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Written By: Gary on October 21, 2011 No Comment

I had a list of the things that I wanted on the new iPhone 5. Yes, I said iPhone 5, this is the 5th iPhone no matter what you want to call it. I take a lot of photos and it’s not so important that I use my phone, but the phone is the best way to be able to upload them on the go. If the phone would use the USB/SD reader that the iPad uses (used?) I’d probably rely on the phone camera less. So I had a list of what I wanted and some things that would be a bonus for me, most of them revolving around photos or video. Everything else is great on the iPhone it just needed to be be faster and have more storage.
iPhone 4S All-in-One For Dummies Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd
I Needed:

  • More megapixels with a better lens.
  • Image stabilization.
  • More storage space.
  • Faster (of course).
  • Faster downloads and uploads (of course).

Would like:

  • Better front facing camera
  • Light for the front facing camera
  • Significantly better rear camera. Make the camera thicker to accommodate better lens with real zoom.
  • SD slot or USB adaptor

But I saw none of these possibly happening except maybe a slightly better front facing camera.

They actually met everything in my “needed to buy” list, it’d have been a dilemma if they’d only met a few. I was not expecting the faster downloads but that’ll be on my want list every model. The camera went from 5 MP to 8MP, from a 4 to 5 lens optics system. They also added image stabilization for the video (I’m not sure if that helps the stills too?). Yes, I really like that this phone is meeting exceeding my basic photography needs.

They increased the speed (they say doubled, but the on-line speed tests say about 70% faster) and increased the graphics speed by seven times. How many years go by before you see that much improvement in a new computer? That’s why this is the iPhone 5!

They also add the Siri personal assistant for doing tasks verbally and taking dictation. This was not a selling point to me, it was a fun bonus.

There are a bunch of other perceived features on the iPhone 4s but many of those are iOS 5 upgrades and most run on the previous version or two of the phone already.

Another huge rea$on to upgrade now: Gazelle.com offered me $340 for my phone (assuming they evaluate it the same way I did), that price has already dropped about $120 since I got my quote from them (which was Sept. 14th and I had 30 days to ship it back) they just got it yesterday but they haven’t evaluated it yet. But imagine when the iPhone 6 comes out how much more that price will have dropped.

Yes, I do realize this process rationalizes me upgrading every year. But I like this phone, I think I use it more than I watch television (and sometimes I use it to do that!).

I wish they’d put something extra in the $299 model, like a better front facing camera with a flash or more RAM. It kills me to pay an extra $100 for the first 16 GB upgrade and then the extra $100 for the next 32GB; I wish there was some extra minor difference that would be a bonus for paying that “Apple Tax”…

iPhoto '11: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals) (English and English Edition) David Pogue, Lesa SniderQuick mini-review:
It certainly feels faster, I wish they’d upgraded the RAM too (still at 512 MB), I’d think that would help with multiple applications open and bouncing between them. Occasionally, I see the faster download/upload speeds but nothing stellar so far.

I quite often would throw my tiny Canon sd780 in my pocket when I’d go out, just in case. That will now happen less, since I’ll already have something with me. If it’s an event or party, I’ll grab a camera to keep in hand, but if I don’t know for sure I’ll be taking pictures, I won’t grab one of my Canons (either pocket, digital SLR or video). I can see the image stabilization when recording video. Plus, they made the video be 1080p too; although I almost wish I could turn 1080p off, it’s eating up the space and it’s really not that necessary (at least that’s how I feel at this point).

And Siri is amazing. You just have to try her it out. I actually use my portable keyboard less since the dictation is so good.

UPDATE: So when I took my phone out of the case while the phone looked great, there were a lot of scratches along the metal edges of the housing and a few on the back, I thought the front looked great (they also mentioned a few minor on the front) but I do trust these guys, there are too many good reviews and I’ve used them before too. So they only offered me $260 (or they’ll mail it back for free). As I said above prices drop, so taking it somewhere else at this makes no sense and I’d have done it for that price anyways (I think).

