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PhotoTalkies Magazine - November 2014


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PhotoTalkies a monthly e-magazine and is all about celebrating photography, and telling stories through images. In a joint venture between ZEISS and Kunzum. Enjoy the November 2014 edition of the same. And keep coming back for more.

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PhotoTalkies Magazine - November 2014

  1. 1. PtaHlOkTieOs November 2014 Issue 10 A Joint Initiative of Kunzum and ZEISS SONY XPERIA Z3 ZEISS OTUS 1.4/85: GREAT PICTURES FROM Almost Too Good A Lens Kisses a Whale Shark Six Points About the iPhone 6 Plus DRIVING ACROSS THE LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH
  2. 2. TIME TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE YEAR It’s winters in India. This is when you click the photographs of the year. Visualise a setting, and you shall have it. Want snow and ice? Head to the Himalayas. Want greenery as a backdrop? Go almost anywhere – the mountains, the north-east, central India, south India, coastal regions – and you will get the brightest hues of greens you could ask for. The skies can be clear and blue after the rains – making for great landscapes. Want the skies to be accentuated with clouds? It is always drizzling in the north-east. Visualising misty morn-ings? North India is for you. Water bodies? Rivers and waterfalls will be in full flow – at least for the early part of the winter before their levels gradually start dipping till replenished the following monsoons. Did you say subjects in these settings? Portraits are best shot during winters and spring – people look glowingly cheerful after respite from harsh summers. They are also dressed in their best – the weather allows them to be decked up with layers of clothing and accessories. Animals and birds make music together. There seem to be events and festivals everywhere. Street photographers will not tire of scenes waiting to be shot. We have already mentioned landscapes. Autumn is also the time when major brands announce new line-ups. ZEISS has taken a few gems out of the hat – we covered those in earlier issues. Their OEM partners like Sony too have new camera bodies other brands can only envy. What are you waiting for? Go shoot – and come back with those shots that inspire awe. Let’s click together. AJAY JAIN
  3. 3. PtaHlOkTieOs A Joint Initiative of Kunzum and ZEISS PHOTOTALKIES IS A MONTHLY DIGITAL MAGAZINE. AND IT’S FREE!! DOWNLOAD AND READ ON YOUR IPAD, IPHONE OR ANY OTHER TABLET, COMPUTER AND SMARTPHONE. Want to contribute to PhotoTalkies? Ping us at Disclaimer: All articles and photographs in this magazine are the opinions of the respective contributors. It is understood that they own the copyright to the same, or have the rights to offer the same under their bylines. ZEISS is not responsible for the authenticity of any of the articles and photographs, nor will be held liable for any disputes, claims and liabilities arising out of ownership or copyright issues of the content in the magazine. CONTENTS THE LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH, Gujarat 05 A LENS KISSES A WHALE SHARK 18 ZEISS OTUS 1.4/85 : Almost Too Good 26 SHORELINE WALKS 34 GADGETS Six Points About the iPhone 6 Plus 42 Great Pictures from Sony Xperia Z3: Five Shooting Modes 44 Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet: Competition for the iPad 46 BOOKS Personal by Lee Child 48
  4. 4. 05 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  5. 5. About the Little Rann of Kutch first The Little Rann is a saline desert, and believed to have been a shallow sea at one time. It can be considered a large ecotone, a transitional area between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, stretching across 4,953 sq. kms (1,935 sq. miles). Dry for most part of the year, it gets inundated with water during the monsoons - the only land forms visible at this time are about 74 elevated plateaus or islands, locally called 'bets.' In the Rann, you must watch out for marshy bits - they can suck you in real fast. The area may look arid and forbidding but, surprisingly, it is home to many species of animals and birds, and rich in its unique flora. And it supports life far beyond its boundaries - the Rann is a valuable source of salt, supplying 20 percent of India’s output. You can see mountains of salt and equipment used to extract the same as you drive around. What the eye cannot miss are swathes of water bodies - looking like an endless sea in the distance. Complete with reflections of trees in the water. Only, these are mirages. Even when you know it, you will have to pinch yourself to believe they are so - it is not easy accepting what you see is not for real. 06 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  6. 6. These mountains of salt can be seen at places like Zinzuwada 07
