Picture Snob

February 29, 2008

flickr Friday: Maple Tree Buds

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It's that time, on the East coast at least. Slightly warmer air, the smell of dirt. This was shot with a Sony Cybershot DSC-H5 -- a model from 2006 but a tried and true favorite. See more Danno-3 and Jessey_James work at Flickr.

Is there a flickr photo you want to see on PictureSnob? Email us!

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 28, 2008

Ality Digital Picture Frames: Wireless Pixxa is King

So while Ality doesn't enjoy the brand name cache that certain competitors do, they've got a great lineup of top-notch digital photo frames. They've got 4 design lines: Pixxa, Moderna, Pictura and Classica -- these come in a variety of colors and styles including a mirror feature. Some models are available on Amazon.com but the higher-end frames can be hard to find so we suggest contacting Ality directly to avoid a goose chase.
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Wireless Pixxa: Wi-Fi Makes it Better (Amazon $299.99)
Announced in December, the Wireless Pixxa frame allows you to receive digital images directly to the frame using an application called "Photo Messenger" -- similar to instant messaging. You can even have multiple user accounts in the frame so family members can keep their own customized multimedia libraries. Via the Internet, you can use the frame to send and receive photos and chat live with friends and family or subscribe to video feed for news, traffic, weather and more. You also get an online account where you can manage and store up to 50MB of photos. There's also a feature to create and send greeting cards. Best of all, Ality provides all these services free of charge. (Many companies charge a subscription fee for sending files via frames.) 8-inch LCD display, 4:3 aspect ratio, 800x600 display resolution, supports JPG, BMP and audio and video (MPEG) files, built-in 128MB memory, touch screen and remote control.

ArrowContinue reading: "Ality Digital Picture Frames: Wireless Pixxa is King"

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 26, 2008

NEW: Sony DSC-W300 and DSC-H50

Sony's just released updates to two digital cameras in their Cyber-Shot line: the DSC-W300 and the DSC-H50. As always, it depends what you're up to in your photo life, but take a good look at the W300 -- it could make many a photographer happy. You can pre-order these on SonyStyle.com.



Sony DSC-W300: the mega-pixels just keep coming

13.6 mega-pixel compact point + shoot (that's right, 13.6!)
3x optical zoom, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens
2.7-inch LCD display
Ability to shoot at high speeds -- 5 frames/second (you have to drop down to 3 mega-pixels though)
Image stabilization, Automatic scene detection to adjust color
ISO 6400 mode -- this will eliminate blur but increase grain/noise
Face and smile detection (see our earlier post)
A Bunch of Sony Goo: Sony BIONZ image processor, Clear RAW Noise Reduction
Scratch-resistant titanium coating
About $350, ships in May -- preorder at Sonystyle

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Sony DSC-H50: great for fast-action shooting
9.1 mega-pixel
15x zoom (WOAH!), Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens
3-inch LCD display
Sensitivity from ISO 80 to 3200
Powerful flash -- at ISO 3200 it will illuminate subjects up to 55 feet away
Advanced light metering -- matrix, spot, center
9-point auto-focus with "assist lamp" (when you're focusing, the camera shines a small light so it can better see what it's focusing on)
Image stabilization, Automatic scene detection to adjust color
Face and smile detection (see our earlier post)
15MB internal memory (get a memory stick, quick)
About $400, ships in May -- preorder at SonyStyle

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 25, 2008

RIP: Polaroid Stops Making Instant Film

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Well if this isn't history being buried before our eyes... Earlier this month Polaroid announced it will no longer make instant film, laying off 450 people and closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands. The instant film will be available at stores until 2009, but expect the price to go up -- when Polaroid stopped making its iconic camera last year, price rose from $30 to $140! From then on, if you're looking for antique Polaroid bits, try eBay. We're going to miss that nasty green hue.

On the bright side, brace yourself for the onslaught of digital camera-printer-in-ones -- see our earlier post on Zink. We just learned this company was founded by former Polaroid scientists and executives, and there's some kind of alliance in the works so you might see the Polaroid brand on some Zink merchandise later this year.

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 22, 2008

flickr Friday: Inseto

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Spring is thinking about showing up... how big do you think this little bug will get? This was taken with a Nikon D80 (PictureSnob's favorite camera!) and some kind of macro lens. See more Werner Mathi work at Flickr.

Is there a flickr photo you want to see on PictureSnob? Email us!

