Year after year, the digital cameras get sharper and sharper. The latest phones boast ever-higher pixel counts, while DSLRs offer hundreds of features and tools to get the perfect shot.
But that’s not where the really interesting photography is happening. Beneath the shiny surface of perfect pixels, photography is being transformed by a surprising revival in analogue.
‘It is a very different experience, shooting on film’ says Paul McKay, founder of photography boutique Analogue Wonderland. ‘There’s a uniqueness to it. Everyone has digital. Film offers a way to produce different results but also to stand out a bit’.
McKay’s story is familiar: after inheriting his father in law’s 35mm camera, his interest in photography suddenly became an obsession. Like many Millennials, the tangible, physical qualities of shooting on film – and its challenges – absorbed his attention in a way that digital couldn’t. Then he really got drawn in.
‘Outside of London, nowhere seemed to stock a decent selection of film. I lived in Yorkshire and the choices were limited. And there were a huge number of brands that were coming into the market that were very difficult to find. So I started Analogue Wonderland, a home of all things analogue to make it easy for people to get shooting on film’
French photographer Vincent Moschetti, founder of the blog On Film Only, is another convert. ‘I came back from a trip to Iceland with thousands and thousands of photos. But since my job involved sitting all day long in front of two large iMacs, surrounded by screens, I had no energy to process the photos. I gave up. I didn’t even look at the photos from Iceland’ he explains. ‘But I did develop some photos from my disposable camera. And although they’re not the best photos you’d see of Iceland, it was fun. Each shot was meaningful, unlike the thousands of photos I was taking on the digital camera’
‘From the day I saw those photos, I made a choice’ says Moschetti. ‘I sold all my digital gear – all my cameras and lenses – and decided to commit to film for at least a year. So I started a blog about it, documenting my journey into film photography’
McKay and Moschetti symbolise a surprising and growing trend towards analogue photography. At this year’s upcoming The Photography Show, the UK’s largest event dedicated to the medium, a new stage is being devoted entirely to analogue for the first time. It’s a sign of analogue’s comeback.
Photography is a very intimate, personal medium. But the motives behind the return to analogue are widely shared. The benefits of slowing down, of being constrained by the medium rather than having infinite choices, are invoked often. ‘You have to wait for them to develop, you anticipate what they will look like, and that excitement, as a photographer, I had never felt that before’ Moschetti explains.
‘The limits make it meaningful’ McKay agrees. ‘Your options are much more narrow in analogue photography. You can relax into taking the photograph rather than worrying about endless options’
From vinyl to hardback books, board games to craft ale, a backlash against digital has created a rebirth of traditional formats which even a decade ago seemed dead and buried. A generation of ‘digital natives’, accustomed to the power and variety of screen-based formats, seemed poised to consign all the traditional media to the dustbin. Instead, the opposite happened.
McKay’s convincing explanation for this surprising turnaround focuses on how fresh and exotic analogue methods appear to audiences who’ve never experienced them before: ‘The generation that’s coming through, the late teens and early 20s, have never shot film, nor remember their parents shooting on film. They’ve grown up only ever seeing digital, thinking photography is just digital. The idea that it can be a slower, tangible, and artistic form, is new to them – and very exciting’
As the screens in our life multiply, the value of non-pixelated experiences increases. Many people are finding something precious in physical, limited media which demand more of your time and attention. It just feels different.
‘The biggest surprise was in the sensation’ Moschetti nods. ‘Analogue forces you to slow down, to pay more attention to what you’re doing. It even made me slow down as a person and appreciate things for what they are’
Authenticity is another big draw. McKay explains how powerful this urge for a genuine connection can be: ‘When I see people getting into analogue, so often it’s because they’ve inherited the camera from their parents or grandparents. There’s a heritage to them, they’re real historical objects. To be able to go out and use that, compared to a DSLR or a camera phone that needs updating every two years, is special’
So how does it actually change your photography? Moschetti laughs. ‘Well for a start I’m using photoshop a lot less!’ he says. Moschetti recalls spending hours and hours fiddling with his photographs, trying to get just the right effect. ‘Now my photography is more organic. Maybe the photos aren’t better, but they’re more meaningful to me, and that’s what matters’
McKay, whose talk at The Photography Show 2020 is about the huge variety of emulsions available to analogue photographers, emphasises how much you can achieve without digital enhancement. ‘Whatever you have in mind, there is a film for that’ he says. ‘You don’t have to spend hours on Photoshop to get that effect. People sometimes worry that you can’t get interesting effects without digital. It’s like, no, no – you can!’
Moschetti concurs, connecting unlimited options of digital to a decline in creativity. ‘Our brains cannot make decisions with so many choices at hand. Which ISO, which white balance, which lens? It’s too much. Film is self-limiting. There’s more room for you to breathe and have ideas for photography, rather than about the gear or spending time behind the screen. You appreciate photography for what it should be’
Nevertheless, both men agree that there’s still a place for digital. ‘There’s room for both a decent digital camera, phones, and analogue together’ says McKay. ‘The most passionate often own all three. Photography will absorb analogue back into it alongside digital’ he predicts.
