MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2010

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 61 of 147

FEA TURE THE IWARDS, CONTINUED > FROM OL WORDS AND ANAL YMPUS CAMERAS TO THE IPAD YSIS BY BILL TROOP Olympus is moving fast Almost as soon as Olympus introduced the Pen EP-1 last fall, just in time to be awarded as our favorite digital product of the year, the company surprised us by coming out with not one but two related models. What makes these cameras special? They’re the only compacts with SLR quality — other than a few worthy rivals from Panasonic that are based on the same sensor. The secret is the Micro Four/Thirds sensor, co-developed by Olympus and Panasonic, which is nine times larger than the sensors typically found in compacts. The raw specs are 12 megapixel stills and 720p HD movies, but the quality of the images is substantially higher than even the very best of the compact competition. The E-PL1 we look at here is the budget member of the family at MSRP $599, costing $200 less than the $799 E-P1 and $300 less than the $899 E-P2. Impeccably stylish, the E-PL1 is a trifle less retro than its siblings. Colors are Black, Champagne Gold, and Slate Blue. All the Pen models can work as point and shoot cameras, but the E-PL1 is designed to give compact users a friendlier transition. Welcome touches are the dedicated button for shooting HD movies, and Live Guide. Live Guide is a simple, intuitive pathway to this camera’s advanced features. You access background blur/sharpen effects via a sliding bar, and it’s also easy to adjust saturation, hue and white balance, with simple parameters on the sliding bar, like Warm to Cool, Bright to Dark, or Clear & Vivid to Flat and Muted. The plain English approach really works for me. I say that having been involved in professional photography for longer than I’d ever admit. There are even (blush) tips on how to take pet, flower and child photos. I take shameless delight in the way Olympus makes access to these features so easy. The E-PL1 is the first of the digital Pens to have a built-in flash. Low light performance is so good with this camera that you don’t really need flash, but Olympus found that customers were uncomfortable without it. The E-PL1 offers nearly all the professional enhancements of its more expensive siblings. Like the E-P2 but unlike the E-P1, it includes an accessory port that can be used to attach a high-definition eye level Live Viewfinder or a Stereo Microphone set. Autofocus speed is higher, though still a trifle sluggish for some, and shutter lag is imperceptible. Most reviewers have declared they like the inexpensive and slightly more compact E-PL1 best of the group. I slightly prefer the feel of the E-P1, but I wouldn’t want to be without Live Guide. The Olympus Pen digicams are more than compact cameras with SLR quality. Macs do just about the same things PCs do, yet you know you’re more creative and comfortable with a Mac. I feel something similar whenever I take a picture with the Pen. I’m that much more creative, that much better. The best pictures I’ve ever taken have all been in the last few months, with the Pen. Apple declares war on Google — or vice versa The Sunday New York Times business section of March 14, 2010 featured an article by Brad Stone and Miguel Helft headlined “Apple’s Spat With Google Is Getting Personal.” A prominent investor interviewed declared, “It’s World War III. Amazing animosity is motivating two of the most powerful people in the industry. This is emotional. This is the biggest ego battle in history. It’s incendiary.” Dotty hysteria? Maybe. Yet the conflict is real and the fallout may affect us all. The issue is that Google’s Android phones are taking too many ideas from the iPhone. As Steve Jobs put it in January this year, “We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake: Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.” 60 MacDirectory

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