maanantai 1. maaliskuuta 2021

Imaging recource: BenQ announces SW271C 4K HDR monitor, promises superb color and workflow for photo and video

BenQ has announced a new 27-inch 4K (3,840 x 2,160) IPS monitor aimed at photographers and videographers. The BenQ SW271C is the successor to the SW271, and the new display further improves color accuracy while modernizing inputs and improving overall workflow for photo and video users alike. The SW271C features BenQ's proprietary AQCOLOR color accuracy technology and offers hardware calibration. To inspire further confidence, the display is Pantone validated, Calman Ready, and Calman Verified. It also supports video calibration...
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The best Instax Mini prices and deals for March 2021

Techradar:

Looking for the best Fujifilm Instax Mini prices? These instant cameras have been a huge hit in recent years as quirky gifts or a way to create tangible photographs in an increasingly always-online world. There are plenty of designs to choose from today too with options to suits youngster and retro instant photo fans alike.

We're here to help you compare all the best deals on the most popular Instax Mini cameras, including the budget-friendly Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, 9, or the latest release, the Instax Mini 11, or the retro-themed instant cameras like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 or Instax Mini 90. That's not forgetting the likes of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 and SQ6 series too. 

Prices alone might not be enough though, so we've given each of these Instax Mini cameras a rundown of information to help you choose the one that's right for you. 

These fun cameras are always sought after during the summer months for outdoor holiday snaps and their popularity shoots up as a fun Christmas presents too. We're rounding up all the latest Instax Mini deals right here, so you can find the lowest prices going on the best models.

Best Instax Mini prices and deals

Instax Mini price deals sales

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 deals

The latest Instax Mini camera

Film type: Instax Mini | Image size: 6.2x4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | Exposure modes: Automatic Exposure mode | Flash: Built-in (cannot be deactivated) | Self-timer: No | Viewfinder: Optical

New automatic exposure mode
Similar price to the Mini 9
Close up photography now possible
Highlights can look overblown still

Released in March 2020, the Instax Mini 11 price is not dissimilar from its predecessor. In fact, you'll only pay around $10 more for the latest release and still reap the rewards of the new features installed. With automatic exposure you no longer need to remember to set individual lighting settings, no doubt saving countless shots, and a new focus on close up shooting will allow you to expand your instant photography portfolio with a new range of subjects. 

Aside from these nifty features, you're still picking up the recognisable plastic camera shell we've come to recognise, as well as a new selfie lens barrel that does away with the clip-on attachment of yore. 

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 prices

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 prices

The best Instax Mini for selfies

Film type: Instax Mini | Image size: 6.2x4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | Exposure modes: Sunny, Cloudy, Indoor and Hi-key | Flash: Built-in (cannot be deactivated) | Self-timer: No | Viewfinder: Optical

Selfie mirror included
Not much more than the Mini 8 now
Mirror aside, it's the same as the 8

There's really only one difference between the Instax Mini 8 and the Instax Mini 9 and it's a tiny little mirror. The Instax Mini 9 has a small mirror next to the lens, making lining up selfies much easier and ensuring a more accurate picture. The newer Mini 9 is slightly more expensive than the Mini 8, but consider this: if you're likely to be taking a lot of selfies, the mirror could save you a small fortune on film costs as you'll have fewer wonky, poorly framed snaps. If the price is right for the colour you want, this is the one we'd go for.

The Instax Mini 9 requires two AA batteries and is available in cobalt blue, flamingo pink, ice blue, smoky white and lime green.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 prices

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 prices

The cheapest Instax Mini camera

Film type: Instax Mini | Image size: 6.2x4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | Exposure modes: Sunny, Cloudy, Indoor and Hi-key | Flash: Built-in (cannot be deactivated) | Self-timer: No | Viewfinder: Optical

Fun to use
Clearance deals can be cheap
Lacks a selfie mirror

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is one of the most popular instant cameras on the planet thanks to its super cheap price and bold, cheerful and colourful design. Simple to use and with brightness controls, built-in flash and cool 1.8-inch x 2.4-inch images printed straight from the camera, this really is a bargain. But could you be tempted by the newer Instax Mini 9?

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 requires two AA batteries and is available in black, grape, raspberry, pink, blue and yellow.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 prices

Same Instax fun, in a grown up chassis

Film type: Instax Mini | Image size: 6.2x4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | Exposure modes: High Key, Macro, Landscape, Fill-in Flash, Selfie, Timer Sunny, Cloudy, Indoor | Flash: Built-in (cannot be deactivated) | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical

Looks fantastic
Extra shooting options
Powered by CR2 batteries

There's certainly an argument that the Instax Mini 8 and 9 are aimed towards a younger or more casual market with its bright pastel colours and chunky build. But there are some slicker options available for not much more - namely the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70.

The Instax Mini 70 features more technical control options and shooting modes than the Mini 8/9 and takes better pictures in the dark. It comes with the selfie mirror as standard too. With a smoother metallic paint job, it loses the toyish vibe of the above models for something much more professional looking while maintaining the compact instant camera vibe. If you'd feel silly holding the Instax Mini 8, but want a similar design, this is your best bet.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 runs off two CR2 batteries and is available in moon white, canary yellow, island blue, passion red, stardust gold and midnight black.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 prices

Retro chic with extra features

Film type: Instax Mini | Image size: 6.2x4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | Shooting modes: Party, Kids, Landscape, Macro, Double Exposure, Bulb | Flash: Built-in | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical

Rechargeable battery
Can disable the flash
Double-exposure option

If you're looking for something with a more retro feel then it's hard to beat the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 and its traditional leather-style binding. As you can see in the price comparison chart below, it's also the most expensive of the Instax Mini cameras in Fujifilm's range.

