The shot below is one of several pictures I took while walking around Woodfield Mall. I used Posterous’s new iPhone app, PicPosterous, to essentially “live blog” interesting things I saw at the mall. The app is pretty nice, and I like how Posterous presents pictures as albums if I choose to group them together. WordPress would do well to update the way people can embed media on WordPress.com blogs… Anyway, to see the rest of the Woodfield album, go here.
***Editor’s note*** I just realized that the picture from the N95, while it seemed to transfer over as full-res, got shrunken down when it was added to the iPhone’s camera roll. I thought CameraKit was working awfully quickly, compared to when I used native iPhone pictures… So while I get the benefit of the N95′s autofocus and macro focus, I don’t get the benefit of higher-res pictures once transferred to the iPhone (because the N95 has no cool photo editing apps, nor do I have a working data SIM for it for direct uploads)… SIGH. So much for kludging together better mobile phone pictures through the iPhone, N95, and jailbroken 3rd-party app iBluetooth.
Pic taken with a Nokia N95, then transferred to my iPhone via BT (shhh, it’s a secret!) for post-processing and uploading. Oh, what convoluted things I’ll do because I can’t get an iPhone 3GS right now…
When I finally bought an Eye-Fi card, I thought it was going to be super cool, because I would be able to dump pictures from the camera to my laptop without needing to mess with card readers or USB cables. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned. Firstly, it didn’t handle file types other than JPEGs (I think with the firmware updates that have been released, Eye-Fi does handle RAW files, too, but don’t take my word for it). Secondly, you couldn’t choose which pictures to send to the computer, or when you could upload them. You basically were uploading whatever you shot after you put the Eye-Fi in the camera and started shooting. If you were out shooting with the Eye-Fi card away from an AP and/or your home WiFi and computer, you couldn’t go back and select the pictures you took after you got back home. Thirdly, you had to set up wireless APs beforehand; you couldn’t just scan for and use any old WiFi AP available (again this may or may not be addressed now by new firmware updates) on the fly. And the worst part was that you couldn’t turn off wireless scanning if you knew you wouldn’t be in range of an open AP or knew you didn’t want to use wireless uploading for some reason. I didn’t think about this when I went to this year’s Chicago auto show and realized that my LX3′s battery had died in about 15 or 20 minutes, even though I fully charged it the night before. Luckily I had another battery and a different SD card to use. At that point, I stopped using the Eye-Fi altogether.
Now, it wasn’t exactly that incident that soured me on the Eye-Fi, though it was a big contributor. Also, many of the limitations with the Eye-Fi result from the functionality being embedded in the card, not the camera. So of course I know there’s a limit to what the Eye-Fi can do, given its form factor and how it was originally designed to work. Some of the issues I mentioned have been addressed by firmware updates, and sometime in the near future I’ll revisit my Eye-Fi and see what I can and can’t do with it. I’d be happy to retract all of my gripes if I find out they’ve all been fixed!
Actually, the main issue for me is that I normally like to edit my pictures before posting them online. Mobile-wise, I really liked being able to take pictures with my Sony Ericsson P1i, then do some rudimentary editing with the built-in photo editing software. I did some photo editing on my Nokia N95, but being limited to using the joystick to do editing, and the limitations of the app itself meant that I didn’t really use it much. Processing photos was better on the P1i because of the touchscreen. Also, I could optionally pen annotations right onto the photo. I continued to do mobile photo editing with my iPhone. At first the editing apps that showed up in the App Store were pretty useless for me — face melting, adding silly frames and cutesy little stamps. But eventually the category exploded and soon there were a ton of different photo processing apps, from utilitarian to whimsical, that piqued my interest. I check that category from time to time for new apps to try. I think it’s pretty cool how people have come up with some genuinely creative photo apps for the iPhone.
I’ve posted before that I have a couple pet photo editing apps that I love to use on the iPhone — Photogene and Tiffen’s Photo fx. Photogene is more like a Photoshop-type editor, whereas Photo fx applies various filters to your picture. Cropping was recently added to Photo fx, so if all you need to do before applying some filters is to crop the picture, you can do it all within Photo fx. Anyway, the “problem” with this setup is that the iPhone’s camera is not as good as my favorite P&S — the LX3 — or my D90. The iPhone is fine for moblog snapshots, but if I want to upload pictures from my other cameras, I have to wait until I’m home, sift through the pictures on the card, copy over the ones I want to edit, edit them, add title, description, and tags, and then upload them. Or, do this on the go with my laptop and hope I can connect to a WiFi AP somewhere because I don’t yet have a MiFi or some other method to tether my laptop to a mobile broadband account.
