Testimonials on Canon PowerShot S410 4MP Digital Elph with 3x Optical Zoom…

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Item : Canon PowerShot S410 4MP Digital Elph with 3x Optical Zoom

Category : Point & Shoot digital cameras

Brand : Canon

Features :

  • 4-megapixel sensor captures enough detail to create photo-quality 11-by-15-inch enlargements
  • Canon 3x optical zoom lens with 3.6x digital zoom
  • 9-point autofocus; movie mode; PictBridge compatible
  • Store images on Compact Flash Type I memory cards (32 MB card included)
  • Powered by rechargeable battery pack NB-1LH (included with charger)

Description :

Canon PowerShot S410 4MP Digital Elph with 3x Optical ZoomUpdating the popular S400 Digital Elph, Canon’s PowerShot S410 is both elegant and powerful. It features a 4-megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, and movie mode for videos of up to three minutes. Elegantly designed and super compact, the S400 has a protective stainless steel shell with a celabrite finish, which mixes metals and ceramics to produce a tough cool-toned exterior that is visually stunning. It also features Canon’s new Print/Share button, which helps you quickly connect directly to a printer or send an image via e-mail.

Optics and Resolution

The 4-megapixel PowerShot S410 can capture 2272 x 1704 images for photo quality 11 x 14 print enlargements. It also has 1600 x 1200, 1024 x 768, and 640 x 480 resolution modes. The 3x optical zoom lens has a focal length of 7.4-22.2mm (35mm equivalent: 36-108mm). It also has a 3.6x digital zoom.

Movie Mode

The PowerShot S410 features 3-minute QVGA (320 x 240) or QQVGA (160 x 120) movie clips with sound recording, full playback and in-camera cutting and editing. Individual video clips are limited to three minutes in length.

More Camera Features

  • 9-point Artificial Intelligence autofocus (AiAF) for fast and sharp images, even with off-center subjects
  • 1.5 inch low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD (118,000 pixels)
  • Real-image optical zoom viewfinder
  • Built-in flash with auto, red-eye reduction, and slow sync modes
  • Record a voice memo of up to 60 seconds and attach to images
  • Shutter speed: 15 – 1/2,000 seconds
  • White balance control: Auto, pre-set (daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H), or custom white balance
  • Continuous shooting: 2.5 frames (maximum 5 images)
  • 2x to 10x zoom into captured images while reviewing via the LCD

Canon Technology Features

  • Digic Imaging Processor: While much technical discussion of digital cameras centers around the optics and the CCD sensor, the complex task of image rendering is the job of the image processor–the “brains” of a digital camera. Canon’s latest, exclusive DIGIC Imaging Processor significantly enhances digital camera performance in numerous areas. DIGIC’s high-speed signal processing is combined with high-capacity buffering to give Canon digital cameras fast response and continuous shooting capability unmatched by other digital cameras. DIGIC delivers longer battery life and beautiful, rich color rendition with far fewer white saturation problems. And DIGIC’s unequaled precision delivers clear, noise-free images that are demonstrably superior.
  • iSAPS Technology: Canon iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) technology dramatically improves the performance of AF (Autofocus), AE (Auto Exposure), and AWB (Auto White Balance). By analyzing a huge volume of photography data, accumulated over 60 years and the manufacture of over 150 million cameras, Canon engineers arrived at statistical relationships among focal length, focus distance, scene brightness, and other factors. Equipped with this “fore knowledge” Canon PowerShot cameras can optimize AF/AE/AWB settings for any given scene more rapidly and more effectively.
  • Multi-point AiAF: Canon’s wide-area, multi-point AiAF (artificial intelligence autofocus) automatically selects one or more focusing points based on factors, such as subject position and motion. AiAF works in conjunction with iSAPS Technology to more quickly and accurately achieve autofocus under a wide variety of shooting conditions. You get fast, accurate AF whether you hold the camera horizontally or vertically, with stationary or moving subjects, with off-center subjects, and even in low-light/low-contrast lighting.

Direct Printing/Sharing

The PowerShot S410 introduces a new Print/Share button that speeds and simplifies printing to compatible Canon and PictBridge enabled printers and one-touch image transfer to Windows XP, Me, 2000, and 98 computers for use with image processing programs, uploading to the Internet, or placement in e-mail. When connected to a Canon Compact Photo printer, a Movie Print mode divides the selected clip into equal parts and prints thumbnails of a maximum 63 equally spaced frames onto a single sheet of Postcard Size Paper.

Storage and Transfer

Images and video are stored on CompactFlash memory cards (Type I only) and the included 32 MB card holds approximately 21 images at the Large/Fine setting. Images can be downloaded to either a Mac or PC via USB 1.1 connectivity, which means the camera can be connected to any USB-based Windows Me/2000/XP and Mac OS 8.6 or later computer without installing any software.

Power and Size

The camera is powered by rechargeable lithium-ion battery (NB-1LH). With the LCD on, you will get approximately 190 shots. It measures 3.43 x 2.24 x 1.09 inches and weighs 6.5 ounces (without batteries).

What’s in the Box

This package contains the PowerShot S410 digital camera, 32 MB CompactFlash memory card, rechargeable lithium-ion battery (NB-1LH), battery charger (CB-2LS), USB and A/V cables, and wrist strap. The supplied software on the CD-ROM includes browsing and printing software ZoomBrowser EX (Windows) and ImageBrowser (Mac). Other software includes PhotoStitch, plus photo and movie manipulation software ArcSoft PhotoStudio and VideoImpression.

Terrific snapshooter, if lacking in manual functions

For about 80% of people, this camera is going to be a dream come true.

Simply put, it’s the pinnacle of ultra compact digital camera technology. With a 4 megapixel resolution with a better sensor than almost all of its competitors in a body the size of a pack of cigarettes, the Canon S410 is fabulous. The buttons and other physical factors of the interface are all well designed: the zoom and shutter button are in the same place for ridiculously easy one handed operation. The function knob on the upper right provides easy access to several shooting & playback modes. Compare this to other recent sexy, ultra-compact powershooters by Casio & Fuji (Think Z4U and A340) and you’ll understand why this is a superior camera.

