Browsing Through Time – The Last Few Months

As I’d mentioned in an earlier post, I thought I would do a quick recap of what I’ve been up to, in the last few months.  This is presented roughly in reverse chronological order, and I’ve used photos to illustrate what I am talking about.  (NOTE: I wrote this post in the mid of October, so it doesn’t cover absolutely everything right up to the present time.)

150+ Days at the Gym

Looks good, no?  I’m quite proud of that photo!  I started going to the gym at office in mid-December 2011.  For whatever reason, I kept count of the number of days I was actually working out, and that count has crossed 150 by now.  I go to the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (since on Thursdays I attend Guitar class), so typically the count gets incremented by 4 every week, less than that if there are office holidays or I am travelling.

You could say this is a new hobby of mine and just like posting my drawings or photos, I’m uploading pictures taken at the gym to mark milestones.  I posted the below one to mark Day 100, and that got a lot of Likes and comments on Facebook.

I was going to post one more when I hit Day 150, but towards that date, I knew there were going to be a few breaks since I was travelling for campus recruitment.  Therefore, I posted the below photo when I reached Day 146.

I’d have left it at that but the Day 148 picture just kind of happened… and it looked good so that’s my current Facebook and Twitter profile picture.

On a related note, here is a very useful link with a workout that you can do even if you don’t have access to a Gym: Beginner Body Weight Workout from Nerd Fitness.

Covering events at office

Over the last few months I seem to have become an ‘unofficial official’ photographer for several events at work.  It’s been a great experience for me and a lot of fun.

Covering these events teaches you a lot – how to get better at not missing important moments, how to plan in advance about what kind of shots you want to get, the importance of getting the photos right in the camera, and the importance of selecting the shots that you want to show to others.

For no particular reason, while I was working on the photos from one particular event, I decided to tweet about the process of selection (read the tweets from bottom to top) –

As you can make out from the tweets, I shot more than 1300 images during the four hour event, and made a selection of around 250 images to show to others.  However, out of that set, I further filtered images and only uploaded the 180 best ones to Facebook.

At one of the events, apart from being the photographer, I also played a small bit of music on guitar.

I later recorded a video of what I played that day.  Here it is –

This was recorded at home with my Nokia 808 PureView phone, and as you can make out, the audio quality is really great!  I edited the video on kdenlive and Windows Live Movie Maker.  The old videotape-type font is called “Camcorder” and you can get it here.

Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad

I attended Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad Volumes 8, 9 and 10 in the recent past.  I took photos at each one of them.  I believe I may have put links to a couple of the albums in earlier posts, but for easy reference, here are the links (all are albums on Facebook) –

Two of the photos I took at PKN Hyd Vol 9 got printed in The Hans India newspaper.

(Both photos in that article are mine – you can see them on the Facebook album.)

Speaking of this, earlier (in May 2012), my Pecha Kucha presentation from November 2011 got mentioned on the Pecha Kucha Daily blog.  My presentation is also there on the global site.

Blue Moon and Hard Disk

I took a photo of the Blue Moon from 1-Sep-12 – this is probably my best Moon shot yet.

At around that time, I also welcomed a new 1 TB hard disk to the family –

Mumbai Trip

In the beginning of August, I went on a short trip during a long weekend to Mumbai.  I stayed at my cousin’s place, visited TCS Gateway Park office, met my friend Rajith there, watched Gangs of Wasseypur II, and participated in the TCS Fit4Life – 5 km Run with the CEO.

Here are the two Facebook albums that show photos from this all-important trip –

Two notable pictures – the below one shows me, Girish and Vrushodh – the crew behind the Gods of Galactica podcast (earlier known as Galacticast)…

…and here is a photo from the 5 km Run.  This was the second 5 km Run I’ve ever participated in.

Secret Lake Photo

From earlier in August, here is a photo of Durgam Cheruvu, the “Secret Lake”.  This was shot from Inorbit Mall one afternoon when I went there for lunch, on my PureView phone.

My post mentioned by Nokia

After I wrote that long post about the Nokia 808 PureView, I tweeted it to the official Nokia account (@nokia).  It was really nice of them to retweet it – and they mentioned they liked the post.  I felt very happy about that.

Han Shot First Drawing

I did the below drawing as a gift for my cousin on his birthday.  I also got it printed on a t-shirt (that’s what Girish and I are wearing, in the Galactica crew photo above).

Star Wars fans will know the background of this.  For the uninitiated, here’s the explanation in short.  In the original Star Wars movie released in 1977, there is a scene in which the character Han Solo played by Harrison Ford, is confronted by the gangster Greedo in the Mos Eisley cantina.  Greedo points a weapon at Han and says that Han owes money to the ruthless Jabba the Hutt.  Han then shoots Greedo and exits the cantina.

