Fujifilm’s X100V strengthens the case for owning a compact camera

The cameras on our phones are getting good enough that it’s becoming hard to justify having a dedicated picture-taking device. Fujifilm’s X100 series has always made one of the strongest cases for it, however, and the latest iteration makes it more convincing than ever.

I reviewed the original X100 back in 2011, and the series has received a new model about every two years since its announcement; today’s X100V is the fifth. But its changes are more significant than those of any one of its predecessors.

The X100V has a new 24-megapixel APS-C sensor and image processor, taken from Fuji’s high-end X-Pro3, which I’ve used and been quite impressed with. It also inherits the X-Pro3’s much improved OLED/optical viewfinder, autofocus system, and other features. But they’re married to a redesigned 35mm equivalent, F/2 lens that improves on what was already excellent glass.

The series has always had a throwback aesthetic, adding dials while others eliminated them, but in a concession to modernity the rear LCD is now a tilting touchscreen, now a must-have for many shooters. It also has improved video capabilities, and is now weatherproofed as well.

Plus, it’s beautiful.

All these fit into a package that is highly compact and attractive, though admittedly considerably thicker than a phone. But although under some circumstances a phone camera can indeed rival a dedicated camera, the X100V perhaps more than any other compact camera justifies itself (incidentally, DPReview’s initial impressions are highly favorable).

The shooting experience is so different (the hybrid viewfinder is and always has been genius), it puts so many options at your disposal, and the resulting image will not only be superior, but more defined by what you want to create than what your phone is capable of doing.

I’ve been trying to reconnect with photography and I’ve found that relying on the phone for that simply isn’t an option for me any more. I want the right tool for the job, yet I don’t want to be inconvenienced by a camera’s size or operation, or obsess over my lens selection. I want an image-taking device as dedicated to that purpose as a knife is to cutting.

Is that the X100V? There is real competition from Ricoh’s latest GR III street shooter, as well as the Canon G5 X II and Sony’s RX100 VII. Although camera sales are dropping, there’s no better time to want or have a compact device in this class. Fortunately it seems to come down to personal preference. I’d be happy with any one of those in my hand, if it means I can leave my phone in my pocket.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

The better everyday camera — Pixel 4 or iPhone 11 Pro?

I need a new phone.
















A big chunk of my time on the iPhone was spent taking pictures, so I’m heavily basing the next smartphone on its camera capabilities. After playing around with the Pixel 4 for Brian’s review, I’m considering switching teams.

Price-wise, it would make sense to compare the iPhone 11 with the Pixel 4, as they both start at around $ 700, but I’m interested in the best Google and Apple have to offer.

Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 Pro

There are a lot of fancy terms between the two — slow sync, true tone flash, phase detection, etc. I really don’t care. I just want to know which one is better as an everyday camera. To that end, here are some pictures in various settings and lighting situations (all images are clickable to view in high-res):


Brooklyn from Manhattan, right after the rain.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)


Arman suffused in pinkish-red light, backlit with afternoon window light. Both were shot from the same distance. 

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro


Hotpot in incandescent lighting.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Japanese and Mexican in low light.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Group selfie

One of these guys is an Emmy award winner.

Pixel 4 iPhone 11 Pro comparison group selfie

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Low lighting

I always find venue lighting unnatural, and unflattering. Also, put your phone down and enjoy the show.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Pixel 4 yields brighter images, but the iPhone 11 Pro kept the bar’s ambiance. Plus shooting super-wide on humans adds a certain quirkiness.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)

Really low lighting with moving objects. In this case, a dog.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)

Street photography: Manhattan skies were too cloudy that night to see stars.

L: Pixel 4, R: iPhone 11 Pro

Digital zoom

Both cameras have 10x digital zoom. Digital zoom is garbage and I don’t recommend ever using it, except to creep on your friends.

Hi Brandon.

iPhone 11 Pro (1x)


iPhone 11 Pro (10x)


Pixel 4’s photo editing tools are superior, though its quality is slightly better than the iPhone 11 Pro by just a smidgen. The difference was so subtle that I had to check several times to make sure I labeled the images correctly. It really boils down to aesthetics. I’ve left commentary minimal for the most part so you can scrutinize the images and decide for yourself.

iPhone 11 Pro (.5x)

The two things that ultimately kept me with Apple: the super-wide lens and the immediacy of sharing high-res images via Airdrop. Until Google releases their version, texting a download link to the high-res image is just an extra unnecessary step I don’t care for.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Arlo adds a big passive-aggressive floodlight to its camera so that you can scare your neighbors

Arlo, the security camera makers that spun out of Netgear, has announced a new device at CES in Las Vegas. The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight, as the name suggests, looks a lot like the existing Arlo Pro 3. But instead of the tiny integrated spotlight, it features a gigantic LED-enabled floodlight.

