Tag Archives: smartphones

Simply Tech: Point and Shoot Cameras

Point and shoot – the little camera that can

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Point and shoot – the little camera that can

You might be thinking that traditional point-and-shoot cameras are going the way of the fax machine, but don’t dismiss them yet. You might also wonder why you’d even need one when smartphones have become the default gadget for taking pictures and shooting videos. Built-in cameras in phones, including the iPhone XS and Google Pixel 3, are now better than ever in terms of picture quality and high-definition video, giving Digital SLR cameras a run for their money. Plus, smartphones are always at the ready to capture that special moment, and then fire it off to family and friends.

Rational reasoning

Discard the idea that the smartphone can do it all. First, and foremost, you don’t want to always be recharging your phone’s precious battery. Nor do you want to use up valuable storage space.

Purists actually like the touch and feel of real buttons, as well as a physical shutter, a viewfinder and the flexibility to adjust the settings. While higher-end smartphones have decent lenses, they’re not good in low light conditions, and everything else is only average. The quality of the photos are just not as sharp as they could be.

Photo enthusiasts prefer a point-and-shoot to take advantage of a camera’s actual optical zoom. This type of zoom offers a true lens adjustment. It gives you the same number of pixels in your frame, providing the same resolution as if you were close by. In contrast to a digital zoom found on most standard phones, objects appear closer by making the pixels larger as you zoom in. The result is a more pixelated, or grainy, photo or video.

A standalone camera allows you to unplug and focus on your craft, and you don’t want to take a $1,500-plus device to the beach with all your precious data on board. If damaged or lost, the replacement cost of a point-and shoot is much less.

Enhanced photography

Like smartphone cameras, point-and-shoots have also evolved. The compact Fujifilm FinePix XP140 has a massive 16.4 mega-pixel CMOS sensor, allowing you to print a quality photo as big as 11.5 by 15 feet. You can also record ultra High Definition 4K video, and it has a high quality Fujinon 28mm wide-angle lens, with 5X true optical zoom for really sharp, hi-res photos.

The FinePix XP140 is also equipped with an enhanced ‘Scene Recognition Auto’ mode to help detect the main subject in the scene by automatically optimizing the camera setting. The ‘Eye Detection’ feature makes for better portrait shots by focusing on the eyes, along with the auto-intelligent, self-timer mode to detect a smiling face. When detected, it automatically releases the shutter.

This little camera also has optical image stabilization to reduce blur from camera shake. It can also do time-lapse photography, so that you can capture a series of photos over time. If you do have your phone, this camera also supports ‘Remote Shoot’. An example of this would be placing your camera in a tree to capture some wildlife, and standing somewhere else to get the shot.

The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is dust-proof, shockproof (to 1.8 metres), freeze proof (to -10 °C) and waterproof (to 25 metres). It comes in five colours, and features the latest Bluetooth technology.

Greg Gazin is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), and contributes to canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life magazine.

GadgetGuy.ca


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SIMPLY TECH: Phones ON

SIMPLY TECH: Phones ON

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SIMPLY TECH: Phones ON

by Greg Gazin

Save money when travelling

Worried about outrageous phone and data charges, many people turn off their phones when travelling, so that they don’t come home to massive cell phone bills. Rules and regulations are starting to change, and there are now more affordable choices.

Your carrier or service provider may offer special travel add-ons to your current plan. While this would be the most convenient route, it’s not the most economical. Canadian mobile phone and data rates are very expensive compared to other parts of the world. In fact, as a result of a 2016 study by Nordicity Group, CBC reported that Canadians pay much higher rates compared to other G7 countries and Australia. In one example, an entry-level wireless package in Canada was quoted at $41.08 (on average) compared to $17.15 for a comparable package in Germany.

Photo, bigstock.com
Photo, bigstock.com

If you pick up a cheap phone when you’re abroad, you won’t have your apps and contacts with you. A great solution is to purchase a local SIM card and insert it into your own phone. Previously this wasn’t an option for Canadians, as phones sold in Canada were locked with the carrier that you were under contract with. Even if you bought an unlocked phone, it would often be locked with the carrier that it was first used with. This all changed on December 1, 2017 when the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) ruled to update the Canadian Wireless Code of Conduct, giving you the right to have your phone unlocked by your service provider upon your request – at no charge. New phones that were purchased after December 1st are to be unlocked.

The carrier that your phone is locked with, must unlock your phone. If that’s Bell or Rogers, call them and they will do so. Telus can’t help you. If your device was previously lost or stolen, you may be blacklisted. Or, you may have an issue if you have an outstanding balance.

When travelling, you’ll still want to use Wi-Fi whenever you can, but in addition to cheaper calling with an unlocked phone, you’ll be able to leverage lower data rates, which is handy when using maps and apps that require connectivity. You can find local SIM cards just about everywhere, like the airport, electronic shops, gas stations and convenience stores. Often they’ll also work in nearby countries.

If you spend your winters south of the border, companies like Vancouver-based Roam Mobility offers complete Talk+Text+Data monthly plans, which may turn out to be lower than your current bill. You can pick up a SIM card in Canada before you go, including 7-Eleven stores.

Do your homework. Newer smartphones should work globally, but there are always exceptions. A local SIM card, as well as a pay-as-you-go phone, will have a different phone number, so you’ll have to alert family and friends. The advantage is that your number will be local to the country that you’re staying in.

Whether you’re travelling or not, an unlocked phone makes it easier to switch providers, and if you choose to sell it, you’ll have a larger pool of potential buyers if your phone isn’t tethered to a specific carrier.

Greg Gazin (a.k.a The Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg) is a syndicated tech columnist, blogger, podcaster (host and producer), and contributes to Canoe.com, Troy Media and Active Life.

GadgetGuy.ca


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