Tuesday 31 July 2007

Samsung Cameras unveils quality convergence with the i85


30 July 2007 - Samsung Cameras is pleased to announce the release of the 8.1 mega pixel i85. The i85 is equipped with a 3.0” touch screen LCD, an integrated MP3 player and PMP (Portable Multimedia Player) function. An inbuilt Tour Guide function provides instant access to travel information covering 2,600 regions in 30 countries, so you’ll always know where the action is. Further information can also be downloaded directly from the internet, and with 450 MB of internal memory you won’t need to worry about space for favourite travel tips. The camera is equipped with the Samsung Advanced Shake Reduction (ASR) system and ISO 1600 high sensitivity support so that images remain crisp and detailed even without a flash.

The i85 also features Samsung’s Intelligent Face Recognition Technology, which detects the subject’s face, automatically adjusts auto focus and auto exposure to ensure better composition and image quality in portraits. The AF function instantaneously recognises the faces of subjects and accurately focuses on them before the AE function takes over, setting the appropriate exposure to ensure the highest image quality.


The stunning new Samsung i85 is a must-have camera packed with intelligently integrated multimedia features. The i85 will retail at £229 and will be available from leading high street and online retailers from the end of August 2007. Customers requiring further information should call 00 800 122 637 27 or visit www.samsungcamera.co.uk
















Samsung i85 specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 8.4 million pixels total
• 8.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3264x2448
• 3264x2176
• 3264x1836
• 2592x1944
• 2048x1536
• 1024x768
Movie clips

• 800x592 @ 20fps
• 640x480 @ 30/15 fps
• 320x240 @ 30/15 fps
• 5X Optical Zoom
• Movie Stabilizer (User Selectable)
• Movie Editing: Pause during recording, Still Image Capture,Time Trimming

File formats • JPEG Exif v2.2
• AVI (MPEG-4)
Lens • 5x optical zoom
• 36 - 180 mm (35 mm equiv)
• F3.5 - F4.9
Image stabilization ASR (Advanced Shake Reduction)
Conversion lenses No
Digital zoom up to 5x
Focus modes

• TTL Autofocus
• Macro
• Super Macro
• Auto Macro

Focus distance • Normal: 80 cm - ∞
• Macro: 5 cm - 80 cm (wide), 30 cm -80 cm (tele)
• Super Macro (wide) : 1 cm - 5 cm
• Auto Macro: 5 cm - ∞
AF area modes • Multi AF
• Center AF
• Face Recognition AF
Metering • Multi
• Spot
• Center Weighted
• Face Recognition
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps
Exposure bracketing Yes (unspecified)
Shuttter speed Up to 1/1000 sec (Large iris), 1/2000 sec (Small iris)
Modes

Auto, Program, ASR, Scene

Scene modes

Night, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Text, Close-up, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Self shot, Café, Food

White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Fluorescent H
• Fluorescent L
• Tungsten
• Custom

White balance fine tune No
Self timer 2 or 10sec, Double self-timer
Continuous shooting Full-Resolution: 3 frames/sec or 2 frames/sec max. 7 images (Standard mode), Max. 5 images (Fine Mode)
Image parameters

• Color Effect : Normal, BW, Sepia, Red, Blue, Green, Negative, Custom Color, Color Mask
• Image Adjust : Saturation, Sharpness
• Fun : Cartoon, Photo Frame, High Light, Composite

Image editing

• Image Edit : Resize, Rotate, Trimming
• Color Effect : Normal, BW, Sepia, Red, Blue, Green, Negative, Custom Color Color Filter, Color Filter
• Image Adjust : Brightness, Contrast, Add Noise, Saturation, Red Eye Fix
• Fun : Cartoon, Photo Frame, High Light, Composite, Sticker

Flash

• Auto
• Auto & Red-eye reduction
• Fill-in flash
• Slow sync
• Flash off
• Red eye fix
• Range: Up to 4.0 m (wide), up to 2.85 m (tele)

