No more fumbling for cables. Users of Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S10, Note 8, Note 9, and Note 10 devices will be able to use Android Auto wirelessly. These are the first smartphones to support Google’s wireless car connectivity solution outside of the Nexus and Pixel smartphones.
The catch is that Android Auto will only be available on cars that support wireless connectivity for Android Auto. These are limited to the new Audi, BMW, and Mini cars.
The Samsung devices will have to be updated to Android 9.0, if they’re not running a later version already, as well as the latest version of Android Auto from the Google Play store. The initial set-up process still requires a USB cable.
While this may seem very attractive, Pixel and Nexus device users have reported heavy battery drain when connecting wirelessly. This has not been confirmed in Samsung devices, but is likely, since Android Auto is graphically heavy.
Fujifilm creates pro-level Instax pictures with Mini Link
Fujifilm’s Instax instant cameras have taken an interesting turn: Fujifilm dropped the camera and kept the printer. BRYAN TURNER reviews the latest instant printer.
When one thinks about the Instax brand, instant cameras come to mind. While these high-quality cameras have gone from shoot-and-print devices to being able to print voice notes, one factor has been constant. The device one generally uses for pictures is a smartphone.
Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Link printer changes that. It provides Instax style printing that’s linked to a smartphone, instead of a dedicated camera. This way, users can print out photos that they’ve taken with their smartphones on an Instax print.
With smartphones having advanced features like bokeh depth effects and high colour accuracy, the images that are produced are visually stunning. Making these pictures ‘immortal’ by printing them does them the proper justice of appreciating their beauty. What’s better is that this camera prints in 12 seconds, so there’s virtually no wait time for printing.
The printer weighs around 200g and is smaller than most smartphones, while being quite a bit thicker to fit the film cartridges. It’s highly portable and can fit into a handbag or medium-to-large-sized pocket.
The app and device link fairly easily: one has to download and open the app, then turn the Instax Mini Link on and wait for it to appear in the app. Thereafter, one can select photos to print from the camera roll or using the Instax camera app function.
One of the more interesting features is motion control. Putting this printer in different positions performs different actions: flat, standing up, or holding it upside down. Moving around the printer also changes the mode within the app.
To activate Print mode, one must put the printer upright. This offers a straightforward printing experience where one can select Simple Print for picking a photo and printing it, Video Print for selecting a frame from a video to print, or Instax camera for lining up a shot within a virtual Instax print.
The Instax Camera can be controlled with motion control as well: tilting the camera forward zooms in, while tilting it backwards zooms out. Pressing the Instax button will take a picture, where a user can review the picture and optionally add filters before printing.
To activate Fun mode, one must set the printer flat. This offers a more creative printing experience. One can select Frame Print to put a sticker on photos before printing, and Collage Print which allows several frames to appear on a single print out. Match Test is one of the cooler modes, which uses a photo of two people and asks questions to see who well they match.
The user must hand the smartphone over to the other person who answers questions, and then the user is tested to see if they can get those questions right. Thereafter, a printout with a score is done with a photo of the friends together.
If several smartphones in the same area have the Mini Link app, they can use Party Mode. This mode accepts several photos from various phones and prints out a surprise collage photo at the end.
The printer takes the same Instax film cartridges as the Instax cameras, so finding replacement film won’t be difficult. It charges via micro-USB and claims to do 100 prints on a single charge. While this may be possible in a single mode, we found after printing 20 shots and using the printer as a remote for about an hour, it was down to 60% battery life. That said, it still offers great battery life for such a small device.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with this device and its brilliant quality print-outs. Even its more gimmicky features were charming and add to the memory-making experience.
Shoot for the stars with the Canon EOS Ra
Canon has produced its first full-frame camera for astronomical photography – taking pictures of deep space and constellations.
Canon builds on its iconic full-frame range and EOS R System line-up with the launch of the EOS Ra, which is its first full-frame camera for astronomical photography.
The EOS Ra, unlike other full-frame astro cameras, is portable and has no need for external power and connection to a computer, resulting in exceptional image quality of visible reality, but also of deep space photography with a wide range of optical devices.
The camera shares features with the September 2018-launched EOS R. The EOS Ra inherits the camera’s fast autofocus, the ability to focus in light conditions as low as -6EV, a 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor with approximately 30.3 million effective pixels and a DIGIC 8 image processor. While boasting this advanced and cutting-edge optical technology, the EOS Ra is a modified EOS model – developed in direct response to the specific needs of astrophotographers looking to capture the vivid colour of deep space and constellations.
Featuring a new infrared blocking filter (IR filter) allowing even higher hydrogen-alpha (Hα) light to reach the imaging sensor, it enables four times as much of this hydrogen-alpha light to be transmitted compared to the EOS R. Photographers can capture, both crisply and clearly, the distinct red colour of nebula – an interstellar cloud of dust made up mostly of hydrogen and helium – impossible to capture on a traditional camera where the UV/IR cut filters block the IR light that gives these nebulae their red colour.
With its mirrorless design and full-frame sensor, the EOS Ra is a camera for photographers looking to capture images of deep space. With no mechanical mirror system, vibrations are minimised ensuring sharp images. What’s more – the high performing Canon-developed sensor offers a mix of high ISO performance, impressive resolution, fast readout and exposure latitude, helping to create interstellar images of exceptionally high quality.
With Dual Pixel CMOS Auto Focus (AF), the EOS Ra features a range of AF and MF focus functions ensuring images are of high optical excellence – including shots captured in low-light conditions. Retaining the -6EV AF from the EOS R, low-light performance with RF lenses and existing EF lenses is possible. When astrophotographers use it with a telescope, focus assist functions like focus peaking and magnification up to 30x – that’s three times more than the EOS R – ensure focusing with any optical device is fast. What’s more, with its 4K movie and 4K time-lapse capabilities the EOS Ra is also the first astro camera on the market with a 4K movie function.
Sharing the same mount as the EOS R, the EOS Ra has been designed to enhance lens design possibilities. The RF lens mount enables a radical new optical design – the 20mm flange back and wide 54mm mount diameter has made it possible for Canon engineers to design new lenses that weren’t achievable before. The camera, and system is also compatible with three lens mount adapters, giving photographers a wide choice of lenses and telescopes to use with EOS Ra. More than 70 EF and EF-S lenses can be used with Canon’s innovative EOS R System, adding new functionality to existing optics, while maintaining the excellent levels of performance and functionality previously seen with EOS DSLRs. As when attached to an EOS R, the Canon mount adapter enables users to maintain their setup whether using RF or EF and EF-S mount lenses.
The EOS Ra’s compact and lightweight design makes it easier to attach to a telescope – suitable for photographers shooting for long periods of time. Combining existing EOS ergonomics with new controls the camera provides maximum control with familiarity. The Vari-Angle touch screen makes the camera comfortable for photographers shooting in many positions, with the benefit of having up to 30x magnification to check focus. The EOS Ra’s electronic viewfinder means photographers can really shoot what they see, with the ability to view their subjects clearly in the dark.
The EOS Ra, like the EOS R, supports connection via EOS Utility and the Canon Camera Connect application. This allows remote camera control for still and video via USB or via wireless. The software can be downloaded free of charge from the Canon support website – enabling remote shooting, for example from indoors on a cold evening, and time-lapse operation.
For more information about Canon South Africa, visit www.canon.co.za.