Saturday, September 23, 2006


How to Find the Best Digital Cameras

The high tech digital world of today has brought us millions of fascinating gadgets that can help make our daily lives easier and more livable. From simple items like the compact disc or the DVD to more complex products like digital cell phones and laptops, products bursting with the latest in technology surround us wherever we go. For those of us who enjoy photography, however, some of the absolute best inventions of the digital age have got to be digital cameras. With their humble beginnings, digital cameras have blossomed into an amazing product, so incredible in fact that just about anyone who enjoys taking pictures already has at least one of the hundreds of digital cameras now available. However, with so much diversity in the world of digital cameras, it can be a difficult task to figure out which one is right for you.

To figure out which digital cameras are right for you, you have to figure out a few criteria first. To begin with, you have to decide what your price range for digital cameras is. Amazingly enough, you can purchase a digital camera for less than a hundred bucks or for more than thirty thousand, the choice is up to you. Also, you should decide how many megapixels you want in a digital camera. More megapixels will allow you to take larger, clearer pictures, but the camera itself will cost a few hundred dollars more than a comparable camera with less megapixels. Finally, you need to figure out what other features you want your possible digital cameras to have. Important things to consider include whether or not your camera can take short movies, how long the battery lasts and what type of lens the camera uses.

If you are highly passionate about photography, you really need to consider one of the prosumer digital cameras or a digital SLR (DSLR). DSLRs are highly similar to their film based cousins except they are fully digital. This means that these types of digital cameras require you to look through the viewfinder instead of at the screen when you take your pictures. However, you can always change lenses and check the pictures after you have taken them, making it a highly versatile camera. On the other hand, prosumer digital cameras offer much of the same quality as a DSLR, except you are able to sight your picture through the LCD screen. Unfortunately, prosumer digital cameras do not allow you to switch out your lens.

Aside from photography lovers, the majority of the population should stick with compact and subcompact digital cameras. These cameras offer a great image quality in a body size that is usually no larger than a pack of cigarettes. Great for carrying around with you on your travels, compact cameras can certainly be taken anywhere you go, as they can easily slip into a pocket on even your tightest jeans. One drawback of these small digital cameras, however, is that they lack many of the functions and settings of the prosumer and DSLR varieties.
By Bill Urell

Nokia 6215i: review

Nicole Lee has reviewed this mobile phone from Nokia, the 6215i.

- cute and compact flip phone with a VGA camera
- a speakerphone
- voice dialing
- a wireless Web browser
- OLED display is quite pleasing to the eye

- keypad is a little too flush to the surface
- the internal display is rather small
- the pictures taken were disappointingly blurry and grainy

Read more at cnet

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Sony KDL-40XBRZ: review

David Katzmaier has reviewed this television from Sony, the KDL-40XBRZ.

- reproduces deep blacks with excellent shadow detail
- picture stays true from off-angle compared to other LCDs
- myriad picture controls
- resolves every detail of 1080p-resolution sources
- superb connectivity with 3 HDMI inputs and a PC input
- unique, eye-catching styling
- optional designer-colored bezels

- expensive
- subpar picture via standard-def inputs
- wider than many LCDs
- no picture-in-picture

Read more at cnet

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Sennheiser HD 201: review

Thomas has reviewed this headphone from Sennheiser, the HD 201.

- Cheap- Sound well
- Comfortable
- Long cable (3m)
- Don't leak much sound

I couldn't really find something bad about the HD 201

Read more at DV Hardware

Sunday, September 17, 2006


LG.Philips Develops Industry-First TFT-LCD Panel for Next-Generation Mobile Phones

LG.Philips LCD announced that it has developed the industry’s first TFT-LCD panel for next-generation mobile phones.