Other pros:

-Canon STILL uses Compact Flash media, which is significantly cheaper than xD and sD, which a good 90% of other brands use. I have yet to see a downside in everyday use (don’t ask me about extreme temperate conditions or whether the various media…

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 Testimonials on Canon PowerShot S410 4MP Digital Elph with 3x Optical Zoom at Canon

Testimonials on Canon PowerShot S410 4MP Digital Elph with 3x Optical Zoom at Canon

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“5 Adorable Pet Photos [and How to Make your Shots even Cuter]” plus 1…

“5 Adorable Pet Photos [and How to Make your Shots even Cuter]” plus 1 more: digital photography School

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5 Adorable Pet Photos [and How to Make your Shots even Cuter]

Posted: 03 Nov 2013 10:57 AM PST

A guest post by by Erin McNulty – Pet Photographer and author of Snapn Paws – currently 33% off at SnapnGuides.

Want to get photos of your pet that will make everyone say “aaawwww”? Here are five of my top tips for capturing cuteness.

1. Get down on their level

Adorable pet photos 1

One of the easiest and most often overlooked techniques is to be on the same level as your pet! By being at eye level with them, you will create a connection which translates into a more intimate, engaging photo.

2. Use Props

Adorable pet photos  2

Does your pet have a favourite basket, bed, or toy? If so, incorporate these into your photos. Make sure whatever prop you are using is one that your pet is happy and comfortable around, and don’t force any behaviour that makes them stressed or wary – this will show through in the photos

3. Engage in Play

Adorable pet photos  3

A lot of pets have a sixth sense for when a camera is being pulled out, and will immediately turn their back or engage in a vigorous grooming session to avoid it. By engaging them with a fun toy, you will distract them from the camera as well as capturing some great natural expressions.

4. Get up Close and Personal

Adorable pet photos  4

Want to create a more interesting shot of your pet? Focus in on the little things that make them so cute – whether it be their big puppy dog eyes, their magnificent whiskers, or their tiny little paws.

5. Let them be Themselves – and be Patient!

Adorable pet photos  5

Your best shots will always come when you observe and capture their behaviour, rather than forcing them into unnatural poses. It may take ten minutes or an hour to get that perfect shot, so be patient and calm – pets pick up on your mood!

Want to learn more about Photographing Pets? Check out Erin’s brand new eBook – Snapn Paws over at our sister site SnapnGuides (currently 33% off).

Post originally from: digital photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

5 Adorable Pet Photos [and How to Make your Shots even Cuter]

The post 5 Adorable Pet Photos [and How to Make your Shots even Cuter] by Guest Contributor appeared first on Digital Photography School.

The Power of Black & White

Posted: 03 Nov 2013 07:37 AM PST

The power of black & white photography

If you read my articles about long exposure photography and intentional camera movement in the landscape you may have noticed a common theme amongst the photos illustrating the articles – most of them were in black and white.

I’ve been thinking about the reasons that black and white photography appeals to me. Regular readers of my articles will know that I’m a big fan of tonal contrast in both colour and monochrome work. I use it as the basis of many of my compositions and it helps me create atmosphere and mood.

But things became clearer today when I read an interview with Joel Tjintjelaar, a well-known fine art photographer who works exclusively in black and white. He is one of the leaders in the discipline of long exposure photography (I interviewed him myself as a case study in my book Slow).

The power of black & white photography

In the interview Joel talks about photos representing the vision, or the essence, of the artist rather than reality. Black and white, in addition to being a beautiful medium in its own right (he uses words like mysterious, nostalgic and dramatic to explain its appeal) is a step removed from reality. Add in changes in tonal values achieved in post-processing, the surreality of long exposure photography techniques and the manipulation of light (also in post-processing) and you finish with a photo (or a work of art, depending on your world view) that is an expression of the artist, rather than the original subject.

Make sense? There are many ways of expressing yourself creatively in photography, and black and white is just one of them, but it certainly is a powerful medium. Trends come and go. Whether it’s the fast film, high grain techniques popularised by Robert Farber and Sarah Moon in the seventies, or the Photoshop based techniques of modern times such as using texture layers or HDR, most of these are ephemeral. They won’t be remembered as anything more than dated trends in decades to come. But black and white will endure.

The power of black & white photography

Learn more about black & white photography

Now that I’ve piqued your interest you’ll no doubt want to learn more about black and white photography. I’ll write about that in the future, but first I think it’s a good idea to go have a look at the work of some of the best black and white photographers out there. I’ve picked out five of my favourite photographers from 500px – looking at their work will help you appreciate the true power of the monochrome image.

Have a think about the following points while you look through their portfolios:

  • Why do you think these photographers have chosen to work in black and white? How would their images look if they were in colour?
  • How important is tonal contrast in the composition of their images?
  • How important are other elements of composition, such as line, texture, form and shape? How does black and white emphasise these elements?
  • How important is light in these images?
  • How far removed from reality are the photos in these portfolios? How do they express the photographer’s vision?

Here are the links:

Hengki Koentjoro

Hengki is an Indonesian photographer who creates beautiful black and white landscapes (read my interview with him here).

Sabrina de Vries

Sabrina is a young Dutch photographer who creates black and white portraits. Some of her work is in colour, so it’s a good chance to compare the way she works in both mediums.

Andy Lee

Andy is a professional film maker and photographer who works in black and white. Tonal contrast is a strong element of his work.

Joel Tjintjelaar

You should definitely take a look at Joel’s work. One of the interesting things about the way that Joel works is his painstaking attention to detail – he may spend 40 hours working on a single image before he is happy with it. This approach is very unusual.

Michael Diblicek

Michael shoots both the landscape and architecture. He is another photographer who uses tonal contrast really well (read my interview with him here).

Mastering Photography

Mastering photography ebook

My ebook Mastering Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Using digital cameras introduces you to photography and helps you make the most out of your digital cameras. It covers concepts such as lighting and composition as well as the camera settings you need to master black and white photography and take photos like the ones in this article.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

The Power of Black & White

The post The Power of Black & White by Andrew Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Pentax Optio X90 Digital Camera Review

Features
Handling
Performance
ePHOTOzine verdict and ratings
Specification

Pentax Optio X90: Click on the thumbnail for the larger image.
In this review, Gary Wolstenholme takes a look at Pentax’s latest flagship bridge camera.

It seems the race to have the largest zoom lens on a bridge compact camera isn’t about to let up just yet. The Optio X90 from Pentax comes equipped with a whopping 26x optical zoom lens covering a range equivalent to 26-676mm on a 35mm camera in a reasonably compact and lightweight body. One of these cameras will set you back around £230, which doesn’t seem bad when the enormous zoom range is taken into consideration.

