Category Archives: Cameras

The Gadget Man – Episode 105 – On the Sofa with Sarah Lilley at BBC Radio Suffolk

As I continue to ride the wave of euphoria of completing the 1200 mile east to west  Gadget Road Trip with my lifelong friend Andy. Today I joined BBC Radio Suffolk’s Sarah Lilley on the Sofa in Ipswich and explained how the challenge came about and how it felt to drive 1200 miles in an Electric Car and why I love Gadgets!

I also talked about how I met Vanessa, how I listen to music and an ill fated trip to Tunisia in 1996.

Listen in to the stream, bookmark the site, we have a LOAD of reviews coming up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

GoPro Hero5 Session – The Compact 4k Camera with Voice Control

GoPro have been at the top end of the action camera market for a long time and have consistently produced really high quality products, the Hero 5 range brings a whole range of functionality not seen before in a GoPro, so I was eager to find out more.

There are two camera’s in the Hero 5 range, the Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session, I have been reviewing the Session.

Hero 5 Session Whats in the Box
Hero 5 Session Whats in the Box

The Session is a small camera! Measuring 38 x 38 x 36 mm (1.5 x 1.5 x 1.4 inch). On the front is the camera lens and the back is a small button, on the side is a covered MicroSD and USB-C port and finally on top is the shutter button which is also used for controlling the camera. There is also a very small mono led screen which lets you know the status and mode of the camera.

The camera comes equipped with on-board wifi and it is using this and a free app that you can control and preview the camera.

Hero5 Session Switched on

There is also a brand new ‘Voice Control’ mode too, which allows you to command the camera. There are 12 commands it understands ranging from ‘GoPro Start Recording’, ‘GoPro Take a Photo’ to ‘GoPro Switch Off’. It actually works really well, however I only tried it in a room environment, so I’m not sure how it works out in the field, waves or ski slope though.

There are a heap of video modes you can shoot including 720p,960p,1080p,1440p,2,7k and up to 4k, these also offer up a variety of frame rates from 30fps at 4k to 120fps at 720p, there is the ability to remove the dreaded fish eye effect with ‘Linear’ in some modes and there is image stabilisation available up to 1080p, so those bumpy rides of ski videos will have less judder for viewers.

The image quality is simply amazing! I have always doubted the quality of the videos provided by manufacturers, but the Hero 5 Session really does delivery with zero post processing. I was honestly astounded by the 4k footage and I’m looking forward to getting out on my bike to get some off road footage over the next few days.

The camera can also take 10mp photos either in standard, timelapse or burst mode with the ability to take 30 10mp photos in 1 second! All of these settings are changeable with dozens of options available.

For people looking to use the GoPro as a dash cam, there is also ‘Loop’ mode on the video, although you might be better off looking for a dedicated device for this.

The Hero 5 range are also compatible with the GoPro Karma drone for those looking to take their footage high into the air.

All in all, I’m impressed with the GoPro Hero 5 Session, at £299 it’s by no means the cheapest camera around and you might be looking at the Hero 4 Session for half the price. However, with the drop if price you lose all of the killer features of the Hero 5 including 4K.

Gadget Man Review – Transcend JetDrive Go 500G – Lightning / USB 3.1 Flash Drive

The Apple iPhone is a very popular device indeed and has played an integral part in the explosion of the Smart Phone and Tablet market over the last 9 years since its launch.

Transcend JetDrive Go 500G - Lightning Plug
Transcend JetDrive Go 500G – Lightning Plug

Apple have however played it safe with regard to storage though, happy to keep the iPhone, iPad and iPod firmly enclosed in milled aluminium with internal access to only the SIM card. Hard wiring (or soldering) components into a device means the manufacturer doesn’t need to includ memory and battery adapters which take up space and more importantly depth in the phone. Consequently Apple devices are therefore nice and thin.

Transcend JetDrive Go 500G - USB 3.1 Plug
Transcend JetDrive Go 500G – USB 3.1 Plug

Disallowing additional memory means users have to closely monitor their phone storage. It doesn’t take long for those high bitrate 4K videos to start eating into an iPhone internal storage, meaning you need to start archiving videos and photos to another device such as a Mac or PC (or cloud storage if you have the time and data bandwidth) to stop the memory being used up. Worse still, If you are out and about and run out of phone storage, you are going to be looking at dumping what might be precious footage stored on your phone to make space for new photos and videos.