Viewfinder No
LCD monitor • 3.0" TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixel
Connectivity • DC in
• AV out (NTSC/PAL)
• USB 2.0
Print compliance • EXIF 2.2
• PictBridge 1.0
• DPOF 1.1
Storage • SD/SDHC/MMC card
• Internal memory (173MB available to user)
Power • Li-ion battery pack (SLB-1137D: 3.7V, 1100mAh)
• Optional AC adapter
Other functions MP3 playback
PMP (Portable Media Player)
World Tour Guide
Text Viewer
Storage Driver
Voice Recorder
Weight (no batt) TBC
Dimensions 95 x 61.5 x 20.2 mm (3.7 x 2.4 x 0.8 in)

Thursday 12 July 2007

Using Water to Lighten Landscape Photos

Most Pro landscape photographers recommend shooting either at (or around) dawn or dusk in order to capture their scene in the ‘golden hours’ when the light is at it’s best (in fact some will rarely shoot at any other time of day).

However, one of the problems associated with shooting at this time of day is that while the sky will often have enough light in it the foreground of your images can sometimes end up being a little underexposed and featureless.

One way to get around underexposed foregrounds is to include water in that area of your shot and to get it reflecting light from the sky.

This is a particularly effective technique at sunrise or sunset when there’s color and interesting cloud formations in the sky (and reflections in the water).

It may take a little experimentation with different positions to shoot from in order to get the right part of the sky in the reflections but with a little trial and error the effect can be quite stunning and a much brighter and more balanced image.

Even if you don’t get perfect reflections the light coming from the water can help balance the shot and help you overcome underexposed foregrounds.


Here are some sample photos:




















































































Courtesy: Digital-Photography-School

Thursday 5 July 2007

How to Photograph Fireworks Displays

How to Photograph Fireworks Displays

Do you want to know how to photograph fireworks? Below I’ll give you 10 tips to help you get started.

Fireworks Displays are something that evoke a lot of emotion in people as they are not only beautiful and spectacular to watch but they also are often used to celebrate momentous occasions.

I’ve had many emails from readers asking how to photograph fireworks displays, quite a few of whom have expressed concern that they might just be too hard to really photograph. My response is always the same - ‘give it a go - you might be surprised at what you end up with’.

My reason for this advice is that back when I bought my first ever SLR (a film one) one of the first things I photographed was fireworks and I was amazed by how easy it was and how spectacular the results were. I think it’s even easier with a digital camera as you can get immediate feedback as to whether the shots you’ve taken are good or not and then make adjustments.

Of course it’s not just a matter of going out finding a fireworks display - there are, as usual, things you can do to improve your results.

1. Use a Tripod
Perhaps the most important tip is to secure your digital camera to something that will ensure it doesn’t move during the taking of your shots. This is especially important in photographing fireworks simply because you’ll be using longer shutter speeds which will not only capture the movement of the fireworks but any movement of the camera itself. The best way to keep your camera still is with a tripod. Alternatively - keep in mind that there are other non Tripod options for beating camera shake.

2. Remote Release

One way to ensure your camera is completely still during fireworks shots is to invest in a remote release device. These will vary from camera to camera but most have some sort of accessory made for them. The other way of taking shots without touching your camera is to use the self timer. This can work but you really need to be able to anticipate shots well and its very very hit and miss (read more on remote shutter releases).

3. Framing Your Shot

One of the most difficult parts of photographing fireworks is working out where to aim your camera. The challenge you’ll face in doing this is that you generally need to aim your camera before the fireworks that you’ll be photographing goes off - anticipation is key. Here are a few points on getting your framing right.