You're not just paying for the old-school vibe though. Bulb modes ensure you won't get pictures that are too blurry or dark. On the other side of the scale, this is the first Instax Mini camera that allows you to turn off the flash, meaning you won't get any images with way too much white light. A double-exposure mode allows you to put two images on one piece of film too.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 instant camera is powered by a rechargeable NP-45A lithium battery making it the only rechargeable Instax Mini camera from Fujifilm. Colour options are much more modest than the other Instax Minis as the only differences are in the leather-style wrap finishes where you can choose between brown or Neo Classic (black).

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 prices

Check before you print with the digital display

Film type: Instax Square film | Image size: 6.2x6.2cm | Lens: 28mm f/2.4 | Shooting modes: Standard, bulb, double exposure | Flash: Built-in (with flash suppression mode) | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: LCD screen

Prints square images
Digital technology
Review images before printing

Fujifilm's Instax Square SQ10 camera sits somewhere between its Mini and Wide range, using new-fangled square-format film and boasting digital camera functionality that the Japanese manufacturer hopes will appeal to a younger, more tech-savvy audience.

The most notable feature of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 is the ability to review and edit your shots via a small LCD display on the rear of the camera. Unfortunately, the digital camera element lets the SQ10 down a bit, as the image quality can't rival other digital cameras – or smartphones. A fun piece of kit, and if you'd like more control over images and the ability to adjust and edit in-camera, it's a good fit.

fujifilm instax square sq6

Fujifilm Instax SQ6

Square images, printed instantly

Film type: Instax Square film | Image size: 6.2x6.2cm | Lens: 65.75mm f/12.6 | Minimum shooting distance: 30cm | Shooting modes: Automatic, Macro, Normal, Landscape, Double Exposure, Lighten, Darken | Flash: Built-in (with flash suppression mode) | Self-timer: Yes | Viewfinder: Optical

Prints square images
Included coloured flash filters
Expensive compared to other models

If the SQ10 is a bit more than you were thinking of paying but you're still a fan of the Square Fujifilm Instax series, then let's take a look at the SQ6. Both print in the square format, but have some notable differences elsewhere. The SQ6 is an analogue camera like the cheaper Instax models, so images are printed straight away when shooting. This model lack's the SQ10's extra shooting modes and flash options too.

We do prefer the physical design of the SQ6, as the SQ10 sometimes reminds us of a divers camera, while the former has a classic retro feel. When all's said and done though, it depends on if you want the stylish camera or the digital camera/printer that allows you to judge an image before printing it out. If you know you're prone to maybe taking a few poor pictures you may end up saving a lot of money with the digital camera instead of paying for extra film sheets.

Instax Mini Film and Instax Square Film packs

Looking for some extra Fujifilm Instax Mini film packs? We've compared the best deals from multiple retailers in our price comparison charts below. The cheapest packs usually have 10 or 20 Instax Mini film papers to print out your latest photos. Take a look at the options further down the chart and you'll see prices for larger packs too.

These first set of film packs are compatible the Instax Mini cameras on this page. If you're picking up film for one of the Square series (SQ6 and SQ10) you'll need to scroll down a bit more and pick up the Square Film packs instead.



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The best cheap GoPro deals and sales for March 2021

Techradar:

We're bringing you all the best GoPro deals hitting the web today, with big savings on everything from the brand new GoPro Hero 9 Black to the cheapest of starter cameras. That means you'll find the lowest GoPro prices from all the best retailers right here, so you know you're always getting the best discount available. 

While you'll find previously pricey models like the GoPro Hero 8 Black are now dropping their costs, you can also pick up some seriously discounted GoPro sales on older models as you get further down the page. GoPro themselves reduced the MSRP/RRP on a number of cameras recently to head off some pretty aggressive competition from rivals. 

If you're just after the newest release, however, you're shopping at the right time. Top of our best GoPro deals list is the latest GoPro Hero 9 Black, offering up new 5K footage and a 20MP camera for stills. With a front facing display, boosted software, and extended battery life it's the best GoPro on the market right now, but it's also the most expensive.

We'll run through the spec of each model making it easy for you to compare them all. So whether you're after the smoothest 4K scene shooting, or a reliable budget price 1080p option, we've got you covered.

The best GoPro prices right now

GoPro deals price sales

(Image credit: GoPro)

1: GoPro Hero 9 Black deals

The most powerful action camera - and the most expensive

5K video: up to 30fps | 4K video: up to 60fps | 1080p video: up to 240fps | Stills: 20MP | Waterproof: 10m | Battery life: 1-3 hours estimate | Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS | Launch price: $449.99 / £429.99 / AU$699.95

Extra detail in 5K 
Additional front display
Improved battery
New software tricks

The new GoPro is here, and with it comes a range of new software features, an extended battery life, brand new 5K shooting capabilities, and a front facing display. That's a good list of upgrades that adds more to the value than the Hero 8 Black offered, but you'll find little improvement in 4K shooting here. 

That 5K option, however, makes up for the stasis of shooting 4K at 60fps. You'll get better clarity and more vivid details with the new shooting mode, and pair that with HyperSmooth Boost (GoPro's latest and most powerful stabilization tech) and it's possible to achieve some amazing footage with the GoPro Hero 9 Black. 