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 21, 2008

DIY: Homemade Digital Photo Frame

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Well, it's possible to make your own digital photo frame. There are several recipes at instructables -- here is our favorite. The ingredients? A SanDisk Digital Photo Viewer, Zenith LCD screen, deep picture frame... all for under $100. But for $134.99 you can get this Bluetooth eMotion 7-inch frame. Unless you really, really enjoy this DIY experience. It looks scary.

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 20, 2008

Photo Sharing: From Flickr, Facebook and Shutterfly to iWeb, .Mac and Pixamo

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What's the best way to share photos with family and friends? There are many options and some important things to consider -- especially security and privacy. Remember that while you may be comfortable with your photos displayed on the WWW, your friends and family may not be. There are plenty of options to privacy-protect your photos and we recommend taking that step. Another big thing to consider is if your photo sharing service requires that people create an account to view the photos -- that can be annoying for friends and family and open them up to spam and one more password to remember. We've taken an overview of some popular services below. Our favorites? Pixamo, .Mac and SmugMug.

Facebook: Creep with Caution
It's easy to upload and share photos on Facebook. However, it is 100% NOT private. Think twice before placing photos of friends and family here. Facebook users can search through profiles in a million different ways -- location, school, workplace, names, and of course through the "friends" you have made. It's likely that every day some stranger looks at your Facebook profile, so exercise caution.

Flickr: Two Ways to Use It
Flickr is a vibrant community but with many reported security problems. If you wish to share photos because you are a photographer or hobbyist, it can be fun to leave your profile public and receive comments from other Flickr members. For personal photos though, we recommend that you check "private" when uploading photos. You can then invite family and friends to access it with a password. Even better -- see instructions to create a private group so your guests can chatter.

ArrowContinue reading: "Photo Sharing: From Flickr, Facebook and Shutterfly to iWeb, .Mac and Pixamo"

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

February 19, 2008

New Patent Allows You to Take Movies on DSLRs

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This is big. For years we've had point + shoot cameras that can take video clips and photos. If you wanted a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)* you gave up the movies in favor of specialized lenses and focus options. Auto-focus is what stands between DSLRs and movie mode. DSLRs have gotten better and better over the years, mostly by faster auto-focus speeds and narrow focus tolerance. Inventor Hiroshi Terada has published a patent to make movie mode work in DSLRs by using a semi-transparent mirror and two auto-focus functions -- one for stills and one for movies. You can read about the patent in detail at Photography Bay. Not sure when this feature will hit, but we'll keep you posted.

* A SLR is a camera design where light enters through the lens and is reflected by a mirror up to the viewfinder, allowing you to see exactly what the final picture will look like -- focus, depth of field, etc. A DSLR is just a digital version of this, using light sensor chips and memory cards instead of film. You can also change lenses on SLRs that will allow you different focal lengths.

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 18, 2008

VuPoint Zippo Digital Spy Camera

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Small and familiar... this spy camera from VuPoint is modeled after the Zippo lighter. Flip the top and reveal the lens and trigger button. 64MB built-in memory, self-timer and just 13 ounces. It takes one AAA battery and a whole lot of incognito. Check it out at Amazon for just $21.99.

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 15, 2008

Smile Detection, Blink-Recognition and Other Intelligent Promises

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Between intelligent cameras and Prozac, the world will never frown again. A new "intelligence" seems to launch every year, this year being smile detection. It's up to you if you're willing to pay a premium for these features, but we suggest applying the proverbial grain of salt here. These features turn your camera into an auto-monster -- most require the auto setting to work and you might end up spending more time communicating with your camera than the photo-worthy experience around you. There is no cheap trick to get a perfect photo, and perfection does not the best photo make. As the author of this photo gaymay asks: is a frown just smile turned upside down?

Blink Recognition
If someone blinked in the photo you just took, the camera alerts you so you can take another shot.
Reality Check: This is handy when it works and if your subjects are obedient.

Face Detection
The camera finds faces in the scene and auto-focuses on the faces and optimizes the exposure and flash for the face. This is often part of a "portrait" setting.
Reality Check: A person's face must be facing towards the camera and the lighting must be good for this to work well. There may be a limit to how many faces a camera can detect.

ArrowContinue reading: "Smile Detection, Blink-Recognition and Other Intelligent Promises"

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

flickr Friday: Valentine Altoid Tin

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Oh, happy Hallmark day. Look at this neat creation from HerArtworks -- she's made a photo of a tin valentine she created. See the cycle of life with a photo? See more Valentines and artwork (shot with Sony Cybershot DSCW50) at HerArtworks at Flickr.