So where next for analogue? McKay predicts that analogue will outlive its current boom. ‘Certain aspects are just fads. But what’s come through is structurally sustainable. Things won’t coming crashing down. A lot of the big companies have all revitalized themselves for the new analogue industry. They don’t need to grow massively in order to survive. So I’m optimistic.
Exploring the Pinnacle of Television Technology: A Deep Dive into the Best TV Brands of 2023
In the ever-evolving world of consumer electronics, televisions remain a central piece of technology in most households. As we step into 2023, the quest for the best TV brand continues, with consumers seeking a blend of innovation, quality, and value. This article delves into the latest offerings from top TV brands, highlighting their unique features and technological advancements.
LG: A Leader in OLED Technology
LG G2 OLED TV
- Exceptional HDR peak brightness.
- 120 Hz refresh rate and VRR support enhance gaming experience.
- Impressive black levels suitable for movie nights.
- Strong ABL in bright environments.
- Purple tints caused by bright light reflections.
- Poor upscaling of 480p content.
- Verdict: The LG G2 stands out in lit rooms due to its peak brightness of 590.54 nits. Its HDMI 2.1 support is ideal for modern consoles, and the WebOS software offers a user-friendly experience. However, its anti-reflective coating and processor’s upscaling capabilities could be improved.
Sony: Balancing Performance and Aesthetics
Sony A90J OLED TV
- Near-perfect black levels.
- Accurate visuals at wide viewing angles.
- Impressive contrast and color gamut.
- Potential for burn-in.
- Brightness could be better compared to LCD/LED TVs.
- Lacks VRR until a firmware update.
- Verdict: The Sony A90J is a solid choice for both gaming and movies, offering crisp 4K resolution and a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Its peak brightness and burn-in potential are minor drawbacks.
Samsung: Innovating with QD-OLED Technology
Samsung S90C TV
- Near-infinite contrast ratio for perfect blacks.
- Peak brightness of 2,000 nits suitable for bright rooms.
- Wide viewing angle and low input lag/response time.
- Aggressive Auto Brightness Limiter (ABL).
- No support for DTS or Dolby Vision.
- Verdict: The Samsung S90C excels with its OLED panel, offering perfect blacks and bright highlights. Its QD-OLED technology produces vibrant colors, but the aggressive ABL can be distracting.
Hisense: Affordable Quality
- Low input lag and fantastic color and brightness.
- Supports Dolby Vision.
- Good Google Assistant integration.
- Poor viewing angles.
- Subpar built-in audio.
- Overzealous motion smoothing.
- Verdict: A great option for gamers, the Hisense U8G offers excellent contrast and color handling. However, its viewing angles and audio quality leave room for improvement.
TCL: Balancing Performance and Price
TCL 5 Series QLED TV
- Deep blacks with local dimming.
- Fast response times and low input lag.
- Low peak brightness for HDR content.
- No VRR technology or HDMI 2.1 support.
- Verdict: Ideal for casual gamers, the TCL 5 Series offers great color handling and HDR performance. Its lack of VRR and HDMI 2.1 support are notable limitations.
Vizio: Striking a Balance
Vizio M-Series Quantum X TV
- Above-average peak brightness for its price.
- HDMI 2.1 inputs and Wi-Fi 6E.
- 120Hz native refresh rate with VRR support.
- Not as bright as mini LED models.
- Only 30 local dimming zones.
- Narrow viewing angles.
- Verdict: The Vizio M-Series Quantum X offers a respectable peak brightness and a good contrast ratio. Its performance is balanced, making it a solid choice for those on a budget.
What to Look for in the Best TV Brands
When selecting a TV, consider the following:
- Image Quality: Look for strong image quality, which can be subjective based on personal preference.
- Display Technology: Understand the differences between OLED, LED, LCD, and QLED.
- Display Resolution: Choose between HD and Ultra HD (4K), with 4K being the future of display resolution.
- Refresh Rate and Audio Quality: Don’t rely solely on refresh rate marketing ploys and consider external audio solutions for better sound quality.
The best TV for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. Whether it’s the immersive experience of an OLED TV from LG or Sony, the innovative QD-OLED technology from Samsung, the affordability of Hisense and TCL, or the balanced performance of Vizio, there’s a TV out there that fits your lifestyle and budget. Remember, the best TV is one that meets your viewing habits, offers the features you need, and falls within your budget.
The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Your Living Space with the Latest Intelligent Devices
The smart home market is burgeoning with devices for every nook and cranny of your living space, and we’ve sifted through the plethora to bring you the crème de la crème, as tested and verified by the tech connoisseurs at PCMag.
Front Yard: The Vanguard of Your Smart Home
The journey into the smart home begins before you even cross the threshold. Take the Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera, a sentinel in the world of outdoor security cameras. This device is not just a watchful eye but also a beacon, literally shining a light on any nocturnal activities with its integrated spotlight. Its wireless design ensures a hassle-free setup, and its compatibility with a myriad of smart home ecosystems makes it a versatile choice.
