Posts with «author_name|steve dent» label

Fujifilm's X-T50 has a special dial for film simulations

Fujifilm has unveiled the X-T50 APS-C mirrorless camera, a long-awaited follow-up to the consumer-friendly X-T30 and X-T30 II. The new model retains key features from the past model, including the light weight and generous manual controls. At the same time, it adds a higher-resolution 40.2-megapixel sensor, 6.2K 30p video and other features from the X-T5 and other recent models. However, it also has a much higher price than the X-T30 and unusual new dial that may prove controversial. 

The X-T50 looks similar to the X-T30 II, with a relatively slim and light 438 gram (15.45 ounce) body, just a bit heavier than before. However, in place of the shooting mode dial on the previous model, Fujifilm introduced a dedicated film simulation dial with eight preset modes (Acros, Nostalgic Negative, Classic Neg and others), three custom slots for other built-in simulations and a custom slot for user-designed simulations.

The company likely believes that sales of the X100 V and VI took off due to the popularity of film simulations with the TikTok and influencer set. However, users may find that it's more of a hassle to change shooting modes (burst, single-shot etc.) than before.


One key feature missing from the X-T30 was in-body stabilization, but with the X-T50, Fujifilm has introduced a five-axis system with seven stops of shake reduction that hardly adds any weight. That will make it a much better tourism and street photography camera, as handheld shooting is possible at shutter speeds down to 1/4th of a second or so. It will also make the X-T50 far more useful for video. 

Unfortunately, the rear 1.8-million-dot display still only flips up/down and not out, so it's not going to be great for vlogging. Another feature carried over is the NP-W126S battery (about half the power of the battery in the X-T5), which is pretty small considering the higher-resolution sensor and upgraded video capabilities. 

With the same sensor as the X-T5, X-H2 and X100 VI, you can expect similar image quality and speeds, up to 13 fps bursts with the electronic shutter. Autofocus performance is likely to be in line with the X100 VI, which is to say, pretty good but not great. The main attraction, Fujifilm hopes, will be the film simulations that let creators take Instagram-ready shots straight out of the camera.


Like the X-100 VI, the X-T50 is surprisingly competent at video as well, with 6.2K at up to 30p and 10-bit F-Log2 on tap. That's why, again, it's a shame that it doesn't have a flip-out screen as vloggers and content creators may prefer the form factor and interchangeable lenses over the X100 VI. 

Fujifilm also introduced the Fujinon XF16-50mmF2.8-4.8 R LM WR (24-75 or so in full-frame terms). It's a compact, lightweight and decently fast kit zoom that should be ideal for the X-T50. Though it costs $700 by itself, it's a much better deal if purchased in a kit.

The X-T50 is now on pre-order for $1,400 (body only), or $1,800 with the XF16-50mm. That's a hefty $500 more than the X-T30 II cost at launch, and just a few hundred dollars less than the X-T5. I'm not sure that the extra features justify such a large jump, but Fujifilm must be confident that people will pay it, given the runaway success of the X100 series. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Google's Gemini will search your videos to help you solve problems

As part of its push toward adding generative AI to search, Google has introduced a new twist: video. Gemini will let you upload video that demonstrates an issue you're trying to resolve, then scour user forums and other areas of the internet to find a solution. 

As an example, Google's Rose Yao talked onstage at I/O 2024 about a used turntable she bought and how she couldn't get the needle to sit on the record. Yao uploaded a video showing the issue, then Gemini quickly found an explainer describing how to balance the arm on that particular make and model. 


"Search is so much more than just words in a text box. Often the questions you have are about the things you see around you, including objects in motion," Google wrote. "Searching with video saves you the time and trouble of finding the right words to describe this issue, and you’ll get an AI Overview with steps and resources to troubleshoot."

If the video alone doesn't make it clear what you're trying to figure out, you can add text or draw arrows that point to the issue in question. 

OpenAI just introduced ChatGPT 4o with the ability to interpret live video in real time, then describe a scene or even sing a song about it. Google, however, is taking a different tack with video by focusing on its Search product for now. Searching with video is coming to Search Labs US users in English to start with, but will expand to more regions over time, the company said.