This 2-inch LCD panel has a faster response time than existing mobile phone displays, allowing it to play back sharp high-quality video from next-generation digital broadcasts and mobile communication technology, including DVB-H and WiBro. The display’s 16ms response time is 36% faster than the fastest TFT-LCD panels currently used for mobile phones. LG.Philips LCD’s new display opens the door to exciting mobile entertainment possibilities.Most TFT-LCD panels used in phones today have response times of 25ms, causing afterimages and ghosting, which reduce the picture quality for high-definition video. However, the high speed response LCD panel developed by LG.Philips LCD shows videos clearly and without any afterimages.To create high-speed displays that meet the low power consumption requirements of mobile phones, LG.Philips LCD developed different technology than is used in its large-area panels. This new product boasts a response time similar to LCD panels for notebook computers and is also easy to mass produce.LG.Philips LCD’s Vice President and head of the Small and Medium Displays Business Unit, Mr. Hyun He Ha, said, “This product breaks the 20ms response time barrier, which was thought to be the limit for mobile phone TFT-LCD panels. As the first such TFT-LCD product with a response time in the teens, we will be able to fill demand in the mobile display market for displays that can display high-resolution video and consume little power. We plan to start mass producing these panels this year.”LG.Philips LCD launched its Small and Medium Displays Business Unit in January 2006 to strengthen its cutting edge technology, product development skills and sales and marketing capabilities. This has allowed the company to further penetrate the attractive small to mid-sized market. The company has now set its sights on developing a product with both a fast response time and a wide-viewing angle based on in-plane switching (IPS) technology.

Toshiba announces second generation HD-DVD player

Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. ("Toshiba") announced at CEDIA its second generation HD DVD players for the U.S. market. Building upon the success of its first generation units and the market's increased demand for high definition content, Toshiba will introduce two new HD DVD players - the HD-A2 entry level model and the top of the line HD-XA2 model.

Featuring the superior video and audio capabilities of the first generation models and implementing key enhancements to further improve product performance, Toshiba's HD DVD players set the new standard in high definition technology.

The new high end Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player is designed to output 1920 x 1080p, the highest HD signal currently available, via High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI™) 1.3. HDMI version 1.3 is the most current, major enhancement of the HDMI specification, which adds support for Deep Color technology. The HD-XA2 also incorporates a 297MHz / 12 bit Video DAC with high-quality, 4x oversampling for increased bandwidth for true playback of an HD picture to a video source. The HD-XA2 comes with a picture setting function allowing customers to optimize picture quality with user adjustable settings for color, contrast, brightness, edge enhancement and block noise, among others. The new HD-XA2 HD DVD player's 1080p output capability complements Toshiba's new Cinema Series® Pro LCD TVs which provide true HD 1080p input capability via HDMI.

The HD-XA2 will be one of the first next generation players to support the video portion of HDMI version 1.3. HDMI 1.3 supports the demands of future high definition display devices, such as Deep Color enabling 36-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 24-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification. This allows Deep Color compatible display devices to deliver outstanding video quality.

HD DVD's Video Performance- The Look of Perfect
HD DVD players support leading-edge efficient video compression standards including MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1, as well as MPEG2. To meet the latest advancements in Audio/Video interfaces, both models connect to HDTV sets via HDMI - the multi- industry-supported, all digital A/V connection capable of providing the transmission of uncompressed digital video and multi-channel audio on a single cable.

HD DVD players output HD DVD content through the HDMI interface in 720p or 1080i for the HD-A2 and 720p, 1080i or 1080p for the HD-XA2. Through the HDMI interface, standard definition DVDs can also be upconverted to match the resolution of HD displays. As the conversion takes place in the player, the signal remains free from digital-to-analog conversion artifacts. Like the current HD DVD players, the HD-XA2 and HD-A2 are backward compatible, so users can continue to enjoy their libraries of current DVD and CD software.

HD DVD's Audio Performance- The Sound of Perfect
Toshiba's HD DVD players support a variety of HD audio options to complement its HD video offerings. The mandatory audio formats for HD DVD include both lossy and lossless formats from Dolby Labs and DTS® - including the Dolby® Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD.

The lossless mandatory formats include Linear PCM and Dolby TrueHD. The Dolby TrueHD format supports audio tracks that are bit-for-bit identical to the high resolution studio masters and in the new models can support up to 5.1 channels of 24-bit/96kHz audio. Both new models feature built-in multi-channel decoders for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (5.1 channel), DTS and DTS-HD (core only).

HD DVD Cosmetics
With a high gloss, black acrylic face plate and a slim chassis design, the new HD DVD players have a refined, sleek appearance which complements Toshiba's extensive flat panel TV line-up.

Expected Pricing and Expected Availability:
HD-A2 ($499.99, October 2006); HD-XA2 ($999.99, December 2006)

Canon released three new digital cameras

Canon released three new digital cameras: the 10 megapixel PowerShot SD900 Digital ELPH, the 7.1 megapixel PowerShot SD800 IS and the 7.1 megapixel PowerShot SD40 Digital ELPH. They will all be available in October.

