EP3 thoughts

Well just did a blind test using some shots from the X100 versus the EP3 with a friend. They clearly preferred the output from the EP3, overall.

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Fuji X100 vs Olympus EP3

Well here is the beginning of an unfolding saga as I test these two new cameras.

Got the Fuji X100 as had the x10 and loved the design but wanted higher spec. Love the design especially the black limited edition which I have.

Also have the EP3 which I know has an older micro 43 sensor and not as good as the new OMD style, but couldnt afford that just now.

Anyway, the Fuji X100 is great to handle and if you can get it to focus takes fabulous shots, very fine detail, nice colour balance. Watch out for the slightly wide lens on portraits though.

Problem is IF you can get it to focus, indoors or low light the focus is right 50% of the time. Very annoying. True I’m not the best photographer on earth, (or even in my village).

The Olympus EP3 however takes shots with less details if you zoom in to pixel level and much more chroma noise even at low ISO, but the colours are rich and the images are in focus 100% of the time. (Using a 17mm prime lens i.e. 35mm equivalent, so close to the Fuji.)

So Im probably using the EP3 for street work and people, but the Fuji for landscapes and still subjects.

Will be interesting to test again with a 45mm portrait lens on the EP3.

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Summer School 2012


Here is a link to some of my Summer school photos.


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HTC One X review

Update II
Ok changed the device at my local 3 shop, and inserted first firmware patch. No longer runs hot, still warm but ok.

The screen is superb, and overall now happy. Camera could be better though.

The device does run hot, it seems to overheat, even running the simplest apps. Waiting to see if the first patch will fix this if not its goes back to the shop.

Ok here is the first post in my experience with the new HTC One X. Got mine from 3 mobile in the UK with an unlimited data contract. I noticed the device from the mobile world congress reports and thought it sounded cool.

Well it is cool! Verry cool. The design is stunning, simply a whole new level of mobile device.

So far here are the pros and cons.

Design, its slick and feels great in the hand, if anything a bit too thin.
Feels tough and well finished but will still get a case for it.
Screen is superb, its High Def 720p and videos are excellent.
Speed, its fast but doesn’t feel that much faster than my Galaxy II.
HTC sense and Icecream are well fitted together, it feels like a finished product.

Only 32GB built in memory and no micro sd card option. Still you get 25gb free dropbox so not so bad.
Battery is only 1800ma, its ok I get a days use or 6 hours video playback. Havent done detailed test on that yet, come back later.

Havent tested the camera yet but looking forward to it.

Some example shots.
The image quality in good light is ok but the indoor shots are less than great, possibly the adaptive flash is not responding well?

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Olympus XZ1 review

Here is a mini review of the compact digital camera the Olympus XZ1.

I was looking for a compact take anywhere camera with RAW and manual controls. Options included the Canon G12, or Ricoh GR series or a Fuji X10. Well the G12 is nice buy bulky and heavy, you may as well get a mirrorless model. The Ricoh are expensive and fixed lenses, very nice build quality and feel though.

The other contender was the new Fuji X10 which is superb, a bit more expensive but a great product. Only problem is the reports of white circles in many images from flare spots. When Fui fix that and drop the price a bit they have a winner.

That left the Olympus XZ1, which is a good deal right now and has a cash back offer as well. (Got mine from Amazon.) Well just done a few shoots so far and I am delighted with this camera. Its low light response is excellent due to the relatively large lens and f1.8 aperture. The control ring on the front sets either aperture or shutter speed depending on setting and it work brilliantly. The LCD screen is also very sharp and high resolution, I would like the optional electronic viewfinder but its a bit pricy (£180). I may be tempted as it would make this a great street camera.

The image quality is basically as good as my 3 year old Canon 450 DSLR with a good lens. Which for a compact camera is amazing. The focus speed is excellent and the camera feels light but well made. I dont like the control dial on top though as too small and easily turned. Will be my main travel camera from now on.

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Playbook Summary

For the money, (around £270 for the 64GB version in PC World UK), it is a very nice device. It is a little heavy, but that’s because its so well made, a solid block of metal with a cool black soft touch finish. If like me you need a portable device for ebooks, browsing, music (good quality though) and video, its a great device. Doesn’t yet have the range of apps of android let alone Apple, but the essential racing games and angry birds are there for fun.

If we can have Zinio and a decent radio tuner app soon I would give it five stars. At present 4/5 stars.

I don’t have a Blackberry phone so haven’t assessed against that.

Had a weird glitch on the device, a small red band of fixed pixels appeared in top left corner of screen, stayed even after hard reboot. Thought I would have to return, so did a factory reset which fixed it, screen fine again. Weird.

Ok, now realise this is how it signals new messages or updates available.

Update 2013

Gave it to a friend, now have the new Nexus 7 3G and much happier.

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Playbook Feel

Well as I mentioned the feel of the Playbook is great, ideal stereo speaker location on front of the device, best in its class audio.

Standard mini usb synch and power, so no propriety cable nonsense. Also has a mini HDMI port, not tested yet.

One minor issue it wakes from sleep mode fast enough, but boot up from cold takes a minute, which is annoying.

The built in office app Docs to Go is quite good, nice interface and speedy.

The built in file manager is very good, a clean interface and fast. Much better than any in the android market.

The rear camera is 5 mega pixel and ok, but no flash, (but neither does the iPad), the front camera is high quality for video chat.

The new calendar app is well done and has nice Facebook  integration, i.e. tells you the birthdays of your friends and allows you to quickly post a Happy Birthday on their Facebook.

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Video on Playbook

A useful application on OSX I have found is Noteburner m4v converter.


Allows you to easily convert iTunes drm video to an open mpeg format that plays nice on a Playbook. Once converted just drag and drop file in the Playbook video folder.

Another nice built in feature is the Blackberry desktop app allows easy importing of your iTunes playlists.

So for me this is a nice mini black ipad! (Ok its not but I can dream.) When Apple realize 7 inch is the sweet spot for tablets I will buy one.

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Playbook OS2.0 review

Ok, here is a mini review of the Blackberry Playbook with the new OS 2.0 installed.

First with the old version 1.0 operating system it was a nice piece of hardware and basically a paperweight.

With the new OS however, we have a different creature altogether. The hardware is brilliant, very nice fit and finish, up to Apple quality. But the new OS is great for the following reasons.

1. Can side-load android apps, not many at present, best go to http://goodereader.com/blog/good-e-reader-videos/how-to-download-android-apps-to-your-blackberry-playbook/ and follow the instructions. You need to use a separate application to load pre-built Bar files but even I could manage it.

2. Not many android apps available as yet but Kindle is and it works fine on the Playbook.

3. We are promised Zinio will arrive in late March as a native app, cool.

4. The new message and calendar apps are very nice and synch well with most email services.

5. Nice new contacts app that can grab your gmail, facebook stuff etc.

6. Video on the device is slick, the screen quality is great, as its an IPS screen. Resolution not that high but perfectly fine on a 7 inch display.

7. Audio quality is excellent, tested on my Denon earphones, as good or better than ipod touch. Would like a choice of music apps as on android with equalizer control, but nothing decent yet. Still the built in music app is good and has album art etc.

8. Works great with my Creative D200 bluetooth speakers.

9. Battery life, not fully tested but just browsing on wifi and playing music, getting 10 hours use. Will test on a video loop later this week. Ok done that, and very impressed, playing 720 video with 70% screen brightness I got over 8 hours of battery life.

10. Blackberry app store. Ok to be honest this is disappointing,  I was hoping  more android apps would have migrated across with the new OS release, as its easy for a developer to do so. You can get the basics like angry birds, but not something like a good Internet radio app. (If anyone has found one please let me know.)

Will post more later.


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Race Against the Machine

An excellent book I came across is this text by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

Highly recommended, they  correctly identify the ills of the modern economic age.


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