Author: Carlos Jochico

Samsung’s New Eye Lens

Have you ever wanted to become a cyborg that shoots lasers from your eyes? Well, that’s never going to happen. Not yet at least, with technology advancing each year, more and more of your Sci-Fi gadgets and gizmo wishes might come true, and now Samsung has a lens that is currently in the works that you can put on top of your eye just like contacts.

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According by SamMobile, the smart lens was inspired by the Google Glass, and is meant to project right into the person’s eyes and seem more invisible. The smart lens can be controlled through blinking and can be picked up by sensors. These images can will also be seen by who ever is wearing the lens and can also be transferred to a smartphone via antenna in the lens. Samsung has just recently been granted the patent, but it hasn’t been fully proven yet if the company will release a consumer product of it. Companies usually file for patents for technology that are prototypes and that may never actually be completed, but we all can dream about very advanced technology actually happening right?

Samsung isn’t the only one with the idea of creating smart contact lens, Google own two patents that are for smart contact lenses that can read a person’s blood sugar level through tears. To do so, it uses flexible electronics that read the chemicals in the tear.

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Patent diagrams for Samsung’s smart contact lenses.

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The GoPro Hero5

As technology becomes much more advanced every year, it helps companies such as Go Pro to create better action cameras.

Introducing, the Go Pro Hero 5, with it’s release on early October 2016. The Go Pro Hero 5 is a much more improved upgrade comparing to it’s older model, the Go Pro Hero 4. With a similar model to the Hero 4, The Hero 5 has much more features to offer.

First, let’s compare the Hero 4 Black to the Hero 5 Black.

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The Hero 5 has it’s own waterproof casing, meaning you don’t need to buy an extra case and it comes with a little more reinforcement. This means, with both cameras naked, the Hero 5 is quite bigger comparing to the Hero 4 without the waterproof case. The waterproof housing can allow the Hero 5 to be submerged unto 33 feet underwater, and can protect the camera against dust and sand. But comparing to the old waterproof case on the Hero 4 (which can go up to 131 feet) it’s relatively better. If you are planning on going below 33 feet with your Hero 5, then you can purchase a “Super Suit Housing” for your Hero 5. This also means that the Hero 5 will weigh a little bit more than the Hero 4 without the waterproof casing:
Hero 5: 4.2 oz (118 grams)

Hero 4 (without case): 3.1 oz (87 grams)

Hero 4 (with case): 5.3 oz (150 grams)

But what makes the Hero 5 a major improvement, is it’s new built in LCD touch screen display. But comparing it to the Hero 4 Silver (which also had an LCD display) the Hero 5 has a much more sharper, brighter and easier display. Also, as it is waterproof without a case, you don’t have that back door panel, which makes it more responsive. This makes it much better when trying to control and adjust your camera’s settings.

The way to control the two cameras are still roughly the same, with three customizable buttons and an LED display in-front (which was improved on the newer model), but now on the Hero 5, you also have a voice activation feature which can be very helpful depending on what you are doing. So if both your hands are occupied, with the voice activation feature of the Hero 5, you can say simple commands such as: “GoPro start recording” or “GoPro take a photo” to control you camera. There is also a waterproof remote that you can purchase to control your camera from a far distance.

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The Hero 5 has also a much more improved video shooting features compared to the Hero 4 Black, even though both can record 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps, the Hero 5 won’t eat up all that memory card space compared to the Hero 4. Also with it’s new video stabilization feature, which can reduce the shakiness of your video. It also comes with more linear FOV, which removes the fish-eyed view of the camera. Both shoot in NTSC or PAL formats and both produce H.264 MP4 videos.

