June 2010

Can the iPhone 4 take pictures like a "real" camera?
Can a top-of-the-line smartphone like the Apple iPhone 4 take pictures as a "real" camera? To see if people can detect the difference, Washington Post blogger Rob Pegoraro took a series of shots with the iPhone 4 and also with a three year old digital camera. Much commentary ensued, and Pegoraro will publish the results later. [See "Can you tell an iPhone 4 photo from a 'real' camera's?"] -- Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2010 by chb

Full review: 33-feet rated 14mp Panasonic TS2
Panasonic is rapidly establishing itself as a major digital camera manufacturer, and also offers cameras for underwater use. The Lumix TS2 is Panasonic's follow-up on last year's somewhat limited TS1. With a maximum depth of 33 feet, the 14-megapixel TS2, which lists for US$399, can now be used for scuba diving. It also has a much wider temperature range and is altogether tougher yet. We gave the Lumix TS2 a good workout in the cold waters off the California Channel Islands. [Read full review of the Panasonic Lumix TS2] -- Posted Sunday, June 27, 2010 by chb

Altek releases 3.5G phone with 14mp CCD camera
Taiwanese Altek Corporation announced the launch of the Leo, a combination of 14-megapixel camera with a true 1/2.3-inch CCD imager (virtually all cameras in phones use CMOS imagers) with a 3.5G (HSDPA) smartphone based on the Android OS. The Leo has WiFi, a 480 x 800 pixel optically treated 3.2-inch multi-touch LCD, Xenon flash, LED illuminator, a 3X optical zoom that starts at 36mm equivalent, and can do 720p HD video with H.264 compression. According to Altek, the camera uses their own "Sunny 9" processor. Available later this year, products like the Altek Leo will face one big question: do consumers want a full-function camera in their phone, or will they continue to uses separate devices. [Read Altek press release and description] -- Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2010 by chb

US$149 waterproof Kodak Playsport 1080p vidcam
Earlier this year, Kodak joined the ranks of camera manufacturers offering waterproof models with the Kodak Playsport video camera that can also do 5mp stills. The Playsport shoots full 1080p high definition video (as well as 720p and WVGA), has 128MB internal memory, a SDHC card slot, comes in three colors (purple, black, blue). You can take it down to ten feet, and it costs just US149. -- Posted Monday, June 14, 2010 by chb

Smartphone cameras getting better
Despite increasing resolution, smartphone cameras have a reputation for shooting lousy pictures. This may now change as some smartphones are not only approaching dedicated digital cameras in resolution, but also in much improved image quality. The new Sprint HTC EVO 4G, for example, has a very decent autofocus 8MP camera and you can even find optional magnetic macro lens attachment for it! -- Posted Monday, June 14, 2010 by chb

Hackers targeting digital cameras with malware
Normally, PCs become infected with virus and other malware code from downloading unknown content. But it can increasingly happen when using software shipped with consumer items, such as digital cameras. Apparently, according to The Register, this happened to Olympus where malware on some Japanese market Olympus Stylus Tough 6010 cameras. So be careful out there! -- Posted Monday, June 14, 2010 by chb

What happens when your Canon dies?
I thought Canons were built from the ages, at least the more expensive ones. So when my 15-month-old Canon G10 suddenly died with nothing but snow on its display and a stuck lens barrel, I was shocked and surprised. It was no longer under warranty, but Canon has an easily accessible repair website. So the G10, which has been seeing heavy daily duty as one of Digital Camera's main workhorses, went to one of Canon's two US repair centers, where, for a flat fee of US$159, it was mended. It came back within ten days, all fixed and as good as new. Sole criticism: Canon didn't say what was wrong with it. -- Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2010 by chb