Photo and Video
Nikon D5500 review – the best camera for under $1000 ?
Nikon’s newest mid-range crop sensor DSLR is now out and proud. Loud and proud is the best underline for the new Nikon D5500. With its tilt and swivel touch screen, Wi-Fi and optional red color it might not seem like a serious camera. Marketing gimmicks can be a deterring factor for serious photographers and they kept most of them out of the Nikon D7200. Don’t let the red and the touchscreen fool you though, this is a very capable and versatile camera. Weighing in at exactly 1 pound, it’s certainly light enough. The Canon 70D (its rival equivalent) is 1.5 times heavier. For a beginner friendly and enthusiast users, not carrying too much weight is quite an important factor. The carbon fiber reinforcement in the body is certainly a welcomed design feature. It was about time camera manufacturers adopted this popular material. There’s everything from knives to cellos made out of this stuff, i don’t see why not a camera body. Magnesium and aluminium are so 2005. It’s not a complete carbon fiber body though, it’s carbon fiber strands that reinforce the now thinner plastic body. When you hold your camera, it still feels like plastic entry level toy, but you can rest assure it can take more of a beating than a plain older model.
Talking about durability, the Nikon D5500 isn’t weather sealed. We were hoping this would have been a general no-brainer by now for all cameras. Nikon marketing won’t let you be contempt with a lesser camera. You will always need to upgrade to get some much needed feature. This is not to say every other manufacturer doesn’t do the exact same thing. In terms of speed, it’s the same as it’s predecessor: the Nikon D5300. It can shoot 4 frames per second in 14-bit raw, or 5 frames per second in 12-bit raw or jpeg. This is a new marketing trick for Nikon, they have a different frame rate for different bit-rates, but the headline always reads the higher frame-rate. Always read the fine print, or our reviews Along with the mediocre frame rate it has a decent autofocus engine with 39 focus points out of which 15 are cross-type. This isn’t bad, but it’s nothing to rave about. There’s better and worse AF systems out there.
A department where this camera really shines is the image quality. At 24 megapixels with no optical low-pass filter, the Nikon D5500 promises to provide great pictures. The ISO performance is good, but only as far as crop sensor cameras go. Don’t expect stellar performances at ISO 12.800, but don’t avoid it if you need it, it’s not a total let down. Color noise only creeps in from 6400, and the maximum extended (unofficial) range is 25.600. For under $1000 it’s not bad, but it’s not where the camera really shines. What really makes this camera great is the resolution which is aided by the lack of an anti-aliasing filter, it gives it a resolution which Canon’s crop sensor cameras can only dream of.
Is it worth the upgrade from the Nikon D5300? No. It’s basically the same camera, with very few improvements. The frames per second, sensor and all the important stuff are the same. The video mode now incorporates a “flat picture” control mode, which renders your video with a very flat look – which is much better for video editing. It makes it easier to color-grade the video and to match the look to other cameras as well. One thing Nikon have stubbornly not implemented yet is aperture change during video mode. It’s not that big of a deal, but everyone talking about Nikon and video mode are complaining about the nuisance of changing it.
It all looks great on paper, top resolution and touch screen, but when you compare the Nikon D5500 with the Nikon D7100 or the Canon 70D, it seems more like an expensive toy. A rehashed D5300 with added touchscreen doesn’t come close to competing with Canon’s dual-pixel live view AF system. The touchscreen is only good if it actually improves the shooting experience. Weather it’s still pictures or video that you’re shooting, a quick and precise autofocus is key. Lacking any improvements in Live View AF makes the touch screen somewhat underwhelming. Having one for the sake of a similar experience to your smartphone is nothing but a gimmick to attract new users not an improvement for people who have used a DSLR before. In regards to functionality apart from the live view, the Canon 70D uses a pentaprism, not a pentamirror like the Nikon D5500. A pentaprism will bring a clearer, bigger and brighter image trough the viewfinder. If you still crave the extra 4 megapixels and don’t much care for the live view autofocus, or the tilting screen, a great choice is the Nikon D7100, which is heavily discounted due to the launch of the Nikon D7200. You will also get great weather sealing, more frames per second, bigger buffer, and small overall improvements. What you won’t find in the Nikon D7100 are the tacky and ugly picture filters, the red color of the body or other nick-knacks that have nothing to do with taking better pictures. In conclusion: the Nikon D5500 is definitely not the best camera for under $1000, at least two are much better choices, albeit for small price increase.
