Kodak Ektra – first look, image comparison & review

1 Comment

My Kodak Ektra arrived on Friday and I have been trying to get to know this camera first, phone second, device as much as possible.

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Kodak Ektra top buttons, including strap attachment

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra leather case and packing

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra – fresh out of the box

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra’s on-screen keyboard

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Ektra’s proprietary charging lead…

Apart from the proprietary lead (why, why, why) it’s a fairly nice device, it’s lighter than it looks and much lighter than my Sony Z5.

It has a very thick and chunky form factor and whilst the divine luxury case also adds to the bulk it really focuses on the camera aspect, but is also part of the drawback, because as soon as you put the case on, it becomes unwieldy as a phone…

Kodak Ektra unboxing...

Taking a phone call with this case becomes a farce – see above – I’m not sure what to do, talk through the leather, speak into the case, undo the other clip and let the case dangle… I really don’t know, my best fix – use bluetooth headphones!

In Use

In use, it’s really quick and snappy, opening apps is fairly quick, I currently have a Sony Z5 which is no slouch in the data stakes, but this seems slightly faster.

I miss not having finger print recognition and also the security of having a little waterproof protection is becoming standard these days, but not on the Kodak (?)

One big bug with the case though – it covers up the charging port, this is really, really annoying as the case is a snug fit – you really need to force the phone out and quite a few times I’ve wondered if my phone is just going to fly across the room as I exert so much pressure to extract it from the confines of it’s cosy case… and the more I have to pull it in and out of the case the less safe my phone will be in the case…

Using the Camera

The big deal on this phone is the camera… With a sharp double click on the beautifully styled ‘K’ button on the top side, the camera app pops open from any situation.

I like the on screen dial and the amount of control you can have in manual, but, on this first look review, I have barely touched on the Manual control, and have been playing with all of the other Auto options.

I like what I see, but I have reservations about the lack of feedback when I press either the on screen virtual button, or the dedicated shutter button – did the picture take, can I move? – only when the preview popped up, did I feel secure that the photo actually saved. On my Z5 as soon as you click, a wheel appears, to show it’s saving then when that’s gone you know it’s saved.

Maybe this is something I will get used too..

Also why can I only take 21mp images in the 4:3 aspect ratio? If I want to take a 16:9 it drops to only 16Mp… (Obviously cutting into the image)

Comparison Images from flickr

All images are taken with Auto settings.

Ektra Lake view (below)

Kodak Ektra Tests

Z5 Lake View (below)

Comparison Z5 images

– Kodak Ektra – Tree (below)

Kodak Ektra test shots

z5 Comparison tree (below)

Z5 comparisons

Kodak Ektra Homepride man (below)

Kodak Ektra test shots

Z5 Homepride Man (below)

Z5 comparisons

Kodak Ektra – Wreath (below)

Kodak Ektra test shots

Z5 Wreath (below)

Z5 comparisons

Kodak Ektra Lake Landscape taken in 16:9 ratio (below)

Kodak Ektra Tests

Kodak Ektra Lake Landscape 4:3 (below)

Kodak Ektra test 4:3

Z5 Landscape (below)

Comparison Z5 images

In Conclusion

 

I do like the images that the Ektra is producing, and the pin sharpness just edges it in some of the demo images above, so it is better than my Z5 in that respect. But, it’s thicker, bulkier and the case spoils the phone aspect… hmmm…

I miss the fingerprint recognition, but is it forgivable for better images…

It functions as a mobile device nicely, speedy apps, quick to launch camera, nice keyboard, swype texting as standard.

I have had this phone for just 3 days, but will be moving more in-depth over the coming days and moving to Manual mode, whilst trying to get along with the awkward case and the charging problems that brings…

I will also pit it against my carry camera of choice, the fuji X30…

to be continued…

 

Kodak Ektra – a perfect match?

Leave a comment

Christmas is coming early!

I have been following the development of this new camera phone from Kodak, and today I got my pre-order notification.

I already have a fantastic camera on my phone (it’s a Sony Z5) but really wanted to check out this innovative and rather cool looking kodak offering.

Pre-ordering gives me the free case, and I chose the natty Tan version, it should arrive by mid-december and I will be giving it a thorough workout as I have started a project cataloguing the seasons in my local park that I just happen to pass through every morning.

eatonpark_tutt3043

https://www.flickr.com/photos/traceytutt/

eatonpark_09

Currently I am employing my Sony Phone or my portable on the go Fuji x30, but I’m always on the lookout for what could be a perfect combination of snapper and phone.

Full specs don’t seem to be out for the kodak, like full physical specs, but the data numbers are in.

Spec Details
Camera 21MP main camera with Kodak non-reflective lens coating. Aperture f2.0.