Catch up on all the news from Google I/O 2024 right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Apple Store workers in Maryland have voted to authorize a strike

Apple's first unionized Store in Towson, Maryland has now authorized the first strike against the retail giant. That follows what the union called "over a year of negotiations with Apple management that yielded unsatisfactory outcomes," according to a press release from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' retail coalition (IAM CORE). 

The Maryland store located in a Baltimore mall represents around 100 employees and unionized in 2022, becoming the first Apple Store to do so. The vote concluded last weekend and allows workers to walk out at any time, but no date has been set yet. 

While the sides have agreed on principle in 25 areas, other key matters remain unresolved. "The issues at the forefront of this action include concerns over work-life balance, unpredictable scheduling practices disrupting personal lives and wages failing to align with the area’s cost of living," the union wrote. 

"We deeply value our team members and we’re proud to provide them with industry leading compensation and exceptional benefits. As always, we will engage with the union representing our team in Towson respectfully and in good faith," Apple said in a statement.

The union previously accused Apple of illegally withholding new benefits including healthcare and other perks from workers at the Towson Store. Last year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said Apple violated federal law with anti-union meetings in Atlanta. A New York judge also issued a cease-and-desist order against Apple for abusing employee's rights. 

Apple and IAM CORE will return to the negotiating table on May 21, according to the union. "This vote today is the first step in demonstrating our solidarity and sends a clear message to Apple," the union said in a statement. "As discussions with Apple management continue, we remain committed to securing tangible improvements that benefit all employees." 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The 2023 Echo Show 8 is on sale for $100 right now

Last year Amazon upgraded its Echo Show 8 to make it look better, sound better and respond more quickly to Alexa commands. It made our best smart display list, and if you've been eyeing one, it's on sale at a steep discount. The third-gen, 2023 Echo Show 8 is 33 percent off, bringing it down to just $100 ($50 off), only $10 off the all-time low. Amazon also has stellar deals on the Echo Dot and Echo Pop, offering them for $28 and $20 respectively.

The 2023 Echo Show 8 has a new design with edge-to-edge glass and softer curves that help it blend into your decor. Inside, it comes with new spatial audio with room calibration that allows for fuller sound than previous model. Meanwhile, video calling benefits from crisper audio and a 13-megapixel camera.

The new Adaptive Content feature changes what’s shown on the screen based on where you are in the room. If you’re standing far away, it’ll display easily digestible information in large font, like the weather or news headlines. As you get closer, it’ll switch to a more detailed view. It can also show personalized content for anyone enrolled in visual ID, surfacing your favorite playlists and other content.

It also boasts 40 percent faster response times for Alexa thanks to its upgraded processor. For privacy-conscious buyers, it has a physical camera shutter that’s controlled with a slider on the top of the device. There’s also a button to turn off the mic and camera. As mentioned, the Echo Show (3rd gen) is on sale for $100 in either charcoal or glacier white. 

If you only need a small Echo speaker device for an extra room, Amazon is also selling the 5th-generation Dot for just $28, a steep 44 percent off the regular $50 price. That device has the best sound yet for a Dot device, while offering Alexa, smart home features and more. Amazon's smallest device, the Echo Pop, also offers Alexa features and is on sale for just $20.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Fujifilm X100 VI review: A one-of-a-kind camera for street photography and travel

Fujifilm’s X100 V became a surprising viral hit thanks to influencers who loved not only its performance but also its retro-chic cool factor. Now, the company has launched its successor, the similar-looking but more-capable X100 VI. It’s only been on sale a short time, but retailers are already reporting months-long waiting lists.

It features some key improvements over the previous model, including a much higher-resolution 40-megapixel sensor, in-body stabilization and better video. At the same time, it retains the looks and compact size people loved about the X100 V.

I couldn’t wait to get a hold of one to check out the performance for myself and see if it’s worth a purchase or upgrade. To test, I hopped on the Eurostar over to London with my French photographer friends to see if it’s worth the high price and considerable wait.

