Using web sources for our benefit (and not necessarily how they were intended!)

•November 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Todays post is something a little different. No camera reviews, no look into distinct sections of SLR info. Instead, I want to talk about how we can use and abuse web services to get the info we need. Today I am looking at a new social shopping website called As a bit of background, I was searching around on Facebook earlier and saw an advert for this website, so i thought i would trot along and take a look. The concept looks interesting – although thats not the point of this post. They are trying to build a search engine combined with a social network which is all about shopping, but the great news for us is that they carry a load of goodies which we can utilise to research photographic kit before we but, or even after we buy. Below are what i think we can use this site for:

– Product specifications: They have a seriously high volume of spec, which is always of interest to keen photographers. Nothing revolutionany, but they do have the biggest collection online according to their ‘about us’ section, so ist got to be a good starting point…

– side by side comparison: Personally, i am always interested in side by sides, and this site does that for you. tick the boxes by the cameras you want to compare and add it to the list feature. You can then compare them side by side, and even ‘auto’ compare their spec using a tool they have, which they’re calling the something battler (quick post here, sorry I dont have time to go back and check)

– Manufacturer brochures: you dont often find these online, but they have them for certain goods. search for the kit your after and its clearly shown if they have it.

– user manuals: often a bitch to locate when thbe one time comes that you need one, luckily these guys have loads and they are free to look at (most sites which have them charge for it)

– the social features, good chance to share your knowledge and/or learn from their crowd

– chance to find the best price: the site offers price comparison with what appears to be a decent set of shops, so it acts as a good chance to check the best price in one place.

sorry for the rushed post all, but you can check this all out at Shopow

I’ll add a more detailed post tomorrow, until then….

What makes a digital SLR different?

•November 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Digital SLR cameras are complex pieces of photographic equipment, which utilise super high quality componants in order to produce stunning high definition pictures and video. DSLR cameras compare to ordinary digital still cameras which offer more simplisitic ‘point and shoot’ technology. Read on to learn what truely makes an SLR camera sifferent and why you should buy one!

The term digital SLR stands for single lens reflex. It is so called because the SLR cameras use a mirror that is placed behind the lens.

Although SLR cameras for capturing still images have been in use for quite some time, the ones that could capture both the stills and the videos were introduced in 2008.

Earlier the SLRs were used only by the professionals. They were not very common and were costly as well. The good news is that the digital SLRs are becoming cheaper as the time passes and coming within the easy reach of even the amateur photographers. You can buy an SLR at the price of a high end digital compact camera, especially if you shop around and use shopping search engines in order to locate the best deal.

How does the digital SLR work?

When the light enters through the lens, it falls upon the mirror. The mirror, in turn, reflects (throws) the light upon the focusing screen. The light passing through the focusing screen falls upon a block of glass called pentaprism, which reflects the image  that  can be seen  on the viewfinder. When you take a photo, the mirror flips up opening the shutter which exposes the digital sensor to light.

What- you- see- is- what- you- get photos

 The SLR uses the viewfinder to compose the photo and adjust the focus. You can, thus, get the photo of the original as you see it on the lens.

SLR camera allows for a wide range of lenses with different focal lengths.  You can change the lens whenever you like. This is what makes the SLR ideal for serious photography. Moreover, the image sensors of the digital SLRs are large and produce high quality photos.

Lightness and compactness vs. versatility and image quality

An attractive feature of the digital compact cameras is that they are cheap, light, compact and easily portable. You can just pop in the compact camera in your purse or pocket.

The SLRs are weighty and voluminous. Some of them are tank-sized  for professionals. But they provide the invaluable advantage of accommodating a large range of lenses and accessories that were originally designed for film SLR cameras.

Of late, new generation light weight ultra compact DSLRs have also been introduced in the market. They have small lens and  weigh around 20 oz / 0.5 Kg.

While the  crispness and sharpness  of the photos taken with the digital compact camera and SLR camera in broad day is by and large same, the SLR scores over the compact camera when you have to shoot in dim light or capture the fast running scenes of actions. This is because the SLRs have high sensitivity larger sensors.

