Leica M10 Monochrom Shoots Only in Black and White, and Can be Yours for Rs 6,75,000

Leica Camera AG, the iconic German camera manufacturer, has put up a rather exceptional camera for pre-order in India. The model in question is the Leica M10 Monochrom, and comes with a newly developed 40-megapixel, full frame sensor that only has monochrome pixels and absorbs no colour data. This is paired with native sensitivity range of ISO 160 to 1,000,000, which also sets new standards for monochrome sensor cameras. This is the third edition of Leica’s monochrome cameras, and the rangefinder-style camera puts much emphasis on the aesthetics and the essence of photography, as a result of which it is not quite as technically advanced as some of its contemporaries.

The 40-megapixel full frame sensor has seemingly been developed just for the M10 Monochrom, and is a step up from the 24-megapixel colour filter array of the sensors inside the standard M10 series. Being a monochrome sensor, there is no instance of demosaicing for the sensor, since there is no extrapolation of colour data between the pixels on the sensor. As a result, the Leica M10 Monochrom should technically produce sharper images than its colour sensor counterparts, and this should be further aided by the extended native ISO range of 160 to 1,000,000.

Particularly at the higher ends of the ISO range, the Leica M10 Monochrom should benefit from sharper pixel data in reducing noise and artifacts, which in turn would improve its long exposure performance and contribute to its aesthetic photography appeal. This would also be crucial since despite its lofty pricing, the Leica M10 Monochrom does not come with in body image stabilisation. What would be interesting to see is how its aliasing and moire performance works at the lowest ISO levels, which would further detail how this sensor performs in terms of contrast, saturation and dynamic range.

The Leica M10 Monochrom also gets a traditional rangefinder, but has an optional electronic viewfinder that can be used separately. It has the looks of a traditional rangefinder camera, and removes Leica’s iconic red dot logo to go with the monochrome aesthetic. At Rs 6,75,000, the Leica M10 Monochrom is definitely very expensive, and does not suit everyone. For mainstream and professional shooters, cameras such as the Sony a7R IV (review) and the Nikon Z6 (review) serve as far better full frame mirrorless cameras. However, this is not the segment of photographers that Leica is trying to target, and the entire premise of the Leica M10 Monochrom lies in the emotions of photography.


Facebook Not Sharing User Data with US Govt: Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

(Image: Reuters)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

(Image: Reuters)

Reports had earlier stated that the US government and CDC were tapping tech companies like Facebook for users’ location data.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: March 19, 2020, 2:24 PM IST
  • Edited by: Chhavianshika Singh

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied reports that the social networking giant is talking to the US government to share users’ location data from their smartphones. NBC News and The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are tapping tech companies like Facebook for users’ location data.

In a press call on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the reports were “largely overstated”, denying that the company was in discussions to give the US government any location data reports CNET. “We’re not aware of any active conversations or asks with the US or other governments at this point asking for access to that data specifically,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook had a Disease Prevention Map programme for almost a year, which is provided to health organisations around the world using location data from people who opt-in. “I don’t think it would make sense to share people’s data in a way where they didn’t have the opportunity to opt in to do that,” said Zuckerberg. “We’re exploring ways that aggregated anonymized location information could help in the fight against COVID-19,” the company said in a statement.

Google confirmed to CNN that it is also exploring ways to use aggregated, anonymized data to help in the coronavirus effort. Apple said it has not been a part of the location data discussions with the US government. The Trump administration is not the only country to consider technology-based tracking. Israel this week passed a proposal to track coronavirus patients on a far more detailed level, using location tools meant for counterterrorism purposes.


Xiaomi Mi 10 5G With 108-Megapixel Camera Launching in India on March 31

Xiaomi India has just confirmed that it is bringing its Mi branded flagship smartphone to the country after a long hiatus. The Mi 10, which launched in China back in February, will be making its way to India on March 31. It is, of course, the company’s latest flagship series and by the looks of the teaser, the company is only planning to bring the Mi 10 5G and not the Pro variant, which sort of makes sense.

The smartphone is pretty similar to the Mi 10 Pro, with a few differences. It is powered by the new Snapdragon 865 chipset and will be supporting 5G connectivity. It comes with a 6.67-inch 1080p AMOLED display the refresh rate of 90Hz. The company says it offers a peak brightness of 1,120 nits and offers 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Xiaomi launched the phone with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage.

In terms of camera, the Mi 10 houses a 108-megapixel camera with a 1/1.33-inch sensor along with OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), the second camera is a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera with 123-degree FOV. The other cameras include a 2-megapixel macro sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front camera of the device is 20-megapixels and is placed in the punch-hole cutout.

The battery is rated at 4,780mAh along with support for 30W fast wired and wireless charging. The brand has further included Wi-Fi 6 to make for overall faster download and upload speeds via Wi-Fi networks. It runs on the latest MIUI 11 based on Android 10.