  7. 7. Sataffnodridnegd omn ea vni e‘iwssla tnildl’ tohre ‘fbaert ’ whhoerriez oynosu. Twhiilsl ifis ntdhe s toonnleys sapontd rsoizcekss, c-o olof uirnst earnedst itnegx tsuhraeps.e sI, fifilled a mboex faosr sao Call 09 08 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  8. 8. Chasing the Wild Ass in the Rann of Kutch The Wild Ass Sanctuary was established within the Rann in 1973 to protect the last home of the endangered Indian Wild Ass, or the Ghudkhar as called locally. They number in the thousands, and you have to be very unlucky not to spot any. The sanctuary features on the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. 09 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  9. 9. The first impression: They are not bad looking at all. Fair in colouring, much smarter turned out than the common donkeys. If their facial features were any sharper, they could well have passed for ponies for children. And they sure can match up to the strength and speeds of horses, weighing up to 230 kilos and managing speeds of upto 70 k70 kmph (45 miles per hour). Wonder if they are as intelligent as horses? Will they ever make it to the Derby? The Ghudkhars once roamed across North-West India, West Pakistan and Iran but are now found only in the R ann. They are a sturdy lot, withstanding extremes of weather in a terrain without shade that gets droughts and eand floods in equal measure. Meals include fodder, scrubby grass and sweet water. Their life span is 20-25 years. Breeding season is August to October, away from the prying eyes of tourists when the region is mostly closed. Gestation period is about 11 months, and kids don’t take too long before they join the herd. The Wild Asses are an alert lot, scampering away at the slightest approaslightest sight of an approaching vehicle. Visitors are strictly warned not to chase them in their cars, but few can resist the temptation. 10 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  10. 10. Full of life The Rann is an important destination for migratory birds, who come here by the tens of thousands in season. You can find over 380 species of birds including Chestnut-Bellied, Spotted and Painted Sand Grouse; Lark; Desert and Variable Wheatears; White-Eared Bulbul; Macqueen’s Bustard; Greater and Lesser Flamingoes; White Pelican; Spoonbill; Demoiselle and Common Cranes; raptors including Aquila Eagles and a variety of Falcons. My sightings included those of Demoiselle Cranes, pecking at God-knows-what in the sand and around some water bodies. And then I saw hundreds of Lesser Flamingoes, with their cheerful white and pink hues. The flamingoes come from Australia according to my guide, but some nest at the Rann itself. My shoes sunk into slush around the water bodies, sending an early warning signal to watch out for quicksand. Residents also include many species of mammals including the Nilgai (Blue Bull or Antelope), Chinkara, Wild Boar, Blackbuck, Hare, Indian Wolf, Golden Jackal, White-Footed Desert Fox, Jungle Cat, Desert Cat and Striped Hyena. Reptiles include the Spiny-Tailed Lizard. There are 253 different species of flowering plants and other vegetation found in the bets or islands. The sanctuary is habitat to about 93 species of invertebrates, including 25 species of zooplanktons, one species of annelid, four crustaceans, 24 insects, 12 molluscs and 27 spiders. A total of four species of amphibians (frogs and toads) and 29 species of reptiles (two of turtles, 14 of lizards, 12 snakes and one crocodile) occur here. The mixing of tidal water from the Gulf of Kutch with freshwater discharged from rivers takes place in the Little Rann of Kutch, making it an important spawning ground for prawns. Who would have thought life could flourish so in this desert? 11 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  11. 11. Lesser Flamingoes 12 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  12. 12. A temple in the middle of nowhere There is a temple and an Ashram miles from anywhere in the Rann. It has a few permanent residents, with hundreds and even thousands visiting on certain days of the week and during festivals. Faith! The temple is also home to some beautiful and rare birds – must be a sanctuary and an oasis for them. Spotted a pair of rare Peregrine Falcons and yet more cranes. Bulbuls and white doves too. The temple is home to over 2,000 cows. Huddled in a group with their XXL horns, you don’t want to be in the way should they decide to run together. Shudder! Their job profile? Provide milk and more milk for use in the temple for sweets and to be consumed as…milk! And to make more babies so their tribe increases! PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  13. 13. Common Cranes 14
  14. 14. Little Rann of Kutch 15 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  15. 15. 16 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  16. 16. A LENS KISSES A WHALE SHARK INTO THE DEEP BLUE Two things have fascinated David Hinkel for a long time: photography and oceans. He likes to search for impressive motifs under the water’s surface, whether it’s the colorful animals that live near a reef or the large marine animals. And with the ZEISS Distagon T* 2,8/15, he can even make a whale shark fit completely into one image. A crab fisher feeds a whale shark, Cebu Island, the Philippines 18 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  17. 