Thursday, June 10, 2010

More and Less: Digital Cameras

A digital camera is one of your necessities. How else to get pic for the tours so vital to promoting listings online?

For most Realtors® the answer has been some from of compact camera. The range of compacts with a wide angle lens, and HD video record capabilities has been improving, with many models for under $300.

Sony's new NEX-5 compact DSLR
Better photography often requires a digital SLR with an interchangeable lens system. The range of lenses, and advanced features of these cameras, give you more creative control over photos, inside and out.

Now a third category of camera is emerging: compact digital SLRs. These have bodies closer in size to a compact, but with the added versatility of an interchangeable lens system. They might be the best choice for those who want the best in both worlds.
Some models to consider: Olympus PEN EP-1; Panasonic Lumix GF1; Sony NEX-5As examples of one of the latest advances in imaging, they command high prices...for now.

As these cameras work int the pipeline, there’s notable news at the other end of the imaging pipeline, too Image sensors of 5MP or better are becoming increasingly common on smartphones, as seen in the 8MP Kin Two from Microsoft,(aimed at the youth market) and the previously mentioned HTC EVO Apple’s newly announced iPhone 4. While 5MP is good enough for your real estate photography needs, the zoom capabilities of these cameras still lag.

A good strategy might a high res smartphone for everyday use, and one of the compact D-SLRs when you want the best photos or tours, if your budget allows that luxury. There will come a time when the smartphone will be all the camera you need for stills and video.

We’re not quite there yet, but with each wave of innovation we’re certainly getting closer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

As smartphone usage grows, so do your options.

A report just out from Nielsen indicates 23 percent of cellphone subscribers now own and use a smartphone.
I’d venture the percentage is higher among real estate users, at least judging from feedback from readers of work I do for NAR’s Realtor publications.
Happy users are likely the phone industry’s best advertisers in real estate, as agents and brokers who are pleased with their respective phone and OS want the world to know. A year ago, the most enthusiastic seemed to be iPhone users, although the ranks of real estate pros shouting the praises of Android phones are is swelling.
Much of the enthusiasm for smartphones has to do with the breadth and depth of the catalog of available “apps.” (Look for an overview article on mobile apps in the July Tech Watch) Although Blackberry users seem pleased with their choice in a smartphone, the relatively slim software pickings available for that platform could be one of its biggest stumbling blocks. Android will certainly attract more, but the phone to beat, as far as software, remains the iPhone.
One surprise for me, Mac aficionado that I am, is how deeply the iPhone seems to have penetrated the real estate market. Or maybe it’s just iPhone users are most outspoken. In any event, from my perspective , the smartphone will ultimately come down to a choice between an Android and iPhone for most users, in real state or otherwise. But there’s still a way to go.
And in the meantime, there’s always new models to convince everyone to step up to a smartphone. Check out the newly announced iPhone 4 or HTC EVO for a better idea of just how the choices are evolving, and how enticing their future.