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All posts tagged "flash"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Canon Launches EOS M Mirrorless System Digital Camera

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:20 PM

"Canon has, as expected, announced the EOS M - its first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Based around the same 18MP APS-C sensor as the recent EOS 650D/T4i, the EOS M is the first model to use a new, smaller 'EF-M' lens mount."

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Canon has finally joined the mirrorless party with the EOS M. While Canon is late, being the largest player in the digital camera market affords this luxury. The camera is basically a Rebel T4i/EOS 650D squeezed into Powershot-like body in both size and external controls. The sensor is the same one found in the EOS 650D, an 18 megapixel one with phase-detect sensors on it. The LCD is the same on the EOS 650D (you get the pattern), a 720x480 high resolution touchscreen at 3". Given the lack of external controls, the touchscreen is expected to be used a lot more than the one on the EOS 650D. Having played with the EOS 650D's touchscreen, it is still a better way of controlling the camera than the Nikon 1, even though both are not ideal from an enthusiast-level perspective. Like the EOS 650D (again), the camera will feature the same video modes, which includes 1080p video at 30, 25 or 24 FPS with stereo audio recording. The camera boasts a 4.3FPS continuous stills advance as well.

The camera will also debut with two lenses and a new flash. Both lenses feature the new STM focus motor introduced with the 40mm f/2.8 and 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lenses, which are designed to be silent for video work. The 22mm f/2 EF-M lens is a compact 35mm f/2 equivalent, which will no doubt please many street photographers, along with the usual 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The small 90 EX flash also debuts, and will be considered to be essential by some, as the camera lacks a built-in flash.

I have no doubt the camera will sell quite well. Like the Nikon 1 before it, it will make good sales to a large segment of non-photographers who want something that is significantly better than either their phone's cameras or a compact digital camera. Enthusiasts might be on the fence, as it lacks a number of external controls like a mode dial or a main command dial, as well as the inability to add an EVF to the hotshoe. The interesting thing is that unlike Nikon, Canon's decision to use an APS-C-sized sensor means the platform has room to grow into the enthusiast area if they choose to. The question then is, will they?

The camera will go on sale in USA in October with only one kit, the 22mm f/2 lens at US$800. Other countries are expected to have a kit with the 18-55 as well, and are expected to bundle the 90 EX flash in the kit. More details in the link, which includes a full preview!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Adobe's Creative Cloud Subscription Service - Worth It?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"Today is a big day for Adobe. Not only is the company officially unveiling the next versions of virtually all of the applications in its Creative Suite, but Adobe is also launching its Creative Cloud online offerings. This marks a major change in how Adobe is selling and marketing its flagship product: while the company will continue to offer a shrink-wrapped version of CS6, it's also introducing a subscription service with this update. For $49/month with an annual subscription or $79/month for month-to-month memberships, users can now get full access to any CS6 tool, including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and AfterEffects. The suite will also include Adobe's new HTML5 design and development tools Muse and Edge, and will be deeply integrated into the company's tablet apps. Users will be able to download and install these apps on up to two machines."

Adobe recently announced the newest release of Creative Suite, the sixth version (CS6). As shown in the graphic above, there are numerous feature enhancements across all the products in the suite. Upgrading even one of the Abobe apps can be an expensive proposition for most people. Personally, I have a copy of Photoshop that is a few revisions behind, but would like to upgrade it. It is probably a good time to do so from a functionality perspective. What is intriguing with this latest release of apps, is that a new option purchase option is available. Called Creative Cloud, this new purchase option is actually a subscription service. For $49/month (US) with an annual subscription or $79/month (US) for month-to-month memberships, users can now get full access to any CS6 tool. For me, this is an incredibly tempting offer.

