Friday, January 29, 2010

Finally site with photos - Sony HX5V

Today I found a web site here that has photos taken with a pre-production model of the Sony DSC-HX5V.

Here are direct links to four videos. Video 1,Video 2,Video 3,Video 4.

And here is a ISO test series: ISO 125, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200.

Here is a sample (100% crop):

Not unexpected for a small sensor like the HX5V has, the pain threshold will probably be ISO 400 or ISO 800. Expect no miracles, even if the sensor is supposed to be new and improved. But then again, for me it is more the feature set I am wanting. 25mm to 250mm zoom, GPS geo tagging, image stabilization, video with zoom and autofocus, etc.

But the three panoramas that they posted (123) does not impress at all. If you look at them at 100%, they look like ISO 1600 or more... Not sure if that is what they were taken as, or if it is an affect of the panorama function.

I am still keeping my pre-order at Amazon for now. You can order yours here if you feel like it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Got my "smoking" SD1200IS back

This is a follow up to my earlier post about my Canon SD1200IS camera. Today I got the camera back from the warranty repair Canon did. They wrote that they had confirmed that the flash assembly gave off smoke and was not working properly and fixed it. The cover on the flash looks brand new to me, so maybe that's what they changed. Anyway, it is nice to have the camera back, and that it was covered by the warranty.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Long walk to freedom

Not my usual post, but back in December I saw Invictus with my wife. You know, the movie with Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon as the South African rugby team leader. The movie was ok, or possibly even good, although I have since learned from my brother-in-laws that the rugby really is not good (fake). But I think it had nice moments where you could feel especially Mr Freeman really seemed to be one with his Nelson Mandela character. Of course, if that really was what Mandela would be like, we do not know. But I think you get the point.

But coming out of the movie, I really was wondering how a person being jailed for more than 30 years could have so much forgiveness, and grace. I told my wife that maybe I should read Nelson Mandela's biography, if he has written one.

Come Christmas and I got a paper back copy of the book from my wife.

I was mostly surprised that it was not the kindle version as I would have expected, but a 600+ page long paperback.

I have never really read any biographies or auto-biographies for that matter. I do read a lot of fiction, and especially science fiction from authors like Greg Bear, Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, David Brin, Orson Scott Card, and occationally also some from Stephen King, William Gibson
and Tom Clancy.

In the beginning of the book I was a little annoyed with all the people that got mentioned all the time. It felt like it was an attempt to not leave out anyone that might have played a role in his life. I did not think that really added much to the book. But it was captivating enough to keep going, and maybe after about a third of the book, one was hooked to finish it. I must say that Nelson Mandela really "sacrificed" a good part of his life for a bigger cause. Not something many of us can, nor want, to do. You really got a sense of what he had been going through, and towards the end, felt part of various emotional highs and lows that came. I would absolutely recommend the book. Don't give up in the beginning, it is more rewarding after a little (was for me at least).

There is one particular quote that I felt had a real point. Maybe a third into the book he writes:

"It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones"

Now, I have never seen a prison from the inside and I have no desire to, but living in California, it is impossible to not know that our prison system is at a point of failure. Occupancy rates are twice, or more, to what they were built for, and there is little effort (or maybe I should say funds?) to really fill the time served with preparation for a better inclusion with society after they come out. I guess it is not fair to compare the political prisoners of South Africa during the apartheid with "normal" criminals here, but still. I guess there seems to be no solution to that problem coming soon. Anyway, that is not really the takeaway from the book, there is more than that.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

TX7 - Same sensor as HX5?

I think I have seen that the sensor use in Sony DSC-TX7 is the same one that "my" upcoming new Sony DSC-HX5V.

Today I found this link where some sample photos from TX7 can be found. I hope to find full size ISO test series and raw video from either camera soon. And when I get mine, I will post some here...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sony? HX5V looks interesting

Just stumbled on a few posts about the Sony DSC-HX5V camera soon to be released. The specs seems very nice.

  • 10Mpixels
  • 25mm(wide!)-250mm lens
  • Small pocket size
  • HD video (MP4), 1080i I think
  • GPS
  • 10 frames per second, full 10Mpixels
  • Image stabilization
Just to name a few. Even SD card support, nice of Sony. Image stabilization and zoom seems to be supported during video.

