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16
Sep

Leica’s medium-format S shoots 4K video, 37.5-megapixel stills


Leica’s ready to jump on the professional video bandwagon, releasing its 4K-capable S here at Photokina in Cologne, Germany. The 37.5-megapixel camera sports a medium-format sensor that’s just a hair larger than full-frame, giving you a crop factor of 0.8x. It can snap 3.5 frames per second in a continuous-shooting mode, 1080/30p video and 4K clips at 24 fps. You can capture 42MB RAW files or 37.5, 9.3 or 2.3-megapixel JPGs, but if you’re spending €20,230 ($25,400 in the US) on a camera (body only), you better be shooting RAW.

The bundled battery lets you snap up to 1,000 stills, so while many pros will be tethered to an external pack or an outlet, you can also use the cam away from another power source if you’d like. There’s clean HDMI output, of course, for pushing 4K video to an external recorder, which you’ll need to purchase separately. You’ll also need to add on a lens, such as the €6,450 ($7,995 in the US) 100mm f/2 Summicron-S we were shooting with in the hands-on photos above. While most of us don’t have nearly $35,000 to spend on a camera and one lens, there’s no doubt that the latest S will make its way onto at least a few magazine cover/billboard/motion picture shoots in the months and years to come.

Photos by Edgar Alvarez.

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16
Sep

Boeing is expected to build most of NASA’s space taxis


Boeing's CST-100 space transporter

NASA may have been even-handed when it started doling out money to contractors for its space taxi program, but there are hints that it’s about to play favorites. The Wall Street Journal hears from anonymous officials that Boeing is now the odds-on favorite to get the majority of NASA’s astronaut transportation business. SpaceX, once thought to be the frontrunner, would be relegated to a “second source” alongside Sierra Nevada. Reportedly, the agency sees Boeing’s CST-100 capsule as the easy choice — it carries relatively few risks, and is more likely to be ready for business in three years than SpaceX’s Dragon V2.

NASA isn’t confirming anything just yet, although an announcement is possible very shortly. However, Boeing could have an ace up its sleeve — the WSJ claims that Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has been working with Boeing on its space taxi bid. While it’s not apparent just how intertwined the two companies are, Blue Origin is supposedly near revealing its cooperation with Boeing and Lockheed Martin on new, more affordable rockets that would boost the CST-100 (among other vehicles) into orbit. A Boeing win wouldn’t please anyone rooting for the underdogs, but look at it this way: even if SpaceX and Sierra Nevada lose the main deal, they’d still be around to give Boeing some competition.

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Source: Wall Street Journal (1), (2)

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16
Sep

Fujifilm’s hybrid viewfinder makes the X100T compact camera even better


Both Fujifilm’s X-T1 mirrorless and X100 compact cameras were widely lauded, so how could the company improve them without messing up a good thing? We’ll talk about the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition shortly, but in the case of the new X100T, Fujifilm’s answer was to address its lone Achilles heel: the viewfinder. As we saw earlier, the basics of the camera, like the 16.3-megapixel X-Trans II APS-C sized sensor and 23mm f/2.0 lens remain the same. Though the lack of a zoom might dissuade some, the fast, fixed lens delivers high quality images and works great with the optical viewfinder (OVF). Though purists love OVFs, they bring certain problems — namely, parallax issues on close-up shots and problems checking focus. Fujifilm has now addressed those problems with a new toy we’ve not seen on any other camera: a hybrid viewfinder.

We saw it previewed earlier this year, but here’s a reminder on how it works: you can shift between three viewfinder modes using a toggle at the front of camera. In the first mode, you have a 92 percent coverage optical viewfinder (OVF) with an overlay showing shutter, f/stop and other info. When you’re shooting up close, where parallax can be a problem, the system automatically adjusts the frame border in real time so that you don’t have to adjust after focusing — normally a huge issue with OVFs. In pure EVF mode, there’s a low-lag, 2,360K dot electronic viewfinder that shifts quickly from optical mode. Finally, the hybrid, or “electronic rangefinder” mode shows an optical view with an EVF inset into the lower right corner, allowing you to digitally judge exposure and focus. The parallax correction also works in this mode.

