Monday, January 8, 2018

What Are The Best Smartphone Camera Lenses?

It can be said that the best camera is the camera you have with you. In this fast-paced world, the chance of someone carrying a smartphone camera over a bulky DSLR camera is much greater. Today’s smartphones come with many capabilities, one of them being the ability to take quality photos on the go. However, there is still a major benefit old-school DSLR cameras have that smartphone don’t—real lenses.
Those who want to add some versatility to their casual photography can invest in attachable lenses for their phones. These add-ons are great for upgrading from the fixed focal length and digital zoom on camera phones while also allowing you to experiment creatively with different viewpoints and effects.
Lens attachments act like spectacles for your camera. The optical aid of these lenses allows you to capture either close-up details (macro lens), 180-degree field of views (fisheye lens), zoomed-in images from a distance (telephoto lens) or expansive landscape shots (wide-angle lens). Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, here is a list of the top add-on lenses available for your smartphone.
The OlloClip line of lenses offers many quality sets of lenses. The 4-in-1 Photo Lens kit is an impressive suite of iPhone camera lenses (like AUKEY LENS )that includes a fisheye, wide-angle, 10x macro and 15x macro lens. The lenses are compatible with both the front and rear cameras on the iPhone and are designed to snap on top of the phone over the phone lens. This kit also comes with attachable keychain clips, which are convenient for keeping the lens handy. ($70)

Moment Lenses

This line of lenses is known to provide great quality smartphone images. Momentoffers a selection of lenses for iPhones and many Android devices. The wide-angle and the telephoto lenses are among the best on the market, providing sharp and crisp images. Although these lenses are bigger in size and slightly heavier than others out there, they deliver the least amount of image distortion. These lenses adhere onto your phone via a magnetic plate suited to your phone model. ($100 each)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Testing the TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 17

In 1976, TAG Heuer introduced its Monza model, named for the world-famous Italian Formula 1 racetrack. Forty years later, the Monza Calibre 17 recalls the glory days of racing while offering a great deal more than retro design. Read on for an in-depth review from the WatchTime archives, with original photos by OK-Photography.

Good news for fans of the retro look – the Monza is back. Good news for racing fans, too, with a design that’s just as dynamic and full of automotive references (as CITIZEN ECO DRIVE PROMASTER ) as the original version from 1976. It’s also remarkable, since TAG Heuer has experimented over the last 15 years with a more elegant version with no black coating and colorless dial elements.

A glance at the new Monza Calibre 17 might call to mind the familiar roar of Formula 1 engines. After all, the watch was first introduced to celebrate Ferrari’s World Championship title in 1975. On Sept. 7 of that year, Niki Lauda won third place in the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack and secured the title in a Ferrari sporting the Heuer logo. Scuderia Ferrari also won the Constructors’ Prize – a long-sought double victory after an 11-year dry stretch.

The new Monza combines the best features of two historical models – its dial design can be traced back to the original Monza from the year 1976 and its case to a Heuer chronograph from 1933. The cushion-shaped case is a style holdover from the earliest days of the watch. The Monza from the 1970s had an oval case shape that was typical for that time and was available in chrome-plated or black-coated brass. That watch contained Calibre 15, which necessarily placed the crown on the left-hand side. Calibre 15 was the successor model of the Calibre 11 developed in 1969 by Heuer-Leonidas in collaboration with Breitling, Hamilton-Büren and Dubois Dépraz – one of the world’s first automatic chronographs.

Calibre 15 had a small seconds subdial set at 10 o’clock that gave the original Monza a strikingly asymmetrical look. TAG Heuer omitted this daring design element for its newest version, due in part to its use of the ETA 2894, known at TAG Heuer as Calibre 17. This standard movement reverses the position of the small seconds and minutes counter and relocates the crown to the right side of the case.

All in all, these changes benefit the new Monza, giving it a sporty and relaxed look that is not quite so idiosyncratic as the original. Whatever it may lose in coolness, it gains with the polished and matte finishes of the cushion-shaped case. Titanium contributes to its excellent wearing comfort and the titanium carbide coating makes it highly resistant to scratches.