Photo and Video
8K video may now be captured using Sony’s high-resolution A7R V mirrorless camera
It also makes use of a brand-new “human pose estimation” AI-powered focusing mechanism.
The $3,900 A7R V, Sony’s newest mirrorless camera, is intended to capture portraits, landscapes, and other subjects that call for the highest level of clarity. The new model features the same 61-megapixel resolution as the A7R IV but a considerably more potent new Bionz XR engine that supports 8K 24p video, superior AI autofocus, and shake reduction.
Since the A7R V is Sony’s first camera to feature “human position estimation,” the autofocus has significantly improved. The technology can identify the location of the eye by looking at 20 different places on the human body. This enables it to precisely monitor a person who may be moving or turning away from the camera and to continue tracking them even if they temporarily vanish from view. Additionally, it may now select from a variety of topics, including cars, railroads, prairies, animals, and insects.
Although the A7R V is primarily intended for photographers, it is also the best camera ever for video. The A7R V can now shoot 8K video at up to 24 frames per second and 6.2K without line-skipping or pixel binning, whereas the A7R IV was only capable of 8-bit 4K at 30 frames per second with either cropping or line-skipping. It has the same heatsink as the A7S III and supports up to 30 minutes of 8K capture time as well as unlimited 4K recording.
Also supported are supersampled 10-bit 4K videos at up to 30 frames per second using the complete sensor width, or 60 frames per second with a 1.2x cut. Additionally, 16-bit RAW footage can be recorded at up to 4K 60p to external recorders.
The in-body stabilization (IBS) mechanism from Sony has been improved from 5.5 to 8 stops, mirroring what Canon can do with their comparably priced EOS R5. The new model also has a fully articulating screen that makes it more helpful for high-angle shooting, video, and other tasks instead of the tilting display featured in the A7R IV.
It’s impressive that the A7R V can shoot at the same 10 frames per second as previously for such a high-resolution camera. It can now shoot compressed RAW files instead of just uncompressed ones like it could in the past. Additionally, the buffer has a capacity of up to 583 photos, allowing you to shoot continuously for a long period of time.
It offers a long list of additional appealing features, such as a class-leading electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 9.44 million dots and dual card ports that can accommodate either quick (but pricey) CFexpress Type A or UHS-II cards. A second new feature is pixel shift multishot, which uses AI processing to automatically identify and adjust movement between frames to composite 16 photos into a single 240.8-megapixel image (tripod use only).
Along with AI-powered white balance, focus stacking of up to 299 frames for greater depth of field, Sony’s Cinetone color profile for a more film-like appearance, an updated body with dials and controls similar to the A7 IV, USB-C charging with Power Delivery, and native webcam compatibility, the list goes on. The $3,900 Sony A7R V is scheduled to ship in December.
Tech4U Ares Review: A Great Budget Phone
When it comes to smartphones, Tech4u may sound a bit alienating for some of enthusiasts. However, from the research I’ve done regarding the company, they have been around for quite a while.
When I hunted for a new budget smartphone to have lying around because my old phone wasn’t going to work any longer. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical once I saw the announcement of the phone in the Online Marketplace I was purchasing it.
Once I got the phone with me, I found out that this phone is actually a great alternative for people who are in the same situation as I am. With a cost of $100 USD (Or $1,900 MXN), I found this phone to meet a lot of the standards I had.
Dissecting the inner Workings of the Ares.
Let’s start with the juicy stuff right off the bat for the techies out there. This phone has the Android 6.0 Marshmallow Operative System. With the major features that come with it such as the Memory Manager and the capability of turning your SD Card into Internal Memory.
Of course, we also can’t forget to mention the capabilities of adding messages to the lockscreen, App-by-App Battery optimization and a more refined Volume Control system. This version of the OS is a modified version specifically built for this phone model.
The reason why this is a thing comes down to the rest of the phone’s specifications. This phone has a Quad-Core processor that runs at 1.3 Ghz with 1 GB of RAM. In other words, a lot of base apps had to be cut-off (Minus the Essentials) in order to have this modified OS run properly.
