Bigger Stuff, Smaller Stuff, Same Stuff

Let’s Start With Cameras

Douglas Black, January 10, 2013

So far, there really isn’t a lot of breakthrough technology getting the red carpet treatment in Vegas this week at the Consumer Eletronics Show (CES2013).  I mean, “photo enthusiasts” cameras are getting smaller, yet maintaining most features of a pricier DSLRs; flat screen TVs are getting bigger and curvier, but still the same type of thing mounted to most game room walls now; screen faces got small on cell phones, then bigger, now tablets and LARGE SCREEN mobile phones are riding the pendulum back;  and touch screens are getting big AND small (I want the Dick Tracy watch).

So let’s see what people are saying about cameras, touch screens, and tablets.  First Cameras…


Canon Powershot N

   Canon PowerShot N

from Simon Crisp via Gizmag , source; Canon

Most point-and-shoot cameras have a fairly standard design. They’re rectangular, have a lens positioned to one side on the front, a screen on the rear, and controls for things like shutter and zoom on the top. The Canon Powershot N is not your typical compact. It has an unusually square design, and key controls are situated on rings around the lens.

Featuring a 1/2.3 type 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 5-40mm f/3.0–5.9 lens (giving a 35mm equivalent of 28–224 mm), the core specs of the Powershot N are nothing too remarkable. Similarly, its ability to record Full HD video at 24 fps, its continuous shooting burst speed of 2.3 fps, 9-point autofocus, and ISO range of 80-6400 will not make it stand out from the crowd.


Canon Powershot N


What does differentiate the Powershot N from the multitude of point-and-shoots cramming the shelves of your local camera store is its design. Measuring 3.09 x 2.37 x 1.15 inches (78.6 x 60.2 x 29.3 mm), the Powershot N is considerably more square than most cameras (except maybe the Lytro). Canon says it’s been designed to enable the shooting of images in a more creative way and at unique angles or positions.

Notably, shutter and zoom are controlled via dual rings around the lens – the outer controls the shutter and can be clicked from any point on the ring, while the inner ring controls zoom. This supposedly means that the camera can be used equally well in any orientation, though clicking the shutter with the ring (and not accidentally zooming at the same time) could take some getting used to.

Combined with a 2.8-inch tilt touch panel LCD on the rear with 461,000 dots, it’s claimed the unique design means users can shoot from a wide array of angles and positions. A Smart Shutter feature allows users to select their focus and start tracking by touching the LCD, then capture the image by lifting their finger off the screen.

Other buttons of note on the Powershot N include a dedicated movie button and a new Mobile Device Connect Button which allows the camera to easily connect with iOS and Android devices running Canon’s CameraWindow app. The app means users can transfer photos or videos to their device. Powershot N users can also use Wi-Fi to upload to social networks and even comment on uploaded photos directly from the camera.

A Creative Shot mode can also be used to automatically create “artistic” versions of images. After the shutter is pressed, the camera will render five different variations of the shot, each with different color modes, crops, and styles.

The PowerShot N is expected to be available in white or black from April for a price of US$300.

See the video from Canon Europe introducing the camera.


Canon Powershot N in White


Fuji Unveils Improved X-Series, Long Lens, and H2Oproof

excerpts from Paul Ridden,via Gizmag


Fuji FinePix S Series

It’s been over two years since the launch of the rather attractive Finepix X100 fixed lens, big sensor professional/enthusiast-level digital camera at Photokina 2010 and, if you were thinking that an update is long overdue, it would appear that Fujifilm agrees with you. The company has now announced its successor … the X100S.

The new model retains the look of its predecessor, but its insides have been significantly refreshed. According to Fujifilm, the combination of the new 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II give the X100S the ability to capture images comparable to those taken on full-frame sensors, increasing resolution by about 25 percent while reducing noise by over 30 percent compared to the X100 before it.

The new processor is twice as fast as the previous generation, and is more responsive, too, with a quoted startup time of about 0.5 seconds, and an equally brisk shooting interval and a shutter time lag of just 0.01 seconds. All serve to lessen the chance of missed photo opportunities.

Click on the video of the Fuji Flagship Offering.


Fujifilm T500

FinePix HS50EXR

This model takes the mantle of Fujifilm’s new flagship FinePix long-zoom camera and, like the HS30EXR announced at last year’s show in Las Vegas, it sports a 920,000-dot electronic viewfinder and a 3-inch vari-angle LCD display panel – also at 920,000-dot resolution. It features the company’s latest 16 megapixel 1/2-inch EXR CMOS II sensor with phase detection pixels and fast EXR Processor II that give the camera a world-beating autofocus time of 0.05 seconds.

It’s capable of burst shooting of 11 fps at full resolution, can call on 108 EXR Auto shooting patterns and has a sensitivity range of ISO100 – 12,800. The HS50EXR is capable of recording video at Full HD (60 fps), and has been given a new 42 x FUJINON optical (manual) zoom lens with a focal length range of 24 – 1,000 mm and aperture range of f/2.8 to f/5.6.

