Cameras

By February 15, 2014 Read More →

Sony ACX-2 Case for DSC-QX10/QX100 and Xperia Z1

ACX2-2Having recently acquired a Sony Xperia Z1 for myself and already owning a DSC-QX10 Lens I decided to get myself a case for the Z1 which would allow me to attach the lens to the camera without the need to use the slightly chunky mount that comes with the QX10.

Sony now produce cases that will allow their two lenses to the Xperia Z, Z1 and Z Ultra in black and white finishes. The price for the Z1 is quite expensive for what is (without the lens attachment) quite a basic case at £25 from the Sony website.

http://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/cyber-shot-compact-cameras-cases-covers-straps/spa-acx2

I decided to give it the case a try anyway and when I received it I was quite pleased to note that the case actually solved one of my criticisms of the Z1 and Z Ultra, namely the glass construction and slim profile make both devices very slippery.

The fit of the case onto the Z1 is, as you would expect from an official accessory, perfect and the lens attaches quickly and effortlessly. I was really impressed and decided that the Z1 with the case would be my every day device for my week long holiday overseas.

ACX2-2a

The ease of attaching the lens to the phone made this my goto camera for the whole holiday and I found that i did not take my DSLR out of the safe once on the whole trip.

The case did have one major downside however! You may have noticed that the photos of the case and camera that I have shown so far are taken from the Sony website. The reason for this is that on the second day of my trip, whilst sitting and having lunch I heard a “crack” noise from my pocket. Upon inspecting the case, two corners had broken off and there was a crack down the back of the case.

IMG_20140213_200657

A quick web search reveled this to be a fairly common occurrence and that the normal response upon contacting Sony is to be offered a refund rather than an exchange.

I managed to baby the case through the rest of the holiday but I will not be seeking a refund and I will, in fact, be purchasing a second one.

The reason for this strange course of action is that during my research into the cracking problem, I discovered that many people have successfully removed the camera connection from the case and have attached it to an alternative case which is more durable. This is my plan as well and if I’m successful I will post up the results.

Here are some shots of the damage to the case and how the camera looks when it is attached. It is an exceptionally good idea that was let down by the execution.

IMG_20140213_200745IMG_20140213_200720IMG_20140213_221635IMG_20140213_221701

 

Posted in: Cameras, Phones, Reviews
By January 31, 2014 Read More →

Sony DSC-QX10 and QX100 Firmware v2.0 is available to download from Sony Asia

IMG_4172Towards the end of 2013 Sony announced that a firmware for the DSC QX10 and QX100 lens cameras for use with Smartphones would be released in January. With only a few days left to meet this target, the promised update has appeared on the Sony Asia support site. At the time of writing the UK site still doesn’t show the download.

New features for the version 2.0 update are:

  • ISO Setting added
  • Movie Recording size changed: MP4 1440 x 1080(30p) to MP4 1920 x 1080(30p)
  • Shutter Speed Priority Shooting mode added (DSC-QX100 only)

I updated my QX10 yesterday and the time taken to connect to my Nexus 5 has reduced drastically and the connection itself seems to be much more stable. These were two issues that I highlighted in my review and once I have had a chance to play with the the camera with the new firmware some more I will update the review with my new thoughts.

The update was painless and all of the steps required are clearly explained in the updater software. It seems that the existing firmware on the lenses is a mix of v1 and v0.1 so it looks like some units were sold with an earlier release and no update was offered.

If you’d like to grab the update now, try these links.

http://www.sony-asia.com/support/product/dsc-qx100

http://www.sony-asia.com/support/product/DSC-QX10

Posted in: Cameras, News
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By December 11, 2013 Read More →

Getting the Most Out of Your DSLR Camera: 7 Tips

6860378070_c0501eef67A DSLR camera is so much more than a point-and-shoot tool to take nice family pictures. With a few basics tips and a lot of practice, you can create artistic-studio quality work that you will be proud to share with family and friends. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your purchase.

Start with the Basics

Read your manual; it’s a time investment you won’t regret. The great thing about the user manual is everything you read can be applied right away. If the thought of reading the whole thing at once intimidates you, start with a chapter at a time, and experiment with what you learn. Remember to thoroughly clean the camera lens before each photo session. 

