Lumia Denim: Windows Phone 8.1.1 + Firmware Updates


Among many other announcements at IFA 2014 on September 4, Microsoft announced the latest update to the Windows Phone OS. As is usually the case with Nokia’s Lumia updates, this update, called Lumia Denim, is essentially a combination of updates delivered via Windows Phone 8.1 Update (let’s just call it Windows Phone 8.1.1, shall we?) and firmware updates. These firmware updates add some new features and functionality and also improve the overall performance of Lumia devices and pre-loaded apps.

To start with, the newly announced Lumia 730, Lumia 735 and Lumia 830 will come pre-loaded with Lumia Denim. The other Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices will receive this update over the air in Q4 2014 after appropriate partner and carrier testing.

We have provided a brief overview of what’s delivered in the core OS update, but here are the features delivered via the firmware update include in Lumia Denim:

Moment Capture

4K-quality video recording at 24FPS now available on Lumia devices. You can invoke this by long pressing the camera button. Since each frame is 8.3 megapixels, each individual frame can be shared as a still image too.

Rich Capture

Auto-HDR and Dynamic Flash are now included in the images taken. This way, it will be possible to take a picture and then adjust the camera settings later, to get the perfection in the shot.

“Hey Cortana”

Cortana, the impressive personal digital assistant included first with Windows Phone 8.1, can now be invoked by just saying “Hey Cortana”. Similar to Google Now’s “OK Google”, this feature enables even quicker access to Cortana. As a side, this is enabled by the SensorCore technology, so it won’t be available on Lumia devices which do not have SensorCore.

Glance screen

Glance screen (on eligible devices) can now show additional information from Bing Health & Fitness and Bing Weather in addition to notifications, time and date, and application data.

Lumia Camera

Lumia Camera is the updated name of the application formerly known as Nokia Camera. Updates to this app make it faster and more intuitive.

Speed and improved image processing

It is now even faster to invoke the camera, and there have been speed improvements made in going from shot to shot. In addition, new image processing algorithms make lowlight images even better than before.

These non-core OS updates show again why Lumia devices are still the best bet if you want to own a Windows Phone. Unless and until we see such innovation come from HTC, Samsung and the others, it is hard to see why you would think of using a non-Lumia Windows Phone device.

Sony Cyber-Shot HX50V Announced; Comes With 20.4 MP Camera, 30x Optical Zoom

Sony recently announced the new Cyber-shot HX50V camera in the US. It features an impressive 30x optical zoom range and advanced 20.4 megapixel Exmor R CMOS image sensor. This device allows you to capture more than 400 photos on a single charge, thanks to the powerful X-type lithium ion battery. The Sony Cyber-shot HX50V is touted to be the world’s smallest and lightest camera with 30x optical zoom capability.

Patrick Huang, director of the Cyber-shot digital camera at Sony Electronics, said,
“Despite the emergence of smart phone cameras in today’s market, the HX50V model gives photographers plenty of reason to invest in a dedicated pocket camera. Its wide-ranging 30x optical zoom gives users more freedom to pick their shooting subject and position, and its extensive, advanced imaging capabilities give shooters the peace of mind that image quality will never be compromised.”


The Sony Cyber-shot HX50V offers enhanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization which reduces camera shake and blur at all ranges. It packs a powerful BIONZ processor which allows the camera to produce high-resolution as well as high-quality images in all types of lighting conditions. This camera is also compatible with TRILUMINOUS Color technology, which is currently available on Sony’s Bravia TVs.

Apart from that, the Cyber-shot HX50V camera features built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, which allows you to wirelessly transfer photos and videos to your smartphones or tablets using the Sony’s Play Memories mobile application. Currently, this app is available for devices running on the Android and iOS platforms. The Sony Cyber-shot HX50V compact digital camera will go on sale from next month for $450.

Fujifilm Launches SL1000 with 50X Zoom in India

Last week, Fujifilm launched SL1000 in India. Targeted at prosumers looking to upgrade from their basic point-and-shoot cameras but wary of using and maintaining DSLRs and the hassle of lenses, this is a fine camera at the price-point.

