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Posts Tagged ‘Viewfinder’

Ubi-Camera frames photos with fingers, fails to call you fabulous (video)

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
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Gesture control’s no longer restricted to P.K. Dick novels, having firmly broken away from its fantasist scifi roots into practical, everyday use. It’s only natural then that those advancements, typically reserved for computing, would bleed into other areas of consumer tech, like digital imaging. For researchers at Japan’s Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences, that manual dexterity appears to be the next great photographic leap, as the L-squared hand-framing you’re accustomed to seeing photogs mime on TV and film could wind up replacing physical point-and-shoots soon.

The team’s prototype, dubbed Ubi-Camera, may look more like a mini-cube than mini-cam, but it works rather intuitively: simply hook it onto your index finger, adjust the focus by moving the “viewfinder” nearer to your face for wide-angle shots or further away for close-ups and then snap away using the side-mounted shutter button. The project’s not without its hiccups, however, as the in-development unit’s infrared sensor, used to determine range, can be easily affected by lighting conditions. Additionally, there’s no zoom function, as that process is handled entirely in post on a desktop PC. All told, these are really rather small bumps in the road to an inevitable marketplace debut. Next up for IAMAS? Crushing people’s heads with your fingers. At least, that’s on our wish list. Video demo after the break.

Continue reading Ubi-Camera frames photos with fingers, fails to call you fabulous (video)

Ubi-Camera frames photos with fingers, fails to call you fabulous (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceAkihabara News  | Email this | Comments

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Ask Engadget: using an iPad as a remote viewfinder?

Saturday, March 24th, 2012
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We know you’ve got questions, and if you’re brave enough to ask the world for answers, here’s the outlet to do so. This week’s Ask Engadget inquiry is from is from William who is looking for an solution to the problem of badly designed public spaces. If you’re looking to send in an inquiry of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.

“Hi guys. I’m getting married in a church with a weird split-hall design. The result is that half of the attendees won’t be able to see the ceremony at all! I’m wondering if I could hook up my Canon Rebel T3i up to my 3rd-generation iPad and use it as a quick-and-dirty closed-circuit display? There’s no WiFi in the location, so it has to be a wired solution too. Please help me!”

It’s an interesting request and that’s why we’re here: solving those problems that three minutes on Google just can’t. So, dear friends, what say you? Wish the soon-to-be-wed couple all the best by adding a helpful solution to the comment feed and spread a little joy.

Ask Engadget: using an iPad as a remote viewfinder? originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 24 Mar 2012 22:55:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Contour+ helmet cam goes official, bringing 1080p video with wider viewing angle

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Remember that Contour Plus helmet cam teased by a cheeky cyclist last month? Well, this is it, though it turns out the name’s actually written as Contour+. Like the ContourGPS, this new imager captures 1080p video at 30fps, and also packs built-in GPS plus Bluetooth v2.1 — the latter’s for the wireless viewfinder app on iOS and, eventually, Android. The difference between these two cameras? Well, ignoring the colors and the extra 3mm in length, the Contour+ does indeed come with a mini HDMI-out port alongside the microSD slot on the back. Better yet, you’ll also find an HDMI cable in the box to get you going. And of course, let’s not forget the new super-wide lens (still rotatable) that does 170 degrees for 960p and 720p recording, or 125 degrees for 1080p. Both modes best the camera’s predecessor, though the trade-off is the lack of dual-alignment lasers. If this isn’t a problem for you, then feel free to shell out $499.99 when it launches on May 18th.

Update: We have PR after the break.

[Thanks, Daniel H.]

Continue reading Contour+ helmet cam goes official, bringing 1080p video with wider viewing angle

Contour+ helmet cam goes official, bringing 1080p video with wider viewing angle originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 12 May 2011 06:36:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next generation Wii controller to feature 6.2-inch display, turn living room into giant DS?

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

E3 is getting close, just two months away now. As such the next-gen Wii console rumors have heated to a boil. One of the most interesting bits of tattle originates from Kotaku. The gaming site’s sources claim (with impressive specificity) that the new 8-button controller features a screen pushing a whopping 6.2 inches, two analog sticks, and a camera. The new Wii console (sometimes called the Wii 2, Wii HD, or simply “Project Cafe”) is said to support the new controller in addition to Wii Remote-style controllers for backward compatibility with existing Wii games — at the moment, however, it’s not clear if that implies support for existing Wiimotes. But why the giant display? Here’s Kotaku‘s take:

The 6.2-inch screen will receive data wirelessly from the Nintendo console and presents an array of options, from putting the player’s inventory or map on the controller screen, to allowing players to combine it with the controller’s camera to snap photos that could be imported into a game or even turning it into some sort of glorified viewfinder (we’re unclear about whether the camera on the controller points at the player or can be outward-facing; we’ve heard both – maybe it swivels?).

In other words, you can think of the new contoller-plus-console combination as a modern Dreamcast system or “glorified mega-DS,” as Kotaku puts it, where the TV is the top screen and the handheld controller is the lower touchscreen. If true then we’ll likely hear the official first word at E3 which kicks off on June 7th.

Next generation Wii controller to feature 6.2-inch display, turn living room into giant DS? originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 22 Apr 2011 05:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Joystiq  |  sourceKotaku  | Email this | Comments

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Sprint’s HTC EVO 3D hands-on!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Sprint just announced the HTC EVO 3D, its latest 4G WiMAX smartphone with a 3D-spin, and we had some time to sit down to check out the device first-hand. In one word: Amazing. The EVO 3D’s 4.3-inch 3D display is incredible to look at while displaying 3D images and video. It reminds us of looking at a holographic trading card. We watched some user-submitted 3D YouTube videos on the phone, and a few jesters dancing around really popped off of the display. Similarly, the flowers in a bouquet that one woman was holding in an image seemed to jump off the screen — we actually reached out to touch them at one point! There’s a ton to discuss here, so hit the jump for more impressions on the EVO 3D, and don’t forget to check out our hands-on photo gallery.

