Gearcast: Are Point-and-Shoot Cameras Still a Thing?

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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With the proliferation and improvement of cellphone cameras, even the idea of a stand-alone point-and-shoot camera is becoming obsolete. Or is it? Despite the inarguable decline in sales of the traditional point-and-shoot digital camera and its decreasing number on store shelves and in jacket pockets, there are still cameras defined as “point-and-shoot” that are solid sellers, and those that offer high-end features. As Allan Weitz points out on this episode, almost all cameras can be set to a “point-and-shoot” mode, but the compact digital cameras that made up the bulk of camera sales five years ago are now struggling to find a place in the market and the trend seems to be that they are diversifying their feature sets and finding niches in which to remain viable. For example, “tough” waterproof cameras and long zoom “bridge” cameras are selling well, and large sensor point-and-shoots like the Fujifilm X100F and the Sony RX100 series, are very popular.

On today’s podcast, we welcome B&H expert and host of Lens Therapy Live on Instagram, Chris Williams, to the studio to talk about point-and-shoot cameras. We discuss which models are still selling and why, which features are appearing and which disappearing and the photographers to whom these features appeal. In the second half of the show, we go over exemplary cameras from each of the point-and-shoot categories and speculate on the future of this beloved camera type.

Guest: Chris Williams

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The Fastest Memory Cards Money Can Buy

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Nobody has ever complained about a memory card being too fast and, increasingly, electronics manufacturers are expecting you to have high-speed memory cards that are compatible with certain features. These days, smartphones, tablets, and even laptops often rely on memory cards for external storage. With consumers demanding higher resolution and less compressed video from cameras, manufacturers have responded by supplying more and more capable memory cards. Today, cameras are recording 4K video to microSD cards and raw HD video to SD cards. Luckily, memory cards have kept up with the rising demand, and the fastest cards around rival SSD drives, though finding out which ones are truly fast can be a challenge.

Determining Card Speed and the Dreaded “Up To”

When memory card manufacturers list their cards’ read and write speeds, they often use terms like “up to” or “maximum” when reporting the spec. A maximum read speed or speed “up to” a certain amount is the maximum burst speed of a card. It might be able to sustain that speed for a few seconds, which is great for saving a picture quickly, such as when shooting the Sony A9’s burst mode of 20 frames per second, but don’t expect to see read and write speeds like that for sustained transfers, such as when you’re shooting video. Plus, some manufacturers are a bit more liberal with the speeds they quote than others. Sustained transfer speeds can vary greatly from card to card, so to determine a memory card’s overall speed—just looking at the card’s advertised maximum speed isn’t always the best yardstick.

It is also important not to confuse bits and bytes. Bits are abbreviated with a lowercase b (as in Mb/s), while bytes are abbreviated with a capital B (MB/s). There are eight bits in one byte. Often, video-recording codecs will list their speeds in bits per second, while cards list their speeds in bytes per second. So, when a video camera like the GH5 records at 400 Mb/s, remember that is “only” 50 MB/s.

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Purchasing Your Next Lens

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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No matter how many lenses a photographer has, there are often lenses that we still wish for and after which we lust. There are so many options out there that choosing your next lens can be a dizzying cavalcade of manufacturers, focal lengths, prime or zoom functionality, auto or manual focusing, and price. Here, we will help you choose the best lens to fit your specific needs, or at the very least, point you in the right direction.

The first question you have to ask yourself is, “What do I need that my current lens doesn’t give me?” Your answer is most likely going to fall into one of two categories: speed (aperture) or zoom. Let’s look at the first problem and figure out what lenses can help increase your “speed.”

When it comes to lenses, the term “speed” is used to describe how much light the aperture diaphragm allows into the lens, relative to its size. For more detail, please refer to the B&H Explora article, Understanding Aperture.

Most kit lenses have variable apertures that start at f/3.5 and close down to f/5.6 as you zoom in to a longer reach. This is fine if you’re shooting outdoors on a sunny day, or indoors with a flash or bright lights, but not suitable for low-light situations. For that, you’re going to need a faster lens.

So, what is a “fast” lens? Fast lenses generally have an aperture of f/2.8 or larger. The larger the aperture, the more light the lens allows in, so fast lenses are great for low-light conditions. A prime lens has a fixed focal length, so the lens doesn’t do the zooming—your legs do. Prime lenses often offer larger apertures than zoom lenses, and are ideal for shooting video with an interchangeable-lens camera.

