Month: July 2009

Samsung ST50 Review (Cameras)

Posted by – July 21, 2009

Samsung ST50

The Samsung ST50 could be summed up by the writing on the front of the camera: it’s got an ultra slim 16.6mm stainless steel body, features “smart auto”, “beauty shot”, a 12.2 megapixel sensor and a 3x optical zoom lens. And that’s about as interesting as this camera gets. It doesn’t have HD video recording (max video resolution is 800×600 at 20fps), it doesn’t have any form of real image stabilisation (only offering digital image stabilisation), it has a 2.7″ screen and face, blink and smile detection. The Samsung ST50 is available for £136 in Black, Silver or Red, measures 94.2 x 56 x 16.6 mm, and weighs 121g.

Samsung ST50

Apart from the camera being very small and fitting very neatly in small pockets, the camera has a very annoying focal range where the subject has to be 80cm away from the camera in normal mode, meaning you’re always having to switch to macro mode so that you can focus on subjects that are between 10 and 80cm away from the camera, or alternatively leave face detection on all the time so that you can take photos of people! The camera has a macro button on the back of the camera, but it’s a little slow to respond, and the menu is even slower to access (this problem can be avoided by using the “Smart Auto” mode). The camera doesn’t feature any scene modes, so you can either use Auto and hope for the best, or try “Smart Auto” and once again, hope for the best. The Smart Auto mode will automatically select the scene mode it thinks is best, alternatively you can choose the “Photo style selector” in the normal mode, which gives you the choice of: Normal, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro (Sepia colours), Cool, Calm, Black and White, Negative, Custom RGB.

Continue reading the Samsung ST50 Quick Review on DigiCamReview.

Olympus PEN E-P1 DSLR Reviewed at DigiCamReview (Cameras)

Posted by – July 9, 2009

Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photo
DigiCamReview.com have posted their review of the brand new Olympus PEN E-P1 production model, bought from Jessops in the UK. The E-P1 is now widely available in the UK from most camera stores. They’ve also posted sample videos on Youtube.

Read the Olympus PEN E-P1 Review at DigiCamReview.
View Olympus PEN E-P1 Sample Photos at DigiCamReview.

The world’s smallest digital camera with changeable lens, it features the same size sensor as other Olympus Digital SLRs (meaning better image quality with all the low-noise benefits of a DSLR), but with a camera body and lens size much more in line with a compact point and shoot such as the Canon G10! It is be available with a compact 17mm lens (34mm equivalent, UK Price with viewfinder £749), and 14-42mm 3x zoom lens (28 – 84mm equivalent, UK Price £699). It’s also available with both lenses for £849 (including VAT and free postage) for the 14-42mm Black & 17mm Silver Pancake Lenses & VF-1 External Optical View Finder Kit with Silver body. The camera features dust reduction, a 12.3 megapixel live view sensor, 720p video recording (1280×720) with stereo sound and HDMI out, anti-shake sensor, 3″ screen, 3fps shooting, SDHC support, and ISO100 – 6400.

Chickenfoot (Reviews)

Posted by – July 5, 2009

Chickenfoot are that most poorly described of entities; a super group. They’re a four piece featuring ex-Van-Halen legends Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar on bass and vocals respectively, solo player Joe Satriani on guitar and Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers on drums. I only have a first impression as I just received their self-titled debut album, however, it sounds good. Of course, Hagar’s vocals dominate the whole piece, giving an 80s feel to proceedings and one suspects that there is nothing new here in terms of material, songwriting originality, but hell, this is good, old fashioned hard rock and it’s done excellently by musicians you wouldn’t ordinarily hear mentioned in the same breath. They won’t tear up the charts, but I think that is a compliment personally. Accomplished musicians are making more of an impact than they have for the last 30 years. Dream Theater’s new album, for example charted at number 6, their highest ever position, despite the fact that this is their 25th year performing together. Clearly there is room for people who can play, although I find it absurd that I have to suggest that success in music might once again be accessible to talented musicians.

Chickenfoot are 8/10 for me, low on originality, high on performance and balls. It’s only rock and roll, but I like it.

Apple iPhone 3.0 (Phones)

Posted by – July 3, 2009

iPhone 3.0 adds a lot of function that, were it not Apple, would have been expected a standard. MMS, copy and paste are glaring omissions rather than additional functionality. Apple can get away with this sort of thing, however, and clearly people were not too bothered if you look at the sales figures.

One significant, and, staggeringly underrated and under-reported upgrade is the functionality of the YouTube application. It has finally gone from being a facility to search and view videos to managing subscriptions, managing user videos, favourites and pretty much the full functionality of YouTube when accessed from a PC/Mac. The iPhone imaging software and battery life has also been updated, but not to huge effect. The only other significant addition was search. I didn’t get it really. How much stuff do you have on an iPhone? Maybe it’s just me. I know all the media and apps on mine so perhaps I am just not forgetful enough to need this, but it fits nicely and works the Apple way, smoothly and it is unintrusive when it is not being used. Nice but no use to me. Perhaps there should be a way to turn it off?

This isn’t as much a review as an excuse to say this: it’s a stop gap update. Substantial, but it leaves me feeling like I had one beer – really good, but I need more to feel happy about it. Personally I am, after this update, expecting iPhone 4.0 to be a quantum leap in mobile tech. Android is looming and I have thought that I might check it out. As much as I love Apple, I wish they were open source and the Google kit is starting to look, frankly, awesome. What I do know is this: when everyone thinks they are catching up, Apple usually does something extraordinary. I just hope that iPhone 4.0 is due this Christmas. I am due an upgrade then. I cannot comment on iPhone 3G S until I get one.

In other news, iPhone 3.1 beta is already out to developers.

Edit:

Upon logging in to my Mobile Me account this morning I discovered an excellent feature (admittedly, I paid little attention to the iPhone 3.0 keynote so my ignorance is my own fault) called Find my iPhone. Within a few minutes I had set up my iPhone to be detectable anywhere in the world. Mobile Me kindly shows me where it is on Google Maps, allows remote wiping in the case of theft and obviously allows me to hunt it down so I can baseball bat the thief. Chalk that as a huge mark in the plus column for iPhone 3.0.