Samsung NX200 interchangeable lens camera review

There are some cameras that we absolutely love, some we find downright disappointing and others that get the job done, albeit with mediocre results. Samsung’s digital imaging devices typically fall within that last category — they’re moderately innovative, generally affordable and often well-designed, but when it comes to image quality and performance, we’re left… underwhelmed. So, when we first had a chance to try out the CE giant’s new NX200 at IFA in Berlin, we weren’t expecting a mind-blowing imaging device.

The NX200 is Samsung’s latest entrant into the interchangeable lens (ILC) category — it’s a mirrorless model, to be more precise, and a fairly impressive one at that — at least when you glance at the spec sheet. It’s the company’s latest ILC to use an APS-C size sensor, which is the largest we’ve seen in a mirrorless cam. This sensor type implies that the NX200 may have a chance at competing with Sony’s NEX-C3, which has been our top pick in the category, and its 20.3 megapixel rating suggests that Samsung wants to be taken seriously here, with a true contender on its hands. But has Samsung delivered a winner? Jump past the break for our take.

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Samsung NX200 interchangeable lens camera review originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 13 Dec 2011 11:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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7 Halloween Costumes With High-Tech Appeal

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Nikon Costume

Halloween isn’t just for kids in knockoff Disney costumes. The holiday has become ground zero for geek-themed cosplay, and allows more DIY-oriented tech nerds to explore wardrobe hacking of the highest order. LEDs, iPads, green pigs and angry feathered fowl — they’re all present and accounted for in this year’s Halloween opus.

Here are a few of our favorite tech-themed costumes. If you’ve got some winners of your own, shoot me an e-mail or share in the comments section of this article.

Above is Tyler Card’s fully functioning Nikon DSLR costume, quite possibly the most impressive outfit of the bunch (but let’s be honest, it’s pretty much impossible to choose favorites).

Card mounted a DSLR on the inside of the costume’s lens using a small, modified tripod. The shutter is triggered using a remote shutter release that’s mounted under the shutter release button on the costume camera — so, when the costume button is pressed, it actually snaps a picture. Card used a hot-shoe flash extension to situate an external flash above his head as the “pop-up flash,” and a USB cable connects the camera to a laptop mounted inside the back of the costume. As photos are taken, they’re played as a slideshow on the laptop’s LCD screen, which he unscrewed and flipped backwards.

Card told that the costume is primarily made of cardboard, duct tape and spray paint. The lens is made from a 5-gallon paint bucket, whose lid acts as the lens cap. The lens is made of Plexiglas, and the flash diffuser is Plexiglas covered with window-frosting spray. Excluding the cost of the actual camera and computer, the costume only cost about $35 to make — but it took about 40 hours to create.

The toughest part?

“Believe it or not, the most challenging part was cutting a circular piece of Plexiglas without having the proper tools,” Card says. “It was very tedious getting it to fit snug, without having to tape it up.” Another challenge: getting the costume on and off, which requires “a little help too.”

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Pentax Q interchangeable lens camera review

Most of the interchangeable lens cameras we’ve seen to date seem to follow a standard mold: they have similarly sized bodies, comparable designs and either an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensor at the core. But recently, some manufacturers — namely, Nikon and Pentax — have begun shrinking camera bodies in an attempt to make them even more appealing to point-and-shoot users. The result: a smaller, lighter, more fashionable ILC — that also happens to have an itsy bitsy image sensor. Sensor size, not megapixel rating, translates directly to image quality, but also lens and body size, so you can either have an incredibly small body with an incredibly small sensor, or a larger body with a larger sensor. Are you willing to pay a premium for the “world’s smallest” interchangeable lens camera, even if it has the same size sensor used in many point-and-shoot cams available for a fraction of the cost? Pentax seems to think that you are — to the tune of $800.

The 12.4 megapixel Pentax Q is tiny — it’s so small, in fact, that you wouldn’t be alone in mistaking it for a toy. There is a fully functional camera inside that petite magnesium alloy housing, though it’s admittedly not as powerful as you’d expect an $800 camera to be. The pricey kit ships with an 8.5mm f/1.9 lens, and you can grow your collection from Pentax’s modest selection of Q-mount lenses, which also happen to have laughably small focal lengths (a 3.2mm fish eye, anyone?), due to the 1/2.3-inch backlit CMOS sensor’s massive 5.5x multiplication factor. So how does the Q fare when it comes to performance and image quality? Jump past the break to find out.