Just as before, the Monza has a sealed caseback – even though the technology beneath is in no way so unattractive that it must be hidden. TAG Heuer uses the basic movement quality “Elaboré” and adds various decorative finishes and an individualized rotor. Black enhanced engraving instead of gold on the oscillator fits the overall sporty design of the watch.

The ETA 2894 is a modular chronograph based on the three-hand caliber ETA 2892, so the crown sits lower on the case than the chronograph pushers. Although the pushers are generously sized, their pressure point is not perfect. The start-stop pusher on our test watch had a notably delayed reaction when timing events. The stop and reset worked better but the pusher function was stiff. This is due at least in part to the cam control of the chronograph that replaces the historical, higher-quality column-wheel control in more economical chronograph movements.

The rate results of the test watch are generally acceptable. However, the timing machine recorded an outlier in the “dial down” position, which negatively affected the average outcome on our stringent rate test. On the positive side was the low daily gain of 2.5 seconds per day without the chronograph on and 4.5 seconds per day while running. The wearing test on the wrist showed deviations ranging between 0 and +6 seconds per day.

The perforated calfskin strap is also perfectly in line with the automotive appeal of the Monza design, as are the sporty case and dashboard-like displays. The strap ends in a functional, well-executed folding clasp with push-buttons that are also made of PVD-coated titanium. Its clamp-type clasp mechanism allows for precise adjustment. It compresses the strap at the point of closure, though not to the extent seen on similar clasps.

All in all, the TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 17 is more stylish than the original model from the 1970s (combination cushion-shaped case), of higher quality (titanium with PVD coating) and therefore, more attractive (perfectly in line with current retro trends). What was good in 1976 – it’s even better today.

Manufacturer: TAG Heuer SA, Rue L.-J. Chevrolet 6a, 2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Reference number: CR2080.FC6375
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 30-minute counter, date
Movement: ETA 2894 “Elaboré,” automatic, 28,800 vph, 37 jewels, hack mechanism, quick date adjustment, fine regulator, Incabloc shock absorber, power reserve = 42 hours, diameter= 28 mm, height = 6.1 mm
Case: Titanium-carbide-coated titanium, curved sapphire crystal on both sides, titanium-carbide-coated titanium screwed caseback with four screws, water resistant to 100 m
Strap and clasp: Calfskin strap with PVD- coated titanium safety folding clasp
Rate results (deviations in seconds per 24 hours, with chronograph switched off/on)
Dial up +2 / -1
Dial down +11 / +7
Crown up +1 / 0
Crown down +6 / +4
Crown left +6 / +6
Crown right +1 / -1
Greatest deviation of rate 10 / 8
Average deviation +4.5 / +2.5
Average amplitude:
Flat positions 310° / 291°
Hanging positions 282° / 259°
Dimensions: Diameter = 42 mm, height = 13.5 mm, weight = 96 grams
Price: $5,200

Strap and clasp (max. 10 points): The supple calfskin strap is easy to adjust thanks to the safety folding clasp with its clasp mechanism. 9
Operation (5): Only weakness: stiff operation of the pushers 4
Case (10): Excellent execution of the titanium case. Scratch resistant thanks to PVD coating; water resistant to 100 m 9
Design (15): TAG Heuer has improved upon the original watch design from the 1970s. One weakness has remained, however: no color distinction in the hands for the timekeeping and chronograph functions. 14
Legibility (5): The basic orientation on the dial is good both day and night, but the abundant line markings on the minutes track are distracting. 4
Wearing comfort (10):The lightweight case, supple strap and functional clasp sit snugly and comfortably on the wrist. 10
Movement (20): Highly developed mass-produced chronograph movement in basic quality “Elaboré” with attractive decorative finishes 12
Rate results (10): One outlier in the “dial down” position makes the maximum positional deviation rather high. 6
Overall value (15): Its value is adequate, but not as good as other chronographs with in-house movements. 12

Sunday, December 10, 2017


  • Exceptional detection circuit
  • Good battery life
  • Easy to use
  • Unparalleled durability - Made in the USA
  • 25 ft. night flash range
  • Blurry night photos
  • Expensive
Trailcampro Analysis
The Reconyx HC550 is a white LED trail camera (as MOULTRIE M-40I GAME CAMERA).  Instead of the traditional incandescent flash, Reconyx put a white led flash to produce the same color night photos.

