Unlike desktop and laptop computers, smartphone peripherals are appearing that are sometimes just as expensive and sometimes bigger than the smartphone. Here are two types, one a game controller, the other a camera.
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I have a small home business in photo scanning. There is quite a bit of demand for scanning 35mm color slides. I have several devices which can scan slides. I own a Nikon Coolscan 5000ED which is close to the top of the line pro-sumer devices you can use. These are no longer produced, and as a result the price on the used market has skyrocketed to more than four times the original price of a new unit. Currently they go for about $6,000 on eBay. I also own a Epson V500 flat bed scanner that has a very thick top (with a light) which can be converted so you can scan slides on the flatbed using the transmitted light coming from the cover of the unit. You can buy this unit for $140 from Amazon. A very good deal.
Every once in a while, I get lured by enthusiastic descriptions and positive consumer reviews to look at less expensive photo scanners that are sold by lots of places, even B and H Photo. I recently bought one for about $60 that sounded like it might be a middle of the road solution. It was much faster than my Nikon and Epson and examples of scans shown on websites looked pretty good.
So, today, when I received this new low cost unit, I plugged it in and scanned four random slides from the mix I get from my customers -- i.e., slides that are what ordinary people take -- and scanned them with all three scanners.
In our travels, what impresses me about what we see quite often cannot be recorded in a standard aspect ratio (4x3 or even 9x16) photograph. For example, here is a single photo that I took with my Nikon D5000.
Sure, this gets the basic elements of the scene -- the courtyard, the walkway, stuff in the corner... But my eye sees a lot more to the right of this scene. Here is a panorama of the same scene:
I chose this example because it isn't particularly dramatic, yet gets the point of the changed feeling a photo with a wider angle conveys.
Taking these pictures is no longer very hard. You just have to start thinking and shotting this way when looking at scene. Here's what I do:
When I get home, I use a program named Autopano Pro -- but there are lots of different programs you can use for this. Here are the features of Autopano I like:
Finally, I embed a growing collection of such panoramas I have been taking for 10 years as the banner of my blog. Every time you visit this page, a panorama will be selected at random.