The Hero5 also adds three new options that can be useful:

  • manual exposure where you can set the shutter speed
  • a raw audio track option which creates a higher-quality WAV file
  • an auto mode option that lets you put it in a mode that reduces the effects of wind noise

Both models have an image size of 12MP (4000 x 3000 pixels) and can take similar images, but the Hero 5 can produce much more clearer images and can be seen when viewed at 100%. The Hero 5 comes with HDR, GoPro calls it WDR for Wide Dynamic Range and it aims to capture extra details in shadows and highlights. Another thing is; RAW image format. Shooting in RAW mode have pros and cons. The main reason why, is for the for better image quality. The downside of shooting in the GoPro’s RAW format is that the images need to process and convert to JPG before sharing.

Like the older models, the Hero 5 has the ability to take time lapse of images and video. The first is old way of shooting a sequence of images, downloading those images from the memory card, and bringing them together on your computer using a separate software. Like previous models, the available intervals are 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds. You can also have the camera compile the video to create a time-lapse video. The new model adds a new option, and it’s a lower resolution which is 1080p. The reason for this, is it has been added is to make it easier to share the time-lapse video without dealing with the massive files from 2.7K or 4K video. With the smaller 1080p video it’s much quicker to take the footage from your camera, to your phone then upload straight to social media.

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The Hero 5 can also take external microphones, but  unlike the old model you’ll need the new USB-C mic adapter.

The battery life on the Hero 5 has improved and is using a higher capacity battery at (1220mAh vs. 1160mAh). With the new USB-C  port, the Hero 5 allows fast charging. There is a slight problem though, the new USB-C port isn’t USB 3.0 it still uses a USB 2.0 for data transferring. Which means, you can’t have that fast transferring speed. If you’re using an external microphone, you’ll need a new mic adapter. It also has a micro HDMI (Type D) socket to connect to a TV or display device.

There are a bunch of things that have also been tweaked and improved, which are:

It automatically detects which way is up.

You can turn off the LEDs selectively.

The longest auto-off setting is now 15 minutes rather than 5 minutes.

In the end, the GoPro Hero 5 can do what the previous models can do, but with a lot  more features and higher quality camera. As for now, the Hero 5 is still very limited to new accessories, unlike the Hero 4. Overtime though, that will change because of how advanced technology can become.

If you’re looking to buy a GoPro Hero 5, you can find them at various different websites and stores such as Amazon, Sport Chek, Best Buy etc.  with a price of: $530.00 CAD

– Carlos Jochico, Big City Lights

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Different Modes of Your Camera

Using a camera for the first time can be a little bit tricky. Especially if you’re using a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflect) with a numerous amount of buttons.

Let’s start with the basics:

 

This is the dial of most cameras, here you can find the different modes you can set your camera to.

 

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First, we have “AUTO” which stands for Automatic. For this mode, the camera works like a point and shoot, where all it’s settings automatically change themselves for the scenario that it is currently in. For example: when it’s too dark, the flash will come up, or the ISO might change, as well as the focus of the camera. Automatic mode is one of the simplest modes you can use, because it gets your camera ready for you. (however, if you desire to change these settings for your own liking, take better looking photos and use your camera to it’s full potential, you might want to consider the different Manual modes which are the modes represented with the other letters).

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Second, we have the “P” which stands for Program Mode / Programmable Mode. For this mode, the camera works similar to Automatic mode, where the Aperture and Shutter are on automatic, but you have more control over the other settings such as: ISO and Auto Focus (things that the automatic mode wouldn’t allow you to do)

 

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Third, we have the “S” which stands for Shutter Priority. For this mode, you have control over the Shutter speed. The Shutter speed is how long the shutter will stay open, which allows you to take a variety of pictures at certain speeds. For example: at a slow shutter speed(1/15); a spinning wheel will look blurry with a lot of movement. At a high shutter speed (1/1000); the spinning wheel will look like a still.
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Fourth, we have the “A” which stands for Aperture Priority. For this mode, you will have control over the how large the Aperture will be. The Aperture will control how much light will enter the camera and how blurry or sharp the background will be. The lower (wider) the aperture is (ƒ 1,4) , the more light will enter, and the more blurry the background will be. The higher (smaller) the aperture is (ƒ 32) the less light will enter, and the more clear the background will be.