Pentax Optio X90: Features
The 26x zoom lens is obviously the lead feature of this camera, offering an amazing amount of flexibility of composition in a compact lightweight package. The lens covers a range equivalent to 26-676mm on a 35mm camera, which will provide quite a wide angle for when you have to shoot in a tight spot, and super-telephoto suitable for wildlife and action shots, where you can’t get close to the action.

Behind the lens lies a 12.1 megapixel CCD sensor, with CCD-shift stabilisation, which will be necessary to make the most of the huge zoom range on offer. The sensor also has a sensitivity range of ISO80-6400, which should make the camera suitable for low-light shooting, if the performance is up to the job.

A 2.7inch LCD screen with a resolution of around 230,000 dots and a electronic viewfinder with a resolution of around 200,000 dots are provided for composing and reviewing pictures. The EVF has a diopter adjustment dial on the side for easier viewing without spectacles. Saying that I found the EVF easy enough to use with my glasses.

Pentax Optio X90 Key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
For a super-zoom bridge camera, the X90 is surprisingly small and light, weighing only 428g with battery and SD card. A 2.7inch screen and Electronic Viewfinder are providing for composing and reviewing images.
An improved Li-Ion battery has been added to the X90, which promises to give 50% more life on a charge than its predecessor’s battery. The huge 26x zoom lens extends roughly two inches at maximum telephoto.

High definition video clips at 720p resolution can be recorded and viewed on a compatible HD TV via the supplied HDMI output. The HDMI output will also allow pictures taken with the camera to be seen on a HD TV at higher resolution, leading to a more pleasant viewing experience.

Other features include a 1cm macro mode for shooting close to your subject, an improved battery and a raft of manual and automatic exposure modes, to keep those after simplicity or creativity happy.

Pentax Optio X90: Handling
Much of the Optio X90’s body is made from blue-coloured plastic with a slight metallic lustre to it. Personally, I’m not really a fan of the finish, although the materials used feel to be good quality.

The camera is very lightweight for such a huge zoom range, weighing only 428g with the battery and SD card installed. Due to the light weight, extra care needs to be taken when taking pictures at the telephoto end of the zoom as I did find it difficult to properly steady myself adequately. The image stabilisation system does help with this, but it still pays to be careful.

Rubberised plastic finger grips are provided to help attain a little more purchase on the camera body and as a result my grip on the camera feels very secure indeed. The finger grip on the front of the camera is quite shallow though, and will feel more comfortable to hold for those with smaller hands.

Pentax Optio X90: Performance
The exposure system the X90 is equipped with works very well in a wide range of conditions, especially when the face detection feature is active. In these situations the camera’s meter is very difficult to fool indeed. In contrasty scenes, the multi pattern metering system tends to produce bright exposures keeping detail in the shadows, at the expense of the highlights. This will mean shots of backlit subjects should be well exposed. In cases where they aren’t exposure compensation can be activated through a range of plus or minus two stops.

Colours tend to be rendered accurately by the X90, especially primary colours, which have just enough saturation for a punchy, vivid look, without overdoing things. Skin tones are reproduced accurately also.

In use I found the X90 to be reasonably responsive, especially at the shorter end of the zoom. There is a little noticeable shutter lag throughout the zoom, which can make shooting action quite tough, as you have to pre-empt each shot. As you zoom towards the telephoto end to the zoom range the autofocus slows down, taking a few seconds in some cases to achieve focus at maximum telephoto.

Pentax Optio X90 Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Exposures are very accurate when the face detection system is active. In high contrast scenes, the X90 tends to expose for the shadows, blowing highlights.
Bold primary colours are rendered well. The autofocus can be a little sluggish at maximum telephoto, making it a challenge to take shots of fleeting moments.

ISO and noise performance
Noise performance with the X90 is typical of many other compact CCD based digital cameras, with images up to ISO200 showing no significant signs of noise. At ISO400 the softening effects of noise reduction can be seen on fine detail, even though the levels of noise still appear quite low. This trend continues, with each ISO setting showing increasing levels of noise and softening due to noise reduction, although images at ISO800 should still be suitable for postcard size prints. Beyond this setting the snowy appearance starts to take over and colour saturation suffers due to the camera’s attempts to reduce coloured speckles in images. Images taken at ISO3200 and ISO6400 should still be suitable for sharing on the web at small sizes though.
White-balance
When shooting under incandescent light, the X90’s auto white balance seems to perform quite well, leaving only a slight colour cast in images. Under the same conditions the incandescent preset also performs very well, producing very accurate colour. Under the warm white fluorescents in our studio, the auto white balance system performs less well, leaving a very strong amber cast in images. The fluorescent preset perms better in this case, but there is still quite a noticeable magenta cast in images.

Pentax Optio X90 White-balance test: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting
Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting

Buffer read/write times
I recorded a delay from shot to shot in single shot mode of 2.8 seconds on average when using a class 6 SDHC card, which is pretty typical for a camera of this type. Although this isn’t too disappointing a result, those wishing to use the camera to record fast action may find this delay a little frustrating.

Lens performance
In general, the 26x zoom lens appears to perform well, producing images that are sharp from edge to edge. Due to the massive zoom range distortion can be quite noticeable. At the wide end barrel distortion is prevalent, which may pose issues when photographing subjects with straight lines, such as architecture.

The lens appears to be quite resistant to flare and ghosting and only slight amounts of chromatic aberration are visible in extreme contrast situations. A 1cm macro mode is very useful for close-ups, allowing items to be almost touching the front element of the lens. This macro ability is only available at the wide end of the zoom though, so subject magnification isn’t that high.

Pentax Optio X90 Lens quality: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
A fair amount of barrel distortion is present at the wide end of the zoom range. Pincushion distortion is noticeable at the telephoto end, but the level isn’t overly disturbing.
A 1cm macro function is great for close-ups. Shooting distant subjects is possible tanks to the 676mm equivalent telephoto.

Pentax Optio X90: Verdict
A zoom range of this level is certainly an interesting prospect and will definitely suit those looking for that kind of flexibility, while being able to travel light. The camera performs well, producing images with good clarity at sensitivities of ISO200 or lower. Given the huge telephoto at your disposal it would’ve been nice if the camera performed better at higher sensitivities though.

Overall, it is a very interesting camera, that works well, but does have it’s weaknesses, such as the ISO performance at high sensitivities, slow autofocus at the telephoto end and barrel distortion at the wide end of the zoom range.

If however the light weight and flexibility outweigh those weaknesses for you, then this camera is certainly worth a look.