If you’re a spec junkie, we’ll get a few things out of the way first. The EVO 3D is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and the thing flies. HTC’s Sense homescreen works like a carousel on the EVO 3D, so you can flip through different customized homescreens quickly. We shot our finger across the screen and the carousel took off spinning without any sign of sluggishness. The back of the EVO 3D has a nice divoted texture to it that adds to its premium feel. It’s a little bulky, but not too bad considering how much HTC packed into the device, and Sprint told us HTC removed the kickstand found on the original EVO to keep the device more pocketable. While connected to Sprint’s 4G WiMAX network, we were able to load the BGR.com homepage pretty quickly, too.

The EVO 3D is capable of recording 3D video in 720p, or 2D video in 1080p. The coolest part about snapping photos or video in 3D is that you actually see the images popping off the screen as you look through the viewfinder. To make things even easier, HTC added a dedicated metal camera button and there’s a sturdy metal switch for toggling between 2D and 3D shooting modes. In the images, you’ll notice that the HDMI-out port is missing. Sprint told us that the microUSB port will also provide HDMI-out functionality, so it sounds like the device will need (and hopefully come with) an HDMI connector accessory. Sprint hasn’t provided any details on pricing or a launch date for the EVO 3D, but one representative confirmed it will land sometime this summer. From what we’ve seen so far, we can’t wait to spend more time with the EVO 3D.

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Philips’ new camcorder comes with 23x zoom and WiFi, but no price or release date

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Philips makes plenty of audio / video equipment for use when consuming our content, but until now, the company didn’t offer many options on the creating end. Well, Philips fanboys (they exist, don’t they?), take a gander at your next must-buy purchase — the ESee HD camcorder touts a 23x zoom, 1080p recording to an SD card, touchscreen viewfinder (of unknown size), WiFi for uploading vids (so as not to keep fans waiting for your next cinematic masterpiece), and an audio zoom feature. Yeah, a zoom for your audio. Details about pricing and availability are nowhere to be found, but not knowing makes you want it all the more, right?

[Thanks, Jakob]

Philips’ new camcorder comes with 23x zoom and WiFi, but no price or release date originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 15 Mar 2011 03:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ContourGPS Live Viewfinder on iOS hands-on

Thursday, January 6th, 2011
ContourGPS Live Viewfinder on iOS hands-on

We got a chance to spend a little time with Contour’s upcoming Live Viewfinder for the ContourGPS, an app that finally lets us know for sure which way our little cameras are pointing. The app makes a Bluetooth connection to the camera and pulls down footage in real-time, also allowing you to tweak camera settings, which is hugely more convenient than tethering to a PC or Mac. The company also showed off a rifle-ready picatinny rail mount (above), following in the footsteps of Tachyon. Get yourself a taste after the break.

Continue reading ContourGPS Live Viewfinder on iOS hands-on

ContourGPS Live Viewfinder on iOS hands-on originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Jan 2011 01:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nikon concept cameras surface, spark rumor mill

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Is the future of photography painted in Kubrick white? It is if you believe Nikon and Canon. We’ve seen the latter’s concept in much more detail, and now a handful of pics from the Nikon Sapporo Showroom have surfaced, showcasing at least one similarly unpigmented design. The other two models, snapped and found via burner-images, look like more run-of-the-mill DSLRs, but the one that’s causing a stir online is the all-white model that original from DCHome forums. The original poster chimes in to say it might be the EVIL camera, but we’re not exactly convinced. For starters, the body doesn’t look much smaller or different than the rest of its lineup — not exactly what we’d expect for a “new market” product, as the company reportedly wants its mirrorless shooter to be. Additionally, as noted by a number of Nikon Rumors commenters, that apparently 18-55mm lens implies it’s rocking an APS-C sensor. Of course, if we saw the other side, we could see whether or not it had a viewfinder, which does narrow down the possibilities. So in conclusion, we still don’t know what it is, or if we ever will with any certainty, but we’re making an educated guess as to what it isn’t. Got that? Good.

Nikon concept cameras surface, spark rumor mill originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 22 Nov 2010 21:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nikon Coolpix P7000, D7000 DSLR rumored to be launching September 8th, 15th

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

We’ve already heard some rumors for both Nikon’s Coolpix P7000 point-and-shoot and its supposed D90-successor, the D7000, but it looks like things are unexpectedly heating up a bit further ahead of Photokina next month. According to Nikon Rumors, the two announcements will supposedly be split up, with the P7000 set to be announced along with some other Coolpixes on September 8th, while the D7000 will be announced on September 15th alongside at least two new lenses and a new Speedlight. As before, the P7000 is still expected to actually drop in resolution to 10-megapixels, and pack some RAW shooting capabilities, 720p video shooting, a 28-200mm equivalent zoom lens, and a 3-inch LCD. Details are still comparatively light on the D7000, but Nikon Rumors has previously suggested that it would boast 100% viewfinder coverage and dual memory card slots.

Nikon Coolpix P7000, D7000 DSLR rumored to be launching September 8th, 15th originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 29 Aug 2010 11:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Digital Reflex Camera concept puts the viewfinder on top, everything else in a tube

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Can’t say we’ve ever seen anything like this before… well, aside from those cameras of old that forced you to look down into the viewfinder while cradling the camera against your gut. In fact, that’s exactly the experience that Yaniv Berg is attempting to recreate here, with his Digital Reflex Camera concept shaped more like a periscope and less like a camera. In theory, at least, all of the hardware would be encased in a tube, and if you flip the camera, the LCD turns into a display, creating an undercover spy device of epic proportions. Naturally, there’s probably no hope that this will ever hit retail, but feel free to check back a few score from now to see just how close this was to predicting the future.

Digital Reflex Camera concept puts the viewfinder on top, everything else in a tube originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 14 Aug 2010 07:11:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Switched  |  sourceYanko Design  | Email this | Comments

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Digital Reflex Camera concept puts the viewfinder on top, everything else in a tube

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Can’t say we’ve ever seen anything like this before… well, aside from those cameras of old that forced you to look down into the viewfinder while cradling the camera against your gut. In fact, that’s exactly the experience that Yaniv Berg is attempting to recreate here, with his Digital Reflex Camera concept shaped more like a periscope and less like a camera. In theory, at least, all of the hardware would be encased in a tube, and if you flip the camera, the LCD turns into a display, creating an undercover spy device of epic proportions. Naturally, there’s probably no hope that this will ever hit retail, but feel free to check back a few score from now to see just how close this was to predicting the future.

