4072 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010
The Lumix LF-1.
Same sensor as the LX-7, but with a longer (7x), slower lens (f.2.0 still good, though)... good trade-off for many people. The WiFi could be handy for quickly getting images back to Reg HQ in a hurry. It has a little electronic viewfinder, said to be handy to get you out of a jam on a sunny day. And it can be had fairly cheaply, for just over £250.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is a surprisingly well-realised premium compact camera, offering excellent still image and video quality complete with RAW support, built-in wireless and NFC connectivity, fast burst shooting, a longer lens than the main competition, and that rarest of things, an electronic viewfinder.
Re: A step backwards
Fair shout! Thanks for the clarification.
On the subject of distinguishing background from foreground, our two eyes do this all the time stereoscopically (actually, make that most of the time, since I don't seem to be completely immune from hitting my head on low tree branches in a forest). It might be the desire to accentuate background blurring in two-dimensional images is an attempt to make up the absent information our eyes would perceive in a three-dimensional scene.
Occasionally, when scrolling through my library of photos, I will skip between two photos that were taken in quick succession but with a slight shift in camera position. This seems to cause my brain too interpret the images as more '3D', and 'pops' the people out from the background.
There have been stereoscopic cameras sold, as well as the Lytro camera which can achieve the same but by different means, but of course viewing the resulting images is often more faff than it is worth.
Re: A little bigger
The FZ series are very good for what they are intended to do- flexibility from macro to 24+ X zoom. To achieve the same with a DSLR would require several lenses.
However, the trade-off for this zoom flexibility with a lens that doesn't break your back is a fairly small sensor- which is fine for daylight shots.
The LX series - or Canon S95+, Sony RX100 - are better suited to indoor shots of conferences, or of new gizmos at trade shows.
It is possible to pick up a micro 4/3rds camera(Olympus PEN, Panasonic G) for a bargain price form time to time, but to get the same compact size you'd want a fixed-zoom 'pancake' lens. This will give you a wide angle for indoor shots,. and good low-light performance too.
You might also want to look at a Sony NEX series camera with a similar 'pancake' lens. They seem to differ on their approach to the UI - some of the NEX are all touchscreen-driven, some boast more physical controls. The first generation were considered an enigma, since they cost a lot yet seemed aimed at people who just wanted to push the shutter button.
There is also the Canon G1 X (not to be confused with the rest of the G series) which can be had for around £350... http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong1x/19 Its shortcomings - slow continuous shooting, slow AF - might not be an issue for the types of shots that Reg hacks need to take.
Re: Erm, surprised Mr O didn't mention this already
The 3rd party sample shots from the original PureView in low light against the Olympus Pen-1 and the LX-5 were very impressive.
>* Wide is more important than Zoom.
>* Aperture is more important than megapixels
>* Speed-to-shot is also very important.
LX-7: 24mm equivalent, f 1.4, quick to shoot if you turn it on as you remove it from your pocket.
Re: You need a viewfinder
>1 You need a viewfinder. And not a sticky up clip on one. Trying to get a shot with the sun on a screen is hopeless.
Er, how many many Reg photos are taken in bright sunshine?
If you don't want a 'sticky up clip on [viewfinder]', then you're either looking at a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera with a bulky prism box, or a dual-lens set up that is tricky to use for macro shots (and also bulky and expensive).
There is a variant of the LX-5 with integral viewfinder and WiFi, but I haven't heard much about it.
Re: A step backwards
>A few replies and we can already see "real bokeh" being discussed. Arty farty nonsense dreamt up by people who want to sell the emperor a new set of clothes.
No, it's simply a matter of separating the subject from the background, to draw attention to the actual subject of the photograph. True, it is often overused, but the concept is craftsmanlike, not arty-farty.
Re: One page manual?
@Steve Todd - we weren't talking about Travel Zoom cameras. The Canon s100, Lumix LX-5 and Sony RX100 have around 4x zooms. They are nothing like TZ cameras in low light.
Re: One page manual?
You can't seriously compare a cellphone camera to a high-end compact from Panasonic, Canon, or Sony. There will always be trade-offs between size, image quality, low light performance, weather-proofing and zoom range... so drawing an arbitrary line in the sand against just one of those factors won't help in choosing the best tool for the job.
Anyway, I'm sure the Reg staff know which websites provide real-life sample images and controlled studio shots for almost every camera released.
Re: One page manual?
A criterion was: Non-interchangeable zoom lens.