The Read link article has all the details about the new edition of Creative Suite, and the new subscription service. Once you've had a chance to read it, drop back here and let me know if you think the subscription service is a good deal.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Olympus Announces Two Micro-Zuiko Lenses and Flash; Nearly Makes My Wish Come True

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:15 AM

Olympus also announced two new Micro Four Thirds lenses: The Micro Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 and the Micro Zuiko 45mm f/1.8. I have been wanting to use my own Micro Four Thirds system as a three lens camera, with the three lenses being an ultra-wide, a normal, and a short telephoto. The two lenses almost come close. I say almost, because what I really wanted was something along the lines of a 10mm f/2.8. Still, this is a f/2.0, so it will help with the slightly noisier Micro Four Thirds sensors. Also, the 12mm f/2.0 has something few Micro Four Thirds lenses have: A focusing scale to use hyperfocusing techniques with! The 12mm f/2.0 is shipping now for about US$800 (ouch), and the 45mm f/1.8 will ship in September for about US$400.

Also introduced is a slim compact flash, the FL-300R, which can pivot up and down for various situations. With a guide number of just 19 metres at ISO 100 however, I think bouncing its output is a bad idea. The flash is available now for about US$170. Photos of the 45mm f/1.8 and the flash at the news link.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Canon Announces Speedlites 320EX and 270EX II and Telephoto Lenses with Eye-watering Prices

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:31 AM

Canon also announced a few products to go with the the EF system. The more relevant ones to the site's readership will be the Speedlites 320EX and 270EX II. The former features an integrated LED (even though magnified by a lens, the LED's die looks huge) for video purposes, while both flashes have wireless slave features. They also have the interesting Pocketwizard-like ability to trigger the shutter of a compatible Canon DSLR. They are expected to ship in April for US$250 for the 320EX, and US$$170 for the 270EX II.

As for the lenses, the new products are the 500mm f/4 and 600mm f/4 L IS II lenses, which will come with the usual 5-digit price tags (or near 5-digit). The third lens is the 200-400mm f/4 IS, which is still being developed. Countering the popularity of the Nikon 200-400/4, Canon also added the trick of integrating a 1.4x teleconvertor. Convenience, or unneeded weight and bulk? You decide (if you are in the market for such a lens in the first place).

Canon Speedlite 270EX II and 320EX

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Development Announcement

Canon 500mm and 600mm f/4L IS USM II

Picture of the 270EX II after the break.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Get Schooled on Shutter/Flash Synchronization

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 05:00 PM

I have to confess, at least 50% of this was above my head, but it was still quite interesting to watch. If you want to understand shutter speed and flash usage, it's worth watching.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Adobe Readies Flash 10.2 Beta

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 04:30 PM

"Welcome to the Adobe® Flash® Player 10.2 beta. Flash Player 10.2 introduces new features and enhancements, including a new video hardware acceleration model that enables dramatically enhanced video playback performance."

2009 is a year Adobe would probably like to try and forget; it was the year they became the whipping boys for seemingly all that ails Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, and, oh, a few others. I'm not nearly as opposed to Flash as some people are. Yeah, I've had my fair share of complaints about Flash causing browser instability, but I haven't had problems with Flash in quite a while. Version 10.2 brings some nice improvements to the otherwise under-utilized GPU in most computer systems, and it looks like Adobe is on the right track when it comes to improving performance. Once the software developers at Adobe finish fixing Flash, they should all be assigned to Adobe Premiere Elements - because there's an app that needs some serious help.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nikon Canada Announces the SB-700 Speedlight Flash

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:52 PM

"Mississauga, ON, September 15, 2010 - Nikon Canada today introduced the versatile SB-700 Speedlight, the latest addition to Nikon's powerful and versatile Creative Lighting System (CLS). The SB-700 is a high-performance versatile Speedlight that brings simplicity to on-camera, remote and multiple flash photography. Building on the success of the popular SB-600 Speedlight and the advanced functionality of the SB-900 Speedlight, the SB-700 also incorporates a wide zoom range covering the most popular focal lengths, FX/DX format identification that optimizes zoom settings and provides a more efficient use of batteries and flash coverage, and three light distribution patterns for flash-to-scene customization. Whether used as an on-camera flash or as a wireless commander or remote, the Nikon SB-700 Speedlight offers dependable and consistent flash exposure even under the most challenging lighting conditions."