Anti shake/vibration designs

The photos shot with non-SLR cameras in dim light or with long telephoto lenses may be blurred. The reason is that the camera gets shaken during the exposure. The SLRs are equipped with Image Stabilization (IS) systems that protect them from the impact of motion during exposure. Therefore, the photos shot with SLRs even in dim light or at long focal lengths  are sharp and excellent.


What makes the SLR much superior to the compact camera is its speed in taking pictures, which makes it ideal for action photography as there is a zero lag time.   Even the entry level SLRs shoot faster than the best compact cameras. So you can easily shoot both a sleeping and a running tiger with this camera.

Dust Removal mechanism

If you have to shoot in arid, dusty or even in humid and damp conditions, no camera can   beat an SLR. They have inbuilt dust removal systems that keep the sensor clean. They have weatherproof seals and solid magnesium alloy cases.

High Definition (HD) videos for HDTVs

This is another advantage of SLRs over the compact cameras. They can shoot High Definition videos. They come equipped with HDMI ports which allow the camera to be directly connected to the TVs.  You can view your videos on the TV.

So which camera should you buy?

It all depends upon your needs. If you want speed, exquisite professional looking photos even in dim light and more control  over the photos and are not bothered about weight and volume, go for an SLR. If you are just an occasional photographer wishing to carry the camera in your pant pocket, you can buy a compact camera.

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A guide to the Canon EOS 550d

•June 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Many anxious photographers jumped on the upgraded Canon Rebel T2i when it was first available. Others have been waiting for the excitement to settle and get the real “hard” reviews.

Well, the data has been analyzed, and it appears that those early buyers were the smart ones. We can now use hard evidence to compare the Canon Rebel T1i and T2i.

However, before beginning, this statement from the DPReview full review of the newest Rebel:

All in all, the

Canon EOS 550D Digital SLR Camera (inc 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Kit) is the most compelling DSLR of its class that we’ve ever tested. It is hard to imagine how much more we might realistically expect from a product of this type, and although the improvements that Canon has made over the EOS 500D aren’t revolutionary, the 550D is a better camera than its predecessor. In terms of both still and video capture, the 550D is currently the best camera of its type on the market.

Now, that should be enough to get you moving in the direction of the nearest camera shop.

And if that is not enough, just check out what contributors at the online forums are saying. They are either singing the praises of the new camera or trying to find reasons to defend their own personal investments in “the other” brand equipment or purchases of different models.

A few of the features to compare the Canon Rebel T1i and T2i are listed below. Not every feature will be mentioned, just the upgrades that help this Digital Rebel to stand out from the crowd of entry level DSLRs.

HD Video – photographers are now expecting this feature when they upgrade to new equipment. The older model did have video, but the upgrade is now sporting full HD at 1080p with a choice of 30, 25, or 24 frames per second recording speed. The older version had only 720p at 24 fps.

In addition, the manufacturer has remedied the major complaint concerning sound input by adding an external microphone input jack along with stereo rather than mono capability.

Image sensor – 18.7 megapixels, up from the previous 15 megapixel sensor. This matches the image sensor of the 7D, which, of course, is almost twice the cost.

ISO – again Canon delivers in a “problem area” as many reviewers were not impressed with the higher ISO settings on the older version. Reviews are acknowledging that the image quality at higher ISO settings is improved when you compare the Canon Rebel T1i and T2i. This makes this new image maker a great choice for indoor events such as school plays or night concerts.

Exposure compensation – for photo enthusiasts, this is a major upgrade. Now, instead of merely 2 stops (plus or minus) the new camera can give a 5-stop differential in exposure compensation. This is fantastic for photographers who are into HDR work.

LCD panel – this has been upgraded to allow very good visibility, even in high light. This is nice for using the new and improved video mode.

Voila! There you have it.

These are but a few of the features that make this a great choice.

You should compare the Canon Rebel T1i and T2i in more depth if you are not yet convinced that the Canon EOS 550D Digital SLR Camera (inc 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens Kit)
is the best choice at this level of DSLRs.