I can say, however, that some of the functions that were cut off won’t really have an impact on the User Experience. This phone also has a QHD 5.5’’ LCD Screen and an Internal Storage capacity of 8 GB. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a budget phone like this.
Of course, once we head outside of the phone, we’ll see that some of the features make up for some of the phone’s lacking features. Even without knowing about the Camera picture quality this phone’s internal storage capacity is actually better than most Budget Smartphones.
This also expands upon the capabilities of the External Memory. This phone can expand its External Storage capacity up to 32GB (As far as I could test, however I estimate it has a 128 GB Memory Cap), which isn’t all too shabby.
The Best Picture Quality on a Sturdy Phone.
This phone’s design reminds me a lot of the iPhone 7 for some reason or another. Maybe it’s because it has the Home button on the bottom-center part of the screen. This phone also has removable cases which allow easy access to the battery.
The battery is a Li-ion rechargeable battery. The type of battery this phone has the benefit of using a 2,500 mAh battery. I have tested the battery throughout various environments and saw that this baby lasts quite a long time without charging.
The camera isn’t too shabby either, this phone has a 13mpx back camera with a 5mpx frontal camera. It seems like the major focus on the phone’s build was the camera and battery as they are the most prominent features of this budget smartphone.
The picture you see above is a picture I took with the Tech4U Ares on a recent trip to Santo Domingo in Oaxaca, Mexico. Just look at the beauty of the cathedral and tell me if this phone is a marvel to look at.
Another great thing to mention is the capability of surviving tough situations. I am not afraid of admitting I am quite clumsy sometimes and drop my phone from 5’’ of height. However, the worst thing that’s happened to the phone in these drops were a few scrapes.
Ares is certainly durable and can take some punishment. The battery and camera are also quite useful and this phone is pretty much a good budget smartphone to stick around with. But, how does it perform?
Start from Scratch and Go Somewhere New.
Once you boot the Tech4U Ares for the first time. You will see that a lot of default apps (Especially Facebook, Twitter and other social network apps that usually come pre-installed) are gone. Of course, this is a better experience for people who want to start from scratch.
Without having to worry about any sort of preinstalled apps. You can use those 8GB of Internal Storage Capacity to the full extent. Whether you want to use them with apps or use it for storing multiple sorts of data is completely up to you.
Even though the phone is under the recommended specifications for an Android 6.0 Marshmallow build. I haven’t experienced the slightest amount of slowdown in all the time I’ve been using it.
However, the GPS does make the Processor reach overheating temperatures quickly. It’s a big concern especially when using apps like Google Maps and its Live Tracking feature. I wouldn’t suggest using this phone to get from point A to point B.
Regarding Gaming, I tested a few apps on the phone with varying results. Some apps make the processor overheat while some others run flawlessly with little to no problem at all.
The World Ends With You –SOLO REMIX- and BlazBlue: Revolution Reburning are the best examples of fast performance. For some reason games like TETRIS and others actually are harder on the processor than anything else. Probably because of the ads displayed on them.
Concusion: A Great Budget Phone.
I have been using this phone for about 2 months now. And I’ll say that the Tech4U Ares is one of the best choices regarding the budget Smartphone lineup. The Android OS doesn’t feel intrusive to the end user and It’s still an attractive offer.
As far as I could tell, this phone’s firmware also doesn’t throw viruses at me and in performance it has exceeded my expectations. I must say that for $100 USD it’s a great phone to be using in the case of an emergency break in your main phone.
Now, I am going to say that in regards to specifications some users might be thrown off. Especially when it comes to the RAM and Processor, some of the most important components in a phone.
However, I feel like the rest of the phones qualities make up for the defects it has. The batter life is impressive, the OS doesn’t slow down and the Camera takes great quality pictures. It’s an all-around complete phone that should set the standard for future budget phone builds.
The Brony Fandom has an Image Problem
Photography by joeyh3
The brony fandom has been one of the first communities I ever have gotten involved in. The very fact that I respect it enough to even make a Month dedicated to my love for it should speak volumes about how much I love being part of it.
