Saturday, 25 August 2012

Canon EOS-1D X field review

DNP Canon EOS1D X field review
Just before Halloween in 2009, Canon announced its most powerful DSLR to date. The $5,000 full-frame EOS-1D Mark IV was the company's answer to Nikon's market-leading D3S, which rang in just shy of $5,200. On the basis of price alone, Canon won that round. Then, after two years of silence, the company launched its new flagship, the 1D X. The date was October 18th, 2011 -- roughly 10 (or "X") years after the very first model in the series was announced, way back in 2001. A decade ago, Canon priced that introductory 1D at $5,500 -- a princely sum considering the 4.15-megapixel CCD on board. Now, the 1D X, which is arguably the most powerful sub-five-figure camera available, commands 6,799 of your hard-earned dollars, or $800 more than the D4, Nikon's $6,000 equivalent. All this talk of price may seem to skirt the camera's long list of lust-worthy features, but when the cost of any piece of hardware approaches a year's tuition at a public university, a purchase decision deserves thorough consideration.
A camera in this league is absolutely to be used as a professional tool. And while deep-pocketed amateurs may pick one up -- in the way folks with cash to burn may build a collection of overpowered two-seaters -- the vast majority will live in $30,000-plus kits, where they'll reach six-figure shutter counts, and will likely change hands several times before their eventual retirement. Right now, you're probably researching the 1D X as exhaustively as you would a new car -- in fact, you may have even lined up a test drive, through the company's Canon Professional Services group. Many months after it was first announced, we've had an opportunity to take the new eXtreme model for a spin ourselves, and it's every bit as impressive as its price tag suggests. Canon's top model isn't any smaller or lighter than its predecessors, the 1D Mark IV or 1Ds Mark III -- but is all that bulk justified, despite strong contenders like the workhorse 5D? Buckle up and join us in the field (ahem, after the break) to find out.
Canon doesn't need to budget any precious advertising funds to spread word about the 1D. The company's flagship model is one of the most photographed DSLRs on the planet, though like the shooters that stand behind it, this camera spends much of its time in the background. Perhaps you caught some of the World Series, or the Super Bowl, or maybe the Olympics earlier this month -- behind each of those enormous white "paparazzi" lenses, there was likely a Canon 1D. The camera's design has become iconic, symbolizing professionalism, quality and power.
To the untrained eye and with a bit of gaffer tape atop the prominent silver X, this 1D would look like any other -- superficially, the design hasn't evolved all that much in a decade, though button placement has shifted as controls have been added. And, since it hasn't changed a lick since our first demo last year, we're including that accurate account above. Like other full-size DSLRs, this model is designed to provide a natural feel in portrait mode (positioned vertically), should you find yourself in a studio setting or alongside a red carpet. Key controls like the AF-ON button, exposure lock and focus position all enable easy toggling regardless of your orientation, while secondary shutter release and exposure dials provide direct access in both positions as well.
DNP Canon EOS1D X field review
Dual CF card slots tucked behind a textured plastic door let you duplicate your captures (with identical cards) or boost capacity, while the large secondary control wheel to the left of the storage compartment hasn't changed a bit over the years. Also identical is the battery design, which provides for easy access while also enabling a secure fit, letting you swap 2,450mAh LP-E4N packs. Up top, you won't find a flash or even a focus-assist lamp, but instead you'll see Canon's signature raised pentaprism, with a hot shoe atop, which you can use to accommodate a Speedlite flash, or perhaps even one of those nifty floral silver covers.

Apple, Samsung respond to the jury's decision; September 20th court date set for injunction hearing

Apple, Samsung respond to the jury's decision September 20th court date set for injunction hearing
Well. The verdict for the tech industry patent trial of the week is in, and the jury agreed with Apple's version of the events enough to award it a billion dollars and change in damages while awarding Samsung... nothing. Naturally, the two companies differ in their viewpoints on this ruling, with Apple celebrating a decision that supports its originality and innovation, and is "sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right." Samsung, on the other hand, claims it's all about standing up for the consumer, who it believes will be the true victim here, forced to pay more for fewer choices and less innovation now that one company has "a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners."
Before we get to the inevitable appeals, Apple is seeking a preliminary injunction against Samsung's infringing products and Judge Lucy Koh has set September 20th as a date for the hearing. Apple has until the 29th to file its motion, which Samsung will have 14 days to respond to, before Apple has two days to craft a response of its own. While we all take a breather before the lawyers get back at it, you'll find the statements from both companies after the break.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Nexus 7 review: the best $200 tablet you can buy