With all that new tech does come a shift in the GoPro price, with the new model launching for £100 / $200 more than the previous version now sits at. However, if you're shopping in the UK you can save that £100 by picking up GoPro's own launch bundle which offers up a year of the GoPro subscription (unlimited cloud storage, savings on accessories, and warranty replacement) with the new camera for far less than the action cam by itself. 

cheap gopro hero 8 black deals

(Image credit: GoPro)

2: GoPro Hero 8 deals

Last year's flagship is now more affordable

FOV: SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow | 4K video: up to 60fps | 1080p video: up to 240fps | 720p video: up to 240fps | Stills: 12MP | Burst: up to 30fps | Battery: 1220mAh | Launch price: $399 / £379 / AU$599

Excellent image stabilization
Folding built-in mount
Better mic
Now superseded

The second newest member of the GoPro family is more about internal improvements over radical redesigns. But make no mistake, the GoPro Hero 8 Black is still one of the best action cameras GoPro has ever made.

Image Stabilization 2.0 combats the most chaotic of scenes you can throw at it and there's a better microphone on the device now too. The water resistance is a solid 10m and the shock resistance rating of the Gorilla Glass lens cover has been doubled - especially handy if you're likely to make a mess of a landing or take a bit of a beating from the great outdoors.

So, it's still a fantastic action camera for 2020, and now with the latest GoPro Hero 8 taking its top spot, it's ever so slightly cheaper. You can currently pick it up for around $100 / £100 cheaper than the Hero 9 Black. A very tempting pick if you're not too bothered about the latest features.

GoPro Max

(Image credit: GoPro)

3: GoPro Max prices

The best GoPro with a 360 degree camera

FOV: Max SuperView, SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow | 5.6k video: up to 30fps | 4K video: up to 60fps | 1080p video: up to 240fps | 720p video: up to 240fps | Stills: 16.6MP | Battery: 1600mAh | Launch Price: $499 / £479 / AU$799

Film in full 360 modes
Now with a proper display
Cheap launch price
Hero 8 Black has better camera

If you want to film your latest adventures in full 360-degree vision then the new GoPro Max is the action camera you've been looking for. Its launch price is much cheaper than the older GoPro Fusion was on day one too.

We're glad to see a proper display screen on the GoPro Max as that was a feature we sorely missed on the older Fusion 360 degree camera. If filming in 360 isn't that high on your priorities, then the GoPro Hero 8 Black is the better camera for you, although the mic quality on the Max is better.

The GoPro Max only requires one memory card now and stitches the footage together in-camera, making editing much simpler and the Max HyperSmooth technology does a much better job at leveling the horizon out - as long as you keep up your end of the deal by not flying over the handlebars and into a tree that is.

GoPro Hero 7 Black prices deals

4: GoPro Hero 7 Black prices

A great camera, with falling prices

FOV: Super view, Wide, Medium, Linear | 4K video: up to 60fps | 1080p video: up to 240fps | Stills: 12MP | Burst: up to 30fps | Wireless: Wi-Fi, bluetooth, GPS | Auto low light: Yes | Launch Price: $399 / £379 / AU$599

HyperSmooth is a great addition
Live streaming features
Takes better still images too
Excellent value now

For even cheaper still (sometimes), you can sometimes pick up the Hero 7 Black - an older device, but one that still shoots 4K 60fps video, and was the first to feature GoPro's 'HyperSmooth' image stabilization.

The resolution and frame-rates may be similar to the older 6 series (we were bound to hit a wall sooner or later), but GoPro HyperSmooth dramatically increases image stabilization with the Hero 7 Black. This motion smoothing technology can be used in numerous shooting modes to record the smoothest possible video running at 60fps. The voice-activated commands are more responsive than older models too. SuperPhoto tech performs automatic improvements on lighting colour and noise-reduction across multiple frames. ProTune options allow you to take the safety wheels off and tweak setting to your own particular style too. 

Right now, depending on stock levels, the Hero 7 Black can sometimes be picked up for around $50 / £50 cheaper than the Hero 8, and about $130 / £130 cheaper than the Hero 9.

GoPro Hero 7 Silver prices deals

5: GoPro Hero 7 Silver prices

Cheaper but lacking some of the latest features

FOV: Wide | 4K video: up to 30fps | 1080p video: up to 60fps | Stills: 10MP | Burst: up to 15fps | Wireless: Wi-Fi, bluetooth, GPS | Auto low light: No | Launch price: $279 / £229 / AU$399

Cheaper than the Hero7 Black
4K shooting impresses
Decent stills capabilities
Only 30fps at 4K

Even cheaper still is the GoPro Hero7 Silver - a fantastic budget action camera that still manages to shoot in 4K, albeit at a reduced 30fps. 

That's the main difference here between the Silver and Hero7 Black, which will of course shoot in 4K and 60fps. So, you're still getting 4K here and this is generally the most widely available cheap 4K GoPro in 2020 but the picture isn't quite as smooth as on the later or more premium models. The 1080p fps capabilities are slightly lower too and you also don't get the new HyperSmooth, SuperSmooth or Live Streaming features either. 

For the $150 / £150 odd price though, this is still an extremely capable, durable, and waterproof action camera. There are cheaper models available on this page though if some of the features seem like overkill or it's still a bit pricey.

GoPro Hero 7 White prices deals

6: GoPro Hero 7 White prices

No 4K, but very cheap for a GoPro with a touchscreen

FOV: Wide | 4K video: No | 1080p video: up to 60fps | Stills: 10MP | Burst: up to 15fps | Wireless: Wi-Fi, bluetooth | Auto low light: No | Launch price: $199 / £149 / AU$279

Very, very cheap
Records 1080p at 60fps
Great build quality
No 4K video

The GoPro Hero7 White is perhaps the cheapest widely available GoPro device that's still around in 2020, going for as cheap as $149 / £149 at the retailers which still have stock. That's seriously cheap for a new GoPro camera, though as you can imagine this is definitely more of a stripped-down basic affair than the newer, more premium entries.