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Pentax Q interchangeable lens camera review originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Canon EOS-1D X first hands-on (video)

Professional photographers know the drill: every few years, Canon or Nikon announces a game-changing DSLR, often prompting top photogs to unload their complete kits and switch to another system in a never-ending attempt to shoot with the best. This time, Canon is first out of the gate, with its flagship EOS-1D X — the latest in a series that dates back to 2001 with the EOS-1D. As you’ve probably noticed, the company’s new top model looks virtually identical to its decade-old ancestor, but is otherwise a far cry from that four megapixel CCD sensor-sporting dinosaur. We’ve been anxiously awaiting an opportunity to check out Canon’s new $6,800 18.1 megapixel full-frame model since first getting word of the beastly camera last week, and just had a chance to go hands-on during the company’s Pro Solutions event in London. Jump past the break for our impressions and a video walkthrough.

Continue reading Canon EOS-1D X first hands-on (video)

Canon EOS-1D X first hands-on (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Oct 2011 07:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nikon D300s travels to the edge of space, survives to share the results

If you’re going to go to the trouble of sending a camera to the edge of space, you might as well send one capable of doing the trip justice, right? That hasn’t always been the case with similar DIY attempts (for obvious reasons), but the team behind the so-called Cygnus “spacecraft” decided to go all out when they sent their weather balloon / beer cooler contraption aloft this month to photograph the curvature of the Earth. In this case, going all out meant sending a Nikon D300s DSLR equipped with Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, which managed to capture some stunning pictures like the one you see above — although some got a bit obscured by ice build-up. There’s more where that came from at the Flickr link below, and you can check out a video of the launch after the break.

[Thanks, Udi]

Continue reading Nikon D300s travels to the edge of space, survives to share the results

Nikon D300s travels to the edge of space, survives to share the results originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 23 Oct 2011 14:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iPhone 4S 1080p Video Is Great, But Can’t Beat a DSLR

No, the iPhone 4S won't replace your pricy DSLR, but it does take great HD video. Image: Robino Films

The iPhone 4S is receiving rave reviews for its fantastic camera, which can record surprisingly good video at 1080p. One videographer, in fact, was so impressed with the camera’s performance, he decided to test how it measures up to a full-fledged DSLR camera used for HD video capture.

Robino Films compared the HD video shot with an iPhone 4S with the video from a Canon 5D MK II, a popular DSLR, on similar settings. The iPhone 4S, which can shoot 1080p video at 30 frames per second, could theoretically give amateurs a great way to capture high-quality video, even in various tricky lighting situations — much like the iPhone 4 did for still photography.

“I was blown away by how good the video quality was,” said Robino Jones of the iPhone 4S’ video capabilities. “The resolution was nice. There was very little aliasing and moire was not visible. I really think that Apple made an amazing 1080p video camera, and to be able to carry that much power in your pocket is awesome.”

Knowing that the iPhone was “crippled” in comparison to the DSLR, Robino did his best to use similar settings when comparing the two cameras. The Canon 5D Mark II was set with an ISO of 160 to 640 and an F-stop of 7 to 22 (varied to match that of the iPhone). The DSLR was also set to a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second, automatic white balance, standard picture style, and 1080p at 30 fps.

Despite its great-for-a-smartphone camera specs (which we describe below), Robino Films said the iPhone fell short of the DSLR in six areas: compression (the iPhone 4S produces noisy video, even in daytime shots); sensor size (the iPhone’s is extremely small); lens quality (great for a smartphone, but nowhere near that of a DSLR); and the inability to adjust frame rate, shutter speed or picture style. However, Jones said, “the iPhone 4S is holding very well against the 5D’s standard picture style.” The smartphone also produces a warmer image overall.

Jones said the iPhone scores points on resolution (which is better than on the 5D) and portability. He also praised really great dynamic range. The 5D’s video has a softer overall look, and more aliasing and moire.

In a comment on Vimeo, Jones said, “This test is really only to show that the 4S is coming close to the 5D but in NO WAY is it better. The iPhone is a great 1080p pocket camera and shows us where technology is heading. Give it two, three years, and we should see some interesting micro high performance cameras.”

As for the iPhone camera of today, the 4S features impressive specs. It shoots 1080p video with real-time image stabilization (to help mitigate the problems of a wobbly hand) as well as temporal noise reduction (to enhance low-light capture). The camera boasts a maximum aperture of f/2.4 and five lenses for sharper, brighter photos with a shallower field of focus. A backside-illuminated sensor paired with an image-processor on the phone’s A5 chip help things run quickly and smoothly.

Check out the video below to see how the iPhone 4S and Canon 5D Mark II’s 1080p video footage measures up side-by-side. Vimeo’s HD content only goes up to 720p, but you can download the 1080p footage to check it out yourself.

iPhone 4S / Canon 5d MKII Side by Side Comparison from Robino Films on Vimeo.

via TUAW

Canon’s New Flagship EOS-1D X: Crop-Frame Speed With a Full-Frame Sensor

The new EOS-1D X is impressive in every way — except looks

Canon has announced a new flagship DSLR, the EOS-1D X. The camera is supposed to take the place of the fast-shooting crop-sensor 1D Mk IV and the multi-megapixel full-frame 1DS Mk III.