Digital Reflex Camera concept puts the viewfinder on top, everything else in a tube originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 14 Aug 2010 07:11:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Switched  |  sourceYanko Design  | Email this | Comments

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Olympus E-P1 outfitted with Rollei EVF

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Looking to add even more retro flavor to your Olumpus E-P1? Then you might want to consider taking after Flickr user Lok Cheung, who was inspired by the Rolleiflex TLR to create this Rollei EVF (of sorts) for the Micro Four Thirds camera. While the setup isn’t actually anything more than a viewfinder for viewing the screen, Lok nontheless says the resuls are “really good,” with the viewfinder resting almost right behind the lens, and the manual focus “almost as fast as you can get on a true manual camera.” Not the most practical camera mod, perhaps, but certainly one of the more interesting ones.

Olympus E-P1 outfitted with Rollei EVF originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 21 Apr 2010 15:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceLok Cheung (Flickr)  | Email this | Comments

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and G10 Micro Four Thirds Cameras: G2 Gets Touchscreen Control, Both Get HD Video [Microfourthirds]

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Panasonic has pulled the sheets off two new Lumix Micro Four Thirds cameras: the touchscreen DMC-G2 and the super light G10. Both shoot 720p video, but the G2′s bendy, touch control screen makes it a Micro Four Thirds stand out.

The DMC-G2 is the direct descendant of the Lumix G1, the first ever Micro Four Thirds camera. It has a 12.1MP Live MOS sensor and shoots 720p video in AVCHD lite, activated by a dedicated video record button. But its real claim to fame: being the first interchangeable lens system camera with a bendy, twisty touchscreen that can be used to control the camera.

The 3″ LCD screen has that 460,000 dot resolution goodness you’re looking for and some neat features you might not be expecting. Focus can be adjusted by touching the desired subject on the screen, and photos can be snapped giving it an additional tap. It rotates 180 degrees side to side and tilts 270 degrees up and down—basically you can get to it no matter how you’re holding the camera.

Also, it’s available in black, red, and blue. Cool.

The G10 is more of an introductory affair, boasting the claim as the lightest micro four thirds to still sport a digital viewfinder. To make things easy, G10 offers a bevy of beginner friendly settings: Intelligent Auto mode, MEGA O.I.S. for eliminating shaky hand-blur, Intelligent Exposure and more.

The G10, like the G2, has a 12.1MP Live MOS sensor and can grab 720p HD video. The camera has a 460,000 dot 3″ LCD as well as a 202,000 dot equivalent viewfinder.

Both the G2 and the G10 come with the new Vario 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 compact zoom lens (35mm equivalent to 28-84mm) as part of their kit.

Pricing will be announced a month before the cameras ship. Check below for full press releases.

LUMIX DMC-G2, WORLD’S FIRST* INTERCHANGEABLE LENS SYSTEM CAMERA WITH TOUCH-CONTROL MOVABLE LCD

Panasonic LUMIX G2 Features a 3-Inch Touch-Screen, Allowing for Quick and Intuitive Setting Changes, such as Focus, with a Single Touch

Secaucus, NJ (March 7, 2010) – Panasonic today announces the LUMIX DMC-G2, the world’s first* digital interchangeable lens system camera with a movable LCD that allows for touch-control, and the successor to the award-winning and revolutionary LUMIX G1, which was the world’s first Micro Four Thirds digital camera. The intuitive touch-control shooting elevates the camera’s operability, letting the user adjust auto focus (AF) simply by touching the subject on the large 3.0-inch 460,000-dot high- resolution LCD. The LUMIX G2, also shoots 720p High Definition video using the AVCHD Lite format, and joins the LUMIX G10, also introduced today, as the latest models in the LUMIX G Micro System.

With the touch-screen operation, users can even snap a photo by touching the LUMIX G2′s screen. Additionally, the touch-screen operation excels not only for shooting but also during playback. Users can touch one thumbnail viewed among many to quickly and easily see the full size of the desired photo. Also, to view images one-by-one, photos can be dragged across the screen to browse as though flipping the pages of a book.

“With the LUMIX G2, Panasonic is pleased to continue to lead the evolution of the Micro Four Thirds platform and also be the first in the industry to offer a touch-screen interchangeable lens system camera,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Touch-operation is a user interface with which many consumers are both familiar and expect, and we think the LUMIX G2′s touch-operation makes it easier and quicker to take photos and videos that have professional-like effects.”

Using the touch-screen operation, once a user locks onto a subject, the LUMIX G2 enables AF Tracking and will track the subject as it moves within the frame. Then, with a touch on the screen, users can select the part and the size of AF area with the 1-area AF. The Multi-area AF sets a group of AF points according to the composition. While using the manual focus, users can enlarge a subject by touching it and then choosing to enlarge it by 1x, 5x or 10x and then smoothly moving the part by dragging it on the screen. With this touch operation, menu settings can be changed quickly; cutting the time it takes to navigate using standard cursors. However, all setting changes can still be done using the control pad, if preferred.

The LUMIX G2 records 1280 x 720 HD videos in the AVCHD Lite format, which increases recording capacity and is highly compatible with audio-visual equipment. With a dedicated video record button, users can easily start recording a video. To complement its high-quality video capabilities, the LUMIX G2 features advanced audio options, as sound is recorded with Dolby Digital Creator and an optional accessory stereo microphone can be attached. A Wind Cut function further enhances the sound as it helps reduce noise caused from background wind.

The 3.0-inch touch-operation LCD has a wide-viewing angle and rotates 180° from side to side and tilts 270° up and down, providing approximately 100% of field of view. This free-angle LCD with a touch-screen operation makes it possible to both view and touch the screen from any angle. The double Live-View function offered by the high-resolution, 460,000-dot free-angle Intelligent LCD and 1,440,000-dot 1.4x (0.7x) Live View Finder allows users to see the settings’ results before pressing the shutter.

The 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor featured in the LUMIX G2 offers the best of both worlds – the outstanding image quality of a CCD sensor, and the lower power consumption of a CMOS sensor. Advanced technology enables it to read four channels of data simultaneously, helping the LUMIX G2 to deliver 60 frames-per-second Full-time Live View images, while faithfully reproducing high-resolution images with fine detail and rich gradation. Plus, with the high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD II, which has been re-engineered to further improve image quality.

