Archive for the ‘Hardware Review’ Category

Last week I had the opportunity to play with a new (and at the time unreleased) Sony PMW-F3k motion cinema camera at Samy’s DV EDIT in Marina Del Rey. I have to honestly say that when I was initially invited to check it out, I almost didn’t go. I’ve been so excited to receive my Red EPIC, that I haven’t even paid much attention to what’s going on with all the other manufacturers out there.

The Sony PMW-F3k (“K” just stands for kit) has two packages, one is the PMW-F3 which is just the body for 14k, or the PMW-F3k which comes with a 35mm, 55mm, and 85mm lens (PL ma incl) for 21k. Amazingly Jody Eldred, producer/director/writer/cinemetographer for many many shows NCIS, JAG, Nativity was there to give us a “pro’s & con’s” of the camera.

Execs from Sony gave us the short canned sales powerpoint presentation, and then let us watch RAW footage that was shot the night before. I was absolutely astonished. The footage, un-edited, was absolutely jaw dropping gorgeous. Linear lines of gradients were captured flawlessly, using only natural lighting, there was no noise what-so-ever that I could see with the naked eye.


Jody explained that he had been given the camera only a few nights before (he now has his own) and was asked to simply record random footage, but it was none-the-less amazing. I know that some people may think that $21,000 is a lot for a camera, but this isn’t the “Daddy filming and afternoon at the park” camera, this is a Cinema level camera, for only 21k, typically it’s easy to spend 50k-70k on a camera of this quality. The Sony PMW-f3k is lightweight (less than 7 lbs for the body alone) fully loaded is hard to say though. It’s has compact body that makes it an excellent choice to be used as an A or B cam.

One of the largest (aside from quality) advantages of the camera is that it’s a familiar and easy to use format, Sony’s AVCHD (mpeg-2 SD) which if you’ve shot and edited with a Sony cam before you’d know this goes right with your workflow.

Now I might even dare say, I just might whisper… that the Sony PMW-F3k could go toe to toe with the RED Epic-S, but wait, just waiiiit, I have yet to fully test the Epic (or EPIC-s which the PMW-f3k should be in the same ballpark as far as specs, quality and price). I do believe Sony with their Super 35mm imager has a strong chance of contending with RED on this one.

Ok so I’ve told you the good, so your probably wondering what’s the negatives right? Jody had mentioned that the viewfinder is garbage, and it would be wise to invest $600-$1000 for a new one, which is in my opinion relatively cheap for what you actually get. Also I noticed, along with a friend of mine, that the colors seem slightly hrmmm “faded”, the color red just didn’t seem as vibrant as it should have been, almost washed out. This could be contributed to the fact that it was a prototype unit, and some functions on the camera didn’t even work yet, it also could be attributed to improper settings, so don’t take my word as written in stone, yet. Other than that, there really wasn’t any issues with the camera, and I am now eye-ing it for my next B or C cam purchase.

For the full list of specs CLICK HERE.

 

*Note: the second picture has a Fujinon lens on it, and it is NOT included in any of the Sony’s packages (the lens cost $88,000!!!)

A couple weeks ago Apple sent me a nice letter and a little box. They had sent me a free Magic Trackpad as a gift for nondisclosure information and I was thankful for the small gift. The Magic Trackpad measures 5×5 roughly, slightly larger than the trackpad on your Macbook Pro, and functions exactly the same. Is it innovation? Not really. Is it cool? Kinda. Do you need one to replace your Magic Mouse? Not in my opinion.

I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, actually, it’s been connected for a couple weeks sitting right next to my magic mouse (which I use with my 27″ iMac). I used it for a day, and then was pretty much over it. It’s really about personal preference, and after about 10 minutes of whipping around on the web and iMac, the tips of my fingers whether its on my Macbook Pro, or on this new trackpad, I kinda get this irritating feeling on the tip of my fingers.

If you’ve always wanted a over sized touch responsive trackpad for your computer, then “Oh My Gawwwd”, this is for you. Rotating pics in preview is nice, and flipping through the always over sensitive Finder in Coverflow view is nifty, but the novelty wears off pretty fast. The build quality as always with Apple Wait…what about that iphone 4 antenna gate problem? is top notch, it’s solid and sexy. For power users, I’d say give this a pass, even at their price of $69. Or don’t take my word for it, but I’m sure you’ll think the same thing in a week.

Recently a friend of mine asked me for a slick case for his new ipad. I had told him that I saw a nice looking case online from Engadget or maybe it was TUAW called the DoDocase. A quick Google search later, brought him to the dodocase.com website where he scoped out and ordered the dodocase. Now at the time, the case was $49.00 and has since increased to $59.00, just a little side note there. It is a hand made case, and well, I typically think that when something is hand made, that it insinuates quality. This however, wasn’t the case deal with the dodocase.