Body and handling

The X100 series is beloved in large part because of the vintage rangefinder camera styling, and Fujifilm didn’t mess with that. In addition to the near-identical looks, the X100 VI’s button and dial layout is unchanged. Fujifilm also kept the previous model’s 23mm f/2 lens.

To accommodate the in-body stabilization, the X100 VI is slightly chunkier and weighs 18.4 ounces, about 1.4 ounces more than before. That’s not much, but every bit counts for a camera designed to be carried around all day.

The control design with dedicated dials for ISO, shutter, aperture and exposure compensation is a bit old-fashioned compared to modern cameras. But it does serve a purpose, showing settings at a glance. That’s a must for shooting on the fly.

The X100 VI isn’t just cosplaying as a rangefinder, either. On top of the 3.69-million dot electronic viewfinder (same as the last model), it offers a rangefinder-style optical finder and a hybrid of the two with a picture-in-picture EVF. The last setting is for people who still want a digital security blanket, and it works very well.

Also unchanged is the rear display, allowing basic up and down tilting for high or low angle shooting. That’s not great for selfies or vlogging, but perfect for shooting from the hip.

The menu system is mostly the same, which is a good thing as it’s relatively easy to find key settings. To avoid diving in, though, you can use the quick menu and numerous buttons and dials for easier adjustments. It’s also customizable and I’d advise buyers to set it up to their preferences to avoid any shooting errors.

The X100 VI has a single slot that only supports slower UHS-I cards, unfortunately, along with a USB-C port for charging and data. The MicroHDMI port also lets you use external recorders, though the tiny camera looks awkward with one attached. Finally, the battery is the same smallish one as before, unfortunately — more on that in a bit.


Samuel Dejours for Engadget

Despite the higher resolution, the X100 VI still shoots at a decent 11 fps, with buffer space for about 17 uncompressed RAW frames. JPEG bursts are a bit faster at 13 fps in electronic shutter mode and the buffer size jumps to 37 frames in that case.

Unless you really need total silence, the mechanical shutter is your best bet. It’s very quiet, and you’ll see considerable rolling shutter in electronic mode.

Autofocus is much-improved compared to the V. It’s more reliable for subject tracking and adds new autofocus modes for animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, airplanes and trains. Fuji’s eye- and subject-detection are in separate modes though, forcing you to change settings.

Fujifilm’s AF system was already middling, lagging behind Sony and Canon. The X100 VI is even less effective than Fujifilm’s larger X-H2 and X-T5, due to the slowish motors on the fixed lens. That means focusing on moving subjects is a bit hit or miss. That said, burst shooting is not what this camera is for and the fact that it’s decent at all is a bonus.

Steve Dent for Engadget

In-body stabilization might be the biggest improvement to come to the X100 lineup. With six stops of shake reduction, you can get sharp photos down to about a quarter second. That lets you blur motion to make interesting, creative shots.

The optical finder takes some getting used to, as it’s not a direct view through the lens like with DSLRs. It’s off to the side of the lens, so this parallax means subjects that are close to the camera may not be framed the way you expect. That’s why the EVF insert mode is so handy as it supplies a second true view of the scene.

One issue is battery life, with only 450 shots on a charge or 310 if you use the EVF. I found that one battery wasn’t enough for a full day’s shooting, so factor extra ones into your buying decision. You may also want an external charger, as Fujifilm doesn’t supply one in the box.

Image quality

The 40MP sensor obviously delivers a big boost in resolution over the X100 V’s 26MP. The extra pixels are also handy if you need to crop in, which is a common requirement with a fixed wide-angle lens camera. And while the lens is the same as before, it’s sharp enough to resolve the extra detail.

If this sensor seems familiar, that’s because it’s the same as the one on the X-T5 and X-H2, so the image quality here is similar to those. In-camera treatment of JPEG and 10-bit HEIF files is handled well, with pleasant, accurate colors and a nice balance of noise reduction and detail. You can often share photos straight out of the camera, too, something that’s important to street photographers who do little to no post-processing.

The 14-bit RAW photos offer plenty of room for fine-tuning, even in bright or dark areas. However, if you underexpose shots and try to boost levels, noise can get out of hand compared to a full-frame camera.