The new high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD II supports the new image processing technology Intelligent Resolution, which enables the recording of beautiful photo and HD video with high quality signal processing. With Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas – outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation – are automatically detected. The outline parts are enhanced effectively to give edges increased clarity, while simultaneously giving a moderate accentuation to the textured areas so they look finely detailed. For the soft gradation areas, the improved noise reduction system of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to achieve a smoother effect. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way, resulting in images that are naturally clear.

For users looking for additional creative options for both photos and videos, the LUMIX G2 delivers. While shooting HD video, users can set the camera in “P” mode – to change the aperture for professional-like movie effects where the images blur into focus. For still photos, the LUMIX G2 features the My Color mode with a total of seven preset effects – Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, and Silhouette while also keeping the Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness and saturation levels and save their favorite settings into memory.

On the other hand, for beginner users not yet ready for manual modes – the LUMIX G2 features iA (Intelligent Auto), a popular setting in the LUMIX point-and-shoots that automatically engages features and settings for optimal image quality by detecting the shooting environment. Panasonic iA is available in both still photo and video recording settings and a new dedicated iA button, which illuminates in blue when engaged, makes it even easier to use this handy feature.

Other features of the LUMIX G2 include:
• Dust Reduction System: If dust or other foreign matter gets inside the camera when you’re changing lenses, it could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in your photos. The Dust Reduction System in the G2 helps eliminate this possibility by placing a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles effectively.
• Included Software: PHOTOfunSTUDIO 5.0 HD Edition makes it possible to sort and organize photos. Videos can be uploaded directly to YouTube using the built-in YouTube uploader – even in HD quality. It also lets you create a 360-degree rotation panorama file in .MOV files. The software is compatible with the Windows 7.

The Panasonic LUMIX G2 will come equipped as part of its kit, with the newly announced LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens. The new lens offers a versatile zoom range of 14-42mm (35mm camera equivalent: 28-84mm), making it suitable for a wide variety of scenes, everything from dynamic landscape to portrait. Additionally, the LUMIX G2 is compatible with all Micro Four Thirds System lenses, allowing users even higher levels of performance in a digital interchangeable lens camera.

The LUMIX DMC-G2 and other LUMIX G Micro System digital cameras can use any interchangeable lens that complies with the Four Thirds standard via an optional mount adaptor DMW-MA1 and with the prestigious Leica M/R Lenses via DMW-MA2M or MA3R. Other accessories include external flashes, filters, a remote shutter, HDMI mini cables and a variety of stylish straps and bags. To learn about the Panasonic LUMIX Micro Four Thirds System and all the available accessories, visit www.panasonic.com/lumix. The Panasonic LUMIX G2 will be available in red, blue and black models and pricing and availability will be announced 30 days prior to shipping date.

PANASONIC LUMIX G10, WORLD’S LIGHTEST* DIGITAL INTERCHANGEABLE LENS SYSTEM CAMERA WITH A VIEWFINDER

Compact and easy-to-use, the LUMIX G10 shoots high-quality photos and HD video and is an approachable alternative for users new to system cameras

Secaucus, NJ (March 7, 2010) – Panasonic today introduces an addition to its Panasonic LUMIX G Series, the LUMIX DMC-G10, the world’s lightest* digital interchangeable lens camera with a viewfinder, which packs a host of advanced digital camera functions designed to be easy-to-use for users new to system cameras. The new compact and portable LUMIX G10, which can record High Definition (HD) video in addition to high-quality still images, joins the LUMIX DMC-G2, also introduced today, as part of the Panasonic LUMIX G Series.

“The LUMIX G Micro System has revolutionized the photography industry ever since the release of the Panasonic G1, the world’s first interchangeable lens system camera based on the Micro Four Thirds System standard,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “We continue to expand this award-winning LUMIX G Series, and with its easy-to-use features and compact size, we expect the G10 to attract a lot of new users who want to step-up from their point-and-shoots.”

The LUMIX G10, with its incredible compact body and portable design, uses a mirrorless structure as part the Micro Four Thirds System standard, eliminating a number of components that are found in a conventional interchangeable lens camera, including the mirror box and optical viewfinder unit. This innovative structure allows for the LUMIX G10 to be the world’s lightest system camera in a compact digital camera design that is a desired feature for new users. Adding to its lightweight body, the LUMIX G10 will come equipped as part of its kit, with the newly announced LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens. The new lens offers a versatile zoom range of 14-42mm (35mm camera equivalent: 28-84mm), making it suitable for shooting a wide-range of scenes, from dynamic landscape to portrait.

Panasonic designed the LUMIX G10 to be easy to use offers iA (Intelligent Auto) mode – with its shooting assist functions that have proven extremely popular in LUMIX compact cameras. Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto), an easy shooting mode with automatic optimization according to the scene in either photo and video recording, is helpful to beginner users unfamiliar with an interchangeable lens system camera. With the new dedicated iA button, which illuminates in blue when engaged, activating this mode is even easier and can be used to shoot both photos and videos.

When shooting still photos, iA offers the following: MEGA O.I.S., which helps prevent blurring from hand-shake; Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves; Intelligent Exposure optimizes exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced properly; Intelligent Scene Selector detects the most common shooting situations – Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery, Close-up and Sunset – and switches to the appropriate Scene mode automatically – no setting changes needed.

The LUMIX G10 can record 1280 x 720 HD video in Motion JPEG, QVGA, VGA and WVGA formats. Users can enjoy recording HD videos while taking advantage of the high quality lens and the flexibility to change to other lenses. Even users new to recording videos will find the LUMIX G10 makes it easy. Panasonic’s iA for video offers the following: Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) helps prevent handshake when using high-powered zoom; Face Detection** automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion; Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows; Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Close-up, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the situation to optimize visual quality.

With AF Tracking, the LUMIX G10 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves – making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots of moving subjects, such as children and pets. Simply aim, lock, and shoot. The Face Recognition function remembers registered faces to give an appropriate AF/AE on the people. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback. The contrast AF system adopted by the LUMIX DMC-G10 is not only accurate and easy to use, but also very fast. Users can choose from a wide range of AF modes, including AF Tracking, 1-area AF, Face Detection AF/AE and 23-area AF.