Transcend JetDrive Go 500G - plugged into a iPhone 6S Plus
Transcend JetDrive Go 500G – plugged into a iPhone 6S Plus

This is where Transcend step in with their JetDrive Go 500G Lightning / USB 3.1 Flash Drive, a very nifty device (or dongle) that plugs directly into your iPhone or iPad’s ‘Lightning’ port and allows you to copy or move your photos and videos straight off your device onto a flash drive and thus free’s up your phone for more film making and photography. You can even take photos directly onto the flash drive if you wish using the Transcend Go App which is automatically downloaded when you first plug the device into your phone or tablet.

Transcend JetDrive Go 500G - plugged into a iMac
Transcend JetDrive Go 500G – plugged into a iMac

The jetDrive Go 500G is different from standard flash drives in as much as it both Lightning and USB on the same device which a connector mounted at end. The lightning ‘end’ plugs directly into your iPhone or iPad and allows you to copy data at speed of up to 20MB/s onto the drive. At the other end of the flash drive is a USB 3.1 connector (recognisable by its blue colour) which connects directly into a PC or Mac and copies data up to an amazing 130MB/s, so again no delays in copying your video and photos over to your desktop or laptop.

The drive comes in two sizes, 32Gb and 64Gb and in either Silver or Gold zinc alloy. These two storage options are going to be a dream come true for those of us with smaller internal storage options and may even delay that dreaded phone upgrade.

Transcend JetDrive Go 500 - Go App
Transcend JetDrive Go 500 – Go App

Package wise, the flash drive comes in a simple package along with clear instructions, a wrist strap and two plastic caps for either end of the device to protect the connectors. From opening the package, plugging in the device to downloading and running the small “Go” App, I was up and running in literally two minutes.

Transcend JetDrive Go 500G by a 50 pence piece
Transcend JetDrive Go 500G by a 50 pence piece

The device worked flawlessly for me and it wasn’t long before I was zooming around the house, backing up the kids iPads and my wife’s iPhone, it really was very easy to use.

I was certainly surprised how something that could be considered fairly insignificant to look at could actually be a bit of a godsend for the iPhone community. This is an excellent Apple MFi certified product and comes highly recommended from us.


Priced at £50 for the 32gb model and £67 for the 64gb, you can purchase directly from Amazon using the link alongside this text. Other options are available from other manufacturers and outlets, take care to ensure plugin peripherals are certified before using them.

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 87 – Drones. Should they be licensed?

I was back on air this morning with Mark Murphy and James Hazell to talk about drones and the immense rise in their popularity.

With popularity comes a degree of public worry and a much larger degree of press coverage. Should drones be licensed? Should people need to take a proficiency test to use them? All of this was covered on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning along with interviews with The Civil Aviation Authority and local pilots.

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and can range in price from £10 to literally thousands. Many of the more expensive semi professional drones have ‘Geo Fencing’ which stops the drones from flying in banned areas or ‘No Fly Zones’.

Of course it is possible to build your own drone. Kits are widely available and many people have built their own drones from scratch using light weight computers such as the Raspberry Pi. In this case, no licensing is going to stop the production of these kinds of drones and increasingly advanced techniques such as GPS ‘way point’ route planning means that the pilot does not need to be in radio contact during the flight and therefore distances of 7km possible before battery charging is necessary.

Currently in the UK, I can’t see how any ‘proficiency’ testing can be brought in being, it would be far too costly and reliant of the purchaser of the drone. Tracking the drones is equally difficult without elaborate (and expensive) tracking transmitter/receivers being added to the drone.

Consequently, it lays with the manufacturers of these devices to ensure that their equipment is safe, easy to use, legal and abides by any global no fly zones.

I will be reviewing the Parrot Bebop 2 camera drone very soon, so stay ‘tuned’.

 

The Gadget Man : Parrot Bebop 2 Drone with “Follow Me Bebop”

I‘ve finished testing the Parrot Bebop 2 camera drone. A fully review is coming up shortly. In the meantime here is a selection of footage I have taken over the last couple of weeks.

