Ditch That Dslr Camera! Why Hobbyists And Travelers Need To Go Mirrorless

For so long it has been thought that anyone who is serious about photography needs a DSLR. But that’s no longer true. The latest mirrorless cameras match — and even surpass — DSLRs in almost every important way.

From their smaller size, to their features, to their all round performance, mirrorless cameras are the perfect DSLR alternative. Whether you’re a hobbyist, a keen travel shooter, new to photography, or even a pro, it’s time to switch.

The Difference Between DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

Without getting into the technicalities, a DSLR has a mirror in front of the camera sensor that bounces light (via a prism) through the viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the mirror lifts upwards to expose the sensor, and captures the image.

how dslr camera works
Image Credit: Cburnett via Wikimedia Commons

A mirrorless camera has no mirror. Light enters through the lens and hits the always-exposed sensor. What you see through the viewfinder or rear screen is a direct read out from the sensor, and an exact representation of the image you’ll capture when you press the shutter button.

Technically, any camera that doesn’t have a mirror could be described as mirrorless. However, the term generally refers to cameras with larger sensors: micro four thirds and upwards.

They normally also support interchangeable lenses, although not exclusively, as cameras like the Fuji X100 series are mirrorless cameras with fixed lenses.

1. Size

I still remember the moment I decided to go mirrorless. It was after a day spent trudging around a rainy Barcelona with a Nikon D90 and 16-85mm lens around my neck. I loved the camera/lens combo, but it was really starting to suck the joy out of both photography and travel. I knew I needed to downsize to something smaller and less unwieldy, but I didn’t want to compromise on quality. Mirrorless was the obvious answer.

The website camerasize.com enables you to compare the relative sizes of almost every popular camera, with lenses attached. The image below shows a modern, enthusiast-level DSLR, the Canon 80D, alongside one of the larger mirrorless cameras, the FujiFilm X-T2, and one of the smaller ones, the Sony a6300 (Amazon US, CA, UK). All three cameras have similarly-sized sensors and are mounted with kit lenses.

camera size comparison

There’s no comparison. The mirrorless options have a considerably smaller footprint than the DSLR. They’re lighter, too. The Sony kit weighs in at just 1.14 lbs (520g), compared to 1.8 lbs (817g) for the Fuji and 2.06 lbs (935g) for the Canon.

Few mirrorless cameras are truly pocketable, except for a large coat pocket, maybe. But the size and weight benefits cannot be underestimated. The easier a camera is to carry, the more likely you are to take it with you wherever you go.

2. More Convenient Shooting

The smaller size of most mirrorless cameras doesn’t just make them more portable. It offers benefits in use as well.

DSLRs are far less discreet, and — rightly or wrongly — people often think of them as being more professional looking. If you’re traveling somewhere and doing some street shooting, people will notice you with your DSLR. And they’ll wonder why you’re pointing your camera at them.

Small mirrorless cameras look far less threatening and allow you to merge into the background a lot easier. On most models, you can flip the screen up and shoot from the hip as well.

There’s another way mirrorless cameras are more discreet: they’re quieter. Without a mirror to flip up and down each time a shot is taken they’re less intrusive in hushed surroundings.

A few models, like the Fuji X100 series or the Sony RX1, use a different shutter design altogether. It’s called a leaf shutter, and it’s almost completely silent.

3. Innovation

If you have any interest in cameras and camera technology, mirrorless is the only place to be these days.

While the DSLR giants of Canon and Nikon release solid, reliable, and thoroughly unexciting updates to their models, the mirrorless world is a hive of non-stop innovation.

sony a9 camera

Recently, we’ve seen pro-level cameras like the medium format Fuji GFX 50S and the full-frame Sony A9 capable of crazy fast 20 FPS shooting. But the innovations have occurred just as quickly in enthusiast cameras:

  • Electronic viewfinders, with high resolution and fast refresh rate, showing 100 percent field of view.
  • Live view, so you can compose shots using the rear LCD.
  • Hybrid viewfinder, combining the best of the optical and electronic viewfinders.
  • Wi-Fi, for easy photo uploading.
  • Photo assistance features, such as face detection.
  • Smart scene modes, like HDR or image stacking for noiseless low light shooting.
  • Electronic shutter, for ultra-fast shutter speeds that enable you to shoot wide open in sunlight.
  • Articulating screens, for negotiating popular tourist sites.

mona lisa tourist photographers
Image Credit: Bryan Allison via Flickr

Some of these of these have since found their way into DSLRs, but mirrorless got there first and made the features mainstream.