Fujifilm SL1000

With a 50x zoom lens, it offers a stunning shooting range of 1cm super macro to a huge 1200mm extreme telephoto. Additionally, with Intelligent Digital Zoom, the focal length is effectively doubled to 2400mm or an incredible 100x with decent results. The camera also features powerful Optical Image Stabilization that minimizes the effect of blurring at longer zoom lengths.

“We are extremely proud to bring the best of the long zoom camera segment- SL1000 which is enriched with versatile functionalities and will be desired by those photographers who do not want the lens-changing capability of a DSLR, but are still keen on having total control over their images. It’s powerful zooming capacity is certain to attract people with an eye for detail.”

– Rohit Pandit, EVP – Sales & Marketing, FUJIFILM India

The camera allows shooting a movie in full HD, with 60p/fps and stereo sound and also boasts of 3D shooting features. SL1000 is a 16 million pixels 1/2.3-inch BSI-CMOS sensor which makes it able to cope shooting at sensitivities as high as ISO 12800, and ensures high quality images even in low light conditions. The advance filter function enables to choose up to 8 artistic effects such as Pop color, Toy Camera, Miniature 5, Partial Color, High Key, Cross screen, Soft focus, raw shooting mode and motion panorama mode.


  • 50x optical FUJINON zoom lens (24mm-1200mm)
  • Record 1080i Full HD movie 60fps with stereo sound
  • 3.0 inch tilting LCD
  • Sensitivity ISO 12800
  • f/2.9 – f/6.5 Aperture
  • 16.2 Megapixels

At an MRP of INR 29,999, Fujifilm SL1000 is a great camera for prosumers. However, with the prices of entry-level DSLRs falling to around INR 30K, serious photography enthusiasts might want to look at the latter for that extra bit.

Canon Announces The EOS-1D C

Canon has just announced their latest cinematographer-centered camera, the EOS-1D C. The EOS-1D C looks the same as the standard EOS-1D X while adding a ton of spec upgrades which the professional videographer will love. The price is also “upgraded” to $15,000, which proves this camera isn’t for the amateur.

Canon EOS-1D C

The EOS-1D C offers 8-bit 4K (24 FPS) video recording with an 18-megapixel, full frame sensor. When recording 4K video, the 1D C only uses part of its high-end sensor which makes for a 1.33x focal length multiplication factor. However, this isn’t the case when recording 1080p (24-60 FPS) video as the camera utilizes its whole sensor and outputs the full 36mm sensor width. All of this footage is recorded on dual CompactFlash cards which you will need to purchase separately.

Canon also announced two new EF Cinema Zoom lenses which include the CN-E 15.2-47mm T2.8 L and the CN-E40-105mm T2.8 L. Both lenses are available in either EF and PL mounts to ensure maximum compatibility with Canon’s other Cinematography cameras. Keep in mind that the EOS-1D C is compatible with all Canon EF and EF Cinema lenses so you can continue to use your old lenses while attempting to raise more money for your short film.

Other notable features of the EOS-1D C include a built-in headphone jack for live audio monitoring, optional AC adapter kit and a Super 35 crop setting. This setting allows cinematographers to meet the industry standard in imaging format.

The Canon EOS-1D C will be available for purchase within the year. Since this camera is aimed at professionals, I doubt we will see this camera in stores.

[Source: Market Watch]

Nikon Expected to Announce Mirrorless Camera Solution Next Month

Thomas Sutton,who invented the single-lens reflex camera (SLR) in 1861, would never have imagined that the most significant part of his invention  – the reflex mirror,  would no longer be needed.

In the year 1861, Sutton was granted a British patent for the first internal mirror SLR photographic camera. Today, 150 years later, Nikon is busy developing a solution that would eliminate mirrors in camera. They have already registered several patents for the new mirrorless camera that it is expected to be launched sometime soon.

