Summer Pictures

The summer isn’t ove yet but I thought I would pictures from some of our trips.

Totally Cool New Photo Viewing!

I just learned about a new application/plugin that people can use for a real snazzy way to present photo galleries. It’s called Cooliris (formerly it was PicLens). Products like Cooliris are so cool that it’s frustrating to know that hardly anyone uses them. You have to check it.

So what does Cooliris do? It takes certains compatible websites and allows the user to view the website/media in a really slick and attractive interface. I think of it kind of like turning your boring browser screen into a cool iPhone type experience. Using it is very easy. Just browse to http://www.cooliris.com/ and click on the green download button. This will install Cooliris on the browser that you are using. If you use multiple browsers, such as internet explorer and Firefox, you need to repeat this download for each one. Once it is installed and you’ve restarted the browser, you’re ready to rock. You should see the blue/green Cooliris box on your browser now, like in the picture below.
Cooliris icon

Now all you have to do is browse to a website/webpage that is compatible with Cooliris. Here is a list of supported sites for Cooliris. You’ll see that it includes a lot of popular photo websites such as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, Zooomr, etc. Next time you visit your friends pictures on line, check out Cooliris.

Check out our family photo album -> Browse to it, click the Cooliris button and have at ‘er!

Tagging Photos

I’m a big fan of tagging photos once they are downloaded to the PC. Proper data management of digital media is critical for efficient use. In other words, if you don’t properly manage your photos, music and videos, you likely will hardly ever view or listen to them.

Two pieces of software I’m using right now with good success are iTag and Geosetter. Each program serves pretty much only one purpose, and as such they are good and simple at what they do. Plus they are both free.

As you would guess, iTag offers a simple interface for tagging multiple photos at once. I’ve tried a lot of different tagging software for photos and most of them aren’t that great for tagging multiple photos at one time. iTag doesn’t do as many things as other software does, but it does this particular thing quite well.

I use Geosetter for geotagging photos. For many of the photos I have now, I place geotags on them. This means that the photos contain geographical data locating them by latitude/longitude coordinates. Lots of different programs can read this data and place the photos on the map, programs such as google maps, yahoo maps, etc.

Digital camera comparison and Nikon S500 review

Here are a few photos and review that compare a Nikon D50 dslr with a Nikon Coolpix S500 compact digital with a Canon SD100 compact digital. Hover your mouse over each thumbnail to see which photo it is. Click on the thumbnails to see full sized pictures, you may need to be a bit patient the first time you try to view the photo.

Nikon D50Nikon S500Canon SD100

Nikon D50 enlargedNikon S500 enlargedCanon SD100 enlarged

My overall impression of the Nikon S500 is fairly positive. In the camera shops I was comparing it to the likes of the Casio EX-V7, the Canon SD800is, Canon SD1000, Pentax A30, Sony W55, etc. The selling points for me was the size of the S500, the cost, and the fact that it has mechanical image stabilization.

A lot of cameras are claiming image stabilization these days, but in fact all they are doing is pumping up the ISO setting of the camera. This results in horrible photos in my opinion. A photo taken with an ISO of 800 or higher is going to be graining as hell, and no one will care if it is blurred or not. The Casio, Canon SD800is, Pentax and Canon SD800is all have true image stabilization. However, the Canon was significantly more expensive. The Pentax was priced similarly but I am under the impression that the optics in the Nikon may be better. The Pentax feels a bit more comfortable in the hand though. I also really liked the Canon SD1000, even though it didn’t have image stabilization. The SD1000 was about the same size as the S500. Size was definitely a high priority for me. This is where the Casio fell down as well, I just wasn’t happy with its size despite that it is a small camera. The Casio comes with a 7X zoom though, so if you like shooting at higher telephoto ranges then definitely take a look at the Casio.

The D50 produced the most accurate colors than the S500, but in this photo the S500 is sharper! I’m not sure why, I think I was fooled by the red-eye reduction on the D50 (I usually don’t use red-eye flash) and I probably moved the camera while the shutter went. Below is another picture of Emma with the D50, and this one looks a lot sharper.
D50 enlarged

Here a few more photos using the S500. The one with dials was shot at 1/7s using the image stabilization! Very sharp for such a low shutter speed… This is a large file (so you can see how sharp it is), so please be patient with it loading.
S500 shutter speed 1/7sS500 red flowerS500 white flower

I’m not sure if we’ll keep the camera. Although the sharpness and increased resolution from the SD100 to the S500 is appreciated (7MP vs. 2.1MP), I’m not sure if it’s worth the $390 price tag. The S500 isn’t that much smaller than the SD100, so that isn’t much of an incentive. However, I recall that when we made a bunch of prints of the kids recently, I was quite disappointed with the photo quality of the SD100. I’ve always been critical of the quality because of the low resolution. It’s this improvement that may make the S500 worth every penny.

Nikon D50 or Canon XTi: choosing a dSLR

Here it is, another layman’s technology review. Read with caution because I’ve never actually even seen or used a Canon XTi.

I’ve been biased towards Nikon cameras for some time, but there probably isn’t any real reason to pick one over the other if you are starting out in dSLR. Certainly if you already had some Nikon compatible lenses your decision would swing towards Nikon. That would probably be the easiest way to decide between these cameras.

I’m not even sure if the D50 is a current model for Nikon, it may have been superseded by the D40. The D40 is quite similar I understand. I think its metering isn’t as good as the D50 and it is a bit cheaper. I think they both come with the same lens.

I’ve had a few Nikons and Canons for comparison Read the rest of this entry »

I like to read

Well, at least I used to. Now I’m usually too busy in my spare time doing one of my many hobbies such as boat building, scanning my slides, recording my vinyl, or riding a bike. And if I’m not doing one of my hobbies, it’s a sure sign that I’m too tired to read. Every now and then I get into a reading kick and I’ll consume a book within a day or two. So why am I telling you this? Because I’ve entered my library on-line. You can check out all of my books and even ask to borrow some. Of course I’ll probably say “no” but it doesn’t hurt to ask.