In the 1997 “Special Edition” re-release of Star Wars, this scene was slightly altered, to show Greedo shooting first and missing Han (at very close range), and Han shoots Greedo after that.  This alteration (though made by the movie’s creator, George Lucas) was not looked at favourably by fans.

My cousin has a long post on this here.  This is why I made this t-shirt for him!

On the topic of the alterations made for the Special Edition of Star Wars, it is to be noted that a fan called Harmy has created high-definition “despecialized” versions of all the movies in the Star Wars original trilogy.  This is an assembled edit from various sources, since LucasFilm had not released the unaltered versions on Bluray.

More details at the below links –

Blue Sky at Hyderabad

Early in the month of June, there were a couple of days when the sky was a wonderful blue colour.  A great opportunity for photography –

Here is the Facebook album with some more photos – Blue Sky.

Electric Guitar

For my birthday on May 15, I was lucky to get a great gift from my family – an electric guitar!  I uploaded some photos of it on this Facebook album, and posted a short video of me playing it.

Rooftop Shooting Challenge

I had earlier written about a photo shooting challenge I’d done, of taking only B&W photos in my room at home.  I tried a different challenge sometime later, of shooting with just one lens on the rooftop of my house.

Here is the link to the album on Facebook: Rooftop Shooting Challenge.

I believe I have covered most of the important events from the recent past in this post!  More to come later.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on this site, and it’s also been a while since I published a drawing.  So I thought I would put up my latest work – one drawing and one photo here.  I will write another post as a recap of things that have happened over the last few months.

I watched the Season 5 premiere of Fringe and liked it very much.  So, as you’d expect, I drew something based on it –

Season 5 Episode 1 “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11” was set in 2036 (like the Season 4 episode “Letters of Transit”), and depicted a dystopian future where the Observers have taken over the planet.  Over the next 12 episodes of this season, we will see the Fringe team save the world (and possibly the universe). I loved this episode for it’s writing and handling of characters (my cousin’s review is here, but be aware that it has spoilers).

I loved the blue-tinted (sometimes almost monochrome-looking) cinematography in this episode (by David Geddes). On that note, IMDb mentions that Season 4 (and presumably, this present season) of the show is shot digitally, using the Arri Alexa camera and Panavision Primo lenses.  This is as opposed to the previous seasons which were shot on 35mm film.  This camera was also used to shoot the movie Chronicle, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, and the Sherlock TV show.

The Observers led by what seems to be the new villain on the show, Captain Widmark made for sinister characters.  So I drew them – this was done in ballpoint pen (black and blue) and markers (black and red).  I added a paper texture for style and the font used is Agency FB (mimicking the new 2036 Fringe opening sequence).  You can click on the image to see an even bigger version.

The red background was added to maintain consistency with my other two Fringe-based drawings (both from 2010).

This is my drawing of Anna Torv as Agent Olivia Dunham –

and this one is a drawing of John Noble as “Walternate” –

I am not sure how much the 2036 storyline in Season 5 will make reference to the fictional Massive Dynamic corporation, so I didn’t include that bit of text in my Observers drawing.

I feel a little sad that Season 5 will be the last of this great TV show.  But it’s probably for the better, since this would mean that the series would go out on a high note.

The title of this post is a reference to the Green Day song, yes, since it’s being written on the last day of September, but it’s also a reference to the Observer called September (played by Michael Cerveris) who helps the Fringe team.

One more recent work of mine is this photo –

This is a shot of Visakhapatnam, the City of Destiny.  I took this photo with my Nokia 808 PureView phone, on my recent trip to Vizag for Campus Recruitment.  My colleagues and I visited a place called Kailashgiri, where you can go up a hill on a rope way.  From high above, you have a really nice view of the city.  As I’d mentioned earlier, the PureView is really nice for taking pictures like this, because the high resolution allows you to show off a lot of detail.  You can see the full-resolution (7728 x 4354 pixel) processed shot here. You’ll have to download the file from that page (almost 10 MB in size), and you can zoom in and see small details (like for example, near the bottom left corner, you can read the text “VUDA MARINE DRIVE” on the arch on the road).

I have uploaded an album on Facebook with more pictures from the trip – Vizag Trip – 24-26-Sep-12 (40 images).  All of these were taken with the PureView phone.  I didn’t have my Canon EOS 550D with me on this trip, since I travelled to Vizag from Chennai, and couldn’t carry too much stuff.  The PureView camera served me pretty well I must say!