This more entry-level GoPro has the main omission of 4K video shooting. You do get a touchscreen though, and plenty of fps for 1080p standard HD resolution. If you'd be happier with 4K shooting instead of a touchscreen though you might be able to get a similar price via one of our highlighted GoPro Hero5 Session deals further down this page.

7: GoPro Hero 6 Black prices

Still worth a look if the price is right

FOV: Super view, Wide, Medium, Narrow | 4K video: up to 60fps | 1080p video: up to 240fps | Stills: 12MP | Burst: up to 30fps | Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Auto low light: Yes | Launch price: $399 / £379 / AU$599

Captures 4K video at 60fps
Improved image stabilization
Water-resistant without housing
Still fairly pricey

If you can find it in stock, and for a decent price (we recommend around $200 / £200), the Hero 6 Black is a flagship of yesteryear that still manages to pack in a ton of quality.

This is still an excellent GoPro camera with 4K recording at a super smooth 60 fps (frame per second). Image stabilization is super important given the active lifestyles most GoPros record, so it's great to see this model improve even further on older ones. Even the 1080p recording has been improved with a boost to 240fps - excellent for maximizing those slow-motion shots. We expect the price to drop on this one over time with the new Hero7 Black now on the scene. If the prices are still close though, you may as well opt for the new one.

8: GoPro Hero 5 Black prices

Decent 4K shooting (albeit at 30fps)

FOV: Super view, Wide, Medium, Narrow | 4K video: up to 30fps | 1080p video: up to 120fps | WVGA video: up to 240fps | Stills: 12MP | Burst: up to 30fps | Auto low light: Yes | Launch price: $399 / £379 / AU$599

Captures 4K video
Touchscreen for easy controls
Water-resistant without housing
Only 30fps at 4K

The Hero5 Black wass the GoPro we wanted for years. It was the first GoPro to have a waterproof design out-of-the-box, making it more resilient and the camera has enough to make it a convincing update on the older models. The picture quality is better, it has video stabilization and the touchscreen makes it easier to use than any other GoPro before it. Sale items aside, it's often cheaper than the older GoPro Hero 4 Black now too.

An oldie, but a goodie, the Hero 5 Black is unfortunately showing its age now but is still a worthwhile pickup if you can score a deal. We definitely wouldn't recommend spending more than $150 / £150 though since there are better, newer options now which are sometimes actually cheaper, depending on stock.

gopro hero deals

9: GoPro Hero deals (2018 model)

Great value for a GoPro with a touchscreen

FOV: Wide, Medium, Narrow | 1080p video: up to 60fps | Stills: 10MP | Burst: up to 10fps | Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Auto low light: Yes | Launch price: $199 / £149 / AU$279

Cheap for a GoPro
Has a touchscreen
Great HD footage
Lower availability in 2020

Update: We'd imagine this model is going to be phased out soon despite still being quite new. This is because it's pretty much identical to the ever newer GoPro Hero7 White in terms of capabilities. Actually, it's looking like the Hero7 White is currently cheaper! Always worth keeping an eye on this one though as clearance sales should mean potential discounts. 

The simply-named GoPro Hero is cheaper than most other Hero models. You're not getting 4K capture options, but you are getting a display and a touchscreen, features many of you might miss from the other budget GoPro option, the GoPro Hero Session. There was an older GoPro Hero released years ago and if you want to avoid getting that one by mistake, avoid models with a big, round, red light on the front as they can pop up in search results. They're not much cheaper, sometimes even more expensive and aren't as good as this 2018 version.

10: GoPro Hero 5 Session deals

The small, but still 4K-capable GoPro

FOV: Super view, Wide, Medium, Narrow | 4K video: up to 30fps | 1080p video: up to 90fps | Stills: 10MP | Burst: up to 30fps | Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Auto low light: Yes | Launch Price: $299 / £249 / AU$429

Small, unobtrusive design
Captures stabilized 4K video
Several new field of view modes
Only 30fps at 4K

The GoPro Hero5 Session is a capable 4K action camera with a minimalist design that pushes the specs to the max within its cube-shaped confines. The Hero5 Session is also a major specs boost for GoPro's tiniest action camera. It now shoots stabilized 4K video and has a variety of new field of view modes. It's more expensive than its predecessor, but it's well worth the upgrade.

11: GoPro Hero Session deals

GoPro, simplified

FOV: Wide, Medium | 1080p video: up to 60fps | Stills: 8MP | Burst: up to 10fps | Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Auto low light: Yes | Launch price: $399 / £379 / AU$599

Small, unobtrusive design
Tough and water resistant
Good battery
Low availability in 2020

The model, simply called the GoPro Hero Session, has replaced the very similar GoPro Hero4 Session. They're the same price and considerably cheaper than the most recent GoPro Hero5 Session. Actually, looking around at the various GoPro models, this looks like the cheapest of the lot seeing as the older GoPro Hero is proving hard to get a hold of nowadays. So if you want an entry level GoPro, this could be the one to go for.

12: GoPro Karma Drone prices

Looking to take to the skies with your GoPro camera? There are certainly cheaper camera drones available, but this is one of the best premium setups out there. You can buy the drone on its own (often listed as 'GoPro Karma Light' or 'GoPro Karma with harness'), or get it bundled with the excellent GoPro Hero5 Black camera (some retailers may start to replace these bundles with the more modern Hero6 or Hero7 models instead).

