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The Phoblographer reviews the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II →

March 10, 2015 |

This is an interesting review. Given how much Chris Gampat personally loves his original E-M5, I was expecting nothing short of unconditional praise for the new E-M5 Mark II. However, it appears he’s not totally won over by the new camera:

In many ways the OMD EM5 Mk II is the successor to an already nearly perfect camera, but still doesn’t get it quite right. It adds much more complications (sic) to the Mk I’s elegance and during the duration of our review, we couldn’t totally get our muscle memory wrapped around the camera.

Does that mean that you won’t? No way; but it will take a longer amount of time ergonomically speaking.

Is it a nice camera? It’s a great camera, but there are many other great options out there. It’s at a nice price point and pretty much outperforms anything else in this specific market category due to the lens selection, but we’re not sure that the camera is strong enough to stand on its own without said lenses.

Make of that what you will. Personally, I believe the new camera offers plenty of compelling features, at least on paper. For instance, the fact that the original E-M5 lacked Wifi seems absolutely ridiculous at this point, and the silent electronic shutter adds some genuinely new functionality that wasn’t possible before. Other than that, sure, at the end of the day it always makes more sense to put your money towards better lenses and if you’re happy with your current camera, there’s never a feature so compelling that it makes upgrading a total no-brainer. That said, if you’re already in the market for a new Micro Four Thirds camera, it looks like the E-M5 Mark II is hard to beat.

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Jason Snell’s thoughts on Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event →

March 10, 2015 |

Jason Snell has another nice and comprehensive overview of everything that was announced yesterday, as well as his take on what we can realistically expect from each of the announcements. I found myself silently nodding in agreement as I read most of this piece, so I’d like to just point you towards it without further commentary. Enjoy.

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The Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod review on Tools & Toys →

March 10, 2015 |

Great review of this awesome little tripod by Josh Ginter. As great as the SIRUI T-025X travel tripod is, it’s still too large to be with you at all times, and that’s where pocket tripods like the PIXI come in. When you just want to go for a nice photo walk without carrying all your equipment with you, having a diminutive tripod like this one discreetly stowed in one of your bag’s pockets is probably the perfect solution. And at $25, it really is a no-brainer.

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How WWI made wristwatches happen →

March 09, 2015 |

And speaking about watches, here’s an amazing story by Linda Rodriguez on how the traditional pocket watch became the wristwatch we know today:

It would take a global war to catapult the wristwatch onto the arms of men the world over. Though the wristwatch wasn’t exactly invented for World War I, it was during this era that it evolved from a useful but fringe piece of military kit to a nearly universal necessity. So why this war? Firstly, the development of the wristwatch was hastened by the style of warfare that soon became symbolic of the First World War: The trenches.

“The problem with the pocket watch is that you have to hold it,” explained Doyle. That wasn’t going to work for the officer at the Western Front – when an officer lead his men “over the top”, leaving the relative safety of the trenches for the pock-marked no man’s land in between and very possible death, he had his gun in one hand and his whistle in the other. “You haven’t got another hand in which to hold your watch.”


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Apple Watch Battery Information →

March 09, 2015 |

Battery life was one of the biggest questions we expected Apple to answer in today’s keynote about Apple Watch. The official figure given by Tim Cook on stage was “about 18 hours”, which is roughly in line with what most people expected. But battery life, of course, will vary heavily depending on your usage pattern. To give us an idea of the kind of battery life we can expect in several common scenarios, Apple has set up an official battery life info page for Apple Watch. The numbers are solid all around, but I found this bit to be particularly interesting/useful:

If your battery gets too low, Apple Watch automatically switches into Power Reserve mode so you can continue to see the time for up to 72 hours. Testing conducted by Apple in March 2015 using preproduction Apple Watch and software with 4 time checks (4 seconds each) per hour. Battery life varies by use, configuration, and many other factors; actual results will vary.

It’s so simple, but I think this will be one of the most useful features in everyday use. Personally, it’s not uncommon for me at all to have my iPhone die on me if I arrive home a little later than usual, not to mention if I go out at night. Apple Watch will be no different in this regard, but it’s good to know that even if your battery dies and you can’t use any of its fancy features, at least your watch will continue to tell the time.

