Gazer Automated Stabilizer

The one thing about taking shots on the move is that the shots usually come out very shaky, and getting to be smooth is a difficult task. There are lots of great kits out there in the market but they all take practice and skill to get the right weights perfectly to shoot with these stabilizers, I always wondered if there was an automated stabilizer and thankfully someone else was thinking the same idea and brought it to Kickstarter.

There are different models for different uses, for those who want to shoot with a GoPro or Camera phone there is one, and those who want to use a point and shoot there is a different model and there is one for a DSLR and they look very simple to use. I already made a pledge for the SP1 & MD1 for my usual use as thats what I shoot with mostly. Check it out if this interests you as there are is only a few days left to back this project.

Link: Kickstarter

Mastortech Handheld Gimbals

Lots of people these days shoot video with their iPhones & Samsungs, and everyone I know has a GoPro. And everyone has seen those shaky video’s I know I have tried so many times to take a smooth shoot, stand still and turn smoothly but sometimes you can’t help it. Even with a gimbal you have to adjust the weights and really manage yourself when turning or panning or shooting, or self it will look like you were off-roading while taking those shots. Also using a gimbal is not the easiest tool, there is an art form to it and it takes a lot of practice, which I constantly keep trying to do and it doesn’t always work.

Mastortech seems to have the answer with it’s handheld gimbal, with each model specific to certain types of photography tools which in this case are either phones or GoPros, they are also developing other models for more complex Point&Shoot Cameras as well. It is equipped with 2-Axis active motion cancelling using brushless motors and a very smart AI so it will do the thinking for you while your moving. No pricing has been announced but it won’t be cheap, manual gimbals range from $150 to $250 so lets hope it stays within this range as well. I’m looking at the Greyhound-GR1 for the GoPros & Cheetah-CH1 for the Smart Phones.

Link: Gizmobo

HitCase Pro

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The battle between Apple and Android continues but there is one place where I have to agree that Apple wins out clearly, and that is the accessories market. I don’t like the iPhone but I can’t respect it, with accessories like the HitCase Pro you can literally take this phone and turn it into your personal action camera. I love this case yet there is nothing remotely similar for the HTC One or Samsung S4.

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Features:

  • Amazing Wide Angle Lens
  • Waterproof Up To 10 Meters
  • Can Handle Motorcycle Vibrations No Problem
  • Ruggedized
  • A Good Amount of Tripods

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The perfect accessory for the action Junkie, you don’t need to carry your Go Pro with you everywhere, you can just turn your phone into the action camera and thats what makes this case so amazing.

In Kuwait you can pick it up from iTradeQ8 they sell it through different outlets in Kuwait for 39 KD. If only it was available for Samsung or HTC.

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Garmin VIRB – What Say You Go Pro?

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Garmin is taking a bite out of Go Pro with the launch of their new rugged action camera, this is a new line for them, but Garmin does know adventure. Go Pro has been a huge hit with a lot of people and I for one love it, the only thing I wish for is more battery life, and it comes with a lot of accessories. Now Garmin has made this camera based on their input, and from the preview looks like and the specifications it looks good.

The VIRB captures 1080p wide-angle video, featuring digital image stabilization, and the ability to take 16-megapixel still images without interrupting video recording. Even with the always-on 1.4-inch color display, the VIRB allegedly lasts up to 3 hours recording 1080p video, compared to the GoPro, which only claims 2 hours and 15 minutes with 720p resolution.

It also presents information in the video as elevation, speed, and gps location which they consider to be a key factor. The device itself is IPX-7 Waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged for up to 30 mins at 3 feet deep. And the way the picture of the device looks, it seems it can take a beating. There two versions, the VIRB & VIRB Elite which will be launched in September at $299 & $399 respectively. There are a lot of features to this device which can be found at the Garmin website, so they can prepared, lets see how it fares against the Go Pro because honestly nobody has really dented their market share since they really good at it.

Link: TheVerge

Rhino Rig – DSLR & Cinema Cameras

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I’m not that good with shooting, but I do practice, and I try to practice when I can and having a steady hand is key. Getting a Rig is a complex process, there are a lot some go for a few hundred and some go for thousands, and they all serve a different purpose but you have to know what that is. In my case I know very little and its confusing to pick the right one, then I saw the Kickstarter message from Rhino Rig, I got the sliders from them and they were fantastic so I know these guys like to make amazing products which are still very easy to use and practical but still have lots of options.

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The Rhino Rig fit exactly what I was looking for and I can get better with more practice. You don’t get better just buying equipment, you have to keep practicing and in my case thats a lot of practice, but this Rig will help me get the shots that I want from DSLR while shooting video. Especially now that Canon is coming out with some amazing AutoFocus DSLRs like the 70D, and the upcoming 7D Mark II, so it will be worth it to practice. I went for the Full kit for $875 with all the options of the Rhino Rig, and for some kits with the same options tend to be a lot more expensive. I’m looking forward to trying it out, the release date is set for Jan 2014, check out the video below to see how it can be used and how it fits.