Is there a flickr photo you want to see on PictureSnob? Email us!

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 14, 2008

Smartparts SP3200 32" HD Photo Frame: The Crème de la Crème

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This is what your photos deserve, no? This frame will put certain LCD televisions to shame. Releasing in just 7 days, this is one glorious widescreen, high-definition digital photo frame from Smartparts. It plays back video and audio and of course your photos on a 16:9, 1366x768 resolution, 32", high-definition, LCD display. Mercy. The frame is compatible with all kinds of memory sticks and the remote works up to 100 feet -- we're guessing you've got some square footage if you're sporting this frame in your house! Smarparts includes image-editing software (OptiPix Pro) so you can resize images to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio. It also handles PowerPoint slides and PDF files -- this could be an ideal item for business and retail applications.

You can pre-order now at Amazon for $900. It's what PictureSnob wants for Christmas. Please.

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 11, 2008

Just Released! The Casio EX-S10 is Slimmer than Slim

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This little machine from Casio is just 3.7" wide x 2.14" mm high x 0.59" thin and it weighs under 4oz. Stick that in your pocket and shoot it. See what Casio has packed into this thin-wonder:

10.1-megapixel
3x optical zoom
YouTube Capture Mode
-- shoots video in H.264 encoding mode (high quality, small file size)
2.7" Widescreen LCD screen
Shutter Release Control -- reduce camera shake from your hands
Smile Detection (sad face need not apply)
iPod and iPhone compatible
Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery
Connect to PC with USB

It's just released -- try Amazon at $249.99 in red, blue, silver and black. Delicious!

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

February 8, 2008

Digital Photo Services: Comparing Apple, Kodak, Shutterfly, SmugMug and Snapfish

How do you end up choosing the best photo service? There's a lot of parity but also some key differences that will come down to your particular needs and preferences. Here's a roundup of features and overall value -- see detailed feature listings at the end of the post and a link to the pricing page of each company.
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Apple wins on design and customization.
They offer a small portfolio of printed products through its software suite iLife (great deal at $70, includes iPhoto, iWeb, GarageBand, iDVD and more). So you need a MAC to enjoy any of these offerings. The prices are reasonable and like all Apple products, quality is top-notch.

kodak.jpgKodak has a thorough offering of printed products and you can upload photos or send rolls of film. While most of their design templates for cards and such are kind of tacky, they do have a nice design line in partnership with Martha Stewart as well as Spanish greeting cards. While they offer every product you can think of, pricing is on the high side. They're offering 20 free prints when you sign up. And of course, the uber-annoying factor that your friends and family have to sign up in order to view your photo galleries.
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Shutterfly wins on all-round service.
A similarly thorough offering to Kodak, Shutterfly goes a step further to include clocks, soccer balls and dog collars. A fun feature for kids is custom books that can "star" your child -- choose from Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer. Overall, pricing is average but prints are expensive. Shutterly really aims to please with consumer-friendly features like Target store pickup and photo sharing that does NOT require your friends + family to sign up. So perhaps that service is worth the price. But here's a latest offer from Shutterfly:

ArrowContinue reading: "Digital Photo Services: Comparing Apple, Kodak, Shutterfly, SmugMug and Snapfish"

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

flickr Friday: A Striped Affair

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Wheee! Socks in flight. See more of Catherine Reyes' spirited work at Flickr. This shot was taken with a Nikon D70 -- an excellent 6.1 megapixel digital SLR. However for a few bucks more you can pick up 10.2 megapixels in the Nikon D80. We'll be reviewing the Nikon SLR line in detail soon.

Is there a flickr photo you want to see on PictureSnob? Email us!

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 7, 2008

News from PMA 08: Olympus Stylus 1030 SW is Shockproof, Waterproof, Freezeproof + Crushproof!

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(PMA is an annual convention focused on the latest photo innovations. We'll highlight some of the best stories throughout the week.)

Finally, a camera we can treat like our cell phone. This new Olympus Stylus 1030 SW is one tough cookie. Think of this for your active lifestyle type, or your irresponsible type, or for those who lack balance and coordination (sign me up). In addition to the body armor below, you get 10.1 megapixels and a 3.6x optical zoom wide-angle lens and is available in a cool new green color.

Shockproof! Designed to survive a 6.6-foot fall with shock-absorbing metal construction. Waterproof! Seals and gaskets protect this camera to 33 feet -- take it diving, drop it in a puddle. Freezeproof! Skiers can finally take the camera out of their long underwear -- the Stylus 1030 SW performs great to 14˚F. Crushproof! Go ahead and sit on it as long as you weigh 220 pounds or less.