The LUMIX G10′s Live View Finder, with a resolution of 202,000-dot equivalent, 1.04x (0.52x*) retains the viewability of an optical viewfinder and displays information about its settings that users can see without removing their eye from the subject. The 60 fps Live View is powered by the Live MOS sensor, which takes signals directly from the image sensor and sends them continuously to the LCD, in real time. Both the Live View Finder and LCD provide approximately 100% field of view. This allows the user, when composing a shot, to check the framing accurately from corner to corner. The 3.0-inch large 460,000-dot high-resolution LCD with wide viewing angle automatically controls the brightness according to the situation as an Intelligent LCD.

The 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor and the new Venus Engine HD II help to separate chromatic noise from luminance noise and apply the optimal noise reduction to each, so users can capture clear and beautiful images even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity levels. The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD II, which has been re-engineered to incorporate the new image processing technology, Intelligent Resolution, enables the recording of beautiful photo and HD video with high quality signal processing. With Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas – outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation –are automatically detected. The outline parts are enhanced effectively to give edges increased clarity, while simultaneously giving a moderate accentuation to the textured areas so they look finely detailed. For the soft gradation areas, the improved noise reduction system of the Venus Engine HD II is applied to achiever a smoother effect. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way, resulting in images that are naturally clear.

All Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras are equipped with the highly-efficient Dust Reduction System. If dust or other foreign matter gets inside the LUMIX G10 while changing lenses, it could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in your photos. However, with the Dust Reduction System, it helps eliminate this possibility by placing a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles effectively.

Other features of the LUMIX G10 include:
• My Color mode with a total of seven preset effects – Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, Silhouette. Also includes Custom mode, which lets users manually set the color, brightness and saturation levels. For beginners, the LUMIX G10′s full-time Live View function lets users see how these settings will affect the images before they shoot, making it easier to capture the exact mood or atmosphere desired.
• Scene modes total 26, including the Peripheral Defocus mode, which lets users take a photo where the foreground is in focus and background is blurred – or vice versa. This popular effect can be intimidating for a beginner, but in the Peripheral Defocus mode, by simply selecting the objects to be blurred and focused using the camera’s keypad, it is simple for photographers of any level.
• Exposure meter can be displayed in the P/A/S/M shooting modes. The correlation between shutter speed and aperture is shown, with a color-coded warning system that alerts users when the settings are not in the proper range. For those new to system camera digital photography, this makes it easy to learn proper settings both visually and logically, enhancing their photography skills.

The Panasonic LUMIX G10 is compatible with Micro Four Thirds System lenses, allowing users even higher levels of performance in a digital interchangeable lens camera. In addition to LUMIX G lenses, the LUMIX DMC-G10 and LUMIX G Micro System can use any interchangeable lens that complies with the Four Thirds standard via an optional mount adaptor DMW-MA1 and with the prestigious Leica M/R Lenses via DMW-MA2M or MA3R.

Pricing and availability for the Panasonic LUMIX G10 will be announced 30 days prior to shipping date. It will be available in black. To learn about the Panasonic LUMIX Micro Four Thirds System and all the available accessories, visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

PANASONIC ANNOUNCES COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT STANDARD ZOOM LENS FOR LUMIX G SERIES DIGITAL CAMERAS

SECAUCUS, NJ (March 7, 2010) – Panasonic today introduces a new interchangeable lens for its LUMIX G Micro System, the ultra-compact and lightweight LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens offers versatile zoom range of 14-42mm (35mm camera equivalent: 28-84mm), making it suitable for a wide variety of scenes, everything from dynamic landscape to portrait. The LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens will be part of the kit lens for the latest additions to the LUMIX G Series of digital cameras: the LUMIX DMC-G10 and LUMIX DMC-G2, also introduced today.

The new LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens incorporates Panasonic’s MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), which makes it easy to shoot clear photographs, even in low-lit situations, by suppressing the blur caused by a shaky hand. Adopting an inner-focus system driven by a stepping motor, the superior optical design realizes outstanding smoothness to support the high-speed AF (Auto Focus) system of LUMIX G cameras. When mounted on any of these cameras, this new lens allows users to maximize all of the AF system’s functions.

With its minimum focus distance of 30cm even at full zoom, this lens provides a maximum photographic magnification of 0.32x (35mm equivalent). Seven aperture blades make up a circular aperture diaphragm to produce an attractive smoothness in out-of-focus areas even when shooting at a large aperture. The LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. lens system uses multi-coated lens elements that reduce blur, helping to deliver superior performance. This new lens system also features excellent contrast even at its highest zoom level. The inclusion of an aspherical lens improves optical performance by minimizing distortion, even at the 28mm wide end. For more information on the Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras, lenses and accessories, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.


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Panasonic gets official with Lumix DMC-G2 and DMC-G10 Micro Four Thirds cameras

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Panasonic has the news day all to itself with its newfangled pair of Micro Four Thirds shooters, and in case you were wondering — yeah, this is the exact same duo that we saw slip out on Friday. Up first is the Lumix DMC-G2, which looks an awful lot like the G1 it replaces and is touted as the first interchangable lens system camera with touch-control shooting. Granted, we haven’t exactly warmed to the idea of using a touchpanel to fire off a shot, but hey, it is what it is. Other specs include a 12.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor, Venus Engine HD II technology, a 3-inch rear LCD and a 720p (AVCHD Lite) movie mode, though curiously enough a price and release date eludes us. Moving on, there’s the DMC-G10, which is supposedly the “world’s lightest” interchangeable lens camera with a viewfinder; this one packs the same 12.1 megapixel sensor and Venus Engine HD II as on the G2, but the 3-inch LCD lacks tilt / swivel / touch options. We’re still waiting on pricing for this one as well, but now is as good a time as any to mention that both fully support those obnoxiously expensive SDXC cards. Huzzah!