However, one of the things I have noticed on the latest days is a problem that not so many people talk about; or at the very least very few in the multitude of videos discussing the ToonKritic situation.
The brony fandom has an image problem, a rather alarming one at that as well. It’s a problem that has been enabling a lot of problematic behavior to happen. Nobody even knows how to react to this situation properly. Much like how the old adage goes:
The Road To Hell is Paved with Good Intentions
But why? Isn’t the brony fandom one of the most welcoming and understanding of them all? We have seen stories of people who have helped other bronies through tough times and other sorts of actions that have defined bronies as helpful.
Well, on the surface, that’s true. You could say that the biggest controversy in the brony fandom is that its adults watching a kids show. This really isn’t the case once we dig deeper into the fandom’s history.
Below the surface, things become murkier, with some of the fandom’s members going out of their way to omit information, silence people and even abuse their popularity. Soon, a lot of people might realize that the brony fandom is controversial but not for having adults who watch MLP.
In fact, the rabbit hole goes down so deep that there are awful things such as impersonators, scammers and other sorts of people who have done a lot of unforgivable things. With the fandom quickly attempting to sweep things under the rug.
Moral for the Sake of Looking Good is not Moral for the sake of Moral.
This is where you can begin to see the problems within the brony fandom itself. The image problem has been the very reason why these incidents have occurred and why many people who have been behind these incidents have gotten away with it.
There is a lot of “Calling out” in the brony community but not much is done to prevent similar situations from happening ever again. As soon as one incident happens, it’s swept under the rug and a lot of people wish for it to not be seen by the Mainstream Media.
It’s a (justified) paranoid behavior that has become pretty toxic to the fandom itself. Sometimes the reactions even extend from trying to downplay an incident or pretending it didn’t happen, to blatant attempts at shielding certain personalities within the community. As such, let’s take a look at the ongoing ToonKritic investigation for an example.
As of this writing, the search for the accused has been going on strong. Meanwhile, there have been a number of comments online that have attempted to defend him from his alleged, pedophiliac actions.
Two prominent figures in the fandom, Dr. Wolf, and Silver Quill, made a video that has met with a lot of backlash from multiple people with multiple perspectives. If you watch the video, it appears as if they are trying to push the fandom to forgive TK for his actions.
Even if (And that’s a big “if” in my opinion) the point of the video is another one. They did the same thing as NBC did and didn’t really get this message across in a correct manner. However, pay attention to the words in the video and you’ll see that they are trying to do the thing that will make the fandom look good.
Bronies Vs. The World
Remember when I said that this paranoid behavior from bronies is justified? Well, for the people who need a crash course the brony community has been having quite a bit of trouble with the rest of the world for some time now.
Though there’s something to be said about how people who criticize a fan base without understanding it aren’t worth paying attention to; the brony fandom has remained a popular punching bag for the mainstream media, despite brony attempts to fight back against this.
Bronies participate in a lot of charity work, prepare and host conventions, publicize the happier moments from them and it’s supposed to push the fandom beyond the widely held view that they are “Basement Dwellers,” or something of the sort.
However, there are quite a few problems with those plans. The main one is the fact that, in order to achieve the desired goal, a lot of voices within the fandom are silenced. Sometimes too, a scandal blows so out of proportion that the mainstream media gets involved and pushes the very viewpoints that the bronies are so scared of and attempting to fight against.
The second problem is, well, a lot of good the community does is negated by the fact that there are a lot of twisted things within the brony fandom. By “twisted,” I mean an abundance of things such as child pornography, rape, and gore in fanart. Strap yourselves in, because there is a lot to be argued about this point.
comic by Veggie55 on YouTube
“Let’s jump off the cliff, the furries did so!”
Some people have brought to my attention while discussing the ToonKritic incident, that these sort of things happen a lot in other communities. There is a lot of truth to this statement, but there are many reasons why this argument is irrelevant.
For one, the fact that other fandoms engage in this activity doesn’t justify bronies doing the exact same thing. In fact, they should be improving upon that and not allowing these sorts of things to happen at all.
In regards to the fan content, there is a dedicated section to child pornography in sites like Derpibooru and FiMFiction. This category is known as “Foalcon” and it’s been quite the topic of discussion among fan creators. I strongly recommend you do not look up what Foalcon is, but it’s enough to say it involves a sexual fetish for horses with pre-teen traits.