The new device features a 2K HDR camera with a 160-degree field of view. It also has a color night vision as well as a more traditional black-and-white night mode. You can both listen to what’s happening and talk to the person waiting in front of your door thanks to two-way audio. It also has a built-in siren to scare your entire neighborhood like there’s a big fire going on.

The floodlight can be enabled manually or activated by motion. Motion activation could be particularly useful for people who want to replace the light above their garage door for an all-in-one security-and-light solution.

While you can wire it directly to your home, the device also features a rechargeable battery in case you don’t want to drill holes.

The camera has an ambient light sensor so that the light only works at night. You can configure a specific threshold to save battery and customize the pattern of the light. There are three modes — constant, flashing and pulsating. Let’s hope it doesn’t lead to epileptic seizures.

Like other Arlo devices, it is compatible with the Arlo Smart subscription. You can expect cloud recording, object detection and intelligent alerts for $ 3 to $ 15 per month.

The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight will be available at some point during Spring 2020 for $ 250.

CES 2020 coverage - TechCrunch

Gadgets – TechCrunch

DJI patents an off-road rover with a stabilized camera on top

DJI is easily the leading brand when it comes to camera drones, but few companies have even attempted a ground-based mobile camera platform. The company may be moving in that direction, though, if this patent for a small off-road vehicle with a stabilized camera is any indication.

The Chinese patent, first noted by DroneDJ, shows a rather serious-looking vehicle platform with chunky tires and a stabilized camera gimbal. As you can see in the image above, the camera mount is protected against shock by springs and pneumatics, which would would no doubt react actively to sudden movements.

The image is no simple sketch like those you sometimes see of notional products and “just in case” patents — this looks like a fleshed-out mechanical drawing of a real device. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s coming to market at all, let alone any time soon. But it does suggest that DJI’s engineers have dedicated real time and effort to making this thing a reality.

Why have a “drone” on the ground when there are perfectly good ones for the air? Battery life, for one. Drones can only be airborne for a short time, even less when they’re carrying decent cameras and lenses. A ground-based drone could operate for far longer — though naturally from a rather lower vantage.

Perhaps more importantly, however, a wheeled drone makes sense in places where an aerial one doesn’t. Do you really want to fly a drone through narrow hallways in security sweeps, or in your own home? And what about areas where you might encounter people? It would be better not to have to land and take off constantly for safety’s sake.

It’s likely that DJI has done its homework and knows that there are plenty of niches to which they could extend if they diversified their offerings a bit. And like so many situations where drones have become commonplace, we’ll all think of these robot-powered industries as obvious in retrospect. For instance the winner of our Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin, Scaled Robotics, which does painstaking automated inspections of construction sites.

In fact DJI already makes a ground-based robotic platform, the RoboMaster S1. This is more of an educational toy, but may have served as a test bed for technologies the company hopes to apply elsewhere.

Whether this little vehicle ever sees the light of day or not, it does make one think seriously about the possibility of a wheeled camera platform doing serious work around the home or office.

Gadgets – TechCrunch

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro battery case sports a new camera button

Apple just released the iPhone 11 Pro’s battery case and it comes with surprise: a button for the camera. This is a minor, but welcomed addition to an otherwise standard battery case.

The button is clever. It’s located on the bottom half of the case is not a soft button that presses something on the phone. This button is exclusive to this case and when pressed, launches the iPhone’s Camera app even if the iPhone is locked. A quick press takes a photo and a longer press takes a QuickTake video.

The $ 129.00 case has other features too. It’s compatible with Qi-certified chargers and works with USB-PD-compatible chargers to pump power into the battery at a faster rate. Apple says, when the case is fully charged, it will provide the 50% longer battery life.

This is the first time Apple has added a shortcut of sorts to the camera app. On most Android phones, a double press of the power button launches the camera app. It’s handy, and while this button is exclusive to a case, is a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping that Apple figures out how to add this button to non-battery cases.

Gadgets – TechCrunch