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Aug 222012

The Nikon Coolpix S800c on one hand is a 16 megapixel compact digital camera and on the other hand is a Android-powered touchscreen device. On the camera end we have a 10x, 25-250mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens and 1080p video support. The “smart device” part of the camera runs on Android 2.3 gingerbread with a large touchscreen on the back.

It has built-in wifi and GPS and like any other Android smart phone or tablet you can install apps, surf the web, check your email and most importantly upload the pictures from this camera directly to your social networks without having to download the photos to a PC. The benefit being a high quality Nikon Coolpix camera compared to the mediocre camera you would find in your phone or tablet. If a wifi connection is not available you can also wirelessly transfer the photos to other nearby Android devices.

The S800c will be available in September 2012 at a MSRP of $349.99 US. Get it on Amazon or Adorama.

Aug 112012

Crysis 2 was a little bit of a disappointment for PC gamers – not because it was a bad game but because it didn’t really dethrone Crysis 1 as the ultimate test of the performance of your gaming PC. Many would argue Crysis 1 even looks better on PC compared to Crysis 2 in some ways. Later on they did release high res textures which helped but gamers were still left with a sour taste in their mouth from the “consolization” of their precious game. Enter the Crysis 3 trailer and now you finally have a use for your Quad-SLI GTX 680’s:

The game will come out for 360/PS3 of course, but I also suspect it will later come out for the next-gen consoles later in the year (if the rumors are true) and will look similar to this on them. Even if you are not a console gamer, the new consoles will trigger a major graphical quality shift in PC titles. Developers are mostly multi-platform nowadays and that means developing for the lowest common denominator (which right now is ancient 7-year-old technology in the consoles). The current consoles use Direct X 9 which is why most PC games do as well. The next consoles will use DX11 which means PC games will fully take advantage of it simply because the developers are already doing it for the console versions. It’s about time considering we’ve had DX11 video cards for 2+ years now.

Jul 302012

If you are looking for the best video card for gaming within your budget look no further. Whether you are playing Diablo 3, Battlefield 3, Skyrim or something else there is a video card for your budget. Please note all prices are US dollars. We will be doing these guides every 6 months or so (Summer and Winter).

Please note that exact prices will likely fluctuate depending when you are reading this article.

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Jul 252012

Monitor calibration is something ignored by 99% of computer users. Ignorance is bliss, but if you are a photographer or you create other forms of visual media and art on your computer properly calibrating your monitor can ensure that your work will appear properly on as many screens as possible. If you do not do these things but still wish to ensure you view things as the artist intended, then read on.

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Jul 232012

The performance of notebooks, particularly gaming notebooks, has slowly but surely been catching up to their desktop counterparts. We are at the point now where a high-end gaming notebook is only about 2 generations behind in performance compared to a desktop PC with similar specs.

The 17.3″ Asus G75 (and its little brother the 15.6″ G55) feature the latest Ivy Bridge processors and (depending on the model) nVidia Kepler or Fermi based GPUs. The G75 is built upon the same successful design of the G73 and G74 series but there have been some significant changes.

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Jul 232012

Canon has just announced its new mirrorless EOS-M camera. This looks like a very interesting camera because unlike most mirrorless cameras, it has a full APS-C size sensor. In fact the sensor is the exact same 18MP sensor as the one found in the Canon 650D or T4i. They’ve also announced two new “EF-M” mount lenses alongside it, the 22mm f/2 pancake lens and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens. With an adapter the camera will also support regular Canon EF-S lenses.

A camera this small with a DSLR class sensor is the holy grail of travel cameras. Nikon has similar cameras in their “Nikon 1” lineup but these feature much smaller sensors which means poorer noise performance and less of an ability to separate the background from the subject with depth of field.

The EOS-M is due out in October and is available for pre-order at Amazon and Adorama.

Jul 182012

For those of your eager to re-mortgage your house to buy a lens, Nikon has kindly announced its new 800mm f/5.6 telephoto lens. It has a silent-wave auto-focus motor and Nikon’s vibration reduction II system. You’ll have some time to get that loan or mortgage paperwork in order as exact pricing and a release date will be announced later. Right now it is still in the prototype stage. For comparison, Nikon’s current 600mm flagship costs about $10,000 USD. $20,000 for this lens wouldn’t shock me. That’s about the going price for a kidney isn’t it? Hmm…

Jul 182012

In their never-ending quest to annihilate brick and mortar stores, Amazon plans to introduce same-day shipping to more of its customers soon. Customers in some select US cities already have a Local Express Delivery option if they order by certain cut off times. Brick and mortar (B&M) stores have been lobbying states to force Amazon to charge sales tax even if they do not have a physical presence in that state. In addition to lower prices, customers in many states do not have to pay any sales tax. This puts B&M retailers at a huge disadvantage.

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Jul 162012

20120716-102244.jpgThe Ouya is a $99 game console that runs on Android and features hardware similar in spec to a modern tablet. Its focus is on free-to-play gaming. Every game will, at the very least, have a free demo mode and many others will probably be like mobile games that earn their revenue from optional micro-transactions or advertisements.

Each console is also a developer’s kit allowing anyone to develop their own games and apps for the device. Hacking and modifying the device is encouraged, this isn’t a closed system like Xbox Live or Playstation Network.

Ouya is being crowd funded with Kickstarter and if you fund $99 you get yourself one of the consoles from the first shipment. To me it sounds like Xbox Live Arcade but with the ability to develop and publish your game with a lot less red tape. The only questionable thing is the longevity and possible limitations of the hardware.

Jul 142012

So you’ve dabbled in Astrophotography with your DSLR camera somewhat; maybe you’ve shot some star trails or some short 30-second night-time landscape shots. Now you want to move to the next level and take long exposures of stellar objects but you are put off by the cost and the complication. Do you really need to lug around a large telescope and telescope mount? Are you confused about polar alignment? The Vixen Polarie star tracker removes all of that intimidation and a lot of the cost (though not all of it!) and allows even a first-timer to be setup and running in a matter of minutes.

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