Perhaps you already know where this is going: my ultimate wireless picture-taking and uploading setup would be to take pictures with my LX3, D90 or any other digital camera, then wirelessly transfer certain pictures to some mobile device that would allow me to edit the picture, add metadata, then upload it. Alternatively I could do the editing in-camera (both the LX3 and D90 seem to have some rather decent in-camera editing tools) and then just use the mobile device’s data connection to upload to Flickr or elsewhere. I envision a couple different scenarios to accomplish this:
1. A device like an Eye-Fi or some other dongle connected to the camera communicates with my iPhone and either lets me copy the picture over to edit on the iPhone, or I edit the picture beforehand in-camera. Then I use a photo uploader app on the iPhone to upload the picture to Flickr or wherever else via the iPhone’s 3G or WiFi connection. For the briefest of moments, I thought perhaps that was what Eye-Fi’s iPhone app was going to enable. How sorely disappointed I was when I found out it was basically an uploader like Flickit (my Flickr uploader of choice on the iPhone) for pictures taken with the iPhone. WHAT? *facepalm*
I understand that the Eye-Fi uploader could have been restricted by the iPhone’s SDK somehow, but it would’ve been awesome if Eye-Fi could’ve worked out a deal with Apple to implement the type of uploader I described. Can you imagine how many people would consider the iPhone if it could act as a mobile broadband gateway for any camera using an Eye-Fi card? What up, Eye-Fi? Apple?
2. A mobile device such as the mythical (but hopefully soon-to-be real?) Mac tablet would be even better than a smartphone in this situation because it could have more processing power and more screen real estate in case I want to do more “serious” editing for a particular shot. Then I could feasibly use Photoshop Elements or something else to do the editing and have the regular arsenal of tools at my disposal. The touchscreen on the tablet would be like a Wacom tablet, enabling easier manipulation of the editing software with your fingers.
Before anybody balks at me, I realize that it may be possible to do scenario number 2 with a camera, an Eye-Fi, a laptop or netbook (or UMPC if you go that way *smirk*), and a MiFi. I’m guessing that you would be able to set up the Eye-Fi to see and use the WiFi AP that the MiFi provides (if that’s what the MiFi does; I’m guessing). That’s all well and good, but as I’ve realized when I’ve carried my MacBook with me along with all my camera gear to the yearly visit to the Detroit auto show, carrying all this stuff is friggin’ heavy! A device smaller and lighter than my MacBook is preferred. As an aside, I actually tried to use my N810 in a very kludgy setup with an external hard drive and a card reader to be a photo bin and/or a mobile photo uploader. The setup never really worked, unfortunately, and it was too unwieldy with all of the cords and external devices to be useful in a mobile setting anyway.
I would probably feel differently if I had a netbook with enough horsepower to run a photo editing app like Photoshop Elements. That might be what I’m missing, along with the MiFi. But I still am holding out for a Mac tablet as my dream device to be my photo editor and upload gateway. It might not work as well as I planned if the Mac tablet ends up basically being a large-screened iPhone, running the embedded version of OS X. In that case, the photo editing apps might be limited to those already found on the iPhone. That’s okay for the most part, since I try not to do that much editing beyond cropping and a little bit of levels and shadow/highlight fixes. But I would love something like a slate tablet computer that can do full Photoshop Elements or Aperture, if we’re talking about the ideal scenario. I really liked editing photos in slate mode on my Tablet PC back in the day. But I am primarily an OS X user now, hence my wish for a Mac tablet. YMMV.
I picked on the Eye-Fi a bit in my post, but really this semi-gripe applies to any of the cameras out there that have built-in WiFi or use dongles for WiFi connectivity. Often these cameras are locked into specific online services as well, which make them even less useful for my personal workflow. They never end up simply being a camera that connect to a wireless AP on the fly and upload pictures to any site.
