GeoNaute shows off 360-degree action camera

geonauteWe’re all familiar with the wearable cameras on the market today, most notably the GoPro. We even see them being using on TV to capture action during mountain bike and skiing events. But one thing none of those do is capture the entire 360-degrees around the wearer.

GeoNaute is changing that with its new 360-degree Camera Pack. The device contains three lenses place around it, so can capture action in all directions. The device automatically stitches these images together, so there is no need for post-production when you get home. The camera is set to retail for $499 and will be available in the coming months. You can pre-order now.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network

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Samsung Reveals New Cameras for CES

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.

Android meets tilt-shift with Miniature Preview Camera

You may or may not know the name “tilt-shift”, but if you have any interest at in photography then you’re likely familiar with it. Its n art form in and of itself and a rather complicated process to pull off using a real camera. Fortunately, with smartphones there are camera apps that take the place of those expensive devices and lenses — before you comment, yes, I know the quality is not in the same ballpark.

Recently an XDA Developers form member, OctoberApps, released his own camera app, designed to handle tilt-shift photos. Miniature Camera Preview is not the first to appear in the Google Play store, but early indications are showing it is by far the best.

In the words of the developer, “beautiful miniaturized photo also requires good photo composition and objects which matches up with tilt shift effect. So this app offers real time preview of tilt shift effect. You can capture the best miniaturized photo while you are watching result of effect. It also offers test for EDIT mode which makes you to add tilt shift effect to the image in gallery”. (NOTE: I have left the quote in his words.)

The app is free from the Google Play store and contains the ability to zoom, edit, set sharpness and decide on a focus area — the outside of that area receives a blur effect.

miniature camera preview

Sigma Lens and Cameras

Sigma Sigma the maker of quality lens for DSLR cameras announced a new global vision. They are dividing their new lens into three lines, art, sports and contemporary. Sigma hopes that this will make it easier for the buyer to decide which lens would be best for them. The newest art category camera is the 35mm F1.4 which is approximately $899 retail. In the Contemporary Line there is the 17–70mm lens with a macro mod of 1–2.8 and optical stabilization. The 17–70mm lens has a light and compact design. Making it easy to carry, the perfect go to lens for someone on the go. The newest lens in the Sports Line is the 120–300mm lens for $3599. This lens is to be released in March. It has a 100 percent weather seal, making it perfect for taking pictures of sports events in in-climate weather. The 120–300mm lens has a USB dock which allows you to update the firmware in the lens. You can adjust auto focus sped and adjust the auto focus at different focus length.

Sigma also makes digital camera. The Sigma digital camera have a Foveon X3 sensor chip which helps to create a high-resolution image. The Sigma digital cameras start at $999.00

Sigma camera and lens have a unique finish to them. Once you know the look you can spot a Sigma product anywhere. Their composite body makes them lighter and tougher then most lens. They also produce photos that have a specific look, they are known for their punchier images.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network, and Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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GoPro Hero3 Black Edition

GoPro have announced the latest addition to their lineup of action cameras, the Hero3 Black Edition and it’s some camera. Capable of 4k video recording, albeit at 12 fps, and 60 fps at 1080p, this captures adrenalin-fuelled action in all its glory. Other features include burst modes, time-lapse, wi-fi video preview and a wi-fi controller.

GoPro Hero3

 

If you want to show off your extreme adventures, this is the camera to have. It’s pricey enough at $399 (£379) and there are lesser models at $299 (£279) and $199 (£179) for the silver and white variants respectively. As expected, there’s a range of accessories for attaching cameras to machines, helmets, bodies and other sporting equipment. The Black Edition will be out in November.

To show off the features of the Hero3, GoPro commissioned this film which was shot entirely with a Hero3. It’s stunning.

“Mermaids!” says my daughter.

 

Breffo Spiderpodium Review

The Breffo Spiderpodium is an extremely flexible gadget holder that can be used in a multitude of situations. Arachnoid, it’s eight rubberised flexible legs attached to a grey base and it’s easy to bend the legs to grip, to hold or to simply stand. Take a look at some of the pictures – it’s much easier to show than explain.

Breffo Spiderpodium Naked

Twisted Breffo Spiderpodium

Breffo Spiderpodium with Tapwave Zodiac

Yes, that’s a Tapwave Zodiac playing Doom II in the Spiderpodium’s embrace. The eight legs give a great deal of flexiblity in the positioning and orientation of the device. Standing, hanging, upright, tilted, it’s all possible. There’s just the right amount of stiffness in the legs to keep the Spiderpodium in the right position without making too difficult to shape. There’s a bigger version for hold tablets and heavier devices too.

But I’ve a confession to make….I haven’t been using the Spiderpodium for my gadgets at all. I’ve been using it as a clothes hanger in my gym locker to stop my shirt and suit from getting creased. That’s how handy the Spiderpodium is.

Breffo Spiderpodium Coat Hook

A bargain at £14.95 or $19.99, available direct and in a range of colours. It’s also designed and manufactured in Britain, so support local innovation and industry.

Disclosure – I won the Spiderpodium in a contest organised by Breffo in Twitter.

BlackMagic Intensity Extreme with Thunderbolt Connection [Review]

Blackmagic Intensity Extreme

Blackmagic Intensity Extreme with Thunderbolt Connection

Two weeks ago, I wanted to bump up my live camera action. Knowing that camera companies like Canon have decided to remove DV and component video connections on their newer lines of cameras, I had to find a solution to pull video from the HDMI output. Therefore, I bought the Intensity Extreme.

BlackMagic Intensity Extreme Advantages

The biggest feature on this device is that I can connect directly to the Thunderbolt™ port on my MacBook Pro. This is the machine I do the majority of my video, using Wirecast to record and broadcast.

