March 20, 2015

Digital Cameras v Smartphones

Filed under: News — csadm @ 3:27 am

If you have ever been thinking of getting into digital photography, there is no better time than now to embark on your new hobby or career. Chances are, if you own a smartphone, you have already been taking more photos than ever before.

The potential market for budding photographers has grown and it’s now up to camera manufacturers to capitalize and migrate smartphone photographers into the mainstream camera market.

Admittedly digital camera sales have been on a downward trend in recent years because of the rise of smartphones. In March 2012 worldwide shipping numbers of digital cameras peaked at 11 million. By March 2014 this figure had dropped to just over 3 million.

The reality is that there must now be a huge market ready to be convinced of the limitations of their smartphone cameras, and the result may see a renaissance in photography. The argument for digital cameras is obvious. For starters smart phone cameras only get up to about 8 megapixels, compared to 20 megapixels for a simple entry-level digital camera. Then there’s the fact that in camera mode, most smartphones are awkward and not exactly user-friendly. After all, their primary function is mobile communication, not creating award-winning photography.

So here’s the pitch – if you want to get serious about photography then it’s time to progress from a smartphone to a digital camera.

In this article I will start with some useful tips. I will then look at a few relatively inexpensive digital cameras in the Nikon Coolpix range, which are good entry level cameras.

Let’s start with some beginners tips.

With that in mind here a few entry level digital cameras from the Nikon Coolpix range that will help you make the progression to digital photography.



Shooting high-quality images is easy with the L31 with its 16.1 megapixels and 5x optical zoom. With the Motion Detect blur reduction function, you can shoot wide-angle group shots to faraway subjects without worrying about blurred images.

All you have to do is aim, preview your shot with the 2.7-inch LCD monitor, and the L31’s Easy Auto Mode will do the rest. You can then add your own creative spin to your photos with the L31’s Special Effect and Quick Effect functions. The Smart Portrait System and Skin Softening effect comes with improved face detection and enhanced skin tone exposure control so your subjects will look flawless. These built-in fun effects let you get more imaginative with your photographic expressions.

With the Easy Auto Mode, the L31 allows you to capture that perfect shot, without having to worry about any complicated settings. The Motion Detect blur reduction function automatically compensates for camera shakes, so you’ll always have sharp images. Another useful feature of the L31 is that it is one of only a few cameras that still runs on AA-size batteries.



The S2800 has a 5x optical zoom and automatic scene detection technology. This compact camera lets you shoot in a range of styles without the need to play with the settings. You can even liven up your shots with the built-in special effects.

The zoom lens also fully retracts into the camera when not in use. Inside its 20mm-thin body lies an advanced 20.1-megapixel image sensor and intelligent autofocus system. The camera automatically selects the right settings so you can simply point and shoot. Recording HD videos at up to 720p is equally effortless, thanks to its one-touch recording function.

A number of functions and effects help you capture images with amazing clarity and colour. These effects include D-Lighting Mode for shooting backlit scenes, motion blur and red-eye reduction. You can even get creative with an array of Quick Effects, Special Effects and Glamour Retouch functions.



The stylish 20.1-megapixel S3600 makes everyday photography fun and easy. Use its 8x optical zoom for a range of shooting styles and get even closer with its 16x Dynamic Fine Zoom. Its intelligent Auto Mode takes the guesswork out of camera settings.

For times when you want to get creative, enhance your shots with its built-in special effects. A fully retractable NIKKOR lens with 8x optical zoom opens up a world of possibilities – from spectacular landscapes to close-ups. You can even shoot macros 2cm away.

Shooting with the S3600 is only half the fun. Once you’ve captured your shot, use your imagination to turn it into a work of art. Built-in Quick Effects include Photo Illustration, Soft Portrait and Glare Reduction with a number of other special effects for further personalization.

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March 6, 2015

Lenovo – Smart Phones for Smart Buyers

Filed under: News — csadm @ 3:06 am

For those in the market for a smart phone it is important to understand that there are more options other than just Apple and Samsung. There are smart phones out there that look and perform just as well, at a fraction of the price of the two big players.

Lenovo is one company that has entered the market on a mission to provide top quality, competitive budget handsets.

Lenovo is a company based in Beijing, China that has been around since the mid-80s, becoming a leader in the personal computer market. You’ve probably heard of them through the Thinkpad line of notebook computers. Lenovo now operates out of 60 countries, selling into a further 100 countries. Last year the company was the world’s largest personal computer vendor by unit sales.