Nokia 808 PureView – My Impressions So Far

NOTE: This is going to be a long post, but written from the point of view of someone who is passionate about photography and therefore really appreciates the technology that Nokia has put into this device.

Nokia’s new flagship phone, the 808 PureView, was announced on 27-Feb-12 (I wrote about it in this post).  After reading about it, I immediately knew that if I was ever to upgrade my existing phone (a Nokia N8), the 808 would be the one I would get.

My phone choices have been dictated to a huge extent by the kind of camera in the device.  In 2006 I got a Sony Ericsson w300i, followed in 2007 by a w700i, post that, a Nokia N82 (which had the whopping 5 megapixel camera), and in 2010, the Nokia N8 (which, with its 12 megapixel camera, had the best camera on a mobile device).

The N8 now has the second-best mobile device camera on the planet.  This is because, the Nokia 808 PureView has a 41 megapixel sensor.  Over the last few months, I’ve been reading everything I can about the camera and the technology behind it, and I decided that I was going to buy it as soon as I could.  Fortunately, India is one of the countries to get this phone early, so I managed to get my hands on the device on 21-Jun-12.

The retail price of the phone is Rs 33,899, but I ordered it on Flipkart and got it for Rs 32,499.  Plus, they even threw in a cover for the phone worth Rs 1,000.

You can see more pictures of me opening up the package I got from Flipkart on this Facebook album: Unboxing the Nokia 808 PureView (19 photos).  This is like a little kid opening up a Christmas present.

I have been talking about this phone to my friends for the past couple of months now, so quite a few people knew that I was crazy about this device, and people told me that I probably was one of the first people to order this from Hyderabad.  And I know of at least one person who actually bought this phone because of me.

Now you might ask the following questions (and people have asked me this) –

  • Why would anyone need a 41 megapixel camera on a phone?
  • Why would I want this, considering I already have a Canon EOS 550D DSLR camera?

My answers to that –

  • You don’t NEED a 41 megapixel camera, but that doesn’t mean it’s not nice to have.  Recently, I saw Ren Ng’s TED talk about the Lytro Light Field camera, in which he says that the Lytro opens up new creative possibilities.  In the same way, the Nokia 808 allows one to take different types of pictures that wouldn’t be otherwise possible.  You can use it as a normal camera and produce 5 or 8 megapixel images with it.  But you can also use it to produce large-resolution images with lots of detail, and when done right, those images would be unique and can’t be produced with any other camera in its class.
  • Who says you can’t own and use more than one camera?  The DSLR along with the lenses I have can produce beautiful images, and yes, the images are superior to what the Nokia 808 PureView produces.  But a big advantage of the PureView is that I have it with me practically all the time – including situations where I wouldn’t be able to take along my DSLR.

Here are my impressions on this device so far.

Right now, I am not using the 808 PureView as a phone, more as a camera & recording device, and a device to carry around photos, music and videos.  I am using my Nokia N8 as the phone still.

As you can make out from the above picture, the 808 PureView is larger in size than the N8 and feels heavier too.  This phone has a Micro SIM slot, so I have to get my SIM card cut down to size if I have to use it with this.  I haven’t yet done that.

The AMOLED screen on the 808 PureView is bigger than the one on the N8, but it has the same number of pixels (360 x 640 resolution), as a result of which the N8’s display actually feels sharper to me.

Due to the higher memory and better processor, the 808 PureView feels smoother in operation than my N8.

The phone come with a higher version of the Belle OS than the N8.  People told me that if I was investing in a phone, an Apple / Android / Windows phone is better in terms of the applications.  But that was not really my concern, since I was interested in this device only for the camera.  I seem to have bought a camera that also in its spare time, makes calls!

Now that the other stuff about the phone is out of the way, let’s talk about the things that I am actually using this phone for.  Firstly, the camera.

PureView Technology

To really understand what’s special about the camera on this smartphone, here’s a small primer on photography and what Nokia is calling their PureView technology.

A camera is a box that is completely dark inside.  At one end of this box is a shutter – which is something like a curtain.  In order to take a photo, the curtain opens for a brief instant of time, admitting light inside the camera.  This light is focused by a lens, and it hits a light-sensitive surface (film if one is using a traditional film camera, or a digital sensor, if one is using a digital camera).  And this is how a photo is produced.