There have been some very nice 'premium compact' cameras released in the last few years, because vendors have realised that not everybody wants to lug a dslr around with them.
This is a website that has 700x600 pictures of new products and IT conventions, so why are you specifying cameras for producing A3 prints?
That is real blurring - it has a f 1.4 lens against a 1/1.7-inch 10 megapixel sensor. It isn't extreme bokeh, but it certainly softens the background enough to emphasize the foreground subject.
I wouldn't use any in-camera trickery - that is what Photoshop is for.
The sensor isn't huge, but it's a lot bigger than that found in travel-zoom or bridge cameras.
Re: Panasonix Lumix LX series
Agreed, very pocketable, fast, can always get a usable picture in low light without a flash. The LX-7 is faster than its predecessors, has less noise at higher ISOs, the lens is now f 1.4, and they have added a dedicated manual focus physical control.
It is available for quite a bit less money than the Sony RX100.
I often carry mine in the inside pocket of my jacket, and forget that it is there until I want it.
For very quick use, you need to get a £5 Chinese version of the 'Ricoh' automatic lens cap, though do be careful of dust.
Re: search for the holy grail continues
The D Lux 3 is effectively the Lumix LX-3. I've had the Lumix LX-5 and the LX-7... and the LX-7 is so much faster in operation than the 5.
(there is no LX-4 or 6.... quadraphobia)
Re: One page manual?
>Forget the fixed compact cameras, their sensors are small and their lenses compromised by the large zoom range that marketing wants them to have.
That's true of most compacts, but not all. The Sony RX100 has a bigger sensor, as does the Fujifilm X10. The aforementioned Canon S110 and Lumic LX-5 are reasonable low-light performers - much better than the 'Travel-Zoom' class of compacts.
If we are confining ourselves to 'jacket pocket' cameras, then yeah, you can put a 'pancake' fixed-zoom lens on a micro 4/3rds camera (or other EVIL camera), but then you wouldn't have the 4x zoom flexibility that a fixed lens 'premium compact' will offer you.
Re: Panasonic TZs
Yeah, the bellows effect... the lens barrel loves to suck dust in.
The only company who actively boast about the dust seals on their compact cameras, as far as I know, are Ricoh.
A £6 'Lens Pen' accessory - retractable brush on one end, carbon cleaning tip on the other - is a must have for almost any camera.
>Everything but beer proof,
You can get fully-waterproof enclosures for the Panasonic LX series, but they add so much to the bulk and price that they wouldn't satisfy the Reg's criteria.
That said, the Panasonic LX-7 can be had for around £250 - £300, whereas the Sony RX100 is north of £400.
The LX-7 is faster in every way than the LX-5, and the widest aperture is now f 1.4. It is possible to blur the background of portrait shots even when using a little bit of zoom. The wide angle is handy for indoor shots of, say, conferences etc.
Yep, the Sony RX100 is the pocket camera to beat at the moment.
Sony do use the same sensor and lens of the RX100 to make that weird 'module that clip onto your phone' device, the QX100, but reviews suggest that the concept is not implemented perfectly.
The PowerShot 95, 100, 110 etc series would once have been a top pick (along with the Panasonic LX 5 or 7) for a 'jacket pocket' camera with reasonable low-light capabilities, but has now been eclipsed by the Sony RX100.
In non-interchangeable lens cameras ('premium compacts') there tends to be a trade off against zoom range and low-light capabilities, in part due to the fact that a larger sensor requires more glass in front of it.
Re: @M Gale
> Almost no record decks made in the last 30 years can even play at 78 RPM.
Record it at 45 onto a computer and fiddle it up to 78 equivalent. Copy to mp3 player. Put LP back in sleeve and place on shelf. Create eBay seller account... etc
And earlier recording studios had a listening room with speakers on a par with those found in pocket radios... after all, if the track doesn't sound good over the airwaves to the punter at home, he isn't going to buy the record!
I have an album on both vinyl and CD... the vinyl sounds much better, the bass is better defined. However, I didn't realise until recently how much fiddling had to be done by engineers prior to pressing vinyl, without which the larger bass-frequency grooves would drastically reduce the playing time of the LP.
I prefer the sound in this instance, but it is an artefact of people working within a technical limitation. Pure it isn't.
My personal ideal situation would be for music to be available in an uncompressed (audio-wise, not bitrate) neutral format, and any volume equalisation etc to be left as an option on the users playback device.
