Friday, December 24, 2010

7D 2000 fps Video


Check out this video. Its not really video at 2000 fps but nevertheless is very effective and the quality is amazing! Makes me want to dash out and buy a D700 and After Effects today!


7D 2000 fps from Oton Bačar on Vimeo.
Second and final slow motion test...It was filmed months ago. Editing is rough because I don't have time to work on details.

Edited with Twixtor in After Effects.
Rain was made with Trapcode Particular 2 in AE
Lens used: Canon EFS 18-135 mm
Shutter speed: unknown
Music: "Seagull"
Composer: Niklas Aman, STIM
Publisher: Brusbox Music STIM

Check out Niklas' awesome music:
www.niklasaman.com/​music

Red Giant Trapcode Plugins:
http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/all/trapcode-suite/

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Nikon Cashback for Christmas offer

As is usual, in the run up to Christmas, the major camera manufacturers announce special deals on some of their product range. Nikon has announced that it is offering cashbacks worth up to £40 until 31 January 2011 for UK and Eire customers on the purchase of the D3100. Claims must be submitted by 28th February.

This seems to me to be a little mean, considering that Sony is offering the VAT back on some of its digital cameras. Visit www.nikon.co.uk/cashback for more information.

The D3100 is Nikon's replacement for the D3000 and comes with full HD capability (1080p), a 14.2 MP sensor, live view and a more ergonomic design, according to Nikon. It also has an 11-point AF system, ISO range up to 12800 and the new EXPEED 2 image processor.


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The shortlist released for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2011 has been announced

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize is one of the most prestigious in the contemporary photography world. It aims to reward a contemporary photographer of any nationality, who has made the most significant contribution to the medium of photography in Europe in the previous year. The work can be can be either an exhibition or publication.

Originally set up in 1996 by The Photographers' Gallery in London it has sponsored the £30,000 prize since 2005. Showcasing new talent, it highlights the very best of international photography practice.

Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2011

Thomas Demand, Roe Ethridge, Jim Goldberg and Elad Lassry have all been ahortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2011. The Prize will be on display from Saturday 2 April until Sunday 30 April 2011, with the winner announced at a special award ceremony on Tuesday 26 April 2011. The Prize will be shown at Ambika P3 at the University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1.

Later in 2011 the exhibition will be shown at the C/O Berlin and at the Deutsche Börse headquarter The Cube.

The Jury
For 2011, the Jury consists of: Alex Farquharson (Director, Nottingham Contemporary); Marloes Krijnen (Founding Director, Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam); Joel Sternfeld (artist, USA); and Anne-Marie Beckmann (Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany). Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, is the non-voting Chair.

More information is available at http://deutsche-boerse.com/dbag/dispatch/en/kir/gdb_navigation/about_us/30_Art_Collection/25_photography_prize
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Friday, November 26, 2010

WebGraphics offer access to high-quality design resources

If you are in need of high quality graphic resources for your latest project and are not a graphic designer then you can't go far wrong with WebGraphics. With over 2500 royalty free resources available for as little as $7 a month you are sure to find something that fits your needs. Whether its vector graphics, textures, Photoshop brushes, icons web templates or mockups (tees, DVD cases and the like).

WebGraphics promote themselves as a site with 3 fundamental objectives: best quality in quantity at the lowest price. judging by the standard of their work so far I would say they are doing a good job of achieving that laudable aim.

Finally, in the interests of being above board, if you click on the graphic below to their site, it is an affiliate link.
Premium resources for designers

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free 3D Model of Medical Wheelchair

Zygote are once again offering a free 3D model, this time of a medical wheelchair, for download from their site at 3DScience.com.




You can download the model from  http://www.3dscience.com/ but be sure to hurry as its only available for a limited period. Sign up for their newsletters and receive notification of future free models for download.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lou Reed relents and directs Susan Boyle covering his 'Perfect Day'

I don't normally post on things like this but I am a fan of both Lou Reed and Susan Boyle so I couldn't resist. The story is that Lou Reed initially didn't want Susan Boyle to cover his song 'Perfect Day'. Not only did he allow her sing the song “Perfect Day” but also he directed the video.


