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2021-10-21 16:13:01| Engadget

Sony has finally revealed its mainstream $2,500 Alpha A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera and it looks to have been worth the wait. Borrowing technology from the recent A1 and A7S III models, it offers large improvements over the A7 III introduced well over three years ago. Key features include an all-new 33-megapixel sensor, 4K 10-bit 60 fps video, new AI autofocus tricks and a lot more. The A7 IV resembles the A7S III in terms of size and layout, but you can now select between still, video and S&Q (slow and quick) options with a new dedicated dial below the mode dial. Each mode completely changes the settings and control layout of the camera to favor either photo- or video-centric controls. As with the A7S III, the video record button has been moved to a more practical spot on top for vloggers.SonyIt comes with a 3.68-million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a more comfortable 120 Hz refresh rate, up from the 2.36-million dot, 60Hz EVF on the A7 III. For videographers, the A7 IV offers a flip-out 1.03 million dot rear LCD display, making the camera far more usable for vlogging than the A7 III. The 5-axis in-body stabilization delivers 5.5 stops of shake reduction, up slightly from before, but far below the 8 stops promised by Canon's like-priced EOS R6. However, it now offers an "active mode" for movies that helps smooth footsteps. In terms of storage, the A7 IV offers two slots, with the top dual slot taking either SDXC UHS II (up to 300 MB/s speeds or CFexpress Type A (up to 800 MB/s), and the bottom slot compatible with SDXC UHS II only. On the A1 and A7S III, by comparison, both slots support both those formats. As for battery life, the A7 IV delivers 610 CIPA shots on a charge, compared to 700 on the A7 III. SonyThe 33-megapixel backside illuminated (BSI) sensor provides a significant resolution boost over the A7 III's 24.1-megapixel sensor, while still offering good low-light sensitivity, Sony told Engadget. However, it doesn't offer the stacked chip-on-sensor technology of the A1 and A9/A9 II, so it lacks the sensor readout speeds of those models. As such, the A7 IV is limited to the same 10 fps shootings speeds as the A7 III, both with the mechanical and electronic shutter whereas the A1 can shoot at triple that speed. However, the A7 III was limited to around 90 RAW frames at a time, but the A7 IV can shoot an incredible 828 uncompressed RAW+JPEG images in a burst, provided you capture to a CFexpress Type A card.Powered by the A1's BIONZ R processing engine, it offers the same 759 phase-detect AF points as the A1 with around 94 percent sensor coverage. It also comes with the same AI-powered image tracking that can process spatial information "in real time at high speed," Sony said. That means more tenacious tracking, along with faster and more accurate eye AF for humans, animals and birds.SonyPerhaps the biggest improvements with the A7 IV are on with video. Where the A7 III was limited to 4K/30p with 8 bits of color depth, the A7 IV can handle 4K at up to 60 fps with 10 bit, 4:22 All-I capture putting it on par with Canon's EOS R6 and the Panasonic GH5 II. 4K 30fps is super-sampled using the entire 7K width of the sensor, while 4K/60p uses a 4.6K Super35 1.5X crop. That means there's no pixel binning, so video should be very sharp. It supports a number of video file types, including XAVC S All-I at up to 600 Mbps for 4K/60 10-bit, 4:2:2 movies. All of the video modes, except one S&Q setting that requires CFexpress Type A, can be captured to an SD UHS II card. However, unlike the A1 and A7S III, there's no support for 16-bit RAW video capture to an external recorder. RAW video isn't found on the EOS R6 either, but is available on Panasonic's $1,800 GH5s and the $2,000 Nikon Z6 II, via recorders from Atomos and Blackmagic Design.Video autofocus is improved with faster and more accurate tracking, and the A7 IV is Sony's first camera to support both human and animal/bird eye tracking for video. If the A7 IV's AF works nearly as well as the A7S III, it should be nearly on par with Canon's Dual Pixel AF.What about overheating, the EOS R6's primary bugbear? With a heat-dissipating body structure, the A7 IV can record 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video continuously for more than an hour, Sony claims. The R6, meanwhile, is limited to around 40 minutes at 4K/30p before a cooling off period is required.SonyWith most camera lenses, pulling video focus from a foreground to background subject can cause an ugly change in framing. The A7 IV's Focus Breathing Compensation system essentially uses a digital zoom to compensate for that, making the transition smoother. However, since the system needs to track lens elements, it only supports Sony-branded glass and only the rather expensive G and GM models, at that. If you'd rather focus manually, the A7 IV is debuting a new feature called Focus Map. It overlays colors onto a scene showing the parts within, behind and in front of the depth of field (DOF). That's supposed to help you pull focus quickly and in the right direction toward your subject. Related to that is the new "AF Assist" function borrowed from Sony's FX6 cinema camera that allows for manual focus, even during autofocus operation. SonyLastly, Sony has intr