According to various sources, Nikon is expected to have planned a major announcement next month, and my guess is that they are planning to launch the mirriorless solution which will have a 2.6x crop factor with an image diameter of around 17mm

Nikon Mirrorless Camera

Nikon enthusiast Thom Hogan, reported on his site stating –

I’m pretty certain of the 1″ (~2.7x) sensor at this point, and since I can’t find anyone else making one that makes sense for the camera, I continue to wonder if this will be another Nikon designed sensor. That certainly would be an interesting development. As I noted last week, you don’t have to get very far forward from the D3100 sensor to get something that could be 10-12mp and highly credible at 2.7x.

I’ve now been told by three different sources it will launch before CES, probably in late September, and it’ll launch with three lenses (wide angle prime, kit zoom, telephoto zoom). The lenses are reportedly quite smallin nature, along the lines of fat C-mount lenses.

Nikon has not made any official announcements, though it is widely believed that they are working on the mirrorless camera solution, and some officials have made statements to that effect sometime back.

Camera That Lets You Take Photos First and Then Focus With Just One Click

Imagine a camera that lets you take your shots first and focus your subject later with just one click. That’s what a Mountain View start-up company, Lytro is ‘focusing’ on. They have come up with a new idea technology that allows a picture’s focus to be adjusted after it has been captured.

Instead of manually focusing or to wait for the camera to auto-focus, this technology allows you to focus after the photo has been clicked. When a photo taken with a Lytro camera and is uploaded on a computer, you can focus anywhere in the picture, on whatever object you want to. For example, you can focus a flower or focus the background instead of the flower i.e, you can focus the foreground or the background, it’s your choice!

Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, who has invested $50 million in Lytro .

We see technology companies all the time, but it’s rare that someone comes along with something that is this much of a breakthrough,

Fours years ago, scientists had invented a device that lets photographers focus blur images after the photos were captured. The camera used a special lens with ten times the normal depth of field to capture photos.

People can take photos much faster than ever, since they don’t have to focus manually or wait for the camera to auto-focus. This technology could be the next big thing in cameras. Photos can also be captured from many angles which is not possible with any of the conventional cameras. The technique the Lytro’s camera uses is by positioning an array of micro lenses between the main lens and the image sensor.

Here’s a video I stumbled across that explains pretty much the same as this technology.

This video was uploaded last year.

The technology also allows photographers to capture photos in very low-light conditions without using a flash. Lytro cameras can also capture 3-D images, which can be viewed on a computer screen with 3-D glasses.

Ren Ng, founder and CEO of Lytro said that the technology is used to take still images only, however there is high potential to use light filed technology for videography and science filed in future.

Here’s an example of the technology actually works

Click anywhere in the picture to focus

More examples here

Reg Ng believes that Lytro will have bright and exciting future with this new technology. He expects professional and amateur photographers will be able to create and explore new kinds of photogrpahyic art.

Lytro has no plans of launching the camera until late 2011.


iPhone Graduates as Serious Photography Tool with iOS5 Updates

Apple’s iPhone has been the weapon of choice for many photography enthusiasts. iPhone 4 has already reached second place for all the photos uploaded to Flickr.

iPhone4 is second most popular camera on Flickr photo sharing site.
iPhone4 is second most popular camera on Flickr.

With the announcement of features geared for photography in iOS5, Apple has made sure this upward trend continues.

What’s New?

Apple announced at WWDC on 6th June, these features for photography included in iOS 5:

iOS5 New Features - Access from lock screen and volume up button as shutter release.
iOS 5 New Features - Access from lock screen and volume up button as shutter release.
iOS5 New Features - Compose pictures better with zoom and focus+exposure lock
iOS 5 New Features - Compose pictures better with zoom and focus+exposure lock
  1. Most interesting is the ability to click a photo using volume-up button in iPhone 4. This may seem trivial, but it makes clicking photos in landscape (horizontal) mode much easier than before. Camera+ a third-party app had enabled this feature previously, now it is built into iOS.
  2. You can now get to the camera app from lock screen right away. No unlocking necessary. iPhone drops you into a restricted camera app, so if a friend picks up your iPhone they cannot see previously clicked photos, not even the ones they click. This feature is great to snap those brief moments of brilliance that were missed before.
  3. Pinch to zoom now works when you are shooting! Of course, it is digital zoom, but being able to compose better is an added advantage.
  4. While we’re talking about composing, iOS5 also brings in composition overlay for rule-of-thirds. To use, turn the grid overlay on and align horizontal and vertical lines in photograph along the grid lines – better composed photos guaranteed!
  5. Auto-focus and exposure lock is a feature most photographers use on a daily basis. It lets you focus on a subject and expose well for the scene by moving the frame around till you get that sweet spot and then lock the settings with a long press on the screen; now you are free to compose the frame to your liking without losing the focus and exposure settings.
  6. Photo stream sync. This will work it’s magic if you have photo stream enabled in iCloud. All the photos you take on your iPhone will be synchronized across all other devices. The only catch seems that once it is enabled, your iPhone will only keep the latest 1000 photos while the desktop computer will hold all photos.
  7. And finally, the post-production also gets an overhaul with new editing features such as crop, rotate, red-eye reduction and one-click enhance.