Look here –

Nikon D50: a guide

•June 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The Nikon D50 Digital SLR camera is the trendiest and most effective camera you can find in the market. Its outstanding feature is the interchangeable lenses. This accessory gives you an amazing digital SLR photography experience because it has many optical options. Measuring 11 by 7 by 6 inches and weighing only 4.6 pounds, the Nikon D50 is not too big. In fact, only a high quality SLR camera can give you a comparable experience. Therefore, you should know that owning the D50 digital camera is not a joke. By buying it, you will give yourself a chance to own a very covetable product.

If you are a professional photographer, you will certainly adore this camera. There are extra features that the brand has incorporated in this gadget. For instance, the Digital Vari-Program, which is scene optimized simplifies a photographer’s job. Therefore, he or she could focus on the shooting the most special events and places.

Buying yourself this camera is like earning a different experience you have never had before. This product’s picture-quality is impressive and you will enjoy showing them to your friends and family. It is also an undeniably durable product, which provides good value for your money. You should not hesitate to go shopping for this exceptional camera.

A person cannot help it to start with the newly incorporated Child mode feature. It is useful when you want to take the photos of your kids. It helps to produce pictures with bright color schemes and contrasts. Once a need for printing arises, you do not have to make any PC adjustments. Another detail you are likely to adore this Nikon D50 Digital SLR camera for its manual controls. You can use them to create the exposures you want.

As an expert photographer, you will adore this feature. The Nikon DX Format CCD image sensor combined with advanced image processor creates excellent images files. You could later manipulate the image files as you please. In just 2/10 seconds, a turned on camera is ready to shoot. You will also find out that the camera shutter’s release lag time is significantly low which is excellent in photography.

After you shoot the photos, they are stored in the Secure Digital memory card. With a 2.0 Hi-speed USB interface; you can transfer the images to the computer. You certainly should read the manual to know if your PC is compatible. The Nikon D50 Digital SLR Camera Kit Black includes AF-S Zoom Nikon 18-55mm Lens [6MP]
and its 3D Color Matrix Metering II is not only accurate but it also enables you to use the camera in many lighting conditions.

a guide to importing digital cameras from Hong Kong

•June 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Previous visitors to will recall that this used to be a camera superstore. I used to import cameras from Hong Kong and sell them in to Eurpope. I had a great supplier and by bulk buying, I was able to offer fantastic prices. As mentioned in a previous post;  I no longer import cameras from HK. A lack of time on my behalf, combined with the fact that my love is for photography, not retail; meant that i gave it up. I have instead started this blog, with the aim of sharing my knowledge and love for the subject.

I stand by the fact that importing cameras from abroad, especially now in the internet era, can have many benefits for the camera shopper. Around a year ago i wrote the below article and placed it on ezines. It is somewhat of an impassioned defence of camera importing, and it also sets out to highlight the benefits. I have left the article untouched, and as such it contains something of a marketing message for what this website used to be:

The internet era has lead to a massive increase in cross-national trade. The world has become a marketplace in a way which was unforeseeable to our forefathers. The benefits of this are numerous, but there are also some pitfalls.

As an amateur photographer and camera trader, I take a keen interest in the market for digital cameras, digital SLR cameras, camcorders and the various accessories which are used in conjunction with these tools – namely the various lenses, flashes, remote controllers, storage devices and so on.

It came to my attention some time ago that a large number of these items are now available from far flung parts of the world, namely Hong Kong. The UK internet marketplace is full of cameras from Hong Kong, and these items are available at fantastic prices. I wondered if these items can be bought safely by customers in the UK (and elsewhere), or were these ‘bargains’ really too good to be true? If so, what were the pitfalls? And were there any hidden costs to be factored into the final price (and if so, how high would the costs be?)

My research lead me to conclude that customers from places like the UK can pick up a fantastic bargain purchasing these cameras – but they need to do so with their eyes wide open. In this article I am going to go through the procedures, and explain how you can purchase these cameras. Where there remain risks, I offer ways to overcome them or at least to minimise them, and help point you in the direction of safe places to purchase your goods.

What are the benefits of purchasing from places like Hong Kong?

The first major benefit has to be the price. Hong Kong is the home of cheap, brand name electronics and the prices we see on the internet today highlight this fact. Many top Digital SLR cameras are available at a fraction of the cost of what you are asked to pay on the British high street, and represent fantastic bargains, if they are purchased correctly. In many cases savings run between 20 and 50 percent of what these items sell for in the UK, so the attractiveness of seeking these items on the internet is obvious – especially once you consider the fact that the price of a good digital SLR camera can cost many thousands of pounds.

Unlike their Chinese counterparts, the items you see from Hong Kong are legitimate. They are not poor quality imitations, they are the real deal. If you check with the seller, you will find a large majority are the English models, which means you get everything you would get from purchasing in the UK. You get the same camera, the same software, the same instruction manual and the same box. You are not left floundering with foreign instruction manuals, trying to get your kit to work – everything is the same as purchasing in the UK (in terms of the item itself). This is obviously a great benefit as it means you really can compare the item like for like with what is on offer at your locals Jessop’s store

So we now know that we can buy a camera from Hong Kong, which is identical to the ones that we can buy from the shops in the UK (or elsewhere), at a fraction of the price. So surely there must be a downside, or at least some pitfalls?

Purchasing from Hong Kong – what are the downsides?

1) Import tax – Most online sellers do not charge tax, as they sell to many different countries, which have differing taxation systems. They therefore leave the tax up to the customer. If we take the UK and a digital camera as an example, we can investigate the tax situation. There are NO import duties on digital cameras to the UK from Hong Kong, but there is a VAT tax liability. VAT, currently set at 15 percent, can be charged on your purchase. Many online traders use differing methods to try and avoid – or at least reduce the Tax liability, but it can never be taken as given that an item will not be taxed. I recommend that you adopt a “plan for the worst, but hope for the best” attitude towards VAT. If you happen to avoid it, then fantastic – see it as a bonus, but don’t plan your purchase around not been charged VAT. After all, your purchase price is still far lower then in the UK!

2) Warranty – The warranty that comes with an electrical item is usually only valid in the country of purchase – in this example Hong Kong. Some sellers will offer warranties, but these often have a dubious legal standing. All good sellers will offer a 14 day DOA warranty, which will cover the purchase as it travels from Hong Kong to you (and for a few days after you receive the item). This will give you piece of mind after your purchase. Most sellers will require you to send the item back to their address in Hong Kong, and from there they will deal with any problems. Of course whilst the lack of a longer term warranty is a concern, it is offset by the cheaper purchase price, so this is a decision that ultimately will come down to you. Certain items are less of a concern then others when it comes to the warranty situation. Where, an item such as a digital SLR camera would typical have an excellent performance record (with a failure rate of around 1 percent), it is debatable as to whether other items such as TVs, laptops or stereos have the same record of performing well and without failure.

However, if the lack of a warranty is a major concern for you, there a number of companies which offer to take on a warranty for an additional fee. These companies can provide warranties which cover the item for up to 3 years, and make for an excellent investment. It is worth enquiring with the sales team from the company which you either bought your camera off of, or are planning to buy off, to ask if they work with such a company. They should at the very least be able to put you in touch with such a company.

3) Delivery – an item being delivered from Hong Kong will obviously take longer to arrive then an item been delivered from a mile down the road. In my experience, you are looking at a 7-10 day delivery time from Hong Kong, although many sellers can manage to deliver faster (we ai for 5 days). The use of quality delivery companies like FedEx and EPS helps the cause, and in some cases mean that your item can be delivered within a few short days of your purchase. The key judgement criterion for confirming companies when it comes to delivery is probably the dispatch time. The best companies out there will dispatch an item within 24-48 hours of completed purchase and payment. If this is the case, the item will typically be delivered 3 days after dispatch.

So we have seen that we can buy a legitimate, branded, digital camera from Hong Kong, which provides a potentially big saving on the high street price. We have however seen that there are a number of downsides or a least points to consider. We know that in most cases the item will have a limited warranty, and there are also possible VAT costs as well as longer delivery times to contend with. So how ca we minimise these risks and make the process as fast and safe as possible?