17. Barrel sponge, a few days after Typhoon Hian/Yolanda in the Napantao reserve in southern Leyte, the Philippines David Hinkel has traveled a lot in his life and knows the most beautiful diving areas that the planet has to offer. Last year, the Philippines were on his itinerary again. Tropical waters, a colorful animal world, and above all the whale sharks – the largest fish on Earth – enticed him to go back there again. “My interest over the last 25 years has been in the bigger animals that we encounter underwater, such as sharks and whales. But sometimes it can be dangerous.” Not this time. These large denizens of the oceans, whale sharks, are plank-tivores and therefore pose no risk to humans. Instead, a pow-erful typhoon — one of the worst ever in the Philippines — gave Hinkel’s trip a dramatic backdrop. 19 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  18. 18. “When I left Los Angeles, I had no idea that we would pretty much fly directly into Yolanda/Hian, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in the Philippines. I arrived safely on Philippine soil, but the storm had caused huge devastation and more severe weather was forecast. It was only on the second-to- last day before I left that I found a boat to take me out diving.” Local fishing boats (banka) a few days after Typhoon Hian/Yolands, in southern Leyte Island, Philippines 20 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  19. 19. Whale shark and fishing boat, Cebu Island, the Philippines Hinkel finally had a chance to see the whale sharks. He found relatively young animals, around six meters long. When fully grown whale sharks can measure up to 43 feet (13 meters) in length. “These animals are very docile and when you swim alongside them for the first time, you feel two things at once: joy and awe. And you realize how small you are compared to these wonderful animals.” For generations, the fishermen of Oslob on the island of Cebu, Philippines, have gone out every day, rain or shine, to col-lect and harvest shrimp. In the morning, they feed the whale sharks by hand; the locals believe this brings the fishermen good fortune and an abundant catch. 21 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  20. 20. Distagon T* 2,8/15, Camera housing from Nauticam, 170-millimeter fisheye dome port from Nexus Wide-angle lenses are the tools typically used for underwater photography (see also article “Optics take a dive“), and this also applies to David Hinkel. “Normally I have a fish-eye lens with me when I’m under water. This time, though, I used the Distagon T* 2,8/15 super wide-angle lens. With it, I was able to keep more distance between me and the animals, allowing for natural animal behavior while achieving really sharp images. I also switched over to video with my full-frame DSLR and got great wide-angle views. The Distagon T* 2,8/15 has become my primary lens for camera and video under water.” In contrast to taking pictures on land, underwater photography requires a lot of logistical effort — from selecting the right housing for the camera and matching dome port for the lens, to amphibious flash lights or underwater video lighting. 22 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  21. 21. Artificial lighting is decisive if you want to be able to show the colors as they really appear at a depth of up to 16 feet (5 meters; see also “Optics take a dive”). Even strong flash lights are only effective up to a depth of around 1½ meters due to the water’s light absorption. At shorter distanc-es, the amount of water between the motif and the lens decreases: the colors become more vivid and the image is sharper. If you then use a very wide-angle lens, it is possible to embed a prominent object, such as the red lionfish, within its surroundings. “That’s why I like Distagon T* 2,8/15 so much, because of its diagonal angular view of 110°. It offers me natural color rendering and excellent, reliable sharpness, without the distortions that are inevitable when using a fish-eye lens.“ Just before dusk a black lionfish hunts for food in the Napantao reserve in southern Leyte, Philippines 23 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  22. 22. Coral grouper with a school of anthias fish on the coral-encrusted wall in the Napantao reserve in southern Leyte Island, Philippines One of Hinkel’s great role models is the renowned oceanographer and pioneer of underwater photog-raphy Jacques-Yves Cousteau, whose documentaries Hinkel loved to see when he was a child. This is why Hinkel developed a desire to also show people the beauty of the underwater world that has fascinated him so much since his youth. And it’s a goal he has con-sistently achieved throughout his life. “Usually when I get ready for a shoot underwater, I have a picture in my mind of the things I want to duplicate in the camera. I usually write down my thoughts first on a small note-book and keep reviewing it on my trip. When I’m on the long flights to my dive destination and finally have a chance to relax on the flight, I have plenty of time to review what I have written down.” All that reflection above water and hard work underwater is certainly paying off — his results are impressive. About David Hinkel David Hinkel got his first Instamatic cassette camera when he was nine. As he got older, underwater photography became a passion, and eventually his profession. Today he owns a specialized store for underwater photography in San Diego, California. Alone or with his customers, he regularly explores the underwater world with his camera – whether in his ‘local’ Pacific Ocean or in the most stunning diving sites in the world. 