Optical Image Stabilization and Auto Focus.

13MP front-facing camera.

Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) & HDR Imaging.

4K Video Capture.

Internal Leading Helio X-20 Decacore Processor

3000 mAh battery

3GB RAM

32GB Memory, expandable with MicroSD cards

4K Video Capture.

I will be interested to see how it feels in hand, being quite a bit thicker and I’ve also gleaned that the internal camera may well be the same as my current Sony… watch this space…

ueabroad_11

 

The new pad…

Leave a comment

So here I am, in my new position at UEA – Media Learning Technologist – and I’m in charge of the new media provision over in the Music Building, currently only partially finished, but with a lot of changes happening over the summer.

This is what the spaces are now and I’ve got a lot of cataloguing and recycling to get on with before it’s completely remodelled, but it’s a hacker heaven with the older tech that we have accumulated…

DSC_0195

 

DSC_0194aDSC_0197DSC_0209

The Strode room, which will not be changing but the Balcony will be filled in.PANO_20160408_110329

Current Radio/Recording roomPANO_20160420_161415

So this is the TV studioTV Studio

PANO_20160408_105527

The ZigguratsUEA_ext1

The CETL front office, check out the gorgeous meeting table!26296973856_a89585ac92_k

Embedding Video into WordPress or Blogger #embedvideo #screencast #vimeo #youtube

Leave a comment

On the course I have been teaching at CCN we are looking at using blogs to curate all of the digital artefacts and research that the students do, but due to many technical errors of pc to mac, Internet Explorer and Blogger not playing nicely and Chrome and WordPress complaining about http errors, we’ve had a lot of problems getting content into their respective blogs.

At last though we have found combinations that work, but I needed to make a few screen casts about embedding videos into their blogs, and they’re quite useful, so thought I would share.

Embedding Youtube into WordPress

Embedding a Vimeo video in WordPress

Embedding Video from Vimeo in Blogger

Embedding a Youtube video into Blogger

The future of drawing

Leave a comment

this is amazing, watch this fantastic Disney animator take his traditional lines into a VR 3D space and draw like he’s dancing… prepare to be blown away…

Creative Coding Week 1 & 2 #creativecoding

Leave a comment

Future eLearn have some fantastic free online courses, MOOC’s and I have been immersing myself in their creative coding one at every opportunity. Although I’m a couple of weeks behind the latest modules, because I can take it and learn at any time, I’ll catch up, or just finish at my own pace, therein lies the beauty and flexibility of the concept!

Use computer programming as a creative discipline to generate sounds, images, animations and more, with this free online course.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/creative-coding

Coding

In the first two weeks I have made my name in a lovely little interactive drawing canvas, see above, and we have been introduced to great interactive and digital artists using processing and creative code within their art.

I am hoping that I can spot a link between these kind of basic interactions and my own interactive sculpture, or artworks, as I still want people to interact and not be passive within galleries or museums.

Daniel Rozin, particularly interests me and one of his latest works is fascinating to watch…

List from the course of artists and designers and researchers in interaction design.

Photography Comparison D90 D7000 X30 Part 1 – ISO

Leave a comment

For a long while I have wanted to compare my D7000 with a D90, and as I am in the process of producing a simple photography elearning package to explain Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to compare them side by side for quality and noise handling at extreme iso.

The D90, a classic and fantastic camera since 2008. Used with my 17-55mm f2.8 portrait lens.

The D90, a classic and fantastic DSLR camera since 2008. Used with my 17-55mm f2.8 portrait lens.

D7000

D7000 (2010) using a 50mm prime lens

The Fujifilm X30

The Fujifilm X30 (2014) a capable and portable camera which you can take full manual control of.

Recently I have brought an Fuji X30 to be my always carry camera, so thought I’d add that in too…

I could list all of the stats and specs, but if you want that in-depth number crunching check out the great reviews on dpreview..

D90 http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond90

D7000 http://www.dpreview.com/products/nikon/slrs/nikon_d7000

X30 http://www.dpreview.com/products/fujifilm/compacts/fujifilm_x30

Starting with ISO the photos I have taken are really quite revealing…

D90 ISO comparison

Comparing the ISO handling of the D90, a lot of digital grain comes in at 3200 (top left) compare to ISO 400 (bottom right)

The D90 really takes an excellent picture, but it’s ISO quality when you ramp it up to the top of it’s numbered range is pretty bad, the digital grain is very present and I would find this unacceptable, even at 1600 the grain is too obvious.

D7000 ISO comparison, using both the 50mm and 17-55mm lens

D7000 ISO comparison, using both the 50mm and 17-55mm lens

The D7000 has fantastic control of grain, even at 3200 the resulting image is acceptable to use, the only problem with this image is I have got the focus slightly wrong, but there’s not a dot of grain to bother the image… very impressive. I used both lenses just in case it made any difference as I used the 50mm on the D90.

