Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

The EPSRC writes: “An image of a single positively-charged strontium atom, held near motionless by electric fields, has won the overall prize in a national science photography competition, organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).”

‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap’ - a photo by David Nadlinger

‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap’, by David Nadlinger (University of Oxford)
The photo shows the atom held by the fields emanating
from the metal electrodes surrounding it.
The distance between the small needle tips is about two millimetres.

Just head over there, it’s a great image – even if you have to enlarge it quite a bit to see the strontium atom. Well done, David Nadlinger!


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A year ago, I thought my Samsung S7 was going to replace the Fujifilm X20 camera as my permanent companion. But if I have a bag with me, or when we go for a walk, or when I’m out with my bike, then the X20 trumps any smartphone – perhaps not in picture quality, but certainly in functionality. The flash, for example, is quite good. And the zoom is highly appreciated as well. In short, the X20 is used a lot. Unfortunately, that usage also leaves its mark on the camera.

Here’s proof of that usage: when returning from a motorcycle day trip, I noticed that the rubber thumb rest had disappeared, leaving a bare spot and a single screw head on the backside of the camera. Nothing disastrous, to be sure, but… Well, it got really annoying when my camera dealer told me that I was the second person in a few days time to report the issue, and that Fujifilm – at least here in Belgium – does not offer said thumb rest as a spare part! I find that a letdown for a camera company that prides itself on building sturdy and long-lasting cameras.

It took a bit of googling (sorry: actually, I’m using DuckDuckGo) to find out that we two Belgians weren’t the only victims. And with a lack of spares I had no choice but to follow the suggestion on the DPReview forum: use duct tape. Not that there are many alternatives, other than to replace the X20. But that would be silly, it’s still much too convenient and good a machine to carry about all day. On the other hand, you never know what Santa wil bring ;-)

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Over on ISO 1200 Magazine, Mattias Burling has published a nice comparison of the qualities of four cameras, in order to answer the question: “What if I could only pick one camera?“. The comparison is quite objective, so I urge you, just like one of the commentators, to watch the video all to the end.

Click to see the video on Youtube

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Ten days ago, I spotted a new visitor in our garden: a couple of long-tailed tits stopped by and sampled the peanuts. Wikipedia says that they are not exactly scarce, so I hope to see them more often.

A long-tailed tit feeding in our garden

A long-tailed tit feeding in our garden
(click for a larger version of the picture)

PS. In Dutch the long-tailed tit is called a “staartmees“.

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As it turns out, Nikon had to release a second firmware update for the Nikon D5600, in order to correct the troublesome connectivity of  SnapBridge. In their own words, firmware 1.0.2 will provide “Improved pairing and connectivity between the camera and Android versions of the SnapBridge app“. I don’t use SnapBridge that often, but making a connection between devices should be simple, and certainly simpler than what I had to do 4 months ago.

Indeed: downloading the Android app on my smartphone and connecting both devices took just few clicks on both sides. I hope it goes fluidly for you too!

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If you own a Nikon D5600 DSLR (like me: I upgraded from a D5500 a few weeks ago), don’t forget to upgrade to the new 1.01 firmware. The DPReview site explains it all: “Nikon D3400 and D5600 firmware updates now available“.

The Nikon D5600 DSLR

The Nikon D5600 DSLR

The upgrade procedure is simple and won’t take long. Any corrections of the Snapbridge software are most welcome – my first tests worked in the end, but getting there was at times quite exhausting!

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A few weeks ago, I replaced my daily smartphone with a new model. Not because the Galaxy J5 is a bad phone, far from it. But the J5 I was using put only 8GB of memory at my disposal, and that is definitively insufficient: I have a “heavy” portfolio of apps that I can’t miss (Here Maps being one of them), and at the same time I am always trying out new apps. So a replacement was necessary, and it had to be a replacement with more memory.

I have been eying the OnePlus smartphones for a long time. The only reason I did not go for a 3T is the (screen) size: I already own (and use!) several tablets, so I don’t need to have a phone with a tablet-like size. But if you need/want a big phone now, OnePlus is the way to go. My choice, in the end, fell on the Samsung Galaxy S7 – its price notwithstanding but compensated in part by a cashback and a trade-in of my trusted S3. After using it for a couple of weeks, I can only confirm that I like my choice!

Moving from the J5 to the S7 was not exactly simple. Somehow, the Samsung Smart Switch app – which is the official way – was not sufficient. After a first attempt, the Smart Switch app managed to transfer only a single Google account and my apps collection. But it did not bring the data from those apps along… I reset the S7 to factory settings and tried again. This time all the Google accounts came along with the apps, but still no data.

I then turned to the ClockworkMod backup solution: Helium. Let me spare you the details of the hours I spent trying to make this work, and just present you wth the good news: it worked. The bad news is that the Helium solution is not a workable way to go from one machine to another for people who have no knowledge of OS command lines – it would not have worked without a lot of trial and experimentation and multiple tries!

These tribulations aside, I’m quite happy with the S7. The battery holds much longer than what I was used to, and I am really impressed with the quality of the camera. I know: in the past I have never attached much importance to smartphone cameras. My argument was that I always have a (better) camera with me, so what use could a smartphone camera be? I know better now, and the Fuji X20 is no longer a daily companion . The Galaxy S7 and its camera has taken over that role, and the only thing I miss from time to time is the optical zoom of the X20.

(Click the image to see the full picture - and more - on Flickr)

(Click the image to see the full picture – and more – on Flickr)

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