24 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  23. 23. ALMOST TOO GOOD The impact of an image is an absolute priority for Bernd Vogel, an experienced people and stock photographer. Lens and camera are the means to an end. And when asked if he wanted to test a prototype of the new ZEISS Otus 1.4/85, Vogel saw it as an opportunity to use this optical precision tool to full effect.. 26 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  24. 24. Around half of Vogel’s time is spent on stock photography, a business that demands high quality. As a result he has a lot of experience in shooting freely. “When I took the Otus 1.4/85 out of the box, I thought: “Wow, this is hard to beat. Very nice haptics, very nice design. Of course, I was interested whether – in practice – the optical performance would live up to what the looks of the lens promised. ZEISS wanted me to test the Otus 1.4/85 as realistically as possible, and to just do what I always do: photograph people. And so that’s what I did.” Close-up of the Otus 1.4/85 27 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  25. 25. Portrait with cello in the Botanical Garden of Cologne Portrait with cello, shot in the studio His assistant subsequently put him in touch with two cellists, who showed up in Vogel’s studio in Cologne on a sunny day. “When you do this type of shoot, the first step is to create a good atmosphere and take away the models’ shyness. There is something intimate about photography and people are afraid of that. I like to build up contact with my models, praise them, and make them laugh.” The atmosphere during the shoot was good. And the images? “They were even better than the mood in the studio. The Otus 1.4/85 delivers a wonderfully homog-enous performance, from the center to the edges of the image. It reminds me of the medium format.” 28 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  26. 26. Facial landscapes 1, Mother of photographer 29 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  27. 27. The only drawback for Vogel – at least initially – was the lack of autofocus. As a stock photog-rapher, he produces up to 80 images a day, so the automatic function is important to him. Yet when he shot portraits of his parents with the Otus 1.4/85 under the title “Facial landscapes”, he discovered slowness. “In portrait photography, manual focusing can even be an advantage. You look more intensively at your subject and reflect Facial landscapes 2, Father of the photographer more. This lens is definitely not for hectic people.” 30 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  28. 28. For Vogel’s third Otus shooting, he worked with a young couple that he knows. The shoot took place on a rainy day under the Cologne Zoo Bridge. The pictures borrow from street photog-raphy and demonstrate the technical sophisti-cation of the Otus 1.4/85. “Already at an f-stop of f/2 vignetting at the edges is very low. How-ever, in this picture of the couple, I intentionally inserted vignetting as a compositional element. It directs the attention strongly to the center of the image. This picture also shows the beautiful bokeh created by the Otus 1.4/85.” Portrait of couple, under the Zoo Bridge in Cologne 31 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  29. 29. Sometimes the Otus 1.4/85 is almost too good for Vogel’s taste. The current trend in advertising is to give professional images a more authentic touch by intentionally provoking image errors, such as lens flare or stray light from the side. “You could hold the new ZEISS lens directly into the sun and you would barely see any reflections. Therefore, with such high-quality optics, I have to use some tricks.” Vogel’s conclusion: “A super lens. Once you get into it, you will be rewarded with images that can match the medium format and evoke an impressive impact.” About Bernd Vogel Bernd Vogel has carried his camera around since he was 12 years old. He studied photography in Essen, with Jürgen Klaucke among others, and started working as a freelance photographer during his studies. Today, he has his own studio in Cologne. His clients include well-known industrial firms and banks, as well as ZEISS. Portrait taken under the Zoo Bridge in Cologne 32 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  30. 30. SHORELINE WALKS Douglas Kurn has been photographing with a single reflex system and ZEISS lenses for years. Then he conducted an experiment: to try compact system cameras and a demo set of the ZEISS Touit family over a period of four weeks. 34 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  31. 31. The Touit family for X mount “When I opened the suitcase, I felt a bit conflicted at first. I held the Touit lenses and realized they were a lot lighter than I was used to with ZEISS. They are made of plastic and metal, but I quickly saw that my initial doubts were unfounded: the workmanship is excellent. Turning the aperture ring, for ex-ample, as well as the manual focusing, which is really precise for an AF lens, won me over.“ 35 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  32. 