Posts Tagged ‘compact’

Samsung Looks into Depth of Field Fix for Compact Cameras

In a recent patent application [here, via Photography Bay], Samsung proposed “a method for performing out-focus of camera having a first lens and a second lens, comprising: photographing a first image with the first lens and photographing a second image with the second lens; extracting depth information of the photographed first image and second image; and performing out-focus on the first image or the second image using the extracted depth information” [via]. Basically, they’re looking into a way to get the kind of shallow DOF results of the DSLR with a compact point-and-shoot. We recently saw that a different technology for the same result is in the works with the Lytro camera.

[Patent via Gizmodo, via Photography Bay, via Wired]

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Samsung SH100 WiFi Compact Camera Review

Samsung SH100: Pocket Camera with Instant Image Sharing
Text and Images by Allison Gibson

First revealed at CES this year, the Samsung SH100 ($199.99 MSRP) compact digital camera offers instant, wireless sharing of images—via email or upload to social networking and photo sharing sites—directly from the device. For a petite pocket camera, this gadget has a far reach. It features a 14-megapixel CCD image sensor, a 5x optical zoom 26mm f/3.3-5.9 Samsung lens, and 720p High Definition video recording (30fps).

Instant Sharing

The most notable feature of the Samsung SH100 is its ability to share and automatically backup captured images instantly and wirelessly, with easy menu options for single or bulk image sharing. By using the camera’s built-in wireless, you can connect to your WiFi network, to other Samsung WiFi cameras, or to an Android-powered Galaxy S smartphone to share your images. The phone can also be used as a remote viewfinder, offering real time preview and control of the shutter release.

The options for sharing include: email, and upload to Facebook, Picasa, YouTube and Photobucket. You can also browse existing photo albums while logged into Facebook, but cannot view walls or post statuses (there’s no qwerty keyboard on the camera).

When I recently met with members of the Samsung team, I nagged them about the fact that the SH100 wasn’t Twitter compatible, given the massive global popularity of the social networking site. Twitter users regularly include images in their tweets and I saw this as a missed opportunity for Samsung. Another obvious missed opportunity for the photo sharing community is Flickr. The good news is, I was told that Twitter and others are being considered for the next generation of the camera, and that adding support for new services is easy now that the technology for sharing is already there there. The fact that the remote viewfinder feature only works with Samsung smartphones seems a little incestuous and excludes users of other smartphones, but I can understand the interest in keeping the technology within the brand.

Design & UI

click thumbnails to enlarge

With a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that operates in the familiar way of a smartphone, the menus are easy to navigate, if a smidge less graceful in the dragging department than the smartphone that I’m most familiar with—the iPhone 4. The only button on the back of the camera, to the right of the LCD, is a dedicated Home button, which brings you back to the main menu from wherever you happen to be. At the top of the camera, you have the power button, zoom toggle and playback button. Otherwise, everything else is in the digital menu, which certainly helped to keep the camera’s slim profile in check. At 3.66″W x 2.12″H x .74″D, the SH100 is very compact, and also lightweight. Another way they keep the size of the body down is to use MicroSD for memory, rather than the more common SD/SDHC cards.

The thing about these tiny digicams, though, is that they are sometimes too small to stabilize, making them prone to blur from camera shake. And, unfortunately, the SH100 only features “Digital Image Stabilization,” not OIS (optical image stabilization, which stabilizes before the image is converted digitally) to compensate for shakiness. However, one exterior aid is the thumb grip on the back of the camera, which allows the camera to sit more securely in-hand when recording. But even then, especially in low-light conditions, you will need to brace the left side of the camera and turn up the ISO sensitivity to combat blur. I think one way to combat this—externally— in a future generation would be to raise the shutter release, rather than leave it in the recessed position it is in now. As it is now, it requires a lot of pressure to snap a shot, and any extra pressure is bound to cause camera shake.

Creative Touches


Magic Frame: Billboard 1 (click to view full-size image)

One of the many creative features of the SH100 is called Magic Frame Shot, which allows you to layer your photograph into a digital template of your liking, with real time preview of the effects as you shoot. The options include: Wall Art, Album, Ripple, Full Moon, Old Record, Magazine, Sunny Day, Classic TV, Yesterday, Holiday, and two Billboard choices. Options such as image quality, flash and self-timer may still be applied to this effect. As with a regular shot, a Magic Frame Shot can be instantly shared on Facebook or emailed once captured.