Posted in: Cameras, Editorial
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By November 30, 2013 Read More →

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 Review

IMG_4168The Sony DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 lens cameras for use with smartphones seem to have polarized opinions in the press with regard to their usefulness with some critics claiming that they are products that are looking for a purpose. Here we will be reviewing the base model DSC-QX10 camera using both Apple and Android smartphones.

If you haven’t already seen Matt’s unboxing and hands-on video, please take a few minutes to get an idea of what the Sony QX10 is all about.

Unboxing and Setup Video

The 10 Second review:

  • Device: Sony Cyber-shot QX10
  • Price: RRP £180. Available from £135 from various on-line retailers.
  • Summary: An add on camera for iOS and Android devices.
  • Best of: Picture Quality, focus speed, 10x Optical zoom.
  • Worst of: Occasional connection slowdowns. Currently not fully compatible with Android 4.4.
  • Buy it now from: Amazon UK
  • Also consider: Stand alone compact camera

 What’s in the box?

  • Sony Cyber-shot QX10 Lens
  • Rear cover to attach lens to phone
  • Battery
  • MicroUSB sync/charge cable
  • Wriststrap
  • Instruction Manual

Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10 Review Specifications

Sensor 18MP, 1/2.3in BSI CMOS
Lens 10x optical zoom, 25-250mm in equivalent terms
LCD n/a
File Formats JPEG, MPEG 4
Shutter Speeds 4 – 1/1600 sec
Exposure Modes Auto, i-Auto, Program
Metering System Multi
ISO Range 100-3200
White Balance auto
Flash Modes n/a
Memory Card microSD, micro SDHC, micro SDXC
Connectivity USB 2, Wi-fi, NFC
Power Li-ion rechargeable
Dimensions 62 x 62 x 33 mm
Weight 105g
Video 1440 x 1080 @ 30fps

General

I think that it is probably worth starting off by saying what the QX10 is and what is does and doesn’t do. Put simply the QX10 is a compact camera that is missing a screen or viewfinder and most of the controls. The reason that these normally important features are missing is that you can access them by using your smartphone!

The QX10 incorporates WiFi into it and by connecting the two devices together. On an iPhone it is simply the case of switching the camera on and going to the WiFi settings on the phone and pairing them. On a Android phone with NFC it is even more simple. Just touch the two devices together and the paring process starts. Once that is done The Sony Play Memories App can be downloaded form either The Apple App Store or Google Play and off you go.

IMG_1098

Whatever the lens sees is shown (almost) immediately on your smartphone screen. The reason that I said almost is that there occasions when it seems to go a little laggy but generally it is fast and stutter free.

IMG_1097

Settings for the camera can be adjusted using the app. These include the photo or video mode, the photograph resolution, the image size that is automatically transferred to the phone and the sounds that the camera makes. It is a very simple app and for the most part performs very well. One current downside to the Play Memories app is that it currently does not support Android 4.4 KitKat. As I have a Nexus 5 as my personal device this did cause a few moments of head scratching but I discovered that Camera360 has recently been updated to connect to the QX10 although video mode is not supported.

IMG_1101IMG_1100

What is it like to use and does it really serve a purpose?

I am quite a keen (if not very good) photographer and I am generally not keen on using the cameras on phones to record anything other than quick photos for social media sites. I’ve usually got a camera of some kind available whenever I am out and about and often with a collection of lenses in a bag. I very often take a shot with my camera and then a second with a phone to share straight away.

With the QX10 these issues suddenly disappeared! I was able to keep the QX10 in one pocket and my phone in another and when I wanted to grab a shot, there was a simple less than 10 second process to switch on, attach to phone and open the app to get the shot. You can also use the lens in one hand and the phone in another to get shots that you normally would find hard to frame.

The QX10 has a thread for a tripod so it can be set up in a location and remotely controlled and viewed which might be useful if you like to do wildlife photography.