Panasonic gets official with Lumix DMC-G2 and DMC-G10 Micro Four Thirds cameras originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 07 Mar 2010 10:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hands-on with TAT’s dual-screen phone concept and augmented reality app

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

What, you thought Home was the only project in the pipeline for these guys? The mobile UI experts at Sweden’s TAT are in the house at MWC this week showing off a couple other nifty developments that are keeping them busy these days: a dual-screen UI concept utilizing TI’s next-gen hardware, and an app that makes good on a concept it had demoed before. First up, they’ve been using a TI Blaze to demonstrate their vision of a phone with two displays, likely in a slider configuration (in fact, they showed a Droid to represent how they think the form factor could work) with a screen where you’d normally expect they physical QWERTY keyboard to be. It’s slick and wicked smooth on the brutally powerful OMAP4 core, but realistically, this is something unusual enough so that we’d need to play with a unit for a good, long while before drawing any usability conclusions. TAT believes we could see devices with this kind of setup by years’ end, but we don’t know what carriers, manufacturer, or time frames would be involved at this point.

Next up, Recognizr is the realization of the Augmented ID concept it showed off last year that lets you tag your face (it sounds weird, but it’s quite literally true) with icons representing services that you use, each of which exposes information about you that you want others to know; then, other users with the system can put you in their viewfinder and see the same icons. It’s not flawless — in fact, TAT readily admits that they probably need better camera tech before it can be commercialized, and they had quite a few issues during our demo time — but it’s a clever concept that’s better watched on video than explained, which is convenient considering that we’ve got videos of both of these goodies in action after the break. Check ‘em out, won’t you?

Continue reading Hands-on with TAT’s dual-screen phone concept and augmented reality app

Hands-on with TAT’s dual-screen phone concept and augmented reality app originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 16 Feb 2010 22:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Art Lebedev introduces ‘Fleximus’ camera concept

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Well, it looks like Art Lebedev has more than the rather ingenious Transparentius concept in store for us today — it’s also introduced this so-called Fleximus concept for a flexible digital camera. Not exactly anything new there, per se, but Art Lebedev seems to be pitching this one specifically to photographers, not just folks that want to peek in hard-to-see places. To that end, the Fleximus comes equipped with a proper viewfinder on one end of camera, which can also be detached and replaced with a 3-inch LCD module (check it out after the break). Of course, this is still just a concept so there’s nothing in the way of specs, but you can get an exhaustive look at the design process at the link below.

Continue reading Art Lebedev introduces ‘Fleximus’ camera concept

Art Lebedev introduces ‘Fleximus’ camera concept originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 22 Dec 2009 14:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Giz Explains: What Everyone Should Know About Cameras [Giz Explains]

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Talking to a camera nerd—or even reading about new cameras—can feel like translating from a different language. But it doesn’t need to! Here, in this here post, is everything you need to know about cameras, without the noise.

When you buy a camera, you’ll be pelted with specs from a salesperson, many of which are confusing, and even misleading. You will cower, and may cover your head for protection. He will keep pelting. And really, he has to—spec sheets and jargon are integral to camera marketing, at least for now. Here’s what it all means, in one handy cheat sheet.

Types of Cameras

Before you set out to buy a new camera, or even just to get to know yours a little better, you’ve got to know the difference between the different types or cameras. Here are the ones you’re likely to come across.

Point-and-Shoots: Also known as compact cameras. If you don’t know what kind of camera you’re looking for, or what kind your have, it’s probably one of these. They’re the smallest style of camera, typically—at least in the last few years—trending toward a boxy, mostly featureless shape. The lens is non-removable. The flash unit is built in. They have LCD screens on the back, not just for reviewing photos, but to use as a viewfinder as well. When you press the shutter button on a point-and-shoot, there is a slight delay before the photo is actually recorded. Many new point and shoot cameras will take video, and some even manage to record in HD.

Bridge/Superzoom Cameras: These cameras often look like DSLRs, but don’t be fooled: They’re just juiced-up point-and-shoots. They will typically come with longer lenses and slightly more impressive specs than your average P&S, and will give you a bit more photographic flexibility to play with. Sadly, they suffer from the same picture-taking delay, or “shutter lag,” as point and shoots. The problem with bridge cameras, especially now, is that in order to get a decent one you have to spend at least a few hundreds dollars, at which point you may as well get a…

DSLRs: This unwieldy acronym stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Narrowly, this means that the camera has a mirror mechanism which allows photographers to see through the camera’s lens while setting up a shot, and which flips up, exposing the image sensor (the equivalent to film in a digital camera). Widely, this means that the camera will have interchangeable lenses, a larger sensor than a point and shoot, and to an extent, more image controls. When you press the shutter button on a DSLR, it takes the photo instantly—no lag, like in a point-and-shoot. Many new DSLRs at mid-to-high price points shoot HD video; some manage 720p, some manage 1080p, but all turn out impressive results, if simply because of the cameras’ lenses. That said, they’re not really ready to replace proper video cameras yet, because amongother things, no DSLR to date has got the autofocus during video thing right.

These are the cameras that photographers, or people who call themselves photographers, use. They’re also the ones that are capable of taking the best photos.

As a rule, DSLRs are more expensive than point and shoots. But they’re getting cheaper. Much, much cheaper. Olympus, Nikon, Pentax and Sony all have DSLRs that can be had for under $500—and these are real cameras—rendering the entire category of bridge cameras kind of pointless.

Micro Four Thirds/Digital Rangefinder: Micro Four Thirds cameras are interchangeable-lens cameras, minus the straight-through-the lens viewfinder that defines a DSLR. In other words, they have larger sensors like DSLRs, have swappable glass like DSLRs, but use an LCD screen as viewfinderlike a point-and-shoot. This saves space inside the camera, meaning that—at least this is the theory—it can be more portable than an equivalent DSLR, while maintaining the same versatility and image quality. Most of them record video, too, and they’re pretty good at it: They don’t have the complex viewfinder/mirror system of a DSLR, so it’s technically simpler to record video. Some of these cameras are styled like DSLRs, like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, while some are styled more like portable cameras, like the Olympus EP-1.

This is a small category for now, and accordingly, prices are still high, starting at about $750. Panasonic and Olympus are basically the only game in town.

Sensors

The sensor is the part of the camera that actually records the image. In other words, it is your camera.