Pentax Optio X90: Pros
Light weight
Enormous zoom range
Generally accurate exposure system
Clarity at lower sensitivities
Image stabilistion

Pentax Optio X90: Cons
Quality it higher sensitivities
Barrel distortion at wide end of zoom range
Slow AF at telephoto end
White balance performance under fluorescent light

Pentax Optio X90: Specification

Price £220.00
What comes in the box AV cable, USB cable, AC cord, Li-ion rechargeable battery, battery charger, strap, lens cap and Arcsoft Media Impression 2.0 for PENTAX software
Contact www.pentax.co.uk
Lens 4.6 – 119.6mm f/2.8 – 5.0 (approx. 26 – 676mm in 35mm format)
Resolution 12.1Mp
Sensor size 1/2.33inch
Sensor type CCD
Max. Image size 4000 x 3000
Aspect ratio 4:3
LCD monitor size 2.7 inch
Electronic viewfinder approx. 200K dots
Focusing system Contrast detection
Focusing modes 9-point AF, Spot AF, Auto tracking AF Infinity-landscape, Manual Focus, AF Point switching
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80-6400
Metering system Multi-segment metering, Center-weighted metering, Spot metering
Metering modes Programs: AutoPicture, Movements, Anti-shake, Movie, USER, Manual, Av, Tv, P
Scene modes: Auto Picture, Sport, Digital SR, Movie, Manual, User, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Backlight, Half-length Portrait, Night scene, Night scene Portrait, Stage Lighting, Surf & Snow, Baby, Kids, Pet, Food, Fireworks, Frame Composite, Party, Museum, Sunset, Digital Wide, Digital Panorama, Green
White-balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light (W, D, N), Manual setting
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV
Shutter speed range 1/4000 – 1/4 sec. 4 sec at most (Tv, Av, M, Night Scene mode setting)
Anti-shake mode CCD Shift Shake reduction
Movie mode HDTV (1280×720), 15/30fps, VGA (640×480) 15/30fps, QVGA (320×240), 15/30 fps
Media type SD, SDHC
Interface USB, HDMI
Power Rechargeable D-LI106 Lithium-ion battery
Size (wxdxl) 84.5 x 111 x 110mm
Weight (with battery) 428g

The Pentax Optio X90 costs £230 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Pentax Optio X90

Digital Camera Reviews

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“Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review” plus 1 more Digital Photography…

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Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review

Posted: 02 Nov 2013 12:37 PM PDT

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review.jpg

Welcome to Mark II of the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100, a neat, surprising camera that could sit happily alongside an upper level snapper (like a dslr) in the camera bag. Unsurprisingly, it is priced at the upper level of compact digicams.

It has a reasonably fast Carl Zeiss f1.8, 3.6x optical zoom, imaging to a 20.2 million pixel CMOS, enabling the capture of a maximum image size of 5472×3080, leading to a 46x26cm print.

[embedded content]

Video can be captured in AVHCD or MPEG4, up to a Full HD 1920×1080 pixel resolution.

Yes, you can shoot still shots in the middle of a video recording but with a click or two on the audio.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II review back.jpg

The body is made from aluminium and has a tiltable (up/down) LCD screen that responds to touch commands as well as tilting up by 84 degrees and down by 45 degrees. There is a (pricey) turret viewfinder to allow clear viewing in bright light that fits into the camera’s hot shoe; this shoe also accepts a clip on LCD screen, external flash or a microphone adaptor.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review top.jpg

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Features

The camera control layout follows the usual Sony pattern: at extreme left is the flash cell; centre of the top surface is the multi interface shoe (or ‘hot shoe’); to the right is the power button, zoom lever and shutter button; nearby is the mode dial with positions for intelligent and superior auto exposure (!), PASM, movie, memory recall, sweep panorama and scene selection (presets for portrait, sports, macro, fireworks etc).

Function button.jpg

Rear: the familiar movie record button is on the top right corner; beneath it is a really useful Function button that offers exposure correction, ISO setting, AWB, the D-RANGE Optimiser and access to a wide range of effects … such as posterisation, pop colour, partial colour, retro, toy camera effect (in colorisations such as cool, warm, green, magenta). You could spend days with this item!

The D-Range Optimiser shoots a bracket of three shots with different exposures; the camera then overlays the bright area s of the under exposed image and the dark areas of the over exposed image to create an image with improved gradation. A single image with the ideal range is saved.

Menu 1.jpg

Menu 2.jpg

Nearby is the menu button which displays a super wide range of options. Newbies should pay deep attention to this menu … it all happens here! If you find a specific function is not working properly, it’s most likely because a ‘box’ in the menu has not been ticked!

Lower is the control wheel. Here you can select options for flash, self timer, burst shooting and exposure compensation. If your camera happens to be set to auto or intelligent auto you can access a range of picture effects, change image brightness, colour etc.

The central button of the control wheel locks in tracking focus to the subject nearest centre frame.

Lower still is the replay button and one which doubles as the image trash action and gives access to a useful information bank. I guess the latter gives the game away with the RX100: it is really a high priced beginners’ camera! Oh well!

Sweep panorama.jpg

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Pano 1.JPG

Sony, IMHO, has by far the best sweep panorama feature of all compact digicams: you can pan right, left, up or down and capture panos in enormous sizes. Like: 12,416×1856 pixels!

NFC

This is also Sony’s first NFC camera. Wassat?

Near Field Communication is designed to enable users to instantly share images with other NFC capable devices, such as Android smartphones, tablets, laptops or even TV.

The company’s strategy behind NFC is to simplify the connection of its RX100 II to smart devices. Once connected, users can remotely control the camera’s shutter release from the mobile device, quickly receive the captured image via WiFi and upload the transferred images straightaway to a social networking site.

But is NFC just Bluetooth or Wifi? Maybe.

Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication for more info.

Snoopy 2.JPG

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review Yacht.jpg

Distortion

No problems at either end of the zoom. A well corrected lens.

Startup

In just a little over two seconds the camera came to life after the power was tapped. Then I was able to fire off a run of shots as fast as I could tap the button.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review ISO Tests

Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II ISO 100.JPG

Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II ISO 400.JPG

Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II ISO 800.JPG

Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II ISO 1600.JPG

Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II ISO 3200.JPG

Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II ISO 6400.JPG

Sony Cybershot RX100 Mark II ISO 12800.JPG

At ISO 1600 sharpness dropped off slightly but noise was low. By ISO 6400 these factors were a little worse. By ISO 12800 sharpness was down further and noise up — but not by a large factor.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review Verdict

Quality: just above average.
Why you would buy the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II: compact; fast Zeiss lens.
Why you wouldn’t buy the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II: limited zoom range for your needs; LCD screen tilts are limited.