Link: Kickstarter

Canon EOS 70D – Next Gen DSLR

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Canon always comes up with the perfect combination of hardware to make for the perfect device, and now these days people use DSLR for both video and photography but in this case they have with the new Canon 70D, the killer feature of continuous AutoFocus while recording Vidoe. Its not meant to replace the 7D but its capabilities seem very close to it.

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From all the trials it seems the new 70D AF system works very well, with its new CMOS sensor’s 20.2 Megapixel resolution being divided into 40.1 million-photodiode architecture, so two diodes for each pixel, and their phase detection system working with the diodes resulting in the amazing AF system. I honestly can’t wait to try it out.

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The main attraction of this DSLR is the instant Autofocus that they have built into the 70D. I have the 7D which I adore and it takes amazing photographs and I have used it for video, with amazing results, but the only major issue is that you have to manually focus the camera during shooting which can be very difficult and if you haven’t practiced the results are usually pretty bad. But production companies have been using the 5D & 7D for Commercials, TV Shows, and even some movies which is amazing. The camera will be available in September for $1200 (body alone), $1350 (w/18-55mm kit lens), and $1550 (w/18-135mm kit lens). But in my case I’m going to hold out and wait for the 7D Mark II which I hope is right after the 70D is released.

Link: Gizmodo

Instagram Video?!?

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Yes or No?

What do you think?

When Flickr tried introducing video a long while back, there was a huge whiplash and people hated, but now this seems to be completely different, people are reacting favorably to the video in instagram. Its taking a different form, people are testing it out and even I found it to be interesting.

Instagram has always managed to keep a level of imagination behind it’s picture, you always wonder how they took the picture, and some of them are amazing. I know sometimes I work at it to get the right picture, and some people uploading their pics from their DSLR camera for these amazing shots. But now the dynamic of instagram will be totally changed. Instagram is going after Vine & Keeker, and it will beat them with a very big stick.

But Instagram has laid some rules down for the videos, you have to hold down the button to record. It turns it into stopmotion photography, thats what a few people are doing, and some people are doing crappy videos, 15 seconds is the limit, and you don’t know how it will turn out since you really have to squeeze in.

Photographs on Instagram have always had a bit of heft or importance to them, you can really see some accounts with amazing photographs. Instagram has always been clutter free and amazing pictures, not noisy like Twitter and other social media, Instagram has been the clean place, but with video introduced its like people are stumbling with the video from a few of the ones I have seen and some are amazing with the use of stop-motion.

Then there is the other thing that is lost, the slow scroll through instagram, the one you do at work, or with the family or while sitting patiently waiting to do another activity and it takes up the right amount of time. Now suddenly videos come on and you have to jump to mute your phone, already happened to me a few times over the weekend. Lets see how Instagram will change with the introduction of video, you can’t load it up from a DSLR like some do for pics, but now lets see how things will change.

HTC One VS. Samsung Galaxy S4 – Battle Of The Titans

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With the release of the Samsung S4 & HTC One, everyone was running to get their hands on it, true 4G Android Devices which honestly make the iPhone 5 look like crap and its going to have to do a lot more then just another hardware design to beat these two machines. HTC have been having a hard time getting things right with Android after Samsung took the lead as the best, but I honestly think they have a great device on their hands with the HTC One. The Samsung Galaxy S4 was a smart move by Samsung, the S3 was so successful that they just improved on it slightly in regards to the design and packed it with the best possible hardware they could put together.

There were a lot of comparison and technical reviews, but I wanted a real use review of both machines to see which fit better and for what use. I wanted to really try both phones and after almost a month of having them both I can honestly say there isn’t just one conclusion, it just depends what you want because they are both really good.

Wifi

It’s very important for a device to have a strong wifi signal capability, it has to capture it and use it. And out of all the Android brands out there, I can say that Samsung has that down, they pretty much have everyone beat. And sadly the worst out of the bunch is HTC, I had the problem with the HTC One X and with the HTC One it’s signal always weaker then the S4 and sometimes it can’t see the Access Points.

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Screen

The Samsung S4 screen is huge, both screens are crisp and excellent touch interface. Honestly they are both excellent. If you want the bigger screen then the Samsung S4 is the way to go, but its a matter of preference. Both of them have amazing brightness and you can easily see them during day time.

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Design

Honestly hands down the HTC One wins in this department, if Apple wants to copy anyone for their next phone then it would be the HTC One. The Samsung S4 is 80% the same as the S3 just bigger screen and an aluminum frame which I liked. The one benefit to the Samsung S4 is that it feels lighter then the HTC One, but still it looks better then the S4. One aspect that I like about the S4 is the ability to add the a MicroSD Card, that is a huge win for the S4 in my case. You don’t need that much space on your phones these days but having the ability to is a huge plus.