Photo Filters: Vignetting, Fish-eye, Miniature; Smart Auto mode (click images to enlarge)

Another built-in creative feature of the SH100 is Photo Filter, which includes a menu of distinct automatic art filters, such as: Miniature (similar to Tilt-Shift or Toy Camera options seen elsewhere), Vignetting (similar to a Pinhole camera effect), Soft Focus, Half Tone, Sketch, Fish-eye, Defog, Classic, Retro, Negative, and two Old Film options. I was pleased to find that the Fish-eye filter is one of the better digital replications of the fish-eye lens effect that I’ve seen to date, after having tested the effect in several other cameras’ art filter lineups—including that of the PENTAX K-x and K-r DSLRs. I only wish the fish-eye images weren’t framed with that black vignette, which sort of looks like an old television set.

Additional creative features include: Scene Modes, Vignetting, Beauty Shot, Movie Filter, Night Shot, Palette Effect and Object Highlight. There is also a built-in Photo Editor. The SH100′s Smart Auto 2.0 for still images and video does the guesswork for you by choosing one of 17 different shooting modes.

Conclusion

While the Samsung SH100 isn’t the first WiFi point-and-shoot, it does offer the most avenues for connecting. Hopefully soon this will be standard fair for pocket cams, with even more options, as instant sharing is the name of the game these days.

Samsung SH100

  • MSRP:
  • $199.99
  • Size/Weight:
  • 3.66”W x 2.12”H x 0.74”D
  • Image Sensor:
  • 14-megapixels, CCD (1/2.33″)
  • Still Recording Format:
  • JPG
  • Memory:
  • Micro SD
  • Display:
  • 3-inch touch LCD
  • Video Recording Mode:
  • 1280×720 (30/15fps); in H.264 format
  • ISO Equivalent:
  • Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
  • Power Source:
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Contact:
  • www.samsung.com/us
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Leica Announces M9-P: World’s Smallest Full-Frame Digital Camera

Leica has just announced the latest in their rangefinder lineup—the M9-P compact digital camera. In the manner of Leica’s historically high-end finishes, the new M9-P “includes a scratch-resistant, sapphire crystal covering on the LCD screen. Produced using special diamond cutting tools, this screen is fashioned from one of the world’s hardest and most resilient materials. Extremely resistant to wear and almost unbreakable, the sapphire glass LCD cover offers many years of reliable use,” according to the manufacturer. The M9-P also features an 18-megapixel 24 x 36mm (35mm format) CCD sensor and a Microprocessor-controlled, exceptionally low-noise, metal blade shutter with vertical movement. The M9-P will be available in black paint or traditional silver chrome finishes in July 2011. Read the full press release below.

image via Leica Camera AG

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Sony Announces NEX-C3 Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera


Sony has just announced the NEX-C3 digital camera—the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital camera on the market, according to the manufacturer. Featuring a 16.2-megapixel EXMOR sensor (24mm APS-C size) and “press and rotate” operating with real time preview of different effects, the NEX-C3 comes on the heels of last year’s ground-breaking NEX-5 and NEX-3, which were “the world’s first interchangeable lens cameras with an APS-C sensor to continuously adjust focus and exposure while recording video.” A new feature for this generation of the NEX lineup is called Picture Effects (essentially, art filters), which includes a Background Defocus effect to create the look of shallow depth of field in a photograph. A bonus to Sony’s new Picture Effects is that multiple effects can be applied to one shot and previewed simultaneously.

The NEX-C3 will be available in August for $599.99 (16mm f/2.8 kit) and $649.99 (18-55mm kit). Ten new lenses will be available by 2012 in addition to the three existing E-Mount lenses that are now available, turning the system into a lasting investment for those photographers who find the NEX system preferable to the DSLR format. More images and Sony’s official press release below.

 

images via Sony; click thumbnails to enlarge

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Olympus PEN E-PL2 Review

Olympus PEN E-PL2: Creative and Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera
Text and Images by Allison Gibson

I first got a hands-on look at the Olympus PEN E-PL2 when it was announced at CES Las Vegas earlier this year. Even at first glance, I was impressed by the fourth generation compact, interchangeable lens PEN camera. The new exaggerated rubber hand grip and slightly smaller body (than that of its predecessor–the PEN E-PL1) make the camera more efficient, and updates like the new Live Guide feature for still and video preview, take this travel-friendly camera to a more professional level.

Operating on the Micro Four Thirds standard (read about mirrorless technology, and how it differs from single lens reflex, here), the PEN E-PL2 boasts a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor—the same size sensor as the one inside the Olympus E-30 and E-620 DSLRs. The most obvious advantage to the Micro Four Thirds camera is that it packs that large image sensor—with its enhanced low-light performance and image quality—into a more svelte and manageable body, while still allowing for interchangeable lenses.

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