07Jul

My 2nd segment on The View From the Bay coming this July 14th


Next Tuesday I’ll be back on The View From the Bay, a great afternoon lifestyle show on ABC Channel 7 KGO-TV in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m looking forward to seeing Janelle Wang and Spencer Christian again, the two great hosts, as well as the whole production staff.


Continuing my goal to be the Photoguru, a commercial pro and photo expert with my own tv show, I’ll be going on to promote my book and talk about five cool compact cameras to check out for the summer season. No side-by-side comparison deal- just cameras that are different in the features they have, price points, and functionality.

The five point-and-shoots I’m testing out and reviewing are:

GoPro’s Helmet HERO Wide: I’ve had a blast with this 5 mega-pixel “point of view” camera, attaching it to my bicycle helmet, my bike, strapping it around my waist, and even on my car for great shots you couldn’t otherwise get in a system under $200.

If you looking for top quality and price isn’t an issue, this compact comes with the Leica name and quality (their lenses are known as the best in the biz-nas), full control of functions, and made for the serious amateur interested in creating high-quality shots in an easy-to-carry system.


Nikon’s Coolpix S60: A 10 mega-pixel p&s offers a great touch screen, – I went with Arctic White, the color of my old ’86 VW Golf (see it at the start of this blog)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX 150: A great compact has the highest mega-pixels in the group at 14.7 million, with manual functions and a Leica lens packed into a sleek body. I personally own this model.

FujiFilm Z33WP: A great 10 mega-pixel waterproof compact camera with a flash, LCD screen, and a cool strap that floats. I’ve enjoyed using it in the swimming pool with my daughters as well at in a river in the Sierras. Fuji sent me the bright pink model- that’s right, I’m Mr. Fancy Pants.

I’ll also show off Joby’s line of cool bendable tripods- fun, functional, and they come in cool colors like blue, green, and pink! Use it for self-portaits, attach it to a tree branch or a pole, and pack it anywhere in your suitcase.


Canon never sent me a camera to review and I was a bit disappointed since they own the point-and-shoot market and have a great line of small digital cameras. But the ones I have are top-notch and would rate high in any comparison so I’m good to go.

So tune in Tuesday, July 14th, from 3-4pm for my segment- it will be fun, informative, and entertaining! And if you’re not in the area, the segment will post on the web at KGO’s site (as did my February spot on Great Family Vacation Photos): http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

27Apr

What’s in a digital camera name?


Okay, I have to address this – can’t keep quiet anymore- need to blow a stack- alright, maybe just vent a tiny little bit on a completely useless photo topic that’s filling my mental database.


As a pro photographer knee-deep in gear, I must say it is impossible to keep up with camera names these days. I’ve included photos here of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D5000, FujiFilm FinePix s8000fd, Sony’s Cybershot DSC-T2 (sah-weet Lime color by the way Sony, and cool sleek look), and the Olympus Evolt E-410. What’s in a digital camera name? Confusion I say! Name insanity. Insane in the name brain.

When are camera manufacturers going to make it easier to understand their line of camera systems? “Hey, that’s a nice camera ya got, what’s the model?” “Oh it’s the Casio 54-XYZ-Mark 8 DMC-Fx 9000. You should look it up and get one”. “Ya gotta notepad I could jot that down on?”.

I get the “D” part – The 5D, the D300, etc. I assume it’s for “digital” (although you’d think as film fades, so would the “F” and “D” designation- plus, Nikon, from what I can remember, is the only company that uses the “F” in the name – Nikon F100, F3, and my original 35mm camera, the FE – just to give some examples). But even I, the PhotoGuru expert that I am, can’t think quickly when I see DMC – does it mean Digital Media Camera? One camera made by Fuji, puts “F” and “D” into the name- that can’t mean film and digital (although that would be jammin’ huh?).

Even the file names I see every day in my computers, which start with DSC, elude me right off the back. Again, I assume it stands for Digital Still Camera, but who knows…and who cares. It took me two weeks before I realized that my point-and-shoot digital image files, which start with “PANA_” stood for Panasonic. I know, I’m slow. But ya have to give it to me – there’s panorama, Pana Illinois, the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists….okay, bad example.

Today, with cameras coming out every month and a mix of manufacturers from Canon to Sony, Fuji to Nikon, Panasonic to Olympus, Casio to GoPro, who can keep up with the medley of letters and numbers? Why not just describe the product in the name? Where am I goin’ with this? I’ll expand on my thoughts. Get ready to get your brain on.

Canon has the EOS 5D Mark II– tight camera too – 21 megapixel, full frame image sensor packed into a well-made system. I assume EOS means “Electronic Operating System”, could refer to the Greek Goddess of Dawn- I could be wrong, I have no idea, I’m not Googlin’ it! But the name?? There’s a five in there, then a two, and Mark and an Eos – does the Mark II mean it’s the next versions of the Mark systems? And what is the Mark system anyway? Does 5D mean it’s the best in their line or the lower amateur model? I personally know it’s one of their top cameras, but there’s one high that’s the 1D (what will happen when they make a better one than that?) and below the 5D is the 50D – so you’d think the numbers are getting higher as the quality and price goes down. But then below the 50D is the 40D. Ugh squared.