Dang! Only the other day I queued up some CD-ripped tracks on an MP3 player, only to remember that one of them contained 12 minutes of silence followed by some noise... the fashion in the 90s was to have 'secret' tracks at the end of CDs. This was the last track of 'Padlocked Tonic' by Parlour Talk, but there was a Nirvana CD album that did the same.
These vinyl tricks sound much more fun.
What was that? Play it backwards whilst watching Alice in Wonderland and consuming mind altering chemicals, and you might just hear a secret message?
Re: This rumour is wrong
>The combined revenue from Pandora, Spotify, Beats etc streaming is only half that of iTunes.
Currently. But the trends suggest that they are on the up, and purchasing music is on the decline.
Re: Isn't Beats Audio just a funky way of saying...
>Oi Apple, an iscsi initiator would be far more useful.
Forgive my ignorance, but can't you already use external DACs with iDevices, just as you can with more recent Android devices? I've even heard of people using iPads with external DACs to play back native 192Khz 24bit FLAC files. Why's an eyescuzzy thingy needed?
Re: Isn't Beats Audio just a funky way of saying...
>Far too much bass ruins the music I listen to but then again it could be good for other genres. For me, you can't beat a pair of £50 Sennheiser headphones.
Interestingly, Phillips have taken advantage of there being too many 'Mega! Extreme! Bass!' headphones on the market, by actively promoting some of their wares as having a "natural sound". In addition, they have further sought to differentiate themselves by calling their line 'Indy', suggesting a musical genre removed from bass-heavy genres like dance and hip hop music, and by incorporating design cues such as denim into the headbands.
Still yeah, if in doubt buy some Sennheisers at whatever price point you can afford.
Re: Listening to beets would sound better
Sennheiser don't have a music streaming division, last I checked.
Re: That's what you do
>That's what you do when you don't really have a product development strategy - and Apple does not appear to have one.
I'd have thought that keeping your powder dry and waiting for the correct time to release a product in a new category is a better strategy than just releasing a product for the sake of it.
iPods required Hitachi to make 1.8" HDDs first, in order to achieve a 'cigarette packet' size. iPhones required a threshold level of CPU/GPU and battery performance. iPads sold more units than Windows XP Tablet Edition machines, in part because they were lighter and the consumers were already familiar with multi-touch UIs on phones. None of these Apple devices were the first devices of their kind, but each was successful, profit wise.
It isn't always a bad strategy to let other companies make the first attempts to create a new category, and to learn lessons from their failures and successes.
However, in this case Spotify and others have benefited from being ahead of Apple on the music streaming front. Apple did well to negotiate with music publishers at the birth of their iTunes store (tempted publishers in with DRM, which Apple then dropped when they had enough industry clout), but now it looks like they might be thinking of buying their way in to streaming instead.
Re: For what?
A music streaming service, because streaming is up and digital music sales are down.
Re: Isn't Beats Audio just a funky way of saying...
>Actually, HP's original touchpad has excellent sound - knocks the spots of most laptops. I don't know if that was Dre-influenced.
It's simpler than that - there is no point in adding a few dollars to the cost (not to mention weight and bulk that could be used for a bigger battery or better cooling or whatever) of making a laptop sound better than average if you then have no way of advertising that to consumers. Audio quality is hard to express in numbers (like you would CPU speed, RAM size etc) so a degree of 'badge engineering' is the way to go.
Apple have done it with Harmon Kardon in the past, others have done it with Bang and Olufsen.
Obviously businessman Dre wouldn't want his company's name on a laptop that sounded rubbish, so the people he employs to protect his business interests are only going to sign off on it if the machine sounds better than average. How this is achieved doesn't really matter.
Okay, so B&O do have experience of making some good compact Class D amplifiers, but a better than average audio system could also have been sourced from some other manufacturers who don't have the same brand presence. Having a B&O sticker on the laptop helps gets the message across on the sales floor.
Re: Just as dumb as Google buying Nest for the same $3.2 billion
>It is always cheaper to license technology or hire the people who developed it
Umm, I'm not sure that Beats headphones have any exclusive technology - they are mediocre headphones sold at a large mark-up, which is why Beats command a large fraction of the profits in the headphone sector. Nor is the style and image of Beats hardware a natural fit for Apple... and in any case, this image can't be relied upon to be in vogue indefinitely, oh capricious fashion!
Apple wouldn't be doing it for the headphones, but for the music streaming service Beats already has in place. As an Apple shareholder, you'll be aware that music streaming is eating into iTunes music sales.
Re: Overpriced, over-rated and over-valued...
>over-rated and over-valued also describes a lot of opinions.
