DxO ONE Camera

This summer on my summer holidays I brought my all time favourite camera, the Fujifilm X-T2 and one lens, the XF18-55 standard kit lens, which is by no means standard as it's a great lens. However, I never took it out once in the two weeks I was there.   I took all my photos with my DxO ONE camera.

DxO was created in 2003 and is best known for DxOMark, a trusted industry standard for camera and lens image quality measurements and ratings. It also produces DxO Analyser and other software. So they have a history in knowing what makes good cameras and lenses to make good images.

The DxO One is their first camera. It's compact and lightweight, with it's own battery and microSD port, a small OLED touchscreen but it also has a lightning connector that allows it to be connected directly to an iPhone which transforms into the DxO One's viewfinder and which gives the photographer complete control over the camera, just like a DSLR.

What I like is the portability of the system, the quality of the images, the fact it can be used with or without the iPhone, accessories are available for underwater or around water and sand, there are some cons but I'll cover them later. What I also like is that similar to Fujifilm they have a culture of continuous improvement. They improve the camera with upgrades through firmware updates with really gives you a new camera with extra functionality. They also improve the software for processing the files meaning the quality of the images improve.

You can get details of the camera


  But some of the key specifications are:

  • 1" sensor, the same sensor used in the popular and highly rate Sony RX100 III

  • Sensor BSI-CMOS

  • 20.2 megapixels, Resolution: 5472 x 3648

  • f/1.8 max aperture

  • 32mm focal length fixed (equivalent)

  • Max shutter speed 1/8000 sec

  • ISO AUTO, 100-12800

  • Photos taken in RAW, Super Raw & JPEG

  • Video MPEG4, 1080(30p), 720(120p)

  • Weight 108 grams

  • Dimensions (cm): H 6.75, W 2.5, D 4.8

  • Internal Micro SD with micro USB port for charging and file transfer to PC/MAC

  • Built in wireless

  • Specialist software to process the images to fullest potential

  • Raw images can be processed with Lightroom and Photoshop, with Lightroom having a plugin to the DxO software

2017-08-20 14.33.05

2017-08-20 14.33.05

The camera can be used in 3 modes, the most common will be attached to an iPhone (or iPad) with a lightening connector and the DxO ONE app.

2017-08-21 12.04.22

2017-08-21 12.04.22

In this mode the iPhone acts as the monitor for the camera and using touch the focus point can be set.  There are full camera controls with: PSAM modes, Fully automatic, scene modes, exposure compensation, 3 focus modes, ISO and white balance.  Photos can be taken in JPEG, RAW (DNG) or a special DxO Super RAW image quality.  Super RAW has been specially designed for low-light or very high ISO situations.  This method combines 4 success shots into a single RAW file.  The images are taken automatically and within milliseconds of each other.  The DxO software processes the images to reduce both spatial and temporal noise.  The results are generally very good particularly when there is no movement of the camera or the subject.  The images are recorded to the microSD card in the camera but the images including RAW flies can be transferred to the phone to be processed using applications like Snapseed or Lightroom Mobile.

The second mode is using the camera on its own without an attached iPhone.  Initially it was a matter of estimating where the subject is and trying to keep the camera level.  In this mode it is not possible to set the controls of the camera.  There are three options which can be selected by sliding your finger across the small OLED screen on the back of the camera. You can select a fully automatic mode, the last used selection when the camera was attached to the iPhone and video mode.  I have used it in this manner quite successfully.  However, there was an upgrade in one of the firmware updates that allowed the small monitor on the back of the camera to provide what they call framing assistance.

2017-08-21 12.06.19

2017-08-21 12.06.19

In the photo above you can see an outline of the my hand and the candles on the table on the back of the camera.  It is a huge advantage allowing you to select the focus point (by half pressing the photo button) and then re-framing the image as required.  I regularly use this feature as I normally use Program mode in my photography anyway, though occasionally, when required, I'll set the camera to speed priority.

The final mode is via Wi-Fi.  The iPhone is used as the camera controller and monitor but is connected to the DxO ONE by Wi-Fi.  This can be either an existing Wi-Fi network or a Direct Connection which is useful when out and about.