Mirrorless cameras are more software driven than DSLRs. This might be one of the reasons why innovations are easier to deliver. It also might explain why they often get more and bigger firmware updates, upgrading and adding new features to older cameras.

4. Performance

The long-standing argument against mirrorless cameras was that their performance was inferior to the DSLR. Focusing was slow, image quality was worse, battery life poor, and the ergonomics didn’t lend themselves to prolonged shooting.

Okay, it’s still true about battery life. The typical DSLR shoots 2-3 times more photos than a mirrorless camera before it needs recharging.

The rest? No.

Focus speed has improved a lot in the last few generations, to the point where it now surpasses that of popular DSLRs. The Sony a6500 claims the fastest auto-focus speed, packing 425 phase detection auto-focus points across the sensor, compared to 51 points on the Nikon D7500, for example.

Pros in fields like sports photography might still go for full frame DSLRs (although the Sony A9 is targeted directly at them) but enthusiasts don’t need to worry about focusing.

As for image quality, there’s never really been much difference anyway. The sensors are broadly similar in size and capabilities (and some Nikon DSLRs even use Sony built sensors), and all the mirrorless systems have enough quality lenses to cater for all levels of user.

camera ergonomics
Image Credit: FujiFilm

The ergonomics are also not an obstacle. Cameras from the likes of Fuji are packed with external dials and buttons, enabling you to change your settings without even lifting your eye from the viewfinder. Mirrorless has caught up with the DSLR by offering weather sealing on an increasing number of models, so you can shoot in all conditions.

And, let’s be honest, they also look better. Who’d choose a bulky DSLR when you could have an Olympus PEN-F (CA, UK) instead?

olympus pen-f
Image Credit: Olympus

5. Lenses

When mirrorless cameras first entered the market, lenses were a weak point. It takes time for a manufacturer to build a system from scratch.

Nine years later, there are no such problems. Micro Four Thirds, Sony, Fuji, and others all have lenses for all use cases and at all price points. Versatile travel zooms, fast primes, pancakes — whatever lens you need you can get.

Legacy Lenses

More interesting is how good mirrorless cameras are with legacy lenses. With a simple, inexpensive adapter you can mount virtually any old film lens. Pick some up from Ebay or a local garage sale and it will blow your photographic options wide open.

legacy lenses

It opens you up to work with old Leica or Zeiss lenses, while Soviet-era manufacturers like Jupiter and Helios are also very popular among legacy lens aficionados.

Most mirrorless cameras use a feature called “focus peaking” to enable you to work with manual lenses. This highlights the highest contrast areas of an image — which represent the sharpest edges — with a bright color. The brighter the color, the more in focus the image.

6. More Options

Unless you’re a professional with very specific requirements, it’s hard to make a case for DSLRs these days. Mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter, more versatile, and perform as well, if not better, than their old-school counterparts.

The sheer variety of models also ensures you’ll be able to find the right one for your needs. If you want to drop nine grand on a medium format Hasselblad X1D, you can. Or you spend as little as $500 on a body that will still give you 4K video and most of the innovations outlined above. Or you can go anywhere in between.

The days of the DSLR look to be numbered. There really has never been a better time to go mirrorless.

Have you gone mirrorless? How have you found it? Or do you still love your DSLR? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image Credit: SB7 via Shutterstock.com

Use Gyazo For Instant Screenshot Sharing Online

screenshot captureI use Jing for most of my blog and technical documentation. Jing is a screen capture utility that allows me to draw arrows, markup and paste (and even shoot video). But Jing can be a memory hog and its uploading feature is anything but fast to use. But how about a utility with an installer that is a mere 1MB in size? It is a small free application I found yesterday called Gyazo.

It does one thing, and it does it very well. It allows you to capture a screenshot with its crosshairs and it will automatically upload it to the web and copy its URL to your clipboard. Did I mention that it does not require any signing up? And how about this – Gyazo is a cross-platform app with support for Mac, Linux and Windows!

screenshot capture

Let’s check it out. You can start by visiting their English or Japanese site here and here respectively. Download the installer and get it installed. Once it is installed you can run it from the start menu.

screenshot capture

Then when you launch it, your mouse will turn into crosshairs like this:

how to take a screenshot

As you draw your box to select your screenshot you will see it covered in a light gray shade and the dimensions of the box will appear in the bottom left hand corner of your selection as you can see in the shot above. (note: I used Jing for these captures as it is the only thing that captures the mouse).

