It’s a common conundrum most first time digital SLR buyers face — what camera can they buy that will serve them well for the foreseeable future, without breaking the bank. Fortunately, entry level SLRs have only gotten better over the years and the new Nikon D3200 is a perfect example of one that stops short of cannibalising its pricier siblings. Just barely short, though.
Put that down to a lot of interesting tech crammed into the relatively small body of the D3200, including features that have trickled down from Nikon’s more expensive camera bodies. For instance, you get a variant of the Expeed 3 processing engine that is present in Nikon’s top end cameras, which promises to deliver quicker image processing and low image noise. Of course, what’s more likely to grab the headlines is the inclusion of a 24.2 million pixel sensor, putting the D3200 right up there in terms of sheer pixel count, bested only by the much pricier D800.
Does that translate to better pictures than the rest of its peer group? The sensor shows great potential in the images I took but potential that’s wasted if you keep the 18-55 kit lens on and don’t invest in a better set of lenses. There’s no downside to the higher pixel count (except possibly the extra space images take on your memory cards). What does show is dramatic improvements in video quality, and the full HD 1080p video recording at 24, 25 or 30fps (or 720p clips at 50 or 60fps) is the best of the entry-level lot.
But there are two improvements that I think will specifically appeal to the entry-level user a lot. A new Guide Mode — think of it as something in between a scene mode and an interactive photography course — offers advice on what settings to use depending on the shooting condition you select. It’s very useful in practice, though rarely it does suggest solutions which don’t quite translate into a great shot. Another feature is the option to purchase an additional Wi-Fi adaptor, the WU-1A, which connects the camera to smartphones and tablets for remote shooting and uploading images to social networking sites.
Aside from the older D5100’s swivelling LCD, there’s a lot going for the D3200. A perfect beginner’s camera? The D3200 is almost there.
• Rating: 8/10
• Price: Rs 32,250 (body only) or Rs 37,950 (with the 18-55 kit lens) or Rs 48,950 (18-105 kit)
• URL: http://bit.ly/M7iGsJ
There’s no getting away from the fact that LG smart phones in the recent years have been relegated to life in the shadows of far bigger and more successful Korean and Taiwanese phone makers. With its quad-core-HD-display-toting Optimus 4X HD, will LG stand abreast of the current kings of the hill, the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy SIII?
It’s a bit of a hit-and-miss, the 4X HD is. When you first glance at the 4X HD, you see a flat rectangular slab, and with the choice of materials and curves the competition has put out, the 4X HD looks dated, design-wise. Hold it in the hand and you’ll know what I mean. Switch it on, and the screen tells a different story. The 4.7-inches scream flagship device from every angle, and the 1280x720 pixel (hence the HD moniker) 312ppi is sharp and detailed and quite competitive in this segment.
With an IPS display, viewing angles are good and colours are plenty vibrant.
Beneath the hood is a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset and 1GB of RAM, which puts the 4X HD at par with rivals in terms of pure specs. The roomy 16GB of memory can be expanded via a microSD card slot under the back cover, and the 2150 mAh battery lasts all day as well.
LG has rolled the LG Optimus 4X HD out of the door with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, and while I can’t say I’m a big fan of LG’s software enhancements — many are purely cosmetic — they’re not in your face enough to detract from the excellent ICS experience.
On purely its features alone, I cannot fault the 4X HD — it offers capable specs which translate into a good user experience, but I cannot help but feel there’s a wow factor missing in the 4X HD that I’ve grown accustomed to experiencing with the
Samsung and HTC flagships. It just feels more of the same, and it makes me wonder — is this phone 6 months too late for LG?
• Rating: 7/10
• Price: Rs 34,990
• URL: http://bit.ly/MTWoMu