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The UK may have anywhere from 4 million up to 5.9 million CCTV cameras in use, but many of the cameras are useless and there must be concern so the region doesn't 'sleepwalk' towards becoming a surveillance state, according to UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter.
"You can still maintain the balance of excellent surveillance but not have a propagation of surveillance that is actually useless," Porter recently said on BBC Radio 5. "Surveillance can be an extremely good thing and run well, it's a useful tool for society. But to quote a former information commissioner, 'we should not sleepwalk into a surveillance society.'"
Broken, damaged and older analog cameras aren't effective to enhance public safety and deter crime, Porter also added. In the future, Porter wants better interaction with the public, especially regarding regulation so cameras are not simply being added just for the sake of purchasing and installing new cameras - especially if there is no benefit to the public.
Coming up on the heels of their first thermal camera we reviewed earlier last month, Seek Thermal is releasing their brand new Seek XR which features manual zoom capabilities. The new camera weights only half an ounce but can capture long-wave radiation from as far as 2000 feet.
Seek's patented sensor features a resolution of 206x156 for a total of over 32,000 thermal pixels, which is very high compared to other cameras in the sub $1000 range. Like the first Seek thermal camera, the Seek XR will come in a magnesium case, but feature a custom made chalcogenide lens.
Seek is looking to market their new camera to a more diversified range of users, many of which we depend on every day. Seek Thermal founder Bill Parrish on the Seek XR, "Last year we introduced the first consumer thermal camera, and this new, extended-range camera is based in part on the specific feedback we received from gun experts, law enforcement, boaters and other people excited about thermal imaging." The new Seek XR will come in at only $299 and will be available directly from Seek as well as from Amazon starting this month. The Seek XR will be available for both Android and iOS devices.
We had the opportunity to take a sneak peek at the Seek XR during CES 2015. The build quality was very high, and you can manually turn the lens casing, which is something that should greatly improve the camera's usefulness. The Seek XR will also work with Seek's custom software, which you can check out in our review.
Sony has announced that it will unleash its new Alpha 7 II mirrorless camera into the US next month, starting at $1699. The mirrorless shooter will go on sale on December 2, with two offerings; the body-only for $1699 or the pack with the FE 28-70mm, f/3.5-f/5.6 OSS zoom lens for $1999.
The Alpha 7 II is the successor to the Alpha 7, which offers some nice upgrades on the previous model. We have the latest 5-axis in-body stabilization system, some design improvements which help reduce camera shake no matter which lens is connected to the camera body. There's also an enhanced autofocus system that uses 117 phase and 25 contact points to provide 30% faster autofocus responsiveness, as well as high bit-rate XAVC-S recording.
Some of what made its predecessor a great camera are still found in the Alpha 7 II, such as its 24.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, the 3-inch tilting LCD on the back which offers a 3:2 aspect ratio providing 1.24 million dots, the ability to tilt the screen 107 degrees upwards and 41 degrees down, shutter speeds as low as 1/8000 second, and an ISO sensitivity that hovers between 100 and 25,600.
SpotCam has just announced its first home monitoring Wi-Fi video solution, with the cloud-based video startup offering 24-hour cloud-based HD playback, for free.
The camera itself captures 720p, or 1280x720, in low bandwidth, with clear night vision thanks to its 12 IR LEDs. It has a 110-degree wide angle view, motion/audio/disconnection event detection, 256-bit SSL encryption, can have its video playback done over the web, or through it's mobile app, and has two-way communication. The SpotCam camera sells for $149, with 24-hour recording for free. As for 3-day, 7-day, and 30-day recording, the following prices apply:
- 3-day recording - $3.95/month or $39/year
- 7-day recording - $5.95/month or $59/year
- 30 day recording - $19.95/month or $199/year
It looks like Sony could have one of the best smartphone cameras in recent history with the news of the commercialization of its new Exmor RS IMX230 stacked CMOS image sensor, an image sensor that will be baked into the company's upcoming smartphones.
Why is this a better sensor? Well, according to Sony, the sensor will capture 21-megapixel still photos, and is the first CMOS image sensor for smartphones that features an on-board image plane phase detection AF single processing function, something that can use up to 192 auto-focus points. This means it will allow super-quick focus for fast-moving objects, and much more.
