* Posts by Dave 126

4340 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

Graphics pros left hanging as Adobe Creative Cloud outage nears 24 hours

Dave 126
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Re: A storm in a tea cup

>> "I love that I can pay £28 monthly"

>They have you well trained...

All other issues (reliability etc) aside, £28 per month makes it possible to just use the software for one job if you don't use it all the time (product designers, for example, might only have use for it at certain stages of a project); It is more manageable than an initial outlay of £hundreds.

>> "GIMP"

>Yup.

Right up to the point that you want to manipulate EXR or other HDR files for environment lighting maps. Or use use free transform to quickly mock-up a three-quarter view packaging design. If you are chasing a deadline, these niggles are worth spending a quid a day to avoid.

You might find that the GIMP fulfills your needs 95% of the time, until you require a feature it lacks. At which point, being able to rent Photoshop by the month becomes attractive.

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Dave 126
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>But although Adobe is adept at creating industry-leading creative software...

If they had some competition, they might sort out their software for high DPI displays on Windows. There has been a fair few high DPI laptops arrive on the market in the last year, but no reviewer will recommend them until 3rd party software behaves itself.

I'm only picking on Adobe because one would have thought that people working on photographs would be the first to adopt high res displays. FFS, even niche software like Solidworks allows the user to select 'large icons' as an option.

This application [Photoshop Elements] is the worst example of usability on a High DPI system that I’ve seen. Adobe has even replaced the file menu with a custom UI, meaning every single element of this application doesn’t scale at all.

The biggest travesty of Adobe applications not scaling is that their intended market is often media professionals, who are frequently early adopters of things like 4k displays and ultra-high resolution laptops

- http://www.anandtech.com/show/7939/scaling-windows-the-dpi-arms-race/4

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Chap rebuilds BBC Micro in JavaScript

Dave 126
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Re: Elite

People seem to have enjoyed success with using Xbox 360 controllers with Oolite in some Linux distributions.

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Game of Thrones written on brutal medieval word processor and OS

Dave 126
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Re: backups

Hardcopy?

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Dave 126
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Re: Wrong Software?

If he were working alone, then yeah, he might want some software to assist him in keeping track of the biographies of his characters etc, for the sake of continuity. But he isn't, he employs an assistant - a 'super fan' - to help with that sort of thing.

It is almost a cliché that fans of an imagined world are more likely to spot plot inconsistencies than its actual author, so it seems a sensible division of labour.

There is every chance that uses squid juice on dead tree to write notes, too.

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Dave 126
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Re: protestant and catholic (dos and mac)

That Umberto Eco piece is excellent! An excerpt, the bold emphasis is mine:

Friends, Italians, countrymen, I ask that a Committee for Public Health be set up, whose task would be to censor (by violent means, if necessary) discussion of the following topics in the Italian press. Each censored topic is followed by an alternative in brackets which is just as futile, but rich with the potential for polemic. Whether Joyce is boring (whether reading Thomas Mann gives one erections). Whether Heidegger is responsible for the crisis of the Left (whether Ariosto provoked the revocation of the Edict of Nantes). Whether semiotics has blurred the difference between Walt Disney and Dante (whether De Agostini does the right thing in putting Vimercate and the Sahara in the same atlas). Whether Italy boycotted quantum physics (whether France plots against the subjunctive). Whether new technologies kill books and cinemas (whether zeppelins made bicycles redundant). Whether computers kill inspiration (whether fountain pens are Protestant)...

....I asked above whether fountain pens were Protestant. Insufficient consideration has been given to the new underground religious war which is modifying the modern world. It's an old idea of mine, but I find that whenever I tell people about it they immediately agree with me.

The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits.

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Dave 126
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Re: WYSIWYG is the problem

For just entering and reviewing text, you only want a good keyboard and an uncluttered display. If I had only to transcribe my imagination into text, I would be happy with GRRM's setup. Internet is a distraction.

Does Wordstar have an 'autosave' feature'? I would just have to get back into the habit of using a keyboard shortcut at the end of every paragraph.

Though I do rather like the 'document map' feature in Word, I understand that GRRM employs a super fan to help with character continuity and the like.

The author Will Self uses a typewriter. He explained that if he were the write "A maroon car sped by..." he won't be tempted to waste time by popping back to make it a "burgundy car", as he might if he were using a word-processor. He doesn't need a UPS or autosave feature, he can't accidentally save an edited version over an original etc... True, he might lose his draft in the case of a house fire or burglary, but these events are rarer than a BSOD or a file management error on the part of the user.

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How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

Dave 126
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Re: Benford...

You might be thinking of the use of PKZip to compare many works, X, from a known author- say all of a student's past essays - with a piece of text of dubious authenticity, Y.

You Zip X, and then Zip X+Y. If the second Zip file is a fair larger than the first, you might be dealing with a case of plagiarism.

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The weird and wonderful mind of H.R Giger is no more

Dave 126
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Re: unique

To clarify Destroy All Monsters's point, Giger's use of the airbrush (usually used for rendering shiny shiny new things like cars in advertising) lent the images a photo-realistic appearance. The security guards assumed the images had to be photographs.