Situation normal, then!
But yeah. The Bloomberg report - and the rest of the internet - places far more emphasis on the music streaming side of Beats' business. To comment on the headphones (which aren't great but are very profitable) is to miss the point. It's not hard to grok (if you read before you comment):
People are buying less music each year and are streaming it instead. Apple's attempts to launch streaming services haven't been as successful. Spotify and Beats et al are eating Apple's iTunes lunch. Apple need in.
Whether or not this foot in the door is worth 3 beeellion dollars, I have no idea, but some 'badge engineering' certainly isn't.
Reminds me of the man who covered his genitals in duct tape, at a time when Tom Ridge, the US Director of Homeland Security, suggested windows and doors be sealed against terrorist attacks. This bloke's reasoning was that after a terrorist attack, he would have to help repopulate the US, so he thought it prudent to cover his family jewels in duct tape for the duration of the 'Amber Alert'.
Unfortunately, when he tried to remove it a week later hair and skin came with it. To add to his woes, medical staff kept laughing at him, 'causing him psychological distress'. He then announced his intention to sue Tom Ridge for 'giving him bad advice', and George W Bush for employing Mr Ridge in the first place.
- I wish I could find a source online, but I read it in Private Eye's 'Funny Old World' section some years back.
Re: Can we have a little sanity here?
>really tick me off when they release their reviews days before the film even opens.
Er, isn't it the reviewer's job to give an idea of whether a film is worth spending £10 and 2 hours on watching?
Simply, there are not enough hours in the day for me to 'make up my own mind' about every film that is made from around the world.
Generally, films that are withheld from critics by the studios before general release are dreadful.
Re: My worst fear about the new SW movie
> it's going to be discussed, dissected, leaked, pulled apart, trailed, marketed, and interviewed to death
I liked Peter Jackson's sense of humour - during one of his 'Making of The Hobbit' video diaries, he opens a desk draw to reach for something, revealing a folder marked 'Star Wars Episode VII script'. Most internet pudits assumed it was a wind-up!
>There's nothing stopping HTC or Samsung from developing their own Android branch.
There isn't a hard barrier preventing Samsung et al forking Android, but there are some hurdles:
1. The Google Play app store. If you fork Android, you can't use the Google app store.
2. Google Play Services libraries. Again, you can't use these if you fork Android. They are Google's propriety code, for things like location and in-app purchases. Google have been actively persuading 3rd party app developers to use these proprietary libraries.
3. If you fork Android you can't use the Gmail Client, Google Translate, Google Calendar and Google Maps apps, amongst others. You might note that these are the very apps that Samsung has its own equivalents for - hence the apparent duplication of functionality on Galaxy devices.
4. If a hardware vendor releases a device with an Android fork, Google prohibit it from also releasing a Google Android device. i.e, hardware makers can't hedge their bets in this regard, or dip a toe in a forked pool.
The above points indicate why Samsung have duplicate apps, and why Amazon had to reach out to a obscure manufacturer for their forked Android tablets.
Android hardware makers could cooperate on making a fork, but that wouldn't give them an advantage other each other, either.
Please amend article with a NSFA note
Not Suitable For Anywhere
>Why not just patent a method to determine what the use wants to do and give them suggestions or options relating to just that.
You mean like the 'Macbook Wheel', with its 'predictive sentence technology'? The MBW was exclusively unveiled by The Onion a few years back.
>Yo and I might consider them a scam, but what defines that? The post office do the same thing, they will charge you to apply for an EHIC card because they also offer a "check and send service" the same as these companies.
The Post Office charge a modest fee for their trained staff to VALIDATE (not VERIFY) your passport application as you wait, so that obvious errors (unfilled fields, signitures beyond the boundry box, you resemble your photo etc) don't result in a delay of several days.
You are comparing that to Web Form Vs Web Form + £20?
>Your problem is you are labelling something as a scam, simply because you see no value in it, and wouldn't use it personally.
Ditto. And... I have a problem?
You're right, Google takes money from people who wish to scam the general public. Take this example, where I searched Google for EHIC. This is a card it is prudent for me to have when travelling to EU countries other than my own, since it represents a reciprocal healthcare agreement between EU member states. It is free of charge from the UK government. The first three results are:
The European Health Insurance Card has replaced E111. Apply Online.
This is effectively a scam, since they will try and charge me £20 for applying for the free EHIC card on my behalf.