All these features certainly put iPhone in the league of portable cameras, and with features like in-phone editing, iCloud and iMessage to accompany the camera… it goes beyond what portable cameras can do!

Samsung Galaxy S Gets Auto-Focus In Video Recording

The Samsung Galaxy S was one of the most popular Android handsets last year. In some aspects, it still is. The handset did have its fair share of controversy with a non-usable GPS and the Froyo update delay.

The back of the Galaxy S sports a 5MP camera with Auto-Focus and face detection. Earlier, the Auto-Focus used to work only while clicking pictures. However, recently Samsung released an app on the Samsung Apps’ store called the Camera Firmware Update.

The application updates the firmware of of the camera and enables continuous auto-focus while recording videos.

Below is a video shot from the Galaxy S which shows the auto-focus feature :


The picture and the video quality taken from the camera remains the same. Galaxy S owners can download the application from here. Users are warned not to uninstall this app once they update the camera firmware of their handset. The app works on rooted Galaxy S handsets, as well as one running on Custom ROMs.

It is nice to see Samsung still adding some handy features to the Galaxy S.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Camera Improvements Explained

During the CES 2011, Sony Ericsson announced the Xperia Arc. The Xperia Arc is insanely thin at 8.7mm and packs a 4.2-inch Reality Display’ with mobile Bravia engine display. The handset is powered by a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor while an Adreno 205 handles the graphics department. The Arc was also among the few phones announced in CES to run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

One of the main highlights of the Xperia Arc is the 8MP Exmor R camera sensor. Like the iPhone 4, this new sensor is back-illuminated which makes the camera sensor much more sensitive to light. The official Sony Ericsson blog has explained in detail as to what all new camera improvements the Arc incorporates. The Arc will also feature a brand new camera UI which will be much easier and faster to use.

The blog post also states that the handset will shoot comparatively better pics in indoor and low-lit situation thanks to the increased light sensitivity, low shutter time and a lens with an aperture value of f/2.4.

The blog has also posted an HD video recorded from the Xperia Arc so as to give users a hint on the quality of the video recording.

Below is the video I am talking about :

Xperia Arc Camera Improvements

It would be interesting to see whether the Xperia Arc camera will be able to rival the best camera phone in the market right now the Nokia N8.

Ninja moves from the sword’s point of view

I tried making the title better than URLesque’s, and as you can see, I failed miserably. Let’s face it, nothing introduces the video below better than Guy puts camera at the end of sword, takes awesome video. That title is full of #win.

So, what happened? Exactly what the title says. At Swordfish 2010, the Historical Martial Arts conference that takes place in Gothernberg, Sweden, a few people had a wacky idea of duct taping a GoPro Hero wearable sports camera at the end of the sword. They taped it well enough that even with fast moves, the camera does not budge from its place. While the Swordfish event itself is a serious and well known affair, the people who put the camera on the sword added fun to the seriousness of the conference.

As a result, the people around the sword seem to be revolving and spinning around the camera (while it remains stationary). Three people try out the sword-cam, each with different speeds. It’s almost like a level advancement, as each user figures out that the camera is not going to budge and notches up the speed.

But let’s all agree on one thing: the video is awesomeness unparalleled, thanks to YouTube user ryrlen.