The Canon Digital Rebel XT / EOS 350D changes all that. The camera is easy to use and offers the SLR enthusiast the chance to take plenty of pictures knowing that they can not only edit them when they get home, but also won’t be faced with a hefty processing bill for pictures that perhaps haven’t worked. Photographs no longer held that “it might make an interesting picture but I don’t want to waste the film” to “lets see what we get and delete it later if it doesn’t work”. Because of this, it changed the way we took pictures and only for the better. With a very competitive price (the RRP is £200 cheaper than the 300D when it launched) this certainly is one to consider and certainly gives the Nikon D70 a run for its money. If you’re thinking of making the switch and you’re on a budget, this will do the job.
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Samsung Electronics announced that is has completed development of a CMOS image sensor — the S5K2E1FX — with 5 megapixel (2,608 x 1,952 pixels) QSXGA resolution, suitable for use on mobile phones, digital cameras and camcorders.
Samsung’s 5M-pixel CIS performs at the same level as its charge-coupled device (CCD) counterpart, yet it operates on less power and is more price competitive. These advantages make the 5M-pixel CIS an attractive solution for image devices now being used on mobile phones as well as on digital cameras and digital camcorders.
Samsung’s 5M-pixel CIS has a 1/2.5-inch lens aperture with a pixel measurement of 2.2 by 2.2 microns. Using 0.13-micron process technology, Samsung has increased the fill factor (the image sensor’s measurement of light sensitivity) by over 50 percent, ensuring extremely sharp images.
The 5M-pixel CIS has a footprint at least 30 percent smaller than other models of the same resolution. This allows the camera module to be designed into ever-smaller camera phones.
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At last, a keyboard with programmable keys that can be positioned in anyway, customized to each individual.
It was a game enthusiast who first conceived of the Ergodex DX1 Input System, a USB input device by Ergodex, designed for users to place programmable keys anywhere on its 11-inch x 9-inch “DX1 Pad.” The concept is simple: You begin with 25 DX1 keys, place as many of them on the DX1 Pad in any layout you wish, and use the included software to assign functions to each one. An adhesive substance keeps the keys firmly attached to the pad, which comes with a clear plastic overlay that users can place over game- or other application-related skins.
You can, for example, assign the keys sets of macros for complex and repetitive software commands in any application that uses a keyboard for input. That includes video editing, word processing and graphics packages, as well as games, e-mail programs and Web browsers. You can easily change the customized key profiles when switching from from one application to another. Toggling between different programs would trigger the Ergodex DX1 software to change the keys’ profiles as you go.
Users can use preprinted labels with common keyboard symbols and icons to identify the keys. If 25 keys aren’t enough to navigate a particular application, additional keys numbered 26 to 50 can be purchased separately.
For anybody who would like to break free from the conventional keyboard, you can use the DX1 to your advantage, as long as you’re patient enough to program the macros. For $150, it may not be suitable for the average user, but rather for those creative pundits out there who can already envision a different keyboard layout they would rather use for gaming and other applications to gain that competitive edge in becoming more efficient.
While there are significant design flaws and performance issues painfully apparent on the Olympus E-300, there is still a lot to value in a sub-$900 Digital SLR. Foremost, the EVOLT E-300 is an inexpensive 8 megapixel camera with a solid build and durable casing. Additionally, Olympus has worked hard to create an impressive range of lenses and other accessories for it, and more than one manufacturer has also committed to making compatible lenses and camera bodies for the system. The E-300 also offers dust-removal technology that’s moderately effective, while its competitors don’t approach the issue in the same manor.
Performance wise, I find the E-300’s autofocus system, with only three sensor sites and limited low-light capability, the most problematic aspect of the camera. Those users who plan on shooting action – not just sports or wildlife, but anything that moves faster than a potted plant – will find this camera’s focusing an unavoidable problem. I’d recommend either the Canon Rebel XT or the Nikon D70s over the E-300 on this issue alone. The result is that most users will get sharper pictures with other models.
The Fujifilm FinePix F440 is a decent ultra compact digital camera, and will appeal to those who prefer saturated, colourful images with low noise. The camera is aimed squarely at the point and shoot market, and I think it does well in that respect, as there are very few controls that go beyond the basics. The large 2″ screen, fast operation, good image quality and ultra compact body will definitely appeal, however the poor low-light focusing and high saturation may not be to everybody’s tastes. The Fujifilm FinePix F440 is a good camera and would suit someone looking for rich saturated colours and a highly pocketable design - however there are quite a few limitations, such as poor video mode, limited controls, and a screen that is poor in low-light. Overall a mixed bag, but recommended for outdoor use.