Nokia put a huge sensor into the 808 PureView.  This sensor is the biggest ever in a mobile phone, and is actually bigger than the sensors found on many compact digital cameras.  A comparison is given below –

  • 35mm Full Frame Camera (Canon EOS 5D Mark II) – 36 mm x 24 mm
  • Nikon APS-C Crop Camera (my brother’s Nikon D90) – 23.6 mm x 15.6 mm
  • Canon APS-C Crop Camera (my Canon EOS 550D) – 22.2 mm x 14.8 mm
  • Nokia 808 PureView – 10.7 mm x 8 mm (1/1.2″ sensor)
  • Nokia N8 – 7.2 mm x 5.3 mm (1/1.8″ sensor)
  • Compact Camera 1/2.3″ sensor (Nikon Coolpix P510) – 6 mm x 4.5 mm
  • iPhone 4S – 4.5 mm x 3.4 mm

You can see more details on this Wikipedia page – Image Sensor Format.

So Nokia’s engineers have put in a big sensor that’s capable of capturing 41 million pixels of data.  This information is used to produce images of different dimensions.  One can shoot in “full resolution” (which equates to a 34 megapixel image if you’re shooting in 16:9 aspect ratio, or 38 megapixel if in 4:3), or in “PureView” mode.  PureView mode produces images of 8, 5 or 2 megapixels – but in order to generate these images, the phone actually crunches all the data that the sensor captures, which means that the smaller dimension images are actually very detailed and noise-free, and in this mode, you have 2 or 3x lossless zoom.  This is what they call “oversampling”.  Video quality is also great, because this oversampling is used in video also.

Nokia is going to put in PureView technology in their upcoming phones too.

The lens on this camera is an f2.4 lens, as compared to f2.8 on the N8.  This means that the lens can open wider (smaller f number = larger opening), and therefore let in more light into the camera.

So what can you do with the camera?

You can use this camera as you would an 8 megapixel compact camera.  It’ll produce very nice images, and works well in low light thanks to the lens and the PureView oversampling.  But you can also put it in the full resolution 34 or 38 megapixel mode, and shoot images with lots and lots of details.

This gets you thinking differently.  It’s like having a wide angle prime lens attached to a huge-resolution camera.  In this full resolution mode, I like setting it to take 16:9 images as I find the wide aspect ratio interesting.

Enough talk, let’s see some sample images – below is one of the early images I took with this camera.  This is Cyber Towers at Hitech City, Hyderabad.

Click the above image to see a larger version.  Of course, that is about 2000 pixels wide and not the actual 7728 pixel wide version that came straight from the camera.

Below are some sections (100% size crops) extracted from the full image – where you can make out text on signs, license plate numbers, you can see faces of the people in the crowd, and two people standing on the roof of the building.  You cannot get images like this with any other mobile phone on the planet!

With a little editing, below is the final image.  I boosted the contrast and colours in Photoshop Elements.  The lens produces a very pronounced pincushion distortion when you shoot it at the wide aspect ratio (I think the distortion would be reduced if shot in 4:3 ratio, I have not tried this much so can’t tell exactly), so I got rid of that too.

I have uploaded the full size image at deviantART here – Cyber Towers at Dusk by ~karthik82 on deviantART.  You can download the 7728 x 4354 pixel image from there (it’s big in terms of file size – approximately 7 MB) and see all the little details for yourself.

One more bit of trivia about the image above – the text I put in is in the typeface Nokia Pure – which is Nokia’s new font that they’re using for all their branding (their earlier font was called Nokia Sans).  This is the font used on the packaging of their phones and also on their websites.  You can read about it here and even download the font file from this page.

One more picture which I shot with this camera, this is a tall one as opposed to a wide image –

As you can see, I am illuminated and enlightened by the light!  This was taken at Prasad’s Multiplex when I went to see the night show of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur.

This is another image I took with the camera, that I am proud of –

This was taken on a rainy night, and shows off the low light capabilities of the camera.  This is also an edited image, but even the image straight from the camera looked great.  This one, I shot in the 8 megapixel PureView mode.

On 23-Jun-12, pretty soon after I got this camera, I went on a Photo Walk.  I had carried along my Canon EOS 550D, but decided that I’d take all my photos that day with the PureView camera only!

Here is the full album of photos on Facebook: Photo Walk by Karthik and Vikram Jammula (21 photos).  Apart from resizing and a little auto-contrast boosting, no other editing is done to the images in that album.

Recently, I attended Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad Volume 9.  As it has been for the past 4 volumes, I was the ‘unofficial’ photographer at that event.  This time though, I took photos using both by Canon EOS 550D as well as the Nokia 808 PureView.  (To understand what this event is all about, you can read my detailed post here.)

Here is the full album of photos on Facebook: Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad Vol 9 (78 photos).  The last 20 photos in this album (beginning from this one) were taken with the 808 PureView.

