Explain it: The Business Cycle

Guest Author: ESYP

Introduction 

The baseline of all economic activity: the business cycle. This is the cyclical trend demonstrating the trend of economic activity. A typical business cycle lasts approximately 69-84 months. The business cycle has a few typical phases. Starting with an expansion as economic growth starts to build. When economic activity reaches a peak, it transitions into a peak. An extraordinary peak will be classified as a boom. Afterwards, as economic activity starts to slow and decrease, it transitions into a contraction. When economic activity reaches a low, it forms a trough. An extraordinary trough is a recession.

trade-cycle

Some of these terms may be familiar to you as media outlets frequently use terms like peaks and troughs, booms and recessions. But knowing the terms is just the start, knowing the impacts will help you be more aware and hopefully more successful.

How does this affect me?

It’s all good and jolly to know these terms but their implications are what separates your crazy uncle in his bomb shelter from the successful business people working at Wall Street. However speculating on the business cycle is not recommended due to the volatility of the finance sector and as such take large precautions if that is something you want to pursue. Luckily for Australians, we have never experienced a recession, measured by 2 consecutive quarters with negative economic growth in over 25 years as such the future outlook is bright.

You and me, we aren’t multimillionaires or owners of large businesses. Many of us don’t even have speculative assets, which are assets that have risk or losing outlay with the expectation of substantial gain eg. Stocks. Why does this business cycle thing affect us? The crux of the business cycle is that it allows you to see how the economy is performing as a whole and as such, gives you fair warning about your future.

Additionally the government uses the business cycle as one of the factors in setting the cash rate, which directly impacts the retail interest rates that banks are able to give us consumers. But we’ll go into that next time.

 

Tell us what aspect of finance you want covered next time!

 

Disclaimer: None of what we write is professional advice and as such the author(s) cannot be liable for decisions based on the presented info

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Physics (SL) IA Example

Question:

How does the depth of a pool affect the speed and duration of the wavefront, regarding how it will impact a swimmers speed?

Introduction:

Turbulence is one of the biggest factors when it comes to competitive swimming, it has influenced the design of swimming pools and lane ropes for decades. Every stroke and kick a swimmer takes, they create turbulence in the form of waves. This is due to the large volumes of water the swimmer shoves behind them to move forward. This phenomenon is known as Newtons third law, as every action has an equal or opposite reaction. When a swimmer pulls on the water with their hands to move forward, they travel in the opposite direction of the palm pushing the water back. Being a national swimmer myself, I encounter all sorts of waves coming all different directions when I train. This becomes a hassle in the warm up pool were it becomes packed with swimmers creating waves, leaving the water to be very choppy, making it feel I’m swimming in open water (ocean). It has always fascinated me how the depth of a swimming pool can affect the speed of a swimmer. From a young age, swimmers learn in shallow pools due to their height. As they get older, they become too “big” for the shallow pools and progress to the deeper 50m pool. However, this is not the case for every pool, some pools had one half shallow, the other half slowing descending to a certain depth. I will explore how depth can affect the speed of a wave, I also will explore how it can affect the dissipation of a wave. It is ideal for a swimmer to have their wave dissipate as fast as possible whilst moving at the fastest possible rate. We do not want to be swimming into someone else’s wake as we need to exert more effort to overcome this, nor do we want to swim in our own.

Aim:

To determine how the depth of the water in a system can affect the wave speed and dissipation times.

Equipment:

  • Gift card, measuring (8.5cm x 12.4cm) as a wave generator.
  • Trough (long piece of guttering with both ends closed). Measuring (200cm x 5cm x 10cm).
  • One ruler the length of 15cm to measure the depth.
  • One ruler the length of 100cm to measure the length.
  • Stop watch
  • Jugs of water to fill up the guttering.
  • Polystyrene pieces 1cm by 1cm (cut up from a foam cup)

Safety/hazards:

Avoid getting any electrical equipment wet.

Clean up any spills of water to avoid slipping hazards.

Variables:

The independent variable for this experiment will be time for a given consistent distance.

The dependent variable for this experiment will be the depth of the water. I will change the depth of the water after each trial by filling it up with a jug.

I also need to control the creation of each wave, through the use of the gift card, to ensure I can get consistent precise results, which I will talk about more in-depth in my discussion.