One of the most common second-lens choices that photographers make is the 50mm f/1.8. It’s a relatively inexpensive lens that can be wide enough to shoot a group of people in a room, yet also long enough to shoot headshots. The larger aperture means shorter depth of field, which gives your photos nice bokeh (that blurred-out background look that isolates your subject and looks great).

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14 3D Printers to Make Gifts for People on Your Holiday List

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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While the shopping insanities of the gift-giving season haven’t fully descended upon us, the fact that holiday lights went up before Thanksgiving serves as a gentle reminder that it’s time to start thinking about the acquisition and distribution of bundles of joy for your family, friends, besties, and frenemies. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and even if you don’t know how to answer the ever-elusive question “What do I get Justin for Christmas,” nobody has ever successfully pulled off feigning love for a pack of tube socks, nor does anyone want to find out that their trendy label maker was re-gifted. If you once again find yourself at wit’s end, fear not, for there is one avenue that has most likely gone unexplored: 3D printers and 3D-printed gifts!

Before we start discussing specific 3D printers, let’s clear up one possible point of confusion: 3D printers do not print using paper. They print using filament made of plastic, wood, stainless steel, etc. to render 3D objects from digital blueprints that were designed using computer software. If you’re a newbie who isn’t familiar with using CAD software, or just want to save time on the design process, fear not, because some 3D printers have built-in scanners and cameras. There are also some stand-alone 3D scanners available and completed blueprints can also be downloaded online.

If you’re a 3D printing newbie, or have kids who 3D print, consider the XYZprinting da Vinci Junior 1.0 3D Printer. It features a build volume of 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9″, a 100-400 micron layer resolution, and uses a single extruder that is compatible with 1.75mm PLA filament. Designs can be printed using USB 2.0 and SD cards up to 32GB. If you like this printer, but desire Wi-Fi connectivity, check out the XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0w 3D Printer. Also designed for beginners, the da Vinci Mini 3D Printer is 30% smaller than the Jr. 1.0, yet features the same open and non-heated aluminum print bed, build volume, layer resolution, and filament compatibility, plus USB/Wi-Fi connectivity.

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The Fastest Glass Money Can Buy

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Leave it to the world of photography to confuse size and speed. In lens speak, the term “fast glass” refers to lenses with large apertures. The aperture is the opening of a lens. Its size is expressed as a number that shows the ratio of the opening to the size of the lens. This number is referred to as an f/number, f/stop, focal ratio, f/ratio, or relative aperture.

How fast is “fast?” Or, how big of an aperture opening gives me truly fast glass?

In “professional” zoom lenses, the aperture of f/2.8 is generally regarded as fast. When it comes to prime lenses, depending on your level of lens snobbery, what is truely fast starts between f/2.0 and f/1.4 with many “professional” lenses featuring f/1.4 maximum apertures. Faster-than-f/1.4 lenses are the exotics of the optical world.

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We call these large-aperture lenses “fast” because they allow cameras to take photos at relatively fast shutter speeds for a given amount of ambient light. A fast lens might make it possible to take photos handheld in low light. Faster shutter speeds offer greater options for freezing action and less chance of camera shake, both of which can cause blur in your images, no matter how bright the scene. A large aperture means that you can photograph with a very shallow depth of field.

Why do you want a fast lens? If you ever do off-tripod low-light photography, maybe at a concert or night club, you will want a lens that can open wide to maximize light-gathering. Wedding photographers often find themselves in less-than-ideal lighting scenarios at the church or reception and need larger apertures too. Street photographers working at dusk or dawn may benefit from more light striking the sensor or film. Finally, sports photographers working to freeze action and isolate subjects will appreciate large apertures.

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In the Field with the New Tamron 100-400mm Lens

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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If I were to speak about the Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens to a friend, this is what I would say: It works very, very well, is lightweight and sleek, and is an incredible value. If you earn a paycheck shooting the Super Bowl, this is not the lens for you and if you are a pro wedding photographer, look to an f/2.8 or f/4 telephoto zoom, but for enthusiast wildlife and sports shooters, who also take the occasional portrait, this lens is ideal, doing all that its manufacturer claims with a precision and speed that would have been thought impossible from a third-party lens manufacturer only a few years ago.

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Yes, You Can Position Your Camera There: Specialty Mounting Systems

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Have you ever wondered: “how did they get that shot, where was the camera attached?” Or how did the cameraperson squeeze, strap, or balance themselves into that position? B&H offers a wide range of options for mounting your video camera for vehicle-based shots, raising your camera above the fray, and otherwise mounting your camera in innovative ways.