I think I will order one :) Done.... But I guess it is not scheduled to sell until March. Check back for samples as I will be on lookout for them. Here is a video of the camera.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Canon XSi - some new shots

Some new shots from my Canon XSi from today. All were taken with Sigma 105mm EX.
The first one is a close macro and I really like how perfectly round all the dew is and then the captured "rock" for some contrast.

Next one is also a macro of some kind of mushroom on a tree trunk.

And then some trees.... in the fog.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New gadget review - Mini Lenovo multimedia remote

As probably many of you have, I too have a HTPC (Home Theatre PC). In my case it is my old Dell desktop. This is used to watch some shows on Hulu and in sometimes for the kids to play on. Nothing heavy duty. I have not been satisfied with the wired USB keyboard and mouse that I have to control the PC with. It looks messy and how is one to use a mouse for HTPC?

I bought a Lenovo Multimedia Remote with keyboard and just got it. It was smaller than I though it would be. I guess that is a plus in the case that I do not need to type much on the keyboard. I suspect it will pretty much be just to start a browser and then enter a URL. The rest will be the trackball...

At first I (since I never read manuals unless I get really stuck) almost panicked as I could not find the wireless dongle to put into the computer. I thought that "great, now I need to deal with customer service and so...". But then I discovered that they had "hidden" the USB dongle in the battery compartment. Pretty neat.

So, no need to find out how good the Lenovo customer service is :) To judge the size, check out this photo:

I mean, we all have some "AAA" batteries and tape, right? Anyway, before I bought it, the comments online was at best that the remote what "fugly" and in some cases out right ugly. But with the size so small, I find it ok. I will hide well in your pile of remotes :)

A bonus with the "fugly" shape, is that left hand, or right hand operation is probably both supported just as well. That is not always the case. I have pretty large hands, and the keys really feel small. But maybe that's just because I do not have a Blackberry or other smart phone. The keyboard will be navigated using your thumbs.

So, I plugged in the dongle, and after a minute or so, my Windows XP PC was now controlled by the Lenovo Remote. Both keyboard and trackball working as they should. Now that is actually working plug and play in action. Nice. Ok, time for some surfing. Ok, done :) I already can summarize the first ~30 min of use with this list.

  • (+) Nice to hold, trackball seems good to use
  • (+) Easy installation, small size
  • (-) The "mouse" buttons are over the trackball (see below), in my case they should have been below...
  • (-) Top right key is "delete" and not "backspace" (backspace is one below). Not what I would prefer
  • (-) In a dark room, the black remote and small letters makes it hard to type. Should have some backlight. At least on the play/rewind/volume buttons. Too bad.
Here is the trackball and the buttons. For me it is easy to accidentally "hit" the trackball when I want to (single handed) press a mouse button.

In a while I will give an update on how it has been working out, how long the battery works and so on. Keep tuned. In case you need it, here is also the bottom of the remote. The Model number is N5901.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Smoking flash - SD1200

Wow, this I had not seen before. When I was taking some photos earlier today and the flash (auto) was on, I saw smoke come from the flash after use. Not much but some, enough to make me worried, not enough to make me stop using the camera. Everything seems to work fine still, but in situations where the flash is needing to go full strength, smoke is coming. Just check out this video taken a few minutes back....

What do you think? That's not normal, not in my book. I guess I will be calling Canon tech support tomorrow to see what they have to say. Have you ever seen this? Please comment and pass along....

Update 1/4/10 Called Canon and a friendly and nice guy said that it is likely some dirt, grease, or lotion on the Flash that makes the smoke. Previously this has been fixed with an easy external cleaning of the Flash. I tried, but it still gives off the smoke and when looking very closely, the surface of the Flash seems damaged. Camera is now sent to Canon for evaluation and hopefully paid warranty repair.

Update 1/14/10 Canon got the camera 4 days ago, and today it was logged online as "repair complete" covered by warranty. I guess in a few days I will see what they did as I have no idea. No call or questions has been asked.

Update 1/21/10 Camera back. Read here

Just a snapshot - SD1200

Just a macro snapshot from a walk today. Taken with the SD1200IS. Looks kind of an alien planet, I think.