Upon making your selection and releasing the mouse your screenshot is uploaded to the web. You will be shown the webpage in your default browser when it is ready.

how to take a screenshot

You can then copy and paste that URL to share it with friends or colleagues.  The link that was returned was:

http://gyazo.com/4aee403789e9ba4acb0d5e6b0e3509eb.png

You can see it is stored on the Gyazo website and it has a PNG extension. You can download the image by right clicking on it and saving it. You can also use the 4 links that appear when you mouse over the upper left hand corner of your image to share your image. Gyazo supports Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr but you can hotlink or paste the URL of this image anywhere where you can insert an image.

By hitting the Twitter logo button this is what happens:

how to take a screenshot

If you are not logged into Twitter you will be prompted for your password after you add your optional tweet and hit the post button.

gy6

You can see how it looks in my twitter stream here. I do not have a Tumblr account but that is what the next button does:

sharing screenshots

You need to enter your Tumblr authentication information and an optional caption. Hit the post button and it will posted to your blog. Personally I would have preferred WordPress (if the author is listening, I would like to use it regularly on my WordPress website).

The last social network button is for Flickr:

sharing screenshots

Click post and your image will be posted to your Flickr page. If you are not logged in you will be prompted to.

The last button is for information. It pretty much just gives you the URL of your image and a link to the Gyazo website like this:

sharing screenshots

Do you have a quicker way for sharing screenshots and images online?  If so, we would love to hear about it in the comments!

Dogs Can Be Cat People, Too!

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This adorable-cuddly Bernese mountain dog got a new fur sibling — but it wasn’t another dog. No matter, though. Before long, these two became the best of friends and playmates. Humans have so many lessons to learn from their pets. <3

Breaking News – Personalize Your Own Online Newspaper With Newscred

Your personal newspaper in less than 5 minutes.

Custom news sites are nothing novel. Google itself has a Custom News feature. Then there are a host of other news aggregators like Meehive and DailyMe. We have top lined quite a few ourselves. These web services allow you to personalize your news just the way you want it. Choose from the news categories you want and there you have it – personalized news service culled from some of the top sources around the web.

NewsCred is not exactly the new kid on the block but its recent avatar is. Originally founded in 2007 and launched in 2008 as a socially powered aggregator, NewsCred has turned a new page with its current motto. NewsCred now lets you create your personal online newspaper in less than 5 minutes. Just like a newspaper, you get your own editorial to write. The Pro version is an upgrade with a price but will let you run ads, have your own domain and give you more designing options.

But the free version sounds interesting if it can really help me set up my newspaper in less than 5 minutes. Let’s start the clock”¦

The log-in is absolutely straightforward with the first field asking me for a name for my newspaper. The name also decides the URL where my personal newspaper gets parked.

Newscred01

With my newspaper created, I step into the page where I have to make a few choices regarding the content I want in the pages. This is where NewsCred lives up to its claim of “˜under 5 minutes’ by giving me an easy checkmark solution to selecting the news topics. But content is not sacrificed as there’s a huge list to select and click through. All news segments are well covered.

Newscred02

A click on the large green Done button and my newspaper is launched with a typical online newspaper feel. The default look reminded me about Reuter’s last web look. It’s very neat but if you want to add a bit of color to the background, pick out a Color Theme from the left placed dropdown.

Newscred03

All my selected content is arranged on the left hand column. I can reorder it or add and delete to it. The Front-page is the landing page of my newspaper.

NewsCred follows 2500+ news sources. That gives me plenty of choices to select from if I am not satisfied with my first selection. The Add News button adds any new categories to my list to personalize my news feeds.

Newscred04

Here is where I would have liked to go back to the initial wizard just to see the topics and sources I could select from. But I have to make do with the field box and the suggestions that come with it. I can also add a feed URL.

NewsCred also lets me create more than one newspaper in the same account. I have to give it a new name for the new URL. This is a plus as it lets me have content without cluttering up one news page. For instance, I can make one newspaper for the serious topics and another one for fun activities like movies and sports. Also, I can flip quite easily from newspaper to the other.

Newscred05

Each topic page also gives me other options. I can filter news sources, watch related videos and also take another look at the other topics related to my selected one. Below are the news sources for my technology page.

Newscred06

The one unique feature in the free service is the addition of a self editorial. It helps the news junkies because one can share an opinion with the rest of the community. You can also view other newspapers created by community NewsCred members.

Is NewsCred worth a read?

In terms of news readability, the answer has to be a yes. It doesn’t try to do anything fancy, but underlines its goal of letting anyone start a news page in less than 5 minutes. I did it in less. What I liked about the site was the control it gave me and the collection of news from many sources including blogs and Twitter. Some sections like sports could have done with more choices.

A newsstand has many offers competing for our attention. So it is with the web and the gamut of news offerings. As a web application like NewsCred demonstrates, there is a lot of news out there. We just have to pick a way to read it. Is NewsCred the way for you?