First off it’s light. Like feather light. It wasn’t what either of us expected. It has the same feel and weight as those shitty school books in college that you overpay for…hell it even smells the same. The bamboo was thin, and looked brittle, and his even came with a hole. The elastic strap that holds it shut reminded me of two things, one… fat chick pants, and two… the strings on your socks that come apart right before you throw them away.

Putting the ipad in the case isn’t difficult as you see in the video, it just pushes right in. However it isn’t *tight*, it’s just sitting in there. As you can see in the video it easily falls out. Some of you might argue by saying, “well yah but who the hell is going to turn it upside down?”. Two words broke back hero… “shit happens“. That cheesy elastic strap may pop off, and voila, ipad on the ground. You may accidentally drop the case, cmon that’s a reasonable scenario, and the ipad will come falling out and probably roll like a $600 meatball, with your tears for sauce. Or maybe your on the subway, and the little shakes and vibration cause it to slip off your lap (the faux leather is slippery on pants), you get the point.

Added to the poor case design, it takes 4-6 weeks to actually get it. You could easily go out and buy a better more protective case for cheaper. Like this one. NOTE: It’s better to buy the apple case in an apple store and avoid the 3-4 weeks online shipping wait.

After we messed around with it after the video, I took some heavy duty neoprene sticky tape (from the old LN2 and phase change overclocking days) and cut tiny little pieces and adhered them to the same 4 corners where the existing neoprene stickers are, and when we popped the ipad in, it fit MUCH more snugly and took quite a firm shake to get it to pop out. The downside to this is though, is that ALL neoprene deteriorates pretty quickly. My friend is dropping it off at a local upholsterer and having it wrapped in real leather, and adding a clasp/buckle to the cover. As for holding it inside, that’s still to be determined.

Cheers People,

Exempt

I recently picked up a G-Drive (1tb) (by Hitachi) from the Apple store (prices online will not vary much, so no need to shop around for it). More than anything it was an impulse buy for some much needed extra storage space on my video editing machine. I had a new project coming up and wanted to be prepared for all the new data I would be importing and this little thing seemed sexy enough to sit on the desk during the long hours of night while working.

Now I could sit here and tell you the regular bullshit about what it comes with (obviously the cables needed to power it, plug it in, and use it). The unit amazingly also has all the necessary ports to connect it to the cables and hence, connect it to your computer.

The G-Drive is not Mac only compatible, though out of the box it is formatted under Mac OS HSF+ Journaled and it is “out of the box” ready to use for Time Machine. *Quick note… If your using Time Machine, your an idiot. You obviously would be using it to “back up data” for safety and data integrity, however hard drives crash and can also be stolen. Search my blog for benefits of Cloud storage vs HDD backing up, it’s more affordable and much safer.

Back to the review. So I start using the G-Drive day one (connected with the Firewire 800 to my 27″ iMac) and right off the bat the first thing I notice is the amazing read and write speeds while importing and exporting large video files in and out of Final Cut Pro. I mean this little sucker flies through file transfers. Note to any novice computer user, whenever you are using external devices for importing and exporting, or even as scratch disks, you will want to disable “sleep” mode on your PC or Mac, this will greatly improve performance since the drive will not have to slow down/speed up every time it sleeps and wakes.

Acoustically, the drive could be a slight quieter, and I read that the 2tb version is even louder. I’m not saying its clickety clackety loud, but for someone as anal as me, I would store it inside a component cabinet if your going to be recording sensitive audio. Aesthetically as I said earlier it is damn sexy, sporting a very “Apple-ish” style.

Overall I was so pleased with it I decided to order the 2tb Raid “G-Safe” pictured below, since I quickly filled up my 1tb on the video project.

Price wise, it is not the cheapest external hard drive. If your cheap, then look elsewhere. However if you want quality, performance, and something sexy, this my friends, is a definite winner.

Details from the manufacturer below:

Professional External Hard Drive

G-DRIVE high-speed interface external storage systems offer the ultimate in flexibility by providing 3Gbit eSATA, FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 via included cable) and USB 2.0 ports.
G-DRIVE is the perfect high-performance solution for storage intensive applications including audio/video editing, digital photography, MP3 libraries and high-speed data backup. The system features a fan-less cooling system and the latest technology 7200 RPM SATA II hard drives with up to 2TB in storage capacity with up to 32 MB of cache.

G-DRIVE supports professional music production tools including Pro Tools, Logic Studio, Cubase, Nuendo, Digital Performer, and many more.

Easy to Setup – Time Machine ready!

G-DRIVE is formatted at the factory HFS+ with Journaling and is Time Machine ready right out of the box! A simple initialization is all it takes to prepare G-DRIVE for use with Windows® systems!

I picked one up today from the Apple store, figured I’d give it a spin. It had been looking at me everytime I walked into the Apple store, so I figured what the hell. I asked the Apple sales peeple (yes I spelled people “peeple”, because there just so cute with there non-knowledge, but there Apple peeple so you love them anyways) if anyone had ever actually used one ‘hands on‘. I was met by a few peeple who took interest and told me that they had both tried it a “while back” but these new pen/pads should be the “real deal”.