The higher resolution doesn’t hurt image quality much at higher ISOs. Noise is well controlled up to ISO 6400, and you can go up to 12800 if exposure is set correctly. I was impressed with the quality when shooting in bars and other dark environments.

And of course, the X100 VI offers Fujifilm’s full array of film simulation modes. You can experiment with popular looks like Velvia, Eterna or Acros black and white, and still have a full-color RAW backup. As the only major camera company also selling 35mm film, Fuji’s simulations are the most pleasing and realistic.


The X100 VI’s excellent video specs are another bonus. It has nearly the same feature set as the X-T5, so you can shoot 6.2K at 30 fps with a 1.23x crop, or 4K at up to 60 fps with line-skipping and a 1.14x crop. The camera also offers sub-sampled 4K at up to 30p using the full sensor width, or high-quality 4K 30p with a 1.23x crop. Fujifilm also introduced 10-bit and F-Log2.

Samuel Dejours for Engadget

It took me a while to get used to the different modes and cropping levels. At 6.2K and 4K HQ, rolling shutter is pronounced so you’ll need to be aware of that. At the same time, full-sensor sub-sampled 4K is noticeably more low-res than the HQ mode.

Video autofocus matches what I saw with photos, meaning it was decent but not super reliable for moving subjects. The AI-powered AF did lock onto subjects, but again, couldn’t always keep up to flying birds, animals or vehicles.

Handheld video is now a realistic option with in-body stabilization. It worked well as long as I didn’t move around much, and offers a “boost” mode that smooths out jiggles further. Digital stabilization is also an option, but isn’t supported with the 6K or HQ modes, and doesn’t really reduce jolts for walking or fast movements.

Video quality is solid for a small compact camera, offering the same accurate colors you see in JPEG photo modes. Shooting in 10-bit F-Log makes it possible to adjust footage considerably in post or get creative. You can also shoot video using the film simulation modes if you want a specific look straight out of the camera.


Samuel Dejours for Engadget

Fujifilm has made all the right moves to keep the X100 VI’s popularity high by tucking a very competent street and travel camera into a beautiful retro-cute body. The extra resolution, in-body stabilization and new video features should be more than enough to tempt owners to upgrade.

At $1,600, the X100 VI doesn’t have a lot of competition — which is odd, given its success. Leica springs to mind with the Q3, though that costs a whopping $6,000. Another option is the $1,000 Ricoh GR IIIx, which also offers in-body stabilization and an ND filter. However, resolution is lower at 24MP and it lacks the X100 VI’s high-end video features.

Sony’s ZV-1 II is also in this compact category, but it’s mostly designed for video. Keep an eye on Panasonic, as it may release a new compact camera, according to recent rumors. In any case, if you’re in the market for a high-end compact and can afford the X100 VI, I wouldn’t hesitate — there’s a lot of camera inside that beautiful body.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Nintendo to announce Switch successor before March 2025

Nintendo will unveil a successor to the Switch sometime "within this fiscal year" ending March 2025, president Shuntaro Furukawa wrote in a post on X. That differs slightly from reports that the next-gen console would be announced this year, as it could also be revealed early in 2025. 

The company added that it will not release any details of the Switch 2 (or whatever it'll be called) at its upcoming Nintendo Direct event in June, so we won't hear anything until at least the second half of 2024.  

"It will have been over nine years since we announced the existence of Nintendo Switch back in March 2015," Furukawa wrote. "We will be holding a Nintendo Direct this June regarding the Nintendo Switch software lineup for the latter half of 2024, but please be aware that there will be no mention of the Nintendo Switch successor during that presentation."

This is Furukawa, President of Nintendo. We will make an announcement about the successor to Nintendo Switch within this fiscal year. It will have been over nine years since we announced the existence of Nintendo Switch back in March 2015. We will be holding a Nintendo Direct…

— 任天堂株式会社(企業広報・IR) (@NintendoCoLtd) May 7, 2024

Nintendo also dropped its earnings report that contained both good and bad news. The company had already boosted its Switch sales forecast for the last fiscal year to 15.5 million units, but it bested that figure with 15.7 million units sold for the full year ending March 2024. While down compared to the previous year (17.97 million units), it helped Nintendo grow sales and operating profit by 4.4 and 4.9 percent, respectively, year over year.

