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Published: Friday, 2/18/2011 - Updated: 4 years ago

Nikon’s P500 features a long lens to take in animal life

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Nikon just released the specifications on eight new cameras, many with upgrades from existing models, but also with some notable advances.

For wildlife, you might prefer the Coolpix P500, which comes with a 36 times optical zoom. Nikon says that the P500 lens can capture the equivalent of a 35mm camera’s 22.5mm wide-angle to an 810mm telephoto.

Of course with that kind of lens length, every vibration will be magnified, which Nikon tries to counteract with a hybrid vibration-reduction system that uses both sensor shift, which moves the light sensor to counteract the camera’s movement, and electronic vibration reduction, which selectively sharpens parts of a photo that are most likely to be blurred. Still, you will want a tripod in your camera bag.

Like its point-and-shoot sibling, the new P300, the P500 has a 3-inch LCD screen. It also shares the 1 2/3-inch CMOS sensor and the ability to shoot 1080p and to record sound in stereo. The camera will be available in March, with a list price of $400.

Nutritional analysis on the grocery shelf via smart phone
Just in time for the new government dietary guidelines, a free app helps you adhere to healthier eating.

Fooducate lets shoppers scan a product’s bar code in the grocery store for an instant read on a food’s health value, represented by a letter grade from A to D. Once a food has been scanned and recognized, the app offers healthier alternatives or can compare two products side-by-side.

Fooducate said its app used an algorithm that counted not just nutrients, but also if the nutrients had been added in processing, which would result in a lower score. Sodium, sugar and saturated fats count against a food; fiber and naturally occurring nutrients count in a food’s favor.

One of the app’s strengths is its ability to decipher ingredients — for instance, warning that an Odwalla Berries GoMega food bar has four teaspoons of sugar, and most of it is added. Fooducate recommends an MRM Triple Layer Protein bar or an apple instead.

It also spots additives that might escape notice because they go by a different name — who knew that autolyzed plant protein was essentially MSG?

For $100, a child’s tablet with grown-up features
Soon, it will be possible to hand your children their very own tablet computers, providing, of course, you can pry your smart phone out of their hands.

At this week’s American International Toy Fair in New York, various devices were previewed, scheduled to be in stores later this year.

One of those wee tablets was LeapFrog’s LeapPad Explorer ($100), which has a 5-inch color LCD mono-touch screen, microphone, headphone jack plus an SD card expansion and a USB connection. It also has an additional set of game controls and a camera. It can run a library of existing Leapster Explorer cartridges.

The LeapPad comes with a stylus, is powered by four AA batteries and runs additional $25 software cartridges that feature many of the same characters your child watches on TV. In addition, built-in accelerometers permit such grown-up capabilities as automatic screen rotation, and a new breed of motion-sensing games.

Can such toy possibly compete with a $230 iPod Touch, backed by a growing library of 10,000-plus $1 apps? In terms of content, probably not; but you are less likely to care if the screen gets covered with applesauce.

An HP, with some palm inside
Almost a year after buying Palm and nearly two years after Palm introduced its last product, Hewlett-Packard announced last week in San Francisco that it would make a tablet computer, the Touchpad, running on the webOS operating system.

It looks like an iPad. It weighs the same — 1.5 pounds — and it has the same 9.7-inch screen. The selling point of the device, which runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, will be its ability to multitask quickly.

It will support virtual private networks for corporate users and enable videoconferencing.

The device will be available later this summer with Wi-Fi, the company said. Devices for 3G and 4G phone networks will come later.

No exact dates of release were announced for most of the products. And no prices were mentioned.

HP will have to get developers to build apps and games for the Touchpad. With a tiny installed base of webOS phones, HP devices are not very appealing. But the company said it would also place webOS on PCs. Since HP sells 120 PCs a minute, the installed base of webOS devices is suddenly immense.


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