The Games, Tv Shows, Movies, & Technology That Influenced Gta V

Grand Theft Auto 5 is a veritable work of genius, which qualifies it as one of the best titles Rockstar Games has released to date. The single-player story mode is compelling, the visuals are stunning, the atmosphere is superbly realized, and the multiplayer madness that is GTA Online is bags of fun.

Rockstar Games has achieved this high watermark thanks to a huge budget, an incredible team, and an existing user base that was, after an epic five-year wait, chomping at the bit to revisit the world of Grand Theft Auto. But as with every medium, video games are heavily influenced by other things, and there are plenty of examples of this in GTA V.

Games

Red Dead Redemption

It should come as no surprise that Red Dead Redemption has influenced GTA V, because they share similar DNA. The obvious influence Red Dead had on GTA V was the random encounters, which see you helping out (or hindering) strangers without affecting the main storyline. These work in exactly the same way in GTA V as they do in RDR.

Max Payne 3

Another Rockstar Games title that has influenced GTA V is Max Payne 3. The combat mechanics of the former have been almost wholly lifted from the latter, just with the bullet time malarkey removed. The GTA IV combat mechanics were hard to master and came in for serious criticism, and GTA V has benefited greatly from this change.

Burnout Paradise

GTA V itself doesn’t borrow anything (that I can see) from Burnout Paradise, but GTA Online most certainly does. Both games feature persistent locations that you’re dropped into along with various strangers who you can choose to interact with or ignore. And starting races and missions in both games requires you to head for a particular part of the map.

Driver: San Francisco

There’s only one element that GTA V borrows from Driver: San Francisco, but it’s an important one. In that game you can shift between cars, at which point the map would zoom out and then back in. GTA V ramps this effect up considerably as you shift between the three main characters, but its genesis looks to have come from Driver: San Francisco.

TV & Film

The Sopranos

Michael, one of the three lead characters in GTA V, is a long-retired career criminal who now visits a very expensive (and kinda useless) therapist on occasion to deal with his former life. Tony Soprano, the lead character in The Sopranos, is a mob boss who visits a therapist on occasion to deal with his sociopathic tendencies. Need I say more?

Heat

Heat is a 1995 film directed by Michael Mann and starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. While there aren’t any specific influences that can easily be pinpointed, much of the style and temperament of the Michael character is present in the film, as is the overall atmosphere, which suggests this is a favorite of the developers.

The X Factor

Fame or Shame is a TV show that’s not only mentioned in GTA V, but also forms the basis for one of the early missions. It is, in essence, The X Factor. Or American Idol. Or America’s Got Talent. Basically any talent show which adds a zero to the gargantuan fortune sitting in Simon Cowell’s bank account. And makes fun of talentless wannabes.

Breaking Bad

Like Heat there is not one particular element or moment in GTA V that can clearly be cited as sourced from Breaking Bad. But the whole of Trevor’s enterprise in meth production and obliterating the competition is reminiscent of the recently-ended AMC series.

Technology

Apple

For Apple read iFruit, the name of a technology company in GTA V that sells smartphones and apps. Its logo is a fruit bowl containing what looks like a banana and two apples, which is all very phallic. There is a real-world iFruit app which can be used to train Franklin’s dog Chop, but at the time of writing it’s only available on iOS. Which is rather fitting.

Smartphones

The three main characters in GTA V all own different smartphones. Michael, the man for whom money is no object, owns a smartphone sporting the iFruit logo. Franklin, who is young and poor prior to getting involved with a life of crime, owns a smartphone which looks remarkably like an Android handset. And Trevor, a drug dealer who lives in a trailer park outside of the city, owns a smartphone which looks remarkably like a Windows Phone handset. You can draw your own conclusions.

Facebook

The social networking site of choice within the world of GTA V is Lifeinvader, which is clearly inspired by Facebook. The parody runs quite deep, with one mission seeing you taking out the CEO of the company because of a new phone he’s set to launch. In the news report there is talk of how he “stole the site” from his co-founders.

Twitter

Though not as heavily featured in the game as Lifeinvader, another social networking site available to the characters is Bleeter, which, if you hadn’t already guessed, is Rockstar’s homage to Twitter. Every time you log on to the in-game Internet there are new “bleets,” all of which are vapid nonsense. So, nothing like the real Twitter at all.

Conclusions

All creative efforts influence, and are influenced by, other creative efforts. This list proves how true this is, and in five years time when GTA V has influenced other games, and possibly television shows and movies too, then the whole thing will have come full circle.

