The thing is, I’m a photographer. I love what I do for a living, but when on holiday, I really don’t want to lug around all my equipment.
The only camera that I carry on R‘n’R is an ancient and battered Mamiya C330 TLR that takes a 120 roll film much to the disgust of the family who love the instant gratification of the digital life. No meter, manual controls that have to be wrestled into place and a crank to cock the shutter and transport the film to the next frame. Absolute strangers have been known to laugh spontaneously when I fish the lump out of my day-pack.
This has led me to take a serious look at the soon-to-be-released Nokia N95, a mobile phone that has a spec sheet that should make even the most die-hard pessimist like me drool a wee bit.
The N95 features a 5-megapixel camera sporting autofocus Carl Zeiss Tessar optics, and near-DVD video can be recorded at VGA resolution at 30fps (frames per second) with digital image stabilization. Images and videos can be uploaded to a number of different photo galleries and blogging systems.
Music playback is also a major focus of this device. The Nokia N95 supports MP3, AAC, M4A and WMA music playback through its built-in stereo speakers or headphones.
An FM radio is also included in the N95 and this phone should be an adequate replacement for the iPod that the wife has appropriated for her daily chants session. Internal memory is 150MB and micro-SD card (up to 2GB) is supported.
The N95 is Nokia’s first HSDPA (3.5G) device, but also boasts Wi-Fi, WCDMA (3G), quad-band GSM, Bluetooth, IrDA and USB 2.0 connectivity. HSPDA is the next generation in cellular connectivity, which means it is up to 10 times faster than WCDMA (3G). However, HSDPA support is required at a network level. The faster connection speeds should make downloading media (such as podcasts via the in-built Podcast application) more hassle free.
Another new trick is the built-in GPS capabilities of the N95 with anticipated accuracy of around 10m (satellite signal permitting). The N95 will ship with an application called Maps that has over 100 global overview maps built in.
More detailed maps with basic route planning can be downloaded for free from an online server, but navigation functionality (with voice and on-screen prompts) will only be available as a pay-for add on. City guides will also be available for purchase and other services are likely to be made available in the future.
Perhaps most amazing, considering all of the new capabilities, is the fact that the N95 weighs in at 120g total. All of this multimedia power should be available in stores this month.
A call to a Nokia retailer in Mumbai put the price around Rs35,000. Damn, perhaps I should put the plans on buying that second-hand vintage Triumph motorcycle on hold….
With their D40, Nikon has proven that you can make an entry-level digital SLR without cutting a lot of corners. There’s really a lot to like about this camera from Nikon, from its compact size to its performance to its photo quality and its visually-intuitive menu system that brings digital SLR cameras to a whole new level of simplicity.
This 6-megapixel camera is ready to shoot virtually the instant it is turned on and has the ability to shoot 2.5 pictures per second, non-stop for up to 100 shots in JPEG mode. RAW (NEF) files are also supported. The images are immediately processed and recorded to the camera’s SD or SDHC memory card, which currently top out at a whopping 8GB. What’s more, the Nikon D40 is sold with a lens and you’ll find a brand-new second-generation 18-55mm lens in the box.
The back of the D40 is dominated by a refreshingly large and bright 2.5-inch colour LCD screen that displays everything from menu options, pictures in playback mode and Nikon’s new visually-intuitive information display system that presents camera and shooting information in a clear, graphically represented way. The D40 includes eight preset modes, and as users gain experience with the camera, the D40 offers advanced controls such as aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes for greater creative control.
To cut down on the size of the camera, Nikon has removed both the internal focus motor and LCD information display found on their other D-SLRs. The latter isn’t a big deal, as Nikon did a nice job integrating shooting data onto the main LCD. As for the lens motor issue, this really depends on how you plan to use the D40. If you’ll be sticking to the kit lens or an AF-S or AF-I Nikkor lens, then you’re all set. Otherwise it’ll be manual focus only. However, the D40 is an excellent camera for any user who wants to go a step higher over their consumer digicam, without liquidating their mutual fund in the process. Priced at Rs38,855.
Write to Harsh Man Rai at email@example.com