Gear Update

I picked up an iPhone 6 Plus. Yes, the sucker is big, but it does fit in my pockets. Both pants and shirt. The bigger screen is nice. More real estate, better for view high res pictures and videos. The real plus of the larger size is the vastly improved battery life. This is due the all the extra space behind the screen being packed with a bigger battery. I can use Waze on the way to work, use the phone to check email and take notes all day, and then Waze on the way home. After all that, I still have a decent charge when I get home. It really is a big improvement over my iPhone 5.

The camera is also a big improvement. I typically use the Camera+ app for stills. I have it set to save giant TIF files. Gives you more data to work with in Lightroom, Pixelmator, or Picasa. The editing functions in Camera+ are also richer than the iOS defaults.

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Bringing another over to the Dark Side

My brother just bought a shiny new iPhone 3GS.  He had a smart phone, but didn’t like it. The User Experience on that phone just plain sucked.  It wasn’t  just that the phone used the Microsoft WINCE OS, although that is a damn good start for a poor user experience, the had the nasty habit of randomly dialing from his pocket, and loading apps or ending his call while using it as a phone because it thought his ear was the phone’s stylus.

Now, as Leo Leoporte said a few weeks ago, using Apple products is like living in Mussolini’s Italy.   Ya, the trains run on time, but there is some nasty stuff going on to make that happen.  The iPhone UI is second to none for a smart phone, but crap like blocking the Google Voice app and limiting desktop access to iTunes ensures that a good chunk of their user base will switch as soon as a more open alternative has 60% or more of their functionality and a slick user interface (can you say Android kiddies?).

Well, Android isn’t there yet, so I’m still sticking with my iPhone, especially since the camera on it is greatly improved.  I’ve seen posts by multiple professional photographers who have stopped carrying a “pocket camera” all the time, because they think their iPhone is “good enough.”

Here is my entry for a damn good iPhone photograph.

Digital Picture Frames

One of the hot items this Christmas is digital picture frames.  I’ve been looking at various models, bought several and returned a couple.  

First, what not to buy. Omnitech digital picture frames.  Omnitech is a Staples brand name.  Don’t let the low price suck you in like it did me.  The quality is absolute dreck!  Very low resolution pictures.  Here is a tip, if the resolution of the screen isn’t printed on the box somewhere, it’s probably safe to assume that it sucks.

I found two models that I’m happy with.  The first is an HP 10.4″ model.  The resolution is 800×600, it has a remote, support for music files, movies, CF/SD cards…all the usual stuff.  A bit pricy, Amazon has it for $165, but then you are paying for the brand name and the perceived level of quality. It will show your digital photographs off quite nicely though.  It also has different colored mats that can be swapped out to match your room’s color scheme.

The other model I like is the Smartparts OptiPix Pro 10.4″ digital picture frame, which Amazon has for $99.99.  According to data on the box, the resolution is 640×480.  I’ve got it set next to the 800×600 HP, loaded with same pictures, and I can’t see $65 worth of difference between them. 

Bottom line, if you want a decent digital picture frame, be prepared to spend at least $100, and while it’s probably safe going with a well know brand name like HP, it may not be the best buy available.

Camera Gear

My main camera is a Canon 20D DLSR. This is an 8.2 Megapixel camera that has a 1.6 modifier compared to a full 35mm frame camera.
I’ve had for over three years, have shot thousands of pictures, and it is still going strong.  The current model in its line is the Canon 40D.

I have the following lenses for it:

I use a single flash, a Canon 580EX. With that I have two accessories, a Canon Off-Camera TTL Flash cable and a Sto-Fen OMEY Omni-Bounce Diffuser.

The Off-Camera Flash cable allows you to provide light from different angles. This is useful to eliminate deep shadows. The Diffuser is a great, yet simple, bit of technology. It is a cap of opaque plastic that fits over the flash and provides a light source that softens harsh shadows. Combine the two with some good natural light and you can pull off some good single photographer portraits/head shots.

My “pocket” Camera is a Nikon Coolpix S6.

I also have a couple of tripods of various sizes and a monopod.

I’ll post about the software I use later.