The PowerShot SD900 Digital ELPH: Titanium Body and Ten Megapixels Too
The flagship of the Digital ELPH camera line, the 10-megapixel PowerShot SD900 Digital ELPH takes the attractive and comfortable feel of the "perpetual curve design" and for the first time ever, renders that body in strong and durable yet lightweight Titanium. The result is a high-res digital camera with smooth lines, an elegant satin finish, and an impressive (though petite) package of top-tier photo features. About the size of a deck of playing cards, the SD900 Digital ELPH camera measures fractionally more than an inch thick with its 3x (37-111 mm equivalent) optical zoom lens retracted safely into the case; a mere 2.35 inches high and less than 3.6 inches long.

The successor to Canon's popular SD550 Digital ELPH camera, the SD900 also features a brilliantly enhanced, 2.5- inch, 230,000-pixel, color TFT LCD screen with a wide viewing angle making images easier to preview and review, and camera menus easier to read in a wide range of lighting conditions. For still more flexible digital imaging power, the SD900 Digital ELPH camera also includes a new 1.4x/2.3x digital tele-converter for extended shooting capabilities. Finally, for those who wish to shoot dramatically higher resolution video sequences, the camera's XGA 15fps movie mode is just the ticket. When combined with the new optionally available high capacity 4GB SDHC memory cards, this digital dynamo can capture action for up to 33 minutes per clip. The Canon PowerShot SD900 Digital ELPH carries an estimated selling price of $499.99.

The PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH: Simple, Sophisticated and Image Stabilized
The 7.1 megapixel SD800 IS Digital ELPH camera is the second and newest Optical Image Stabilized Digital ELPH model in the PowerShot line, and is now the top-of-the-line Digital ELPH IS entry. Canon based the optical image stabilization system on advancements made in the development of the company's EF and video lenses, and then scaled it down to fit the diminutive Digital ELPH camera profile. Unlike electronic or "digital image stabilization systems" that typically degrade image quality, Canon's lens shift-type stabilization system preserves maximum optical quality while providing up to three stops of shake correction in shutter speed equivalent.

This new SD800 IS model features a number of significant advancements, including improved low-light performance due to the combination of optical IS and a top ISO speed of 1600, and for the first time in the Digital ELPH series, an optical 3.8x wide range zoom lens (28-105mm equivalent), which employs Canon's UA lens technology that permits a longer zoom capability in a smaller amount of space.

The camera's large, 2.5-inch high resolution LCD screen has been enhanced to approximately 207,000 pixels with a bright, wide, easy to read viewing area and is set attractively into the Digital ELPH's rugged, stainless steel shell with its iconic perpetual curve design. In keeping with a decade of ELPH philosophy that proclaims, "great things come in small packages," this pocket-sized photo powerhouse measures just under an inch thick with lens retracted, 2.28 inches high and 3.52 inches long. The Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH carries an estimated selling price of $399.99.

The PowerShot SD40 Digital ELPH: Elegant, Economical and Easy-to-Use
The fashion plate of the Digital ELPH line of cameras, Canon's new SD40 Digital ELPH packs 7.1 megapixels of righteous resolution into a color-keyed, stainless steel case that bespeaks luxury and is a must have accessory for a memory-making night on the town. Similar in design to its 5.0 megapixel predecessor (SD30 Digital ELPH model), the SD40 Digital ELPH series offers four new elegant shell tones in Twilight Sepia, a dark rich brown with gold accents; Precious Rose, a blushing pink attention-getter; Noble Blue, a shade worthy of the finest designer navy suit and, the soft yet solid sophistication of Olive Grey.

With any of these four fashion finishes, the SD40 Digital ELPH camera is a formidable, fine and fun to use camera. From the virtuosity of its 7.1 megapixel CCD and its retractable 2.4x optical zoom lens (38-90 mm equivalent) to its easy-to-read 1.8-inch backlit LCD monitor with 15 brightness settings the SD40 Digital ELPH camera is Canon to the core.

Canon supplied the PowerShot SD40 Digital ELPH camera with an easy to use camera station that serves as a charger, enables Hi-Speed USB 2.0 for direct printing and image transfer to a PC, and is even supplied with a wireless remote to facilitate slide show displays when sharing images on a television screen. A mere 0.94-inches thick with the lens retracted, 1.78-inches high and 3.78 inches long, the camera body weighs in at a very modest 3.7 ounces. The Canon PowerShot SD40 Digital ELPH camera carries an estimated selling price of $349.99.

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