A surprising package in such a tiny body.

User guide.jpg

I felt the manuals to be inadequate: aside from a 37 page PDF basic guide in English and a Web-based user guide with no search facility, that was all. For a camera at this price level you could at least expect at least a decent searchable PDF manual.

Otherwise, a very good performance.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Specifications

Image Sensor: 20.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi pattern, centre-weighted, spot.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Sensor Size: 13.2×8.8mm Exmor R CMOS.
Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* f1.8-4.9/10.4-37.1mm (28-100mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 2.5, 10 fps.
Memory: Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/SD/SDHC/SDXC and Micro SD/SDHC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 5472×3080 to 2592×1944.
Movies (pixels): 1920×1080, 1440×1080, 640×480.
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (1,229,000 pixels).
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, AVCHD, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 160 to 25600.
Interface: USB 2.0, micro HDMI, WiFi, DC, remote.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 102x58x38 WHDmm.
Weight: 281 g (with battery and card).
Price: get your hands on a Sony DSC-RX100M II Cyber-shot at Amazon here.

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Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review

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Breaking Down the Creative Process

Posted: 02 Nov 2013 08:37 AM PDT

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the creative process. When we talk about “creativity,” people generally end up putting themselves into one of two categories– creative or not creative. I’m always amused– and a bit leery– when people who consider themselves creative say that they have no creative process. That ideas “just come” to them. I’m not buying it. I can’t help but ask if ideas really do just come to them, or have they refined and streamlined their process to the point that they don’t even recognize it as a process? And if there really is a process, can someone who thinks they aren’t creative follow a series of steps that can help them become creative? The truth is, everyone has creative potential.

Graham Wallas (1858-1932) was an English social psychologist and co-founder of the London School of Economics. In Art of Thought – The Model of Creativity, written in 1926, Wallas broke down what we now refer to as the “creative process” into four distinct stages– Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Implementation. I’ve seen his approach described in several sources recently and over the years, but few ever seem to give any proper credit to the source material, espousing these thoughts and concepts as if they were original ideas. And so, Graham Wallas– this one’s for you, with my thanks.

guyer-photography-graham-wallas

Preparation

It sounds simple, and maybe a bit obvious, but this first step really does lay the foundation for the entire process. Writers write, read, research, and revise. Musicians practice and rehearse. They listen to music– sometimes their own, sometimes that of their influences. Painters experiment with color and visit museums. They sketch. As a photographer, what are you doing to prepare? Do you have influences and inspiration? Do you look to other art forms? How will you nurture an idea once it’s formed? We all draw from different emotional resources, but one thing that every creative has in common at this stage in the process is that the steps can actually be pretty boring. We may enjoy walking through museums or scouting locations, and they may get the creative juices flowing,  but they are not the exciting part of the process. Preparation is, quite simply, evaluating your creative options and beginning to come up with a plan.

Incubation

For me, this is where the fun begins– partially because half the time I don’t even realize it’s happening.  This is the stage where those first hints of a hopefully great idea are bouncing around in my head.  This is when I’m sitting in the car at a red light and happen to notice how the sun is hitting an object.  This is the stage when I’m flipping through a magazine  and an off-handed remark in an article brings the whole project into focus (no pun intended).  During the incubation step your conscious AND subconscious minds are working on the idea.  Wallas talked about the incubation stage being one where no real direct thought was given to the project or idea. Have you ever tried forcing an idea? It doesn’t usually work, right? Just like you sometimes have to take a break and clear your head, diverting your thoughts to other problems or projects– or to nothing at all– during the incubation stage may be just what you need for you to find yourself at…

Illumination

This is the “A-hah!” moment.  When this moment hits, your creative urge is so strong that you just have to get the idea out of your head and into its medium (camera, canvas, paper, etc.)– usually to the point that you have no problem ignoring or losing track of everything else going on around you.  The biggest problem with my illumination moments is that they usually happen at the most inconvenient times (in the shower, driving, middle of the night, etc.). It’s going to happen when it happens. You’ve had all these preparatory elements bouncing around– incubating– inside your head that when they do finally snap into a coherent form, it’s almost like the wheels on a Vegas slot machine coming to rest in perfect alignment.

Implementation

This is where your idea sees the light of day.  You’re taking conscious, positive steps towards executing your idea. Remember, though, that implementation in and of itself does not mean that your idea is going to be a success. This is also the point where a good creative begins to evaluate the idea and determine whether it was a good or bad idea.  Until you have something tangible to show for your idea, it’s almost impossible to decide whether this theoretical notion you’ve been nurturing through the process can be a success.  How many times has the idea or image in your head not matched the photo in your camera?  For every great idea, there are several I wish I’d never had.

Bringing it All Together

Obviously, we’re not talking about flow charts or checklists. Each of these “steps” is really more like part of a gradient– soft edges overlapping as you move from dark to light. As you know from your own experience, sometimes this process runs start-to-finish in the blink of an eye, but it can also take weeks. You just never know. While they may not always be clearly defined as you process each idea or project, it can be extremely helpful knowing what they are and how to identify them. Being able to recognize where you are on a creative journey can often be the confidence boost you need to see something through from preparation to implementation.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

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Fuji FinePix F20 Digital Camera Review

With Fuji’s Real Photo Processor II technology and Intelligent flash system, as well as Anti-Blur Picture Stabilisation and an attractive outer packaging, you get a lot for your money with the Fuji F20.

Specifications Fuji FinePix F20

  • Sensor: CCD – 6.3Mp
  • Image Size: 2848 x 2136
  • Optical Zoom : 3x
  • Lens range: 36-108mm, f/2.8-f/8.0
  • Focusing: TTL Auto
  • Macro: 5cm
  • White Balance : Auto, Custom, Fine Weather, Cloudy weather, Florescent Light 1, 2 and 3, Incandescent
  • ISO Range: Auto (400), Auto (1600), 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
  • Exposure: Program AE, SP, AP
  • Shutter speed: 4-1/2000sec
  • Metering: 256 multi-zone TTL, Average (zone), Spot
  • Monitor: 2.5in. TFT LCD (150k pixels)
  • Movie Mode: Yes
  • Scene Modes: Auto, Manual, Natural Light, Natural Light with flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Museum, Party, Flower, Text
  • Storage: xD Picture Card
  • Batteries: Li-ion Battery Pack
  • Video Output: Yes
  • Size/Weight: 94 x 57 x 27 mm – 150g
  • Transfer: USB

Competitors within a similar price range to the F20 include the Samsung Digimax S730 (£105), the Panasonic Lumix DMC L560 (£95) and the Kodak Easyshare C653 (£99).