Knowing the exact time you made it home last night is important, if only just so you can feel the appropriate amount of guilt and remorse about it in the morning. It’s the little things.

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Stephen Hackett on the new MacBooks →

March 09, 2015 |

Stephen Hackett has some interesting thoughts on Apple’s brand new — and extremely polarizing — laptop:

The limited I/O is interesting. The trend started with the original MacBook Air has reached its logical conclusion in this machine. Almost everything will require a dongle, and with no hub in sight, this machine could be annoying to live with for the power user. (Oh yeah, there’s no Thunderbolt here.)

The keyboard is all new and ditches Apple’s traditional switch design for something far thinner, meaning the travel on this keyboard is going to be less than what we’ve been used to for several years.

More importantly, the trackpad is all new. Gone is the hardware that allows the glass surface to click. It now stays in place, and uses haptic feedback and force sensors, not unlike the Apple Watch.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before Apple or a 3rd-party manufacturer releases a fancy USB-C hub, which will take most of the connectivity issues away.

The lack of a MagSafe port, however, I take issue with, although we don’t even know if MagSafe would actually work with a machine this light. And if it doesn’t work well, then there’s no point in having it at all.

The keyboard is by far the most interesting thing about this laptop. I’m very curious to try it and see how the much shallower keys feel in actual use. I’m a big fan of Apple’s keyboards, but I do not generally enjoy shallow keys, and I find the current Airs — and, to a lesser extent, the Retina Pros — to be somewhat less comfortable to type on than my trusty old non-Retina 13” MacBook Pro. It’s a small difference, but it’s there, and it appears the new MacBooks take a step forward in this regard. A small price to pay for ultimate thinness? We’ll see.

And about the trackpad, I honestly have no concerns about it. Apple’s been making the best trackpads in the world for a few years now, and I trust them to not screw it up this time. I actually use a Magic Trackpad with my iMac and I vastly prefer it to a mouse, especially with OS X’s many touch-optimized features. The fact that they’ve simultaneously incorporated these new trackpads to the 13” MacBook Pro goes a long way towards convincing me that Apple’s feeling confident about this new technology.

All in all, the new MacBook strikes me as perhaps the most interesting laptop Apple has released in a long time. It probably isn’t the right machine for me, at least not as my only or primary Mac, but there are many thing to love here and as a secondary Mac, there’s a great case to be made for it. If you can live with its compromises — and many people undoubtedly can — the dream of a truly mobile laptop is now within grasp.

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Michael Fraser on “shit” →

March 07, 2015 |

This weekend, spring arrived early in Madrid. After a gorgeous, sunny Saturday shooting in the busy streets of this amazing city, nothing better than getting home to this article by Michael Fraser. In it, he openly criticizes Jonathan Auch’s arrogant attitude towards street photography, which he expressed in this Vice article:

I want to make it clear, however, that my beef is not necessarily with Auch’s work, per se. While I personally may find it boring (and, let’s face it, this style has been done to death - first by Gilden himself, and now by every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a Leica and a speedlight over at ‘Hard Core Street Photography’ on Flickr), who am I to begrudge Auch his right to shoot like this? And some of the work is good; even a broken clock is right twice a day.

No, what gets me supremely annoyed about this article, and about Auch in general, is crap like this:

I think most street photography today is shit

What kind of bullshit click-bait is that? Really, Jonathan? You think Rinzi Ruiz is shit? You think Trent Parke is shit? Chris Weeks? Matt Stuart? I could go on and on.

Tell us what you really think, Michael.

I pretty much agree with every word Michael wrote in this piece but best of all, I just discovered four new amazing street photographers. Solid gold.

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Belly of the Beast: street photography in Sydney, Australia →

March 05, 2015 |

Stunning documentary on street photographer Markus Andersen by Rob Norton:

Markus Andersen doggedly pursues not merely cool images but great images. Sydney, Australia is his canvas - he calls it the belly of the beast. His art practice encompasses documentary, street and conceptual bodies of work using analogue 35mm, 120 film and the iPhone as his capture mediums.This video shows the thinking behind the artist’s work, which has been exhibited in New York, Paris, Istanbul, Toronto, Sydney and the United Kingdom.

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