DSLR Your iPhone with Pictar

cam front_whiteMost of us use our smartphones to take pictures instead of carrying around a camera. Miggo have spent over a year researching and developing Pictar – an iPhone grip enclosure that brings the control of a DSLR right to your fingertips. With features that marry a traditional DSLR with your iPhone, Pictar gives you the ability to take your iPhone photography to the next level.

cam all_whiteDesigned to replicate the familiar feeling of holding a camera, you can comfortably use Pictar to take photos with one hand without worrying about dropping your phone whilst taking a photo. It is coated with anti-slip material, and can be connected to either a wrist strap or neck strap. The Pictar has been designed to fit most existing models of the iPhone, and the expanding design means it should fit future models too.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mymiggo/pictar-probably-the-best-iphone-camera-grip-ever-b

Features include:

· Zoom ring – no longer do you need to pinch the screen to zoom in and out. Use the rotating zoom ring to zoom in and out with just one hand.
· Selfie button – switch between front and back camera
· Multi state shutter release – half press to lock focus and exposure, or full press for immediate shutter release
· Exposure Compensation Wheel – quickly and easily control the brightness level before taking a picture
· ‘Smart’ wheel – in default mode this control 7 preset modes to let users easily adjust the iPhone to any situation while focusing on taking the shot. Preset modes are auto, portrait mode, landscape mode, sport mode, snow mode, selfie mode and video mode. For the more advanced photographer you can choose between 3 advanced modes – shutter priority, ISO priority and manual.
· Virtual wheel – control different modes such as flash mode, shutter speed and more.
· Cold shoe mount to attach LED lights
Tripod attachment

The Gadget Man – Episode 82 – Gadget Review of the Year

Its my last broadcast of the year and I so talk about my top 5 gadgets of the year. Listen to the stream to hear what I thought of the following :-

These are all products I’ve reviewed in the past, so you can click on each of them to take you to it’s relevant feature.

 

The Gadget Man – Episode 79 – Motorola Moto G (3rd generation) from Three

This morning I talk to Mark about the Motorola Moto G (3 gen) handset. At £169 sim free it represents fantastic value for money with excellent build quality and specification. To hear more about the phone, listen in to the audio recorded today on BBC Radio Suffolk.

Thanks to Three for the loan of the device, they always go above and beyond the call!

The Gadget Man – Episode 78 – Fujifilm Finepix S9900W Bridge Camera

Matt Porter, the Gadget Man reviews the Fujifilm Finepix S9900W
Matt Porter, the Gadget Man reviews the Fujifilm Finepix S9900W

One of my favourite pastimes is photography, although very strictly on an amateur basis. I’ve have been very lucky indeed to have been able to test out a wide range of cameras from Fujifilm this year.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been testing the Fujifilm Finepix S9900W Bridge Camera. This is a true bridge camera and it ticks most of the boxes for me with it’s 50 times zoom lens and inclusion of viewfinder.  One thing I didn’t mention on the radio was it’s wireless compatibility which allows for almost instant uploading of photos and remote control from your smart phone.

Listen in to the stream and enjoy some of the photo’s I’ve been able to take with this lovely camera over the last few weeks.

Thank you to Jeannie at Fujifilm as ever!!!

The Gadget Man – Episode 76 – Transcend DrivePro Body 10 Bodycam

Transcend DrivePro Body Cam 10
Transcend DrivePro Body Cam 10

This week I talk about a new wave of devices aimed at both Police and private security firms. Body Cams allow for the collection of video evidence which is aimed at reducing the time wasted by conflicting opinions from police and witnesses to crimes.

I have been reviewing the Transcend DrivePro Body 10, a really excellent example of such a device, which is easy to set up, extremely simple to wear and operate and produces excellent 1080p video in both daylight and nighttime. The device has an excellent F2.8 160 degree wide angle lens and comes with a 32GB micro SD card included.

Video is split in to manageable sized files which means that en entire video file does not need to be viewed or copied to other media for use in court. It is also time and date stamped with the option of adding additional text to the file which is displayed on the resulting video.

The device is weatherproof and also includes a ‘snap shot’ button for taking 3.3mp image files. Operation of the video is simple and only requires the power button to be depressed to start recording and pressed again to stop.

Don’t forget to listen in to the stream to find out more about the Transcend DrivePro Body 10.

Many thanks to Transcend for providing me with a demo unit.