In retrospect, these images aren’t probably the best that the 808 can produce.  I took all of those in the 34 megapixel mode, at ISO 1600 (since it was a very low light environment).  I should have taken them in the 8 megapixel mode, where PureView oversampling would have kicked in and made the images cleaner (I’d still say these images are pretty decent, since many cameras don’t even go up to ISO 1600).  Well, it’s a learning for next time.

Okay, one more image before we wrap up talking about the camera.  I don’t think you can take a picture like this on any other mobile phone camera on the planet –

This is blasphemy… this is madness!  Madness?  This… is… PUREVIEW!

Let me explain a little about how I took this shot.  Earlier, I had taken a photo of the Supermoon.  That experience taught me that when taking a shot like this, you actually have to cut the amount of light entering the camera, since if you keep it in the auto mode, all you’ll get is a white circle.  I also knew that I’d have to zoom as much as possible.

So, I put the camera in the PureView 2 megapixel mode (so I could zoom), set it at ISO 100 (so that the image would have less noise) and zoomed in all the way.  I reduced the exposure as much as the camera would allow (I think I’d put it at -4.0), to cut the light so I don’t lose shadow detail.

I set the focusing mode on the camera to either hyperfocal or infinity (now I don’t remember which one), and then took a bunch of shots.  I selected the one that was the best out of the lot, then cropped the image and darkened it further in Photoshop Elements.  Added text in the elegant Nokia Pure font, and there you have it.

If you want to see the image straight from the camera, it’s below –

Some more tips on using the camera on the 808 PureView

The user interface on the 808 PureView’s camera, I think, is really nice.  It’s very intuitive.  There are three modes in which you can use the camera.

  • Automatic – Camera decides all the shooting settings, provides you with no options at all, excepting the shutter button and an option to turn on / off the flash.  Very simple to use.
  • Scenes – You just decide the scene mode – landscape, portrait, low light, sports, etc, and the camera will decide the settings suitable to that scenario.
  • Creative – Here’s where you can select all the shooting options.  Automatic and Scenes both shoot only in the lower resolution PureView mode.  In Creative, you can select whether you want to use PureView or shoot in full resolution, you can select the aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3), adjust contrast, saturation, sharpness.

One thing I’d advise you to do is, go into the Creative menu, scroll down all the way and click on Preferences.  There, you can turn on the Viewfinder Grid and enable Video Stabilisation.

The Viewfinder Grid is very useful as it will enable you to apply the Rule of Thirds while shooting stills and recording video.  Also, in the video mode, it provides you with guides to compose your image for a 2.39:1 aspect ratio (crop marks), so if you are going to crop your video later on to a Cinemascope-type widescreen format, you can be sure that you are not placing anything of interest in an area that’ll be cropped off later.

While taking a picture in Creative Mode, the icons on the left allow you to choose the following options (in order) –

  • Flash On/Off
  • Exposure – To brighten / darken the image.  Default is set at 0.0, you can go to -4.0 at one extreme and to +4.0 at the other extreme.  This is what I was talking about in the Moon photo example.
  • White Balance – Sunny, Cloudy, etc options.
  • ISO – This camera goes from ISO 50 all the way to ISO 1600.  And it has relatively less noise even at ISO 1600 for a camera in its class.
  • ND Filter – The camera (like the N8) has a neutral density filter which can cut light (for example, if you’re shooting directly into the sun, you’d obviously need to have it on, else you’ll get a fully white image).  You can set it on, turn it off or leave it in automatic mode for the camera to decide.

There’s another parameter you can set which you might not readily be aware of, since it’s not accessed by any of the above-visible options – Focusing mode.  You access this by long-pressing on the screen (touch and hold for a second or two till the menu pops up).

There are four options here and here’s what they mean –

  • Automatic – The normal mode of operation – you touch on an object to focus on it.
  • Close-up – Similar to the previous one except this allows you to focus closer.
  • Infinity – Set the camera to focus at the farthest distance.  This way, when you press the shutter button the camera won’t spend time trying to focus on anything.
  • Hyperfocal – Focuses the camera at the hyperfocal distance – essentially meaning you get the maximum depth of field possible (one explanation is here).  This means that excepting for objects that are very close to the camera, everything will be sharply in focus.  The “Sports” scene mode uses Hyperfocal focusing.

Again, referring to the Moon shot, I used either Infinity or Hyperfocal focusing (I don’t remember which), since when I kept the camera in Automatic focusing mode, it had trouble focusing sharply on the moon.

