Which Dual Lens System Is Best For You

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year or so, you must have already seen the popularity of dual lens camera systems introduced in smartphones. This has really made it more interesting to take photos with phones as users now have access to more features and can create more creative shots.

However, the implementation of this system by each manufacturer is different. Some go for a secondary telephoto lens while others just add a low megapixel sensor to create bokeh effects. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular implementations of this system, and hopefully, it’ll help you make the most appropriate choice for your style of shooting.

  1. Telephoto Lens

The most famous type of secondary lens companies go for is a telephoto one. This makes it possible for users to take close-up photos of faraway objects without needing to crop into those taken from a standard lens. This leads to crisper, higher resolution photos of objects that you otherwise may have been able to capture.

  1. Depth Effect Lens

Other companies, mostly Chinese like Huawei, use a low-megapixel secondary sensor in their midrange phones that only captures depth information of any scene. This has no other benefit than to create a fake bokeh effect which is often not good nor convincing. This type of dual lens system is mostly for show, as phones with secondary telephoto lenses can also capture similar, and often better, bokeh photos.

  1. Wide Angle Lens

Our personal favorite is the system used by companies like LG which add a second sensor with a wide angle lens. A wide angle lens makes it possible for users to take photos that are more dynamic and dramatic, and also to take photos of large groups in smaller spaces. Architectural and street-style shots are also made better with such lenses.

  1. Monochrome Lens

Huawei and Nokia started adding a secondary monochrome lens to the back of their high-end phones. These monochrome-only lenses not only allow for much more stylistic photos at times but also make it possible for users to create a shot that is a combination from both color and monochrome sensors and is therefore much more detailed.

A dual lens camera system is not always for show only. It can truly open many more creative doors for you. You can take photos with your phones that you would otherwise have to rely on a much more expensive camera for. This means that you can take high-quality photos with your phone, use a professional photo editing program to adjust them further and get by without bringing your heavy DSLR everywhere.

What to See in a Compact Camera

We have previously talked about why a compact camera is a great choice for enthusiast, and even professional, photography. There are many benefits of using such a camera especially if you’re a street shooter and need something small and light to carry with you.

But with so many options out there, with so many different feature sets, which kind of camera is best for you? Here is a list of a few things you should consider before settling on a compact camera:

  1. Manual Controls

Before anything else, if you want a serious camera, you should make sure that the camera you’re considering has manual controls. You don’t want a camera that only shoots in Auto mode along with the fancy modes like Night, Sports, and Portrait. Having manual controls available to you is the first step to creating more serious photographs with a small camera.

  1. Fast Lens

If you’re looking for a fixed-lens camera, make sure that the lens is fast. This means that the lens should have a wide aperture which allows you to take brighter and sharper photos. Without a fast lens, you won’t always be able to take clear photos especially if the camera has a small sensor.

  1. Big Sensor

A bigger sensor usually means better quality and more details. A bigger sensor will also bring in more light into your photos, which will lead to a faster shutter speed and hence clearer photos. You will also be able to take better ‘bokeh’ shots with a shallower depth of field than what your smartphone or a typical small sensor camera is capable of capturing.

  1. RAW Format

And last but not least, it is almost crucial to have RAW file support from your camera if you are planning to use a photo editing software. A RAW image file allows you to make non-destructive edits to your photos and give you much more control over what you can change about the way your photos look. Also, make sure that the output RAW format is supported by the photo editor of your choice so you don’t run into any compatibility issues later on.

  1. Viewfinder

Most compact cameras don’t come with viewfinders and rely only on the LCD screen at the back for all framing. If you’re more used to the traditional viewfinder, then your options may be limited. You can also get a camera with an electronic viewfinder, which is better than an optical one in many ways as it allows you to view the changes you’re making to the settings of your photo in real-time.

So before you run out to buy a fancy new compact camera for yourself, make sure that you know what you need it to do and which features are most required by you.

Smartphone Cameras Have Come a Long Way

There was a time when we wouldn’t even imagine using our phone cameras for any serious photography. The sensors were small, the quality was pretty horrible, and the image sizes were just tiny by today’s standards. However, smartphone cameras have improved by leaps and bounds over the years, to the point where we have smartphone photography awards around the world.