  • Scope out the location early - Planning is important with fireworks and getting to the location early in order to get a good, unobstructed position is important. Think about what is in the foreground and background of your shots and make sure you won’t have people’s heads bobbing up into your shots (also consider what impact you’ll have on others around you also). Take note of where fireworks are being set up and what parts of the sky they are likely to be shot into - you might also want to try to ask some of those setting up the display for a little information on what they are planning. Also consider what focal lengths you might want to use and choose appropriate lenses at this time (rather than in the middle of the show).
  • Watch your Horizons - One thing that you should always consider when lining up fireworks shots is whether your camera is even or straight in it’s framing. This is especially important if you’re going to shooting with a wide focal length and will get other background elements in your shots (ie a cityscape). Keeping horizons straight is something we covered previously on this site and is important in fireworks shots also. As you get your camera on your tripod make sure it’s level right from the time you set up.
  • Vertical or Horizontal? - There are two main ways of framing shots in all types of photography, vertically (portrait) or horizontally (landscape). Both can work in fireworks photography but I personally find a vertical perspective is better - particularly as there is a lot of vertical motion in fireworks. Horizontal shots can work if you’re going for more of a landscape shot with a wider focal length of if you’re wanting to capture multiple bursts of fireworks in the one shot - but I don’t tend to go there that often.
  • Remember your framing - I find that when I photograph fireworks that I spend less time looking in my viewfinder and more looking at the sky directly. As a result it’s important to remember what framing you have and to watch that segment of the sky. Doing this will also help you to anticipate the right time for a shot as you’ll see the light trails of unexploded rockets shooting into the sky.
4. Focal Length?
One of the hardest parts of photographing fireworks is having your camera trained on the right part of the sky at the right time. This is especially difficult if you’re shooting with a longer focal length and are trying to take more tightly cropped shots. I generally shoot at a wider focal length than a tight one but during a show will try a few tighter shots (I usually use a zoom lens to give me this option) to see if I can get lucky with them. Of course zoomed in shots like the one to the left can be quite effective also. They enable you to really fill the frame with great color. Keep in mind however that cropping of your wider angle fireworks shots can always be done later to get a similar impact in your photography.

5. Aperture

A common question around photographing fireworks displays is what aperture to use. Many people think you need a fast lens to get them but in reality it’s quite the opposite as the light that the fireworks emit is quite bright. I find that apertures in the mid to small range tend to work reasonably well and would usually shoot somewhere between f/8 to f/16.

6. Shutter Speed

Probably more important to get right than aperture is shutter speed. Fireworks move and as a result the best photographs of them capture this movement meaning you need a nice long exposure. The technique that I developed when I first photographed fireworks was to shoot in ‘bulb’ mode. This is a mode that allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you hold down the shutter (preferably using a remote shutter release of some type). Using this technique you hit the shutter as the firework is about to explode and hold it down until it’s finished exploding (generally a few seconds).

You can also experiment with set shutter speeds to see what impact it will have but I find that unless you’re holding the shutter open for very long exposures that the bulb technique works pretty well.

Don’t keep your shutter open too long. The temptation is to think that because it’s dark that you can leave it open as long as you like. The problem with this is that fireworks are bright and it doesn’t take too much to over expose them, especially if your shutter is open for multiple bursts in the one area of the sky. By all means experiment with multiple burst shots - but most people end up finding that the simpler one burst shots can be best.

7. ISO

Shooting at a low ISO is preferable to ensure the cleanest shots possible. Stick to ISO 100 and you should be fine.

8. Switch off your Flash

Shooting with a flash will have no impact upon your shots except to trick your camera into thinking it needs a short exposure time. Keep in mind that your camera’s flash will only have a reach of a few meters and in the case of fireworks even if they were this close a flash wouldn’t really have anything to light except for some smoke which would distract from the real action (the flashing lights).Switch your flash off.

9. Shoot in Manual Mode

I find I get the best results when shooting in manual exposure and manual focus modes. Auto focusing in low light can be very difficult for many cameras and you’ll end up missing a lot of shots. Once your focusing is set you’ll find you don’t really need to change it during the fireworks display - especially if you’re using a small aperture which increases depth of field. Keep in mind that changing focal lengths will mean you need to need to adjust your focusing on most lenses.

10. Experiment and Track Results

Throughout the fireworks display periodically check your results. I generally will take a few shots at the start and do a quick check to see that they are OK before shooting any more. Don’t check after every shot once you’ve got things set up OK (or you’ll miss the action) but do monitor yours shots occasionally to ensure you’re not taking a completely bad batch.

Also experiment with taking shots that include a wider perspective, silhouettes and people around you watching the display. Having your camera pointed at the sky can get you some wonderful shots but sometimes if you look for different perspectives you can get a few shots that are a little less cliche and just as spectacular. Most of the best shots that I’ve seen in the researching of this article have included some other element than the fireworks themselves - whether it be people, buildings, landmarks or wider cityscape perspectives.

