Useful websites for selecting a camera

This post is going to be my ongoing list of websites that I find useful for product information, reviews and comparisons.

Features and Comparisons –

Reviews –

  • – A very popular site for camera and lens reviews. Has got very active user forums too.

Nikon COOLPIX L105 Review and User Manual

Nikon Coolpix L105 is one mysterious camera at the moment. It is available in stores but there is no mention of this camera model on the Nikon site anywhere! Also, I could not find any reviews for this model on the Internet, though there are some unboxing videos and video tests out there on YouTube now as people are buying it at a bargain of $99 at Target. The Target site now says that it is available in stores only.

I’ve bought it on blind faith and will be testing the features in the next few days.

I’m sharing the the user manual for Coolpix L105 that came along on the CD at this link. I could not find this manual on Nikon’s website before buying the camera. The following are my initial impressions.

The Good :

  • 15x optical and 4x digital zoom
  • $99 price tag in a Black Friday deal (new for $199)
  • 720p HD video recording. Video files can be upto 4GB file size or 29 minutes maximum. VBR (Variable Bit Rate) is used while saving the file so the file sizes can differ even for videos of same duration. Some optical zoom feature is available in video mode but then motor noise is captured in the video.
  • Continuous H mode that shoots up to 20 pictures at 11.1 frames/sec. Continuous M mode captures 7.3 fps and Continuous L mode captures 4.4 fps.
  • 3-inch 230k-dot TFT LCD
  • Photos are alright when outdoor or with good lighting conditions
  • The user’s manual claims a battery life of 320 pictures with alkaline, 950 with lithium and 540 with EN-MH2 batteries.

The Bad :

  • Bulky form factor (weighs about 15.3 oz or 432 gms with batteries and SD card), which means it cannot be carried in a pocket. Probably need to buy a cover.
  • Uses 4 AA sized batteries. Plan on buying NiMH rechargeable batteries. Maybe two sets so that you have a spare one available. There is one DC 5 volt connector too for continuous use but the adapter has to be bought separately.
  • The Easy-Auto mode is not good enough and puts a lot of noise in indoor photos. I could fix a lot of that by using another photo modes and inbuilt pop-up flash. If you have the camera then try to experiment with a few modes.
  • Although there is a Panorama mode, it is not similar to the easy-click-and-pan feature of my Sony Cybershot TX7 camera. With L105, you have to click images in sequence and then stitch them together on your computer with the software that comes on the CD.
  • No HDMI output. Only NTSC/PAL.
  • Small internal memory of 102 MB. Have to buy SDHC card. Actually I’m neutral about this because almost all cameras these days come with a small internal memory and need a memory card anyway.
  • No eye view finder. This, again, is not exactly bad because most P&S cameras come without an eye viewfinder these days. A high resolution screen that doubles as a viewfinder and display is the general standard and L105’s 3-inch 230k-dot TFT LCD screen works and looks fine but it is gonna drain the battery.

The Verdict :

There are a lot of auto scene selection modes which would work in most of the situations but low-light images can be noisy or blurry. If you don’t mind carrying around a heavy camera, you can’t beat the $99 discounted price tag for the features available. But if you have to buy it at the full price of $199 then I guess Nikon Coolpix L110 (12 MP, 15x zoom, HD 720p video, HDMI output, 3-inch 460k-dot TFT LCD) or L120 (14 MP, 21x zoom, HD 720p video, HDMI output, 3-inch 921k-dot TFT LCD), which retail at around $200 – 240 price range, would be better choices.

You might want to go through the comments below and find answers to some of the FAQs.

Video – David Allen – Introduction to GTD

David Allen describes his GTD methodology. I think he is a funny guy!
Duration: 45 minutes approx

Video – Blue’toothed’ conversation

A funny advertisement with a techno twist to the comedy of errors.

Video – Linemen vs Mouse Pointer

Quite a creative and funny video with some great Flash animation. 

Joshua Bell plays his $3.5mn violin to subway rush-hour

Joshua Bell is a gifted violinist, a recent recipient of $75,000 Avery Fisher prize. He performed incognito in a D.C. subway as an experiment. What do you think might have happenned?

I came across this story at the Freakonomics blog. The original article was published in The Washigton Post, an engrossing read about the 43 minutes of Joshua’s performance. It also has a video of the entire subway performance which, unfortunately, I could not view due to bandwidth constraints.

Further links –

Canon by some amazing guitarists (video)

Cannon in D is a composition for three violins with a bass accompaniment by Johann Pachelbel. I found some great renditions of this composition by some guitarists on YouTube.

Stefan Helander is a Canon fan and has put the following on his site.

What does Canon mean then? Well not Cannon as many misinterpret it. Canon (or Kanon) is when a piece of music is imitated and repeated. First one instrument or vocal starts with a piece of the melody. Then after a number of tones, a second instrument or vocal starts to repeat, or imitate, the first one, playing the exact same tones, but with a time delay. More instruments or vocals may fill in depending on the composers wishes.

Stefan has got some user submitted Canon renditions on his site’s files section, as has Ray Hutchings, another guy with a liking for the composition.

Coming back to YouTube, the first one is plyed (sic) by funtwo. This particular video triggered my interest in Canon and made me look for some more videos and information.

Although funtwo has great technique in the above video, the performance by JerryC below induces some soul in it. Also, JerryC is the one who composed the background track. The back track is available for download at JerryC’s unofficial website.

The last video is of Canon by Trace Bundy. I was fascinated by the way he handled his guitar for this piece.

If you want to know more about JerryC and funtwo then you might want to read this article. As I leave you to enjoy Canon, here is a CollegeHumor video link where Rob Paravonian explains why he hates this particular piece of classical music!