As you will read below, the HC550 has the same detection circuit, case design, and nearly all other functions as the popular Reconyx HC500 and HC600 models.  The biggest difference is the white led flash.
As with any camera, we give you our opinion of the photos, but your needs are different than ours.  If you disagree with our rating of the photos, the sample photos on the right will help you decipher the quality for yourself.
For years, Reconyx photos have been some of our favorite for overall photo quality.  The HC550's day photos have vivid color but we have noticed more blur in day photos then we have ever noted in the HC500 or HC600.

The night photos, to be quite honest, are disappointing.  The 25-foot flash range rating we gave the camera is really only if the animal is in the center of the photo.  On the edges of the photo, the flash range might be closer to 15 feet.

While the night photos are color, they are still very dark and don't give the big, bold color photos we have accumulated from past incandescent cameras.

The most concerning note is the white led is so bright (much brighter than an incandescent flash), we have multiple photos of animals turning and running when the flash goes off.  Maybe it is more noticeable in this camera because the HC550 is taking photos so much faster than any of the incandescent cameras, but it is worth noting.

The only scenario that I can see the cameras night photos being useful is if you are doing a large cat study (Leopards, cheetahs etc.) and you need color night photos to I.D. specific animals at night.  In order to be effective, you will need to be within 15 ft of the animal. 
Battery life is a strong point in all Reconyx cameras.  The numbers on the HC550 are incredible considering this is a white LED trail camera.  Resting draw, daytime consumption, and nighttime consumption are all top of the line.
This camera will work with alkaline, lithium or NiMH rechargeable batteries.  We recommend the rechargeables for their consistent battery life in both warm and cold weather and overall cost savings.
As with all Reconyx cameras, the detection circuit on the HC550 is the best on the market.  The trigger time is a scorching 0.207 seconds and the camera recovers right at 1 second.  In other words, this camera will take pictures of an animal every second as long as it is moving in front of the camera.
The detection range is 60 ft. and the detection zone is slightly less than the field of view.  Overall, this detection circuit is top-notch and will result in the maximum number of photos being taken at the given camera trap station

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Federal Agency Just Put America's Solar Power Industry in Danger

The future of solar power in the U.S. was thrown into question Friday by a closely watched federal ruling. The International Trade Commission, an agency that advises on some trade issues, ruled that Chinese solar panel (like GOAL ZERO NOMAD 13 ) imports threaten American manufacturers, giving the White House authority to impose a tariff on imports of solar panel. Such a measure would dramatically increase the cost of solar panels in the U.S., making the electricity source less competitive with fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.

The case was brought by two U.S. solar panel manufacturers — Suniva and SolarWorld — that have struggled to compete in recent years as Chinese manufacturers slashed solar panel prices and U.S. energy companies bought and installed them. "Without temporary relief, there will likely be no existing American [solar] cells or modules industry within a short period of time," wrote Suniva in a federal complaint. "Relief is necessary to prevent the permanent loss of a competitive domestic industry."

While the ruling could protect American solar panel manufacturers from foreign competition, it could also threaten other sectors of the solar power industry — and renewable energy in the U.S. as a whole. Thousands of Americans rely on the solar industry for jobs installing, repairing and operating solar panels, whether those panels are made in the U.S. or not. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has claimed that a tariff could cost 88,000 U.S. solar jobs of more than 250,000 employed in the industry. (Solar panel manufacturing accounts for about 8,000 of those 250,000 jobs.)

"If you were to double the price of a solar module, it would have massive negative impacts for 99% of the solar supply chain,” said Amy Grace, head of North American research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm, before the decision. “You would be cutting off your entire body to save your pinky.”