In practice, it works rapidly and seamlessly, and switching between modes is easy with the front toggle. Though the quality of the EVF is good, switching to the OVF is jarring as you can instantly see how artificial an EVF actually is compared to a true rangefinder. But having the digital view in the corner is comforting, eliminating the nagging feeling that you’ve botched the exposure. Other tweaks include a “classic chrome” film simulation mode, easier-to-grip dials, new programmable functions, finer f/stop and exposure compensation dials, and 1080p/60fps video with manual focus. All of that should make the excellent X100T even better, especially if you like tweaking settings yourself — as long as you can live without a zoom lens and don’t mind paying $1,300 when it arrives in November.

As for the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, the mirrorless camera has undergone more minor changes. Along with the new silver color, the shutter now deploys electronically and silently at up to 1/32,000 of a second, which could freeze even a jittery hummingbird. A fast shutter also means you won’t need an NDF on a super-bright day, as long as you don’t mind your subject having zero trace of motion blur. It’s also got a new EVF that Fujifilm claims is more natural, and which we found to be relatively clear and free of lag. The X-T1 will arrive in November starting at $1,500 (body only) or $1,900 with an 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.

Daniel Cooper contributed to this report.

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16
Sep

Google makes it easier to create and share your own maps


Google My Maps

Google has had tools for creating custom maps for a while, but they haven’t been very accessible — especially not if you’ve wanted to find your friends’ creations. It should be easier to track down those hand-made tourist guides and trail markers after today, though. Google has relaunched Maps Engine Lite as the much catchier My Maps, and has expanded the Google Maps Gallery to include everyone‘s projects, no matter what their focus. So long as you want to make your cartography public in the first place, anyone can find it sitting alongside the Gallery’s usual historic and government info. Google will transition every Maps Engine Lite user to My Maps by the end of the year, but you can upgrade early if you just can’t wait to share your favorite bike path with the rest of the world.

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Source: Google Maps, Maps Gallery, Google Play

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16
Sep

iPhone 6 Plus Might Be Limited to 1 GB of RAM


Part leaks have previously suggested that the iPhone 6 has just 1 GB of RAM, much like its predecessor the iPhone 5s, but the memory status of the iPhone 6 Plus has thus far remained a mystery, leading many to hope that the larger device has been upgraded to 2 GB of RAM.

New information suggests that the iPhone 6 Plus may not be getting a memory upgrade, and will continue to offer 1GB of RAM like the iPhone 6. A screenshot allegedly from an iPhone 6 Plus depicting what appears to be iPhone monitoring app System Status has surfaced on a Korean message board (via Phone Arena), showing the device’s memory maxing out at close to 1 GB.

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Despite the size difference, the appearance of 1 GB of RAM in the iPhone 6 Plus seems to suggest that the two phones have nearly identical internal specifications, both offering the same A8 chip and memory. The larger iPhone 6 Plus does, however, have a larger battery due to its larger size and it also offers optical image stabilization, while the iPhone 6 is limited to electronic image stabilization features.

While the apparent lack of 2 GB of RAM in the iPhone 6 Plus will undoubtedly come as a disappointment to those who were hoping for a memory increase, Apple has to work carefully to balance performance with battery life. Competing devices from companies like Samsung do offer more RAM, but at the cost of performance. Samsung’s Galaxy S5, for example, offers impressive battery life at up to 10 hours of Internet browsing and 12 hours of HD movie watching, but it appears the iPhone 6 Plus may exceed that, based on battery information unveiled during the keynote.

Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus is rumored to include a 2,915 mAh battery that offers up to 12 hours of Internet browsing and 14 hours of HD movie watching. Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be arriving in stores and in the hands of customers on Friday, September 19, which will unveil more concrete information about the device’s internals.




