Three NAS Drives and a Gizmo

Jack Neubart discovers several options for networking at home

NAS stands for network-attached storage. It essentially describes network storage options for the home and office. There’s a lot of technical gobbledygook attached to this storage option, but suffice to say that you can use it to share data among computers, use the network drive as a media hub to stream movies and tunes, share printers (via onboard USB ports), and possibly use these drives for data backups as well. Those USB ports can also be used to attach other compatible devices, such as flash drives and even hard drives (for data transfer or backup to the attached hard drive, as applicable). However, be aware that the connected drive may need to be reformatted for this purpose, which means all data will be wiped out.

Network drives look more or less like typical external hard drives, with one exception: They do not connect to your host computer but instead, via Ethernet cable, connect to your wireless network. Any computer on your network can read from and write to these drives once you’ve logged on from that computer. The drive comes pre-configured with specific “shares”—one of which is your “private” or “admin” share.

A share is a shared folder, but that doesn’t mean everyone gets to share it. It could just be shared among computers in your local area network (LAN), specifically your home network. You can password-protect shares and grant limited access, all by setting up user accounts and groups. And you can add to these at any time and adjust other settings using a Web-based administration tool. When you turn the drive on, it may take a few minutes for all the protocols to fall into place. Much of it runs on autopilot. Initially you’ll need to set up a user name and password for login (don’t lose these, or you may have to reset the entire system, which may also erase all data). That’s it in a nutshell. [Read more…]

Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Review: Field Test Report

Jack Neubart discovers that this 18 MP single-digit “D” series APS-C EOS camera is indeed a chip off the old block-and then some.

The 7D is shown here with built-in flash ready for action, with EF-S 15-85mm lens attached. I hadn't worked with this lens, but the camera itself should be a model for future EOS designs. Canon photo.

Canon EOS 7D-front. The 7D is shown here with built-in flash ready for action, with EF-S 15-85mm lens attached. I hadn't worked with this lens, but the camera itself should be a model for future EOS designs. Canon photo.



I was all set to begin this review with a diatribe about all the negatives pertaining to movie shooting and Live View, but then thought better of it and opted to take the journey into 7D-dom with a positive foot forward.

When you look at the real meat and potatoes inside this machine, you’ll discover, as I did, that when you peel back the movie capture veneer, the Canon EOS 7D is a very capable DSLR. That’s especially true when it comes to capturing breaking action, owing to a highly responsive, albeit not flawless, AF system coupled with an even more responsive shutter release. There-I took the high road. Too bad Bob Hope isn’t around to do the movie version: “The 7D Road to Bali, the Musical.“ I could even write the music and lyrics. [Read more…]

Leica M9 Digital Camera Review: Field Test Report

Jack Neubart takes a step back in time to test this century’s classic manual-focusing, full-frame 18 MP CCD interchangeable-lens camera for the ages (along with the Summilux-M 21 mm f/1.4 ASPH).

Leica M9 (front). A ruggedly built, Euro-styled digital rangefinder in which quality, performance, and price go hand in hand. Photo courtesy Leica.

Leica M9 (front). A ruggedly built, Euro-styled digital rangefinder in which quality, performance, and price go hand in hand. Photo courtesy Leica.



It has been a very long time since I last worked with a rangefinder camera. And likely just as long since I last had the distinct pleasure of working with a Leica, although, as I recall, that was an SLR. The one thing that did stand out in my mind was how crisp the images were that came out of the Leica lenses I used.

Given that digital is, in a sense, a more complex image-forming process involving any number of variables mediating from the moment of capture on an imaging sensor and in-camera processing until the final image springs to life, I’m not sure that we’ll ever see quite the same quality, regardless of the lens or camera, or sensor. And yet we as photographers still manage to evolve our art with the technology and find ways to take that technology to new levels of creativity and bring new heights of awareness to every moment and scene we capture with our cameras.