Susan recently recorded the song for her new album, The Gift and Reed told the Sunday Mail, “I wanted to create a beautiful and intimate piece shot in Susan’s native Scotland, and she quickly agreed.” Susan adds, “I loved that Lou understood how much it meant to me to film in Scotland. I didn’t mind how much it rained or blew a gale — I enjoyed every minute.”

Check it out and decide for yourself if you prefer Susan's version over Lou's.
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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Pola turns any image into a Polaroid

Pola is a free program from Maunel Barzi that takes any image and tuns it into a Polaroid-esque image. you can download it for free from http://manuelbarzi.com/pola/.


The program has a pretty simplistic interface that looks somewhat basic but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, the program is essentially a one-trick pony and it does the job very well. basically you just drag and drop any image on the program's icon once it's up and running. Once you do this, you are then presented with a crop box. However, the crop margins are fixed and you can only choose where to apply the crop. Once you are happy with the positioning of the crop margins, you have two choices - cancel or apply (labelled as 'shoot'). Assuming you choose to continue and 'shoot', you hear a sound like a polaroid camera taking a picture and a voice says "Pola created".


Bearing in mind that there are no menu items to choose from (such as edit or save) its not obvious at first how to actually save your image. What you actually need to do is click on the image you have created and a floating toolbar will then appear. This has some basic looking icons representing your various options. These are:
  1. Continue
  2. Load an image
  3. Choose output folder
  4. Write a comment
  5. Choose cartridge
  6. Go to Pola.com
  7. Donate
  8. Language
  9. About Pola
  10. Bye
 Most are self-explanatory. Choose a cartridge offers up a smaller toolbar and seems simply to change the border from black to white. The 'Write a comment' option brings up yet another toolbar that has 4 options:
  1. Continue
  2. Font (limited choice with no way of knowing which font is actually being displayed)
  3. Size of text
  4. Colour of text
The comment will be applied to the border of the image (at the bottom part that is bigger that the other margins, similar to a real Polaroid). It can be a bit hit and miss in terms of positioning and there is no way to undo or adjust the position.

All in all, an interesting program that does one job and does it well. All that is lacking is some refinement in terms of the features and I guess if the author gets some donations he may well put some more effort into the program to refine it further.





Rating 3.5/5
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Free Online Photo-editors

Adobe Photoshop Elements iconImage via Wikipedia



Adobe Photoshop™ is possibly the world's best-known photo editor software. It's also very expensive. In recent years Adobe has recognised that not everyone can afford Photoshop so it brought out Photoshop Elements. Now up to version 9, Photoshop Elements offers many of the features of its big brother at a much more affordable price.

 More recently, with the advent of true broadband seeds and the growing popularity of 'cloud computing', Adobe introduced Photoshop.com, an online version of its editor.




The online photo editor offers a great deal of functionality. With it you can crop, straighten, adjust color, and touch up images. You can try a Soft Focus or Sketch filter, a Pop Color or distortion effect, some text, a frame... the list of enhancements goes on, and the Photoshop Express Editor never changes your original photo.

All of this comes free of charge. You can save your edited image back to your desktop and upload it to your online gallery or print it off.  The full suite of online tools includes not only an image editor (known as Photoshop Express) but also Express Organizer and Express Slideshow. You can also try out the new Photoshop Express Style Match, a simplified online version of the Photomerge Style Match tool in Photoshop Elements 9 software, which helps you create dramatically different looks and feelings in your photos.



So, why not pop along and try out the online apps at  www.photoshop.com?


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canon EOS 60D now available!

Canon EOS 60D SampleshotImage by 246-You via Flickr

The new Canon EOS 60D is now available in the UK. Costing £869 inc. VAT for the body, it lies between the 550D and the 7D in Canon's range. The 17-85mm Lens Kit costs £1148 inc. VAT.
  • 18 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Advanced creative features
  • Vari-angle 7.7cm (3.0”) 3:2 ratio LCD
  • Full HD movies
  • DIGIC 4
  • ISO 100-6400, H:12800
  • 5.3fps shooting for up to 58 JPEGs
  • 9-point cross type AF System
  • iFCL metering with 63-zone Dual-layer Sensor 
Reviews are generally positive, with www.dpreview.com commenting "from a spec and feature point of view it sits almost exactly half-way between the EOS 550D and the EOS 7D, which is exactly where it should be."