 

 

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Lastly, but certainly not the least, we have the “M” which stands for Manual mode. For this mode, the camera will be on full manual which means you have total control over your camera’s settings. This mode is what we’d recommend you to start practicing on, because from that, you can learn from your mistakes. On Manual mode, you have complete control over the ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture (which we have touched upon earlier, but I will explain much more now). ISO is the sensitivity of your camera towards light, which means you would normally want to have your ISO at the lowest possible setting, because the higher the ISO, the more grainy your image will look. There will be cases where you would also have to increase it, depending on the conditions of where your shooting. Typically, when you’re indoors and there is not much natural light, or if you’re shooting with low light conditions, raising your ISO would be beneficial towards your image. ISO would usually start at 100 – 200, and would double. So from 200, the next will be 400, then 800, then 1,600 then, 3,200. These numbers mean how sensitive the sensor is to light, the higher the number the more sensitive it is. Next, we have Shutter Speed, the Shutter Speed is how long the shutter of your camera will stay open and let in light, this helps when taking images that have a lot of motion, with a high Shutter speed (1/1000) the shutter will not be open for too long, and a moving car would look still. With a slow Shutter speed (1/15) the shutter will stay open longer, and will make the moving car look blurry, as it is moving. Also what people use this feature for is light drawing. Have you seen those photos of people in the dark writing their names with light? Well a slow shutter speed is how that works. Next, we have Aperture, the Aperture is the how much light will enter your lens, thus creating various effects. Aperture is measured by ƒ stop. So having a low aperture ( ƒ 2 ) will give you a large opening, and let in more light, but will have a less depth of field, and will make the background of your photo more blurry. Having a high aperture ( ƒ 22 ) will give you a small opening, which gives you less light, but will have a greater depth of field, and will make the background more sharp.

 

Next, we have the different Automatic modes that are most commonly found on consumer level cameras:

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First, we have Portrait mode, which on the dial would look like a person with a hat. This mode is meant for photos with one main subject, because of this, the camera will mainly focus on that one subject, and usually make the background out of focus.

 

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Second, we have Macro mode, which on the dial would look like a flower. This mode is usually used for close up photos of flowers, insects, or anything that you’d want to look closely at. (But, depending on your lens, you might not have Macro capabilities, check your lens for this feature.)

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Third, we have Landscape mode, which on the dial would look like a mountain. This mode is used for landscape images; meaning mountains, rivers, trees, etc. (Wide angled images, a wide angled lens is preferred here, but not necessary.)

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Fourth, we have Action mode, which on the dial looks like a person running. This mode is used for fast paced images, for example: a marathon, a race, anything where there is a lot of movement and you want to take a still image of what is happening.

 

– Carlos Jochico, Big City

Which Camera is Right For You, and Your Budget?

Buying a new camera, there are a lot of things to take into consideration, but ultimately it all comes down to your budget.

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You need to have an idea of what your price range is. All cameras are meant to do the same thing (take pictures and record videos), but the thing that differentiates low priced cameras from the high priced cameras are the functions, features and quality. You can find cameras from the price of $200 up to $40,000+. So once you’ve figured out your price range, the next thing you’d want to think about, is why you’re going to buy one. All cameras are the same, but different. Each with their own specific features that make them stand out from the rest, but it all comes down to your preferences of features and ultimately, what you’re going to use it for. There are cameras that are designed to perform specific tasks, there are the low priced simple Point and Shoot cameras where you basically point your camera to your subject, and simply press a button. Then there are DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflect) cameras which have a lot more to them. These types of cameras are typically a lot more pricy than a point and shoot. With a DSLR you can do a lot more because you have the ability to manually adjust the settings yourself such as: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. So if you just want a simple camera that is better then your bad phone camera, maybe a Point and Shoot would be good for you, but if you want to get the most of a camera and have the ability to change lenses, have accessories and take time in capturing excellent photos, then a DSLR maybe something you might want to invest in.

