Monthly Archives:September 2018

Price: $600 The evolution continues
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THE LOW-DOWN

This 16-megapixel ”bridge” camera has a 25mm-600mm Leica-branded lens with f2.8-f5.2 aperture. It is fitted with an electronic viewfinder and a fixed-position LCD. The lens is image-stabilised because it needs to be with such extreme telephoto extension. All controls for serious photography are on the body and easily accessible. It has the usual one-button start for video, which can be recorded in AVCHD or MP4. AVCHD files play back directly through Panasonic players and TVs. Video mode has a range of manual controls. Construction feels plasticky, but rigid enough.

LIKE

Picture quality is generally good, although resolution falls off slightly at extreme telephoto. Video quality is excellent, with the Active Mode stabilisation smoothing out walking-with-camera sequences. Playback from the SD card through a Panasonic Blu-ray player onto a HD TV is very good.

DISLIKE

The electronic viewfinder is not up with the best of the breed in colour, contrast and resolution. It is handy for framing in bright light but does not give an accurate representation of the subject.

VERDICT

There was a time when we were scornful of these super-zoom pseudo SLRs. The viewfinders were woeful. The shutter lag was so extreme it was impossible to capture moving subjects. And on some models the EVF blacked out when the shutter button was pressed. Ten years of patient research and development have transformed bridge cameras into devices that are pleasant enough to use. We would not recommend one to a serious photographer, but for the point-and-shooter who wants more control over camera functions, they do a good job. The Panasonic siblings, the FZ200 ($800) and FZ60, are nicely evolved examples of the type.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Photos require bandwidth.I HAVE had the National Broadband Network connected to my Brunswick studio for more than a year, and it certainly has changed the way I work. I no longer deliver images on a CD but use a cloud service such as Dropbox. I use a few photo retouchers and, where previously I would use a courier to shuttle large documents, I now do it all online. I could do all these things with ordinary ADSL, but to do them while streaming high-quality music and watching a Cartier-Bresson documentary on YouTube, I need fibre broadband.
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The NBN is a national wholesale data network being built by NBN Co. It will be constructed over 10 years, with the federal government paying most of the $40 billion construction cost. It is estimated to be paid back in dividends by 2034.

The network will gradually replace the ageing copper network. About 93 per cent of the population will receive optical fibre to their premises and the rest will be serviced by a 4G LTE wireless network. Or, if you are really remote, you can access one of two NBN satellites.

Photographers need this bandwidth. Image file sizes have steadily become larger.

Cloud storage is becoming a viable option to back up all this data – it can be far more reliable than a hard drive on your desktop – and companies such as Backblaze are offering unlimited storage for about $4 a month. Transferring these large files around can be frustrating and time-consuming, therefore a steady, fast and reliable connection is invaluable.

The speed of my internet connection is a consistent 100 Mbps to fibre-connected servers. Upload speeds are about 40 Mbps. The quality of the end connection does affect these speeds. I share my studio with several people and we are using an Internode plan with 1000 gigabytes of download data at $165 a month.

One huge difference to ADSL is the dependable connection: in a year it has never had a fault or slowed down.

One of the most important features of the NBN, often missed in the heated political debates about cost and fibre versus wireless, is the network effect. For example, the more people own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each user. Over time, the NBN will become more useful with every household and business that connects to it, creating a positive feedback loop.

As a working photographer, this means anyone in Australia could become my digital assistant, or my art director, or a buyer of my images, instantly and effortlessly. The photographer of the future may work in ways we can only imagine.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

PERHAPS the only fun thing Bleeding Edge can recall about the experience of being admitted to Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital a couple of weekends ago was the truly impressive array of gadgets we were hooked up to.
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Within minutes of clambering on to the gurney in the emergency department, we had had adhesive sensors attached to the Bleeding Edge abdomen; the nurses had popped a Bleeding Edge finger into a heart-rate monitor; and wrapped a sphygmomanometer cuff around an arm. At that point, our vital signs were suddenly the late-breaking news on the TV monitor.

It made us wonder if perhaps it might be time to upgrade the Omron HEM-790IT, which we have been using to monitor our blood pressure for the past two years.

When one nurse employed a more user-friendly wrist-cuff model, we decided to check out the possibilities. The local Omron site has a HEM-6052 wrist monitor for $179.95 ($139.95 via getprice南京夜网.au), which seemed a bit steep compared with the Omron Bp652 7 series model on Amazon南京夜网 at $49.96. At that price, even with shipping costs, we regard these sorts of devices as a good investment in one’s healthcare. You can download a blood pressure diary from Omron here, for instance, and upload the data to a PC and even create graphs.

We don’t think it’s a good idea to use these gadgets to replace professional medical care, because it’s quite easy for non-professionals to make mistakes entering and interpreting data. But particularly if you calibrate them against your GP’s equipment, they provide a much more accurate picture than desultory consulting room readings, which in our case tend to be elevated by so-called white-coat syndrome.

We have been active participants in our own healthcare since July, when we became one of the first Australians to register online for a PCEHR (Person-Controlled Electronic Health Record), which is a secure online summary of one’s personal health record, which patients can choose to share with medical providers.

One points one’s browser to ehealth.gov.au, clicks on the ”Register” button, and provides a password and answers to three security questions to set up an australia.gov.au account, taking care to record the user ID and password, which one will almost inevitably forget.

You then link that account to your PCEHR, which will require you to provide the date, provider and amount of your last Medicare claim. A PCEHR becomes particularly valuable when a practitioner you nominate – generally your GP – uploads the details of your medical history you are prepared to share with nominated healthcare professionals.

