It’s hard to believe how fast the time has flown past in our #MissionSamsung Blogger Challenge. The past three weeks with the Samsung K Zoom and the Samsung Level Over-Ear Headphones have been a wonderful whirlwind and with all of the fun we’ve had participating in the challenge missions, it is sadly time to hand our gear back over to Samsung but not without a few last words in review of both these wicked gadgets.
First things first… as a photographer I have become severely dependent on my phone. The need to stay on top of things virtually every waking hour is my norm. Access to calendars, to emails, to messaging, to my website editor, to my facebook page manager, to anything and everything on the world wide web is a necessity. I am an Android girl and hardly flinched as I made the commitment and transition from my Samsung Galaxy S4 to the Samsung K Zoom for the duration of the mission. It is the perfect everyday smart phone.
In all its perfection as a smart phone, it has a powerful camera strapped onto its rear as well… Boasting a whopping 10X optical zoom and 20.7MP BSI CMOS sensor – it makes even point and shoot digital cameras run for their money. This camera gets you up close and personal with your subject without having to walk that distance to capture the moment in the highest quality. If you read my blog post feature: Optical Zoom 101 you will note that I always advise friends and family looking for a good digital camera to always, always focus on the optical zoom. The higher the value the better.
The beauty of the Samsung K Zoom is obviously getting a fully equipped compact camera along with a phone. Another great feature of the Samsung K Zoom’s camera is its wide Xenon Flash with its ability to fill the darkest spaces beautifully and evenly expose an image before capturing it. On that note of exposure – the K Zoom has added Auto Exposure / Auto Focus Separation to the many features in its artillery. This had to be one of my favourites to play with. The ability to select your focus point and select a different point for exposure gives you, the photographer, creative room to play and achieve the perfect photograph.
Let me throw some technical specs your way now:
Display: 4.8 inch
Operating System: Android 4.4
Resolution: 720 x 1280px
Front camera: 2MP
Rear camera: 20.7MP
Battery capacity: 2430mAh
I’m the worst with technical specs… They are frequently the most overlooked facts and figures when I am out to buy something. I love being able to test things out for myself, get hands-on experience, and I love hearing personal feedback from others. To make it easy for you, I have summed all of these fantastic numbers into one word: AWESOME! I can say with certainty that for a photographer that may not always have their hefty DSLR on them, the Samsung K Zoom packs a mighty punch as a creative companion.
I have a set of ear-phones – but they are inner ear-phones, and… only one side works. So every couple of hours I have to change ears to even out the sound exposure. Everything changed when the Samsung Level Over-Ear Headphones were delivered to my office. During the course of the missions during my time in this challenge, my ears were filled with the sounds of Of Monsters and Men, Lana Del Ray, George Ezra, Ellie Goulding and John Legend.
Being a graphic designer and photographer, I am always at peace whilst editing or designing and I have my headspace filled with creative-inspiring sounds. One of the first things I did when I received my gear was load these favourite artists onto the K Zoom and paired the phone with my Level Overs via Bluetooth. I played music all day. There was nothing better, I could work in peace and without distraction and enjoy good quality sound unlike I have ever heard in any other pair of headphones. When you have these beauties on, there is no other sound in the world.
Toggling between tracks and adjusting volume has never been easier as well… Being wireless, you can walk around and not have the music device attached to your hip. You simply swipe backwards or forwards on the designated touch pad over the right ear, and up or down to adjust volume. I did a test at my office leaving my phone at my desk I was able to walk 15 metres away and the sound just carried on playing clearly. This impressed me very much. Tea breaks were a piece of cake, I didn’t have to pause mid-song to continue it later.
The Samsung Level Over-Ear Headphones also have a microphone which enables you to answer calls that come through whilst you are listening to music from your paired phone. This is a nifty feature – it means that when calls do come through you don’t have to miss them because the music is so loud. It fades out the music, notifies you that there is a call and you can answer the call you tap the centre of the touch pad twice.