As disturbing as that may sound, it’s not unique to this fandom; anime, for example, has Lolicon, which is a fetish for pre-teen anime girls. So in other words, if somebody is going to go after bronies, they should also go after Otakus, any children’s cartoon show fans, and even, oddly enough sports fans. All of them have their own form of this sexual kink.
Here’s the deal, as long as the person reading, watching, or creating said content is mentally stable enough to be doing so, there’s no evidence to suggest this material is harmful to those brave enough to watch it.
The problem is that some people just aren’t mentally sound enough to handle it. In the case of ToonKritic, for example, he became disconnected with the real world and allegedly started to solicit sexual images and role-playing from people, due to this.
And yes, this sort of disconnection happens quite a lot, especially considering how easy it is to forget that it’s another person involved in your conversation. With no personal contact, the other person can easily turn into words on a screen.
image by mayamermaid
The First Steps Forward are The Hardest to Take
In light of all of this. What is the best solution towards this whole issue? What could bronies do to prevent incidents like this from ever happening again? Does the fandom need to reject its “Open and Welcoming Community” image in order to grow?
In order to understand this, we should first come to terms with a very blunt concept. Being an open community that’s accepting of everyone is undeniably impossible.
For those who need evidence of this, we can turn our sights to Briar Nexus. A case study about how this concept is practically a fool’s errand. There will always be a conflict of interest between certain demographics and creating a safe space for everyone is practically impossible.
If the brony fandom is supposed to be known for being this sort of welcoming place. The people within the fandom shouldn’t be surprised when they get labeled as something bad.
Allowing everyone in means allowing all sorts of twisted people to join in the fun. We’ve seen a lot of toxicity within the brony fandom and not much done about it. As such, it’s impossible to keep a good image without silencing the voices that wish for help and justice to be done.
The Final Decision Belongs to the Fandom.
Over the 15 days of research I have done in order to write this article, the only solutions I’ve seen regarding this situation require a lot of self-analyzing and initiative. These concepts can be very difficult to embrace but are necessary to consider in moving forward.
There are a lot of people who distance themselves from so-called “drama” in the community. Honestly, they are not to blame really, as they don’t want to be involved in interpersonal conflicts for various reasons.
However, if the brony fandom is supposed to be promoted as a welcoming community; the brony fandom needs to accept that this will, in turn, cause them to be labeled in all kinds of ways. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence, after all.
The way I see it, we should all be held accountable for our actions and be given the freedom to do as we please. One of the solutions could easily be having the brony fandom policing the content much more. This solution could be troublesome in the long run.
Outcries of “censoring” or something of the sort would erupt, and the idea of where to draw the line between “acceptable” and “unacceptable” would be constantly argued. It could, however, find the fandom arriving at a better place morally.
The fandom could just continue with the same steps it’s doing right now, but if this is the way the fandom will go then the last of their concerns will be, “How well does this look to the mainstream media,” because it obviously won’t look good at all.
Conclusion: Why am I still a brony?
Sometimes, I question the reasons why I became a brony in the first place. I have seen a lot of bad things happening within the fandom and then wonder why I love it so much. Ultimately I come to realize, that the reason why I love it is that a lot of good also happens within the fandom.
Whether it’s a charity or other acts of kindness, the brony fandom can be associated with a lot of wonderful efforts and great times. It’s one of the reasons why I love it more than the My Little Pony show nowadays.
The very reason why this article exists is so bronies can learn that if we’re going to step forward, something needs to be done in order to prevent history from repeating. The fact that VidaPony made a petition for Zero Tolerance within the fandom means there’s Tolerance of questionable things, to begin with.
It’s not going to make the fandom look pretty, but is the fact that people within the fandom silence others for the sake of maintaining an image also going to make bronies look good? Obviously not.
This all could fall on deaf ears and be seen as yet another hit piece on bronies, however, I have faith that a lot of bronies will take these criticisms to heart, and work to make things better within the fandom to make it healthier.
I guess all I can do at the moment is wait and see how the fandom will act after this incident blows over. So I’ll do just that with the faith that the fandom will step in the right direction this time.
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