One last thing: an alternate or parallel scenario is for the iPhone or some other cameraphone to have a decent enough camera so that I don’t have to use a separate camera. However, given the technical restrictions on sensors and such, I don’t see any cameraphones in at least the next 2 or 3 years being as good as my LX3 or similar creative P&S with regards to low-light capability, fine detail, or depth of field, nor would they be as good as a DSLR. However, an iPhone with at least a 5 or 6 MP camera, autofocus, macro mode, and modest optical zoom would be a great moblogging device. I almost went with one of Sony Ericsson’s Cybershot models before I decided on the iPhone 3G because they are more like cameras with phones shoehorned into them. I really like SE’s cameraphones, and as I mentioned in a previous post, the Satio is a phone I’m keeping an eye on. But I’m so invested now in the iPhone and its apps (and iTunes) that it would take a pretty spectacular phone to pry me away from the iPhone family.
Caught thanks to the quick “burst” photos I can shoot with the iPhone 3G. Edited in Photogene and Photo fx before posting. Couldn’t do anything about the blown highlights, but fixed the contrast and color pretty well (at least it looks good on my small screen).
Just got back from a nice vacation out in the Seattle area. Luckily this weekend is a holiday weekend, so I have some extra time to recover.
So what’s with my post title? Its meaning is twofold:
1. I used several cameras during my vacation with wonderful results. Had a Nikon D80, Nikon F100, Nikon 35Ti, Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, Yashica T4 Super, Ricoh GX100, and a Polaroid SLR 680 SE, and an iPhone 3G. I used them all and got a fair number of keepers from each camera. Hopefully I can process a bunch of pictures and post them this weekend.
Each camera has characteristics that worked well in different situations, so there weren’t really any redundancies. I would possibly pare down my camera gear very slightly during my next vacation, but not by much. Perhaps leave the Ricoh GX100 and Yashica T4 Super behind next time…
2. Upon my return from vacation, I came across a couple exciting new cameras, both with HD video capabilities: the Nikon D90 and the Sony DSC-T500.
At one end of the spectrum, the D90 is the first DSLR to shoot video, 720p HD video to boot! There are some limitations, as I understand it, like not having the ability to auto-focus while shooting the video. However, given the flexibility of being able to shoot video with any lens, and being able to set the depth of field through aperture settings, I think having this video capability on the D90 is a great advantage. Imagine shooting wide-angle, fisheye video, or macro video just by switching the lens…very cool!
At the other end of the spectrum, the Sony DSC-T500 looks like a sweet, sleek, pocketable camera with a huge touchscreen LCD that can also shoot 720p HD video. You can shoot stills (not sure if you can shoot at full, 10MP resolution, though) and use optical zoom while you are shooting HD video, both rare features on P&S cams. I am not sure if the D90 can do that. The T500 also has optical stabilization, which is a welcome feature in a small P&S. It’s not a new feature; it’s just preferable to the other method of stabilization via forcing a higher ISO, which has become somewhat prevalent on recent P&S cams to save on manufacturing price.
Yes, the T500′s image quality will be somewhat hampered by the small sensor typical of pocket P&S cameras, but this would be a companion camera to my other cameras, digital or film, so I’m not so worried about the T500′s small sensor. Besides, I’ve shot wonderful pictures with my plastic Vivitar “toy camera”, so it’s really just a matter of knowing a camera’s advantages and limitations and shooting with them in mind.
Both of these cameras have really caught my attention; I’m eager to see them in person soon and give them both a test drive!
I would rather not deal with eBay when selling off my stuff, and Craigslist seems only slightly more appealing. So I’ll try putting a listing here. Forgive me for not having pictures of these items; I will try posting an update later so you can see the merchandise.
I’m selling my Nikon D50 and Nikon D70 bodies because I’d like upgrade to a D80, perhaps a D200 if I really want to stretch.
Price quotes (all prices do not include shipping):
Nikon D50 body only: $400
Nikon D70 body only: $450
Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens: $250
I have the original box for the D70, but I can’t find the box for the D50 right now. I also am not sure where the instruction manuals for these are, but the manual is downloadable as a PDF from Nikon for free. Both cameras will come with the original battery charger and a spare battery. I also have a Nikon ML-L3 wireless remote that I can include (buyer might need to change its battery) with one or the other; I only have one.
Both cameras are in great shape, clean with no major scratches or damage. There are scratches on the plastic LCD protector on the D70, but it’s still quite usable, and removable if you like. I lost the rubber cover for the USB port on the D70, but this doesn’t affect the operation at all. I shot a lot more with the D70, as the D50 was originally the hubby’s DSLR. He didn’t shoot with the D50 nearly as much as I shot with the D70.