There are those who may desire the quality of a DSLR but the size of a point and shoot, a mirrorless camera is also something to take into consider. A mirrorless camera can function just like a DSLR, but instead of the light having to reflect through mirrors, the light simply goes straight through. This makes the camera a lot smaller, simply because there is no mirror, but you may be wondering, “it’s a pricy camera that’s small, I can just save up money for a BIG DSLR” (if not, then you are now) here’s the thing with mirrorless cameras. They may seem very small, but don’t mistake the size for it’s capability. Mirrorless cameras such as the Sony a6300 have great qualities. Such as, having the ability to record a video in 4K quality, having great auto-focus, having the ability to add accessories and switch lenses. So if you really want to take great photos, capture high quality videos, yet having it in a small size; then a mirrorless camera is something you’d want to take a look at.

Finally, the big guns. You may be wondering: “why spend so much money on camera?” well, you get what you pay for. People who spend a lot of money towards their cameras have a reason for it. For example: professional photographers would want the best camera possible for still images, but other people would want the best camera for video purposes. For photographers, another reason why they spend a lot of money, is for the lenses. There are so much different lenses out there that do specific things. There are lenses that are made to take wide shots, there are lenses that were made for close up shots (Macro) and lenses that help you take photos of things in the distance (telephoto), but these cameras may not be the best at recording videos. This means when buying video camcorders, it’s going to be a lot more expensive. For video, there are a lot more to take into consideration. First, audio. If you have bad audio, then your video is not going to turn out good. People pay the extra money not just for the good microphone, they also do it for the quality of the video. There are cameras that can only shoot 1080p quality videos, (that may sound a lot, but not on the big screen) people filming high budget movies would want cameras that can record some high quality footage; such as: RED. RED is a company that manufactures high priced camcorders that can record amazing footage. There are RED cameras that can shoot up to 8K such as: The weapon 8K. So when buying a new camera, make sure you know what you are getting and why you are getting it.

Here is our List of recommendations, please note that all prices are in Canadian dollars and that the prices are based on the prices at the time of the publication of this article.

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Here are some recommended models if your price range is around $600:

  1. Nikon 1 J5 – a compact camera, with interchangeable lenses with the ability to shoot at 4K at 15fps, comes at a price of $549
  2. Canon EOS Rebel T5 – a great starter DSLR camera for anyone who wants to start learning photography at a price of $429
  3. Olympus Stylus Tough G4 – a great camera, designed for the adventurous with the capability of waterproof up to 50ft, also shock/freeze/dust/crushproof  at a price of $499
  4. Nikon D3300 – a great still image camera, with the capability of recording 1080 at 60fps at a price of $497
  5. Canon Powershot G9 X – a camera that is best for stylish design, compact body, and large image sensor at the price of $479

Next, are the recommended models if your price range more than $600 but under $1,500:

  1. Canon 70D – a great camera overall, especially with a long battery life at the price of $1,550
  2. Nikon D5500 – another great camera, with a high range of ISO and auto focus points at the price of $940
  3. Nikon D5300 – just like the Nikon D5500, has great auto focus ability, and 60fps 1080 video settings at the price of $900
  4. Canon EOS 60D – one of the more heavy cameras, at the price of $1,300
  5. Nikon D3300 – one of the lightest models, at the price of $600

for the price range of the ‘professional’ grade cameras ($1,500 – $9000)

  1. Canon EOS 5DS – with stunning, detailed picture capabilities, and white balance; this camera comes at the price of $3,500
  2. Nikon D810 – with a high resolution sensor, and 5fps burst shooting; this camera comes at the price of $4,100
  3. Canon EOS 5D Mark III – with detailed, low noise images, an excellent HDR mode; this camera comes at the price of $2,200
  4. Nikon D750 – with a new 24MP sensor, and great high performance AF system; this camera comes at the price of $2,600
  5. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II – with an excellent control layout, and a 14fps burst shooting mode, good for sport shots; this camera comes at the price of $8,000

