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Relonch camera turns your iPhone into a bokehlicious device

Posted on by Mike Evans

After last week's flurry of news from Apple I turned my attention quickly to Photokina in Cologne and you can find my many reports on Macfilos Photography. One item that caught my attention and has a tech/Apple flavour is the Relonch camera which turns marries the iPhone with a pro f/2 prime lens. Read all about it here.

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Free wifi, no strings, no passwords, hotels as they should be

Posted on by Mike Evans

Few people have a good word for hotel wifi systems. They are either fiendishly complicated to access, thanks to hoteliers' fretting over losing a megabyte of data to non guests, or they plain just don't work. 

This weekend I am staying in an hotel in central Aarhus during the 50th city festival, a photo assignment for MacFilos. This place has perhaps the best hotel wifi I have experienced anywhere in the world. It is free, of course, but unusually there are no passwords, no silly time-limited chitties to obtain from reception. It's just like being at home and the signal is loud and clear, at least in my room. 

Why cannot all hotels just accept that wifi is nowadays essential and that it should be free, as easy to access and as reliable as hot and cold water.? We have a long way to go until this principle is universally accepted, but Aarhus is showing the way.  

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British Pathé: 85,000 historic videos now on YouTube

Posted on by Mike Evans

You can now watch 85,000 historic British newsreel items on YouTube, covering 80 years of world events. There are also even older examples such as this video of Queen Victoria's funeral in 1901, thought to be one of the world's first newsreels. The quality is remarkable considering the primitive equipment. Note the way in which the cameras are all fixed in position and it is up to the funeral procession to pan past in quick time. I particularly like the naval shot of what appears to be the Royal Yacht rushing past a parked ship at unfeasibly fast speed while the camera stays resolutely fixed to the spot.

There are weeks, if not months of entertainment and nostalgia on the British Pathé YouTube page. I am already addicted.

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Spotify for readers: Read with Readly for £9.99 a month

Posted on by Mike Evans

Since I subscribed to Spotify I have hardly listened to my old iTunes library (which, I have to say, consists of old CDs ripped to my Mac many years ago). With Spotify I can roam the musical world and listen to whatever takes my ear.

So I am a ready candidate for a Spotify for readers. It's called Readly and it gives you unlimited access to over 400 magazines together with back issues. At first I was a bit sceptical, having recently decided against subscribing to paywalled newspapers, but I will give Readly a go. I signed up for a two-week trial which gives me the opportunity to browse around and find the stuff I'm interested in. If I like it, which I think I will, the monthly sub is £9.99.

Readly is currently active in the USA, Britain and Sweden. Still, despite not being a Swedish speaker, I find there is still a lot there to interest me. At a quick trawl I've added six photo mags, including our own Amateur Photographer, two British car titles and a couple of audio/hi fi monthlies. Other interests are well catered for, including cycling where there is a whole clutch of periodicals. I was disappointed to find no computer magazines, either in the USA or UK, but I imagine titles will be added regularly.

The same all-you-can-eat approach as Spotify is hugely attractive and encourages exploration and trial and error. It's also ideal to have your entire stack of magazines in one location. Readly is definitely a good idea and I look forward to trying it out.

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Disaster Recovery: Testing your accessories

Posted on by Mike Evans

Yesteray morning, after a tiring Saturday and a short night I stuffed my MacBook Air into the bag for the last day of Eric Kim's street photography workshop. I hadn't used the Air for some weeks after deciding to concentrate on my retina MacBook Pro. I even took this larger laptop to China earlier in the month specifically because I needed to work with photographs. At the last minute I remembered that the Air doesn't have an SD card slot so I rummaged around the cable drawer and produced an SD dongle and dropped it into my Billingham Hadley Pro.

Usually I am a pretty careful packer and make checklists of bits and pieces, especially cables and camera chargers (set off for Timbuctu with your Leica M and forget the charger, you are in big trouble). This time I was tired and let down my guard.

After the morning's tramp around Oxford Street in search of photo opportunities, it was time to download the files and pick a selection. Just one snag: The SD card reader didn't work. Dead. Vainly I rebooted the Air just to make sure it wasn't a USB glitch. But the dongle had definitely dongled its last.