A staple of many police procedurals is the shot of the characters riding in the squad car, whether it be the cynical detective and the raring-to-go rookie, or a reveal of the jittery perp in the backseat. B&H has a large array of car mounts, offering support for video capture using cameras ranging from mirrorless or DSLR models to full-fledged pro HD cameras. Options include window mounts for a side view, or dashboard and car mounts for head-on, through the windshield shots, or other positions. CruiseCam stabilizers for interior car use are geared for capturing the drivers’ POV.

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16 Great Tech Gifts for the Holidays

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The holidays are upon us once again, which means it’s time to crank the carols, crack open an ice-cold ’nog, and start your seasonal shopping. And whether you need gift ideas for friends, family, or that inscrutable father-in-law (just tell me what you want, Gary!), B&H has you covered. Check out all our favorite gadgets and gift ideas below.

Propel Star Wars Quadcopters

Just in time for the new movie, Propel’s Star Wars Drones are the perfect gift for fans of the iconic series. Choose between a TIE Fighter, X-Wing, or Speeder Bike, and pilot missions for either the Rebel Alliance or the Dark Side. Each hand-detailed, movie-authentic replica can hit speeds of up to 35mph, perform 360-degree tricks and flips, and features light wave “weapon” systems that let you dogfight with your friends. Even better: all three drones come in a collectible display case that lights up and plays authentic songs and sound bites from the movies.

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PROPEL Star Wars TIE Advanced X1 Quadcopter

Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

Not to be out Star Wars’d, Lenovo’s Jedi Challenges Augmented Reality Experience transports fans directly into the Star Wars universe. This three-piece bundle includes a Mirage AR Headset, movie-realistic Lenovo Lightsaber Controller, and Tracking Beacon. In tandem with your smartphone, the kit lets you light-saber duel with infamous Star Wars villains like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, command Rebel troops against invading Empire forces, and play Holochess. Each interactive game contains multiple levels, challenges, characters, collectibles, and more—all from the official Star Wars universe. And, because it’s Augmented Reality, you won’t just play the game, you’ll be in it.

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6 Fitness Gadgets to Help with Your New Year's Resolutions

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Of all our holiday customs, perhaps none is more universally celebrated than the New Year’s Resolution—that time-honored tradition of personal improvement we pledge to make every new year. Often our vows focus on fitness or overall health, whether it’s to drop a few pounds, run a faster mile, or just try to be more active in general. And while we here at B&H think you’re perfect just the way you are, we also fully support all your goals and aspirations. To show just how committed we are to your commitment, we’ve put together a list of the best fitness wearables and accessories to help you conquer all your resolutions.

Forerunner 935

When it comes sport tracking, the truth is Garmin could have a list all to itself. For years, the navigation and fitness giant has dominated the wearable game, churning out sport watches and trackers that are as sleek as they are sophisticated. Pressed to pick just one, we ‘d definitely recommend the crown jewel of its sport collection, the Forerunner 935. The 935 isn’t just Garmin’s best running watch—it’s the best running watch, period. With some of the most advanced sport tracking features on the planet, including detailed heart-rate data, GPS-backed performance metrics, and real-time physiological measurements, the 935 is the ultimate running accessory. In addition to running dynamics, the 935 also incorporates multisport functionality, so you can track cycling and swim data, making it the perfect accessory for triathletes. If your New Year’s resolution is to become a better runner and to own the most sophisticated running watch ever created, the Forerunner 935 is for you.

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Undy-a-Hundy: Great Holiday Gifts for Less Than $100 Each

Author: admin  |  Category: Best Photo Sharing, Digital Cameras

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Holiday shopping is never cheap, and B&H is home to plenty of eyepoppingly expensive products. If you’re a hardcore gear geek who’s clicked around on the site for a while, putting together that fantasy rig, you’ve probably seen the subtotal on your wish list gain decimal places faster than you’d care to admit.

But believe it or not, there’s plenty to be had for the holidays in the double-digits, so unfreeze that credit card and join me as we look at seven gifts that cost less than $100.

For the kid (or grown-up kid) who has everything, try a drone. RC cars are tons of fun in two dimensions; drones take it to the sky. HUBSAN’s H107D X4 quadcopter is great for beginners, with a giant 4.3″ LCD screen built in to the controller so you get a first-person view as you zip along. It’s got a 328′ range, up to seven minutes of flight time, and LED night lights so you can fool the UFOlogist down the block. Best of all, it’s currently only $79.99, a $120 savings from its usual price.

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