Nowadays, you don’t necessarily need to lug around a heavy DSLR or even carry a small mirrorless camera with you to ensure you don’t miss a possible shot. You can just take out your smartphone and take the shot you want. Smartphones have much better quality these days, with improved colors, bigger sensors, and ‘deeper pixels’. We even have multiple camera lenses on phones now. Whether you like to take landscape shots with a super wide angle lens or want to have a dedicated monochrome camera, you can easily find a smartphone that has a secondary lens to do what you want.

With all that said, there are still a few areas where smartphone cameras can’t compete with bigger ones. Dynamic range is one of those areas, however, you could always use an HDR photo editor and create HDR photos right from your phone. Another problem many phone cameras face is bad low-light performance. This is mainly due to the fact that most smartphones still have very small sensors as compared to bigger cameras, which means that they can’t get enough light to create relatively noise-free images.

But despite all of these issues, the fact remains that smartphone cameras have come a very long way in a very short period of time. The reasons for carrying around proper photography gear with you, unless you are out for professional reasons, are getting lesser and lesser by the day and there may come a day soon when smartphone cameras are all we use.

Laptop Buying Guide

Buying a laptop can be a challenging task for many who don’t understand what different CPU models are, what graphics cards are useful for, how much RAM they need, and so on. This guide will offer an introduction to the different kinds of laptops you can buy so that you can make a choice that justifies your needs.

  1. The 2-in-1s and Ultrabooks

If your laptop use is confined to browsing the internet, consuming media, checking emails, and making presentations and reports, then you might be happy with a small, lightweight solution like a 2-in-1 or an ultrabook. These laptops are easy to carry, easy to use, and last for a very long time. They mostly come in 11 and 13-inch screen sizes and boast U series processors that are known for stable performance and low temperatures.

  1. The “Pro” Grade Ultrabooks

If you want better performance than a typical ultrabook, then you can opt for one that has a better processor and discrete graphics. Laptops like the Dell XPS 15 and the Razer Blade Pro are great for things like video editing while also being attractive and not so heavy.

  1. Gaming Laptops and Workstations

If you want the best performance possible, then you can either get a gaming laptop or a workstation, depending on your budget. A gaming laptop, as the name suggests, is best for gaming. But it can also be used for some heavy duty work like 3D design and rendering. It won’t be as good at these tasks as a workstation, but it’ll still work well.

A workstation is specifically designed to handle multi-core and multi-threaded work and has discreet graphics that specialize in these tasks. Mostly using NVIDIA’s Quadro line of cards, these laptops are the ultimate workhorses.

Both gaming laptops and workstations are heavy, big, and can get hot at times. They can also get quite expensive, so only go for these categories if you really need all that power.


Windows Now Also Has the Best HDR Editor

If you are a photographer and you like taking HDR photos, you know how important it is to have a great HDR editor at your disposal. There are many such editors one can use, each providing something different from the other. However, when Aurora HDR came on the scene in 2015, it was reserved for Mac OS only.

This year, Aurora HDR has finally been made available for Windows users too. This is great news as it is one of the best and easiest to use HDR editors available.

Packed Full of Features

When you visit Aurora HDR’s website, you will see all the new features the 2018 version of the editor brings. Other than its ever-excellent HDR processing prowess, the new version also adds lens correction settings, a new UI that is suitable for both beginners and professionals, more speed than before, and a number of new brushes and masks.

Windows users will finally be able to use this software for their HDR needs. Not only does Aurora HDR let you create true HDRs by combining multiple brackets but also has some great tone-mapping algorithms to turn individual photos into HDRs.

Cheaper than Many

Before Aurora HDR, many people used only Photoshop and Lightroom to make HDRs. However, both these programs are limited as compared to a true HDR editor, and ever since they have started charging a monthly fee to use them, they have become much more expensive than Aurora HDR’s $90 in the long run.

So if you have been waiting for a true HDR editor to use on your Windows computer but haven’t found one that suits your needs, Aurora HDR might be just what you need.

Should you be Interested in Windows 10 S?

If you’re even a little interested in Microsoft’s products and devices, chances are you have heard of Windows 10 S by now. It’s a new operating system (of sorts) that the company has developed for some of its devices. The recently released Surface Laptop, for example, runs Windows 10 S by default.