Video and Audio

The 808 PureView can shoot full HD video in 1080p.  You can zoom when recording video too, and the quality is amazing, much better than what you’d find in any other camera phone.  The video camera also has Automatic, Scenes and Creative options (just like in stills).  If you put the camera in 360p resolution, you can really zoom in a lot (enough for filming the moon)!

When you’re filming video, the audio quality in your clips is really, really good.  Nokia has put in something called Rich Recording in this device, and it really produces very nice audio.

You can take advantage of this even when you’re just using the Sound Recorder.  Put it in “High Quality” mode and you’ll get really nice audio.

Take this piece, for example –

This is a short theme music that I made, for the Galacticast audio podcast on my cousin Girish’s blog Galactica.  Listen to it with headphones – the quality is great.

A couple of things about that file –

  • My cousin’s name, his blog’s name as well as the name of the podcast all begin with the letter “G”, therefore, this theme music uses the G#7 chord, and I simply played 3 of the strings!
  • Broken Plectrum is a name I came up with.  A few days before, the plectrum I was using broke.  That’s what led me to come up with this name, and I even made an image for it (as you’d expect, I shot that with the Nokia 808 PureView camera as well).

Nice, isn’t it?

That about wraps it up for this post!  As and when I come up with more interesting stuff to post and talk about, I’ll write about it.  I have an album on Facebook for 808 PureView Photos, I’ll keep adding to that.  And of course, any videos I shoot with this will be uploaded and written about later.

More Video Links

Items of Interest – 27-Feb-12 to 4-Mar-12

As usual, here is a rundown of interesting things that happened in the past week.  This week saw the announcement of two cameras, I shared TED talks from two speakers, and there were a couple of other items of interest.  Here you go –

Announced: the Nokia 808 PureView

On 27-Feb-12 at Barcelona, Nokia announced their upcoming device – the Nokia 808 PureView.  This to me is a camera which just happens to have a smartphone tacked on to it!  The reason I say this, is that the PureView has a camera with a 41 megapixel sensor.

Yes, you read that correctly, 41 megapixels.  Of course, just having a larger number of megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean you get a better picture, and the engineers at Nokia know this.  So is this just marketing fluff or is there something actually remarkable about this?

I would go with the latter – the camera on this smartphone has a larger sensor than the one in the Nokia N8 (my current phone, and in terms of image quality from a smartphone camera, the N8 is by some accounts, the best).  So, the detail it captures is indeed more than any smartphone camera around.

The sensor can capture 7728 x 5368 pixels of information.  If you shoot a picture in 4:3 mode, then the image dimensions would be 7152 x 5368 (38 megapixels), and in 16:9 mode, you get a 7728 x 4354 (34 megapixels) image.  Since the camera is capturing a lot of information, it would perform very well in low light, zooming would still produce very clear images, and when scaled down, the images would have excellent detail.  The larger sensor would allow it to produce excellent video (1080p) too.

The phone runs the Nokia Belle OS (same as the N8) – since apparently, that can handle the hardware required to process this huge amount of image information.

The phone would be available towards the end of March and in India, it would cost around Rs 35,000.  So far I have been very happy with my Nokia N8 and have not thought of upgrading my phone.  But the Nokia 808 PureView is certainly tempting!  I will definitely consider buying it.

When I told my friends this, some thought I would ditch my DSLR – I would never think of doing that, since a smartphone camera cannot replace a DSLR.  But in my opinion, it’s great to have a good camera on your phone, since you’ll be carrying your phone almost everywhere, and in situations where you may not have a bigger camera with you (check this Facebook album for example – these photos were taken by me with my N8 at a get-together at office where I didn’t have my DSLR).

See the following links for more information –

  • Nokia Conversations Article
  • Nokia 808 PureView Whitepaper (593 KB PDF File) – I highly recommended you download this, if you want to understand this technology better.
  • Nokia 808 Test Shots (31 MB ZIP File) – Sample images!  These are apparently unretouched images straight from the camera, shot at the huge 38 or 34 megapixel resolutions.  There are only 3 images inside the ZIP, each being around 10 MB in size.  They’re all shot in good light (apparently by a pro photographer).  If you zoom in all the way, the quality is amazing.  The detail is great and since the sensor size is larger, you can get a better shallow depth of field effect that you can get with the N8.
  • Gizmodo Article – If you don’t want to download the 31 MB archive, you can see smaller versions of the sample images on this article.