Purchasing an imported camera safely

There are many ways to do this. EBay has a wide range of cameras imported from Hong Kong, and there are no shortages of websites which offer imported cameras. Many of these sellers offer PayPal as a payment method, and this is beneficial because you are then covered by their buyer protection scheme. I would always recommend seeking a site which offers PayPal payments, especially if you haven’t dealt with the site before. Many websites (and EBay traders) will also offer different payment methods, such as bank transfer. These methods often include a discount, which is because the seller is saving on PayPal fees, and is willing to pass this saving on to his customer. This can be a great way to go, especially when you have either previously dealt with a seller, or if you have built up a relationship with the company either via email, the phone or online chat. The savings on larger purchases can run into the hundreds of pounds, so it is certainly an avenue to explore.

Purchasing from Hong Kong or elsewhere can save you a lot of money, but you need to do it right, and be aware of the downsides. It is always worth sending an email to a seller or website before purchasing an item, especially if you are considering a couple of purchases, as many sellers offer combined shipping discounts, which can save more money for you.

I hope importing cameras and accessories will work as well for you as it did for me; and hopefully this guide will have helped make you more aware of the processes involved, so that you enter the deal with your eyes wide open.

I run a fast growing website which sells digital SLR cameras, lenses and accessories; as well as HD camcorders and compact ‘point and shoot’ digitals. also features a photography forum for our customers to interact with one another and share their pictures, experiences and tips.

We accept Paypal as our primary payment method which makes our site 100 percent secure for our customers. We offer Free delivery to the UK, EU and the USA on our full range, and you can find our products on google products, ebay and shopping comparision sites – where we are consistantly the cheapest provider of professional camera equipment.

so here it is! I may not be selling in this market anymore, but i do still believe in it. If you are going this route i throughly reccomend that you look into purchasing a third party warranty (search around, there are many to choose from). This way you are covered in the fairly unlikely scenario that anything goes drastically wrong. I still have a contact in HK who was absolutely faultless in all of the dealings that we had. If you would like me to get in touch on your behalf then leave me a comment on here.

Panasonic Lumix LX3: the best rated compact digital camera

•June 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The below post is a guest post taken from ezines. I feel that it raises a number of interesting points about a very useful piece of kit. Let me know what you think!

Online Camera Warehouse overview: The Panasonic DMCLX3 Digital Camera – Black (10MP, 2.5x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD camera boasts 10.1 MPs and a 3″ LCD screen. Interestingly, it offers a full range of manual settings (to the extent that it is comparable to an entry level SLR. On top of the manual settings, it offers a 24mm f-2.0 lens with a 2.5x optical zoom. All in all this is definitely a great compact digital, but it is unmistakingly a top end compact.

People love compact everything especially in gadgets. From mobile phones, music players, to cameras, the smaller it is the more appealing it would be to most of the people around the world. The reason perhaps is that we simply want smaller things since it is easier and lighter to carry and humans as we are, we always want everything done in easier fashion.

Well no matter what the real reason could be if you want a top of the line camera which is easier to carry, then you should consider buying the Panasonic Lumix LX3 model. This model is considered to be one of the very best rated digital compact cameras you can find these days and is recommended for avid picture taking enthusiasts and semi-professional photographers.

Best Rated Digital Camera Features

The Lumix LX3 is the top model in Panasonic’s compact camera line which features a 10.1 Megapixel sensor, Engine IV image processing, a 3 inch monitor and a lot more that would practically produce photographs that look like they were taken by a professional even when the user is a novice.

Best Rated Digital Camera Design

The LX3 is not a compact camera that would be very small but considering its specifications, one can really say it is small since some of its features belong to larger type cameras. The camera weighs around 264 grams which would include the battery and the memory card and measures around 109x62x45mm with the lens retracted.

Most people appreciates its body style since it makes it easier to hold especially with its very nice finger grip found in front of it. Aside from that the Panasonic Lumix also has a small textured thumb grip at its rear part making it very comfortable to hold as well as prevents slipping out from someone’s hand. Like most compact cameras, it will easily fit inside a jacket pocket. It also has a good quality neck strap as well as an optional retro-looking leather case that would make it a very fashionable accessory.