The Leica M9 brings to mind my very first camera, the one that my dad bought me when I was a wee lad, and which he wouldn’t let me use for some years, afraid I’d break it (okay, I eventually did-but it wasn’t my fault, dad, I swear). So I bided my time and when the New York World’s Fair of 1964/65 rolled round, I finally got the chance to take the camera out on my own.

I loved that 35mm camera-a Neoca (Japanese top to bottom). It was no Leica by any stretch of the imagination. Didn’t even have a light meter inside. But it was a rangefinder. And what I remember about that rangefinder is that I was never entirely comfortable using it-I just didn’t feel it gave me the speed I needed or the certainty. And that’s still how I feel about rangefinder focusing. (However, I’m certain that many of you may feel just the opposite and would take a rangefinder over autofocusing or any other type of focusing any day of the week.)

And that brings us full circle to the M9, a full-frame, 18MP CCD digital camera featuring coincident-image rangefinder focusing-with the added benefit of interchangeable Leica lenses. [Read more…]

Pentax K-x Digital SLR Review: Field Test Report

Jack Neubart gets a taste of a sweet compact 12.4 MP CMOS APS-C DSLR with a suite of features.

Pentax K-x body, white version. Photo courtesy of Pentax.

Pentax K-x body, white version. Photo courtesy of Pentax.



I approach each new camera with a degree of skepticism. Unlike many out there, I’m not as easily swayed by all the media hype and promotional gobbledygook. I’m from Brooklyn and we need to see that something actually works. So when the Pentax K-x arrived, I looked at it, pleased that they sent me the “white” version, only because it reminded me of the Imperial Storm Troopers from Star Wars (would have been a great fit). I unpacked everything, mated the lens to the K-x body, installed the lithium batteries that came in the box, then added my own SDHC card-none included (also takes standard SD-but why hamper the machine out of the gate!). And I started to play with it.

Hmm, not bad, I thought. But let’s see how it performs in the real world. So, intrepid explorer that I am, I ventured outside. It may not be a tropical rain forest, but it is an urban jungle out there rife with photographic opportunities. [Read more…]

Nikon D300S Digital SLR Camera Review: Field Test Report

Egad and gadzooks! It’s time for Jack Neubart’s Halloween review, where he ponders life, the universe, and, most importantly, whether the added features (notably, movies & dual flash cards) mean it’s time to upgrade from the D300 to the D300S.

<strong>Nikon D300S--front of camera.</strong> The Nikon D300S is a solidly built 12.3 MP CMOS DSLR that exhibits solid performance. It's not revolutionary, but is definitely a step up the ladder, compared to the original D300. <strong><i>Photo courtesy Nikon.</strong></i>

Nikon D300S--front of camera. The Nikon D300S is a solidly built 12.3 MP CMOS DSLR that exhibits solid performance. It's not revolutionary, but is definitely a step up the ladder, compared to the original D300. Photo courtesy Nikon.



I’ve been very happy with my Nikon D300. I’m certainly glad I didn’t wait for the next iteration to come out because I’ve made good use of this camera on two continents. Three, if you count Brooklyn, NY (we like to think of ourselves as more than simply a borough of New York City). Anyway, I approached a review of the next-gen D300, the D300S, with some degree of trepidation. I’m obviously not going to hate the camera, unless they somehow managed to mess up a good thing. And if I love it, then I have to consider buying it to replace a body that still has that fresh camera smell, and for which I paid good money (is money ever bad?).

Before continuing, I should note that you’ve no doubt read my friend and colleague’s report on the D300-Peter Burian was quite thorough. (If you haven’t, check it out here.) But this is where I give you my take on the camera, and go into specific differences between new and old.

One thing I noticed is that the manual for the D300 is actually 18 pages longer than that for the new D300S. As a D300 owner, I gloated. Then I also noted that the D300S Quick Guide has nearly twice as many pages-now I’m starting to feel cheated. What could explain these odd discrepancies? Well, I wasn’t about to dig through each booklet page by page, so let’s just see what pops up as we continue to explore, compare and contrast.

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