The Level Overs are a really comfy fit. I have a surprisingly small head and often find that headphones, even on their smallest adjustment, never fit me properly. Whilst I still wear these on the smallest adjustment, I don’t worry about them falling off – they are perfect. On that note, I have to say that the styling is something special as well… Everyone I know could not keep their hands and eyes off my headphones. I am in love with the white and tan colouring and the clean smooth lines and I especially love the “quilt” design work in the over-head section. It is honestly just perfect in size, colour and style and most would agree it suits me best.
I am sad that the challenge is over and the time has finally come that we have to return our toys but it truly has been such an awesome experience – and it has somewhat brought me out of my shell as a hermit crab. It took extraordinary circumstances to sing like I had to for our last mission – but it was all in the name of fun and we had such a great time doing it.
#onanotherlevel karaoke with a twist
It's Sunday, which for us #MissionSamsung bloggers means it's D-Day. This day could also possibly mean the day I lose all my friends. I suppose it's not so bad, but the days leading up to this have been all about climbing mountains and submitting this post had to happen eventually. If you read my blog post about my prep for this mission (here), you will know that I have been fighting off a very bad chest infection... I have hardly been able to hold a conversation this past week without coughing but I am relieved to say, with a week of nebulising 4 times a day I managed to sing this song without a cough. Thank you Ventollin and Pulmicort Nebules.
In brief, the second mission involved us having to take things to a whole new level. We had to pull out all the stops and belt our favorite song to an audience wearing our Level Over-Ear Headphones. They call it Karaoke with a twist... I call it torturing your friends but in the name of fun obviously. See the whole point is, I hear the track playing in my headphones and my poor audience just hears me singing along... no backing track to drown out my monotonous voice and my taste in music. Oh... And my terrible dancing.
I have to say this though, when you have those headphones on, you cannot hear anything of the outside world. It's just you and the music. And if you can block out the fact that people are watching you, and voting on your performance, you could swear you were the rockstar that you hear in your ears.
Light's camera action
So, remembering that this all in the name of fun, and getting to play with rad Samsung gear, I would like to introduce you to my (poor) rendition of "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men. The video clip was filmed by my husband Rowan using the Samsung K Zoom, and my wonderful friends Lieschen and Wesley captured photographs on their phones/cameras... Just a note, I have shortened some of the longer breaks in the song and nobody is perfect, so please accept my apologies for the mistakes. Also, I am extremely shy and so I thought holding a guitar would create a bit of a buffer... It kind of did - I have no idea how to play though.
The judging criteria is based on a 1 to 5 scale, 1 being ridiculously good and 5 being ridiculously funny. Once I had finished singing, we did "The Voice" style voting ceremony - sans the critiquing - the number was more than enough for my soul to handle!
Well this has been a week of fighting. Fighting off a chest infection that has rendered my breathing rather difficult. I haven't been able to hold a proper conversation without my breath been caught short and breaking out into a fit of coughing. It's gradually got better but as my aim was to get my mission completed on Friday and being a chronic asthmatic, I had to take cognisance of the fact that I am still struggling to get good air into my lungs and I need an extra day to recover.
So, my prep for this challenge has been somewhat medical! I have had to nebulise 4 times a day and each time the Samsung Level Over-Ear Headphones have been superb company. Instead of the monotonous whirr and hiss of the neb machine next to me, I could listen to the beautiful melodies of Of Monsters and Men, Ellie Goulding, John Legend and so on... I'd play several of my favourite tracks and just try figure out and contemplate which one I'm going to sing and the thought of how only sometimes crossed my mind.
I've also been taking them to work, walking around really rocking them. They're so pretty! They've drawn a lot of interest and attention, and it's quite awesome how everyone is getting excited for me. Of course they all have their song choice advice and things to say about my own choices. In the end, I think everyone is happy with the one I've chosen but this is after having gone through a list about a page long. Wish me luck for Mission 2 of my #MissionSamsung Challenge!