32. “Coastal symphony” on the beach at Hastings, East Sussex At the beginning of 2014 Douglas Kurn received an offer: to test the ZEISS Touit lens family and its creative potential in a wide range of photographic application situations. The idea immediately appealed to him, as he had already been using, and was convinced by three ZEISS ZE lenses: the Distagon T* 2,8/21, the Distagon T* 2/35 and since recently the Planar T* 1,4/50. “The Distagon T* 2/35 is the best lens I own. For me, that was the benchmark for the Touit 2.8/12, Touit 1.8/32 and Touit 2.8/50M. And I can truly say: these lenses have nothing to be ashamed of. Just look at this picture I took with the Touit 1.8/32, intentionally from the perspective of the a standard lens: an old piano on the beach with a small metal figure sitting on the chair and ‘playing’. This was a chance discovery and a truly wonderful photo opportunity. I took the picture shortly be-fore sunset. The colors appear as pastels. This underlines the sense of forlornness in the image: discarded objects lying around on the beach like floating wood.”.” 36 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  33. 33. “Beach Headboard”, Whitstable, Kent Douglas Kurn likes to take walks with his camera. So it was no surprise that he also made a few rounds with the Touit lenses – and thoroughly tested the optics along the way. “This series on the beach is not my normal way of working. As a professional photographer I mainly do portraits. So when I was asked to do neither portraits nor classic landscape photography, I started to feel quite un-easy. But the assignment turned out to be creative and fruitful. It reminded me of when I was a young man and used to take my camera with me everywhere and just start shooting. And that was what I was doing now. A big advantage of the Touit lenses is their light weight. For this reason, it was easy for me to always have the entire range of lenses with me and pick the right focal length for each subject.“ The pictures of Kurn’s walk along the shoreline are snapshots and contain all kinds of details. For example, on the wood of a groyne, which a woman is using as a headrest while sunbathing, you can clearly see the traces left behind by the ocean. And you can almost smell the salty decay. “What I really like about this pic-ture is that the wooden post corresponds optically with the head directly next to it. With the Touit 2.8/50M, which corresponds to a moderate telephoto lens for full-frame format that I would normally use for individual portraits, the subject could be captured very well. In this image you can see my preference for contrasting motifs”. 37 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  34. 34. “When I tested the Touit lenses, I made a lot of spontaneous shots. I walked along the beach with open eyes and pushed the release shutter. I didn’t feel like spending time with man-ual focusing, as with this picture of the young man who was walking on his hands for a few seconds. I only had a brief moment. The autofocus of the Touit 1.8/32 reacted quickly. I particularly like the fact that his legs are not stretched out more. The form of his body appears more interesting that way, and the feet do not protrude into the horizon line.“ “Aquatic Acrobatics”, Rottingdean, East Sussex 38 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  35. 35. Saltdean Rocks, Saltdean, East Sussex “A Long Run”, Saltdean, East Sussex Douglas Kurn can’t lose his origins as a portrait photographer. People, even when they appear as abstracts, always show up in his images. Notice the tiny jogger in the background who conveys the differences in size be-tween man and the cliff. This effect is augmented by the wide-angle shot. “Normally I don’t work with such a short focal length, but the Touit 2.8/12 gave me an appetite for it – even when I had all three Touit lenses with me. For example, the rock formation in Saltdean – this time without any people – really made an impression on me. I played with the focal length and achieved a dramatizing foreground, and even the sky appears in the image.” 39 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  36. 36. On his way back from his walk Kurn discovered a red-yellow dab of color. The hut was empty — in the springtime the lifeguards still have nothing to do. That fitted well with the mirror-smooth surface of the sea. The colors of the shed were incredibly intense and contrasted with the blue of the water. The lighting situation was already good enough to take this picture, but the combina-tion of lens and camera created an even better result. In the shad-ows, too, you can see lines; the flow of shadows is soft. Thanks to the moderate tele focal length of the Touit 2.8/50M, which Kurn decided to use for this shot, the colorful hut in the foreground stands out even more prominently. “Lifeguard Shed”, Whitstable, Kent “I had never before worked with a compact system. So, testing the three different Touit lenses was a first for me, also in respect of the camera. And to be honest, I had certain prejudices beforehand that turned out to be completely unfounded. On the whole, I can say that I am really enthusi-astic about the total package consisting of the three focal lengths 12, 32 and 50 mm. They complement each other very well and cover a wide spectrum of shooting situations. My favorite lens is the Touit 1.8/32, because it’s the closest to the normal focal length. This perspective comes closest to my viewpoint. A compact system camera with Touit lenses is definitely on the top of my wishlist.“ About Douglas Kurn Douglas Kurn lives and works in Chertsey near London. He became a photographer after a career in sales. In his early 30s, he decided on a radical change: he studied photography at Newcastle College of Art & Design in 1999-2000, worked as an assistant for local photographers, and started to get intensely involved in digital photography. Later he was an assistant in London. In 2009 he finally set up his own business. 40 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  37. 37. PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS Connect with ZEISS For more information on ZEISS Sports Optics and Camera Lenses For Customer Enquiries +91.11.45156000