The camera comes with the DxO ONE connect software used to upload the images from the camera to the PC/MAC.  It also optimises the images and it is required for the Super RAW images.  They also sell a software suite that includes: DxO OpticsPro, DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint, used to correct images and apply creative changes to your images.  These can all be called from Lightroom as well similar to NIK integration.

I have some issues with the camera, the main one being the battery life.  It is quite poor and you really need a power bank with you, but if you have a smart phone you probably need one of these anyway.  DxO have released some updates and guidelines on how to get the best out of the battery.  Other minor quibbles would be: slow start up time, a built in tripod mount (although they sell a separate stand for this), concern that the lightening connect might change in future iPhones, cost of the PhotoSuite.

Having said all the I find it a great camera and as I said at the start it was the only camera I used on my recent holiday and I find the quality to be excellent. I love the detail and the colour rendering of the images, even in low light and it's compactness is great I have a special camera zipped pouch that I can can keep all the time on my belt.  I have printed images and found them to be excellent indeed  one image from Cuba was exhibited at the Cervantes Institute in Dublin.

Here's a few more images taken on the DxO One in a number of different circumstances, and light conditions. I haven't done any processing on them.  They have only gone through the standard optimisation process of the DxO Connect software, so not quite straight out of the camera. (10 images in total)

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I think this is an amazing little camera, which I have come to appreciate more over time.  Ideal for travel or just having on you all the time.

Time to get a new PC

I have had my current Dell XPS for about 4 years and I'm on my third video card through failures and it appears to be acting up again, but now my warranty has run out.  Plus my PC is just not powerful enough for proper editing of video.  It stutters aong when trying to render or scrub.  So the search is on for a powerful PC to edit video and hopefully everything else will be looked after if I go for that.  I use Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects and the big thing in CS5 was the introduction of the Mercury Playback Engine which uses the Cuda architecture of the Nvidia cards to give smooth real time playback and rendering even with complex effects applied to many video tracks.  I've selected Dell machines for many years but I got advice to look at the HP workstations, in particular the Z series.  After looking at some sites that provide turnkey solutions it also appeared that the HP workstations, the Z400 in particular, form the key component of the system usually with the Nvidia FX3800.  When it comes to the graphic card though I am inclined to go for the newer and more highly specified Nvidia Quadro 4000 which is only a little more expensive. I am told it is really more for 3D work so I think I will get the rendering and smooth playback I'm looking for but also better productivity with After Effects.  Finally I need to decide on the harddrive.  With a good workstation with Xeon processors and enough RAM and a good graphics card the speed of the harddrive can become the bottleneck.  Most turnkey solutions appear to favour a Raid 0 set up, but I've been warned that this could be problematic. So I've now narrowed it down to either: SAS drives, an SSD drive or a 10,000 rpm SATA drive.  There's not much in price between the SAS and the SSD solution (once you take into account you have to buy a SAS controller as well), although I can probably get more space with SAS.  At the moment I'm inclined towards SSD, but I need to do a bit more research.  So hopefully very soon I'll have my new workstation. 


In a few months it will be a year since I set up my web-site using Wordpress and I must say it's a pleasure to use.   When I decided to set up a web-site I was worried Iwould have to spend too much time and effort setting it up and maintaining it, but It has not turned out that way at all.  Ok in the start you have to spend a bit of time deciding what your site is going to look like but Worpress and the many different themes available really make this very easy.  you don't need to know any code or how to manage databases or anything.  I probably spent more time looking for a theme I liked and then configruing it to have the look and feel I wanted.  And thats all it was configuration.  After that it's a dawdle to write posts, create gallerys, upload images and get access to my videos.

A great boost was the iPhone app of Wordpress this meant I would write my blogs on the road so at the end of the day on the taxi, car or train home to the hotel I could write my blog of what happened that day.  I could even upload photos I took on my iPhone.  Once written all I needed was a WiFi connection in my hootel or a cafe to upload my updates.  this meant everything was written when it was fresh in my head and family and friends could follow what was happening while we were away.  This worked great this year when in Argentina and Brazil, I worte the updates and the following morning everyone could follow what we had done.  In fact at one hotel we had no WiFi and I got emails asking what was wrong and when would the next update be!  Of course Skype was also brilliant for contacting home and saying hi to all the kids.