I set it up, which of course was simple as prom night, and then I took the much to long tutorial that treats you like a retarded monkey (complete with the “good job, you’ve successfully clicked on an icon“) . I immediately opened up Photoshop CS4 and created a new canvas with 2,000 dpi, and a 3k x 3k workspace. I picked up the pen and started to doodle. It was precise, I give it that. Much better than the old Wacom pens I tried about 7 years ago, a world of a difference. However I had more problems with it than I expected.

While it did work fine with my screen space/size (27” flickering iMac) , I should have bought the large Bamboo, not the Medium…so head’s up to any future purchasers. Selecting certain icons on the far left and far right were kind of a pain in the ass.

The pen tool is responsive, however the tip is made of plastic (at least I think it’s plastic) and ever so slightly and minuscule-ly sticks. Not anything drastic, but just ever so slightly enough to mess up intricate details when drawing or sketching. It should be made of metal, that would for sure make it completely fluid with no sticking, and the trackpad, which is also a plastic material, should be glass like the iPhone. This imperfection was enough to totally bomb my Picasso drawing of Tiger Woods caught in the moment of heat.

A major annoyance and one I can’t figure out why it was added, was that you don’t have to touch the pen to the pad in order to move the cursor, it works from a half inch away. This is ok when you want to move the cursor around the desktop but it also moves the pointer an inch before hitting the pad and then moving an inch back to start drawing once you actually place the tip on the pad.

I doodled for a good hour in Photoshop CS4 before I became extremely bored and irritated that I couldn’t fluidly move about without tapping a palette button by accident, and couldn’t draw straight lines or sketch well. At times my hand would accidentally touch the (touch responsive) touch pad, moving the pointer or popping a menu up, which drove me completely nuts. I’m sure there is a feature in the settings to turn this off (pen only mode I figure) but whatever.

So next I attempted to mess around with the multi-touch pad feature. Zoom in & out, rotate pictures, browse back and forth through web pages with the flick of one or two fingers, scroll up and down web pages. Then I realized something. My Magic Mouse does all of this (minus the rotating the pictures, which on my Macbook pro it can). It also was not very responsive to my touch (but the ladies tell me that I definitely “have the touch”). Rotating the pictures in preview kinda worked 70% of the time. Same with the two finger zoom in & out, it kinda worked. Nothing as close to the iPhones touch responsiveness.

For a $108 bucks, it’s a great price for what it can do, and if your just using it to sign signatures, or doodle for high school, sure it works just fine. It is a quality constructed device, and it looks damn sexy, but for a professional artist, or a hardcore enthusiast, I’d suggest trying a higher end model, not in the Wacom Bamboo product line (this is a more standard consumer line), but in the professional series instead. The large Bamboo uses the same touch and pen device, just the touch pad area is increased, so expect the same results.

For everyone else, buy a Magic Mouse, and if you already have one, your good to go. I’m taking this back tomorrow.

There is no arguement, this is the one you’ve been waiting for, called the Motorola H5 MINIBLUE, its mini, and its blue…pretty easy creation on the name. It fits in your ear obviously, and has a 7.5 hour battery life. They are expected to be released in early quarter of 2007 BUT…BUT BUT BUT….they’ve been singing this same story since 2005..yes that f*****g long, so don’t cross your fingers but hopefully we will see it hit the shelves sometime in 07

13668_motimage.jpg

Let Your Body Talk
A barely-there Bluetooth experience, the revolutionary Motorola H5 MINIBLUE is designed around the way your body works. The tiny headset fits discreetly in your ear and includes a built-in microphone and speaker, so your ear canal picks up your voice. Protected in a sleek, metal carrying case, the Motorola H5 MINIBLUE slips easily into a purse or pocket – no one will even know it’s there.

Loud? No Problem.
The advanced in-ear technology lets you hear and talk clearly. When you find yourself in a noisy environment, don’t worry about having to remove yourself when you receive a call. Just use the Motorola H5 MINIBLUE for strain-free conversation on the freeway* or in a coffee shop.

Live Free
When multi-tasking is a must, move around the house or office, without stopping a conversation. Up to 30 feet away, the headset syncs seamlessly to your compatible Bluetooth-enabled phone and provides up to approximately 7.5 hours of extended talk time using the included portable charging base.

SUMMARY OF FEATURES:
• Revolutionary technology designed around the way your body works
• Built-in speaker and microphone routes voices through the ear canal, reducing outside noise
• Tiny size at only 33 x 41 millimeters
• Talk Time: headset up to approximately 1.5 hours, system up to approximately 7.5 hours using the included portable charging base.
• Works up to 30 feet (10 meters) away from a compatible Bluetooth-enabled phone
• Comptible with any brand of Bluetooth-enabled phone that supports headset and handsfree profiles
• Comes with a chic, metal portable charging base