  38. 38. BIG, POWERFUL, BIG Six Points About The iPhone 6 Plus NIMISH DUBEY It is the latest iPhone in town and in best iPhone tradition, it is making news. But should travellers be considering taking the iPhone 6 Plus on their travels? Our six point summary of the biggest iPhone ever – the iPhone 6 Plus. 1. Let us get this out of the way – it’s BIG: The iPhone 6 Plus is a big phone. We must confess that we found it surprisingly big – even the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro are shorter, in spite of sporting larger displays. You are going to have to be ready to use both hands if you intend to use the iPhone 6 Plus regularly. And oh, don’t pay too much attention to them bending rumours. This is a very solidly built phone. 2. Battery life is outstanding: Yes, our biggest complaint about the iPhone has been thoroughly addressed. The iPhone 6 Plus can easily last a day and a half of hefty usage and can pull through close to three days of careful usage. Yes, the iPhone finally got really travel-friendly. GADGETS 42 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  39. 39. 3. The camera went up a notch: Yes, the iSight camera on the iPhone 6 Plus has the same megapixel count as that of the iPhone 5S and 6–8 megapixels – but in terms of performance, it is right on par with the best out there in terms of detail and colour. There’s optical image stabilisation and with slow motion at 240 fps, you are going to get some fantastic video from this device. 4. Performance remains cutting edge: We never really had a problem with the iPhones in terms of performance, but even then, the 6 Plus shows a very good turn of speed and is terrific at handling multiple apps. This is a real powerhouse in terms of performance, take it from us. 5. The Apps and UI edge persists: Whenever someone asks us what makes the iPhone special, we keep pointing to the device’s interface and app treasury. The iPhones always have been easier to use and have always had better apps than their Android and Windows Phone counterparts. And well, while the gap between them has narrowed of late, it still exists – just play Infinity Blade on the iPhone 6 Plus or use Photoshop Express to tweak a photograph or two and you will see what we are talking about. 6. It remains darned expensive: Rs 62,500 for a 16 GB phone, without any expandable memory? Yes, we did wince at the price of the 6 Plus, which is only slightly more than the combined price of an iPad Air and an iPad Mini with Retina Display combined, more than an MacBook Air, and this is when we are not even considering the Android and Windows Phone crowd. Final Word: Is it for travellers and photographers? Well, the iPhone 6 Plus is a bit of a mixed bag for travellers. Yes, it has great battery life, a very good camera and comes with apps that are powerful enough to make you forget your computer, but it is also a bit bulky, and can be difficult to handle. And then there is the little matter of that BIG price. Honestly, if you have just one device to carry on a trip and have no budget constraints, then we would say that the iPhone 6 Plus is a very good option, but if you already have the likes of a good tablet and camera handy, then perhaps something a bit more manageable would make more sense. Travel Grade: A – (great performer, but bulky and expensive) 43 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  40. 40. Want great pictures from the Xperia Z3? Try these five shooting modes! NIMISH DUBEY In an earlier column, I had mentioned that the Sony Xperia Z3 packed in a very good camera – one of the best I have seen cer-tainly on a phone in recent times. But if you want to move beyond the basic point and shoot mode (and I certainly do), the good folks at Sony have packed in enough apps and modes to really pull out even more from that camera. There are more than 17 modes in the camera app itself (you just need to tap the camera icon in the circle near the shutter button to access them), and all of them add a lot to your camera experience. But my own favourite five are: Face In A killer mode for travellers, I think. It uses both the cameras on the Z3. You should a picture of something (a monument, a person, whatever) and then take a picture of yourself using the front facing camera. The two are then put together and you have yourself and the picture you took. Rather neat, we think. You even have control of the size of the selfie you snap and can move its location to anywhere you like in the frame. A simple and effective way to put yourself in the picture lit-erally. Just don’t go too crazy using that front facing camera – it is a 2.2-megapixel camera. GADGETS 44 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  41. 