We've also included price comparison charts for both below, but you may be able to save a bit of cash by buying the drone and camera separately (check out the various GoPro Hero Black deals near the top of this page). You'll find the best GoPro Karma prices below though.



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Google Photos warns against using its compressed 'high quality' mode – here’s why

Techradar:

If you're a regular Google Photos fan, you might have made good use of its 'High Quality' storage mode, which compresses your snaps to save space – but this is no longer recommended, according to a new email Google has sent to some of the service's users.

Google Photos offers two quality options for backing up your photos – ‘High Quality’, which compresses snaps to 16MP to save storage, and ‘Original Quality’, which are stored at the same resolution you took them. But in a recent email sent to some subscribers, Google warns that photos uploaded in ‘High Quality’ images could appear heavily pixelated in comparison to ‘Original’ ones. 

The apparent difference is starkly laid out by a sample image showing the difference that ‘High Quality’ compression makes, with a heavily pixelated bird arguably over-estimating the deterioration it brings.

Google Photos Comparison

(Image credit: Google)

The subscriber email added that "original quality photos preserve the most detail and let you zoom in, crop and print photos with less pixelation".

This comes in slight contrast to Google’s previous claims that its ‘High Quality’ upload option was “near-identical” to original quality. 

Now, while there may be a noticeable difference in detail between 16MP and a 33MP photo, compressed snaps are rarely the pixelated nightmare seen in Google’s comparison. So why might Google Photos now be advising its users against uploading in ‘High Quality’, using the above screenshot as a demonstration?

One Google to rule them all

The likely reason is that Google has plans to phase out Google Photos’ unlimited storage feature from June 1, potentially as a means to get more users to jump on board its Google One subscription plan.

After June 1, all photos uploaded to Google Photos will count towards your 15GB Drive cap. If you want to exceed that 15GB limit, a meager amount for photography enthusiasts, then you’ll have to opt in to Google One or find an alternative service. 

Subscription prices for Google One start at $1.99 / £1.59 / AU$1.99 a month for 100GB of storage space across Google Photos, Google Drive and Gmail, and scales up based on how much storage you require.

If you love making use of Google Photos’ unlimited storage, you still can, at least for the next few months. Just be aware that from June 1, Google will expect you to upgrade to Google One to get more than 15GB of that storage. You should either have a plan in place for that, or consider looking into alternative photo storage solutions.



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sunnuntai 28. helmikuuta 2021

Creepy or clever? New photo-animating AI promises to bring your old relatives to life

Techradar:

Online genealogy company MyHeritage has a new tool that can help bring your family history to... life. Sort of.

Deep Nostalgia is a new AI-powered tool that can animate still photos of people by adding simple effects like smiles, nods and blinks. It can add movement to any old photograph, and is free to try, as long as you create an account with MyHeritage. 

After uploading a photograph of a loved one, it's processed through the AI which adds a set of animations based on facial expressions of MyHeritage employees. The result – available in 10-20 seconds – is presented to you in the form of a very short video clip or gif.

The AI has been licensed from Israeli company D-ID (which stands for 'de-identification') and is currently only capable of animating people's faces. Even multiple faces in a single photograph can be brought to life.

Whether the idea of bringing dead relatives to life is brilliant or creepy is, perhaps for you to decide. Even MyHeritage admits this can be polarizing.

"Some people love the Deep Nostalgia feature and consider it magical," MyHeritage states in the FAQ section on its Deep Nostalgia page, "while others find it creepy and dislike it. Indeed, the results can be controversial and it's hard to stay indifferent to this technology."

Gone viral

Deep Nostalgia went viral on Twitter over the weekend, with people keen on bringing the deceased loved ones to life. Some, however, took it a step further and tried it on photographs of historical statues... with some interesting results.

If you'd like to try this out for yourself, head to the Deep Nostalgia website and set up a free account. You can upload up to five photos for free, but any more will require you to get a paid account. If you already have a Complete subscription with MyHeritage, you can use the service at no additional cost and upload unlimited photographs.

If you're worried about privacy, MyHeritage says it doesn't share photos with third parties and, as mentioned on the Deep Nostalgia's homepage, "photos uploaded without completing signup are automatically deleted to protect your privacy". 



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Sony FX3 vs Sony A7S III: which is the best 4K camera for you?

Techradar:

The Sony FX3 has just officially landed – and on paper, it's one of the best compact cinema cameras you can buy.

But the FX3 is also potentially confusing for anyone in the market for a small, pro video camera. After all, Sony already makes one of its closest rivals, the excellent Sony A7S III. So what's the difference between the two cameras, and which should you buy?

The FX3 is effectively a redesigned version of the A7S III, so there are actually more similarities than differences between the two cameras. The FX3 is also the first camera to straddle the line between Sony's Cinema and Alpha camera lines, which traditionally separate its video and stills-focused cameras.

But even though the Sony FX3 has an Alpha badge, it is a more filmmaking-focused camera than the A7S III. So we've rounded up the x key ways its differs from the A7S III to help you split the two highly capable cameras and decide which one suits your shooting style the best.

Yes, the Sony FX3 and A7S III share the 12.1MP full-frame same sensor and Bionz XR processor, but they also differ in a few key ways... 

Sony FX3 vs A7S III: the 6 key differences

1. The FX3 is smaller, but lacks a viewfinder

The main clue that the Sony FX3 is even more video-focused than the A7S III is its design. The Sony A7S III is mainly renowned for its video skills, but its body is based on the traditional Alpha style that's grown from Sony's still cameras. This means it has a viewfinder hump and that signature black finish.