More Tips from DPS Readers
  • “Find Out the Direction of the Wind - You want to shoot up wind, so it goes Camera, Fireworks, Smoke. Otherwise they’ll come out REALLY hazy.”
  • “Also, I find that if you shoot from a little further back and with a little more lens, you can set the lens to manual focus, focus it at infinity and not have to worry about it after that.”
  • “Remember to take advantage of a zero processing costs and take as many pictures as possible (more than you’d normally think necessary). That way, you’ll up your chances of getting that “perfect” shot.”
  • “Make sure you are ready to take pictures of the first fireworks. If there isn’t much wind, you are going to end up with a lot of smoke in your shot. The first explosions are usually the sharpest one.”
  • “Get some black foam core and set your camera to bulb. Start the exposure when the fireworks start with the piece of foam core in front of the lens. Every time a burst happens move the foam core out of the way. You will get multiple firework bursts in one exposure”
  • “Another tip I would add to this is pre-focus if possible (need to be able to manually focus or lock down focus for good) before the show starts so other elements in the frame are sharp They did mention that you only need to focus once but its a lot easier to take a few shots before the show starts and check them carefully rather than wait until the show has begun and you are fiddling with focus instead of watching fireworks!”

What are histograms in Digital Cameras

“I was flicking through my camera’s menu today and came across a little graph labeled ‘histogram’. What is it and should I take any notice of it? Is there such a thing as the ideal histogram? What should we be aiming for?” - Brent


What is a Histogram

Histograms are a topic that we could (and probably should) spend a lot of time talking about but let me give you a very brief answer to get you through in the short term.

Histograms are a very useful tool that many cameras offer their users to help them get a quick summary of the tonal range present in any given image.

It graphs the tones in your image from black (on the left) to white (on the right).

The higher the graph at any given point the more pixels of that tone that are present in an image.

So a histogram with lots of dark pixels will be skewed to the left and one with lots of lighter tones will be skewed to the right.

The beauty of a histogram is that the small LCD display on your camera is not really big enough to give you an great review of a picture and you can often get home to find that you’ve over or under exposed an image. Checking the histogram can tell you this while you’re in a position to be able to adjust your settings and take another shot.

Some Examples of Histograms

Let’s look at a couple of examples of histograms on shots:

Compare these two shots and their corresponding histograms:























The above shot has a lot of light tones - in fact there are parts of the shot that are quite blown out. As a result on the right hand side of the histogram you can see a sudden rise. While there are quite a few mid tones - everything is skewed right and with the extreme values on the right hand side indicate an over exposed shot.







































This second shot has a lot of dark tones. This is partly because of the black and navy clothes in the shot - but also because it’s slightly underexposed shot. The resulting histogram is quite different to the first one - the values are skewed to the left hand side.

Is there such a thing as a ‘good’ histogram?

As with most aspects of photography, beauty is the in eye of the beholder and there’s always a lot of room for personal taste and different ways of expressing yourself as a photographer.

There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ histogram - different subjects and photographic styles will produce different results. For example taking a silhouette shot might produce a histogram with peaks at both ends of the spectrum and nothing much in the middle of the graph. Taking a shot of someone at the snow will obviously have a histogram with significant peaks on the right hand side…. etc

Having said this (and to generalize) - in most cases you’ll probably want a fairly balanced shot with a nice spread of tones. Most well exposed shots tend to peak somewhere in the middle and taper off towards the edges.

Using Histograms While Shooting

So now you know what a histogram is - grab your digital camera’s manual and work out how to switch it on in playback mode. This will enable you to see both the picture and the histogram when reviewing shots after taking them.

Keep an eye out for histograms with dramatic spikes to the extreme ends of either side of the spectrum. This indicates that you have a lot of pixels that are either pure black or pure white. While this might be what you’re after remember that those sections of the image probably have very little detail - this is a hint that your image could be either over or under exposed.

The histogram is really just a tool to give you more information about an image and to help you get the effect that you want. Having your camera set to show you histograms during the view process will tell you how your image is exposed. Learning to read them will help you to work out whether you’re exposing a shot as you had hoped.