Things won't be so rosy in fiscal 2025, though, as the company projects that Switch sales will drop to 13.5 million units for the year ending in March 2025. That will result in a 19.3 percent and 24.4 percent drop in net sales and operating profit, respectively. 

Nintendo has done a good job maintaining Switch sales, considering that the console went on sale over seven years ago. That was helped in large part last year by games including bestsellers The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Bros. Wonder.  

Now that Nintendo has given a timeframe for the launch of the new console, however, interest in buying the current Switch is bound to wane. The company no doubt hopes that several upcoming titles, including Paper Mario (May 23) and Luigi's Mansion 2 (June 27), will help juice sales. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Sony quickly backs down on Helldivers 2 PSN requirement for PC players

After creating a massive kerfuffle by forcing Helldivers 2 PC players to link their Steam accounts to the PlayStation Network, Sony is backing down. The May 6 update will no longer be released and, presumably, the game won't be removed from sale on Steam in 177 countries and territories as reported yesterday.

"Helldivers fans — we’ve heard your feedback on the Helldivers 2 account linking update," the company said on X. "The May 6 update, which would have required Steam and PlayStation Network account linking for new players and for current players beginning May 30, will not be moving forward."

In a separate post, Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt said, "firstly, I am impressed by the willpower of the @helldivers2 community and your ability to collaborate. Secondly I want to thank our partners and friends at @PlayStation for quickly and effectively making the decision to leave PSN linking optional. We together want to set a new standard for what a live game is, and how developers and community can support each other to create the best game experiences."

Ouch, right in the review score 😢🤕

Well, I guess it's warranted. Sorry everyone for how this all transpired. I hope we will make it up and regain the trust by providing a continued great game experience.

I just want to make great games!

— Pilestedt (@Pilestedt) May 3, 2024

After Sony's announcement that it would require players to link their Steam and PSN accounts, users pushed back en masse. Thety complained not just about privacy issues, but the fact that the game was removed from all countries without PSN access — some 177 in total, according to @SteamDB. That resulted in over 200,000 negative reviews on the game, which led to an apology from Pilestedt. "Ouch, right in the review score," he wrote. 

Earlier this year, Sony President Hiroki Totoki promised to shrink the gap between PlayStation 5 and PC releases in an effort to grow profit margins. Helldivers 2 followed that dictum, releasing to PSN and PC on the same day, February 8. 

Helldivers 2 was supposed to require a PSN link from launch day, but Sony delayed the plan due to network limitations. Other multiplayer titles include Ghost of Tsushima (Legends) also supposedly require a PSN account, but it's not clear if Sony will retain that requirement given the recent bad publicity. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Boom's XB-1 supersonic jet has been authorized to break the speed of sound

Boom's supersonic XB-1 test jet has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to fly past Mach 1, the company announced. Tests are slated to take place later this year at the Black Mountain Supersonic Corridor in Mojave, CA, and the results could help prove the feasibility of the design in areas like fuel consumption, speeds and flight characteristics.

"Following XB-1’s successful first flight, I’m looking forward to its historic first supersonic flight,” said Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl. "We thank the Federal Aviation Administration for supporting innovation and enabling XB-1 to continue its important role of informing the future of supersonic travel."

The approval arrives just weeks after a successful X-B1 test flight at subsonic speeds by a pair of test pilots. It follows a thorough review and environmental assessment, and mandates a chaise plane to trail the XB-1 to monitor and record flight safety, according to the company.

The company will conduct 10-20 flights before attempting to break the speed of sound. It will systematically expand the flight envelope during that time to confirm performance and handling qualities, while performing in-flight checks of all systems and demonstrating a safe margin to flutter/vibration boundaries. Test pilot Tristan "Geppetto" Brandenberg will be at the controls during the first supersonic flight.