For those who prefer a warm welcome or a deterrent for uninvited guests, the Ezviz DB1C Wi-Fi Video Doorbell is a budget-friendly sentinel that lets you see, hear, and speak with whoever is at your door, all from the comfort of your smartphone.
And let’s not forget the Ultraloq U-Bolt Pro Wi-Fi, a smart lock that’s as much about brains as it is about brawn, offering multiple entry modes including fingerprint and voice commands.
Living Room: The Heart of Smart Home Comfort
Moving into the living room, the ambiance is king. The Amazon Echo Studio stands tall as a smart speaker that not only serenades you with high-fidelity music but also controls your smart home devices with the sound of your voice.
For those who prefer visual interaction, the Google Nest Hub Max smart display is a window into your digital world, allowing you to manage your home, make video calls, and even follow along with recipes in real-time.
And for a touch of ambiance, the Wyze Bulb Color offers a spectrum of colors to match your mood, all controllable with a simple voice command or a tap on your smartphone.
Kitchen: Where Smart Meets Savory
In the kitchen, the Echo Show 8 reigns supreme, providing not just a portal to your favorite recipes but also a hub for your smart home devices.
For the culinary enthusiast, the Anova Precision Oven is a marvel, allowing you to bake, roast, and steam with the precision of a professional chef.
And when the feast is over, the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL takes the stage, a robotic vacuum that not only cleans but also empties itself, a true modern-day luxury.
Bedroom: Sanctuary of Smart Serenity
In the realm of rest, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed offers a bespoke sleeping experience, adjusting firmness to your liking and providing insights into your sleep patterns.
For those who prefer a cooler climate, the Midea 8,000BTU U-shaped Air Conditioner offers a whisper-quiet operation and smart connectivity for those sweltering summer nights.
Bathroom: The Pinnacle of Personal Care
Even the bathroom gets a touch of tech with devices like the Simplehuman Sensor Mirror Hi-Fi, which not only simulates natural sunlight for perfect makeup application but also plays your favorite tunes to get you into the groove of the day.
In conclusion, the smart home ecosystem is rich and varied, with devices that cater to every need and whim. From the vigilant eyes of security cameras to the dulcet tones of smart speakers, the future of home automation is not just about convenience; it’s about crafting a living space that’s responsive, intuitive, and ultimately, a reflection of the people who dwell within.
As we continue to embrace these intelligent companions into our homes, it’s clear that the smart home is no longer a fringe fantasy but a tangible, transformative reality. Whether you’re a tech aficionado or a newcomer to the digital domicile, there’s never been a better time to explore the possibilities that lie at the intersection of comfort, convenience, and cutting-edge technology.
The Coolpad COOL 20+: A Budget Smartphone Worth Your Attention?
In a market flooded with budget smartphones, it’s easy to overlook new entrants. However, Coolpad, a relatively new brand in the Philippines, is making waves with its COOL 20+ model. Priced at just PHP 5,699, this phone aims to offer a decent package without breaking the bank. But how does it stack up against its competitors? Let’s dive in.
Design and Construction
- Aesthetics: The COOL 20+ sports a minimalist design, with a glass back panel that adds a touch of luxury rarely found in this price segment. The metallic flake in the paint makes the phone sparkle under bright lights, giving it a premium feel1.
- Build: The frame is made of durable plastic, and the phone comes with a rubber case for added protection.
- Port Placement: The phone features a USB-C port, loudspeakers, a dual-sim card slot that doubles as a microSD slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
- Ergonomics: Weighing 197.1 grams, the phone is on the heavier side and feels a bit bulky.
Display and Multimedia
- Screen: The phone features a 6.52-inch IPS LCD with relatively thick borders. The colors are decent, and the screen is bright enough for outdoor use.
- Audio: The downward-firing mono speakers are loud but not the best in terms of quality.
Performance and Benchmarks
- Chipset: The phone is powered by a MediaTek Helio G85, an older chipset first introduced in 2020.
- Memory: It comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, expandable via a microSD card.
- Gaming: The phone can handle light gaming but struggles with more graphics-intensive titles.
OS, Apps, and UI
- Operating System: The phone runs on CoolOS 2, based on Android 11, and doesn’t seem to offer an upgrade to Android 12 or 13.
- User Interface: The UI is simple and easy to use but lacks flair.
- Rear Camera: The dual rear camera setup features a 48MP main lens and a 0.3MP sensor. It performs well in well-lit conditions and even in low-light scenarios.
- Front Camera: The 5MP front camera is average but gets the job done in good lighting conditions.
Battery and Connectivity
- Battery Life: The 4500mAh battery lasted 14 hours in the PCMark battery test.
- Connectivity: Basic features like Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and GPS are available.
The Coolpad COOL 20+ offers a decent package for its price. While it does have its shortcomings, such as an older chipset and limited OS upgrades, it makes up for it with a good camera and a premium glass back panel. If you’re willing to overlook these limitations, the COOL 20+ could be a budget smartphone worth considering.
So, is the Coolpad COOL 20+ the budget smartphone for you? With a plethora of options available, the choice ultimately boils down to what you prioritize in a phone. But if you’re willing to try something new, the COOL 20+ might just be the phone to break the monotony.
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