Let me solve this. Let’s make a name system based on the year, the camera’s quality, and it’s details. How ’bout….blblblblblb….that’s a blogger drum roll……blblblblblbbblblb….are ya ready? The:

Canon 2009 P21
Olympus 2008 A12
Sony 2007 N8

Wait. Don’t judge. Let’s me explain.

First the name of the company. Easy-peasy.

Then the year it was made (tough titties camera companies, if car companies can do it, so can you- plus, yer makin’ new cameras so often, it’s not going to hurt any on the marketing side).

Then if it’s a camera for a Pro (P), an amateur (A), or a Novice (N). Three easy levels – everyone would get it over time.

Then the Megapixel (I know I know, megapixel isn’t everything so many say, but ya gotta pick one feature and I’m picking it! Describe the rest in the top features section).

If camera manufacturers wants to add some pizzazz (nice 70s bedazzled term huh), then they can put in the “Rebel” name or the “Cybershot” or the “FinePix” in front of that. But that’s it! Year Who it’s forFeature….done dealio.

Canon Rebel 2009 A12 (a 12 megapixel for the amateur market- did you get it fast?)
Fuji FinePix 2007 P15 (a 15 megapixel for the pro, made in 2007- pretty easy huh?)
Sony Cybershot 2010 N20 (that’s next year’s model, a 20 megapixel point-and-shoot for the Novice – sweet name if I do say so myself)

Whaddaya think Sony? Come on Canon. Nikon, well Nikon never listens to anything I say anyway. Cool system huh? If “yes all mighty PhotoGuru, you’ve done it again!”, then that’s all I need. If “Mr. PG, you are out-choh-mind!” then come up with a better system.

But I like mine…thought of it in 5 minutes…yes, I graduated college. Will it be implemented? Who knows if anyone will read this and react. Maybe technology is just moving too fast. Besides, my head hurts now (and maybe your too). I’m out – it’s Sunday, I’ve got the flu, allergies, and I’m hungry. Off to watch Quantum of Solace on the 47″.

yours truly,
Sean “TGP P-40M II” Arbabi

(that’s “TPG” for The PhotoGuru, “P” for Photographer, 40 being my age, and M for Male, and II for two eyes…duh)

07Apr

Point-&-Shoots in the realm of 15 Megapixels


Recently, I wanted to upgrade my 8 megapixel point-&-shoot, a Sony Cybershot which I loved (it had a large touch screen and was very compact, especially amazing since it originally came out in 2005). But as the PhotoGuru, I needed to keep my street cred, so I began the search.


When I saw Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FX150, 14.7 megapixel compact camera about the same size of my Sony (possibly a tiny bit smaller at 2.12” x 3.8” x .98”) my mind said “dope!” and my late 90s lingo said “no you di-ent!”. It’s almost the size of a business card, just under an inch thick (non-chunky-style), and weighing in just over 5 ounces. Wow.


It wasn’t easy to find one in stock, but after searching the web, and making a few calls (with pain-in-the-rear reps tryin’ to fake the “in-stock” sales pitch), Amazon.com’s third party company provided me with one in stock (even Panasonic currently lists the camera as “backordered”).

I’m still getting to know my new little friend, just having it for less than a month, but I’m diggin’ the RAW capability (that’s right, RAW files, rarely seen in point & shoot cameras today), the massive 14.7 MPs (sure it’s packed into a small 1/1.72″ CCD image sensor, but what would anyone expect for the great price and compact size?), as well as all of the quick menu options (giving me the ability to change flash option, ISO, as well as other features on the fly).


For some reason, the auto rotate function isn’t working, so I have to rotate any vertical shots to review them larger, taking up the entire 2.7″ LCD screen (hope to fix that or figure out why), but in general I’m very pleased with this compact beauty – the sleek black body very stylish and functional (I like to roll GQ style).

I also feel the f/2.8 wide-angle Leica mass-produced lens (28mm to 100mm) is of quality, and I dig the new auto-focus tracking feature (focusing for you without touching the shutter button).

The 8 GB SDHC memory card (I picked up after the fact – made by SanDisk) gives me over 300 images on the highest file size (RAW + JPEG, which is what I use on my 35mm DSLR)- more than enough as long as I download every so often (which is best to do anyway since you never want to trust your memory card to store your memories for too long). Plus, with the Lithium-ion rechargeable battery draining down after 330 snaps, I simply recharge the battery while I download the shots (hoping to pick up an extra battery as a backup). The camera even has 50MB of built in memory if you jam up with an extra card- thanks for caring Panasonic.

The Lumix DMC-FX150 also has a nice ISO range from 100 to 6400, with many exposure functions = Manual, Program AE, Movie/ Motion Picutre, Intelligent Auto mode, along with many Scene modes. I always love the Manual exposure mode option, giving me full control of my camera when the meter is fooled. The metering mode options even include Spot metering. Sure, it doesn’t offer an HD movie mode as other Lumix compact cameras do, but I wasn’t looking for HD in a compact digital camera personally – what am I, movie-boy?

Here are a few shots I captured with the camera this past month:

For more on all the technical specs, click here: Lumix DMC-FX150 tech specs

For more on the camera in general, go here: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150

I highly recommend it to anyone- sure the digital noise increases with a higher ISO over 100 (mainly due to a small image sensor), but you can’t expect everything in such a beautiful small package. All this in a price range around $250. Well played
Panasonic, well played– nice idea for my photo life.