Apply for a free EHIC card - Healthcare abroad - NHS Choices
This result might be legitimate, but I can't tell from the Google page, since the address is truncated.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
This site is legitmate, but a lay user might find it simpler to tell if it ended with .gov.uk
* * *
Scam sites similar to the first result exist for other UK Gov services, such as passports and driving licenses.
Of course, user education is a part of the solution... perhaps by including a clear and simple message on all Government letters about .gov.uk sites.
Another part of the solution would to tell Google that if they wish to operate in the UK they shouldn't be complicit in scamming UK citizens. The government's role is, in part, to play shepherd against the wolves of free enterprise.
Re: Why is Hawking bloviating on AI this and that?
>Why is Hawking bloviating on AI this and that? I can't remember him doing much research in that arena.
Well, Hawking's collaborator on black holes, Roger Penrose, is known for writing 'The Emperor's New Mind', in which he 'presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer. Penrose hypothesizes that quantum mechanics plays an essential role in the understanding of human consciousness. The collapse of the quantum wavefunction is seen as playing an important role in brain function.
The majority of the book is spent reviewing, for the scientifically minded layreader, a plethora of interrelated subjects such as Newtonian physics, special and general relativity, the philosophy and limitations of mathematics, quantum physics, cosmology, and the nature of time. Penrose intermittently describes how each of these bears on his developing theme: that consciousness is not "algorithmic"'
The areas in bold are very much up Hawking's street.
Re: The molten metal doesn't chase the wax out
If you carve a shape from, for example, clay, and then create a mold around it, you are faced with the problem of how to remove the clay from the mold before replacing it with molten metal. This limits the geometry somewhat, since you can't have undercuts, and you'll need a minimum draft angle.
If you use wax you can melt it out of the mold, leaving a complex cavity to be filled with molten aluminium/gold/silver/titanium etc. The mold is then destroyed to 'liberate' the desired metal shape.
You can also use polystyrene in place of wax.
Re: cheesiest, least credible (or is that edible), cheesy actors
In the brilliant series 'Community', an aspy film student is asked by his lecturer the question: "Nicholas Cage: Bad or Good?"
The student, after days of analysing the question, has something approaching a nervous breakdown.
Since the printed shape is made of wax, it can be licked with a flame to smooth the layering artefacts of the printing process. Cute.
Oh well. Would you tell that to the scaffolders who drink in your local?
No, I didn't think so.
>Because we need something else to charge every 7 hours....
The Casio G-Shock BLE connected wristwatch has an estimated battery life of two years, based on being connected to a phone for 12 hours a day. Compared to the ten year battery life of a normal G-Shock watch it is on the low side, but still...
You have to trade features against battery life.
I wear a watch. I can see the time at a glance, without having to fumble in a pocket for my phone. With a twist of the bezel, I can set a reminder of a time (for cooking times, parking tickets etc) in one natural movement.... to accomplish the same on a phone takes a bit of fumbling, prodding, stroking, and returning it to my pocket.
There are a lot of functions that could be incorporated into a watch without it looking ugly or 'geek-chic' like a Pebble.
Even a single RGB LED unit can tell you whether an incoming call is coming from a someone you want to talk to or not, for example.
Being able to silence a phone by a double tap to your wrist would be desirable.
Being able to locate a phone in a similar way would be useful.
If you are only imagining a smartwatch as being like a mini phone on your wrist (a la Samsung Gear), then I can't blame you for being indifferent to the idea. However, if you break down the interactions you have with technology and perform a time-and-motion analysis, you might find that there is room for improvement.
Re: solid state wiping
Not an electron microscope, but a magnetic head with greater resolution than that which normaly lives in the drive. The drive is dismantled into individual platters before hand.
Which is why you don't use zeroes. Instead you use randomn data, and several passes at that. Nuke n Boot does this, and OSX has an option to do the same to user-erased data on the fly. Of course this incurs a performance penalty.
I'm sure there have been some papers published on recovering data from solid state storage.
Re: And yet no advantage for the common user
>Encryption is fairly useless unless you have control over the hardware that encrypts.
Useless to the common user? No it isn't. Most users aren't in fear of well funded agencies. What is a threat to them is losing their phone and have a criminal access their on-line accounts, or else a mate access their nudey pictures.
Re: As a matter of interest ....
>So what's the fastest processor you can currently get that runs at 20W?
Probably some Intel ULV laptop part, but that is missing the point. Depending upon the task, you might be better off spending that 20W on a GPU or an ASIC.
The same is true here - these researchers are looking at how to make a system that does well at tasks humans find easier than traditional computers.
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