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Next, cameras for the ‘Super Pro’ at the price range between $10,000 – $25,000

  1. Canon EOS C300 Mark II EF – great for shooting video with high quality and less noise; ate the price of $15,000.00
  2. Sony PXW-FS7 – great camera with a high quality video performance, and easy handling and grip; at the price of $11,890.00 (only for the body)
  3. Sony PMW-300K1 – a great camcorder that has a high bit rate, which means it can capture fast moving objects excellently; at the price of $12,3000
  4. JVC Professional Products GY-HM850Ub – built with a great wide angled lens offering the highest magnifications and superior low light performance; at the price of $10,650
  5. Sony PXW-FS5 – with a great 4K recording abilities, this camera comes with a grip that can be rotated 360 degrees to get the best shots; at the price of $9,850

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Finally, we have the cameras that are the top of the line for those with deep pockets and high demands, prices here are higher than $30,000

  1. Leica S2-P – popularly used for outdoor photography, with a stunning 37.5 megapixel images, great for on the road people at the price of $30,000
  2. Panoscan MK-3 – is a great camera for panasonic images, and full 360 degree view that can be done in 8 seconds which has use in the police force with a price of $40,000
  3. Phase One P65+ Digital Back Medium Format with 645 DF – with this camera, you can easily capture very high quality images with a price of $40,000
  4. Seitz 6×17 Panoramic – this camera has the capability of 160 million pixels, which means it is great for landscape shots, group shots, and for subjects that require a high resolution at a price of $43,00
  5.  Hasselblad H4D 200MS – this camera is the most top notch camera in the world, it has 200million pixels and has a sensor mounted into a symmetrical multi shot frame to be more precisely positioned; at the price of $45,000, which makes it the most expensive (still) camera in the world.
  6. Cinema 4K Camcorder – with 35mm sensor, 4K video at 60 fps, 2K slow motion, this professional grade camcorder is priced at $24,100
  7. CineAlta 4K PMW – with RAW 60fps 4K video capturing, this camcorder has simultaneous recording abilities at the price of $46,750
  8. EPIC-X RED DRAGON – with up to 9x more pixels than 1080p camcorders, this has the capability of recording 6K video at 75fps, and as well with a new colour science, this camcorder is priced at $27,500
  9. Weapon 8K – with an outstanding 8K video quality with 60 fps, this camcorder is unrivalled and is probably the best one out right now, is priced at $50,000

Also, if you think that 2 year old camera is something you are planning on getting rid of because there are newer ones, DON’T (well not yet) unless it’s a point and shoot camera, you can just simply buy better lenses instead of spending an extra couple hundred dollars. Also remember that you can choose from a variety of different accessories for your camera such as: better flashes, better microphones, screens that you can attach onto your camera, extra batteries that can be added as an extension to your camera. Just remember, it’s 2016, there are a lot of extra features that you can buy for your camera, if the camera is capable of having attachments added to it.

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Of course there are more than just 3 types of cameras you can purchase. There have been many companies, creating, designing different varieties of cameras. The are small, compact, action cameras which is designed for people who would want to record themselves doing different activities from bungee jumping to biking. These action cameras can even be attached to drones that can fly with a great range so you can capture shots from a high point of view, and you can even fly over bodies of water and get shots like that as well. There are also special phones that you can buy, where you can add a lens to it so you will be able to have a phone with upgraded lens. They have even created cameras that can record a 360 degree angle of what ever is going on. So if you set on up in the middle of the room, it will capture everything around it, and with that, you can watch videos on YouTube that are specifically 360 degree videos where you can rotate your phone, and the video will rotate in that direction. You can even buy cameras that print out the picture right after you take it. In this day of age, there are many different types of inventions being created, so maybe in the near future, we will have a lot more cameras that may even have the capability of doing things we never dreamed of.