The FX3 drops the electronic viewfinder, a decision that may also put off some filmmakers, in favor of a smaller body that's designed for run-and-gun filmmaking, particularly using its detachable handle.

Sony FX3

(Image credit: Sony)

The FX3 is still beefier and heavier than a mirrorless camera like the Sony A6600, but not by much – and it looks small compared to DSLR-sized rivals like the Canon EOS C70.

In practice, the size difference between the FX3 and A7S III will be negligible, with the cameras respectively weighing in at 715g and 699g (including batteries). Instead, the design differences are simply tailored towards different shooting styles...

2. The FX3 comes with a handle that has XLR ports

While it's possible to add a cage to the Sony A7S III, it's mainly designed to be used handheld in a similar style to a stills camera – and that's where it differs from the FX3.

The FX3 comes bundled with a detachable handle, which isn't just for holding the camera steadily from above. This handle also includes twin XLR/TRS terminals, which are the standard for pro audio – and are something that the A7S III lacks out of the box.

Sony FX3

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony does sell an XLR adapter kit, which lets you add two XLR jacks to A7S III, but it's expensive and arguably a little more clunky than the handle that comes with the FX3. Out of the box, there's no doubt the FX3 is the more advanced camera for those who need high-quality audio to go with their 4K video.

3. The FX3 has a tally lamp and zoom lever

A couple of other potential advantages for filmmakers on the FX3 are its inclusion of a tally lamp and zoom lever, which are both lacking on the Sony A7S III.

A tally lamp is a small light that lets both the camera operator and subjects know that the camera's recording. The Sony A7S III doesn't have this, though there is an alternative in the form of its 'Emph display during rec' option in the menus, which puts a red frame around the screen when you're recording.

Sony FX3

(Image credit: Sony)

Slightly more curious is the FX3's inclusion of a zoom lever. We say curious because only two Sony lenses – the FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 and FE C 16-35mm T3.1 – currently have a built-in power zoom motors that will work with this lever. 

But Sony says that its electronic Clear Image Zoom function – which lets you get 2x zoom with any lens by intelligently creating pixels, rather than simply cropping – is very popular with pro filmmakers, and this function will also work with the FX3's zoom lever. 

4. The FX3 has cooling fans for longer record times

The Sony A7S III impressed us with its ability to handle the heat generated from recording long 4K clips – in fact, we were able to shoot continuous 4K video for well in excess of 30 minutes and didn't once see an over-heating warning.

But the Sony FX3 promises to take this even further thanks to its inclusion of an active cooling fan. It's not the only small, full-frame camera with a fan like this – the Panasonic Lumix S1H also has a fan chamber to help it shoot video for longer periods. And like the S1H, the FX3's fan doesn't affect its resistance to moisture or dust, either.

What specs do the Sony FX3 and Sony A7S III share?

Sony FX3

(Image credit: Sony)

12.1MP BSI full-frame sensor
Bionz XR processor
Shoot 4K/120p or FHD/240p video
Record in 10-bit 4:2:2 internally
Expanded ISO range of 80-409,600
15-stop dynamic range
Have S-Cinetone, S-Log3/2 profiles
5-axis image stabilization
Same Hybrid AF autofocus system
16-bit raw video via HDMI port
Twin CFexpress Type A / SD slots
Same NP-FZ100 battery
Dust and moisture-resistant
Same touchscreen menu system

But it does mean that the FX3 is promising completely 'uninterrupted' 4K/60p shooting, which might push it ahead of the A7S III for those who regularly shoot long clips like one-shots or interviews. 

The FX3 also has the same 13-hour maximum continuous recording time as the A7S III. All of which means that card capacities and battery life are likely to be more of a limiting factor than overheating. 

5. The FX3 has built-in thread holes for accessories

Another useful, filmmaker-friendly design feature on the FX3 are its thread holes, which effectively mean it has a built-in cage to help you turn it into a mobile video rig.

You get five of these 1/4-20 UNC thread holes on the body, and a further three on the bundled handle. Unlike the Sony A7S III, this means you're unlikely to need to add a cage in order to add accessories like a cold-shoe mount for adding, for example, a wireless microphone to your setup.

Sony FX3

(Image credit: Sony)

It's possible to get a similar setup on the A7S III with an additional cage, but it's another example of how much more pro video-oriented the Sony FX3 is out of the box compared to its Alpha counterpart.

6. The Sony FX3 is pricier than the A7S III

The Sony A7S III is more affordable than the FX3, and not just because it's a little older, having arrived in July 2020.

The A7S III's recommended retail price back then was $3,499 / £3,800 / AU$5,999 and it hasn't really shifted from that yet. The FX3 is a fair chunk pricier at $3,899 / £4,200 (around AU$7,485).

But when you factor in the price of an XLR adapter for the A7S III, which comes bundled with the FX3, then the two costs around the same. This makes sense, as the FX3 lacks a viewfinder, but compensates with features like active cooling. Which means your choice between the two is likely more down to your shooting style than your budget.

Sony FX3 vs A7S III

(Image credit: Sony)

Takeaway

The Sony FX3 and Sony A7S III are variants on the same concept – they're both small, 4K full-frame cameras that are particularly strong in low-light and offer highly compact setups for solo shooters.

But while the FX3 is capable of shooting stills, there's no doubt it's the more video-oriented cinema camera. It has the bundled handle, XLR audio jacks and active cooling that make it, on paper, a more complete camera for filmmakers out of the box.

While those who splashed out the A7S III might feel slightly aggrieved that the FX3 has arrived just six months on, they will largely be hybrid shooters with slightly different needs. 