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2021-10-21 15:58:11| Engadget

Sony is finally releasing an Uncharted movie after trying to make one for over a decade. If you need more evidence that the film actually exists beyond a snap of Tom Holland in Nathan Drake's classic attire, here's the first trailer.Even though Holland plays a much younger version of the character (which Mark Wahlberg's Sully jokes about in the opening moments) than in the games, the enjoyable-enough trailer incudes some of the most memorable moments from Drake's globe-trotting adventures. There isn't a bit where he clambers up a train carriage that's dangling over a cliff, but there's the cargo plane set piece from Uncharted 3 and a ship trapped inside a cave, just like in Uncharted 4. The clip includes some underground exploration too.The film's set to arrive in theaters on February 11th, following several delays. Attempts to make an Uncharted movie stopped and started over the years, with directors including David O. Russell, Seth Gordon and Shawn Levy being attached at certain points before Zombieland and Venom helmer Ruben Fleischer saw the film through. The project had been in development for so long that, for a while, Wahlberg looked set to play Drake, rather than the character's mentor.Some viewers might be coming to the franchise with fresh eyes (maybe because they need more Tom Holland in their lives), and they might want to play the games to see what all the fuss is about. Sony Pictures included a handy reminder at the end of the trailer about a remastered bundle of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy that's coming to PlayStation 5 and PC in early 2022.In case the trailer doesn't quite match up to what you might have expected, or Holland doesn't seem like the right person for the gig in your opinion, it's worth checking out this short fan film from a few years back in which Nathan Fillion plays the rogueish treasure hunter. It's a blast.


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2021-10-21 15:26:03| Engadget

Facebook's Oversight Board has issued a rebuke to the company in a new quarterly report, claiming it was not "fully forthcoming" about its XCheck program for VIP users. The documents shows the limits of the board's power over Facebook, but also its ability to potentially apply public pressure. "When Facebook referred the case related to former US President Trump to the Board, it did not mention the cross-check system," according to the report. "Given that the referral included a specific policy question about account-level enforcement for political leaders, many of whom the Board believes were covered by cross-check, this omission is not acceptable."The Oversight Board, sometimes called Facebook's "Supreme Court," started issuing important rulings earlier this year. One of its first major rulings was that the ban of ex-President Donald Trump was "appropriate," though it said an indefinite suspension was outside of Facebook's power.In the Boards view, the team within Facebook tasked with providing information has not been fully forthcoming on cross-check. On some occasions, Facebook failed to provide relevant information to the Board, while in other instances, the information it did provide was incomplete.Last month, the board asked Facebook to explain its controversial rules for VIPs, saying that the information was key to its Trump decision. Facebook originally told the board that the XCheck program only applied to a "small number of decisions," but later admitted that statement was misleading. The board also said that Facebook provided "no meaningful transparency" on how it determines which accounts should be included in XCheck. An investigative report last month from the Wall Street Journal, with information coming from a whistleblower later revealed to be former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, showed that the program has actually enabled millions of high-profile users to skirt its rules.The report also addressed the board's own performance and whether Facebook is following its recommendations. It said it took on average 74 days to decide and implement each case, and only handled a fraction that came up. In total, it has taken on 20 important cases "covering topics from hate speech to COVID-19 misinformation" and ruled on 17 of them, overturning Facebook's decisions eight times. It made 52 recommendations to Facebook, which has not agreed to implement all of them. Facebook is facing a major fallout in Washington over the Frances Haugen document leak. Earlier this year, it promised to "fully implement" the Oversight Board's recommendations and explain the rationale, standards and review process of its VIP program. According to the new report, however, Facebook is not following its own plan so far. The board, meanwhile, has been criticized for allowing Facebook to duck blame for key decisions, while having no authority to force Facebook to comply with its own decisions. However, the board said that today it accepted a request from Facebook to review the XCheck program and make recommendations. Facebook is apparently looking for guidance on how to ensure fairness and objectivity, govern the program and make recommendations on how it can be changed. As part of that, the Oversight Board plans to issue a call for public comments "which we will launch in the coming days."