Some reviewers have remarked on the fact that Canon have dropped the magnesium alloy construction and so this is more of an enthusiast's DSLR rather than a semi-pro. However, it remains very capable of producing excellent results with lots of features that will appeal especially to anyone looking to upgrade from the EOS 400/450D specification but who can't afford the EOS 7D or the EOS 5D.
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    Saturday, October 02, 2010

    Claim up to 150/€170 cashback range of PowerShot G11 accessories

    Canon PowerShot G11 digital compact cameraImage via Wikipedia

    Canon is offering cash-backs on a range of accessories for the Powershot G11.

    The PowerShot G11 can be used with a wide range of Canon accessories, including the Speedlite 270EX, 430EX II and 580EX II; Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX and Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX flashes for enhanced shooting options; the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2, Speedlite Bracket BKT-DC1 and Remote Switch RS-60E3. Underwater photographers can even team the PowerShot G11 with the specially designed Waterproof Case WP-DC34 – an underwater housing allowing full control of the camera at depths down to 40m. The PowerShot G11 includes an HDMI port so users can review images on a full HD screen via an optional HDMI cable.

    To apply for your cashback please follow these instructions:

    1. The Canon PowerShot G11 promotional box must be purchased before 30th September 2010 and the subsequent purchase(s) must be made before 1st November 2010. The Voucher booklet with its Claim Form(s) will only be available with the Canon PowerShot G11 promotional box.

    2. To claim the “Cashback”, participants must post a valid claim by midnight 26th November 2010 to the following address: “Canon PowerShot G11 accessory promotion”, Freepost RRRX-UHCE-RSGT, PWA, 9-12 EASTMAN WAY, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HP2 7DU.

    3. A valid claim includes: - The original receipt or valid proof of purchase for the Canon PowerShot G11* - The original receipt or valid proof of purchase for all accessories for which you claim and the corresponding voucher(s) from the voucher booklet* - The fully and correctly completed Claim Form(s)

    4. The closing date for posting of Claims is midnight on 26th November 2010.

    * Your original receipts or valid proof of purchases will be returned to your address in accordance with the details provided on the Claim Form(s).
    More information and to download the claim form visit  http://www.canon.co.uk/g11accessorycashback/Index.aspx



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    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Canon G12 unleashed

    Canon released the update to its popular Powershot G11 earlier this month. The G12 retains the 10 MP resolution of its predecessor but adds some extra features to what is a successful design. Canon’s HS System, 720p HD movie recording and Hybrid IS are new additions, delivering premium image quality in stills and movies, and a new Front Dial provides improved handling and swift manual control. The PowerShot G12 is also compatible with a new optional Lens Filter Adapter, which extends with the lens when using the zoom to offer full coverage throughout the zoom range.

    The inclusion of the HS System allows shooting at higher ISOs with excellent image quality – enabling users to capture exceptional images in all conditions. This extended ISO range allows users to shoot darker scenes without engaging the flash or using a tripod – capturing correctly-exposed images using only the available light. In situations when use of the flash is necessary, a higher ISO will enable users to extend its effective range and illuminate the subject more effectively. Higher ISOs also enable users to utilise faster shutter speeds – freezing motion to capture moving subjects with a reduced risk of blur.

    Allowing users precise control over the ISO level, the dedicated ISO dial now allows adjustments in 1/3 stop increments.  In addition to this, a new Auto ISO level adjustment feature allows users to pre-configure the maximum ISO setting they wish to use during shooting and specify how the camera selects the ISO to obtain the best balance between image quality and shutter speed.
    In very dark situations, Low Light mode can be used to extend the ISO range up to ISO 12800, with the ability for users to control ISO and white balance to accurately capture the ambience of a dimly-lit environment. Users can also capture fast-moving action with the ability to shoot at up to 4.2 shots per second.

    Canon PowerShot G12 – key features:
    • HS System
    • High-sensitivity 10 MP CCD
    • 28mm wide, 5x zoom lens, Hybrid IS
    • 7.0 cm (2.8") Vari-Angle LCD, Electronic Level, OVF
    • Front Dial, Full Manual & RAW
    • HD movies, HDMI
    • High Dynamic Range mode
    • Smart Auto
    • Multi-Aspect Shooting
    • Extensive accessory system
    Check out Canon's site for more details on specification. UK Price is £498 inc VAT.