41. Sound Photo Imagine taking a picture of a temple, with the sound of bells in the background. Or that of a bird, with the sound of its chirping. That’s what Sound Photo does. The result is a photograph complete with sound. I thought it felt gimmicky. Until I saw a photograph of the ocean. With the sounds of the waves in the backdrop. Yes, it does make the file size a bit larger, but it is one of my favourite modes already. Timeshift video Yes, I know that the iPhone 5s made slow-motion video cool, but the Xperia Z3 takes it to quite another level with this handly little mode. Of course, the Xperia Z3 comes with enough hardware muscle to shoot 4K video, but if it is moving pictures in slow motion that you seek, then this is the app to try. It shoots a video, and then lets you choose which part of it you want to see in slow motion. Fantastic implementation and great for those times when you want a closer look at something that moves fast, be it a bird, an animal or just a juggler at a fair. Live on YouTube Got the bandwidth to send a video live to your friends and loving (or hating) audience? This mode is just for that. A single window that lets you broadcast your video on YouTube. Pretty awesome for those moments you want to share live, and well, if you simply do not want to get into the “shoot-save-edit-upload” process that could take hours off your trip! Manual All right, I just HAD to put this in at the end, given the fact that I do use a DSLR so extensively. But don’t go thinking that the manual mode on the Z3 leaves you with a lot of dial wriggling and selecting strange numbers. No, the manual mode in the Xperia Z3 is one of the simplest I have seen. There are no numbers to select but you simply opt for the best scene option – night scene, pet, beach, snow, gourmet, soft snap, and oh yes, there’s even one for the photography geeks called ‘high sensitivity’ with the ISO logo in front of it. “Manual” here does not mean “go ahead and adjust the camera yourself” but actually allows you to pick a scene mode that works best for you. Some hardcore photographers might whine and moan about the absence of numbers to play around with, but hey, you want to do that – you get a DSLR. Personally speaking, I love the way Sony has handled this, although yes, I will admit that a small part of me wishes I could tweak specific settings more. Incidentally, a number of these modes are also available as apps on the Android Play Store, and you can download other apps for the Xperia Z3 also from the Play Store if you wish. 45 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  42. 42. Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet Finally, competition for the iPad NIMISH DUBEY It might be the undisputed leader on the smartphone platform, but when it comes to tablets, Android has not really been able to dent the su-periority of the iPad. Well, it might start doing so now, if the second Lenovo Yoga tablet is any indication. For, let’s face it, the Yoga 2 Tablet is the first tablet apart from the iPad that catches our attention and then manages to hold it for quite a while. In terms of appearance, it looks smart rather than sensational. No, we do not expect anyone to faint at its sight or get thrilled to bits. It is a sol-id- looking device, with a rounded “spine” on one side. Some might think this is awkward but Lenovo’s logic is simple - the spine exists to give you a better grip on the device. And over time, we found it actually works - you can hold the tablet pretty much as you can a book. The spine also comes with a perforated stand, which means that you can prop up the tablet or even hang it from a wall if need be - the former seems useful, the latter a bit extreme, but well, some people might like it. GADGETS 46 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  43. 43. And yes, we know that most elements of the design - the basic design, the stand and the spine in particular - were visible in the first Yoga tablet as well. So why are we getting so impressed by this one? Well, because while the first Yoga tablet was marked by mediocre hardware, this one is top notch in that department. The 8.0-inch display is a full HD one, there are dual cameras, 3 G connectivity, 2GB RAM, 16 GB storage (expand-able to 64 GB), dual stereo speakers, and most important of all, a quad core Intel Atom processor (the first Yoga tablet was driven by a MediaTek processor which was pragmatic rather than powerful). The result is a tablet that is not only easy to carry around and use but is also extremely powerful - videos look good on it, browsing the Web is a joy and if you are the gaming types, well, this was able to handle the Asphalt and FIFA series without any hitches whatsoever. To its credit, Lenovo has also tweaked the interface and made it seem iPad-ish, with a series of icons at the bottom and the rest arrayed in rows and columns. Copycats? Maybe, but tell you what? It works. Some might find it a bit heavy at 427 grammes (that’s only slightly lesser than the bigger iPad Air, they will point out). Fair enough, but that weight comes from that rounded spine. And in that rounded spine there is a 6400 mAh battery that lasts close to fifteen hours of hefty use - that is almost one and a half