These are all influences I personally noticed while playing GTA V, showing how much I struggle to switch off from being a technology blogger. Still, I’m sure there are many more that I’ve missed that perhaps you have spotted. If so then you should tell us all about your discoveries in the comments section below.

How To Change Windows 7 Logon Screen

How To Change Windows 7 Logon Screen win7logoSome time back Will showed you how to customize Windows XP Login. Windows 7, on the other hand, has the ability to change the logon screen built into it. Well sort of, the functionality exists to make it easy for OEMs to include their custom branding, but nothing stops you to take advantage of it. In this article we shall first look into how you can change the logon screen manually and then we will point you towards some tools that make the job easier and add even more feature rich. So let’s get started.

Manually

Its is always nice to know how things work behind the scenes, what better way to do so then try them out yourself. To change the logon screen manually follow these steps:

  1. Fire up registry editor (Win Key + R and then type regedit, hit enter)
  2. Browse to
    HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionAuthenticationLogonUIBackground

    , double click on key named OEMBackground and change its value to 1 (If you cannot find the path or the key go ahead and create it, remember OEMBackground is a Dword)

  3. How To Change Windows 7 Logon Screen regkey

  4. You just enabled the OEM Background functionality. Now browse to the folder
    %windir%system32oobeinfobackgrounds

    within Windows explorer. %windir% refers to your Windows install directory

    C:Windows

    in most systems. Again the folder path may not exist already, so you can go ahead and create required folders (info and backgrounds are generally not present)

  5. How To Change Windows 7 Logon Screen folderpath

  6. Now put in any JPG file with size less than 256 kb in this folder and rename it to backgroundDefault.jpg. This file will be stretched to fit the screen, so you would want it to match the resolution of your screen so that image doesn’t look bad. You can something like smush.it or Photoshop’s Save as/Save for Web feature to reduce image size.

Using Tools

Check out Logon Changer from Tweaks.com, that lets you choose a image file to use as your logon background. That all what you do, just choose an image and Logon Changer will take care of everything else including the file size limit. It also makes it super easy to revert back to the default Logon Screen.

How To Change Windows 7 Logon Screen windows 7 logon changer

Windows 7 Logon Screen Rotator – takes the logon screen customization one step further by allowing you to select a set of images. It will then randomly use one of these images as the logon screen.

How To Change Windows 7 Logon Screen rotator

There you have it. Using any of the above method you can easily change Windows 7 logon screen to any wallpaper of your choice or that witty one liner graphic you created yourself or perhaps even one of your photos as long as they meet the requirements. Let us know your experience of using these methods and we would love to see what you have as your logon screen. Mention them in comments!

North Korea's Latest Missile Test Suggests It Could Reach Us East Coast

North Korea's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) suggests that the nuclear-armed rogue nation can now hit the U.S. East Coast, experts say.

The missile that North Korea lofted on Tuesday (Nov. 28) splashed down about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from its launch site, after flying for 54 minutes and reaching a maximum altitude of about 2,800 miles (4,500 km), according to media reports and statements from Pentagon officials.

"If these numbers are correct, then, if flown on a standard trajectory rather than this lofted trajectory, this missile would have a range of more than 13,000 km (8,100 miles)," missile expert David Wright wrote in a blog post Tuesday. [In Images: North Korea's Rocket and Missile Program]

"This is significantly longer than North Korea's previous long-range tests, which flew on lofted trajectories for 37 minutes (July 4) and 47 minutes (July 28)," added Wright, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science advocacy group in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States."

Rockets and ballistic missiles share a common past. <a href="http://www.space.com/19601-how-intercontinental-ballistic-missiles-work-infographic.html">See how ballistic missiles work in our full infographic</a>.
Rockets and ballistic missiles share a common past. See how ballistic missiles work in our full infographic.

Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com contributor

But this doesn't necessarily mean that the entire U.S. mainland is now vulnerable to a nuclear attack by North Korea (which has repeatedly threatened to destroy the United States, South Korea and Japan), Wright added. 

"We do not know how heavy a payload this missile carried, but given the increase in range, it seems likely that it carried a very light mock warhead," he wrote in the blog post. "If true, that means it would be incapable of carrying a nuclear warhead to this long distance, since such a warhead would be much heavier."

North Korea has been working for years to develop an ICBM, a missile that can travel at least 3,400 miles (5,500 km) from its launch site.

The nation has made great strides toward this goal in 2017, with the two July launches and Tuesday's effort, but may still have some technological hurdles to clear. For example, near the end of the July 28 test, the missile's re-entry vehicle, which would protect the warhead during an operational launch, apparently broke apart. (It's hard to know exactly what's going on with North Korea's missile and nuclear-weapons programs, because the nation is so isolated and secretive.)

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.