Modes and features Fuji FinePix F20
The F20 has five ISO settings ranging from 100 to 1600 and various scene modes. Aside from the automatic settings, (Auto, Natural Light, Natural Light with flash, Portrait, Landscape, Sport and Night) there are several scene modes which consist of Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Museum, Party, Flower and Text. All the scene modes are pre-programmed in order to get the best results when shooting in specific conditions. The choice of white balance settings is also quite extensive and include Auto, Custom, Fine Weather, Dull Weather, three florescent light settings and Incandescent (tungsten) light. There is also the option of Anti-Blur Picture Stabilization, which involves the use of a fast shutter speed anf Auto ISO for action shots to avoid blur and camera shake, rather than being a more expensive CCD-shifting mechanism. Other features are the inclusion of Fuji’s Real Photo Processor II technology, designed to reduce noise and deliver enhanced colour reproduction, as well as their Intelligent Flash System to achieve the optimum combination of high sensitivity and natural skin tones. Macro mode functions as close as 5cm and the options here are simply macro on or macro off. There is also a self-timer mode which gives a choice of a two or 10 second self-timer and an unusual, at this price point, but useful function, which allows the user to adjust the brightness of the LCD screen.

There’s a shortcut menu button called the F-mode and here are ISO options, Quality settings and FinePix colour options which include a choice of Standard, Chrome or Black and White images. I can’t really understand why two of these options are listed seperately to the the main (shooting) menu, though, and it seems it may have been better to put these functions with the rest. Disappointlingly, the items that appear on the F-mode button can’t be customised. In the shooting menu there are the Mode options, Exposure Compensation settings, Metering options, White Balance menus, High-Speed Shooting function, continous shooting, AF mode menu and the set-up menu.

Build and handlingFuji FinePix F20
Located on the top of the camera are the power button, shutter release and still image to video switch. On the rear side of the camera is the zoom rocker, playback button, joypad, display options, anti- blur button and the F-Mode menu. Underneath are the battery and card compartments which are easily accessible, and to the side are the AV out/DC in connections.

Contrary to the what the price may suggest, the F20 doesn’t feel cheap at all, and the overall design and build of the camera are high quality and quite appealing.

The functions and menus are easy to use, but I wasn’t impressed by the F-mode menu button as described earlier.

Flash options
Flash options of the Fuji F20 are Auto flash, Red Eye Reduction for portraits in low light conditions, Forced Flash, Supressed Flash, Slow Synchro plus Synchro with Red Eye Reduction. The working range of the flash is 6.5m which is pretty good for a compact.

Fuji FinePix F20Performance
The auto focus of the F20 is reasonably good, kicking in almost immediately, and for subjects with less detail, within a few seconds. In the continuous shooting mode test, the F20 was capable of producing five shots within the 10 second test period, and was ready to fire again after three seconds, which is reasonably good for a compact. In the colour checker test, the blues were a lot brighter than they are in the chart, which is almost always the case with compacts, and so the resulting colour mixes were also a slightly different shade. The reds and the greens though, were impressively accurate, as were the oranges, browns and the skin tone colours. The Macro mode functions as close as 5cm and gives a good qulaity close up with lots of detail in the petals and the centre of the flower.

The portrait shot taken in manual mode is also accurate with plenty of details in the eyes, skin and other areas of the picture. The shot taken in portrait mode also retains a good amopunt of detail, but also makes the skin appear softer and gives a warmer tone, smoothing out lines and imperfections in the process. The landscape shot has mild colour fringing in the areas around the trees, but overall the shot is of good quality and colour rendition is reasonably accurate.

Fuji FinePix F20
While red, green and skin tones are an accurate representation of the colour chart, the blues colour mixes appear much brighter.

Fuji FinePix F20
The Macro Mode shoots from as close as 5cm and provides a good close up shot with lots of detail in the subject.

Fuji FinePix F20 The portrait shot in Manual mode retains plenty of details in the hair, face and all other areas of the pictures. Fuji FinePix F20 This shot, taken in portrait mode, makes
the skin appear softer, smooths out lines
and imperfections and gives a slightly warmer tone.
Fuji FinePix F20
The F20 zoomed out at wide-angle.
Fuji FinePix F20 The camera’s 3x zoom gives a good amount of detail and a high quality result.
Fuji FinePix F20 Although there is mild colour fringing in some of the shady areas, the overall colour rendition of the landscape is good. Metering appears to have concentrated on the darker parts of the picture with the brighter parts in the sky slightly over-exposed.

Noise tests
In ISO ranges 100-400 the quality of the image is good, and there is plenty of detail. By ISO800 some noise is starting to appear and the image is becoming slighty fuzzy, and at ISO1600 the noise is clearly visible and all parts of the picture are grainy, but no more than you would expect for such a high ISO setting.

Fuji FinePix F20
The ISO100 test.

Fuji FinePix F20
The ISO200 test.

Fuji FinePix F20
The ISO400 test.

Fuji FinePix F20
The ISO800 test.

Fuji FinePix F20
The ISO1600 test.

Verdict
For a budget price camera, the Fuji F20 scored well on all accounts. Images are clear, retaining good detail, and, with the exception of the blues, the rendition of colours in the colour chart test were impressively accurate. The build of the camera is good and the design is stylish, not at all what you would expect from a lower-priced camera. ISO tests showed that while there was a lot of noise and detail loss in the highest setting, lower settings were acceptable, and remained relatively clear. Additionally, the F20 is easy to use, and an ideal starter camera for any newcomers to digital photography.

Plus points: Fuji FinePix F20
Fuji FinePix F20Much better build quality than expected
Fuji FinePix F20Attractive, good quality design
Fuji FinePix F20Accurate colour rendition of reds and greens

Negative points:
Fuji FinePix F20Function button can’t be custom configured

FEATURES:
Fuji FinePix F20
HANDLING:
Fuji FinePix F20
PERFORMANCE:
Fuji FinePix F20
OVERALL:

Fuji FinePix F20

The Fujifilm Finepix F20 costs around £105 and is available from the ePHOTOzine shop here.

All product images in this review were taken with the Canon EOS 400D.