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– Carlos Jochico, Big City

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Portable Action Cameras – The New Age of Sport Filming?

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First of all, what is an Action Camera?

An action camera is a device that people normally use to record footage of movement/activities that a normal camera wouldn’t normally be able to do. Action cameras were designed to have a wide variety of features and functions that are used for sport or activity filming. Comparing an action camera to a regular normal point and shoot camera will have many differences as similarities. Action cameras are normally smaller and more lightweight which makes it easier to handle and attach to certain surfaces such as: helmets, surfboards, and the occasional selfie stick (using tripods that are specifically created for these types of cameras). But don’t let the size fool you, action cameras are very tough and durable, and some have the capability of being waterproof, without needing to buy a specific waterproof case. It being a small camera, a very popular question is asked “How good is the video quality of the camera?” have no fear it’s 2016! because there are action cameras nowadays that already have the capability to capture 4K video with at least 15 – 30 fps! Action cameras also a wider angled lens, which means they can capture more and can also a more ‘fish eyed’ type of shot. Some examples of action cameras being used are: under water exploring, attaching it to your pet, skydiving, roller coaster, skate boarding, and even being able to be sent out to outer space.

How to choose the right action camera. When choosing an action camera, you would want to look at the specifications.  Each action camera are very similar, yet some are created with different features and different settings. You would want to compare, or look for one that maybe the right size and weight (having the capability to fit inside your pocket, or just what seems best for you). You’d also want to look at the video resolution, there are action cameras that can only capture 720p and 1080p (which is already good) but some people may have 4K televisions at home, so you’d want to get one that can film up to 4K resolution. Another thing about video quality, is the FPS (Frames Per Second) which is basically how smoothly you want the video to turn out. Normal YouTube videos are usually at 30fps and already are good. Some people on the other hand, are looking for that extra 30 frames and want 60fps, some action cameras may not have the capability of recording 60 fps at the wanted resolution. Something that some people also take into consideration is water proof. There are action cameras that can only go a maximum depth of water, only splash proof, or require a special housing to prevent water from entering the camera. These play an important factor if you want to go diving with your action camera. There are some action camera companies such as: Garmin that also allow for location to be included and tracked when you record a video.

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Some action cameras have the 360 degree feature, where the video that is recorded, is captured in a 360 degree angle. This means when you view the video, you will have the ability to view it in all directions. For example: If someone set up a 360 degree action camera in the middle of the room, you will be able to view the entire room with ease. Also with a 360 degree action camera, it allows for the user to interact with the video and making it more interesting and entertaining. There are action cameras that also have the ability to connect to devices via WiFi and Bluetooth to upload videos, and to connect to apps that are designed for certain action camera.

We’ve all heard of the term “Go Pro” Well, Go Pro is the most well known creators of action cameras. Another two very well known companies for creating action cameras are: Tom Tom and Olympus. These two brands are the competitors of Go Pro. The company Go Pro is so popular, that most people wouldn’t even call it an action camera and instead a Go Pro. The company also has added a new invention that allows you to take your action camera into a whole new level. Drones, Go Pro has created a drone that you can mount your Go Pro action camera into to record and capture footage of things not capable by the average human. Things such as: birds eye view, going off a cliff, and even going onto a highway. On YouTube, you can find various different videos where drones are used to record footages of concerts, or just an aerial view of a specific area.

In the end, it all comes down to your preference, and your use for the action camera. If you don’t need a waterproof camera, you don’t have to spend any extra on that feature. Or if 4K is something that you don’t need, that saves you a lot, because the 4K quality resolution won’t matter if you own a regular television. You can only really tell what’s 4K if you own a television that is meant for 4K resolution and computers that can process the high resolution. If you don’t want a GPS action camera, then maybe find one that does’t have a location feature. It’s easy to find what’s ‘best for your buck’ if you do some research and find out the different cameras that each different company produces.

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– Carlos Jochico, Big City