Saturday, April 11, 2009

Of Shozu and Telephoto Lenses

March seems to be jinxed for me - blogging wise. Last year I didnt get a single post out and I literally forced myself to write something this year to avoid the same situation. Lets hope April will be better :) At least I am not ranting about my PS3 anymore!

I finally got my 5800 updated to v20 firmware - and its BIG improvement. The UI looks glossier, the response is snappier, it doesnt crash as often on USB Storage Device mode in Windows XP, you can use the front camera for photos and geo-tagging of photos is also supported. The firmware was out on March 6 in India, but I only realized it was available on the 31st - I was trying to use FOTA and that is not supported in India so it kept telling me no new firmware available. I finally got it installed on April 4 after being forced to install Ovi Suite to backup my data. This time, I found that the suite is reasonably lightweight. It does install some services but as long as you dont install Nokia Music and Video apps, its not the nightmare I was visited with last time.

Nokia has been releasing some cool apps for its phone. However, the best app I have found by far as yet is Shozu. This amazing app allows me take a photo with my phone, and upload it to Twitpic, while sending a backup copy to Picasa, or any other of 50+ sites. Twitpic also Twitters the photo. This then updates my Facebook status using the Twitter Facebook App. Net result - a real killer app (and money waster considering Airtel's GPRS rates). Unfortunately, its multi-platform so no advantage Nokia here. BTW, it seems there is a HelloOX hack like a jailbreak for Nokia phones - why you would need it though, I dont know...

Besides this, I had been a bit dissatisfied with the zoom capability of the 18-55mm kit lens on my D40, so I decided to buy a better telephoto. After some research on the available lenses, I decided to go for the 55-200mm VR lens from Nikon. I was lucky enough to run into a nice promotion on EBay - and now I am getting a Aiptek 7" Digital Photo Frame for free with the lens :) Here's how the lens looks like (ya I know the pic sux - taken with my 5800!)
Here are some comparison shots with my D40. First the image using the Kit Lens (18-55mm, maximum zoom)
Then the image using the 55-200mm VR on, maximum zoom
Finally, the image using 55-200mm VR off, maximum zoom.
As expected, VR is not much use during daytime, i.e with fast shutter speeds.

Lastly, I had been trying out Echopic for the last couple of posts since I felt too lazy to go through the hoops Imageshack forces on you... Well, my patience (or lack thereof) has been rewarded - Echopic seems dead and I will have to re-upload the images and update the blog posts anyway. Alas!
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