Another Example of a Histogram

Lets finish this tutorial by looking at one last example of a histogram:





































You can see in this shot a much more even spread of tones. It’s still not perfect and I’d do a little post production work but it’s a much more evenly exposed shot and the histogram reflects this.

The whole tutorial and illustrations has been copied from here.

HP Photosmart R937 Digital Camera

Overview
The HP Photosmart R937 Digital Camera takes photos to the next level with a large, 3.6-inch interactive touchscreen and superior 8-megapixel resolution. Ideal for those on the go – this stylish, remarkably thin camera easily slips into a pocket or purse. Users can apply creative touches, easily organize photos with Microsoft Vista™-compatible tags, add e-mail addresses for easy sharing and create slide shows – all in the camera. In addition, the HP Photosmart R937 Digital Camera includes the latest HP Design Gallery features such as industry-leading in-camera red-eye removal,(1) pet-eye fix, slimming, HP steady photo anti-shake and HP touch-up to ensure subjects look their best.

Key Features and Benefits
• Take superior photos that can be cropped or enlarged with 8-megapixel resolution and Fujinon 3x optical zoom.
• View photos easily – indoors or out, using an energy-efficient 3.6-inch Auto-bright Display.
• Edit and organize photos directly from the easy-to-use, interactive touchscreen – no PC needed.
• Enjoy quick photo organization for easy sharing using the in-camera, Microsoft Vista™-compatible tagging feature and touchscreen menus.
• Easily add e-mail addresses or tags to the camera simply by tapping the virtual keyboard.
• Get the photo intended with HP Design Gallery’s industry-leading in-camera red-eye removal(1) and pet-eye fix.
• Slim subjects and remove blemishes – in camera – with a unique slimming feature and HP touch-up.
• Add on-camera personal touches to photos using borders, colors and effects.
• Get more detailed photos with new automatic HP steady photo anti-shake mode and HP adaptive lighting technology.
• Stitch panoramic photos and save them for viewing and easy printing – no PC necessary.
• Catch gripping action shots with minimal delay with the easy-to-use burst mode.
• Capture spontaneous memories in high-quality video with audio.
• Snap a photo and mark it for e-mail right on the display, using HP Photosmart Share.
• Includes everything needed to start taking photos right out of the box, including a long-lasting, rechargeable battery and 32 MB of internal memory.
• Effortlessly share, save and print photos, plus order prints online, using HP Photosmart
Express.
• Order brilliant prints online through Snapfish by connecting to a PC.(2)
• Microsoft Windows Vista™ ready.

Additional Features
• Meets HP’s General Specification for the Environment, which includes compliance with the EU ROHS Directive (focus: lead, cadmium, mercury, PBB, PBDE).(3)
• Spend more time shooting and sharing photos by quickly charging the HP Photosmart R937 Digital Camera’s high-capacity, lithium-ion battery in one hour or less(5) with the optional HP Photosmart Quick Recharge Kit for R-series cameras.(4)
Technical Specifications
• 8-megapixel resolution
• 3x optical, 8x digital zoom
• Dimensions/Weight
o 4.12 inches (w) x 1.06 inches (d) x 2.86 inches (h)
o 0.4 lbs. without battery
• PictBridge support
• JPEG (Exif 2.2)
• Support/Connectivity
o USB Connectivity
o USB-compatible PC with Windows Vista, 2000, XP Home, XP Professional, XP Professional x64
o USB-compatible Macintosh computer with Mac OS X v10.3.9, 10.4 and later
• HP offers a comprehensive support package for the HP Photosmart R937 Digital Camera that includes one-year of phone support as well as real-time chat and email support beyond the warranty as part of its HP Total Care portfolio of services. For more information regarding HP Total Care, including related terms and charges, please go to www.hp.com/support.

Pricing and Availability
Estimated U.S. street price is $299.99.(6)
Expected to be available for purchase August 2007 in North America.

Read this full specification at http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press_kits/2007/digphoto/fs_r937.pdf

More review about this camera at:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0706/07062202hpsummer.asp