Passenger flights are still a long way away, though. The XB-1 is a scaled-down version of Boom's ultimate goal, a commercial liner called Overture that's expected to carry under 100 passenger at "business class" comfort levels. The company has said that plane will be able to fly from Tokyo to Seattle in four hours and thirty minutes. 

NASA is also working on a supersonic jet called the X-59 with a reduced sonic profile, but Boom Supersonic hasn't provided much detail on how it plans to reduce the, well, supersonic boom.  

The company has seen its share of issues, with test plans delayed and a rupture with original engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. The company subsequently partnered with a company called FTT to develop its own custom "Symphony" jet engine. Despite those setbacks, the company already has customers lined up, with American Airlines and United Airlines having place orders for multiple jets. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Google says its secure entry passkeys have been used a billion times

As part of World Password Day (yes, that's a thing), Google is hyping up its security achievements and sharing updates on its latest endeavors. The company revealed passkey adoption metrics for the first time and said they have been used more than one billion times by 400 million Google accounts. "Since launching, passkeys have proven to be faster than passwords, since they only require users to simply unlock their device using a fingerprint, face scan or pin to log in," Google wrote.

The company launched broad support for passkeys in 2022 and rolled them out across its services a year ago. Over the past 12 months, the technology has been adopted by Amazon, 1Password, Dashlane, Docusign and others, joining companies like eBay, PayPal and WhatsApp. Google boasted that the tech helped Kayak users sign in 50 percent faster and said Dashlane has seen a 70 percent increase in conversion with passkeys. 

Google will soon be expanding passkeys to users at the highest risk of targeted attacks as part of its Advanced Protection Program (APP). That offering is aimed at individuals including campaign workers and candidates, journalists, human rights workers and others, according to the company. 

"APP enrollment traditionally required the use of hardware security keys as a second factor, but users will soon have the option to enroll with any passkey in addition to using their hardware security keys," Google wrote. "This expanded passkey support will help reduce the barrier of entry to APP while still providing phishing resistant authentication... [and] is coming during a critical election year." 

It's also expanding Cross-Account Protection to safeguard users on multiple platforms. That system lets Google share security notifications about suspicious event with non-Google apps and services. "This is a critical benefit since cybercriminals often use an initial entry point as a foothold to gain access to more of your information." 

Google suggests creating a passkey for your account to benefit from the new protections. In the meantime, practice good password hygiene by using long passwords with a mix of characters, numbers and symbols, applying two-factor authentication (2FA), never recycling passwords and more. According to HIPAA, attackers can crack a simple 8-number password in just 37 seconds, but it takes 19 quadrillion years to break an 18-digit cypher with a mix of numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Olivia Rodrigo, Drake and other Universal artists return to TikTok

TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG) have signed a deal that will allow Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, The Weeknd and other artists to return to the platform, the companies announced in a press release. Universal pulled songs from its roster of performers back in February and with some exceptions, its music hasn't been there since. Both sides are now "working expeditiously" to get content back on the platform that's home to a billion-plus users. 

A key part of the deal is artist protection from generative AI. "TikTok and UMG will work together to ensure AI development across the music industry will protect human artistry and the economics that flow to those artists and songwriters," the companies wrote. "TikTok is also committed to working with UMG to remove unauthorized AI-generated music from the platform, as well as tools to improve artist and songwriter attribution."

Also part of the deal are "new monetization opportunities" from TikTok's recent expansion into e-commerce. TikTok will reportedly also assist artists by providing tools around analytics, integrated ticketing, an "Add to Music App" and more. 

Universal took the drastic move of pulling music earlier this year, forcing the platform to mute videos or replace tracks with options from other labels. "As our negotiations continued, TikTok attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth," UMG said at the time. 

Last month, Taylor Swift's songs returned to TikTok, likely because she has full control of her own catalogue and was able to strike a separate deal. Some songs by other UMG artists, including Ariana Grande, also started appearing on the platform.

The dispute appears to be water under the bridge, but it's the least of TikTok's problems at the moment. US Congress recently voted in favor of a bill that would see TikTok banned in a year unless owner ByteDance sells the app. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at