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16
Sep

Appeals Court Throws Out $368 Million Verdict Against Apple in VirnetX Lawsuit [iOS Blog]


Back in 2012, patent holding company VirnetX won a patent lawsuit against Apple over virtual private networking (VPN) connectivity related to Apple’s FaceTime video calling feature. VirnetX was awarded $368.2 million after a jury trial.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today threw out the decision, reports The Wall Street Journal, ruling that the verdict was influenced by the instructions given to the jury during the trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a specialized Washington-based court that handles patent appeals, ruled the verdict was “tainted” by erroneous jury instructions in the case. The court also held some trial testimony from a VirnetX expert should have been excluded from the case.

Despite siding with Apple and reversing some of $368 million verdict, the court did rule that Apple infringed on some of the claims in VirnetX’s patents, which means damages will need to be redetermined.

As a result of today’s appeals court verdict, Apple and VirnetX will go back to trial court for further proceedings, further drawing out a lawsuit that first began in 2010.




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16
Sep

Netflix Launches in Germany, Including on Apple TV [Mac Blog]


Netflix today officially launched [Google Translate] its subscription movie and TV show service in Germany, and as noted by ifun.de [Google Translate], the launch includes day-one support on the Apple TV.

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Apple has significantly expanded content offerings on the Apple TV over the past year or two, but many of the additions have been limited to the United States. The Netflix channel has, however, been available in many of the markets served by Netflix, which has included the U.S., Latin America, and a number of countries in Europe. As a result, it is unsurprising that the channel has expanded to Germany, but viewers there will be happy to see Apple TV support arriving right alongside the general launch of Netflix in the country.




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16
Sep

iDrive: 1TB of military grade encrypted cloud storage $19 [Deal of the Day]


redesign_iDrive_MF-v2_0914

Remember when 1TB of data seemed like some mythical foreign figure that would never be reached in your lifetime? I remember. The truth is, however, that I have three 1TB external storage drives sitting right here in front of me, filled to the gills. With resolutions and megapixel counts climbing faster than gas prices, you’re going to need some extra space.

The iDrive Pro Personal Plan affords you 1 year of 1TB cloud backup, plus 1TB of sync space, all secured by 256-bit AES encryption with an optional private key. You can add unlimited devices, so all of your tablets, phones, and PC’s can stay connected. There’s even support for Facebook backup. I’ve paid over $200 for one of my physical drives. Sufficient storage space with built-in security is worth investing in at any price, especially $19!

Check this deal out, and many others at deals.androidguys.com!


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The post iDrive: 1TB of military grade encrypted cloud storage $19 [Deal of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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16
Sep

Misfit’s wearable Flash tracks your moves and sleep habits for $49


Remember the Misfit Shine? It was yet another in a long line of crowdfunded wearables that won some points for its uber-clean looks and its activity tracking skills (not to mention the Klingon instructions on the box). $99 may have been a bit much to ask in exchange for an intelligent coin that lives on your wrist though, which is why the Misfit team just pulled back the curtain on a $49 version called the Misfit Flash. It packs the same sort of functionality as its more expensive brother — it tracks your sleep motion, steps and tough-to-measure activities like swimming and cycling — into a body that’s a little less rugged than the original.

You’ve got your choice of seven almost retina-melting colors, but the soft-touch plastic body will only survive dives of up to 30 meters (compared to the 50 meters the Shine could handle). There’s still no screen, though, so you’ll be either be firing up the iOS or Android companion app or tapping at the thing to see how many of the 12 light-up indicators go off pretty frequently. The plus side? You still won’t have to charge the thing — it runs off a watch cell battery that should keep the show going for six months before it needs replacing.

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16
Sep

Germany lifts its temporary ban on Uber


Hailing an Uber in front of The Enemy (aka a taxi)

You can now hail an Uber car in Germany with a clear conscience… at least, for a while. Frankfurt’s Regional Court has lifted a temporary ban on Uber in the country, rejecting the taxi industry’s claim that urgent action was needed to stop the ridesharing outfit in its tracks. Uber isn’t suddenly in the clear, mind you. It’s still facing legal action for operating without a commercial license, and the taxi business is appealing the decision in hopes of getting its competition off the road. In the meantime, though, you won’t have to take an old-school cab the next time you’re visiting Berlin.

[Image credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images]

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Source: DW.de

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