Fortunately I was in a room full of photographers with over a dozen laptops and several SD card readers going spare. Otherwise I would have been scuppered. This would have been a disaster at such a vital time.

So I learn yet another lesson. I knew it already, of course, but I let down my guard: Test out everything before you leave for an important assignment.

Another thing I've decided is that I no longer want to rely on travelling with the MacBook Air because of the absence of a built-in card slot. I now think that the new, slimmed-down 13in retina MacBook Pro is the ideal all-round travel companion. I've had this discussion with my friend Austin White of Thoughtfuldesign.net and he is also ready to drop his Air in favour of the 13in MBP. In his case the main motivation for the change is the retina screen and I enitely agree with him on that score. After working with that retina screen, the Air's display is now a big disappointment. This is especially the case for photographers. But the presence of an SDXC card slot on the Pros is just so convenient and safe. Again, it is a vital feature for photographers.

  The slim 13in retina MacBook Air has everything you really need for working while on the road. The retina screen is perfect for photographers and the SD card slot is vital. In contrast, the 11in Air which I have been using is seriously compromised by its single Thunderbolt port and the absence of a built-in SD card reader

The slim 13in retina MacBook Air has everything you really need for working while on the road. The retina screen is perfect for photographers and the SD card slot is vital. In contrast, the 11in Air which I have been using is seriously compromised by its single Thunderbolt port and the absence of a built-in SD card reader

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iPhone 5S: The camera for the masses

Posted on by Mike Evans

The extraordinary abilities of the iPhone 5S iSight camera will further erode the lower end of the traditional photographic market. There is now little point in carrying a separate point-and-shoot device when the iPhone can produce such great results.

John Carey of 50 Foot Shadows has a lot to say on the subject as I outlined just now on Macfilos/Photo.

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Sony QX100: A camera to clip to your phone

Posted on by Mike Evans

Sony's latest camera, leaked profusely in advance, is a real oddity. The QX100 looks like a detachable lens but contains all the workings of a camera, including battery, but without a screen. The idea is to clip it to your smartphone and transform it into a camera. It has all the innards of Sony's RX100 II, with a one-inch sensor and optical zoom, but is controlled from your phone.

QX100_with_Xperia-i1_1-1200-640x480.jpg

Launched today the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung) in Berlin, the QX100 features two clips on the base to fix to Android or iOS devices. It communicates wirelessly with the phone so, in practice, you can brandish the cylindrical lens lookalike and control it remotely without even having to clip it to your phone. It will cost around £400 when it gets to British shelves later in the year. If that is too much to stomach, there is a cheapo version, the QX10, which is based on the CyperShot WX150 camera and will cost about £180 according to reports. 

It will be interesting to see if this whacky idea catches on. Personally, I would always prefer to have a single unit such as the excellent RX100 which is light and compact. Having to fiddle with two devices and clip the camera to the phone looks like hard work to me, despite the advantages of having the larger screen to play with. 

 

Source: ArsTechnica

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iPhone 5 Camera: Madness at full moon

Posted on by Mike Evans

Despite my collection of more-than-competent cameras, I am often astonished by the results I can get from the humble iPhone 5. I usually carry a camera around so seldom use the iPhone as a camera. This photograph of last week's full moon taken near Dragonisi, Mykonos, is a fine example of what you can achieve with the iPhone, even with the extreme pinch-to-zoom employed.

Photo: Kostas Georgilakis, iPhone 5

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Macfilos Photo: Subscribing to the new blog

Posted on by Mike Evans

In recent months I have been writing more about photography to the point where I decided to add another dedicated blog, Macfilos Photo, to the site. If you are an RSS subscriber to Macfilos you will have missed the photo blog because only the home page is syndicated on your existing subscription. To add Macfilos Photo click on the RSS Feeds tab at the top of the page and you have the option to subscribe to either blog. Just click on the Macfilos Photo link and the feed will be added.

Recent posts on Macfilos Photo include:

Review of the A&A Easy Slider camera strap

Ming Thein sounds the deal knell for the DSLR

Streettog Mykonos, tantrum and calm

Leica I: My snapshot from 1925 revisited

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Unreliable Leica M and other photo stuff

Posted on by Mike Evans

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