That requires a practice to be registered and to have compliant software with secure messaging capabilities.

Comparatively few practices so far qualify, but by May this year roughly 25 per cent of Victorian practices are expected to be registered and equipped with the software.

The other highly valuable data that can be included in one’s PCEHR is a hospital discharge summary, a vital document that gives a patient’s primary healthcare practitioners details of diagnoses, prescriptions and other data accumulated in a hospital stay.

Unlike kidney stones, the passage of a discharge summary through a Victorian hospital system to a primary healthcare provider is usually expected to occur within 72 hours.

Peninsula Health, which includes Frankston Hospital, has developed an electronic discharge summary that has been recorded as providing 88 per cent of discharge summaries within 24 hours.

The Barwon Health system, centred on Geelong, has also developed e-discharge summaries, which dramatically increase the legibility and usefulness of these documents.

Last November, Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital became the first in Australia to go beyond providing e-discharge summaries to primary providers by uploading a clinical document to a patient’s PCEHR. It was also the first to allow clinicians to view patients’ PCEHRs through its clinical information system.

Unfortunately, several days after our release, The Alfred still hadn’t provided an analog discharge summary to our GP, which meant that we were forced to postpone an appointment for continued care.

All we had was a photocopied sheet of paper that did not list the ailment – a kidney stone – or any of the formidable collection of vital signs, including a CT scan and an X-ray indicating the most recent position of the kidney stone.

We doubt we could have obtained better care than The Alfred provided. But when it comes to providing a necessary record of that care, we wonder if they might be in need of some new gadgets.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

WE HAVE just finished rewatching the original Brideshead Revisited on TV, being reminded just how ugly the 4:3 television aspect ration was.
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Widescreen digital television transformed the medium, releasing it from the confines of the nearly square picture.

The change started some thinking about photography aspect ratios. Many cameras, like the Panasonic FZ60, have selectable aspect ratios not just for video capture (for which widescreen is the camera default) but also for stills. The FZ60 is typical in having 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 picture formats.

Some cameras set 3:2 as the default, perhaps because that is the aspect ratio of a standard 10 centimetre x 15 centimetre commercial print or because it is close to a 35-millimetre film frame. Others set the default at 4:3, which is good for a 10 inch x 8 inch print, but in this country the standard A4 paper is close to 3:2. The only paper size we regularly use approximating 4:3 is A3, usually measured as 13 inches x 19 inches.

Obviously, the 1:1 option is included to satisfy converts from 120 format cameras, which typically capture a 6cm x 6cm image, which is aesthetically pleasing in its own right. From long experience shooting six-by-six film, we would be more likely to get the composition perfect in the camera when shooting square, and this means less (or no) cropping in the printmaking. Square was also the format of most Polaroid media and it is still loved enough to be the shape of pictures pushed through tablet filter apps and uploaded to Instagram.

The 16:9 ratio is ideal for images to be viewed on a widescreen TV or Android tablet that has a 16:10 aspect. For the iPad, 4:3 nearly fills the screen.

Landscape looks good in 16:9 ”landscape” mode but a portrait, with the camera held in ”portrait” orientation, will look better in 3:2, 4:3 or 1:1.

We asked a fastidious photographer friend who worries over ISO, picture sharpness, exposure, noise and so on what aspect ratio he preferred and he said: ”Whatever the camera default is. Anyway, I almost always crop the images in one way or another, so what does it matter?”

Obviously it matters to the fastidious snapper who cares about getting the framing and composition right in the camera. The great Henri Cartier-Bresson never cropped his images; to do so would be an admission of sloppy camera work.

Aspect ratio matters, and his preference was for 35:24 – which is about the format of 35-millimetre film.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Australia by Rail
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By Sutro Media, sutromedia南京夜网For iPhone, Android iTunes Store, Google Play $2.99

SORRY, trainspotters, there are no alerts for when the Sunday 3.22pm Sandringham train is pulling in, but this app is a comprehensive guide to Australia’s rail networks, with about 100 reviews of rail experiences, including the Ghan, Daylesford Spa Country Railway and Queensland’s Kuranda Scenic Railway. There’s an introduction to the app by the author, Tim Richards. He’s a travel writer and it shows, with interesting and thoughtful reviews. Information is clearly presented, with photos and a map, but I’d like to see longer train routes mapped. There are interesting facts sprinkled throughout. Did you know Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world? Or that across Australia, discarded railway lines have been turned into ”rail trail” walking and cycling routes? Australia by Rail is well thought out and easy to navigate.Collect: Photo a Day

By The Lens Lab,thelenslab南京夜网For iPhone and iPod Touch iTunes App Store Free

FANCY a calendar album that documents your daily life through photos? The Collect: Photo a Day app lets you store and present one or more photos of each day in different calendars that document different aspects of your life, such as the growth of your pets, children, vegie patch and fashion sense; or use a calendar to record a moment of your life each day. There’s room for captions, tags and notes, but I’d like to see simple editing features to improve my dodgy shots. Collect is easy to use and has a simple display. Photos and data can be connected to the iCloud service.

WORTH A LOOKPaul Keating Insult Generator

By Synthetica iTunes App Store, Google Play 99¢

IS THAT a Paul Keating in your pocket, or are you always this rude? Tweet, SMS or just enjoy a treasure trove of creative insults based on the master of mockery’s famous put-downs. Those were the days.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.