Giger was puzzled as to where he was supposed to have taken such photographs.

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Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

Dave 126
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Re: Pono Player

@IAS

You raise a good point about the shape allowing it to be used easily on a desk. However, this image of the internals suggests it could be made slightly more pocket-friendly:

http://www.digitaltrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/pono-player-internal-components.jpg

>I can probably get a Moto G or cheap Nokia Lumia for £100 - and put a 128GB SD card in that.

For large audio files, or for lots of normal audio files? A word to the wise: They can't play back 192Khz FLAC files natively (though the LG G2 can). If you want a 128GB card in order to have tens of thousands of normal audio tracks, you might want to read up on Android file limits and FAT formatting etc before you make any purchases. Just in case there's a niggly issue.

If you want 128GB for losslessly-compressed CD-rips, ignore me!

You might also consider a spefic version of an older Samsung Galaxy model from eBay, since they are said to have Wolfson DACs. Apparently.

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Dave 126
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Re: A fool and his money are easily parted.

>The problem is that we found spoofs then people wanted to buy them!

Shirley that is not a problem but an opportunity?

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Apple poaches Nokia photo guru Ari Partinen from Microsoft

Dave 126
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>That [Nokia's cameras are considered to be the best in the business, whereas Apple's aren't] simply isn't the case.

You then cite a camera testing website which actually supports the statement you disagree with:

In summary then, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is one of the best camera phones for stills, but its video performance could be improved which lowers the overall ranking to fourth place.

In fact, under low light conditions the Lumia 1020 outperforms rivals, producing still images with low noise and detail preservation that are simply the best we’ve ever seen from a smartphone.

But hey, its a Monday morning, try another coffee!

I haven't down-voted you, because you made an effort to cite a source for your assertion.

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Get BENT: Flexy supercapacitor breaks records

Dave 126
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Re: 6.3 microwatt-hours per cubic mm

There may be some merit in using a super cap in conjunction with a Li-Ion battery. The super cap can smooth out the peak demands on the battery, and itself be recharged when the device is idle.

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Dave 126
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Re: Woven carbon-graphene shorts ...

Like the man who urinated on a faulty lamppost in Bristol many years ago, and needed reconstructive surgery. Poor chap. By all accounts he was a nice guy, but accident prone.

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Vinyl-fetish hipsters might just have a point

Dave 126
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>These days there is an EU-enforced limit on the volume of anything you can plug headphones into (which some manufacturers have a magic-hack way around).

Set the region to 'Rest of the world', usually. Works on my Sansa Clip. Tried it on a Sony and it reduced the range of frequencies the FM radio could tune in to, and it couldn't be reset.

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Dave 126
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Re: But in fairness..

>True, dat!

You just had to bring DAT into this thread, didn't you?

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Dave 126
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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

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Dave 126
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Re: Speakers...

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!

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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?

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$3.2bn Apple deal would make hip-hop mogul Dr Dre a BEEELLLIONAIRE

Dave 126
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Re: DT770 vs DT150?

>Nothing sold as a "gaming headset" is ever going to sound as good as high-quality studio/monitor headphones from Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, AKG etc.

If you ask the other person in the room, they might say the closed-back gaming headphones are lovely and silent, whereas the open-backed monitor 'phones sound annoying!

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Dave 126
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Re: That's what you do

>You would think Apple would move into home automation or multi-room sound

When Android mobe makers LG and Samsung make fridges, air conditioners and the like... hmmm. But maybe. After all, they have sold 4" and 10" control surfaces to lots of people.

Multi-room sound. The little Apple Airports have featured a 3.5mm audio out for years. I don't know how well they work (e.g speakers in sync between rooms?), but it seems a 'good enough' solution for some.

>For Apple to release new products or branch out from their current catalog would be just atrociously bad business.

Respectfully Don, isn't that what they did with the iPod, iTunes and iPhone?

>The longer a product is produced the more its margins increase.

Yeah, all things being equal. But you usually have to drop the price after a while in order to meet the competition.

There was an interesting radio discussion the other day about how competition is supposed to reward efficiencies, so that the end game is that nobody makes any profits (as people suggest when thy talk about 'commodity phone makers'). The summary was that the only way to profit is to hold a temporary monopoly.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Isn't Beats Audio just a funky way of saying...

>Oi Apple, an iscsi initiator would be far more useful.

Ug?

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?

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Listening to beets would sound better

Sennheiser don't have a music streaming division, last I checked.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: For what?

A music streaming service, because streaming is up and digital music sales are down.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Cameras for hacks: Idiot-proof suggestions invited

Dave 126
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Late Entry:

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.

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/panasonic_lumix_dmc_lf1_review/

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Dave 126
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Re: A step backwards

@Chris W.

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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: Also...

>* 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.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-lx7

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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?

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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)

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: RX100

>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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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Dave 126
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Re: RX100

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.

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Dave 126
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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.

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