The BlackMagic Intensity Extreme can also get video from a composite source, using the breakout cable (included). Therefore, it’s a perfect way to stream your gaming session to uStream or Justin.tv. If you have an SD camera, you can also connect to the Intensity Extreme to broadcast. Therefore, I could connect my Kodak Zi10, or a Flip camera using the composite cable.

Intensity Extreme is compatible with Avid, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, DaVinci Resolve, Wirecast, and many other programs. You can even use it for a program like Screenflow, to enhance the video with your face in the corner.

No Windows Drivers – Yet

The Intensity extreme does not have Windows drivers just yet, so you Bootcamp users out there will want to use your Mac for recording. It doesn’t mean you cannot get it to work in Windows, but you will not have support just yet. You will have to purchase the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle to have Windows support.

BlackMagic Intensity Extreme – Overall

The device is simple to set up (camera to Intensity to computer). There is no external power, so you don’t need to worry about a battery or plug. The Thunderbolt cable does not come with the Intensity Extreme, so you will have to drop another $50 for that.

The BlackMagic Intensity Extreme is $284, and is a perfect way to add a 16:9 camera to your mix (like the Canon VIXIA R20 I used). This can give your recordings more depth because you will have focus, white balance, exposure, zoom, and other features a webcam cannot offer.

The Blackmagic Intensity Extreme is also part of Todd’s new High Definition Mobile Broadcast Studio.

Veho Mobile Gear at The Gadget Show

Pebble Power PackVeho probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind when thinking about gadgets but they have a sizeable range from miniature video cameras to digital photo frames and Bluetooth headsets. In the UK, their products are sold in the main big boxes – PC World and Currys.

On Veho’s stand at Gadget Show Live, I played with a USB microscope which showed magnified images on the PC screen. Perhaps a little limited with just two magnification levels (20x or 200x) but good fun nevertheless.

In this interview, James Farmer from Veho takes me through some of the Veho range, including their Muvi miniature DV cameras, Pebble portable battery packs and Mimi wireless speakers. I really liked their Pebble range of battery packs as they had a lovely smooth shape, like the original Palm Pre.

 

Loftek CSX 2200 Remote Wireless IP Camera

I recently started looking to purchase a remote IP camera that would allow me to remotely view my home via the Internet. There are quite a variety of remote IP cameras that offer a number of different viewing options at widely varying price points. After a bit of looking, I ended up purchasing a Loftek CSX 2200 wireless IP security camera via Amazon.Com based mostly on the large number of positive buyer reviews.

Among other features, the Loftek CSX 2200 offers VGA/QVGA/QQVGA resolutions, a built-in microphone, supports external audio, UPNP/port forwarding, 802.11 b/g WiFi, 270-degree horizonal pan, 120 deree vertical tilt, automatic motion detection and alarm, alarm notification via email or FTP server, infrared LED’s cover up to about 15 feet, and support for all major browsers.

The Loftek CSX 2200 offers a lot of features for the $67.99 price tag. The downside is that the small included quick start guide is printed in very small type and isn’t all that helpful.  A fair amount of networking knowledge is required in order to be able to get all of the features working properly. Simple Windows setup software is included, and even though once it is set up it will readily work with Apple and other non-Windows devices, Windows is required for initial setup. Initially it has to be plugged in directly to an Ethernet port so the included software can detect it. Once detected via Ethernet and into the browser setup screens, WiFi can be enabled. A more complete PDF manual can be downloaded from the Loftek website.

I was able to go into my ISP’s DSL router and enable port forwarding to port 1029 and get remote access to work from outside my home network. I was also able to get the automatic email alarm notification feature to work on motion detection. Motion detection sensitivity can be selected, but it seems to work good so far at the default setting. When motion is detected, it will automatically take a series of 6 photos and email all 6 photos to up to four pre-determined email addresses. One quirk I ran into is that when setting up an email account the email “test” feature won’t work even if all of the parameters are correctly set up until the configuration has been saved to the camera.

Since this camera is designed to work with it’s own infrared LED’s in complete darkness, the color balance can be a bit off in normal lighting conditions. I’m including two photos of the same scene, one with my compact florescent lights on and the other with the lights completely off.

 

Even though one of the Amazon.Com reviewers claimed he was able to get this camera to work with an iOS app designed to work with Foscam brand IP cameras, so far I’ve been unable to get any of the free iOS apps to work with the Loftek. On the other hand, I can easily access the camera directly in Safari both on my iPad and my iPod Touch using an Internet connection completely external to my home network DSL connection.

Overall I’m quite pleased with my purchase. The Loftek CXS 2200 offers a lot of value for the $67.99 price.

World Pride’s Spy Gadgets

Bluetooth WatchWorld Pride is unlikely to be a name that you’ve heard of, but once you see a few of their gadgets in the video, you’ll recognise them from the gadget stores and catalogues. Jeffrey and Jamie chat with Jim.

The team at World Pride visit factories in Asia and try to spot cool gadgets that haven’t yet made it to market in the US. They then work closely with the factory to refine the product for US consumers. On show here are examples of gadgets that World Pride has already brought or will be bringing to the market.

One of the watches in the interview has a Bluetooth receiver and when someone rings your mobile phone, the watch will display the name or number of the person calling. As Jamie mentions, great if you are in a meeting and want to know if you should take a call.

Other gadgets include a pen and a watch with a video camera built-in and finally, there’s a miniature digital camera. It’s only about an inch wide but it looks like a tiny point-and-shoot camera while still taking 5 MP pictures and HD video.

Interview by Jeffrey “Austin” Powers of Geekazine and Jamie “007” Davis of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show.

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