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    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Sigma Announce 46MP SD1 DSLR

    The SIGMA SD1 is Sigma's flagship digital SLR model, adopting a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy for its body and O-ring sealing connections to make a weather-resistant design throughout for use in harsh conditions.

    The SIGMA SD1 incorporates a 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor and dual "TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II" image processing engines. The combination of the 46 megapixel sensor and dual TRUE II processing engines ensure the high resolution images are processed quickly with high definition and smooth and subtle graduation of colour. The SD1 is SIGMA's latest digital SLR camera which meets high requirements of professional and enthusiast photographers for all types of photography.

    Product Summary
    46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C X3 Full-colour image sensor
    The 46 megapixel (4,800×3,200×3 layers) 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor featured in the Sigma SD1 captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour. Using three silicon-embedded layers of photo detectors, stacked vertically to take advantage of silicon's ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths, it efficiently reproduces colour more accurately, and offers sharper resolution, pixel for pixel, than any conventional image sensor. Since colour moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required, meaning light and colour, generated by the 46 megapixel APS-C X3 direct image sensor, is captured with a three-dimensional feel.

    Dual TRUE II image processing engine
    The SD1 incorporates a dual "TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II" image processing engine which improves the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. The unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones.

    Memory Card
    The SD1 adopts the TYPE I CF Card. This camera is compatible with UDMA Mode6, enabling fast processing of large amounts of data.
    * It is not possible to use Microdrives and TYPE II CF cards.

    Sensor
    The autofocus system features an 11 point twin cross sensor. The shifted twin cross type sensor improves AF accuracy.

    Body
    The Sigma SD1 adopts a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy body designed to withstand rough use and shocks in harsh conditions.

    Weather-resistant design
    Buttons and connections benefit from O-ring sealings to prevent dust and water getting inside the camera body.

    Large, highly visible 3.0" TFT colour LCD Monitor
    The SD1 camera features a 3.0 inch TFT colour monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition.

    Optional lenses
    The SD1 can be used with over 40 Sigma lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto, macro and fisheyes which adopt the latest technology such as FLD and SLD glass, Aspherical lenses, Sigma's unique Optical Stabiliser function, Hyper Sonic Motor and Sigma's Super Multi Layer Coating. They meet the various and demanding requirements of all types of photographers.
    Visit SD1 Special site: www.SIGMA-SD.com/sd1 for more info. Price TBC
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    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Nikon D7000 joins the mid-range and boosts MP resolution of range

    Nikon D7000Image by Rafakoy via Flickr
    The Nikon D7000 packs high-end image technologies into a surprisingly portable body. It's sturdy enough and it's range of advanced features will satisfy enthusiast and semi-pro photographers looking for more resolution than the D90 offers.
    Features:
    • 16.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor
    • High ISO (100-6400) light sensitivity - extendable up to 25600
    • EXPEED 2: Nikon’s advanced image processing engine
    • Durable design with magnesium alloy top and rear covers
    • Twin SD card slots: SDXC compatible
    • Razor-sharp 39-point AF system
    Specifications:
    • 16.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor delivers lifelike images with vivid colors, reduced noise and smooth tonal gradations.
    • High ISO (100-6400) light sensitivity - manually extendable up to 25600 using the Hi2 setting. Enables faster shutter speeds for finely detailed images with minimal noise when you shoot fast-moving subjects or take pictures in low light. Features an Auto ISO setting.
    • EXPEED 2 image processing engine: optimizes the camera's technologies for superior performance and maximum image quality, all while consuming minimal energy.
    • Durable design: boasts tough, yet light, magnesium alloy top and rear covers, and environmentally-sealed joints that protect the camera from dust and moisture.
    • 100% viewfinder coverage with approx. 0.94x magnification for precise composition.
    • Durable shutter unit tested to 150,000 cycles. Delivers precise shutter control and exceptional reliability with a shutter speed of up to 1/8000s, and flash synchronization at up to 1/250s.
    • Twin SD memory card slots: for enhanced shooting flexibility. Use the second card when the first is full, or record stills on one and movies on another. SDXC compatible.
    • Razor-sharp 39-point Autofocus system with nine cross-type sensors in the center. Offers fast and precise autofocus coverage across the frame. Four AF-area modes, including 3D-tracking AF, deliver sharp results, whether your subject is off-center, moving fast or completely unpredictable.
    • 2,016 pixel RGB metering sensor delivers highly accurate metering for exact exposures and provides precise data to the camera's Scene Recognition System, which optimizes exposure, autofocus and white balance immediately before the shutter is released for sharply defined images.
    • 6 fps continuous shooting: capture fast-moving action at six frames per second.
    • Quick response: boasts a near-instant start-up time and approx. 0.052-second shutter-release time lag.
    • D-Movie – full HD (1920 x 1080) movie clips: a dedicated record button lets you capture beautiful high-definition (HD) movie clips instantly. AF-F mode keeps everything in focus while you are shooting and the camera supports use of an external microphone so you can record in quality stereo sound. Simple editing functions let you make edits of your clips in-camera.
    • Large 7.5 cm (3-in.), 920k-dot, high-resolution LCD monitor with reinforced glass makes it easy to view essential camera information, and a pleasure to review and edit your photos and movies.
     Available from £1,099.99 for the body alone. Various kits available.
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      Tuesday, September 14, 2010

      Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac released!

      Parallels Coherence in ExposéImage via Wikipedia

      With over 80 new features and enhancements, Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac is our best version yet. Upgrade today, and you can:
      • New! Enjoy full access and control of your virtual machine from wherever you are with an all-new Parallels Mobile app for iPhone & iPad
      • New! Take advantage of all your computer's power with a new 64-bit engine
      • New! Immerse yourself in your favorite games, music and video with 5.1 Surround Sound
      • Enhanced! Work the way you want with Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts in Coherence and Crystal view modes
      • Enhanced! Working with files on USB drives, networks and shared folders is faster and easier than ever
      • Enhanced! Boot Windows 41% faster
      • Enhanced! 3D graphics performance is nearly 40% better
      You can upgrade for just £34.99 or if purchasing for the first time, Desktop Parallels 6 costs £64.99.
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      Sunday, September 12, 2010

      Sigma SD15 available

      The Sigma SD 15 is the latest in Sigma's range of DSLR. It uses a unique three-layer sensor (Foveon X3) to capture 14 MP of full colour detail. in addition, it comes with a durable focal plane shutter that is rated for 100,000 exposures an is designed to dramatically reduce the amount of dust and dirt on the sensor.
      To minimise camera shake there are two motor systems, which together with a mirror-lock mechanism can be very usefulwhen shooting macro or when using ultra-telephoto lenses.
      Up to 21  frames can be captured in RAW mode as the camera comes with a DDR2 buffer memory module (twice the size of the SD14 buffer). The camera can shoot at up to 3 FPS in RAW up to this limit. In terms of image processing, the SD15 incorporates the TRUE II image processor. The camera is compatible with SD memory cards (inc. SDHC). With an ISO range of 50 - 3200 the SD15 can capture rich tones n a wide variety of lighting conditions. Using its 5 focus points  (center one is of the cross type) the camera is claimed to be fast and precise in its focusing. If needed, there is also a 5 frame auto bracketing function. Sigma offers SIGMA Photo Pro 4.0 for post-processing of RAW images.
      More information is available on the Sigma site at http://www.sigma-sd.com/SD15/main.html
      The Sigma SD15 is available for pre-order at £799.99 for the body from most major retailers.
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      Thursday, September 02, 2010

      10% Cashback for Students from Nikon

      Nikon Ohi FactoryImage via Wikipedia
      Press Release:
      Nikon UK is celebrating the start of the new term with an exciting new promotion offering students 10% cashback on Nikon equipment.

      From 1st September – 31st October 2010 (inclusive) full time students, lecturers or technicians attending or teaching a higher education photographic or media course in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are entitled to claim 10% cashback on any Nikon equipment in a single transaction.
      Jeremy Gilbert, Group Marketing Manager at Nikon UK says: "Nikon is committed to supporting students and appreciate that starting a new term can be expensive which is why we’ve introduced this significant offer to help students as they begin, or progress their studies."

      All claims must be received by 30th November 2010. For more information about Nikon’s range of products please visit Nikon.

      For terms and conditions and information about how to claim your cashback please visit: Nikon student cashback.

