Big vs Small

The hottest new Nikon and Canon dSLRs have bigger and better capacities while smaller and more compact cameras and computers show where consumer tech is going, writes Toby Shapshak.

Sony T300

Sony’s T series virtually invented the ultraslim compact market they now lead, and the latest T300 is ample demonstration of why they deserve their top-dog status.

At first glance what sets it apart might be the skinny frame, or the 10 megapixel Super HAD CCD sensor, or even the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 5x optical zoom. All of these are market leading features in their own right. It might even be the 3.5 inch (8.8cm) screen at the back, which has no buttons because it’s a touchscreen and is in the 16:9 widescreen format of the computer or TV screen you’ll view the final image on.

But what truly sets it apart is the clever face and smile recognition software that focuses the lens and sensor on these aspects and makes sure they are sharp. Especially handy for parents with kids who want to catch that smiling moment, this face detection technology makes it easier to capture that happy moments.

HP 2133 Mini-Note

Not since the PowerBook has there been a powerful enough small laptop for photographers to schlep with them on shoots. Sure, we’re great fans of the 12-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (but it’s a touch pricey and runs Windows) and the seven-inch Asus Eee PC (which is a bargain at R3 000 but has only 2GB of storage and runs Linux) but the new HP 2133 Mini-Note combines the strengths of both these two compact computers. Although most professional photographers use Macs, there isn’t a small enough nor compact enough laptop to replace what the PowerBook did.

This dinky HP combines an 8.9-inch (22.6cm) screen with the usual specs of a laptop (1.2Ghz processor, 1GB or RAM and 120GB hard drive) and still manages to run Windows without hiccups. At R5 000 its just above the Eee PC price range and is still compact enough to take on shoots to run Photoshop, check email and run a mobile office.

R5 000.