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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

2011 Jacky's Festive Guide - TV's and Cameras

Following on from our previous post on what products that could be a part of your shopping list this festive season, we've worked out a second list of recommendations for those looking to buy TV's and cameras.  The trends have clearly moved towards 3D, connectivity and HD quality images in both these categories as you'll see in the write-up below.

Samsung MV-800 Digital Camera

Samsung may not be the first name you think of when thinking of cameras but what has made Samsung rather unique is that they've taken their expertise in smartphones and started incorporating this into digital cameras.  The interface of several Samsung digital cameras is starting to resemble that of a smart phone and the use of icons on the touch screen would make you think you were using an Android-powered digital camera.  Even the picture modes or filters that are available will remind you somewhat of Apps that are used on smartphones today like Instagram or Halftone.

Apart from the interface though, the MV-800 is unique in that it has a rotating LCD screen that can tilt out to 180 degrees.  That means you can take pictures from angles where you wouldn't have been able to see the viewfinder traditionally.  The MV-800 also has a sweep panorama function that allows you to take wide shots or sweeping pictures much more easily.   The camera has a 3" LCD screen, 16 mega-pixel picture quality and 5x optical zoom.

Olympus SZ10 3D Camera

The challenge for most manufacturers of 3D cameras has been in capturing 3D content.  To capture 3D content, you generally need to use two lenses and this can be an expensive proposition.  Olympus has worked out a solution for their SZ10 camera wherein using a single lens, you can take 3D pictures by taking a picture twice out of the same  lens.  This means that you have got 3D quality images in a camera that can be more affordable and which is also compact.

Will all pictures come out great in 3D?  The jury is still out on this as it may work for pictures where the subject remains still but in a dynamic setting, it may not give the best result as it's taking a picture a second time to get the 3D effect.  Also, you can't preview how the image looks in 3D on the LCD screen as its not 3D enabled so it is only when you connect it to a 3D enabled television or computer that  you can check the picture quality.  The argument is that glasses-free 3D may still give you a headache if you use it for too long on a tiny LCD on a digital camera and commercially it probably would be much more expensive.

Other features of this camera include 18X optical wide zoom, dual image stabilization, 720p HD video capture, HDMI connectivity and a host of magic filters to take pictures with.  A lot of this functionality is not found in most smartphone cameras today and thus meaning, Olympus has tried to carve out a niche for themselves.

Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D5100 Digital SLR Cameras

Buying or using a D-SLR camera was a daunting thought once upon for most consumers as they were extremely complicated to use, required a lot of photographer skill and were expensive.  Over the last couple of years, we've seen a lot of this change as most major manufacturers started designing these cameras keeping the consumer in mind.  In this regards, the Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D5100 D-SLRs have been probably the most popular D-SLR in the consumer range of both brands.  A lot of the functionality that you would expect to find in a typical point and shoot camera is now included in these D-SLRs which means that most members of the family can expect to use the camera without too much difficulty.

Canon EOS 600D

The quality of pictures at the end of the day from a D-SLR is far superior to what you'll find coming out of even the best camera phones so if you're looking to preserve any of your special moments, a D-SLR camera is the product for you.

Nikon D5100
The Canon EOS 600D is a 18 megapixel camera whereas Nikon's D5100 is a 16.2 megapixel camera.  Both have a 3" LCD screen.  Both have got on-screen feature guides that help explain the different modes a little better and both would work well in challenging situations where a camera or point & shoot camera may not give ideal results.  The Nikon D5100 also has Full HD recording capabilities and thus can be used for video recording where required.

Deciding between these two brands really comes down to personal preferences at the end of the day but once you decide on a brand, be prepared to keep investing in the long term as the lenses generally are brand specific and you may be locked into that particular brand in the long term.

Samsung UA55D6600 LED Smart TV and LG 55LW6510 Internet TV

Samsung UA55D6600 Smart TV
The idea of a TV being "smart" or Internet-enabled has in theory been something that should've and could've been possible for a long time but it's only really been in the last year or so that we've seen this category develop.  The fact is that for a long time we've been dependent on using our computers at home for a lot of tasks that we're now realizing we can do on other devices, whether it be a smartphone, tablet or even a television.  Connectivity to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter on a television may not seem too exciting as those are probably best experienced on a tablet, laptop or smartphone but connecting to YouTube, Skype (wherever it is legal) and movie streaming sites, a Smart or Internet enabled television could be ideal.  Even if you've got a WIFI  network setup at home, it could be possible to stream your TV shows and movies that you've downloaded onto your television, thus making the entire experience of watching a TV show or movie more sociable.

Initially it may not seem that you'd need a Smart or Internet TV and sounds like a "nice to have" than a "must have" but as you start using it, you realize how easily it fits into your domestic lifestyle.
LG 55LW6510 Internet TV
The Samsung Smart TV is a Full HD 55" LED TV.  It has Samsung's "All Share" functionality that allows you to connect several devices within your household wirelessly.  It also the ability to convert 2D content into 3D content.  During the festive period, it's also coming bundled with a Samsung Galaxy Tab.  The equivalent model in LG is also a Full HD 55" LED TV.  It can also convert 2D content to 3D and unlike Samsung, uses regular 3D glasses, similar to what you'd use in a cinema, which are much cheaper than the glasses used by other manufacturers.  The LG TV has two USB slots and three HDMI slots on the TV.  It's coming bundled with a WIFI dongle and Blu-Ray DVD player during the festive season.

Posted By: Mahesh Chotrani, Head - Retail Buying and Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics