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!
Yesterday I said that Apple was going to come out with an iPod with touchscreen similar to the iPhone, but that if it had WiFi, they wouldn’t allow you to surf over it. Well, I’m completely wrong. Today they announced the iPod touch, which is essentially an iPhone without the phone part that many people were clamoring for. I actually can’t believe that Apple did it. They’re not known to make devices that people ask for, rather they make a device and make you want it. I thought they would limit WiFi usage somehow so that the iPhone is still their “high-end” offering. Perhaps they know that they’d get a lot more sales of an iPhone-like device without the phone, and are using the touch to make up for a slow down in iPhone sales? Or they’re just making sure all bases are covered by offering the iPod touch to users (like me) who really didn’t want to move over to AT&T? Whatever the reason, I’m very glad they made the iPod touch. In fact, I pre-ordered the iPod touch today. This is the first time I ordered a device online on the day of the announcement.
If you’re not as interested in the iPod touch, the rest of the iPod line got a nice refresh/update. The “regular” iPods are now called iPod classics. They got a bump in capacity up to 160GB, which is awesome. They also have a new metal casing, which I think looks pretty sleek.
The rumor of the “fat” iPod nanos turned out to be true! Luckily the devices do not look ugly. They have a bigger screen, video and game capabilities, and they have an upgraded UI like the iPod classic does. It seems both iPod classic and nano are running the normal iPod OS, but with different menus/display modes, while the iPod touch is running OS X. Don’t quote me on that, though. The nanos are also amazingly thin. I am a little wary about how fragile they could be in a pocket.
The shuffles are essentially the same, but there are 5 new colors. And one of them is purple! Purple is my favorite color, for those of you who don’t know. There aren’t many purple gadgets out there, so I may pick up a purple shuffle just because. Oh yeah, there’s also a Product(RED) edition of the shuffle and the nano.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the iPod touch and iPhone will get 3rd-party apps. If they do, they could be very close to becoming the Newton’s successors. As it stands, it looks like the iPod touch will have basic calendar and contact syncing. Combined with Gmail and Google Docs, the iPod touch could be a decent PDA-like device, or multimedia computer to compete with devices like the N95.
So now we have Leopard to look forward to sometime in October (hopefully), and perhaps around that same time, some MacBook or MacBook Pro refreshes will also be available. Still holding out for my ultra-portable MacBook with the 10″ screen… Very fun stuff for Apple enthusiasts.
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