I would not try to claim that this camera could ever replace a DSLR, m4/3 or Sony NEX camera but it allows another option when choosing the kit that you need. I would happily take it out on its own though and know that the shots that I brought back would be excellent!

I found the QX10 to be a really fun camera to shoot with and a couple of my photographer friends who tried it out agreed and have ordered their own.

As a video camera the QX10 is very capable and is able to capture 1440x1080p video at 30 frames per second. Matt recently used it to record the unboxing of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra recently.

Why not have a look at the video and see what you think? Sony Xperia Z Ultra unboxing and hands-on

Here are a few sample shots taken with the Sony Cybershot DSC-QX10

All shots are straight from the camera memory card and were taken hand-held.

 

Conclusion

The Sony DSC-QX10 was the 1st device in a long time that has truly amazed me! The slightly laggy response from the viewfinder was forgotten every time I used the camera. I would say that if you are considering the QX10 or that if you are curious about it, you would probably enjoy it as much as I do. If you think that it’s a silly idea then you should try one out – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

By November 10, 2013 Read More →

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 unboxing and setup video

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10The quality and pixel count of cameras built in to smartphones is improving all the time but there are always compromises to be made when you’re cramming a sensor and optics in to a package small enough to fit in to a smartphone where anything over about 10mm is considered too ‘fat’.

There have been obvious leaps forward particularly with the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Ultrapixel sensor on the HTC One but even though these cameras are good there’s still no beating the optics and sensors in ‘proper’ digital cameras.

So enter the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10, a lens camera system from Sony. Sony have taken the G Lens and ExmorR CMOS sensor from one of their digital cameras and put them in to a package that’s the same size as the lens itself. The result is a camera with 10x zoom and 18.2MP sensor in a package that looks like it’s just a small-ish lens.

The idea here is that you can use this “lens camera” with your existing Android or iOS smartphone to give you a really good camera experience, far better than you could expect from the built-on camera and with a 10x zoom and optical image stabiliser to boot.

You connect your phone to the QX10 via WiFi direct and then use Playmemories Mobile app as the interface and viewfinder for the camera.

I decided to get a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-QX10 because the camera on the Nexus 5 isn’t great… However, word of warning, the Playmemories App, which is essential to using the QX10, doesn’t work on the Nexus 5, presumably doesn’t support Android OS 4.4 yet!

By November 5, 2013 Read More →

Top 3 compact cameras for outdoor adventures

When you want to capture your outdoor adventures on film, a compact action camera is ideal. Small and light enough to not be a burden in your backpack, yet robust enough to cope with the toughest conditions, these pieces of kit are a must for any photographer on the go. Here are our top three picks:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1. Olympus TOUGH TG-820

This camera is crushproof to 100kg, waterproof to 10m, shockproof to 2m and freezeproof to -10 degrees C, so you can take snaps on any outdoor adventure in confidence. No matter what your environment or activity, the Olympus TOUGH TG-820 is prepared to join you.

It doesn’t sacrifice photography specifications in favour of durability, either. The 12-megapixel camera has a 5x optical zoom, can record in 1080p, and even has a 3D photo shooting mode. Trusted Reviews says: “If you’re on the lookout for a bombproof compact then the TG-820 is definitely worth putting on your shortlist.”

You can order the camera online through Jessops, which offers free next-day delivery or the option to collect from store in as little as 30 minutes. The Olympus TOUGH TG-820 comes with a two-year guarantee, and accessories including memory cards and cases are available.

xp2002. Fuji FinePix XP200

This Fuji camera is almost as robust as the Olympus compact: it is waterproof to 15m, shockproof to 2m, freezeproof to -10 degrees C and dustproof, too. The body of the FinePix XP200 also boasts ribbed rubberised grips, which can be handy while on the go.

Again, the photography specifications are impressive, with the effective number of megapixels at 16.4 million and the option for full HD recording. Even the LCD screen is built for the great outdoors, with an anti-reflective coating allowing you to frame effectively even in bright light.

We also love the wireless capabilities, which enable you to view snaps on your smartphone using the FUJIFILM app, or transfer images straight to your PC over Wi-Fi. The selection of filters also mean there’s no need to go through an editing program for an artistic look.