I have a real love/hate relationship with flashes; in general, I dislike flash photography, but that's mostly because I'm not very good at working with off-camera flash (and direct flash, even bounced, can be awful). I've tried putting my SB-600 into slave mode, and it was the most convoluted process I could imagine. I'm sure it would get better with practice, but it's not exactly simple. The SB-700 is on my "might buy" list because it has a user interface that looks much easier to figure out than my SB-600. I have a friend that works wonders with off-camera flash, so I know it's something I should add to my photographer's tool kit. Where do you stand on flash photography?

The remainder of the press release and more images are after the break. Read more...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

HTML5 and Flash in a Video Cage Match

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM


"Since the comparative efficiency of Flash vs. HTML5 seemed easy enough to quantify, I endeavored to do so, using YouTube's new HTML5-based player as the test bed. Specifically, I played a YouTube video in the same browser twice, once via HTML5, once via Flash, and measured CPU utilization during playback."

The results of Streaming Learning Center's tests shuld not be considered exhaustive but it does indicate that HTML5 is an viable all around solution for streaming video to web browsers that support it. The results also show the huge difference between implementations for the Mac version of Flash compared to Windows. I imagine that Linux tests would more closely emulate the results seen on the Mac compared to Windows as well. It should signal to Adobe that it has a lot of work to do in terms of optimizing Flash for OS X and Linux if it wants to remain relevant in today's web. Unfortunately, while Flash also offers a lot of flexibility to allow designers to create more interactive websites more easily, or to develop games, probably the biggest strike against it is that advertisers currently really favor the format as well. Of course, as HTML5 matures and becomes more universally supported, advertisers will begin to design HTML5 based ads, which may end up becoming a horror story in itself.

HP Slate Shows Off Its Ability To Run Flash

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

"It shouldn't be any surprise that the HP Slate supports Flash, since it runs Windows 7, but we've seen so little of the device since Steve Ballmer first waved it around at CES that we're still totally intrigued by this video from Adobe showing it in action. Yep, there it is, playing video, running casual Flash games, and using AIR applications."

HP just released another video of their forthcoming Slate device, demonstrating its ability to use Flash. This looks like a serious competitor to the iPad in the slate form factor market. HP says that the Flash support will use hardware acceleration so it should be able to handle streaming HD from Youtube and Hulu. It runs Windows 7 so it should support multitasking. It was demoed running the Kindle application so you will have access to the largest ebook marketplace. Only time will tell if it can be a serious competitor to the iPad, but it certainly has a lot of the features that the iPad will lack.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Flash is a Must Have for the Future

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

"We are ready to enable Flash in the browser on these devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen. Longer term, some point to HTML as eventually supplanting the need for Flash, particularly with the more recent developments coming in HTML with version 5. I don't see this as one replacing the other, certainly not today nor even in the foreseeable future."

I will gladly argue, and have argued that Flash is a ciritcal component to getting the whole "web" experience at present. With its pervasiveness at hundreds of major sites, I consider Flash as much a part of the everday web as I consider PDFs a sad reality of government website forms. That being said, Flash definitely needs to be concerned, and it hopefully will be replaced in the future, despite the confidence that Kevin Lynch exudes. Developers will be pushed by management to develop on what will get the most penetration and presumably, costs the least. Right now, Flash is a great, cheap way to get neato dynamic content online. However, there is a growing population, largely driven by smartphones with the iPhone as the leader, that are accessing online that do not have decent Flash support. With the shrinking userbase, companies are going to look to alternative solutions like HTML5, which can serve the whole market. Well, that is unless they buy into this whole "app" thing, and hire developers to make an iPhone app, other developers for an Android app, even more developers for a Maemo app and even some developers for a WinMo app, if it still exists in a few months. Apple is betting that their base of iPhone users, soon to be bolstered with iPad users, is enough to push companies to go an alternate route than deal with Flash. Had the iPad come before the iPhone, it probably would be a different story, but Flash's days may very well be numbered!

Tags: software, flash, adobe

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Making On-Camera Flashes Smarter

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:29 AM

"David: I enjoyed your rant about the flash on digital cameras. You mentioned the clueless people who take flash pictures at an event from 200 yards away, totally pointlessly - but I've always wondered why these modern, smart cameras can't turn off the flash automatically when they're more than 10 feet from the target?"

