Smile please you are about to be printed could mean Polaroid is out and about.
Over the years life at Polaroid must have seemed like a series of “ups and down” as the company struggled to cope with different marketing conditions. My first experience of Polaroid was with its rather bulky camera that would automatically deliver an instant black and white print of the captured image you have just taken. Applying a quick fixative would help ensure the print did not fade later.
This is a flagship camera for Olympus and is often sold body only. I was sent the unit with a 12-40mm lens. It arrived at a time when I had several events at iconic place, the OXO tower, the Shard and perhaps the most poignant the 100 years from the end of the First World War at the Imperial War Museum which is currently the home of the Ceramic poppies.
The Olympus E-M1 Mark II weighs 1026 grams with the provided substantial neck strap attached. The camera is 13x8.5cm without any flash attached to the shoe. The depth with the provided lens attached is between 15 and 18cm. An A5 book is over 200 pages but sadly this is a ‘basic’ manual so only nine of its pages are in English the rest are in 27 other languages. Let’s start with the 6.4x4.2cm TFT screen on the back it can be rotated through 180 degrees to protect it.
All of us of a certain age remember the original Polaroid cameras, this one looks very much the same, however this has a big plus over the original it has Bluetooth and can link to your SmartPhone. So with this new camera old technology meets new.
In recent years cameras from Polaroid looked very much more ‘normal’ now this looks like a very early offering and it can take both Black & White and Colour images dependant o0n the film that you insert. It is 14x11x9.5cm and weights a fairly substantial 480grams. Power is provided by an internal rechargeable battery that is charged by a supplied micro USB to USB lead.
This is the second of three cameras from FujiFilm; this is an interchangeable lens camera that made a short visit to me courtesy of a Christmas In July event. Even after nearly two weeks of use I am still barely out of using Auto mode although it has accompanied me on a range of visits while out and about in the course of my travels for a range of events.
The FujiFilm X-T2 measures 15x9.5x12.5cm with the supplied 18>55mm lens fitted fully retracted, it weights 861grams. Like the previous offering it is powerful and really a small professional camera. A thorough read of the manual is a must to do more than use it in Auto mode as anyone who knows a little about cameras will realise that this is something that requires - no demands - respect. It is a 24MP offering also capable of 4K video capture.
This is an enthusiasts camera, quality in a small package, but still able to give excellent ‘auto’ images and if you know better then the various special scene and manual mode allow you to get that extra special image to say great.
The Olympus Olympus PEN E-PL9 measures 12x6.5x6cm when off the powered zoom can take the 14-42mm lens out to 9.5cm. It weighs 513grams with the supplied neck strap in situ. People who have fondled it say that’s heavy and my response is that is quality down to the dark blue leather that goes round the front and sides.
While modern SmartPhones can take excellent images and videos one thing that a decent DSLR camera often has is a good optical zoom, here is a kit that can give your SmartPhone the ability to get great zoom for your images.
I have tried this unit with success on three different Smart Phones all with single lenses, I do not think it would work on dual lens units. The complete kit comes in a fitted zip up case the 22x zoom lens which on close inspection is F1.8 250mm marked 4K 22x Telephoto Lens. It has adjustment at the camera end as well as at the lens end it weighs 150 grams without the supplied lens cap.
This camera is much the size of a mobile phone and like a great many mobile phones it runs on Android. While it has internal storage it can also accommodate a micro SD card and indeed initially slightly more puzzling it can also take a SIM card, this is however solely so you can send data that you capture while still out and about to various sites.
The Acer Holo 360 measures 11x5.5x1.3cm and weighs 141grams with the supplied wrist strap attached. The viewable screen is 6x4.5cm which gives the diagonal notional imperial measurement of 3 inches. Bootup is 15 seconds while shutdown is 3 seconds. Going around the outside has on/off on the right side with camera button below this, the base has micro USB port for charging and a 3.5mm headphone socket.
I see a good number of professional photographers at a range of events and while a lot of them have Canon offerings there are also Olympus and Fuji cameras. Here I get to try a recent mirrorless compact system camera that is very much in their professional range which really pushes my knowledge – or do I mean lack of knowledge – in this category of products.
While it is possible to attach a lens and focus on a subject with you taking the ‘easy’ way out and letting the camera make the choices it is designed for use for those whose knowledge knows as much as the camera so they get that ‘yes’ image. The FujiFilm X Pro-2 measures 14x8.5x11.5cm. The last figure with an 18>55mm lens fitted which can increase it to 15cm. It weighs 837grams.
While almost all mobile phones have screens to show the images they are capturing what they do not have is the ability to print them, yes Wi-Fi to the majority of recent printers and All In Ones will do so, most of those are not mobile devices.
So to capture the moment then maybe the Polaroid camera can be what the occasion wants. Here is their latest offering the Instant Square SQ6. The camera is chunky at 13x11.5x6cm and weighs 453grams. The film comes in a sealed pack of ten and full instructions are on the pack and in the manual, follow them or you will expose the film.
This is a small removable lens camera from Olympus that goes under the ‘Pen’ name that Olympus first created several years ago with a single offering that has now grown into a brand all of their own for small easy to use quality cameras.