Megapixels, and image resolution: Megapixels have been central to digital camera marketing since the beginning (it just sounds like a 90s term, doesn’t it?). A megapixel, quite simply, is one million pixels. If a one-megapixel image (or sensor) was perfectly square, it would be 1000×1000 pixels. They’re usually rectangular, at 4:3 or 3:2 ratios, which means their resolutions look more like this: 2048×1536 pixels for a 3-megapixel camera; 3264×2448 pixels for an 8-megapixel camera, and so on.

As digital cameras mature, this number means less and less—it’s easy to cram megapixels in a camera, but without good optics and light sensitivity, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to turn out an honest, clean, high-quality images at such a high resolution. My cellphone shoots at five megapixels, but the images look like screenshots from some kind of ghosthunting show. My DSLR shoots at 10.1 megpixels, but turns out images more than twice as clean and clear as my phone. My point-and-shoot is rated at 12.1 megapixels, but on close examination, its images are effectively blurrier than those from the DSLR.

If you’re planning on making huge prints, or need to crop your images a lot, a high megapixel count is necessary, but beyond a certain point, the returns are minimal. You’ll read a lot of guidance from camera manufacturers about how many megapixels you need to print different sized photos, which you can ignore, because they seem to change with every generation of cameras. Unless you’re printing billboards or in magazine or something, don’t sweat it too much.

Aside from indicating how many dots a camera is capable of capturing, megapixels can be a helpful indicator of how old a camera’s guts may be. Megapixel count has been increasing fairly steadily over the years, so within a given manufacturer’s camera line, increased megapixels could correlate to newer sensors, which could, along with high resolution, take richer, less noisy pictures.

ISO: This indicates how fast your camera’s sensor collects light—the higher your ISO, the more sensitive your camera is to light, the less light you need to take a picture. And while high-ISO capability is most useful in low light, it also comes in handy when you’re shooting extremely fast exposures in the daytime, like at a sports game. With higher ISOs, though, comes more noise—some point-and-shoot cameras advertise extremely high ISOs, on the order of 6400. Shots at this sensitivity will invariably look like ass. DSLRs, which have larger sensors that are better at gathering light, can sometimes shoot at 6400 ISO and higher without too much noise.

It might help to think of it like this: ISO ratings are actually a callback to the days of film. You used to have to anticipate how you’d be shooting, and buy film based on how sensitive it was, as expressed in an ISO or ASA rating. The ratings got carried over to digital cameras, despite film getting replaced with sensors.

Anyway, don’t buy a camera for its ISO rating alone, because there’s a good chance its top two to three settings will be useless.

CCD and CMOS: From our previous Giz Explains on the subject:

There are two major types of image sensors for digital cameras and camcorders: CCD (charged-couple device) and CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor, sometimes also known as active pixel sensor). We’re not going to get into the really geeky differences, because you don’t really need to know or care. What you should know is that higher-end digital SLRs (the big cameras with a removable lens) use CMOS because it’s easier to make bigger CMOS sensors; and mobile phones do because CMOS uses less power. That said, most point-and-shoot cameras and most camcorders use the more common CCD sensor.

Things are a little different now, and CCDs are common in DSLRs nowadays. The difference for consumers is minimal—don’t be alarmed to see either on your camera’s spec sheet.

White Balance: Have you ever seen a set of indoor pictures that’s totally, inexplicably orange? That’s a white balance problem. Your camera can adjust to compensate for different light temperatures—tungsten lights have that orange hue, and sunlight will turn your photos kind of blue—and correct your image’s color accordingly. Virtually all cameras let you adjust white balance with presets, though it’s best if you can adjust it manually, too.

Optics

The optics are the the parts through which your camera sees. They’re the eyeballs, basically.

Swappable lenses, and millimeters: There are two kinds of swappable lenses, generally speaking. Ones that zoom in and out, which are called “zoom” lenses, and ones that don’t move. These are called “primes.” They’re all classified by focal length. Strictly speaking, focal length refers to the distance required for a lens system to focus light. In real terms, focal length correlates to physical lens length, and zoom power. 18mm focal length on a DSLR is considered wide, 200mm or more is considered zoom-y.

Point-and-Shoot Lenses, and the X Factor: The second most prominently featured number on your point-and-shoot’s obnoxious feature sticker is the zoom rating. It’ll be expressed as a number, with an x: 5x, 10x, etc. You’ll also see a printed range, something like 5.0-25mm, which describes the focal length of the lens. Here’s a trick: Divide the larger focal length measurement by the smaller one. The result should match your “x” zoom rating, because, well, that’s all it is: the quotient of the maximum lens length and the minimum lens length.

This is misleading labeling. Mounted on the same camera, a lens that zooms from 50mm to 100mm would be called a 2X lens, while a lens that zooms from 18mm to 42mm would be called a 3X lens, even though at the longest, it doesn’t zoom in as far as the 50-100mm lens does at its shortest. Take this equation into account when comparing point-and-shoots, but most of all, try them. You’ll see the difference.

Shutter, shutter speed, and shutter lag: You shutter is the little door that opens up between your lens and your sensor, allowing for photographic exposure. Shutter speed ranges are advertised with the intention of implying that the camera will be useful at both ends: from the 10-second long exposure to the 1/4000th-second high-speed shot. Keep in mind, for both numbers, that shutter speed alone doesn’t guarantee anything. If your camera can shoot at 1/4000th of a second, but it’s got a small aperture and low ISO rating, your shots will probably be too dark.

Shutter lag is something else entirely. You know how on a point and shoot, there’s a frustrating gap between when you press the button and when your shot actually takes? That’s it. The lower the shutter lag, the better, though many camera manufacturers don’t even bother to advertise this.

Aperture: This is the hole through which light passes after its been through part of your lens, and before it hits your sensor. The bigger the hole, the more light gets in. The smaller the hole, the less light gets in. Larger apertures allow you to take pictures in lower light situations, but only allow you to focus on a thin plane—either your background or your foreground will be out of focus. Smaller apertures let you keep more of a scene in focus but they let less light through, and require longer exposure times. Apertures are described by f-numbers—these are the ration between the width of an aperture and the focal length of a lens. The smaller the number, the larger the aperture.

Optical vs Digital Zoom: Another scourge of the camera buyer is digital zoom. Optical is magnification by your lens—in other words, it’s true zoom. Digital zoom is just your camera taking the optically zoomed image and blowing it up, like you’d do in Photoshop. It’s only useful for framing shots and sometimes helping your camera focus properly. Otherwise, it’s a gimmick: Ignore it, shoot wide and crop your shots later.