As you all know, I have been participating, along with 9 other bloggers, in Challenge 4 of the #MissionSamsung Blogger Challenge. We participate in a series of "missions" using awesome mission-oriented gadgets and at the end of the challenge, the best blogger wins the cool Samsung products that they worked with. For our missions we get to play with the Samsung K Zoom phone/camera, as well as the Level Over-Ear Headphones. Since the start of the challenge a week ago, I have not been able to put either of the items down.
For Mission 1: 'K Zoom" it's all in the detail, we had to take a series of 7 photographs (including before's and afters) using 3 mandatory functions, as well as 4 functions/features of our choosing. I got one of my friends, Lieschen Harrison, to model for me and I went about a photoshoot as I normally would, except with the Samsung K Zoom instead of my usual DSLR. Right at the outset I would just like to point out already that the phone camera exceeded all expectations. It is quite literally the perfect photography companion.
It was quite an overcast morning, but here and there the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. I had to use what I could get and it all turned out better than expected. We live in a beautiful area in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands called Hilton. In fact our home is surrounded by lush greenery and we often enjoy walks with our dogs just soaking it all in. We seriously could not ask for a better area to live in.
I woke up early and got straight to making a pretty and simple headpiece to place around my model's head. Lieschen arrived around 7 o'clock and we popped in some hair extensions, put a little makeup on, and crowned her with my little floral creation. She brought a couple dresses and we chose a green dress to match the greenery of the flowers and of course, the environment we were going to be photographing in. I would like to add that none of these images have been processed or edited except for the addition of the #MissionSamsung watermark. These are straight out of the camera.
This next photograph is zoomed into my subject bringing her closer without me having to move in closer as you would with a normal phone camera... At this point I would like to say "Oh My Hat!". I mean I knew playing around with the phone this week that the optical zoom is amazing, but I cannot get over it. It surprises me more and more.
I played around trying to get the perfect exposure. When I exposed for the trees in the background my subject was completely over-exposed so I tried again and this time exposed for the grass in the shade which resulted in a better overall balance of exposure in the photograph.
So... as a photographer, the break from my DSLR may have felt somewhat strange to begin with on a photoshoot, but the Samsung K Zoom was such an awesome performer! I am in love with this phone/camera and I would honestly love, love, love to have it as my photography companion full-time... For now I will have to make do with the couple weeks I have left in this #MissionSamsung challenge.
Just for fun, I included one last mode as well... This one is just so that I could capture myself with my friend Lieschen using the "Selfie Alarm" mode. It allows you to use the better lens located on the back of the camera instead of the front, to take an awesome selfie. It let's you choose where in the composition you would like the camera to track for your faces and once your faces have aligned in the allocated area, it will sound a little alarm so that you hold the camera still, and it then captures 3 photographs from which you can choose your favourite and save.
Like the Beauty Face mode, this mode also smooths up skin tones and brightens up the composition so that you really look your best.
Ever feel like you have had one of those days where time just flies by far too quickly? And in the evening when you get into your bed and begin to unwind and reflect on the days events, they all play back at hyper-speed? For today's blog post I'm going to use the Samsung K Zoom's version of time lapse photography to illustrate a few moments in hyper-speed.
I have an awesome full-time job as the lifestyle/creative photographer and graphic designer at SHF (Sutherlands Home Furnishing). We have a lot of fun creating beautiful rooms in our studio and I am very proud to be part of such an awesome creative team. This is a time-lapse video, filmed with the Samsung K Zoom, of a dining room being constructed from start to finish. If ever you were interested to see how we do it all, this is quite fun to watch.
Here's a step-by-step explaining how you set your Samsung K Zoom up to film your time-lapse video:
So we're slowly putting together a blog post submission for our first mission, but we can't help taking pictures of everything we see. When I say "we" I am referring to the 10 bloggers chosen to take part in Challenge 4 of the #MissionSamsung Blogger Challenge with the Samsung K Zoom and the Level Overear Headphones. It has been so awesome to watch everyone posting their pics and inspirations. We're sincerely all in love for all the right reasons! Here are a couple snaps from my morning walk with the wonderful and amazing Samsung K Zoom.