Sony-Cybershot-DSC-TX303. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30

The smallest and lightest of the bunch, weighing in at a mere 125g and measuring just 96.4 x 59.3 x 15.4mm, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 is great for slotting in your pocket. The Carl Zeiss lens captures 18.2 effective megapixels, and boasts a 5x optical zoom.

It’s great for those with limited photography skills, with the Intelligent Auto feature recognising scenes and adjusting settings automatically, and Superior Auto technology combatting blur, so you get the best shots without the effort. Find out more here.

Posted in: Cameras, Editorial
By September 18, 2013 Read More →

Superzoom lenses: growing with time

superzoom lenses What are we referring to when we use the phrase superzoom? What we’re talking about are photographic zoom lenses, manufactured for use with a 35mm camera and featuring an unconventionally large focal length – typically more than 5×. Superzoom lenses have improved significantly over time, with models now on the market boasting over 15× abilities, but they weren’t always so gargantuan.

Posted in: Cameras, Editorial
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By November 24, 2011 Read More →

O2 teams up with House of Fraser

o2_simplicity

O2 has announced its first bespoke targeted marketing campaign for House of Fraser, a leading UK premium department store group, encapsulating a range of O2 services. This is the first time that O2 has combined and integrated different services to deliver a mobile campaign that is part of House of Fraser’s wider marketing mix for their Christmas activity. A portfolio of O2 Media services, including Priority Moments and real time location reach have been combined with O2 Wifi to deliver personalised targeting for O2 customers around the House of Fraser brand, which is focused on delivering an innovative consumer experience.
One element of the campaign will see 11 House of Fraser stores across the UK offering all their customers free O2 Wifi. Customers will benefit from full access to the internet, while House of Fraser will gain aggregated rich customer insights and data. Already above the line, as part of O2′s own advertising campaign to support it Priority Moments service, House of Fraser will also offer O2 Priority Moments customers a £15 gift voucher when they spend £40, until the end of January 2012.
The bespoke O2 service has been designed to offer House of Fraser a comprehensive marketing solution in the run up to the vital Christmas period that not only drives footfall, brand awareness and loyalty but also increases incremental sales and drives purchase decisions around specific offers and promotions.
Alongside this, O2 Media’s real time location services will be used to direct consumers into House of Fraser stores by offering a range of promotional activities. O2 Media will also be sending out rich media messages, such as pictures and videos of in-store fashion shows and products. Further messages will be sent to consumers directing them to House of Fraser’s own department store app, the latest development in their multi channel offer, which also provides information on deals, offers and planned in-store activities.

Posted in: Cameras
By November 1, 2011 Read More →

Motorola RAZR delayed

razr-1_4

The chaps over at Clove have this morning posted on their blog that the first batch of Motorola RAZR’s will be delayed until next week, commencing the 7th November

This delay is quite common with brand new devices but we would have liked it if it had arrived as originally planed.

Are you holding out for the RAZR?

 

Posted by: James

Posted in: Cameras
By October 27, 2011 Read More →

Samsung launches new apps for the Galaxy Note S-Pen

note

Samsung today announces the launch of ‘S Choice’, a new category of applications designed for the Galaxy Note’s S Pen which will be available to customers from Samsung Apps. In addition, the Galaxy Note itself will also now be available, earlier than previously announced, for customers to buy in the UK from Thursday 3rd November.
The S Pen, the Galaxy Note’s advanced pen-input technology, works with the full touch screen of the Galaxy Note to ensure owners can easily create and consume more content whilst on the go and enjoy a unique user-interface. New applications already available from ‘S Choice’ include Soonr, OmniSketch, Zen Brush, ComicBook!, and iAnnotate PDF.
The Galaxy Note removes the need to carry or switch between multiple devices by combining the benefits of a notebook with the portability of a smartphone, creating a whole new on-the-go user experience. Featuring the world’s first and largest 5.3″ HD Super AMOLED display, the highest quality display available on any phone, the Galaxy Note offers customers an immersive and best in class viewing experience while they are out and about.

Posted in: Cameras
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