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2021-10-21 15:22:53| Engadget

Have you ever just missed a big moment during a live Twitch stream? You might not have to in the future. The Vergereports Twitch is launching a month-long test that includes a "Rewind the Stream" button for live channels. Tap it and you'll jump two minutes back in the broadcast, with options to scrub through the entire stream history and play at different speeds. It's akin to playing an on-demand video, just with the choice to leap back to a live view.The test also includes a "Remind Me" button (to alert you ahead of an upcoming stream) and "Watch Trailer" (for channels with intro videos). Twitch stressed that the test would "inform future features only," and that the buttons would vanish after the test. About a quarter of viewers should see the rewind test.There are potential safety issues. Just Chatting streamers (that is, real-world cameras) are concerned this poses a safety risk. People might have a better chance of spotting and clipping an unintentional terms-of-service violation (say, a prankster in the background) or doxxing a streamer who inadvertently reveals sensitive info. This isn't the definitive implementation of the rewind button, though, and that's assuming it isn't scrapped. We wouldn't be surprised if Twitch let streamers restrict the rewind feature to certain viewers, or even disable it entirely. Over the next month, some viewers may see up to 3 new buttons on live channels pages: Rewind the Stream, Remind Me, & Watch Trailer. This experiment will inform future features only and the buttons will be removed once its complete.For feedback: https://t.co/52L43BAJsz Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) October 20, 2021


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

2021-10-21 15:10:07| Engadget

Apple's tiny Bluetooth trackers are already fairly affordable, but Woot's latest one-day sale makes them even cheaper. You can get an AirTag from the online retailer for $26 today only, which is 10 percent off its normal price. Woot knocked the price of a four-pack down to $95 earlier this month, and while this price for one AirTag isn't as cheap as that, it remains the best discount we've seen on a single pack. Just make sure to familiarize yourself with Woot's return policy before picking one up.Buy Apple AirTag at Woot - $26AirTags are the trackers to get if you live within the Apple ecosystem. They pair just as quickly to iOS device as AirPods do and those with newer iPhones can use Precision Finding to see when they're close to their lost items. From the Find My app, you can force the AirTag to play a chime to better direct you to your things, and if the item isn't anywhere near you, the app can show you its last known location. With Lost Mode enabled, you'll get an alert when Apple's network of devices detects the location of the AirTag in question, and you can choose to share your phone number and message just in case someone else finds your stuff.Aside from the fact that AirTags will only work with Apple devices sorry Android fans the biggest problem with them is their lack of a keyring hole. So unless you plan on sticking the tracker in the folds of a wallet or a backpack pocket, you'll need an AirTag holder to hook it onto your keys and other items. Thankfully, you don't need to drop more than the price of the tracker itself on one of Apple's own cases; there are plenty of solid, affordable third-party AirTag cases out there right now. Also, while an AirTag's battery should last for a year, it's wise to keep a couple of extra watch batteries on hand for when you inevitably need to replace it. Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.


Category: Marketing and Advertising

 

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