Let's just take a moment to appreciate the sweet fine beauty that lives in my driveway. After a soft morning drizzle these daisies look quite content from their dance in the rain. This was taken in Macro mode on the Samsung K Zoom.
There are a couple of functions we've been tasked to play around with for our first mission. While my official "Mission Post" is currently under construction, I thought I'd focus on the Samsung K Zoom's glorious 10X optical zoom. As a photographer, I have often had friends and family asking for advice on a good camera to buy, and I often return their question with another question: what is the level of expectation of the camera they are after. So... this post is addressed to people looking to get a great camera without the great expense simply by comparing the optical zoom and digital zoom values.
Off the bat it may not be known to everyone that optical zoom is hands down so much better than digital zoom. This is important for the layman who can't afford an expensive DSLR and fancy interchangeable lenses but wants to get a small digital camera that takes beautiful photos while still being light and user-friendly. Without being too technical, optical zoom is the physical lens zoom and is also referred to as "true zoom" whilst digital zoom is actually a whole lot of in-camera processing which "recomposes" an image digitally to an enlarged view!
If you know the difference between optical and digital zoom when you're next shopping for a good digital camera, or a phone with a good camera, you won't make a mistake basing the quality of the images that cameras output on the optical zoom value.
The Samsung K Zoom boasts a magnificent 10X optical zoom (24 to 240mm equivalent). Considering the optical zoom and the hefty 20.7MP resolution, this puts the Samsung K Zoom as a camera phone in a league of its own.
I've taken a few shots demonstrating several stages of optical zoom with the Samsung K Zoom and the quality it maintains. I've also thrown a photograph of the same subject into the mix but using my Samsung Galaxy S4 camera to demonstrate a digital zoom comparison. I also went ahead and stretched into the Samsung K Zoom's 20X digital zoom to see how much the image resolution compresses. It's all in the name of fun and being creative.
If you compare the digitally zoomed in output of the Samsung S4 with the optically zoomed in image below (taken with the Samsung K Zoom) you will notice the difference in image compression. Obviously the digitally zoomed in image is not as crisp or near enough as good quality as the Samsung K Zoom's image below.
As many of you will have read via Facebook or Twitter, I have been chosen as one of 10 lucky bloggers to take part in Challenge 4 of the #MissionSamsung Blogger Challenge. The ten of us will be competing against each other through a series of assignments as set up by Samsung SA and Epic Communications. I was going to use the whole Hunger Games analogy here and try get you all to imagine me fighting my way through a mess of bloggers to get my fancy weapons pack from the Cornucopia and how I make it through to the safety boundary without a scratch, but alas... I am far, far too excited that our first mission day is here and my #MissionSamsung pack has finally arrived. Whoooop. I can't think of anything creative or imaginative for this moment. I think I will just live it.
Our pack contents include, most importantly, my new Photography Companion, the Samsung K Zoom, and these really nifty Samsung LEVEL Over Ear Headphones. #Sweet!
So here I am living it - with my "weapons": Let the Hunger Games Begin!
I just have to say a quick little thank you to my friend Hilda for taking my picture... She has a sweet little blog about her baba if you're interested: Link.
A girl who needs no introduction but introduces herself anyway as the girl who's lived through far too many breakups. She exclaims her music is full of angst and songs about failed relationships... She opens with "The reason I don't cry". Meet: Katie Faul. We fell in love with her beautiful voice tonight as she sang a few songs from her new album at The Knoll Barn in Hilton as part of Music in the Hills. Here are a couple snaps from her set. Give her website a little visit - do it!
Candice Christie Photography
Hello and welcome. This is my online home... a place where my passion for photography lives. These eyes have gazed upon a whole new world through my camera lens. I like to share this world here with you, in words too.