The decision on whether to impose a tariff now falls to the Trump administration. And while President Trump has not yet said what he will do, many observers expect him to impose a harsh tariff, based on his repeated questioning of free trade, barbs directed at China and promise to restore American manufacturing. Still, that move would face major pushback from conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which have publicly opposed a solar tariff. A bipartisan group of governors has also raised concerns about the effect of a tariff on jobs in their states.

"Tariffs today would amount to nothing more than a crony capitalist giveaway," conservative groups including Heritage and Alec said in a September open letter. "They would be paid for by crippling an otherwise growing domestic solar industry."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


In an effort to ameliorate the ongoing Gazan energy crisis, the World Bank on Tuesday announced a partnership with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company and the Palestinian Authority to launch a $2.5-million solar roof pilot program in the Strip.

The initiative, funded by the World Bank and a multi-donor trust fund called Development Partners, is part of an $11m.

project designed to expeditiously expand and engender the mobilization of the private sector to install 1,000 rooftop panels.

According to a new study by the World Bank, entitled “Securing Energy for Development in the West Bank and Gaza,” more than 150 megawatts of solar power can be produced in the Gaza Strip.

However, due to a reliance on expensive diesel fuel, the region rarely produces more than 60 megawatts.

The recent reduction of imports from Israel has resulted in a full-blown crisis, endangering patients at area hospitals, and forcing Gazans to search for viable, affordable alternative energy solutions.

Gaza residents currently subsist on two hours of electricity daily.

Rooftop solar technology, first introduced to the impoverished coastal enclave in 2012, is increasingly proving to be the best solution, according to the World Bank.

“As of May 2017, approximately 310 kilowatts of rooftop solar systems have been installed on rooftops of health facilities in Gaza,” said Sara Badiei, an energy specialist at the World Bank. “For an embattled company such as GEDCO, this is an opportunity to improve their services and customer relations by providing additional power independent of political uncertainties.”

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, 1,000 kilowatts of additional rooftop solar generation could be installed at 34 critical units within 10 hospitals in the region at a cost of $4m.

“In addition, the program helps strengthen utility performance by encouraging good payment behavior through the monthly installments,” said Badiei.

“Following the same business model – with additional modifications and streamlining – the World Bank is teaming up with GEDCO and the Palestinian Energy Authority to install 1 megawatt of rooftop solar systems (for example: RENOGY SOLAR SUITCASE )for up to 1,000 consumers.”The pilot project, she said, is designed to be rapidly scalable, with an emphasis on galvanizing the private sector for further growth.
While not a panacea, Badiei said the initiative will offer the most sustainable means of increasing the region’s daily power needs, which by 2030 is forecast to reach 900 megawatts.

“At the same time, it will help ensure lifesaving health treatments, link telecommunication systems, improve water supply, bring adequate sewage treatment, enable business development – and most importantly, ensure consumers remain connected to electricity, even if a subsection of the grid is damaged during armed conflict,” she said.

“Overall, adoption of solar energy should be maximized; not only to improve quality of life, but to put power back into the hands of ordinary Gazans,” she added.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

How the Movement to Mobile Will Affect Your Business

More people than ever before are glued to their smartphone.

Between 2011 and 2014, smartphone usage rose by 394 percent, according to comScore. This same study found that 91 percent of all adults now have their smartphone within reach 24 hours a day.

What you may not realize is that slightly more than half of all digital media is now consumed on a mobile device, according to eMarketer, and comScore says 11.3 percent of all web browsing is done solely on a mobile device.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

5 Secrets to Business Branding Success

We know that branding done right can be a powerful catalyst for growth.

But when it comes to branding or rebranding, there’s one thing that can kill the whole process faster than you can say “brand”: Buy-in.

If you don’t have buy-in from your partners, your employees, and your customers, you just went through a whole lot of something for a whole lot of nothing.

So, how do you make sure your internal and external teams are rooting for the new brand that you’re investing in? Follow the tips below to make sure your whole team is on board with the new brand.

What Are The Best Smartphone Camera Lenses?

It can be said that the best camera is the camera you have with you. In this fast-paced world, the chance of someone carrying a smartph...