I would love to have a camera like this to complement my DSLR.  You’ll notice, that I am only talking about the camera on this phone – a phone to me in most cases is a necessary evil.  One can take for granted that the 808 would do nicely in allowing you to make calls and send messages.  And the OS is no different from what I am using now – it’s only Facebook and Twitter that I access from my phone, and I sometimes view my Gmail on it.  Otherwise I don’t use other apps.  That’s why, if at all I am going to upgrade my phone, this is the one I would get.

Announced: the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

On 2-Mar-12, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its EOS system, Canon announced it’s upcoming DSLR – the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

This is the successor to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which was introduced in 2008 and was considered a game-changing piece of equipment.  The Mark II is used by professionals all around the world and it has been used to shoot movies (our own Ram Gopal Varma has made two movies with it – Dongala Mutha and Not a Love Story), music videos and TV shows.

The 5D Mark III is a 22 megapixel full-frame camera and like it’s predecessor, it can do 1080p video (perhaps in the future we will see a DSLR that can shoot 4K video).  Because of its large sensor, the video is very film-like.  There are improvements in the focusing system, and there are improvements in video (technology borrowed from the 1D X) that will aid pro cinematographers.

It’ll be available in April it seems, and will cost $3499 for the body only, and with the EF 24-105mm f4 L lens, it’ll cost $4299.

If I were to upgrade to a full-frame DSLR, this is the camera I’d like to own.  So, as I said on Facebook, if someone would like to rob a bank and then buy me this camera, please let me know.  I will give you my address.  My birthday is on May 15.  Just saying.

I wouldn’t mind if you get me a Nikon D800 either, but I can’t use my 50mm f1.8 II lens with that.  So I’d stick with Canon!

Check out the following links for more info –

TED Talks of Note

There were a few TED Talks that I came across and shared this week.  The first out of these is from the future – Peter Weyland’s TED Talk on “I will Change the World” from TED 2023.

Interesting, right?  This is actually clever marketing for the upcoming Ridley Scott movie Prometheus, and features Guy Pearce playing the character Peter Weyland.

As much as Ridley Scott & Co. have been denying that Prometheus is a direct prequel to Alien, there is quite a bit of evidence to prove otherwise.  The ‘evil corporation’ in the Alien movies is called Weyland-Yutani, and Peter Weyland is obviously linked to it.

This video was directed by Luke Scott (Ridley’s son) and written by Damon Lindelof (more info).  It’s very well done, and one can make some interesting observations from this video –

At around 00:50, a tweet is visible –

Where’s Weyland going with this? Thought fire was for all mankind. He’s probably franchised using it now. #TED http://bit.ly/tgwQvj

Typing in the link will take you to the Prometheus Trailers page on Apple.com.

This tells us two things – one, that Twitter will still be around in 2023, and so will the URL shortener bit.ly.  When I compile this list of tweets each week, I always think, what if either bit.ly or Twitter’s own URL shortener t.co cease to exist?  A whole bunch of links would stop working (“as if a million voices were suddenly silenced”).  Coincidentally, I mentioned this in just the previous “Items of Interest” post.

There is another tweet that you can see earlier on (at around 00:12) –

WOW! This is EPIC!! #TEDlongbeach2023 What has @weylandcorp got up their sleeves this time? The anticipation is killing me.

I had to download the 1080p clip to see this clearly.  @weylandcorp on Twitter does not seem to be officially part of the marketing by Twentieth Century Fox for this movie though.

Later on in the video (at around 01:48) there’s another tweet that comes by, but it’s out of focus so I couldn’t make out what it says.  Only a few words – “Killer #TED…”, “online collaboration” – are discernible.

Weyland mentions that we now have the ability to create cybernetic individuals who are completely indistinguishable from humans – that is a reference to Michael Fassbender’s character in the movie.

Also, in the Paul W S Anderson movie AVP: Alien vs Predator, Lance Henriksen played the character Charles Bishop Weyland.  That movie was set in 2004, so Peter Weyland would be either the son or grandson of the other Weyland.  That is, assuming that the Prometheus filmmakers are considering AVP as part of the continuity.  They could just be ignoring that AVP ever happened, though.

As I was mentioning to my friend, that is probably a convenient thing for them to do.  AVP wasn’t a bad movie in my opinion, but I think it would be better for everyone to ignore what happened in “Gunnison, Colorado” – I’m referring to the second AVP movie, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem which was thoroughly disappointing.

This is like saying that they made only one Matrix movie (as immortalised by this xkcd comic – “Too bad they never made any sequels”), that the Star Wars prequels didn’t exist, and that Indiana Jones was a trilogy (see some of the comments in this Slashdot article).  So I’d say “it was interesting to see a crossover between the Alien and Predator franchise, I wonder if they’ll think of making a sequel to it sometime”. (TVTropes calls this Discontinuity)

Weyland mentions M-theory in his talk, which I did not know and looked up on Wikipedia.  Apparently it’s a concept to describe what makes up our universe, I couldn’t understand it beyond that.

Another TED Talk you should check out, is the below one, by T Chendil Kumar (a.k.a. CK), given at TEDx Chennai in 2010.  This is a talk called “Stand Up, Speak Up and Shut Up (The Art of using Humour in Presentations)” and is really insightful.

You can also watch these two other talks by him – Humour Workshop Dubai, TEDx Dubai “Unleash your Humour Quotient”.

Really brilliant stuff.  How I came to share these talks is, CK conducts training sessions at our company.  Several years ago I had the pleasure of attending two training sessions by him.  Recently, he was in Hyderabad to conduct a program at my office, and I got to meet him.  That’s when I came to know that he had spoken at TEDx.  I looked up those talks on YouTube, and loved them, so shared them.

Other Links of Interest

  • Flipkart has launched Flyte – a digital store that offers MP3 downloads of music.  It’s really a progressive move, you have a variety of music available at good quality and completely DRM-free.  The prices are low too (each song costs around Rs 10).
  • Panjaa Working Stills – This is an album on Facebook, has around 100 “behind-the-scenes” photos from Panjaa.
  • If PHP Were British – Fun stuff.
  • The 84th Academy Awards – I wasn’t too interested in the Oscars this year, since none of the nominated movies really were that appealing to me (not my type).  You can have a look at the list of nominees and winners though.

This image (not by me) was shared on Facebook –

I found it really funny – if anyone knows the source, please tell me.

And to conclude this post, here are the tweets from last week:

Tweets 4-Mar-12:

  • “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this… http://t.co/4nI5qE5g
  • RT @omgthatspunny A polar bear, a giraffe and a penguin walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this? Some kind of joke?” #punny
  • RT @mihirfadnavis ‘ ? ‘ wastes lot of time setting up the chars, but the last 10 mins are ball-quivering scary. And surprisingly the acting is quite decent.
  • RT @chasejarvis What the hell is Sepia? photo knowledge 101 http://bit.ly/xMMV6R #ImpressYourFriends

Tweets 3-Mar-12:

Tweets 1-Mar-12:

Tweets 29-Feb-12:

  • Day 44 #Gym
  • RT @R_beccaBlair Whoa, whoa, whoa. February 29th? WTF is this, an alternate universe?
  • RT @torrentfreak The Pirate Bay, Now Without Torrents http://t.co/U71MUV30
  • Rage – Excellent action sequences, never boring and acting is good too. Highly Recommended! 8/10
  • There’s an action scene set in a mall near the end of “Rage” with a fight in a video store – it’s full of PM Ent videos & posters!
  • RT @GreatDismal I liked it better when I thought Kardashians were one of those prosthetic forehead races on Star Trek.
  • Man, they certainly don’t make them like they used to – Rage (1995) is a terrific action movie. Saw it many years back, great to see again.
  • RT @rajturl Feb 29
  • #NowWatching Rage (1995) starring Gary Daniels, a PM Entertainment Release

Tweets 28-Feb-12:

  • RT @urbandaily pocket pool – To stick your hand in your pocket and scratch your balls. – http://t.co/rfltPpeZ
  • RT @sickipediabot Following a sexist joke I made the other day the Feminist Society now has my address. Fortunately none of them can read a map.
  • Haha 🙂 RT @josephradhik RT @sickipediabot: I’m going to get an Oscar next year for my movie, The Fartist. It’s silent, but deadly.
  • RT @R_beccaBlair Not the best thing i’ve drawn, but it IS a sketch for #ASketchADay. Megan Fox doodle from Love The Way You Lie vid http://twitpic.com/8pn1r5
  • RT @mworch That took my brain 20 seconds to process. “@wkerslake: This picture makes my brain hurt: http://bit.ly/yaLBes
  • So It Has Come To This http://t.co/X19yAl6G
  • RT @someecards Sweatshop translation error results in least motivational sports bag on earth. http://t.co/HZr3rffH
  • RT @clientsfh “When you make a logo, do you design it yourself or do you just find something from the internet that…” http://t.co/7L1sxjpQ
  • RT @justkalpana No amount of real scientific analysis can beat the drama one anecdotal evidence can create.
  • Best Picture Winner The Artist Sets New Oscar Records http://t.co/gcEWbPl0
  • Police Find Apple Branded Stoves In China http://t.co/0sHzPaxU

Tweets 27-Feb-12: