Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Samsung Caught Fudging Benchmarks with International Versions of Galaxy S4 (Updated)

This one is quickly making the tech rounds; Samsung has allegedly been caught by the tech community (through the work of AnandTech) of manipulating benchmark scores within the international version of their Galaxy S4 phones. The situation is not dissimilar to how the graphic card companies ATi and nVidia used to program their cards to perform better for the most popularly used synthetic benchmarks published in gaming magazines; the designers add extra code to detect when a benchmark program is being run, and then the processor speed is boosted in turn.

While not unsurprising, it certainly is disappointing. One gets the feeling that Samsung's (dis)virtue in this case is that they are the first of the smartphone makers to get caught; it would be unreasonable to expect that they were the only ones. The question now is how widely used is this practice; does it extend to their other phones and tablets as well?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Is m4/3 "Dead"?

Loyd Chambers wrote his feelings about the Micro Four Thirds System down in print this past week; let's just say that he doesn't seem to believe in damning with faint praise... While I agree with most of his observations, I don't agree with most of his conclusions either... or least the form of his conclusion, that m4/3 is an orphan system that is being overshadowed by mirrorless APS-C. There is some truth to that, but my take is that it is not for the reasons that he has given.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The "Canon’s Testing a 75MP+ Pro DSLR" Rumor

Photography Bay has a post up about Canon testing a 75mp pro camera. Considering that Nikon and Canon are slowly eating into the medium format market, the rumor could have been left at that, but the post keeps going on,,, and starts testing the bounds of credibility.

"The resolution of the sensor is greater than 75MP."  Yes, that's possible, it would give it a pixel pitch in the ballpark of  the Sony DSC-RX100. Certainly medium format territory. You won't get the same levels of dynamic range that you see with the high end DSLR's today, but under controlled lighting, it would be workable as a studio camera.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: The Photographer's Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos - Michael Freeman

The number of quality photographic technique books on the market is fewer than what one expect it to be. While there is a plethora of books that expand on camera manuals or try to explain Photoshop in a more understandable way, it's a rare tomb that delves into the the actual methodology and art of picture taking. As Michael Freeman would have you believe, most that technique is mental instead of manual.

What I find fascinating about Freeman's approach is that rather than to take a step by step approach, the topics are organized thematically. Rather than dwelling on f/stops and shutter speeds, the book is organized into three broad subject areas, intent, style and process. In each section, the thinking process involved in each of the three areas is discussed with photographic examples. The style and presentation is modern, but thankfully what is not modern is any prolonged discussion about camera gear or image manipulation. The writing is camera agnostic and easily accessible by any photographer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Canon EOS 70D Dual Pixel Autofocus Speed Comparison

Video samples are up of the Canon EOS 70D live view autofocus in action.These are courtesy of www.optyczne.pl out of Poland. The first sample is with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6. Unfortunately, they only show target acquisition with still subjects in the center of the scene, but the early operation looks promising.

Even with just the kit lens, AF acquisition speed appear fast and accurate.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Image Quality Preview: Canon EOS 70D Dual Pixel Sensor

Canon 70D "duel pixel" sensor architecture. (Canon Inc.)

Canon versus Nikon: the age-old debate continues. Depending on your outlook on life, either one is definitely better than the other, or the practical difference between the two is not worth mentioning. It's easy to say that the truth is in between those extremes, but what is more true is that at least for now, Canon and Nikon on diverging in sensor philosophy.  I don't mean in the age-old ISO versus resolution debate, but about more subtle design considerations under the hood.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Hypothetical Nikon D400: EXPEED Processor Analysis

As long suffering Nikon D300 and Nikon D300s users know, the D400 has been something of a mirage on the horizon; we've seen it from a distance, but the closer we've come, the further away it gets. Last year, (2012) the rumors were all over the place, but the most credible rumors were uncannily close to what the D7100 eventually turned out to be. If you match specs to rumors, the D7100 is almost what people expected, minus appropriate buffer size, full metal body and the traditional Nikon "pro" control layout. Fast forward to the middle of 2013, and the D400 rumors are on again. So, if the D7100 is already a great camera, all we need to do is add back the full metal frame and larger buffer, and then people will be happy, right?

No; and here's why:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lens that are Compatible with the Canon EOS 70D Dual Pixel CMOS AF

Canon USA has a list of lenses that will be compatible with the new phase detection system of the EOS 70D. You can find the official compatibility list  here:


And here is a list of lenses that have "limited" compatibility. These lenses will default to conventional contrast focusing when using live view


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Launch Review: First Impressions of the Canon EOS 70D

Finally! A new APS-C camera and sensor from Canon. The old 18mp sensor that first appeared in the 7D has had a long, long, ride, but we've finally found out why Canon took so long coming out with something new. It's a little bit of the expected ("70D", didn't see that name coming) and a bit of the unexpected.

What's New

  • 20.2mp CMOS Sensor
  • "Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology"
  • 19pt AF System (All Cross Type) from the EOS 7D
  • 7fps, up to 16 frames buffered in RAW or 65 shots in JPEG
  • Touchscreen rear LCD
  • Built in Wifi