So overall I must say my experience with Wordpress has been very positive and I would highly recommend it. 

Panasonic TM700 update

I've had the TM700 for about 6 months now and I must say it's a great machine.  It's renewed my interest in video.  The quality of the video is truly amazing, very detailed and sharp and I'm not even using it on it's higest setting as that's too difficult to edit, but more on that.   The TM700 is such a portable and easy to use device, very easy to carry around with you, in fact you can get it in a decent size coat pocket.  We've been away a good bit since and I've taken it with me and enjoyed using it.  The only problem is now finding the time to edit the movies but I've decided that's an activity for cold winter days which we are getting close now so nearly time to start editing.

My fear when buying a HD camcorder was would I need to start upgrading all the rest of my system.  Get a higher specced PC, a BluRay writer drive, a BluRay player, more hard disc, a new version of Adobe Premiere and so on which all sounded like a big spend.  But no in the end I've managed.  I updated my ram to 8GB and my operating system to Windows 7 64bit and I'm still using Premier CS4 and it is managing fine.  I don't record at the highest level or in Progressive mode as I know Premiere won't handle this format.  I also know if I get too sophisticated with too many multiple tracks in Premiere it would struggle, but I'm getting away with it. So I've put off the decision what PC to upgrade to, but I know a Core i7 would be great.  The biggest issue was deciding what format and media to write the movies too, I thought I would need a BluRay disc writer, but I got around this as well.  What I did was to buy an LG BluRay player that has Wifi and also a USB port that means I can add a portable hard drive to the player and watch my movies on the TV in this was.  This works very well and also means I don't need to spend hours authoring and writing to BluRay discs.  Now I edit my moves and write them straight from Premiere ot the different formats I want.  Highest quality and size to the portable hard drive from watching on the TV and smaller more compressed formats for the web.   There are some great web sites where you can upload your HD movies like YouTube and Vimeo and you will find a link on the right panel to see my videos so far.

I've even tried doing a bit of editing on the iMac with the new iLife version 11 and it was great fun creating a trailer movie using it's new feature for this and it only took 10-15 mins, you can see it here.  But I sense the Mac with only 2 gb of memory would struggle with the editing of HD content but I might try it for the craic.  Any way the TM700 is a great video, very portable, very versatile and easy and enjoyable to use.


This year I had a big birthday in August and it was time to decide what to get. I would have loved the new Sony VAIO Z series as an update to my current laptop but it's very expensive and in the current environment it's hard to justify a spend like that. So instead I got the Apple iPad and I must say it is a great little machine. Everyone in the house gets great use out of it not just myself. It's so handy for getting on the net, for those times when you couldn't be bother to start up a laptop and wait for it to load and login you've nearly forgotten what it was you wanted to look up. Whereas you can just put your hand on the iPad and you're ready instananeously to start browsing. The only thing that annoys me though is that Apple won't run Flash, I just hate it when you pick it up to check something and then disciover you can't see it if it's a flash website.

There are so many good apps you can get and they are all reasonably priced and the graphics on some of these are amazing.  Also it is so easy to get an app, you can search for it, download it and have it up and running in minutes. There are some great reference apps, like google maps, news apps, receipes, travel etc. Great games and even very good productivitity apps like email, word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Although I haven't done it yet but being able to rent or buy a movie and see it on the iPads lovely screen is also a great application. I'll probably do this for the kids when we are travelling abroad to keep them amused. A great app I got over the weekend is Remote by Apple which means you can use your iPad to control what songs play on your iTunes on your Mac or PC, next I just need to be able to wirelessly route the music to my hifi amp and I've seen just the hardware to do this from Arcam, the RDAC, a great bit of kit!

Overall the iPad is a great little machine much easier to read than the iPhone or iTouch, very portable, very versatile and beautifully designed.  Another great device from Apple.

