Camcorders .. you love them .. or you hate them. Its a simple as that. Once hey used to be the sidearm of choice of the annoying uncle at your birthday party, who insisted on pointing them into peoples faces to suck away all spontaneous behavior and replacing it with a bunch of awkward grins. Now, most of them have been pushed into oblivion by high end camera’s on smartphones or super rugged go-pro action camera’s used by ‘outdoorsy’ types to impress their friends. So who (aside from a budding porn producer) still needs a camcorder ? And why in hells bells would you want a waterproof one ?
Well, once you wrap your hands around JVC’s All Weather Everio Camcorder .. you kind of start to see the point of this camera. Smartphones are cool, they are ubiquitous and they are great for the average point-shoot-and-share experience of a Youtube Video. But the absence of physical controls (and a static lens) make it hard to do some of the more advanced filming tricks like zooming and stuff. Smartphones also have the tendency to break, snap, splinter, shatter and disintegrate at the slightest hint of “adventurous use” If your pristine phablet survives a gravity powered french kiss with a concrete floor from three feet high without breaking .. you are a lucky man. The industries answer to the “adventurous youtuber” comes in the form of the go-pro like action camera. Encased in a force field of plastic this stabilized “set and forget” camera is mounted on you bike – helmet – stroller .. and will survive any stunt the owner preforms as he/she steps in the footsteps of the JAckaSs crew (and perhaps dies while doing it). So since surviving the ordeal is more important then an oscar for best director .. the Action Camera’s have few to zero options.
So enter the Everio. This Full-HD , Dust, water, shock and freeze proof camera is JVC”s savior of your upcoming winter-holiday video. With a form factor that looks like a classic camcorder, the Everio promises 4.5 hours of battery life and a 60* Zoom capability. We won’t go into technical details because we aren’t big shutterbugs, and break it down into our first impressions. The Everio looks pretty solid when you grab hold of it. The slightly larger casing makes it easy to hold even while wearing ski gloves or something. The placement and size of the primary controls (zoom, record etc) is also designed with the down sloping glovev wearing Spielberg in mind who is more focused on making the shot while trying to stay upright (and alive) instead of fiddling with little buttons.
But there are some cool extra things included in the camera’s software like taking 10Mpixel still shots (no need for an extra DSLR) , wireless syncing to your tablet or phone (no PC required) and the option to livestream your actual footage to a smartphone or tablet over wifi. Throw in some built in instagram filters and the Everio is a little one-stop holiday production shop for your video’s. With good audio and video quality to match (and why not thrown in some software stabilization) we do see you using this camera on your next adventurous holiday.
But hey ! Its waterproof ! (or so it says on the box) .. So lets test that .. shall we ?
At 319 dollars this thing brings a lot to the table for anyone who is going on a holiday and wants to rough things up a little.
This app is dumb .. and at the same time its brilliant ! Taking panoramic shots that span your entire surrounding (the so-called “360’s) is not always easy. You have to keep your phone levelled at all times at your “turning in place” skills are obviously not that of a prima ballerina. What to do ?
Enter Cycloramic. An app that lets you take panoramic shots using your iPhone and its .. charger ? Well yes ! Cycloramic uses the camera of your iPhone to take the actual picture, it uses the charger as a base and .. the build in vibrator .. ( Or the built in motor that makes your phone buzz). Its ingenious and pretty spiffy if you ask me.
But don’t take our word for it. Watch the cool little vid and give it a “spin”. (ps : for iphone 5 models you don’t even need the charger .. the phone ‘dances’ around on its broader base)
Link : Cycloramic (Apple app store for iPhone 5, 5s and 6)
Perhaps this Christmas you will receive the gift of a digital camera. Maybe its a point and shoot, maybe its a big DSLR camera with lots of buttons, dials, settings and configuration menus … on which you are absolutely clueless on how to correctly operate. If you want to join the herd of brainless mammals that only uses their super expensive Nikons or Canons on “Full auto” mode (while taking dramatic poses to shoot boring snapshots of their ugly spouses … ) so be it. But not if the two gentlemen below will have any say in it. Strap in for a podcast (and a website) to get you ready for the next pulitzer prize.
Let’s talk Photography podcast.
If he was not an Irish-Belgian living in what can only be described as the coldest, wettest place on the Northern hemisphere .. Bart Busschots would have been a brilliant addition to the Big Bang Theory cast. Unlike Sheldon he is not an antisocial condescending Texan with an IQ the size of the Belgian national debt .. He is a charming entertaining and brilliant person ( He has Belgian roots .. go figure) with an unfathomable knowledge about a wide variety of subjects. Whether those be astronomy (You can find a brilliant explanation of the Higgs Boson in a way your GRAN would get it) computer science (Check out the ‘taming the terminal’ series on the Nosillacast) OR photography. When faced with the choice of pouring this fantastic volume of knowledge in a podcast or just plain exploding, Bart has done the latter. The result : Another brand new budding podcast from the Brain of Busschots (We just refer to it as “The brain of B.”) teaching you how to become a better photographer. Subscribe, download, listen, learn. (And practice your most annoying, condescending laugh next time you meet a dork who still has his expensive camera set to ‘Full Auto’).
- Subscribe : Let’s talk photography podcast.
Konrad Makes Photos.
Stepping up into the realm of the professionals we encounter good friend of the show Konrad Dwojak. His recent move to the US have given him the time, the inspiration and the wisdom to finally start producing audio and video content on a regular basis. Its not technically a podcast yet, but you CAN find Konrad on OUR podcast from time to time too. Aside from Konrads excellent portfolio, the site also features great blogposts and videotips on photography for those who are novice or more advanced in photography. Something you should not miss out on.