DNP Nexus 7 review
In 2008, when the Eee PC was revolutionizing the computing world and driving every manufacturer to make cheaper and smaller laptops, Sony washed its hands of the whole thing. The "race to the bottom," the company said, would profoundly impact the industry, killing profit margins and flooding the market with cheap, terrible machines. Sony was wrong, its stance lasting about a year before joining the competition with its own VAIO W.
Four years on we're buying better laptops than ever before and, with the netbook class now more or less dead, that downward competition seems to have shifted to the tablet front. A flood of cheap, truly awful slates preceded Amazon's Kindle Fire, the $200 tablet from a major brand that looks to have been the proper catalyst in plunging prices. The latest challenger to enter the competition is ASUS, partnering with Google to create the first Nexus tablet, a device that not only will amaze with its MSRP, but with its quality. It's called the Nexus 7, it too is $200, and it's better than Amazon's offering in every way but one.

Pussy Riot Trial: Feminist Punk Band Guilty Of Hooliganism, Motivated By Religious Hatred

MOSCOW — A Russian judge found three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism on Friday, in one of the most closely watched cases in recent Russian history. The judge said the three band members committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers. The three were arrested in March after a guerrilla performance in Moscow's main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a new term as Russia's president a few days later. They face a maximum seven years in prison. The sentence is to be handed down later Friday. The case has attracted international attention as an emblem of Russia's intolerance of dissent. It also underlines the vast influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. Although church and state are formally separate, the church identifies itself as the heart of Russian national identity and critics say its strength effectively makes it a quasi-state entity. Protests timed to just before the verdict or soon afterward were planned in more than three dozen cities worldwide. Prosecutors have asked for three-year sentences, down from the possible seven-year maximum and Putin himself has said he hopes the sentencing is not "too severe." Celebrities including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Bjork have called for them to be freed, and protests are planned around the world Friday. Before Friday's proceedings began, defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov said the women "hope for an acquittal but they are ready to continue to fight." There was a heavy police presence around the court building in central Moscow, where hundreds of protesters and band supporters were gathering. Even if the women are sentenced only to time already served, the case has already strongly clouded Russia's esteem overseas and stoked the resentment of opposition partisans who have turned out in a series of massive rallies since last winter. The case comes in the wake of several recently passed laws cracking down on opposition, including one that raised the fine for taking part in an unauthorized demonstrations by 150 times to 300,000 rubles (about $9,000). Another measure requires non-government organizations that both engage in vaguely defined political activity and receive funding from abroad to register as "foreign agents."

Trulia Goes After Zillow’s Real Estate, Files $75M IPO; Now Has 22M Monthly Users

Trulia, the online real estate listings giant, has now publicly filed an IPO of up to $75 million — effectively confirming reports from the end of July that the company had already filed for an IPO privately. The company’s S-1 also provides an update on the state of the business, showing some encouraging signs of user growth, but declining revenues and growing losses, too. It says that as of June 30, 2012, it has 22 million monthly unique visitors, up from 5 million in June 2009; and paid subscribers — its primary source of revenue — have also grown massively. They’re now at 21,544 versus 2,398 two years ago. But not all numbers are going up: revenues in the last six months actually dipped compared to last year: $29 million today versus $38.5 million a year ago. Meanwhile, net losses are growing: they’re now at $7.6 million ($6.2 million last year). Trulia, which has picked up $33 million in VC backing, is looking to public markets to raise significantly more money to better compete against its bigger rival Zillow. Its $29 million in revenues for six months puts Trulia at about half the size of Zillow at the moment in terms of sales. The latter company reported in Q2 that it had sales of $27.8 million for the quarter. It also has 33.5 million monthly unique users at the moment. Both companies, which offer listings but lots of new technology to better search those listings, are going after a market that has been in the doldrums for the last couple of years. In Trulia’s case, it offers mobile apps and supplements listings data with local information on schools, crime, and neighborhood amenities to provide unique insights into each community, as well as a social media bent, letting users contribute local information. It says it’s had 5 million unique user contributions to date. The private filing at the end of July is possible because of a provision in the JOBs Act, which lets companies with less than $1 billion in revenue to file without listing publicly with the SEC. Reuters points out that this lets the companies “sidestep” some reporting requirements. It also means that companies can avoid scrutiny if they decide to withdraw the IPO. Seems that Trulia got the all-clear internally and with its financial advisors, which include JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank; hence the public filing today. More to come.