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Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

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Camera

HTC has the Ultrapixel which is sort like a supercharged 4MP which performs better then most camera phones with higher Megapixels. The HTC has the machine gun shot which shoots multiple shots and you can choose the best or keep them all which is a great feature. The Galaxy S4 has an amazingly crisp camera, they improved on their best selling Galaxy S3. And they included all the features of the Galaxy Camera with all the different settings and mode. The HTC One has the low light shots done perfectly, this is one thing that HTC has had down. Between the two I preferred the S4 camera, but it’s just barely better. And hands down both better then Apple iPhone 5.

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Above is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Shot & Below is the HTC One Shot

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Battery

This takes a bit longer to figure out but both Android devices lasted a full day of abuse. Nonstop wifi use, making phone calls and sending messages, they could both take it. And I know over time I will get the Mophie battery case for the either phone, and its a matter of time the case comes out for the S4 since its selling like crazy as expected.

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Interface & Feel

To be very honest you can go with either of them, this really comes down to preferences. I prefer the HTC One Sense Skin feel over the Samsung Touch Skin, since its less intrusive in this case. I always prefer getting phones from Google because its a clean installation and I can do as I please, but in this case I had to choose, and the HTC One was cleaner and crispier. I just get annoyed with Samsung trying to make things more watery with the TouchWiz Skin. Now for the Sound hands down the HTC One has amazing sound, by far much better then the S4 and it can easily blast music in a room, you wouldn’t think its a phone speaker.

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What I don’t like about the Samsung S4

I really hate the keyboard, had to get the Swift Keyboard so my fingers don’t feel like they are stretching across the screen. It really made me feel like I was learning how to type for the first time. The speaker is loud but not crisp, I wish they put it up front. The air gestures aren’t really that useful, I only like the finger hover when in the gallery for a preview but the rest makes you look crazy when your staring at the screen trying to make things move, if you have an S4 you know exactly what I’m talking about.

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What I don’t like about the HTC One

I hate the Blink Feed, wish there was a way to get rid of it since its taking a piece of the screen that I could use and you only have a limit of 4 screens. The Weak wifi signal is a breaker for me, I have to have good wifi on my phone.

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Which One

Choosing between them is tough but I had two deciding factors which were the Wifi Signal and Camera, which in this case the S4 was the better choice even though I really like the HTC One design. I picked up the Samsung S4 LTE from Al Babtain and got the HTC One from a friend. Honestly Babtain did a great job of making the phone available all over Kuwait and quickly, the HTC One was like hunting an endangered species.

Go Pro Hero 3 – Go Pro & The Lens

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You know a company loves their product when it works so well and everyone enjoys using it. During one of my rides an excited friend was riding in front of me and started throwing stones at me from the loose gravel on the road, and coming out of those tires they felt like metal ball bearings and hurt like hell. And thanks to the “Stone Thrower” the lens on my Go Pro Hero 3 cracked and at the time I had to get a replacement for it right away, no way to fix it.

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Above is the case that GoPro sent to me for Free after I told them about what happened and that before they were selling a kit to change the lens, they told me that they would be selling the kit by April with two replacements. Its great of them to send me free case just because I asked about the repair kit, I wasn’t even asking for a free case, but you have to love a company that loves its customers.

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The Lens kit I got as you can see is simple, comes with the screw driver, screws, rubber seals, and to glass lenses for $20 which is very reasonable. I still scratched up a lens while using the GoPros for riding this season, and it only took 15 mins to change it, even when I was doing it carefully. Its great now that they sell the kit for it, and I know I haven’t reviewed the GoPro Hero 3, I just got caught up having too much fun with it. I will be getting back to that very soon. The picture above is the damaged GoPro Hero 3, and below the is the same GoPro Hero 3 with a fixed lens, check out the picture after that for the simple kit from GoPro.

Link: GoPro

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Flickr – Refreshed

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A years late but never too late, Flickr has finally gotten a real make over, now it feels like Flickr loves pictures again. A lot of people have left Flickr, when it was the go to place for pictures in 2006/7/8 it fell back on the support for mobile use and totally disappeared with the rise of Instagram. Yahoo knows how to mess things up, I still hate using my yahoo ID to login, I’m trying to figure out a way to use my Google+ Sign In for that.

The phone App is very smooth, with uploads and edits/filters when uploading from your phone. Viewing pictures is smooth with a nice flow between contacts, people, and searching pictures. Its a vast difference then what it used to be to this current form and I’m really liking it, to the point that I have started using it again. You can easily comment and follow up on your activity on your phone, its great, for photographers this is much better for their pictures, Instagram has larger following but they were ahead of the game. Still if you liked Flickr before and hated that they went stagnant then you will love the much needed update of Flickr.

Link: Flickr

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