The Olympus Pen E-PL8 measures 12x6.5x6cm and weighs only 528grams with neck strap and flash unit attached, the latter increases the last figure the height by 2cm. Going around the camera, the left side has only the neck strap anchor point; the right side has its pair as well as mini USB and HDMI sockets behind a flip door. The base has the solid battery behind a door that is also where you insert any SD Card you use, further along the base is a tripod anchor point.
Giving a different viewing aspect to building and other work is the task undertaken by FLIR ONE Pro.
There is no doubt that the photographic ability built into the latest smartphones have improved compared to the models that were on offer over the last couple of years. However I have yet to see an influx of smartphones offering the Alien-like X-ray ability to visualise thermal images of various scenes.
This sadly is one of those occasions where the launch bears no resemblance to the availability of review samples, so while I was ready to go when the launch came my memory of exactly what the camera can do was somewhat dimmed by the time taken for one to arrive which means the time required to review is longer.
This is a camera that can work on land or under water, when used in the latter condition the ability to get a level shot may or may not be important but it does have both horizontal and vertical levels, it is of course fully waterproof and can withstand the odd drop as I remember from the presentation day. If can also function in extremes of temperature. The zoom is quite impressive and is of course periscopic to avoid any possible leak points with the normal lens expansion. The camera is 11.
When the first ‘Polaroid’ type camera came out it was the camera equivalent of sliced bread. The models were big and the quality of the image was not that great but to see the image immediately was what people wanted to have.
Here a Hybrid camera from FujiFilm that can function as a near normal camera but still have the ability to produce that near instant image. The FujiFilm Instax SQ10 measure 12x11x4.5cm and weighs 471grams. It has two modes, the ‘Auto’ mode is what you have with any conventional camera, whatever you click the shutter on gets printed which of course can be expensive as the film strips are not the cheapest.
This is Canon’s entry level range but do not make the mistake of thinking they are basic units. Canon’s technology filters down and things that would only be in a high end unit a few years ago are now on something that can fit into a small pocket.
As always I start in Auto mode and right from the first image you know that you have hold of a more than decent unit. It is 9.5x5.3x2.2cm the last figure when closed this can increase by another 3cm when the unit is fully zoomed. It weighs 126grams.
The PowerShot range is only one step down from their DSLR offerings; however they are small enough to fit in your pocket but are still extremely powerful units that have a large number of features that started out in their DSLR models.
The Canon website says ‘DSLR-like creativity in a connected large sensor compact’ which seems to sum up this powerful unit. It is small enough to fit in your pocket or purse at 10.5x6.5x4cm the last figure increase to 8cm when fully zoomed. It is somewhat heavier than a standard digital camera at 318grams. A novice user could turn the nine position wheel on top of the unit to ‘Auto’ and get very respectable images via point and shoot but this unit offers so much more.
Canon do three ranges of cameras the IXUS the smallest, next is the PowerShot and finally their DSLR range. However the area between the last two is somewhat grey, this PowerShot is considerably larger in size than a small DSLR.
The Canon PowerShot G3X measures 12cm wide, 8cm deep and 11cm from the screen to the front of the lens when closed however when fully zoomed this last figure increases to 17cm. So with that amount of optical zoom (25x) you will not be surprised that it weighs a good bit more than most PowerShot offerings at 738grams. Of course all recent cameras have to have the ability to take selfies so the TFT can flip through 180 degrees to show above the camera.
This is one of a new variety of cameras that have interchangeable lenses but are still almost small enough to fit into a pocket, yes they are therefore a DSLR but probably not considered so by the purist. Meet the Canon EOS M10 which is a mirrorless camera.
Canon describe the EOS M10 as a ‘a compact system camera that combines DSLR performance with effortless portability.’ It is 10.5x6.5x8.5 when the 15-45mm lens in locked shut, it weights 438grams. It comes with a neck strap but I preferred using it in the hand. In deference to those whose life would end without the ability to take a Selfie the TFT swings through 180 degrees to allow this process to take place.
This is a small video camera that is designed to be fitted to you rather than held by you, the main people to take advantage of this are those who take extreme sports to a new level and record their progress and then when they show their mum get told what an $%^&* they are.
This small digital camera is made to withstand a tough life. It is also able to function underwater the claim is 15metres and the shock proof claim is 1.75metre drop, neither did I test but I take the manufacturers word, it has a bright yellow front just in case you drop it underwater.
The Fujifilm XP90 rugged, compact digital camera measures 11x6.5x2.5cm and it weights 207grams. Any camera that has a waterproof element needs to be well sealed which firstly means no visible movement of the lens when zoomed this is achieved by a periscopic movement within the case and the lens itself needs to be double skinned, next any part that opens IE the battery bay needs a good seal and a double lock.
Nikon have long been a good name in cameras both professional and even down to small amateur units. The Nikon L340 is such a beast available from some retailers for under £100.
The Nikon L340 measures 10.5cm wide, 9.5cm deep and 7.5cm tall it weighs 465grams, all those figures are when it is switched off. When the lens is fully extended that can add 3.5cm to the depth and if the flash is raised this adds 2.5cm to the height.