Sony says the A7S II remains targeted at those who need a mix of video and stills, like wedding photographers who don't need to make large prints, concert photographers and astrophotographers. For those kind of shooters, the A7S III's 4K video powers are important, but the FX3 is a camera that's really built around them.

It's a subtle difference, but we're looking forward to seeing how the Sony FX3 stacks up against other rivals like the Canon EOS C70 and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro soon.



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lauantai 27. helmikuuta 2021

Sony A7 IV release date, price, rumors and leaks

Techradar:

We've seen a flurry of high-end cameras this year, from the Sony A1 and Fujifilm GFX100S, but the big one that most of us would actually buy is the rumored Sony A7 IV, which is expected to be the successor to the classic Sony A7 III.

When it launched back in April 2018, the Sony A7 III was a landmark camera for a few different reasons. Firstly, it put Sony firmly on the map as a pro camera brand to be reckoned with. But it also changed what we could expect from a $2,000 / £2,000 full-frame camera. It was, frankly, unmatched by any of its rivals and remains one of the best cameras you can buy today.

But given its age, the A7 III is also lagging behind the increasingly hot full-frame competition in some areas. Which is why we've been glad to see growing rumors of a Sony A7 IV. These rumors haven’t fully filled in the Sony Alpha a7 IV’s vitals yet, but we can already paint a reasonable picture of what the camera will likely offer. And this picture is a pretty coherent one, too.

Like its predecessor, the Sony A7 IV is likely to be a camera that focuses on the quality of the images and videos it produces, leaving parts like the EVF and LCD screen with less than ultra-high-end components, in order to keep the price sensible. But we're also expecting to see significant upgrades across the board, including a new sensor. 

Here's everything we know about the Sony A7 IV so far, plus our early thoughts on how it's shaping up next to rivals like the Canon EOS R6 and Nikon Z6 II... 

Sony A7 IV release date and price

  • Expected to launch in the second half of the year
  • Rumors suggest a price tag of around $2,500 / £2,500 / AU$3,900
  • This would put in the ballpark of rivals like the Canon EOS R6

If the latest rumors are correct, we're expecting to see the Sony A7 IV arrive in the second half of 2021. According to the pretty reliable Sony Alpha Rumors, the A7 IV will arrive "in Q2 at the earliest" with "Q3 more likely", which means it could land anywhere between June and September.

This would be three-and-a-half years after the announcement of the Sony A7 III, which is a significant gap in mirrorless camera terms, but would make sense given the relatively recent arrival of the Sony A7C, Sony A1 and Sony FX3

Several commentators have predicted that the Sony A7 IV will have a body-only cost of around $2,500 (which will likely equate to around £2,500 / AU$3,900). This would be up from the A7 III's $2,000 price tag, but still in the ballpark of its closest rivals.

Price increases always cause a groan or two, but this one would be largely in line with what we see across Sony’s full-frame range. The Sony A7R IV launched for $3,500 / £3,500 / AU$5,699, which was $300 up from the a7R III, and we are edging towards two years since that step-up camera was announced. 

This price also keeps Sony sensibly placed next to the competition. The Canon EOS R6 costs $2,500, and already has the 4K/60p video capture that we’re likely to see in the Sony A7 IV. 

Sony A7 IV rumors and features we want to see

So far, there haven't been any major Sony A7 IV leaks, but the rumors from traditionally reliable sources have been growing in early 2021. Here's everything they've claimed so far about the A7 IV, plus our analysis on what's most likely to be under the rumored camera's hood.

Sensor

  • Rumors suggest the Sony A7 IV will have a new 30-32MP sensor

The biggest Sony A7 IV rumors suggest that it will use a new sensor, one that's higher-resolution than the Sony A7 III’s. 

Multiple sources have suggested this sensor will be the Sony IMX 554, with Sony publishing this sensor’s documentation back in 2019. If this is true, we already have a stack of information about the central piece of hardware in the Sony a7 IV.

It is, of course, a full-frame sensor, with an effective resolution of 30.65MP, and the read-out allows for up to 36.6 frames per second. 

Sony A7 IV predictions

(Image credit: Sony)

So does this mean that 36fps burst mode is all but confirmed? Not quite. A camera won’t necessarily get close to the theoretical limits of the sensor hardware, and this would beat the top-end 30fps Sony A1.

There’s plenty of scope for the Sony A7 IV to offer a great burst mode improvement at sub-30fps, though, as the Sony A7 III’s burst shooting power maxes out at just 10fps. We'll dig deeper into this later.

Viewfinder and screen

  • Expected to have a 3.69-million dot electronic viewfinder
  • Fully articulating screen is possible, but not yet rumored
  • LCD will likely be "on the cheap side" to keep price down

The vanilla 'A' model is the most accessible camera line in Sony’s full-frame family. It doesn’t get every piece of new top-end tech, so the price can stay somewhat reasonable. 

We’ll see this in action in the Sony A7 IV’s electronic viewfinder (EVF), just like in the previous generation. Sony Alpha Rumors says that a "very good source" has revealed that the camera will have a 3.69-million dot resolution electronic viewfinder. That’s below the lovely 5.76-million dot panel of the A7R IV, but is crucially still a bump up from the A7 III’s 2.3-million-dot EVF. 

Want to talk pixels? The Alpha A7R IV's EVF has a 1600 x 1200 resolution, with the A7 III's resolution coming in at 1024 x 768. The rumored A7 IV, meanwhile, would be in between the two at 1280 x 960 pixels. 

While there is a huge gulf in dot count, we’re actually looking at EVFs close in pixel count to the 4:3 aspect ratio equivalent of Full HD and what we used to call 'HD Ready' (720p).