The HS50EXR is priced at $549.95, again with an end of March release date.

The following promotional video from Fujifilm outlines its capabilities.


Fujifilm FinePix T550

FinePix T500 and T550

The new 12x zoom (24 – 288 mm) T Series compacts are just 18.6 mm (0.73-inches) thin, yet manage to squeeze in a 16 megapixel CCD sensor with optical image stabilization and ISO100 – 3,200 sensitivity. These models are capable of 720p video recording via the dedicated movie button and have been given a USB charging port for topping up the Li-ion battery. The T500 has a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot display while the T550 gets a 3-inch, 460,000-dot panel.

The T550 is priced at $159.95 with an end of March release date.


Waterproof fun Fujifilm XP60

   FinePix XP60


Last but not least is the tough guy of the bunch, which brings image quality improvement over last year’s   XP50 but retains the 5x optical zoom lens (28 – 140 mm). The XP60 rugged compact features a 16 megapixel CMOS image sensor with a sensitivity range of ISO100 – 6,400 and is capable of 10 fps continuous shooting.

It’s waterproof to a depth of six meters (20 ft), shock resistant to 1.5 meters (5 ft), sealed against dust (or sand) penetration and will continue to operate in temperatures as low as -10° C (14° F).

This model can record video at 1080i/60 fps, is HDR-capable and individual shutter 3D photography allows the user to take two shots from slightly different angles and combine them into one 3D image. There’s a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD display with an anti-reflective coating round the back.

The XP60 will be priced at $199.95 with the same end of March release date.

Product pages: X100S,  HS50EXRT500 and T550XP60

New Suite Of Smart Cams From Samsung

We’ve heard of Samsung’s foray into the gray area between smartphone and digital camera.  We wrote about the debut a few months ago and noted that it is a great idea for the digital enthusiast to take a reasonably decent shot and have it automatically streaming directly from the camera.  But now I think there’s an app for that, or two.


Samsung’s New WB250F at CES2013

That said, any disruptor worth its salt will come back for round two, at least.  Ding!  I have had the opportunity to fiddle about with the entry-level model – small and sleek, the fixed lens retract back flush with housing so it will fit into your pocket like a phat phone.  But it is easier to point and shoot than my own smartphone, and uploading to my “photocloud” appears to be less awkward compared to tapping my phone screen like a telegraph man in Omaha.  Stop.

Here is what Dave LeClair, man at the show, has to say about the fleet of Samsungs launched at CES2013.

Samsung has gone smart camera crazy at CES 2013, bringing out a slew of new models with the ability to share photos over Wi-Fi. The standout feature of the system dubbed “Smart Camera 2.0” is a new AutoShare function that enables photos to be shared automatically and immediately with a connected smartphone.

A direct “hot key” has been added to all the new Smart Cameras to take advantage of the enhanced Wi-Fi functionality and the company’s Smart Camera app for Android and iOS devices has been given improved Remote Viewfinder and Mobile Link capabilities as well as the new Autoshare functionality.


Samsung Smart Camera NX300 at CES2013

The camera that stole the show is definitely the NX300, which we previewed in-depth a couple of days ago. Besides the Wi-Fi connectivity options, this camera features an optional lens that can flip from 2D to 3D capture in both still and video format. It has a 20.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, a tilting 3.3-inch AMOLED display and a price tag of US$749.99 with an 18-55mm lens. The 45 mm, 3D lens option is priced at $499.99 price tag.

Samsung also used CES 2013 to unveil its new flagships in the long-zoom series. These cameras – the WB250F and WB200F – both feature18x optical zoom. The WB250F has a 14.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor while the WB200F packs a 14.2 megapixel CCD sensor and both come with a 24mm lens. Both units also boast a Best Face feature, which takes a burst of photos and automatically selects the best facial expressions and splices them together for the optimum result in group shots. The WB250F costs $249.99.

The 21x optical zoom WB800F also gets Wi-Fi sharing capabilities. This model has a 16.3 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, can record video in 1080p at 30fps and has an MSRP of $179.99.

Samsung also displayed its new mini camera – the WB30F – which still features a 10x optimal zoom, 24 mm wide angle lens. At only 17 mm thick it’s designed to be easy to carry around, but it still gets the full suite of Wi-Fi features and video recording in 720p at 30fps. The WB30F is priced at $149.99.

The next cab off the rank is the DV150F, which features a 1.48-inch front LCD for taking self-shots in addition to Wi-Fi sharing functions. It employs a 16.2 Megapixel CCD sensor, f2.5 25mm lens and 5x optical zoom along with a range of on camera digital filters and frames. The DV150F also has an MSRP of $149.99.


Entry Level Samsung ST150

Finally to Samsung’s entry-level smart camera – the ST150F. This point-and-shoot comes with   a 5x optical zoom, 25mm lens, a 16.2 Megapixel CCD and will set you back $119.99.

All the cameras will hit the market during the first quarter of this year.



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