      For information about where to buy please visit Nikon.
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      Monday, August 09, 2010

      Appleby Horse Fair Images by Steve Franck, 2010

      Selby, Travelling Man on his way to Appleby Ho...Image via Wikipedia

      The Appleby Horse Fair is possibly over a 1,000 years old. Although its where Gypsies and Travellers gather to buy and sell horses its become a major tourist attraction in Cumbria. It even has a Royal Charter. Steve Franck, a freelance photographer, has put together a slideshow of images with voiceover by Billy Welch, a Gypsy himeself adn organiser of the Fair. You can find it on the BBC site at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8728149.stm.

      You can also read a short interview of Steve Franck and of how he came to taking photographs of the Fair on the EPUK site at http://www.epuk.org/Showcase/960/appleby-horse-fair-england-steve-franck



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      Saturday, August 07, 2010

      3D Camcorders reach the consumer with the HDC-SDT750


      Panasonic makes excellent digital technology, both for professionals and for the consumer. Having only just launched the first Full HD 3D Camcorder for Professionals earlier this year at CES, Panasonic have gone and announced one for consumers.

      The Panasonic HDC-SDT750 is a 3MOS camcorder that allows users to produce their own 3D movies. You can then watch your creation on a 3D capable TV such as the Viera 3D TV. The camcorder relies on a 3D conversion lens that comes with the camcorder to record in 3D. This records the right and left images at the same time, just like we do with our two eyes. Each image produced is 960 x 1080 pixels, giving HD resolution in the final image.

      The SDT750 comes with the usual array of Panasonic technical goodies, including:
      • 3MOS System with Improved Noise Reduction
      • HYBRID O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabiliser)
      • IA (Intelligent Auto) function
      • SDXC, SDHC and SD Memory Card storage capability
      Available now. For more information checkout the Panasonic site at  www.panasonic.co.uk
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      Thursday, August 05, 2010

      Spammers beware!

      no spam!Image via Wikipedia

      It is always pleasing when someone takes the time to write a comment on one's postings. When this happens the comments are always moderated and if they are decent, in English and make sense they are likely to be published. However, any comments that have links to other sites are always checked out first and if found to be links to sites containing spyware, trojans, offensive material or spam they will not be accepted. I may even, in certain circumstances, report the commentator to Google and in extreme circumstances (links to pornographic or racist sites for example) report them to the authorities.

      Sadly, the vast majority of comments these days on all blogs are not suitable for publishing. However, please don't let that put you off if you are a genuine commentator. I check each comment and make my mind up by first reading the comment and checking any links it contains, so if you have something worth saying then it may very well be published!
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      Tuesday, August 03, 2010

      Blackberry Torch - can it stem the rise of Android and iOS?

      Image representing Research In Motion as depic...Image via CrunchBase

      Blackberry's maker, RIM, has been in the news recently for the wrong reasons (or is it in fact the right reason - you decide). Several countries in the Middle East are planning to curb the rise of the Blackberry, not because they make their own smart phones. Not even because of their inherent lack of security - the exact opposite in fact. Yes, Blackberrys are too secure for the likes of the UAE and Saudia Arabia!

      Seems these denizens of democracy object to their citizens being able to communicate, conduct business and generally browse the web without the State looking over their shoulders. The move to suspend data services on the popular devices has upset users in the Middle East and other countries including China, Turkey and Pakistan, as the authorities attempt to grapple with the free flow of information over the internet. Don't they know that like water, information will find its own level. There is nothing in reality that the State can do to turn back the clock and un-invent the internet. It won't stop them trying of course.

      In the end, all they will do is force business away from their economies and make their citizens believe that the State is trying to control them (which it is - that's the nature of the beast I am afraid). They should look at North Korea and China to see where this attitude will get them. North Korea is a desert as far as business is concerned and China only started to experience real economic growth the more it loosened the chains upon its citizens. It's not perfect but it is moving in the right direction.

      So, what's your take on all this - will they actually go down what many consider the road to ruin or will they pull back from the brink?

      In the meantime, RIM has released the latest version of its smart phone - the Blackberry Torch. Called BlackBerry 6, and boasting various innovations such as the ability to combine information feeds from email, text messaging and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, its seen by some as an 'iPhone killer' -but then doesn't everyone say that these days. It will go on sale for $199 (£125) in the US in partnership with AT&T on 12 August, with a roll-out in Britain later this year.
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      Macphun, developers of Luminar, Creative Kit and Aurora HDR, have a special promotion available at the moment. You get: Luminar,...