Written By: Gary on August 4, 2011 No Comment

I love the camera on the iPhone, while it’s not the best digital camera I’ve owned, it’s always with me and it’s lots better than others that I’ve owned*. I’ve taken well over 400 photos in the last two months (actually it’s got an okay flash, a digital zoom, tap to focus, HDR (High Dynamic Range) and a huge screen. And don’t forget that it’s also a HD 720p video camera, for a while it was the best video camera I ever owned (and the only one with a light). Factor in that you can upload (Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook) and e-mail photos / videos instantly, it’s pretty amazing. That’s not even factoring in optional photo and video editing apps.

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I actually chose the HDR photo because of the additional detail from the water droplets. While I like the color of the flowers I actually like the color a tiny bit more in the non-HDR version. HDR on the iPhone (almost) instantly takes several photos at different settings to brighten the dark spots and darken the bright spots, giving you a wider range (they do take longer to save).

So these are some flowers out in front of the school where I work. I thought they were looking pretty good for no one really maintaing them in the summer (it’s a student project) with the whacky weather we’ve been having (melting or flooding) so they became the focus of today’s 31 photos in 31 days photo.

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Above you can see two photos zoomed in on the same area, notice the additional detail of the water droplets on the right had side of the image when you compare the two (image on the right is the HDR version).

So it’s a great camera and I’m always taking pictures with it, even when I have other cameras with me.

* My iPhone is a hundred times better than the first digital camera that I owned, a $600 Casio QV-10 in 1996 (world’s first digital camera that includes a TFT display), which was 640×480 (iPhone 4 has 2592×1936 pixels) and had a proprietary graphics format that you had to convert to JPEG. This camera had no flash, no real zoom and ate AA batteries like they were candy. A feature it did have was that it had a video out; I remember taking pictures at a wedding and hooking it up to a huge projector that happened to be at the reception for some other kind of slideshow, I was the hit of the party (and the photographer said he was going to go get one for his next wedding).

Written By: Gary on January 5, 2011 No Comment

So I picked up a disposable waterproof Kodak camera before my trip to Costa Rica. I’ve been tempted to get a waterproof camera but couldn’t justify the cost.

The weird part was getting it developed. It’s been years since I got film developed. I can’t even remember the last time. When I stood at the counter at Walgreens it was weird, I knew I wanted it on CD but did I want prints? It seemed so foreign to want prints of the photos I hadn’t even seen yet…

But in the end I ordered a set of the prints. And they weren’t as interesting as I’d hoped. It’s hard to stell that the shots I took from the water are six feet deep, they could be ankle deep. And the waves that are crashing down at me, you can barely tell.

The resolution was pretty disappointing at 1545 × 1024 they weren’t very detailed, even for 800 ASA (IMHO). I’m not saying the pictures are bad, they just weren’t any better (visually) than many that I took from shore…

Here’s a few for your viewing pleasure :)

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Me at the upper falls (actually the upper-upper-falls about 15-20 feet high).

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Sunset from way up the coast from Montezuma.

me-jumping-11580022.jpg
This a cRaZy one of me jumping in the water.
I’m at the lower falls, it’s probably only about 20 feet (15?).
It looks like I’m hurtling to my doom.

I think the above shot of me jumping is from the same spot as this video of me jumping off the rock. Kodak Zoom ISO 800 Speed, 27 Exposure Single Use Camera KodakSo the camera was $10 (for 27 shots) and I think it was $12 for developing (developing, negatives, and one set of photos) so $22 for an experiment; I’ve certainly spent more for something I’ve never used again. I’m not saying the camera was disappointing in itself, although the pictures were only 1545 × 1024 pixels (but that just might be the Walgreens scanner), I just hoped taking the pictures from different angles in the water would look much more interesting. I’d try it again, but I think I’ll try again with this Snap Sights Waterproof Underwater Reusable Camera with Flash, especially if I was to go snorkeling.

Written By: Gary on November 15, 2008 2 Comments

This is a problem!!!