The Mi 10 was launched in three variants in China including an 8GB RAM and 128GB storage variant for CNY 3999 (Rs 41,000 approx), an 8GB RAM and 256GB storage variant priced at CNY 4299 (Rs 44,000 approx) and the top-end variant with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage priced at CNY 4699 (Rs 48,000 approx). Pricing is going to be crucial for Xiaomi as it will be competing with the likes of OnePlus, iQoo and Realme.


Apple MacBook Air Gets 10th Gen Processors and Twice the Storage, Costs Rs 92,990

Apple has thrown in a substantial update to the new MacBook Air, which now begins at Rs 92,990, slightly lesser than before. Despite that, the new MacBook Air will come with 10th generation Intel Core processors, which range from the 1.1GHz dual-core i3 option. In India, Apple has so far listed the new MacBook Air with the Core i3 processor and a more powerful, 1.5GHz Core i5 quad-core processor. While the RAM type has been updated to the faster LPDDR4X standard, the MacBook Air still only gets the 8GB RAM variant in India, while international SKUs will get up to 16GB of RAM.

Interestingly, the new MacBook Air has validated previous rumours to now feature the new scissor key mechanism in Apple’s new Magic Keyboard. It has also updated the base storage variant to come with at least 256GB of storage, while 512GB is the other default option in India. Those interested to specially configure their MacBook Air in India, or those buying abroad will get up to 2TB SSD. Apart from these upgraded features, the MacBook Air still gets the same chassis that was revised in 2018. This also brings in the 13-inch Retina HDR display with True Tone colour adjustment.

The new MacBook Air gets a three mic array for better audio reception for video calls, and stereo speakers as seen in its predecessor. It also gets the Thunderbolt 3 port, which can now support up to a single 6K external display. Buyers of the new MacBook Air will also get one year of Apple TV Plus subscription complementary.

Apple has also upgraded the Mac Mini, which now comes with a quad-core i3 and six-core i5 processor options, along with 8GB of DDR4 memory and 256GB and 512GB of SSD storage. While the former is priced at Rs 74,900, the latter costs Rs 1,05,900 in India. A more substantial upgrade has come with the new iPad Pro, which now comes with a multi-camera setup, an all-new keyboard and a Lidar sensor on the rear.


Apple’s New iPad Pro Comes With New Magic Keyboard and LiDAR Scanner

Apple has unveiled its new 2020 range of iPad Pro days after reports came in of a special event being cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The new iPad Pro is loaded with the new A12Z Bionic chipset, which is said to make it more powerful than most Windows machines. There is also an all-new camera system that now adds an ultra-wide camera along with studio-quality mics. There is also a LiDAR scanner that will be able to offer improved depth-sensing capabilities, as well as open a new door for augmented reality on the tablet.

The biggest and probably the most crucial update is the new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro. Having a floating design with angle adjustment, a backlit keyboard and trackpad, the new keyboard should change the way one uses the tablet. Apple has confirmed that iPadOS 13.4 will bring trackpad support to iPad, and unlike macOS, the company will bring a custom experience made specifically for the tablet.

Overall the design seems to be similar to the last-generation of iPad Pro. There is an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display and you get two sizes once again- 11-inch and 12.9-inch. The display will offer P3 wide color support and refresh rates going up to 120Hz. Of course, there is support for the Apple Pencil that can attach to the iPad Pro magnetically.

As usual the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be available in silver and space grey finishes. Apple is ditching the 64GB configuration and will now offer the new iPad starting with 128GB going all the way to 1TB. The 11-inch iPad Pro will be available at Rs 71,900 for the Wi-Fi model and Rs 85,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is going to sell at Rs 89,900 for the Wi-Fi model and Rs 1,03,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro will be available for purchase in May for Rs 27,900 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and Rs 31,900 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with layouts for over 30 languages. According to the Apple website, it will be compatible with iPad Pro 12.9‑inch (3rd and 4th generation) as well as iPad Pro 11‑inch (1st and 2nd generation).


Amazon Apple Days Sale: iPhone XR at Rs 48,899, Discounts on iPhone XS, and More

The Amazon Apple Days sale is currently running on Amazon India where customers can avail offers and discounts on various Apple products. The sale began on Tuesday, March 17 and will continue till Saturday, March 21. Apart from discounts, customers can avail no-cost EMI and additional discounts using HDFC Bank Debit and Credit Cards. There is also an additional discount of Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max for Amazon Prime members.

The latest iPhone 11 series is available with additional discount where Apple is offering, exchange offers of up to Rs 10,200 as well as no-cost-EMI. There is an additional Rs 6,000 instant discount with HDFC Credit and Debit cards on the smartphone.

All variants of the iPhone XS Max are selling at discounted prices and the iPhone 8 256GB storage variant is currently selling at Rs 40,999. The iPhone XR 64GB storage variant is now priced at Rs 48,899 while the 128GB and 256GB storage variants are available at Rs 53,900 and Rs 64,900, respectively. Specifically the Black colour option of the iPhone XR 128GB is priced at Rs 50,900. There also no-cost-EMI offers available on Amazon Pay card and ZestMoney.