IS, or Antishake: Image stabilization is fast becoming a standard feature on even the cheapest cameras, though you’ll find some sub-$150 point-and-shoots without it. The point of image stabilization is to correct for camera movements during an exposure, which cause blurry shots.

There are two types: Digital IS, which you’ll find mostly in point-and-shoots, corrects the image with software, and can be somewhat effective, though the results are often passable, not perfect. Optical image stabilization physically moves some part of the camera to counteract shaking. In some cameras, like Nikons and Canons, the moving parts are in the lens. In most other other manufacturers’ DSLRs, it’s the sensor that actually moves to stabilize the image. Optical IS almost always works better, but it’s not magic—you won’t be able to shoot a freehand four-second exposure just because it’s on, but you might be able to keep things together for a half-second or more.

Software


“Modes,” Face Detection, Smile Detection: Your camera’s modes are assistive tools,, not hard features. They’re generally just collected presets for settings that you can adjust yourself, like equalizer presets on your iPod. They can be useful, though you’ll be a better photographer if you manage settings yourself.

Face and smile detection, again, are like crutches. Face detection guesses when there’s a human in the photo so the camera can adjust exposure, white balance and focus to make sure that said human doesn’t end up blurry. Smile detection is a crude algorithm that measures facial features, and won’t take a photo until the subjects are judged to be SUFFICIENTLY CONTENTED, by which I mean they have vaguely crescent-shaped mouth holes. It’s a good way to ensure that nobody is ruining a photo with a grimace. Also, to ensure that none of your photos are ever interesting.

Image formats: You digital camera doesn’t have film, but your photos have to go somewhere. In today’s cameras, the digitally stored photos are either JPEGs or RAW files. JPEG files are compressed, which means that they are encoded in such a way that they don’t take up much space, but lose a small amount of quality. This is how point-and-shoot cameras almost always store images, and how DSLRs store images by default, generally.

If JPEGs are like photo prints (they’re not, really, but bear with me) then RAW files are like the digital negatives. (In fact, one popular RAW format, .DNG, crudely stands for “digital negative”). Raw files contain almost exactly what your sensor has recorded, which means you can change values like exposure, white balance and coloration after taking the photo, to a surprisingly high degree. It feels like cheating! There is a downside: larger image files. And, depending on the type of RAW file—different camera manufacturers have different ones—you may need special software to view and edit your photos. Shoot in RAW if you can, and buy a camera that’ll let you. This is a huge feature.

As a bonus, most cameras that shoot RAW will also let you shoot RAW and JPEG files simultaneously, so you have a lightweight, ready-to-print-or-upload file right away, as well as the RAW source, for later editing. It takes up a ton of space, but hey, space is cheap nowadays. Spend a few bucks on a bigger memory card, and live your life.

Video: Most new cameras, including some DSLRs, shoot video. But just because your camera shoots stills at 10 megapixels doesn’t mean that it’ll shoot anywhere near that kind of resolution in motion. The standard resolution for most point-and-shoot cameras is VGA—that’s just 640×480 pixels of video, which is good enough for YouTube—while DSLRs, and some nicer point-and-shoots, record in either 720p or 1080p, which are HD resolutions, which translate to 1280×720 pixels and 1920×1080 pixels, respectively.

Storage


Point and shoot cameras usually come with a small amount of onboard storage. This, I’m about 100% sure, is there so that the camera technically works when you buy it, making your inevitable extra storage purchase seem more like a choice, and less like a mandatory camera tax. Anyway, with any camera, you’re going to need to buy some memory, or storage.

There are a few peripheral memory card formats still kicking around (Sony, can you please just put Memory Stick Pro out of its misery? Thanks!) but there are only two that matter.

SD: Also seen as SDHC, or SDXC, these little guys are the card of choice for point-and-shoot and bridge cameras, and some newer DSLRs. They’re small, they works fine, and they’re available in just about any capacity you could ever want. Almost: Most cameras are only SDHC-compatible, a standard which maxes out at 32GB. SDXC, the next evolution of the SD standard, maxes out at a theoretical 2TB, though almost no cameras support it yet.

Compact Flash: These cards are chunkier, can be faster, and are more durable, and anecdotally less prone to temperature and weather damage. These are what you’ll find in DSLRs.

Speed ratings: Memory cards come in different speeds. These are advertised in a variety of different ways, for no good reason. You’ll see a couple of numbers on most cards, in the “133x” syntax. Ignore them—they are inflated, unregulated and therefore, basically meaningless. What you’re looking for on SD cards is a Class rating, from 1-6. The official SD Association chart:
For Compact Flash cards, your best bet is to look for an actual transfer speed on the card, expressed in MB/s.

Further Reading


Reviews: One gadget blog, try as we may, can’t cover the hundreds of cameras that come out every year. We’ll leave that to the obsessives. See:

DPReview

The Photography Bay

Photography Review

Photo.net

You really shouldn’t buy a camera without consulting these guys first. They have a habit of lapsing into jargon at times, but hey, if you’ve read this far, you’ll be able to get by.

Taking Photos: So now you’ve got your new piece of neck candy, and you feel awfully cool. You know what would make you cooler? Learning how to shoot, for god’s sake. A few of out recent guides:

The Basics: Your new camera has been removed from the box. It has been fiddled with. You cat has been photographed multiple times. Now what?

When Not to Use Flash: The answer: Pretty much always.

How To Shoot HDR: Taking hyperreal photos by combining multiple exposures, without, as we call it, the “clown vomit.”

• For general advice, Photo.net‘s comically extensive set of photography guides provides instructions for virtually any scenario. Need to shoot some, say, nudes? In, say, Namibia’s uniquely harsh sunlight? They’ve got you covered.

And although broad guides are useful, I’ve learned more about photography and cameras from Flickr than any other resource. Join the Flickr group for your camera, and spend some time on the message boards. You’ll learn clever tricks for getting the most out of your hardware, but in doing so, with the help of a gracious community, you’ll learn just as much about photography as a whole.

Still something you wanna know? Send questions about DSLRs, P&Ses, B&Bs or BBQs here, with “Giz Explains” in the subject line.



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