Panasonic TM700

I got my Panasonic TM700 a couple of weeks ago, thank you Sheldon. I haven't taken any serious video with it yet, I was hoping to get to use it on the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento this week, but our plans fell through when our flight was cancelled due to volcanic ash. I took a few minutes with it last Sunday on my way home along Sandymount Strand and by the Liffey. The weather was poor but what I really wanted to do was see the quality of the HD video and then try editing it with Premiere Pro CS4.

The highest quality setting on the TM700 is 1920 x 1080, 50p fps. However this takes up a lot of space and gives only over an hour of video. It's also very intensive on editing and my current TV can't show it. So I settled for a lower VBR of around 13mb per second and this allows about 5 and a half plus hours which would be fine for a couple of weeks on holiday.

My next problem was to be able to edit it on Premiere Pro. So I tried a few tracks of video with titles and tricky transitions to see how it managed. Happily I was able to preview the results particularly when I result to automatic quality. So I was able to edit it now would it render correctly, create small enough files and play back sharply, smoothly and without artifacts. This is when my trouble started. The playback was juddery and not smooth and some renditions create huge files. After many hours of experimentations and permutations I finally found settings that met all my requirements: small files, sharp clear video with clean transitions, no artifacts and smooth video.

Now all I need to go is create some masterpieces!


Last Christmas Sharon bought me a great surprise an Apple iTouch and it's been a great tool. But carrying around a mobile and an itouch is a bit of a hassle. I have the Nokia E71 which is a great little phone but the iPhone sounded like a much better idea.  My phone,  music, audio books, videos, photos, email and web browser all in one neat package. However it meant having to discontinue with my current provider 3 which I feel provide the best packages.

So I did my research and looked at what Vodafone and O2 were providing and decided to head over to the 3 store to tell them I was disappointed to have to leave them to get an iPhone. But what a bit of luck I did. The guy said hold on and ring 3 customer service as I might be lucky. So I did and, indeed, I was offered a new 32gb iPhone at cheaper prices than the other providers. I got an increased discount on my package, double minutes and texts for six months, 1gb or data download and one month free line rental. I got the phone cheaper than the others were offering it for and my calls are costing me on average 6c as opposed to 22c with the others.  So here I am blogging on my new iPhone.  3 are only offering iPhones to existing customers as upgrades but I believe they will have them in store from the summer on.  I think the phones come from Italy where 3 also issue iPhones.  Hopefully this will shake up the market a bit.

I have a feeling though the battery power is going to be a problem as I use email and WiFi extensively on my iPhone. I also have the Bluetooth on all the time for use in the car. I was concerned that the Phone may not work too well with my built in Bluetooth in my car but so far no problems. But I think I may get the iPhone adapter in my new car so I can keep it charged.

But, so far, a great phone with a really good interface but I look forward to the new OS 4 which will give extra functionality like multitasking, hopefully without further deteriorating the battery life.

What PC to buy?

As an early adopter I'm a technology companies dream, I always want the most up to date gadget be it a camera, TV, PC, mobile phone, camcorder, car, well anything really. But in my old age I'm getting a bit more savvy. I only bought a BluRay this year, well I think that was a measure of constraint and even then it was the WiFi features that sold me on it. Admittedly I was waiting for the war between HD and BluRay formats to be fought out. Now I've also decided it's time to look at a HD Camcorder. And the model I'm looking at is the Panasonic TM300 even though the new TM700 is due to go on sale, what self-control!

But a HD camcorder causes some terrible problems, it's the knock on effects. To watch HD you need an HD TV, well I've got one, it's a lovely Pioneer plasma but it's also 6 years old and I can hear a Samsung 46 inch Series 8 LED calling me. I'll need a BluyRay player well that's okay I've got a new shiny LG, but I'll also need to be able to write to BluRay so I'll need one of them to put in my PC. But luckily since I've waited it out I have other options like I could instead write my productions to a hard drive that I can connect to my BluRay player by USB so that will save me there. But the real trouble comes with editing and creating these marvellous productions. Well I have Premier and After Effect CS4 and because I've waited it out and the standard format for HD recordings in AVCHD I should be okay with Premier, so that's sorted (I hope). The problem is the power required in a PC to be able to process HD video. My PC is about 2 years old, a Dell HPS720, with quad processors and 8gb of RAM. I've updated the Windows XP pro to Vista 64bit and also Windows 7 professional 64bit, but will this be enough, I suspect not. Last year I bought my wife an Apple Mac which has iMovie 09 so maybe that can do the job. I hear so many with HD video saying they use Macs.