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Sony Cyber-shot Rx100 Mark Ii Review

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review
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Welcome to Mark II of the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100, a neat, surprising camera that could sit happily alongside an upper level snapper (like a dslr) in the camera bag. Unsurprisingly, it is priced at the upper level of compact digicams.

It has a reasonably fast Carl Zeiss f1.8, 3.6x optical zoom, imaging to a 20.2 million pixel CMOS, enabling the capture of a maximum image size of 5472×3080, leading to a 46x26cm print.

Video can be captured in AVHCD or MPEG4, up to a Full HD 1920×1080 pixel resolution.

Yes, you can shoot still shots in the middle of a video recording but with a click or two on the audio.

The body is made from aluminium and has a tiltable (up/down) LCD screen that responds to touch commands as well as tilting up by 84 degrees and down by 45 degrees. There is a (pricey) turret viewfinder to allow clear viewing in bright light that fits into the camera’s hot shoe; this shoe also accepts a clip on LCD screen, external flash or a microphone adaptor.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Features

The camera control layout follows the usual Sony pattern: at extreme left is the flash cell; centre of the top surface is the multi interface shoe (or ‘hot shoe’); to the right is the power button, zoom lever and shutter button; nearby is the mode dial with positions for intelligent and superior auto exposure (!), PASM, movie, memory recall, sweep panorama and scene selection (presets for portrait, sports, macro, fireworks etc).

Rear: the familiar movie record button is on the top right corner; beneath it is a really useful Function button that offers exposure correction, ISO setting, AWB, the D-RANGE Optimiser and access to a wide range of effects … such as posterisation, pop colour, partial colour, retro, toy camera effect (in colorisations such as cool, warm, green, magenta). You could spend days with this item!

The D-Range Optimiser shoots a bracket of three shots with different exposures; the camera then overlays the bright area s of the under exposed image and the dark areas of the over exposed image to create an image with improved gradation. A single image with the ideal range is saved.

Nearby is the menu button which displays a super wide range of options. Newbies should pay deep attention to this menu … it all happens here! If you find a specific function is not working properly, it’s most likely because a ‘box’ in the menu has not been ticked!

Lower is the control wheel. Here you can select options for flash, self timer, burst shooting and exposure compensation. If your camera happens to be set to auto or intelligent auto you can access a range of picture effects, change image brightness, colour etc.

The central button of the control wheel locks in tracking focus to the subject nearest centre frame.

Lower still is the replay button and one which doubles as the image trash action and gives access to a useful information bank. I guess the latter gives the game away with the RX100: it is really a high priced beginners’ camera! Oh well!

Sony, IMHO, has by far the best sweep panorama feature of all compact digicams: you can pan right, left, up or down and capture panos in enormous sizes. Like: 12,416×1856 pixels!

NFC

This is also Sony’s first NFC camera. Wassat?

Near Field Communication is designed to enable users to instantly share images with other NFC capable devices, such as Android smartphones, tablets, laptops or even TV.

The company’s strategy behind NFC is to simplify the connection of its RX100 II to smart devices. Once connected, users can remotely control the camera’s shutter release from the mobile device, quickly receive the captured image via WiFi and upload the transferred images straightaway to a social networking site.

But is NFC just Bluetooth or Wifi? Maybe.

Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication for more info.

Distortion

No problems at either end of the zoom. A well corrected lens.

Startup

In just a little over two seconds the camera came to life after the power was tapped. Then I was able to fire off a run of shots as fast as I could tap the button.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review ISO Tests

At ISO 1600 sharpness dropped off slightly but noise was low. By ISO 6400 these factors were a little worse. By ISO 12800 sharpness was down further and noise up — but not by a large factor.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review Verdict

Quality: just above average.
Why you would buy the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II: compact; fast Zeiss lens.
Why you wouldn’t buy the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II: limited zoom range for your needs; LCD screen tilts are limited.

A surprising package in such a tiny body.

I felt the manuals to be inadequate: aside from a 37 page PDF basic guide in English and a Web-based user guide with no search facility, that was all. For a camera at this price level you could at least expect at least a decent searchable PDF manual.

Otherwise, a very good performance.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Specifications

Image Sensor: 20.2 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi pattern, centre-weighted, spot.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Sensor Size: 13.2×8.8mm Exmor R CMOS.
Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* f1.8-4.9/10.4-37.1mm (28-100mm as 35 SLR equivalent).
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/2000 second.
Continuous Shooting: 2.5, 10 fps.
Memory: Memory Stick Duo, PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/SD/SDHC/SDXC and Micro SD/SDHC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 5472×3080 to 2592×1944.
Movies (pixels): 1920×1080, 1440×1080, 640×480.
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (1,229,000 pixels).
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, AVCHD, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 160 to 25600.
Interface: USB 2.0, micro HDMI, WiFi, DC, remote.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 102x58x38 WHDmm.
Weight: 281 g (with battery and card).
Price: get your hands on a Sony DSC-RX100M II Cyber-shot at Amazon here.

Post originally from: digital photography Tips.

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Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 Mark II Review

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Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale 2013 Sony Alpha A290L 14.2 MP Digital…

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Pentax Optio W90 Digital Camera Review

Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

A compact camera that operates down to -10C, will survive a fall onto a hard surface from 1.2 metres and is waterproof down to 6 metres for up to 2 hours has to be an attractive proposition. In addition, a host of features are offered that enable picture taking in almost any situation, so does the W90 live up to expectations and is it good value for its £200 price tag?

Pentax Optio W90: Features
Waterproof, dustproof and shockproof are the main selling points, but beyond that we have a 12.1Mp CCD, a 5x optical zoom equivalent to 28-140mm in 35mm terms, built in macro lights, focusing down to 1cm, a variety of recording and playback modes and the option to shoot a widescreen 16:9 format at a reduced pixel count of 9Mp.

Movies can be shot at up to 1280×720 pixels at a frame rate up to 30 fps. The limitation is that recording can only be made in 2GB blocks, so larger cards will mean restarting recording every 2GB. The camera is compatible with both SD and SDHC cards, as we would expect.

The lens is protected behind a sheet of coated glass that lies flush with the camera body, so the lens does not extend in use as most compacts do. The access points for connectors and battery/card are substantial and are protected with silicone seals that must be kept scrupulously clean to avoid water ingress.

The macro lights are an innovative feature. Three small LEDs around the lens provide additional illumination in very close macro work. A useful alternative when shooting very small objects, especially for photographers who prefer continuous lighting to flash.

Pentax Optio W90 key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
 
The Pentax Optio W90 has a 2.7in screen.   Most of the cameras controls are on the back.
 
