Cameras


How disappointing , that Google have decided to end support for this program. Some of you may never have used it. But I’ve always found it a really fast and easy to use program for storing and managing my photographs. It’s particularly quick for exporting images at reduced sizes , say when you want to put an image on ebay or similar. One major annoyance for me is that you can’t seem to fill the screen with an image other than by selecting the the ‘slideshow’ mode. (Press the ‘Play’ icon at the top of the screen. My copy is still working on Windows 10 , but wonder how long they will keep it running? Maybe somebody can tell me.

I continue to check out some of the other free applications. Fastone image viewer I suppose is my other favourite. Download here: http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

Benefits are it has some better editing tools and handles full screen mode much more readily. They’ve just released a new version too. It’s slower** (for me ) to load than Picasa , I suppose that’s my biggest gripe. A little bit more awkward to quickly export images too. But still a great program , especially as its free.

Another interesting contender (for me) is Nomacs, found here http://nomacs.org/

It’s very fast and does full screen mode beautifully. Haven’t quite got to grips with all of it’s menus yet but definitely worth a try. You might like it!

** AMD budget quad core, 8G RAM , Win 10 Pro 64 , SSD boot  drive

 

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I must say I’m still delighted with most of my results from my Sony RX100 albeit it’s the original model.. There’s a MkIII today , a relative of mine has bought one so may be able to report on it’s capabilities albeit indirect. I must say I struggled with the Macro mode, maybe finger trouble I’m not sure. I also had a few occasions when it seemed to take two shots , not unlike keyboard bounce. To the best of my knowledge I hadn’t enabled burst mode or equivalent. Still on balance a great camera, I’m sticking with mine for a while longer. If you want to see some images take a look at photos on flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/9654511@N08/with/14837928186/ First 50 pictures are taken with the RX100 in Zadar , Croatia

I’ve been evaluating a couple of IP cameras during the last couple of months.  Namely the well reviewed Y-Cam Knight available directly from http://www.y-cam.com/y-cam-knight and  a lower cost offering the Foscam : FI8908W  available here in the UK from ebay resellers listed on their site: http://www.foscam.com/ContactUs.asp . There’s a fair difference in the price points so perhaps a bit unfair to directly compare. What’s an IP camera I here you saying? Well it’s effectively a complete computer that communicates across your network. Additionally you can configure the image to be viewable via your network or even mobile phone depending on the specific configuration and network type. These devices are both capable of sending images as attachments via email on detection of movement. In practice the Foscam seems to have most of the features of the Y-Cam , it even adds motorized remote control for pan and tilt!

Still if you don’t know your smtp from your ip you might be best getter an installer to set one of these up. Both cameras contain , Wifi, RJ45 which you could use via ethernet over mains, and importantly IR illumination for night time viewing. In terms of performance, generally the Y-Cam has more sophisticated firmware/options over and  above the Foscam. It also seems to capture images more successfully than the Foscam. Still for a budget remote viewing camera the Foscam represents fantastic value. I paid about £58. Don’t forget these cameras require a mains power adapter (supplied) and consume approx. 3-5Watts all of the time their powered. So you need to make sure you’ve got adequate wifi performance where the camera is installed or be prepared to use an ethernet cable.

I’ve recently  found a misplaced 2G XD Olympus card. The card refused to co-operate both in my Fuji F20 or in various usb card readers.  In truth I was about to throw it away when I realised (a) it might still have some photographs on it and secondly when I checked the camera invoice I paid £37 for the card! Returning same to Olympus, they kindly rescued some of the potentially lost photos and replaced with a brand new card! It did take a month or so, so not the fastest service. Still credit where it’s due, they have reimbursed what was an out of warranty product. Still this is the third incident I’ve come across with XD cards failing amongst my close friends I only know of one SD card incident. Hardly a full analysis I know but it does worry me a bit! Comments welcome.

A friends misfortune turns into my good fortune.  Allow me to explain. I’ve marvelled at the ingenuity of modern digital cameras, and as an engineer have been curious to see the insides of a modern camera. Well my friend recently had some bad luck and broke one of his compact cameras –  my chance to take a peek inside. Interesting to see how modular the design is in it’s construction.  At a level much simpler than I might have imagined. Still I’m no doubt looking at a fairly mature design, the result of many camera design iterations. A single double sided printed circuit board with fine pitch surface mount components. Note the small motors that control the lens assembly. Please see the attached images (Taken with my Canon G9) :

I’ve played with a fair few digital compact cameras in the last few year or two. I must say the little Sony W170 has  impressed me the most.  I’ve convinced myself that I deserve perhaps  the best compact camera on the market today and have treated myself to a Canon G9 😉  In truth it’s not truly compact say like the W170. But it’s small and capable I hope. Certainly good enough to get a decent image every time no matter what the circumstances. I’m sure it’s not as good a DSLR but it’s certainly more convenient to manager say on a day trip or a holiday.

I probably don’t/can’t add anything new to the multitude of reviews that already exist on the web. A couple of niggles though, no printed manual or wrist strap included in the box!  For £300+ you’d think these might be included. A colleague came to the rescue and printed the US manual for me.  Available on line here: http://personafile.com/Canon-Camera-Powershot-G9-12.1-Megapixel-6.0x-Zoom-P013803002107.htm

Be warned though the manual refers to a HD video capture mode, that doesn’t exist on my UK camera.

Results are very good, although not had the time or opportunity to put it through it’s paces. Although the G10 is avaialble for me I prefer the 6X telephoto range , although the wider angle 28mm would have been nice. Generally it’s pretty simple to use, a bit like a big Ixus.

Bought myself a spare battery from 7 day shop:

http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8345

Some what cheaper than the Canon unit.

I’ll put a few pics up when I get time.

Just taken our short summer vacation in Crete . This time round we ‘bust’ the bank and took a day trip to Santorini. I must say it was worth though. The island is breathtaking and exceeded my expectations in terms of scenery. The day excursion included a trip by boat to the still active volcano and a chance to swim for those that are good enough. (For travel from Crete check here: http://www.cretetravel.com/To_and_from_Crete/Ferries_Crete_Santorini.htm)

But back to the camera. A recent purchase to check out the Carl Zeis 5x zoom/28 mm plus 10 Megapixel capability. My goal was to find a truly compact camera. The Sony certainly meets this and can fit comfortably in a shirt pocket. Pretty impressive! I managed around 230 shots including a short video clip or two on a single charge on the Santorini visit. I liked the overall feel of the camera particularly – No dials/buttons that dislodged, a common gripe for me when putting the camera into say a small case. I also liked the integrated lens cover. With regard to the overall results I’d say I was slightly disappointed. Perhaps the images aren’t vivid enough.  On balance though, it’s a nice package. It worked every time, I lost only a couple of shots out of 600+. I’d say recommended (speaking as an amateur) rather than outstanding.

** Update, I’ve had a couple of large 12 x 16 inch prints made and would say that the results are very good. Perhaps I was a little harsh in my earlier comments. Still you can see a bit of lens distortion/fall off in some areas of the print. Overall good value for money.

Summary:

What I liked:

-Very compact

-Carl Zeiss 5 times optical zoom starting at 28mm

-Fast focus

-Nice LCD

-Optical Viewfinder albeit very small

What I disliked:

-Picture quality appeared OK as opposed to excellent. For small prints my Fuji F20 is probably as good if not better in absolute quality?

-Shutting down seemed to take a long time

-Digital zoom only available with 5 mega pixel images as opposed to 10 (max. size)

Comprehensive review can be found here on Imaging Resource:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/W170/W170A.HTM

Santorini

Santorini

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