The main draw is that you’re getting a full-frame 18MP camera that can shoot at 12fps whilst autofocusing. For comparison, the 1DS does 21 megapixels at 5fps, and the sportier 1D manages 16 megapixels at 10fps.

This makes it a great all-rounder, but studio shooters may prefer the extra pixels over the faster shooting speed, and many sports photographers prefer a crop-frame sensor as it effectively makes their lenses 50 percent longer.

The new EOS-1D X is also heavy on video, shooting 1080p footage at 24p (with plenty of other options). It will also split movies when you reach the 4GB limit without dropping a frame, letting you shoot for up to half an hour in one go. The camera is clearly aimed at pro movie shooters, with other features like “SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding,” and manual control of sound levels.

The press release over at DP REview has the full, exhaustive rundown of this ridiculously capable new camera, but I’ll mention just one more thing. The new AF system has face detection and recognition to let it track moving people. This is obviously most useful for sports.

My (currently up for sale) Nikon D700 is pretty tenacious in its focus-tracking, but add in face recognition and you could probably just let the camera shoot the football game on its own.

The EOS-1D X will launch in March 2012 for $6,800.

EOS-1D X press release [DP Review]

See Also:

Canon announces EOS-1D X: full-frame 18MP sensor, 14 fps, 204,800 top ISO, $6,800 price tag

Stick a piece of gaffer tape over the unmistakable X, and Canon’s latest EOS-1D pro-level camera will look virtually identical to every 1D model that came before it. But once you flip up the power slider, this new king of the jungle will hum like no other. Canon’s phenomenally powerful EOS-1D X really sounds like the DSLR to rule them all. Its 18 megapixel full-frame sensor uses oversized pixels to battle noise and is supported by a pair of Digic 5+ imaging processors, which also help drive a 61-point high density reticular AF system, a top ISO setting of 204,000 (51,200 native), a 252-zone metering system, a 14 fps JPEG (or 12 fps RAW) burst mode and a built-in wired gigabit LAN connection, for remote shooting and image transfer. The camera’s curious single-letter name represents a trio of industry milestones: the X is the 10th generation Canon professional SLR (dating back to the F1 in the 1970s), it’s a crossover model, filling in for both the 1D Mark IV and 1Ds Mark III (which has been discontinued), and, well, it sounds to be pretty darn “Xtreme.”

The 1D X is being marketed to every category of professional photographer, from commercial studio shooters to newspaper photogs. It’s familiar, with a similar control layout, yet different, thanks to its completely redesigned system menu — accessed using the 3.2-inch, 1,040,000-dot LCD. There’s also an incredibly sharp intelligent optical viewfinder, with an on-demand grid, AF status indicator, a dual-axis electronic level and a shooting mode readout. Video shooters can choose between 1080p video capture at 24 (23.97), 25 or 30 fps, or 720p at 50 or 60 fps. Canon has also eliminated the 4GB clip limit, though individual clips are limited to 29:59, in order to avoid European tax rates affecting HD cameras that can capture single HD video clips longer than 30 minutes. We’re anxiously awaiting a chance to go hands-on with the EOS-1D X, and you’ll have to wait until March before adding this $6,800 beauty to your gear collection, but jump past the break for the meaty rundown from Canon, and click through the rather thin product gallery below.

Continue reading Canon announces EOS-1D X: full-frame 18MP sensor, 14 fps, 204,800 top ISO, $6,800 price tag

Canon announces EOS-1D X: full-frame 18MP sensor, 14 fps, 204,800 top ISO, $6,800 price tag originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 18 Oct 2011 01:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BlueSLR dongle arrives for BlackBerry and (some) Android phones

Offering to play matchmaker between your high-end camera and smartphone, XEquals has extended support for its BlueSLR remote control beyond iOS. Yes, Blackberry and Android users can now download their respective app and pair this Bluetooth dongle to their (still Nikon-only) DSLR. The compatible dongle and free app will land later this month, but before you lay down the requisite $149, it’s worth checking that both your camera and phone models are supported. As it stands, compatible Android phones are limited to some HTC or Samsung models. While Android support is likely to expand in the future, there’s no word on a Pre 3 version.

Continue reading BlueSLR dongle arrives for BlackBerry and (some) Android phones

BlueSLR dongle arrives for BlackBerry and (some) Android phones originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 17 Oct 2011 15:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Finland hopes this amazing time-lapse video of aurora borealis will make you want to visit

Traveling to Finland for your winter vacation may not sound like the ideal way to spend your time off during those chilly months. Most people take a trip down to Mexico or other places with warmer climates. Lapland, a particularly cold area in Northern Finland with a subarctic climate, sees winters that last up to […]