The Fuji X30 ISO comparison

The Fuji X30 ISO comparison

The X30 did surprisingly well too (even with it’s smaller sensor), although it has handled the grain in a different way, it seems somehow smoother, perhaps more blurry at the 3200 end, which isn’t too bad a thing.

On this occasion the D7000 has it on ISO and this from a camera that’s 5 years old, I remember when I bought it I tested it’s ISO against my other work camera, the Canon 5D and it excelled at low light performance in those tests too…

I would be very interested to check out the new D7200 alongside these cameras, but my budget only goes so far!

All of these images are straight jpegs from the camera with no alteration, and no in camera enhancement, put into photoshop so I can compare them directly side by side.

I will be using these sets of images to explain ISO in an elearning package I’m putting together for my students currently, it takes a bit of time to setup, but will be well worth it..

Next comes the Aperture control… but that’s for another post!

Adventures in Zoetrope Animation

Leave a comment

First things first, remember when you got your mathematics tin set at school and you played with it all and thought I’ll never need this…’ well, if you want to have a go at making a zoetrope you’re going to need to fire up your math student brain, find a compass and remember what pi is!

you will need a compass

you will need a compass…

I am putting together a set of resources for an introduction to animation I will shortly be presenting, in line with the teaching course that I am currently studying for, and I wanted to get the students to create an animation and understand  keyframes, movement and persistence of vision (which means our brains see still images as moving).

Now in the short time I have, they won’t be able to create a full blown animation, so I’ll be guiding them through how to make a real basic staple of animation, a walkcycle, consisting of just 12 frames, running cyclically.

I don’t have a fancy animation rostrum hooked up to a massive projector or anything but need to be able to show the class the results, almost instantly, and I hit on the idea of putting those frames into a zoetrope viewing device, so that they can all have a go and see what happens with the movement they create.

Cutting the base

Cutting the base circle

I’m pretty handy with a scalpel so dug out some foamboard to make the basic structure of the zoetrope itself.

I started with the size of frame I wanted them to draw on becuase I didn’t want it to be too small an area, and then worked backwards, calculating a regular space in between and ended up with a strip 670mm long and 70mm tall.

This is where you need your pi and compass, take the 670 and divide it by pi to get the circumference of the circle you need for the base, divide this in half and set your pair of compasses up to draw your circle and cut!

Admittedly it didn’t quite fit on the first cut, I put this down to the very worn compasses that I managed to eventually find in my daughters room, under some books, but it was larger than needs be so I re-trimmed a slither and it fit!

Zoetrope and base now fitted after a little re-trim

Zoetrope and base now fitted after a little re-trim

Using a thin ribbon of double sided sticky tape around the bottom provided a good snug fit

Using a thin ribbon of double sided sticky tape around the bottom provided a good snug fit

The outside wall I add is 670mm x 140mm, laminated and cut, with the frames and slit marks printed on one side and all black on the outside so I have a register for my animation and a template to cut for the thin viewing holes.

wpid-dsc_0090.jpg

You can see the slit holes have been cut out in this shot

I also needed to work out how to get it to spin, this was something I mulled over and looked at other ways to do it, but I didn’t have any ‘lazy susan’ bearings as one suggested and didn’t like the twizzle it in your hand method often used in other ‘how to’s’ .

Searching for another method I looked around my desk for inspiration and found a DVD case, one of those ones for a 100 discs, with a long spindle, playing with it I discovered that the discs, when spun, quite happily turned and kept moving fairly easily – aha! I had found a really cheap easy option to making my zoetrope spin.

CD stuck to the bottom of the base

CD stuck to the bottom of the base

I stuck one disk to the bottom of the base and added a few padding layers of foam board to bring the height of the zoetrope up…

cutting extra padding discs of foamboard

cutting extra padding discs of foamboard

The extra layers added to the spindle and free turning CD on the top which would spin against the one of the base

The extra layers added to the spindle and free turning CD on the top which would spin against the one of the base

I experimented with having 1 or 2 extra cds underneath, and found that 2 worked best to give a smoother turn.

Finished and in testing with my walkcycle animation

Finished and in testing with my walkcycle animation

All was working, it spun fairly well – I would like to improve this, but cost and time are against me – but the last obstacle was that my line drawn animation just didn’t show up when spun, another 12 frame cycle I had which was solid black shapes worked really well, so out with the felt tips to colour mine in and hey presto… zoetrope resource… done!

