m. in the Austin Convention Center in Room 10A/B. Memoto will be presenting in the Accelerator competition in the Innovative Web Technologies at 3:30 on the fourth floor of the Downtown Austin Hilton.

Olloclip

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 2:55 PM on February 26, 2013

Olloclip The Olloclip is a three way lens that you clip to the corner of the iPhone or iPod Touch and it goes over the lens of the phone. It works with the iPhone 4/4S, the iPhone 5 and the iPod Touch 4, 4s and the 5th generation iPod Touch. The lens can work as a fish eye, a macro lens or a wide-angle lens. The macro has 10x magnification, the wide-angle doubles your field of view and the fish eye gives you a 180 field of view. It comes in a pouch.

They are going to release a case that works with the Olloclip in March. Currently most people who have a Olloclip either use it without a case or an easily removable case. The new case has a tripod mount in both landscape and portrait mode. It also has an option for cold shoe mount for a light or microphone, It will work with a regular shoe mount. The Olloclip works with any photo application including Instagram, Flicker and Camera+. The Olloclip is available for $70.00, the website, at Best Buy, Amazon and other retail stores.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and by Scott Ertz of F5 Live.

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