Lenovo has the name, the experience and the pedigree to compete head to head with the likes of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market. In fact, in our image-conscious society, to own a Lenovo-branded smartphone might eventually indicate that the owner is just as smart as the phone itself. Lenovo could possibly do what Toyota’s Lexus did to the luxury car market, and what Kia and Hyundai have done to the car market in general. That is, it could become the “sensible” alternative for those who don’t want to be seen as being sucked-in by the marketing hype of Apple and Samsung.

A look at the recent history of Lenovo indicates that the company is very serious about its smartphone prospects.

Lenovo entered the smartphone market in 2012 and quickly became the largest vendor of smartphones in Mainland China. Just last year Lenovo acquired Motorola from Google and has also acquired IBM’s personal computer business and its Intel-based server business. So the company is rapidly acquiring the intellectual property to take the game right up to Apple and Samsung.

Further investment in its products came in May 2012, when Lenovo announced a US$793 million construction of a mobile phone manufacturing and research-design facility in Wuhan, China. The plant is designed to produce 30-40 million phones per year.

For the purpose of this article, I will focus on three Lenovo smartphones. Price is very relevant in a review of Lenovo products, so I will not limit my commentary to features alone.



At the top end the Lenovo Vibe X S960 is a smart phone that looks great at a super-slim 6.9mm and is ergonomically designed to give you superior feel and grip. Lenovo has managed to fit a 5 inch screen into a smartphone which barely weighs 121 gms. The device has rounded corners and the laser-etched back panel feels as good as it looks. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

Vibe X has a 13 megapixel auto focus camera with BSI sensor at the back which is capable of capturing high quality pics both in day light as well as low light conditions. It is equipped with a 5MP front facing camera for video chats and taking perfect selfies. Most other smartphones on the market have only a standard 2MP megapixel camera at the front, so the Vibe X is clearly ahead of the competition in this regard.

Lenovo Vibe X comes with 16 GB of on board memory and an easy to use user interface. With Lenovo’s “SmartUI” you just need to swipe right or left from home screen to find all your apps and widgets. This basically reduces one annoying step of tapping on an app drawer.

Vibe X draws its processing power from a MediaTek Quad Core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz coupled with 2 GB of RAM and runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.2 out of the box.

Another feature that stands out for Vibe X is the SECUREit feature which acts both as a privacy control and Anti-Virus software. It regularly scans your device for any threat and also lets you control which information a particular app has access to or not.

In PNG the Vibe X is retailing at K749 so there is really a lot of smartphone technology here at a fraction of the cost of similar Apple or Samsung smartphones.



Lenovo’s middle-of-the-range IdeaPhone A820 is a dual-SIM, quad-core smartphone which retails at K449.

The A820 also comes with a big 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of storage along with a Micro SD card expansion port. The screen is an IPS capacitive LCD touch-screen that supports multi-touch. Coming in at 4.5″ diagonal, it is a comfortable size.

There’s no front facing camera for video calls and selfies but there is a shiny-looking eight megapixel sensor on the back of the phone. This can also take 720p videos. The phone also includes all the normal connectivity options, radios and sensors. It offers WIFI, high speed HSPA+ 3G mobile Internet, Bluetooth, FM radio and assisted GPS. Of course it also has the usual accelerometer and proximity sensors.

The phone doesn’t look much different from Lenovo’s other models but feels good in the hand and has a beautiful metallic purple-grey removable back cover. The speaker grilles look very smart and has a nice chamfered rim running around the perimeter of the phone.



At the lower end of the Lenovo smartphone range is the A516. Considering this is an entry level smartphone, the phone has a really nice design. Although it isn’t the slimmest smartphone in the market, you can’t deny that the design is attractive with a charcoal grey color design on the back cover, combined with a light weight body and 4.5-inch display.

The Lenovo A516 comes with Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and Lenovo’s launcher, the software experience is very similar to what you will find across Lenovo’s range of smartphones, it has the usual chunky and funky user interface that lets you change page transitions and the same icon design for default apps.

It is equipped with a 5 MP rear camera but it has neither autofocus nor LED flash. The front camera is also very basic, but what you would expect of an entry level smartphone.

If you simply want a phone that has a huge screen, dual SIM capability and nice sturdy design, the Lenovo A516 could be your type of smartphone and it is definitely affordable at only K389.

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