The new sensor is also capable of capturing HDR still images, and video, and can gather data from two different exposure conditions. From there, it will create a single image output that attempts to correct the bright and dark areas of the photo. When it comes to video capabilities, the new sensor is capable of capturing 720p video at 120FPS, 1080p video at 60FPS and 4K video at 30FPS. We should see this new sensor baked into Sony smartphones sometime in the second half of 2015.
Something out of left field, is Samsung announcing its new Project Beyond product. Project Beyond consists of 16 individual HD-quality cameras, positioned in a circular pattern, which capture continuous 360-degree images. Project Beyond takes in a gigapixel of data every second, stitching it all together as if it were a 360-degree video, streaming it directly to Samsung's Gear VR headset.
Limiting its use to someone shooting a video while you sit in your house with your Gear VR sounds weird, until you think of the fact that Samsung could - at first - use Project Beyond at events, streaming you the VR imagery back to your Gear VR headset. Things like sporting events, concerts, and much more can be opened up into the world of VR with this camera.
We thought GoPro would wait a week or so to unveil its new Hero4 cameras, but nope, we were wrong: here they are! GoPro has officially unveiled the new Hero4 cameras, once again arriving in two editions: Black, and Silver.
The GoPro Hero4 Black is the star of the show, capable of shooting 4K video at 30FPS, and is touted by GoPro as "the most advanced GoPro ever". It can shoot 4K at 30FPS, 2.7K at 50FPS, 1440p at 80FPS, and 1080p, 960p, and 720p all at 120FPS. Previously, the Hero3 Black could shoot at 4K at 15FPS, but could shoot at 240FPS at 720p, something the newer GoPro can't do. For still images, you can snap 12-megapixel photos with the new GoPro Hero 4.
GoPro has improved the audio capture on the new Hero4, which captures twice the dynamic range. The front of the new GoPro features its expected ultra-wide angle glass lens, with three different field of view settings available: Ultra-Wide, Medium and Narrow. New manual settings make the cut, with color, ISO limit, exposure and much more to tinker with. It's waterproof at up to 131 feet, or 40m, has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, exposure settings for nighttime shooting, a "HiLight Tag" feature for marking key moments in footage, a QuikCapture feature which powers up and starts recording with a single press, and auto low-light features.
We are getting closer to the rumored reveal of GoPro's next-gen Hero camera, with two versions to reportedly be unveiled soon: Hero4 Black, and Hero4 Silver Edition. The two cameras will have differences between them, with upgrades on their predecessor, and some downgrades, too.
Starting with the Hero4 Silver Edition, which will sport a touch LCD on the back, which was previously an accessory you had to purchase separately. The sensor inside of the Hero4 Silver Edition is capable of shooting 4K video, or 3840x2160 at 15FPS, 2.7K at 30fps, 1440p at 48fps, 1080p at 60fps, 960p at 100fps, and 720p at 120fps. It will also take 12-megapixel still shots, and is waterproof at up to 40m (or 131 feet).
The Hero4 Black Edition is pretty much the same, but it ditches the touch LCD on the back for upping its 4K shooting capabilities to 30FPS, up from 15FPS. With the rumored unveiling date of the new Hero4 cameras being October 8... the same date that HTC is said to be unveiling its new action camera.
Old-school camera company Polaroid has fought for relevance over the years, and has invested in research and development of modern technologies. The company hopes its Cube, a 1080p action sports video recording device with a $99 price tag available next month, will help spur interest in its porftfolio.
"GoPro has done an incredible job building a new category in the digital imaging space," said Scott Hardy, Polaroid CEO, in a statement. "But when we look at that market, we think it can be much bigger by not just targeting the professional and amateur and aspirational thrill-seekers but going after more of the lifestyle."
For action sports participants, having something like a Polaroid Cube instead of a GoPro might not be the worst idea - and could help force GoPro to continue to innovate. The low price, half the price of the entry-level Hero3 device currently priced at $199.99 MSRP, should prove to be helpful.
In a market that GoPro has pretty tightly wound up, HTC is teasing its new action camera, something that the company will debut on October 8.
HTC will unveil its new action camera at its "Double Exposure" media event, where we should be greeted with the NVIDIA Tegra K1-powered Nexus 9 tablet. As for the action camera, we should expect it to arrive with a 16-megapixel sensor and wireless networking, but not much else is known about it at this point. From some leaked pictures, we can expect it to look like a periscope, if that's what you're into.