- Visit : Konrad Makes Photos.
The one thing more obscure than the Huawei brand name is probably the knowledge on how to pronounce it. From a western tongue twisting Hoo-Ya-Wey to a mandarin tinted ‘Waah-Weej’ it becomes clear that this Chinese technological behemoth still has some marketing to do in the western world. (If only to end the bickering on how to pronounce it). However : Huawei speaks not to us in fancy commercials on tv (or a pronunciation lesson on Youtube) Huawei speaks to us with their range of products. Where the company used to be but a shady side-brand that would manufacture for other brands and suppliers, they now step into the limelight and present themselves as one of the major runners up to give Apple, Sony, Nokia and Samsung something to worry about at night. Its not because Huawei is not on every billboard that they don’t make decent products : The Huawei W1 we had in our hands is the puddings proof.
The Ascend W1 is a “Windows Phone”. A four inch IPS display with a resolution of 480 by 800 and a Qualcomm dual core snapdragon 1.2 gigahertz processor. It comes with 4 gigabyte of onboard storage, the ability to pimp said storage with an SD card and it has 512 megabytes of ram. It has a 5 megapixel front facing camera and a rear facing camera with VGA resolution. There is of course wifi, Bluetooth, 3g (no lte) and you can even call other people on the phone with it. To give you a frame of reference : we compare the device against Nokias Lumia 620 which is a little more “abundant” in these regions.
1. Look and feel. The W1 is a rectangular black slate, just like every phone on the market today. But with that being said, what you do notice right of the bat, is that its fairly thin, light but well balanced, and offers an ‘edge’ over the Nokia Lumia when it comes to screen protection. With that I mean that the screen has a little “border” around it that keeps it from scratching when you place the phone upside down. (Where the Nokia comes with the “glass on top” design). The back of the W1 is slightly rubberized giving an awkward but nice sensation of having something ‘tough’ in your hand while being elegant at the same time. The “thinner” body of the W1 feels nicer to hold that the slightly more bulky 620 with its sharper edges. Design-wise the W1 is not going be in the Louvre anytime soon, but both in your pocket and your hand it feels nice
We put both the Nokia 620 and the W1 side by side and launched the browser, the phone application, the store and played with the tiles. The 620 is slightly smoother when it comes to scrolling through your tiles, but on opening applications .. the W1 wins. In all honesty its a top-gear style photo finish to see the difference but applications do pop up a fraction of a second faster on the W1 then on its Scandinavian counterpart.
Although the W1 comes with a nice 480 by 800 Ips display, the brightness and color resilience is not that awesome. With both devices on auto-brightness, the W1’s colors were slightly duller then the Nokias. These are things you notice ( and perhaps only notice) during comparisons but they are there nonetheless. Screen brightness and color depth help you use your phone outdoor and read emails comfortably instead of peering at your smartphone like a pensioner.
Well, we will let the results speak for themselves here. The W1 takes some more time to focus and shoot, so snapping that picture of “The Flash” changing his underwear might be problematic.
Because of the “longer” shape of the phone, Huawei managed to cram in a larger battery into the phone, resulting in a fairly good +1 day battery life.
If there is such a thing as “Stock Windows Phone” .. The W1 has it. No extra “Nokia Apps” , no added “ Samsung Store” Just plain Windows phone and the Windows phone store. This might be the one place where Huawei chooses a different strategy than its competitors, opting out of using “branded software” as a selling point. This is a tricky bargain as the Windows App ecosphere still needs to grow and gain maturity. But for those of you who know where to look for your apps, or can live without Nokia’s City lens and Gps software (which is in all honesty, excellent) the W1 is the perfect platform to start.
The Nokia Lumia 620 is sold at about 215 euro’s in stores, where the W1 eats only 179 one-euro coins out of your account. When we look at what you get for this price : its not bad, not bad at all. As an “entry phone” for the Windows Phone market this is a surprisingly good “bang for your buck” phone. Ok, its no iPhone 5, its no Nokia 920 .. but in the end it comes down to what you need. If the form factor is OK for you and you prefer a practical little smartphone to an over-pimped sub-tablet .. The W1 is perfect for you. The question that you want to ask yourself is : Do I want to spend the extra 35 euro’s on a Nokia ? Is the fact that Nokia offers up some stock apps like navigation and the “city lens” worth that extra money ? Or am I a geek who knows the ways of the force and kind find my own apps in the store ?
We like the W1. Its a decent entry model phone with a fairly good screen, a fairly fast processor, a fairly good camera and a very good price. This phone is either for the geek on a budget who knows where to find the right apps, or for my mum in law, who just needs to do some basic stock functions like email, Facebook, texting and calling. The W1 is not a cheap disappointing up-sell tool: It holds its value in the market being Huawei’s step up to bigger things .. both for the consumer as for the company.
We grab our camera kit once more and hop over to London to cover Samsungs 2013 premiere event where their new product line of Phones, Tablets, Laptops, Desktops and other devices is presented to the public. We take a close look at the new Galaxy phones, the new NX Camera, and Samsungs first Windows-Android dualbooting sideloading Slabtop : The Ativ Q.
- Our first impressions of the event.
- The Ativ Premiere event on Youtube.
- Stefaan Lesaage’s coverage of the event (Dutch)
- An overview of all the covered products.