The battery and memory card are kept secure in this waterproof door.   The lens does not extend out if the camera when using the 5x optical zoom.

Pentax Optio W90: Handling
The camera has a nice solid feel and close examination shows that assembly and finish standards are very high. There are plenty of dedicated buttons and switches to operate the most used functions and it is very useful that the green button can be allocated to an Fn menu where the user can select a variety of options for quick access. I chose exposure compensation, quality level, white balance and image size from the options given.

This is a small compact, measuring just 107.5 x 59 x 25mm, and as always there are issues with camera shake, but the pixel track shake reduction does help. This slows down the operation of the camera, but not excessively so, adding 2-3 seconds to the delay before the camera is ready to shoot again.

The sheer range of facilities covers every possible requirement for a compact and adding the waterproofing is quite liberating. Rain, sand, dust, as well as underwater use means that the camera can be used virtually anywhere.

The caveat to this is that to maintain image quality the front glass needs to be kept clean and clear. It is quite vulnerable, being flush with the camera body, not only to the elements but also to fingerprints when carrying and using the camera. This results in, relatively speaking, quite a bit of cleaning and I can’t help but wonder if this will not eventually take its toll. Normally we clean lenses as little as possible, but here it is hard to see how it can be avoided. It may be the price that we have to pay for the other obvious advantages.

The one niggle I have is that the tripod socket is right at one end of the base and also sits slightly proud. This is not the most stable of arrangements and it needs some care in use to make sure the camera is firmly fixed.

Pentax Optio W90: Performance
The camera performed pretty much flawlessly in terms of reasonably quick focusing, accurate exposure and excellent colour reproduction. It was happiest under daylight and tungsten (incandescent) light, but less so under fluorescent tubes. I generally used the daylight setting, which I do anyway as I like to retain the varying quality of the ambient light rather than have the camera try to “correct” it. However, AWB performed well and gave generally fine results.

Pentax Optio W90 White-balance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
 
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting.   Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting.
 
Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting.   Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting.

The range of shooting modes was extensive and I did make use of some of these. In some cases they seemed to make little difference, but for beginners who are in doubt then they definitely have a place.

The focusing modes were all excellent in use , the macro setting switching in automatically when needed is a nice touch.

In summary, I was very pleased with the general handling and found the camera a pleasure to use.

ISO and Noise Performance
This is a small 1/2.3 inch sensor and is quite susceptible to noise at higher ISO values. ISO 400 is still usable, but deterioration is setting in at ISO 800 and above. I would use lower settings wherever possible, although a sharp and noisy picture will always look better than a noise free blurred one.

Lens performance
I wondered if the constraints placed on the lens design, concealed as it is behind a glass plate, would have an effect on image quality. This does not seem to be the case, and results were sharp and crisp, especially from close up to the medium distance. Shots at infinity were probably the weakest, but we need to put this into perspective with the target market.

Those who want a rugged, waterproof go-anywhere camera that gives then sharp bright pictures in almost all circumstances will not be disappointed. Macro shots are superb, underwater shots will similarly be at fairly close distances, and family and friends will get lively and pleasing portraits.

Those who want A3 prints of landscapes for competitions and exhibitions will need to reach for their dslrs as this is not what this camera is for.

The lens is at its best close up and images are possible with ease that would be quite difficult with a dslr, and certainly would be much more expensive in terms of the equipment needed.

Flare is quite easy to induce, so this needs to be watched, but even so in many situations this is not an issue. Chromatic aberration is impressively low.

Pentax Optio W90 Performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
 
The W90 is capable of superb colour rendition.   There were just seconds to grab this scene before other visitors wandered into the shot.
 
Infinity shots do lack bite and detail, something which the camera is not really aimed at.   Crisp detail in this rusty chain.

Pentax Optio W90: Verdict
The Optio W90 is an impressive and competent performer that excels in close up and medium distance shooting. Adding the waterproof, dustproof and shockproof features makes it ideal for snorkelling, beach, holidays, parties and all the general photography that people enjoy. It is capable of tackling a huge range of subjects.

It does not replace the dslr though in terms of quality, although it makes accessible many things that the DSLR cannot easily achieve.

At around £200 this camera is good value and has a liberating effect on when and where we can shoot pictures.

Pentax Optio W90: Pros
Waterproof, Dustproof and Shockproof
Build quality
Colour reproduction
Image quality at close and medium distances
Fair price

Pentax Optio W90: Cons
Vulnerable front glass
Noisy at high ISO
Image quality at infinity

Pentax Optio W90: Specification

Price £214.00
What comes in the box AV cable, USB cable, AC cable, Li-ion battery, battery charger, carabiner strap, strap and software.
Contact www.pentax.co.uk
Lens Pentax 5 – 25mm f/3.5 – 5.5, equ. to 28‐140mm in 35mm
Resolution 12.1Mp
Max. Image size 4000 x 3000
Aspect ratio 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 & 1:1
LCD monitor size 2.7in colour 16:9 LCD
Focusing system TTL contrast detection auto focus system with AF assist lamp
Focusing modes Infinity-landscape, Pan Focus, Manual Focus: available 9-point AF, Spot AF, Auto tracking AF
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80 – 6400
Metering system Multi-segment metering, Centre-weighted metering, Spot metering
Metering modes Auto Picture, Program, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Half-length Portrait, Movie, Underwater photo, Underwater movie, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Digital Microscope, Digital Wide, Digital SR, Surf & Snow, Kids, Pet, Sport, Fireworks, Candlelight, Text, Food, Digital Panorama, Frame composite, Report, Green
White-balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten light, Fluorescent light, Manual setting
Exposure compensation ±2EV
Shutter speed range 1/1500  – 1/4sec.
4 sec at most. (Night Scene mode setting)
Anti-shake mode Pixel Track SR
Hi-sensitivity anti-shake mode (Digital SR) Movie shake reduction mode (Movie SR)
Movie mode HDTV (1280×720), 30 or 15fps ; VGA (640×480) 30 or 15fps ; QVGA (320×240), 30 or 15fps
Media type SD / SDHC
Interface Micro HDMI output, USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed), PC/AV terminal (NTSC/PAL, mono) and AC power input
Power

Rechargeable D-LI88 lithium-ion battery
Optional AC adapter kit

Size (wxdxh) 107.5 x 25 x 59mm
Weight (with battery) 161g

The Pentax Optio W90 costs £214.00 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Pentax Optio W90

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