times the battery life of the iPad. Frankly, that is frighteningly good. Factor in the price of Rs 20,990, and we must confess that the Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet is perhaps the first Android tablet that has made us look away from the iPad. Yes, Android still does not have the kind of apps that iOS does, but if what you are looking for is a tablet that is very good for browsing the Web, handling mail and social networks, a stack of casual games, and has battery that goes on and on...and can even make calls, if you do not mind looking a bit odd, then we would recommend the Lenovo Yoga 2 tablet. Travel Quotient It is tough. It has terrific battery. No, the cameras are not as good as we would have liked, but honestly, this is a tablet that we would love to take along on our travels, simply because 47 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  44. 44. More Jason Bourne than Jack Reacher Personal Lee Child Rs. 256 (Kindle Edition) NIMISH DUBEY In the world of thrillers, Jack Reacher is very much in a league of his own. He is built like a tank and has the brains of Sherlock Holmes. A former Army man, he walks the streets of the United States, working from day to day, with no personal possessions, not even a bag. And he has a habit of walking into trouble. Oh, and putting things right with a cocktail of muscle and grey matter. He is a man of little emotion, makes no commitments and does not mind getting into fights as long as they are for the right cause. Most Jack Reacher books revolve around the man stumbling into some problem in some remote town, and solving it. However, in Personal, the latest Reacher thrill-er, Lee Child does something extremely unusual - he makes Reacher travel to Europe. Yes, that means he gets a passport. Also, the canvas this time is pretty wide. Basically, someone has taken a shot at the French President, who was saved only by a bulletproof screen, which cracked but held. Now, there is a feeling that the assassin might strike again at a conference of leaders in Europe, and the Army decides to call in Jack Reacher. Wait, why Jack Reacher, who is notoriously anti-estab-lishment and carries no documentation? Well, evidently because he has very close ties to someone in the Army who calls in a favour. And because he knows one of the potential assassins as well. Yes, Personal has the usual snappy dialogue and breezy narration that make Lee Child’s books absolute page turners. Unfortunately, by putting Reacher into the establishment (he is working for the Army, almost), Child takes away one of his most attractive traits. This is the Rebel being conventional, so to speak. Suddenly, in-stead of being one man against the world, Reacher is part of a powerful establishment. It might work for some, but honestly, we were not too impressed. Child also throws in a sidekick with an anxiety problem who reminds Reacher of one of his rare misjudgements. Of course, she is a woman. Of course, she is pretty. To his credit, Child does manage to tell a good yarn and this time, there is more mind than muscle involved, although Reacher does get into one spectacular battle (where a man survives a blow that Reacher claims would have felled an elephant). The problem is that this time around, the hero feels more like Jason Bourne than Jack Reacher. We might be in a minority, but we liked the wanderer better than the well-equipped warrior. Thankfully, there is plenty of action and biting verbal ex-changes to keep one’s mind occupied. And that makes Personal a book worth reading, especially for Jack Reacher fans, even though some might not approve of his being part of the establishment. If you have not read Reacher before, give this a miss and go for one of his earlier books. We are already waiting for the next one. Our rating: B+ 48 PhotoTalkies by Kunzum and ZEISS
  45. 45. Want to be a great  photographer? Want to be a travel writer? As a professional or a hobbyist? Full time or Part Time? Sign up for a workshop / course at the Kunzum Media Lab. We promise it will change your life. Kunzum Travel Cafe T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village New Delhi 110016, India Tel: +91.9650 702 777 / +91.11.2651 3949 Timings: 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Mondays Closed www. kunzum. c om/ mediala b
  46. 46.   About Ajay Jain Ajay Jain is a full time writer and photographer, and has authored eight paperback books and over 30 e-books. He promotes his photography as collectible art, runs the popular Kunzum Travel Cafe in New Delhi and publishes e-magazines on travel and photography. He is also a regular speaker on Mindful Travel, Personal Branding, Photography and Business Networking. All his creative ideas came to the fore only after he started travelling - mindfully. He has pursued careers in Information Technology and Sports Management before he took up journalism and writing. He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Business Management and Journalism.  More  on Ajay Jain at http://ajayjain.Connect com. with him at +91.9910044476. Or call his office at +91.9650702777.
  47. 47. T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village New Delhi 110016, India Tel: +91.9650 702 777 / +91.11.2651 3949 Timings: 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Mondays Closed