The iPhone XS 512GB variant is selling for a slashed price of Rs 79,000, available in both gold and silver colour options. Notably, the 256GB storage variant of iPhone XS is priced at Rs 1,03,900 and is available with no-cost EMI and exchange offers.

Apart from the iPhone range, Apple has slashed the prices of the latest MacBook Air. The 128GB variant is selling for Rs 93,120 and while the 512GB version is selling at Rs 1,09,900. There are also some discounts on other MacBook products including the MacBook Pro. Other than that, limited models of the Apple Watch are selling for as low as Rs 20,900 while there are special discounts on the 11-inch iPad Pro through HDFC Bank Debit and Credit cards.


Vodafone Prepaid Plans: New Rs 248, Rs 218 Plans Introduced for Low Data Users

Vodafone India continues its efforts to increase average revenue per user while maintaining a steady customer share with more new prepaid plans. After introducing limited period double data offer with three prepaid plans across multiple circles, Vodafone India has now launched two new prepaid plans that cater to the low data usage prepaid customers. The two new Vodafone prepaid plans are priced at Rs 218 and Rs 248, and have only been launched in Delhi and Haryana circles, at least for now. There is no word on whether these plans will be around for long, or are limited period plans.

The Vodafone Rs 218 prepaid plan offers ‘truly unlimited’ local and national phone calls (no interconnect charges or limit), 100 SMS messages per day and subscriptions to Vodafone Play and Zee5 along with the recharge, for a period of 28 days. The key factor here is data, and the new Vodafone prepaid plan offers 6GB of 3G/4G data for the 28-day period. This means that the plan will offer about 220MB of data per day, which is not ideal for high data consumption users, or those without a stable home/work Wi-Fi connnection.

The Rs 248 plan has similar call, SMS and entertainment offerings, as well as validity period. However, it offers slightly higher amount of data, at 8GB for the period. While this does mean that users will get slightly higher average daily data of about 293MB, it is still not ideal for users without a Wi-Fi hotspot at hand, and only suits basic users who need the mobile data for communication apps and basic internet searches.

The two new plans are at the other end of Vodafone’s limited time double data plans, which offer 3GB data per day at Rs 249 for 28 days, Rs 399 for 56 days and Rs 599 for 84 days. Going forward, it remains to be seen if the steadily diversifying prepaid plan offerings help Vodafone-Idea claw back from its presently precarious position of heavy losses and a steadily decreasing customer count.


Google Translate will Now Let You Live Transcribe Conversations in Eight Languages

Google Translate app for Android is getting a new live transcription feature, using which people without a common language of conversation can get a live transcription of a foreign language, in a language of their own choosing. The feature is being rolled out in phases, and is being made available in Hindi and seven other languages, including English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai. To get the new feature, users can either download the Google Translate app from the Play Store on their Android devices, or update their existing app over the next few days.

To use the live transcription feature, users will need to tap on the Transcribe tap on Google Translate’s main screen. This opens up the transcription interface, from which they can choose the primary language in which the speech is being given, and the target language in which they want the transcription in. Once languages are selected, users can tap on the microphone button to start transcribing. While transcribing, tapping on the microphone button gives the option to either pause it, or restart the transcription from scratch.

Google Translate also has a ‘Conversations’ feature, which works for two-way transcription in different languages. The new feature can hence be particularly useful during a foreign language conference, or even while talking to someone without having a common language in between, thereby removing the need for a human translator in between. Google Translate’s product manager, Sami Iqram, says that the transscription feature would work best in a “quiet environment with one person speaking at a time”.

Google has been working on natural language processing for a while, and at previous versions of Google I/O, the company has already demoed examples of its work on closed caption and real-time translation and transcription. Going forward, Google will likely add support for multiple other languages in a bid to expand the transcription programme.


Get to the Choppa! Fortnite v12.20 Update Brings Helicopters to the Game

To add some improved mobility to the game, Fortnite is bringing a new vehicle to the game. With the latest update having version 12.20, players will now be able to move around the map faster using the all-new ‘Choppas.’ Players had started witnessing helipads within the game’s map and it finally adds up. Fortnite v12.20 update started rolling out on Tuesday, March 17.

Players can find the Choppas on helipads placed around secret bases. From what we know, these helipads started popping up on the map since the beginning of Chapter 2 Season 2 of Fortnite. They are capable of accomodating an entire squad and allow players to hunt enemies from above. These don’t come armed with any weapons, so make sure you load up before flying off.

This is the second time we are seeing an aerial vehicle being added to the game. Epic Games had added the rather controversial airplanes during the first chapter last year. It didn’t receive a positive response from players as it restricted the ability to destroy structures and deal significant damage with the onboard mini-gun. Hence, this time the company has decided not to have any on-board weapons. Fortnite is however late as popular battle royale games like PUBG and Call of Duty: Warzone both offer the use of helicopters, at least in one mode or the other.

Apart from the helicopters, expect some of the usual list of fixes and improvements to gameplay. You can download the update across all available platforms.