Image Credit: spmcfarland on Flickr

The above comment was sent to David Pogue, who replied that there's no reason why these cameras can't implement that exact feature - which got me to thinking about other ways point and shoot cameras can be made smarter. One of my personal pet peeves - in addition to pointless flashes popping off by clueless camera holders - is how noisy most point and shoot cameras are. Many cameras make noise when they turn on - typically a beep of some sort but some make "zooming" sound effects - followed by a beep every time the user presses a button navigating a menu. There's a beep it makes when taking a picture, and often a beep when the user moves from image to image in playback mode. I can't help but feel irritated when I'm at a special event - wedding, a ceremony of some sort, etc. - and the moment is littered with the near-constant BEEP BEEP BEEP of digital cameras. Read more...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Adobe Announces the Open Screen Project

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 06:36 AM

"Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the Open Screen Project, supported by a group of industry leaders, including ARM, Chunghwa Telecom, Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Verizon Wireless. The project is dedicated to driving rich Internet experiences across televisions, personal computers, mobile devices, and consumer electronics. Also supporting the Open Screen Project are leading content providers, including BBC, MTV Networks, and NBC Universal, who want to reliably deliver rich Web and video experiences live and on-demand across a variety of devices. The Open Screen Project is working to enable a consistent runtime environment -- taking advantage of Adobe® Flash® Player and, in the future, Adobe AIR™ -- that will remove barriers for developers and designers as they publish content and applications across desktops and devices, including phones, mobile Internet devices (MIDs), and set top boxes. The Open Screen Project will address potential technology fragmentation by enabling the runtime technology to be updated seamlessly over the air on mobile devices. The consistent runtime environment is intended to provide optimal performance across a variety of operating systems and devices, and ultimately provide the best experience to consumers."

Adobe, in a typical long-winded manner, recently announced the opening up of Flash in an attempt to enable consistency in content delivery across a wide range of devices, including set top boxes and mobile phones. In what is most likely a response to Silverlight and HTML 5, the industry initiative sees the removal of restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V, the removal of licensing fees, and the publishing of multiple APIs and protocols. Definitely a step forward. Any developers and designers care to weigh in with their thoughts?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Make Your Own Flash Diffuser Part 2 - Airline Barf Bag

Posted by Tim Williamson in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 PM


"Call me crazy, but I happen to like airplane travel…no, I’m not a huge fan of screaming babies, recirculated air, or stale snack crackers. Nor do I like lengthy airport security lines, accusatory customs agents, or the way that my equipment cases get beaten, mauled, and abused by the TSA whenever I travel from city to city. Nope, what I happen to like so much about airplane travel is that — each and every time I fly — that I always manage to walk about from the flight with at least two portable/foldable flash diffusers tucked away in my pockets."

Suhit recently posted an article that explains how to make your own flash diffuser for built-in camera flashes using an empty film roll canister, but the article here explains an easy and cheap (if you don't count the price of the airplane ticket!) way of making a flash diffuser for external camera flashes with an unused airline barf bag. It's funny that I came across this article last week since I'm headed out to Washington DC this Wednesday and should be able to get my hands on a few of these "flash diffusers" while in transit. I'll be interested to try this out for myself since I normally just aim the flash at the ceiling and bounce the light onto the subject of the photo. This seems to work well, but I wonder if the barf bag would work even better.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Make Your Own Flash Diffuser

Posted by Suhit Gupta in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 06:00 AM

"Harsh, unflattering flash got you down? Grab an old roll of film and make it all better. Follow Flickr user natuurplaat’s lead, and turn an old film canister into a flash diffuser! A few strategic cuts make it easy to slip the canister onto your pop-up flash, and voila! Soft, beautiful lighting. Keep reading and we’ll show you how to make your very own little piece of genius."

The steps to get this done are not that hard really, in fact it is downright easy. But of course, you are then being forced to leave the camera's built-in flash in the extended position. I personally still prefer my external flash which has a built in diffuser. But before putting in that much money, you may want to try this trick to see if you even like the effect that you'll get.

Tags: flash, DIY, diffuser

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