Below you’ll find a link to my pdf templates so you can have a go too!

zoetrope template copy

Inital GoPano 360 video tests #360 #gopanomicro

Leave a comment

So, I’ve bought my GoPano micro adaptor (not many left!), conned my husband into ‘needing’ an iphone 5 (just happens to fit the GoPano Micro :)) and shot two pieces of 360 footage, not exciting pieces obviously, just me wandering round my house and outside, but I just needed some test footage to move forward with…

This is a screengrab from the inside shot.

Screengrab from test go pano 360 video shot

Screengrab from test go pano 360 video test shoot

I love that when you’re viewing it online you can turn around and zoom with keyboard controls.

  1. So problems that are easy to spot before I can develop it further are, I’m quite prominent in the frame, and staring at myself is not what I want to do – solution, test different ways of holding the camera and GoPano setup.
  2. Light needs to be good as the phone auto corrects as we move through and it doesn’t cope well with internal lighting.
  3. Finally – quality, is it up to scratch, this can only be really tested when I go a step further and see if I can view this video in my google cardboard VR glasses..

Lastly can I take it into a programme and add interactivity?

What I really want is one where the viewer can drive the movement, similar to Fibrums Rollercoaster where you start the ride by focusing your gaze on the ‘go’ lever within the environment.

A new addition to the recently updated Google Cardboard compatible apps is ‘Titans of Space’

Titans of Space® is a short guided tour of a few planets and stars, the point of which is to give the player a sense of scale of just how big these planets and stars are compared to each other.

In game visual from Titans of Space

In game visual from Titans of Space

Again this uses the mechanic that you have a virtual crosshair and focussing where you are looking, at a trigger will reward you with a reaction in game, very clever stuff..

I would ideally be able to wander around the created environment just by turning my head and opening doors or entering corridors with this virtual crosshair as my controller.

So I need to trial different capture methods to minimise my presence in the resulting video and test the video from gopano site with google Cardboard to see if it’s compatible… will report back soon!

Running Tech Review – Tom Tom GPS Watch #tomtom #running

1 Comment

Running was something I didn’t think I would be able to start doing again after an operation on my foot a few years back, but, encouraged by a friend I have been able to get back into it, with help from a great little piece of tech…

The TomTom Multi Sports (and Runner) GPS Watch seemed – from the reviews – to be the ideal choice for me, I did look at the newer heart rate one, but for an extra £100 it was too much of a price hike to warrant me not being able to feel when my heart was working harder!

TomTom GPS Watch

TomTom GPS Watch, Multi-Sport or Runner

The watch itself is fairly bulky on my small wrist, but it still has two notches to go so definitely able to cater for women, or young adults.

The graphics are big, big enough to clearly see when running, and the handy little light can be on permanently if out at night.

You can see your pace, time, or distance (in Miles or Km) as the larger of the three areas on the face, so you can choose what you want to concentrate on, I find I mostly use the pace, but have recently taken to longer runs and just need the distance, this view is frustrating though as this is the only layout where all three main items aren’t displayed, you get the distance in two of the sections, an unnecessary duplication and loss of information.

The GPS always hooks up quickly, although if I’m walking up to my starting point it can need me to be stationary before it locks my position in, a little annoying, but the good points outweigh this niggle.

I liked it so much I bought one for my husband and his favourite feature is the Race This option, where you can set one of your last recorded races as a guide to race yourself, it shows you how far ahead – or behind – you are from the last race and even if you go back to the pace screen to see how you’re doing, you’ll get a buzz on your wrist when you go in front, or fall behind, and if you win you get a celebratory trophy on completing the previous distance.

One of the best things about this watch is the visual representation and immediate feedback you get as soon as you plug your watch back into the computer after you get back in from the run. Your breathing might not have slowed down, but the Tom Tom’s data will upload in a  flash and you’ll get something like this…

TomTom Visual Data

TomTom Visual Data from a 10k Race For Life run I did over the weekend

You can see your split times, elevation and I love the visual tracker showing where you went, it’s so accurate and thoroughly fascinating to analyse after a run, and then you can compare this to others in your dashboard.

A Screenshot from a Tom Tom Dashboard, where you can compare your pace week to week and run to run

A Screenshot from a Tom Tom Dashboard, where you can compare your pace week to week, and run to run, you can also record treadmill runs, but I’ve found it to be totally inaccurate, so don’t bother anymore…

Really great to see how you are doing – I seem to be quite consistent – compared to other runs and courses and slowly see improvements.

The visual online area is a stand out feature for me and one of the things I really rave about to others if they ask me about my TomTom watch.

The Watch is great and I would recommend it to others, it probably has so many more things you can do with it, but for me it does the basics really well and shows me in a clear and visually interesting way.

I hate it when bloggers say sorry I’ve been away for a while I’ve been busy at the beginning of a post, but here’s my apology at the end, I’ve been running!

Older Entries