But I fear that, no, it may be time to have to look at a new PC. Something with the new Intel Core i7 Processor, Windows 7 64 bit, plenty of RAM and loads of fast HDD. My last few PCs have all been Dells, so naturally I've looked at the XPS 8100 with the Intel Core i7 Processor 870 or do I need to look at the Dell Alienware (what an ugly machine) with an Intel Core i7 950 processor? But that looks very expensive. Maybe I should look at something else, a friend in the technology business suggested the best PCs are the HP models but which one? Maybe I should contact some of the companies selling Adobe and video editing solutions for a suggestion?

On the other hand it might be easier not to bother with an HD camcorder! I doubt though I have that much self control!


Sony Vaio Laptop

Three years ago I bought a new laptop the Sony Vaio SZ3XWP/C, this has an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor with 2 gb of Ram and 100gb of HDD.  I selected this machine because I wanted a light portable machine that is easy to travel with but yet powerful enough to run applications like Photoshop and Premier.  Broadly I've been very happy with it, as at the time I had CS2.  But now I have CS4 and Lightroom and I have to say that its beginning to struggle.  The 100gb is a limitation and of course Vista doesn't help, and the battery life is not the best. 

So now I'm looking again and of course the Vaio is catching my eye again.  The most up to date version is the Z series which appears to have taken over from the SZ.  The spec of the VPCZ11Z9E/B looks very impressive: An Intel Core i7-620m processor, Windows 7 Professional (64-bit), NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M GPU + Intel® HD Graphics, LED 1920x1080 display, 6gb of DDR3 SDRAM and 256gb Quad SSD (RAID 0).  But will it run Photoshop CS4 and in particular Premier with HD video?

Anyone out there with any answers or suggestions with other light weight machines that can do the job?  Plus CS5 is due in a few months and so is USB3!  But then there's always something new just around the corner to buy.

Web Site

It is about two weeks now since I set up my web sites, and after a few early hitches I have to say I'm happy with them, but I'm always interested in feedback.  I started looking into what was involved in setting up a new web site during November/December.  I got some tips from a few friends, but after having looked into it for a month or so I took the plunge.  I wanted two URLs one for a blog and the other just for Galleries for my images.

For the blog site (this one) I settled on Wordpress (http://wordpress.org/) as the tool to use and I must say it was very simple to set up.  First of all I wanted to set it up locally on my PC so I needed a web server to run on my PC and told about WAMP by a friend (see here: http://www.wampserver.com/en/).  This meant I could play around with Wordpress and finalise my design on my PC without involving a hosting site.  Wordpress requires databases to hold all the blog and other information but their is minimal set up involved and you don't need to know anything really about how it operates, it all happens in the background.  Maybe if it breaks down on me I'll feel different about that.  There are literally hundreds of different designs (called themes) available that have been developed by developers all over the world.  I settled on one called Atahualpa as I felt it gave me a great level of customisation as to how my site looks.  It's just a matter of changing the configuration otions to get the look and feel you want.  The instructions around the options setting make it very easy to understand what effects the changes will have.  But the great thing is that if you come across a completely different design/theme you like you can download and install that instead but all your content remains the same and takes on the appearance of the new theme.  But you don't need to know any html, mysql or java code to do any of this, though I'm sure it would help to customise your site even more.  So once I was happy with my design I then went to my hosting site and they already offered Wordpress as a blog package which was very easy to set up.

For my gallery web site (LensFlare) I bought a package Serif WebPlus X2 to set up the main pages and at the moment I use Adobe Lightroom to set up the photo galleries.  Although I could use Bridge in Photoshop CS4 to do the same thing, but I feel you have more control with Lightroom.  Finally I needed someone to host the web site that would give me two domain names and I settled on Blacknight after hearing good things about them and I must say I have found them very helpful for the few teething problems I had.

So I have a few more fixes to do to the gallery site, when I work out how to do them.

Happy New Year.