Best Rated Digital Camera – A Small Learning Curve

Just try to hold one of these LX3s and you will find it hard not to be impressed by its clever design. Aside from that, it also has solid built quality and when you use it, you will definitely feel very competent in the picture taking business. A lot of people find it very enjoyable to use and while it is a bit more complex than some of the cheaper digital cameras around, using its features or adjusting its settings is not too complicated at all once you have started playing with it. You may find the little joystick a bit difficult to use but once you get the hang of it, you will realize that it was purposely placed there to aid you in faster navigation of its menu.

Its main menu is very comprehensive where you would find the main picture control as the film mode. It offers a number of preset settings and all of which you can customized to your choice of contrast, sharpness, saturation, and even noise control. Like most top of the line cameras, you can save such settings to your liking especially if you want to just point and shoot without having to change them all the time.

The Panasonic Lumix LX3 is simply very impressive. Tthat is why most people see it as the best rated digital compact camera today. If you are interested in a compact digital camera, but do not want to compromise on quality, then this is an excellent choice for you.

About Author:
Interested to learn more about this best rated digital compact camera? Or interested in other top rated digital cameras? Then check out the reviews of high-end top rated digital cameras on, your source for anything digital photography.

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I hope you found Dominiques article informative. I couldn’t resist posting this up, as I love this camera. It isn’t for the faint-hearted though!

compact digital SLR cameras

•June 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So lets say you are starting to take your photography a bit more seriously. You find yourself taking your camera out a bit more often than you used to; a walk with the family, a trip to the coast and even a day out shopping has become a photography opportunity. No longer do you simply take a few snaps at christmas and when your away, now you are taking enough photos year round to call photography a hobby.

But your still using a compact digital.

The time is right to make the move into the digital SLR market, but where do you start?

compacts are great for pointing and shooting, for taking those pool-side snapshots and capturing that great shot of the christmas turkey; but for anything a bit more serious, their limitations quickly become apparent. Digital SLR cameras have bigger and more powerful sensors, with a greater range of more advanced controls and far greater flexibility born out of their ability to change lenses and add additional options.

Digital SLRs can be intimidating; they are larger and bulkier, and have far more manual controls which can be off-putting to the newer photographer. However, many of the cheaper models are semi or in some cases, entirely automatic, which means they are as easy to use as a compact, but with far greater picture quality. A sure-fire winner. They are actually built with new photographers in mind, meaning that you can experiment and learn in your own time, whilst maintaining and improving upon the quality of your photos. Indeed, many of the features which you take for granted on your compact digital, such as the ‘liveview’ LCD screen have now found their way on to SLR’s, meaning you can frame your photo easily, without having to use the viewfinder (as was previously the case). Interestingly, HD movies are finding their way on to SLR cameras now too, and due to the quality of the SLR lens/sensor, the quality offered by the SLR camera by far out-strips that offered by even a medium range camcorder. The fact that you are getting two very high quality devices in one unit is a selling point, and it certainly negates one of the disadvantages of a SLR camera: the sheer bulk of the item.

As you know the resolution is important on cameras, and that is the same with DSLR’s. Digital SLRs will typically come with at least a 10MP res, and the extra quality inherent in SLR’s means that the higher res issues that can be found in cheaper compacts is not an issue with SLRs. Another selling point for sure. Even the cheapest SLR is capable of great definition blow up images, which is something you struggle to find with the compact camera.

One of the most important things to consider is the brand of camera you go for, as this could be a long-term decision. optional extra accessories, such as lenses and flash guns are made to work on one brand of camera only. Canon digital SLR’s and nikon digital slr’s are currently most popular, because they have the widest ranges of lenses, which leaves the most room for growth. Other companies are working hard to catch up, but my recommendation is that your first SLR should either be a Canon or a Nikon.

Tip: a digital SLR with ‘kit’ can be a great way to move into the SLR market. The kit means the camera comes with a lens (sometimes more than one lens), think of it like a beginners pack. You get everything you need to kick off your serious photography, and at a nice cost saving…