Now this is a digital development we can use right away, without manuals. Yay! Get more details at Olympus. Camera will retail in March, but you can pre-order at Amazon now for $400.

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 6, 2008

News from PMA 08: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300 Slim Digital Camera

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(PMA is an annual convention focused on the latest photo innovations. We'll highlight some of the best stories throughout the week.)

Cherry Flavor! OK, not really but this red color sure looks yummy. (Also offered in silver and black for you less flashy folk.) Sony's delivering a lot for $400 in this small size:

  • 10.1 mexapixel
  • 3.5-inch LCD touch-screen with 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Carl Zeiss 5x optical zoom lens (33-165mm) -- check out Zeiss history, he got his start in microscopes
  • ISCN (Intelligent Scene Recognition) selects optimal settings for your shooting condition
  • Face + smile detection can be set to target adults or children
  • Image stabilization
  • High sensitivity settings up to ISO 3200 -- great for low-light situations where you want to avoid the flash
  • Can connect to an HDTV to display 1080 HD resolution slideshows
  • 15MB Internal Memory
  • Compatible with Memory StickDuo and Memory Stick PRO Duo
Sony's DSC-T300 will retail in March. It's available for pre-order at Amazon now.
Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 5, 2008

Coping with Technology: Smashing a Digital Photo Frame

OK, we don't endorse this, but we can all remember a special piece of technology that's required violent treatment in defense of our sanity. Is this what Best Buy is up to after the digital photo frame virus debacle?

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See the full video here
at Lulu TV.
Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

News from PMA 08: HD Video Recording is the New Standard for Point + Shoot Digital Cameras

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(PMA is an annual convention focused on the latest photo innovations. We'll highlight some of the best stories throughout the week.)

Look for the addition of HD video recording to digital point + shoot cameras to be the new special feature across brands. Here are some of the new models with the hybrid camera/camcorder feature:

Panasonic Lumix TZ5 -- see our earlier post and this hands-on look at Gizmodo
Panasonic Lumix FX35
Samsung NV24HD
Canon PowerShot TX-1
Kodak EasyShare Z1275

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 4, 2008

NEW Sony Digital Photo Frames: S-Frame™ DPF-V900, DPF-V700, DPF-D70

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Sony's first digital photo frames will be available in March. They're offering three models at a reasonable price, with all the photo frame features that have proved valuable. Sony says the new line takes inspiration from their Cyber-shot cameras and BRAVIA LCD televisions. There's a nice walk-through of the frames at Sony Style.

Here's what the 3 frames feature:

Vibrant 800x480 LCD Display with 15:9 aspect-ratio
Will scale down photos from a file up to 48MB -- easy to go direct camera-to-frame instead of going camera-to-PC-to-frame and having to downsize the files at the PC stage
Auto power setting-- allows you to program when the frame is on
10 slideshow variations + clock and calendar
Remote control
Transfer photos via USB or by inserting memory stick
(Compatible with many memory cards including Memory Stick PRO™, Memory Stick PRO Duo™, SD Memory Card, MMC, Compact Flash, Microdrive®, xD-Picture Card)
Bluetooth compatibility -- purchase Bluetooth adapter separately then you can import images wirelessly from another Bluetooth device (like your mobile phone)
HDMI output -- purchase HDMI cable separately to connect to any compatible HDTV set and display photos

And here's how the 3 frames are different:

Sony S-Frame DPF-900 / $250
9-inch
512MB internal memory
Supports JPEG, TIFF, BMP RAW (SRF, SR2, ARW)
Sony Bionz™ Processor with face detection technology (in-frame photo corrections like focus enhancement, red-eye correction, exposure adjustment) + faster processing

Sony S-Frame DPF-700 / $190
7-inch
512MB internal memory
Supports JPEG, TIFF, BMP RAW (SRF, SR2, ARW)
Sony Bionz™ Processor with face detection technology (in-frame photo corrections like focus enhancement, red-eye correction, exposure adjustment) + faster processing

Sony S-Frame DPF-D70 / $140
7-inch
256MB internal memory
Supports JPEG, RAW (SRF, SR2, ARW)

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 1, 2008

flickr Friday: Dinnertime

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Dinnertime for birds, that is. This supper scene takes place on the coast of Puerto Lopez in Ecuador. See more Laura Travels’ work at flickr.

Is there a flickr photo you want to see on PictureSnob? Email us!

Susan Moriarty Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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