Photography


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

Just picked up a mint example of the Powershot S100. Nice , very compact. I had an S90 some years back but the S100 has moved on a bit. It’s smaller , has a wider lens with 5 times zoom. Takes JPEG & RAW. Not the latest model (that’s the S120)  but still takes a good photograph. The JPEG images look very nice. Not really tried it in low light  that’s where the RX100 trumps most other point and shoot cameras. In truth I’m not expecting the same quality results. Hopefully it’s a nice small camera to carry around. Be aware this model had a lens error problem , if this occurs and it’s not due to damage Canon will repair free of charge.  I reckon a worthy update to my old S90. Lots of reviews around on the web.

I treated myself 😉 well  a mint used example with warranty from Amazon. It’s pretty much all that all the reviews say , the best small pocket camera in the world. No need really to repeat what all the reviews have already said. It’s very small , it’s got a fast lens and a massive (by pocket) camera terms sensor of 1 inch.  For me it’s all about taking low light shots. Damn it does it to my eyes a fantastic job at ISO 800 in RAW mode. Annoying but my favourite image management tool Picasa  doesn’t handle the RAW format from this model , but it does for my NEX5N? Can’t say I fully understand why these cameras from the same stable have different formats. I’ve switched to my other favourite image program Fastone Viewer. It’s better than Picasa in many ways, but PIcasa does some things so well. Like exporting with a single button push. They both seem to co-exist happily on the PC.  http://www.faststone.org/ A couple of shots from my recent holiday in Croatia attached. For now any way this is the best.

DSC00905 DSC00599

Prompted by a conversation with a colleague , I set out to scan some old 110 film holiday photos. Simple I thought, just drop the strip into one of the 35 mm film positions. To my amazement it didn’t work. Something to the effect of ‘unrecognizable’ format. So I phoned Canon support and was told: ‘you can’t scan 110 film on the Lid500’. Somewhat frustrated I spent a few minutes thinking, what’s actually stopping this from working I wondered?   I got myself an old unexposed 35mm frame and cut a hole large enough to drop in a 110 frame. It works! So my conclusion the software is looking either for a full frame or maybe the 35mm sprocket holes. Does anybody know? Please refer to the image below:

Unfortunately for me my old negatives are ratter poor. I think a combination of age (25+years), the 110 system itself, the little Pentax 110 I used to take them. Sadly my pictures are too poor to use. But it might just work for you, good luck.

I’ve been researching a pocket zoom camera for some months. As part of the exercise I’ve checked out some of the latest compact zooms. A combination of reading reviews and trying the odd model in the local stores. So not perfect robust but you can get some idea.  In practice I wasn’t very impressed with my findings.  The best I tried would be the Canon SX220HS. But not sure today for my budget it makes the grade. It’s a bit large but passes  my ‘shirt pocket’ test i.e. it fits. So with further reading and some decent help from Fuji UK , I’ve acquired a refurbished Fuji F70EXR. A fantastic small camera with 10x zoom. It’s a bit old now (2009) but you’ll find brilliant reviews on the web. (e.g. http://www.steves-digicams.com/camera-reviews/fujifilm/finepix-f70exr/fuji-finepix-f70exr-review.html ) For best results I recommend you check out http://kimletkeman.blogspot.com/2009/10/fuji-f70exr-how-to-shoot-it-mkii.html .  Here you will find optimal settings for the F70EXR. On the downside the video is poor by modern standards. But if you on a tight budget (I am) and you want a compact zoom, you could do a lot worse.

The gist of Kim Letkeman’s recommended settings is to use the camera at half the sensor’s resolution. This can make substantial improvement to the quality of the images, specifically with Fuji EXR sensor construction. I’ve taken some nice shots at full image size but only by keeping the iso at 100. To go beyond that , set up as per the above link. You’ll find this camera secondhand on ebay or from suppliers on Amazon. Unfortunately it’s no longer manufactured and hence no longer  available as a refurbished model unless an odd example comes into the company.

I’ve been searching for an affordable pocket camera that takes pictures that approach my Canon G9 in terms of quality. Not suggesting that the G9 images are the best , but they do set a reasonable standard for a non SLR camera. Small though the G9 is in comparison to an SLR I still find myself hankering for something smaller. Such that I can always have it with me.  The danger here is that (a) one is looking for a camera that doesn’t actually exist today . (b) This can become an expensive pastime as I don’t have a ready supply of alternative cameras to try! I’ve resorted to picking up pristine examples on ebay for example as means of reducing expenditure and disappointment! These consumer cameras have a short life time too, so residualvalues don’t stay high that long.

So armed with this quest. I’ve just been through another ’round’ of review reading  and picked up a clean Canon SD960.

Reviews generally are very favorable. One additional advantage over an above the G9 is that is has 28mm wide angle lens, nice. I must say I’m pretty pleased. It’s basically a G9 in a smaller body (albeit with a smaller sensor). Results for my needs are great and it fits in a standard shirt pocket. HD video to boot.

Disappointments –

  1. No paper manual in the box. I really hate this as there’s no substitute for sitting on a beach or armchair and thumbing through a manual. Trying to read a pdf on a computer isn’t the same in my opinion.
  2. There is little in the way of manual control. I guess if you want this move up to a G9/G11/S90…
  3. Limited zoom, look at the SD980

Overall though a cracking little camera. I must say I think Canon are still up at the top when it comes to these high end ‘point and shoot’ cameras.

I did see these for sale in Argos soon after I bought mine for £150.  But suspect this offer might have ended.

Highly Recommended.

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