I will accept PayPal, money order, or cashier’s check. Please allow time for the MO or check to clear before expecting shipment. I prefer shipping via USPS, but will do UPS or FedEx if buyer prefers. Feel free to check out my feedback on eBay if you’re worried about my credibility; my eBay ID is jezlyn (I’ve only bought stuff on eBay, not sold, FYI).
Please comment here if you have any questions, and I’ll get back to you in e-mail.
Yesterday was my first day out with my new Sony H9. Got to walk around the Chicago Botanic Garden, which I hadn’t been to in quite a while. The trip was a bit short due to a bit of a late arrival and a hubby that didn’t feel 100%, but I think I got some decent “test shots”.
Here’s one of my faves from the batch. The rest are at Flickr.
Because I started doing the Project 365 photo-taking activity, I wanted a small, decent point and shoot camera that I could try to carry with me everywhere I go, so I can take pictures more often. I was not that happy with the performance of the point and shoot I had, even though it had some cool features, so I went researching about other cameras. Originally I was going to try and buy a used Sony DSC-V3 from eBay since it has many of the same features as my beloved Sony DSC-F717, most notably NightShot. Actually, before that, I had my eye on the DSC-828, the follow up to the 717, and while I still want to own one some day, I refocused my thoughts on a smaller camera that would be a lot easier to stash in my everyday bag.
Then I started researching Nikon cameras, since I have a Nikon D70 DSLR. That resulted in me wanting a Nikon Coolpix 8400, an older prosumer-level camera with a “wide zoom” lens that starts at 28mm at the wide end. That’s a nice feature, especially when taking group shots, so that you don’t have to stand so far away from the group to get everyone into the frame. This camera sounded really good, and it had a lot of features I wanted, including a swivel LCD for ease of composition using wacky angles. Unfortunately, this camera was harder to find than the older Sonys on eBay.
More researching on where to find the Nikon 8400 led me to threads about a newer Coolpix with a split, swivel body, called the S10. Even though it doesn’t have manual controls, it had other interesting features besides the swivel body (first introduced on Nikon’s Coolpix 990, IIRC): 10x optical zoom, Vibration Reduction (key for telezoom cameras), very good macro mode, and decent picture quality at higher ISO (even ISO 800 seems usable for resized gallery shots on the web, if not for prints larger than 4″ x 6″). It’s not pocketable, but it’s small enough for me. Its size does have a couple advantages. One is the large 2″ (2.5″?) LCD on the back for composing shots, and the other is enough bulk to help with gripping the camera steady. Cameras that are too small lead often lead to shots blurred by camera shake because the person couldn’t hold the camera properly.
I tried to find picture galleries of photo taken with the S10 in different situations, but there aren’t many out there. I think I’m doomed to like cameras, gadgets, music, etc. that are outside of the mainstream… *sigh* I normally don’t care about whether something’s mainstream, but when you’re looking for discussion forums and/or photo galleries, there have to be other people around who have used the same camera/gadget/whatever!
Anyway, I finally pulled the trigger and bought one last night so that I could use it in conjunction with my D70 at the Detroit auto show. Tried it out, shooting various pictures around the house, and I like what I see! Like most point and shoots it has issues in indoor, low-light scenes, even with the help of VR, but if I up the ISO to 100 or 200 (adds noise, but not too much, IMO), the shutter speeds are quick enough for handheld shots. My other point and shoot camera was simply not good indoors at ISO speeds above its lowest setting, even in fairly well-lit rooms (i.e. during Christmas gift exchanges). I am going to be playing around with it over the weekend while we’re at the car show, and hopefully I’ll have lots of good pics to post soon.
I stumbled across a headline on Daily Rotation about the article on Photosynth from Ars Technica when I was exploring different web-based RSS aggregators from this mega-list by Allyn Edmonds. I had gotten to Allyn’s site from PaulStamatiou.com, which I originally visited because he had commented on a Download Squad post about this OS X program launcher app called Todos.
Anyway, I really wanted to comment on the Photosynth program. It’s a cool application that can analyze a bunch of pictures of an area and create a 3D representation from all of those pictures. It sounds just like creating a 360-degree, virtual reality Quicktime movie from a bunch of your own pictures, but of course it’s more than just stitching all of the pictures together. And the pictures can be from all over the web, not just your own pictures on your hard drive. Just take a look at this short demo video to really get a feel for what this program can do; it’s pretty impressive, IMO.