Archive for the 'Gadgets' Category

Offsite backup with Crashplan

( Gadgets )

Backup is one of the less glamorous aspects of aspects of computing, and alas one which often goes unconsidered. People keep so much important stuff on computers – photos, documents, videos, address books, accounts, the list goes on and yet many people haven’t figured out what they’ll do when that hard drive dies, or there’s a fire, or their laptop is stolen. At our house we have a number of PCs and laptops which contain a variety of data – some of it important, some less so – and I have some simple scripts which backup once a day to our central server. That means we have at least 2 copies of anything important, as long as it’s not more than a day old, and as long as we don’t lose the original machine and the server at the same time.

That all kind of came into focus a few weeks ago when we were getting ready to evacuate from Hurricane Irene. I realised that the hypothetical total loss was now a real (if remote) possibility – a flood or structural damage could take out the wedding photos, all of our vacation and family pictures, our entire music collection (all 2000 discs) and much more. My best effort at the time was this:

I pulled the backup drives out of the server, put them in waterproof bags, and didn’t let them out of my sight for 3 days. It worked, but not really a practical solution! Read more on Offsite backup with Crashplan…

Photo Tips #8 : A Lens Primer (Part 2)

Last time we talked about lenses we covered length, zoom vs prime and different mounts and manufacturers. Today I’ll be talking about the other big differentiating factor – lens speed (all those weird f numbers). We’ll also cover some other features you’ll see talked about such as autofocus, image stabilization and macro.

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Photo Tips #7 : Crop Factor Revisited

I talked about crop factor in the previous installment, it’s the reason why an identical lens mounted on a camera with a smaller sensor will appear to have a local focal length. I thought that a diagram might help clarify things further, so let’s try this. Imagine you’re looking straight down the lens onto the sensor, mounted at the back of your camera.

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Photo Tips #6 : A Lens Primer (Part 1)

If you have a DSLR you have a choice of hundreds of different lenses, ranging in price from $50 to many thousands (the most expensive I ever saw was a Canon for $100,000 – used!). So how to choose? A lot of that comes down to personal preference and what you want the lens for, as well as factors like budget, but in this article I’ll try to give you a basic primer so you at least can understand the differences.
Read more on Photo Tips #6 : A Lens Primer (Part 1)…

Photo Tips #5 : Canon’s Numbering Scheme

As a follow up to my DSLR guide, here’s a quick explanation of Canon’s DSLR numbering scheme which will hopefully clear up some common confusion!

All Canon DSLRs have a model number starting with 1, 2, 3 or 4 digits and ending in D. For example you have the 5D, the 60D and the 600D. Here’s how to tell what you’re looking at:

  • The fewer digits, the higher end the camera is. So a 1000D is basic, 500D is entry level, 50D is mid range and 5D is pro.
  • Except for the single-digit numbers, higher is newer. So the 40D replaced (and is better than) the 30D, which previously replaced the 20D.
  • For the single digit numbers, lower is better. The 5D is awesome, the 1D is the ultimate. Newer models in this range get suffixes, e.g. the 5D mkII.

I believe Nikon use a similar scheme (although I’m not a Nikon expert) but they put the D at the beginning!

Read more on Photo Tips #5 : Canon’s Numbering Scheme…

Photo Tips #4 : Useful Resources

As a followup to my Which Camera? series I wanted to share some links to useful sites when reading up on cameras and photography. I’d trust anything from these sites, and you should be able to find anything you need in there somewhere!

Read more on Photo Tips #4 : Useful Resources…

Photo Tips #3 : Which Camera? (Part 3)

So far I’ve posted about Compact Cameras, Superzooms, and Micro Four Thirds. Now it’s onto the big boys – the DSLRs. This is what most people think of when they consider a serious or professional-style camera, and while the top end models are still priced for the Pro only, there are now many much more affordable options.

Nikon D300s DSLR

Read more on Photo Tips #3 : Which Camera? (Part 3)…

Photo Tips #2 : Which Camera? (Part 2)

In the first part of this series I talked about Compact Cameras, and came to the conclusion that you should probably have one – at least as a second camera for keeping with you all the time. Now it’s time to look at a couple of categories which step it up a bit – the Superzoom and the new Micro Four Thirds format.

Read more on Photo Tips #2 : Which Camera? (Part 2)…

Introducing the Photo Tips Series

People often ask me about photography related things, so I thought I’d write some stuff down! My new Photo Tips series on this blog will start off with basics like choosing a camera and then explain common terms like depth of field, exposure, ISO, and so on. Finally I hope to point out some things that I’ve found useful over the years and maybe cover some gadget and accessory reviews. Expect a new post every few days, and leave a comment if you find anything useful, or want to ask a question. Enjoy!

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Photo Tips #1 : Which Camera? (Part 1)

Something I often get asked when people find out I take a lot of photos, is “which camera should I buy?”. Obviously it’s impossible to give a simple answer, there’s a ton of options and the best choice depends on a number of factors. In this article I hope to at least explain the broad categories, spell out their advantages and disadvantages, and give you some idea of the factors you should consider.

I will use terms you may not be familiar with in the descriptions, these will be explained in later articles so stay tuned!

Read more on Photo Tips #1 : Which Camera? (Part 1)…