So what exactly is Windows 10 S, and should you even be interested in it? Let’s find out.

Safe, Secure, Store’

The idea of Windows 10 S is that it’s a safer version of Windows 10. It’s aimed not only at students and educators, but also at people who are interested in Google’s Chrome OS devices. That is because the devices coming installed with Windows 10 S are expected to be cheaper than those with full Windows, and will be targeting Chromebooks.

So how is Windows 10 S more secure than the full version? The answer is that Windows 10 S devices will allow you to install only those apps on your computers that are on the Windows Store. You will not be able to download any program from the internet, or use any other sort of setups to install them. This, however, does not mean that you won’t be able to run full Windows programs on your computer. You just won’t be able to run those that are not on the Store bundled as apps.

So should you be interested in Windows 10 S? If you are looking for a quick, secure, and hopefully cheap computer that doesn’t need to run too many programs not on the Store, then you might as well be.

Why A Compact Camera is still better than your Phone’s

Smartphone cameras have come a long way in recent years. The quality of photos that can be taken with a smartphone camera is sometimes too good to be true. Smartphones these days not only come with manual controls and wide apertures, but also boast optical zoom by using dual lenses for different focal lengths.

So you may wonder, why does one need a compact camera if smartphones have come so far?

For Larger Sensors

Smartphones may use wide apertures and good sensors, but the fact remains that a typical point and shoot compact camera still has a larger, often better, sensor than your smartphone. A larger sensor means better ISO performance, more detail captured, and overall potential to produce a better image.

For Optical Zoom

Yes, we just mentioned that smartphone cameras now have optical zoom, but it is very limited. Compact cameras, however, boast an impressive range of optical zoom. Most such cameras allow for 3x zoom, with some reaching over 30x zoom. This optical zoom is essential for many people who want to bring faraway subjects closer to their cameras without affecting quality.

For More Control

While some smartphones these days provide full manual control over your photos, not all of them are in the same camp. For complete creative control over your images, a compact camera will probably serve you much better than your smartphone. Especially in the case of long exposures and low light photos, you need this kind of control in your camera for taking an ideal shot.

So if you want a camera that allows you to go beyond what your smartphone can do, compact cameras are still very viable purchases. However, if you just take photos to post on social media or record some casual memories, you will probably be content with the one on your smartphone.

Some of the Best Tips to take Photos of Tech

Every time you visit an online store to buy some new tech, the pictures you see are the first impression that product has on you. A large number of people make online purchases based on the images they see. A picture can definitely be worth a thousand words; it shows the materials, the specifications, the condition, and the design of whatever product you’re looking to buy. Without a picture, you just cannot imagine how a product might turn out to be.

Now that we have established the importance of product photography, here are some of the things you should always keep in mind if you want your tech to look great in photos:

  1. Set your Backdrop

One of the most important things in product photography is the backdrop. You should try to use white backdrops for most of your tech products to showcase their own design and color. Any other color used in the backdrop is bound to make the actual product look different than it is.

  1. Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting is key for taking photos of your tech. You should remember to use soft lighting so that strong shadows and contrast can be avoided. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so. There are many DIY solutions that you can use to create budget tech photography setups.

  1. Take it Outdoors

If you want your photos to stand out among the rest, try taking your tech outdoors. Place the product against a nice, natural backdrop and use the sun’s natural light to bring it to life. If needed, you can even try taking HDR photos of your tech. There are many easy to use software programs you can use for this purpose, like Aurora HDR 2017.

  1. Choose the Right Equipment

In order to take excellent photos of your tech products, you need to invest in the right kind of camera equipment. You don’t have to buy very expensive gear, but you do need to know what kind you should buy. For example, even a basic DSLR camera will do the job paired up with a decent prime lens and propped up on a tripod. Keep in mind that you should not use wide angle lenses for product photography as these tend to warp your subject.

  1. Shoot RAW

Last but not the least, always take your photos in RAW format. This will allow you to take them into a RAW editor later and adjust the brightness, contrast, color, noise, and much more without destroying the image quality.

Another thing you should always remember is to take your time with photography. Don’t rush things because then you’ll probably just have to do it again. Pay attention to your setup, adjust the lighting and the white balance of your camera, make sure your camera is not moving and the tripod is stable, and once you’re satisfied go ahead and shoot.