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Fujifilm X-A5 added to Best Cameras under $500 buying guide

by on Feb.03, 2018, under Reviews


We’ve added the Fujifilm X-A5 mirrorless camera to our ‘Best Cameras under $500’ buying guide. It’s too new to be eligible for an award, but that may change when we get our hands on one.



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New flash storage standard opens the way for 8K video capture on smartphones

by on Feb.02, 2018, under Reviews


Photo by veeterzy

Storage speeds on smartphones, Chromebooks, VR headsets and automotive devices are about to make a huge leap forward. Standards group JEDEC has announced the new UFS 3.0 flash storage standard, which doubles the theoretical speed of the current UFS 2.1 standard to 2.9 GB/s, all while lowering power consumption and allowing for operation at a greater range of temperatures.

This theoretical maximum likely won’t be achieved by production devices, but the standard does require the host device to use hardware that supports these blistering fast transfer rates.

What does this actually mean for smartphone cameras? If you are only capturing still images, you won’t see much of a difference; but for video shooters, this could be huge. The new standard allows for 4K video capture at 60 frames per second or even 8K resolution without putting nearly as much stress on your device.

In combination with larger storage capacities—Samsung, for example, has promised to include 512GB modules in its upcoming smartphones—this new standard could make ultra high-resolution video recording on mobile devices standard. If you later want to transfer the recorded footage to another device or computer, the faster speeds help with that, too.

And, finally, the new standard also offers lower power consumption and increased reliability in a wider range of operating temperatures.

As usual, it’s not clear when we will see the first UFS 3.0 ready devices; the new standard will probably take a while to implement on a wider scale. But given Samsung is by far the biggest NAND memory module manufacturer, there is a good chance the Korean company will be among the first to offer the new standard in its smartphones. Something to look forward to in the Galaxy S10, perhaps?



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Shutterfly reveals plans to buy Lifetouch for $825 million

by on Feb.01, 2018, under Reviews


Shutterfly—the massive online retailer of personalized photo-based products such as calendars and photo books—has announced plans to acquire Lifetouch, a professional photography company. The acquisition, which isn’t yet finalized, will cost Shutterfly $825 million according to Star Tribune, who broke the news.

Speaking about the business deal to Star Tribune, Lifetouch CEO Michael Meek revealed that the company’s growth hasn’t been sufficient enough to generate the cash needed for new tech investments, among other things. Shutterfly presents the solution, with its CEO Chris North explaining that the company will bring its products and cloud-based management system to Lifetouch.

“We’re focused on growing both these businesses,” North explained. “We’re just now bringing the two teams together.”

Of course, this isn’t a one-way deal—Lifetouch has a lot to offer Shutterfly, mainly the prospective business of its 10 million-or-so customers, many of whom may turn to Shutterfly post-acquisition for their photo product needs. “Lifetouch is [an] expert at photography and we provide online tools,” says North. “Each company will operate separately to serve their customers, but each company has things the other can use.”

Assuming everything goes according to plan, the companies anticipate the acquisition to close in the second quarter of this year.



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