Sony A7 IV predictions

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony Alpha Rumors also thinks “most probably the LCD will also be on the cheap side, but the image quality and AF will be top notch.”

This completes the picture of what the Sony A7 IV is actually about. You won’t get an incredibly advanced rear LCD or EVF, but the image quality and autofocus have at least a chance of being class-leading. 

The A7 III has a simple, hinged LCD screen. It’s 3 inches across and has resolution of 921,000 dots (640 x 480 pixels). 

If the A7 IV has the same display specs, though, we’ll be disappointed. The inch count can stay the same, but the Sony A7 IV could do with higher peak brightness for shooting on sunny days. And a step up to 1.4-million-dot (800 x 600) resolution. 

The Sony A7 IV also begs for a more flexible display hinge. Sony’s pronounced EVF hump all-but rules out a 180-degree flip-up screen, so we’d need a fully articulated hinge system. But it would be a big benefit for YouTubers looking for a quality upgrade. 

Some have suggested this will happen, but it seems at odds with the notion that the A7 IV won’t have a notable rear display. 

Video

  • Highly likely to shoot 4K/60p video, but not 4K/120p

One of the most likely Sony A7 IV features is pretty obvious – it will probably offer 4K video capture at 60 frames per second, lifting the 4K 30fps cap of 2018’s A7 III. 

However, this introduces an awkward family dynamic. The Sony A7R IV is still stuck with maximum 4K/30p capture, and is a more expensive camera.  

This can be explained away without ruining the Sony family’s Christmas, though. The high-res Sony A7R IV is predominantly a stills camera, while the A7 IV is out to cover all needs without providing the best Sony can do in every single area. 

After all, the video-focused Sony A7S III can also shoot 4K at 120fps, which the A7 IV almost certainly won’t offer. 

Sony A7 IV predictions

(Image credit: Sony)

Autofocus

  • May inherit the autofocus system seen on the Sony A7S III and A1
  • A good change that it'll get Bird Eye AF, seen on the A1

We can’t yet make any solid, tech-informed conclusions about the Sony A7 IV’s autofocus specs. There hasn’t been a camera with its particular sensor yet, and AF points are linked to the sensor, because mirrorless cameras like this use on-sensor phase detect pixels. 

The older A7 III has an impressive 693 phase-detect points, backed up by 425 contrast detect points, and it more-or-less inherited its autofocus system from the once-top-end Sony A9

Sony Alpha A1

(Image credit: Sony)

If we see the same happen again in the Sony A7 IV, it will likely have 759 phase points, once more supported by 425 contrast detect points to fill out frame coverage. These are the stats of the Sony A7S III and A1.

Once again, this would beat the A7R IV on paper, which has 567 phase detect points. However, in most cases the speed and reliability of Eye AF and subject-tracking are what tend to stand out in real-world testing. 

The Sony A7 IV may also get some of the tweaks Sony made in the Sony A1. The latter gained 'bird tracking', which is very handy for nature photographers. Generalized animal tracking is already in place in the A7 III, so we can expect to see a (possibly refined) version of that on its successor. 

Burst shooting

  • No solid rumors on burst shooting or buffer size yet
  • But could offer 15-18fps burst rates, based on the A7 III's read-out speeds

There are no solid rumors about the Sony A7 IV’s burst speed and buffer size yet. But we can make a few educated guesses based on some digging. 

The Sony A7 III uses, we believe, the Sony IMX410 sensor. This has a max sensor read-out speed of 19.2fps at top quality 14-bit depth. Its actual burst speed taps out at around 10fps, half the sensor read-out rate (although burst shooting actually uses 12-bit depth). 

As we mentioned earlier, the Sony A7 IV likely uses the Sony IMX 554 sensor, which has a read-out of 36.6fps at 14-bit depth. Divide that by two and we end up with around 18fps burst speed, which would seem a sensible and distinctly possible figure for this camera.

Sony A1

(Image credit: Sony)

Of course, the camera also has to deal with the increased data of the higher resolution. And we would not be surprised if, like the A7 III, the A7 IV drops to 12-bit capture when shooting burst shots. However, burst shooting of 15-18fps still seems feasible given the camera will also have a newer processor than the A7 III. 

Sony will also need to improve the camera’s buffer to get the same, or better, burst duration as the A7 III, though. The old model can shoot 163 JPEGs at highest quality, 89 raws or 40 uncompressed raws before its buffer fills up. 

Sony made major improvements in burst shooting from the A7 II to the A7 III. You could shoot for around ten seconds when capturing JPEGs in the A7 II, or around 16 seconds in the Alpha A7 III.

To even reach the same level in the Alpha A7 IV we’d need a buffer that's able to hold 240 JPEGs, assuming our guess of minimum 15fps burst is vaguely on the money. However, expected changes like this explain why the Sony Alpha A7 IV is likely to be more expensive than its predecessor. 

Sony A7 IV predictions

(Image credit: Sony)

Takeaway

If the rumors so far are correct, the Sony A7 IV seems to be heading in the right direction. We'll likely get the same core video abilities as the Canon EOS R6, plus a higher-resolution sensor that should give it an edge for stills. 

With the limited information we have so far, there are few better choices Sony could make that are realistic within the budget. Sure, a 9.44-million-dot EVF would be nice, but you are not going to get one at the A7 IV's expected price tag.

We’re keen to see confirmation on the Sony Alpha a7 IV’s display style, though. It may not be a deal-breaker for stills, but a fold-out screen could be a big boost for those who are just as interested in video capture. But we'll updated this page with more rumors or official information as soon as it arrives.



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