Someone else dropped something into the river and I made a grab for it an my camera fell out of my pocket. I meant to only leave it in that pocket for a minute when I thought the water might reach my pants pocket and I forgot to move it back. I’m am so bummed…

The lens was closed, it was under water for just a few seconds, I wiped it off with a dry towel immediately and pulled out the battery. Needless to say I didn’t take any more pictures, I had a few from today of the ocean and monkeys but I bet those are fine. I hope the monkey shots are, I got a monkey (with a baby on it’s back) that managed to snatch a shaker of parmesan from a restaurant and were eating it up in a tree!

Now the camera, the chip and the battery are in a zip lock bag with some dry rice (to soak up the extra moisture). I’ll leave it for a day or so and see how it is. Kitty litter is supposed to work well too, but I didn’t need a 25 pound bag of it in my tiny room.

It’s a great camera, I’d definitely recommend the Canon SD1100 with image stabilization. It’s been in my sights for ages and I recently found a great on-line deal for it from Dell (that’s where I bought my SLR Canon camera too).

I’ll definitely be adding the WP-DC22 Waterproof Case to my wishlist (assuming the camera still works). It’s good for 40 meters underwater (130 feet) and is supposed to also be great for “beach, rain and on the ski slopes”.

Later: Oops, the waterproof case is more expen$ive than the camera was!!!

Written By: Gary on May 26, 2008 One Comment

So I’ve been looking for a new pocket digital camera. I currently have a Digital Camera, a Minolta Dimage Xt 3.2MP; it does photos, movies, audio recording and in a pinch it’ll work as a thumb drive (I think it’ll even work as a webcam on a windows machine). I mentioned it as one of my top 5 electronic toys you can’t live without a few years ago and it still is. It’s awesome it takes wonderful pictures, it’s a nice and small, but it doesn’t work well in low light so when I’m shooting inside, that’s really the only reason why I don’t like it.

Last night I took it with my on a bike ride, they were already setting up floats for the parade today so I wanted to take a few photos up close. This morning I couldn’t find it anywhere, I really thought I lost it on the way home. So I wondered down to the parade today with my awesome bigger clunkier camera, which takes beautiful pictures, but it’s just a little big to carry around everywhere. Today, it really seemed too big so I pretty much made the decision that I have to go shopping for a new camera today. But sadly, I did another look around before I went shopping and I found the other digital camera.

I talked on the phone to my mother a few minutes ago and the first thing she said was “Bummer!” because she knew I would have liked to have had an excuse to go buy a new one. I really try not to be too wasteful with my with my technology dollars and buy every new thing that comes out.

I’ll still be this one for a while longer but I am looking for recommendations on a small everyday camera, especially something that works well indoors but it has to have a viewfinder (I don’t care about the size of the display) and as long as it’s 4+ mega-pixels. Maybe something like a Canon SD1100, SD1000 or SD850, any thoughts?

Written By: Gary on April 9, 2006 4 Comments

So it was a great day so I got a burger and went down to Hines Drive and ate my lunch and took some photos with my new camera. I really like the camera and part of why I like it is why some people won’t like it, it’s got the manual controls. These controls let you make all sorts of adjustments and you can easily get more control over your photos.

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Thats the same spot with pretty much no camera movement (although the dog and it’s owner did move). Now I’m not saying you can’t do this with a regular digital, it’s actually pretty easy to do in this sample case, but you kinda have to cheat to do it. The camera just makes it a whole lot easier to do.


Closefar2DClosefar2AHere’s another comparison sample, I saw some buds starting to appear and thought I’d get some pictures of spring really trying to pop her head out. These are the same branch but with the focus set completely different.

You actually get some pretty good detail with the camera. Here’s close up of the same buds (the second one from the top) and it looks pretty good. I still need to learn more about the resolutions and playing with the other adjustments.

Here’s the full photo or at least it’s one of the sequence. With this one you can see by the stem of the buds on the right and the left you have enough control to get one of them in focus and not one of the others even when they are really close together.

So far, I really love my new camera! (That’s the Digital Rebel XT for those of you just tuning in.)

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