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DPReview’s in-depth hands-on preview of the Olympus PEN E-P3

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Andy Westlake and Richard Butler of DPReview gives you an extensive hands-on preview of the Olympus PEN E-P3:

The E-P3’s similarity of appearance to its predecessors could, all too easily, suggest that Olympus has again been subtle with its changes. But this isn’t the case at all, and the new model brings with it a whole raft of updates and refinements. Olympus has addressed many of the key criticisms of the older models, to the extent that we’d be tempted to say that the E-P3 is finally the camera that the PEN has always promised to be.

I’m always impressed with the utter depth and thoroughness of the reviews of the guys over at the Digital Photography Review website. Whenever I read any of the reviews from their site, it feels strangely enough as if I am about to read some sort of dissertation or a doctoral thesis–only, written in lay man’s terms. In other words, they write their reviews as if their very lives depend on it. Everything you ever wanted to know about every bit about the cameras they review is there. For me, DPReview is where you need to go on the net when you want to read greatly exhaustive camera reviews.

Too bad though, where it actually may matter, it would seem that the picture sample galleries for each camera reviewed usually fails to match the awesome quality of the written reviews. The way I see it, the pictures they show are not as interesting as the reviews themselves. In my opinion, the pictures in the reviews never live up to one’s expectations of the kind of images the cameras can do, and it can be a little bit of a let-down. One may be inclined to wonder, “Is this the only kind of picture that this camera can take?”

Great reviewers aren’t necessarily great photographers.

The new Olympus E-P3

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Tim Moynihan, PC World (syndicated in Macworld):

The E-P3 introduces a 3-inch OLED touchscreen, a revamped 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor, and a new imaging engine. The new “Fast AF System” supports 35 individual focus points and touch-to-focus controls while shooting still images; Olympus claims that the camera’s focus speeds are faster than those on any other compact interchangeable-lens camera on the current market.

If you are in the market for a new DSLR camera, something that’s small, but also full-featured, take a look at the new Olympus E-P3.

Fireworks photo tips

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Just in time for the 4th (in the US) or the 1st (in Canada), Dave Johnson of PC World (syndicated over at Macworld), came up with a very nice basic set of 6 tips on shooting fireworks. To this, I’d like to add a 7th: Practice.

Written by dominiquejames

June 29, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Pentax Q

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The camera has evolved:

Introducing the PENTAX Q, the world’s smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera with a tiny body and a 12.4 megapixel CMOS image sensor that carves out an entirely new camera category.

Tim Moynihan, PC World (syndicated on Macworld):

The world of compact interchangeable-lens cameras continues to grow–and shrink. Pentax is the latest big-name company to throw its hat into the mirrorless ring with the Pentax Q, a 12-megapixel camera that’s smaller and lighter than anything we’ve seen thus far in the interchangeable-lens category.

Hmmm … this is mighty interesting.

Written by dominiquejames

June 23, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Surveillance?

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About the technology of light field photography using a handheld plenoptic camera from a Stanford University Computer Science Tech Report 2005-02 written by Ren Ng, Marc Levoy, Matthieu Bradif, Mark Horowitz and Pat Hanrahan of Stanford University with Gene Duval of Duval Design:

This [is] a camera that samples the 4D light field on its sensor in a single photographic exposure. This is achieved by inserting a microlens array between the sensor and main lens, creating a plenoptic camera. Each microlens measures not just the total amount of light deposited at that location, but how much light arrives along each ray. By re-sorting the measured rays of light to where they would have terminated in slightly different, synthetic cameras, we can compute sharp photographs focused at different depths. We show that a linear increase in the resolution of images under each microlens results in a linear increase in the sharpness of the refocused photographs. This property allows us to extend the depth of field of the camera without reducing the aperture, enabling shorter exposures and lower image noise. Especially in the macrophotography regime, we demonstrate that we can also compute synthetic photographs from a range of different viewpoints. These capabilities argue for a different strategy in designing photographic imaging systems.

So, what is this light field photography good for?

Written by dominiquejames

June 23, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Perfectly hocus-focus

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The magical science of Lytro’s in-camera technology called light field photography aims to bring your photos alive and interactive by being always in perfect focus at any point you want:

The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing in lockstep. Light field cameras offer astonishing capabilities. They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.

As exciting as adding one more technological capability to the camera may be, such as removing the pesky element of perfectly directed focus (which can be done with Lytro in post-production), it seems this will not be helpful to all. I see this technology as a new tool to help make great photographers take even greater pictures more quickly and more easily. But sadly, this new technology might not be as helpful to all other photographers.

Focus happens to be only one of those things in the entire art and craft of photography, not the only thing. This technology might help get the perfect focus on any part of the picture, but it will not help sharpen the focus of one’s vision.

Written by dominiquejames

June 23, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Doing it in the dark

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Dave Johnson of PC World (syndicated on Macworld) whipped up a bunch of excellent tips on taking pictures at night.

Darkness is kryptonite to your photos—all cameras thrive on light. As the sun sets, your camera craves slower shutter speeds (which lead to blurry photos) or demands the flash (which creates harsh lighting up close and does nothing for subjects that are farther away).

If you gotta do it in the dark, at least take heed and let Dave Johnson’s advise help you get it right.

In addition, here are a couple of tips that might help too.

  • Take the time to learn and then play around with your camera’s full manual controls (if this option is available). Get off the auto mode or the aperture-priority or the shutter-priority mode, or even the low-light and night modes. The ability to manually determine the exposure with the right combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can yield (surprisingly) interesting images. Doing this takes a little bit more than pointing and shooting, but you’ll most likely get far better results if you’re in total control of the in-camera settings.
  • One accessory that is almost essential in night or low-light shooting is a tripod. Get one of these from your friendly neighborhood camera or gadget-and-gizmo store. A tripod will give you the ability to perform long exposures that will let more light in while keeping your camera steady. And with a tripod, you’d be able to do a couple more things that will result in far more interesting images.

And, as they say, practice makes perfect!

Written by dominiquejames

June 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM

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