Full-frame SLRs are often viewed by photo enthusiasts as the holy grail of photography, thanks to large sensors that match the size of traditional 35mm film and make budget SLR sensors look practically tiny in comparison! Armed with pro-grade reliability and downright knock-your-socks-off-level image quality, most of us end up just dreaming about buying one of these, thanks to their prohibitive pricing. Well, dreams have just gotten a little more real with the arrival of the D600, Nikon’s first stab at a “budget” full-frame digital SLR. The big question is — is there too much of a compromise made?
In design, the D600 is a interesting mix of pro and enthusiast cameras — the use of magnesium alloy and polycarbonate panels and an overall smaller chassis makes it incredibly light as a full-frame camera, yet it doesn’t make you doubt the quality of construction. If you carry your camera around for hours shooting birds or wildlife, your shoulders will thank you for the massive drop in weight!
Dive inside, and the D600 checks off some essentials — a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor, with 5.5 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting capabilities and a 39-point autofocus system — the latter being a step down from the 51-point AF system offered on the serious high-end Nikon pro cameras, one that trips up the D600 only when you’re focusing in truly poor light conditions or in fast-paced sports shooting. Folks upgrading from current Nikon cameras will love the DX mode that lets you use non full-frame Nikon lenses with the D600 as well, albeit with a drop in resolution.
Now, I’ve been shooting with the D600 over a variety of shooting conditions, and no matter what you throw at it, the results are high on detail and noise levels are low all the way up to ISO sensitivity levels of ISO 6400. Choose to shoot in the uncompressed RAW mode, and you’ll be rewarded with greater control and results worth taking to the bank.
Apart from the AF system and the minor button compromises that the streamlined design necessitates, there’s little to fault with the D600. You have to be a serious photographer to spend this much on any camera, but suddenly with the D600, there’s a middle ground for people like you whose budgets can’t stretch all the way into pro-level prices.
Price: Rs 1,35,950 (Body only)
Here comes the sun
As good as the iPad’s on-screen keyboard is, a lot of folks find that using a proper keyboard makes typing long emails and documents on the iPad a lot less cumbersome…and almost enjoyable! Logitech’s Solar Keyboard Folio goes one further, by combining a solar-powered Bluetooth keyboard with a case. You slip the iPad (2nd, 3rd or 4th generation) into the holder and it folds flat against the keys when not in use — I’d advise against putting too much pressure on the back so that the keys stay away from the screen. Seems like a bit of a design flaw, as does the lack of a lock to close the case, due to which the Folio has a tendency to open up when inside a bag. If you liken the Folio to a dinner jacket — meant to look smart, not meant to be rough-and-tumbled — you’ll be okay using it.
The keyboard by itself is excellent, with keys providing a satisfying amount of travel. Add to it the solar charging capabilities, and you’ll never have to carry extra cables or chargers. But like most things solar, the price is a major downer, and I suspect most of us would just settle for a slightly sturdier keyboard case.
Price: Rs 8,999
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There are moments of brilliance in Medal of Honor Warfighter, Electronic Arts’ response to the much loved Call of Duty series, such as a mid-game stealth/ driving mission and a good multiplayer setup, but what troubles you about the game is that it has no identity of its own — if you’ve played a military style first person shooter in the past couple of years, you’ve already done everything you’ll hope to do in this game. A number of clichéd characters and war situations do not make for a satisfying whole — only recommended for the undiscerning war-game junkie who needs to play it all.
Price: Rs 2,999