Method:

  1. I first filled up the guttering with water to test for any leaks and to clean any debris.
  2. After I placed a ruler inside the trough to measure the height of the water and refilled the guttering with clean water to 0.65cm in depth.
  3. I ensured I removed the ruler before each trial so that it would not disturb the wave.
  4. I measured the air temperature as well as the water temperature.
  5. I place another ruler alongside the trough to measure the distance travelled by the wave front. This is vital in order to calculate the speed of the wave.
  6. I chose to time 1m in length so I marked the bottom of the guttering with pencil in 50cm increments to make up 1m.
  7. We did not have an appropriate wave generator so I used a large plastic card to create a wave.
  8. This meant that I needed to keep the generated wave as consistent as I could, I marked the bottom of the guttering to signify when to start and stop the wave (plastic card). This was 20cm in length.
  9. The wave had 15cm to travel before I started the stop watch in order to keep the wave consistent. As soon as the wavefront crossed the start line, I would immediately start the stopwatch, then I would follow the wavefront as best as I could to the finish line, stopping it straight after it crossed the finish line.
  10. I recorded 5 sets of data for every trial, between each trial I had to wait for the water to calm down otherwise I would encounter constructive and destructive waves.
  11. Once I recorded all the possible data, I went on to fill the trough higher by roughly 0.50 cm and repeated this process 6 more times.
  12. I had to bear in the mind, that the increased volume meant an increase in amplitude. When I reached by 7th trial, water started to spill over the edge of the guttering. Not only this, the great the volume, the longer I had to wait for it to dissipate.
  13. For the wave dissipation trials, I created a wave by using the method as stated above and left the wave to flow in the guttering. I placed little pieces of polystyrene onto the water as well as dust to help determine when the wave had completely dissipated. The polystyrene pieces are very light and move along with the wavefronts in the guttering, however once the wavefront stopped the polystyrene pieces would come to a rest. When this happened I stopped the stopwatch.
  14. I repeated step 13 for five trials and recorded in a table ready to be graphed.

Background information:

In an ideal scenario, water waves would not slow down and dissipate. However, waves in the real world slow down and dissipate due to various different factors such as turbulence, friction and obstructions. Friction is found at the bottom of the water as it covers the bottom of the pool/tank and this friction translates upwards, layer by layer. The deeper the water, the more layers the water will have to travel. Therefore the friction at the top will be lower compared to deeper water. This also means the shallow water would have more friction through the body of water as there are less layers. From background research on forums, I deduced that due to the friction occurring deeper in the water, the speed will be higher at the surface, however I will need to investigate this to see whether this theory reigns true.[1]

Results for Wavefront speed

Table of results for trial one

Table 1: raw data

Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Length that is timed.

L (cm)

Δ(L)=±0.01cm

Time take of the wavefront.

t (sec).

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Velocity of the wavefront.

V (m/s).

Δ(V)=±0.38m/s

Water temp = 21.0 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Air temp = 24.5 oC

a (oC)

Δ(a)=±0.05oC

0.65cm 100 2.87 0.348  
0.65cm 100 2.97 0.337  
0.65cm 100 3.10 0.323  
0.65cm 100 2.81 0.356  
0.65cm 100 2.72 0.368  
Average   2.89 0.346  

Table of results for trial two

Table 2: raw data

Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Length that is timed.

L (cm)

Δ(L)=±0.01cm

Time take of the wavefront.

t (sec).

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Velocity of the wavefront.

V (m/s).

Δ(V)=±0.41m/s

Water temp = 23.2 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Air temp = 24.5 oC

a (oC)

Δ(a)=±0.05oC

1.10cm 100 2.62 0.382  
1.10cm 100 2.56 0.390  
1.10cm 100 2.94 0.340  
1.10cm 100 2.62 0.382  
1.10cm 100 2.53 0.395  
Average   2.65 0.378  

Table of results for trial three

Table 3: raw data

Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Length that is timed.

L (cm)

Δ(L)=±0.01cm

Time take of the wavefront.

t (sec).

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Velocity of the wavefront.

V (m/s).

Δ(V)=±0.11m/s

Water temp = 21.7 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Air temp = 22.8 oC

a (oC)

Δ(a)=±0.05oC

1.95cm 100 1.90 0.526  
1.95cm 100 1.88 0.532  
1.95cm 100 1.85 0.541  
1.95cm 100 1.79 0.559  
1.95cm 100 1.81 0.552  
Average   1.85 0.541  

 

Table of results for trial four

Table 4: raw data

Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Length that is timed.

L (cm)

Δ(L)=±0.01cm

Time take of the wavefront.

t (sec).

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Velocity of the wavefront.

V (m/s).

Δ(V)=±0.12m/s

Water temp = 20.9 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Air temp = 22.3 oC

a (oC)

Δ(a)=±0.05oC

2.30cm 100 1.62 0.617  
2.30cm 100 1.53 0.654  
2.30cm 100 1.50 0.667  
2.30cm 100 1.56 0.641  
2.30cm 100 1.50 0.667  
Average   1.54 0.649  

Table of results for trial five

Table 5: raw data

Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Length that is timed.

L (cm)

Δ(L)=±0.01cm

Time take of the wavefront.

t (sec).

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Velocity of the wavefront.

V (m/s).

Δ(V)=±0.10m/s

Water temp = 20.5 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Air temp = 21.5 oC

a (oC)

Δ(a)=±0.05oC

2.85cm 100 1.44 0.694  
2.85cm 100 1.34 0.746  
2.85cm 100 1.38 0.725  
2.85cm 100 1.40 0.714  
2.85cm 100 1.43 0.699  
Average   1.40 0.714  

Table of results for trial six

Table 6: raw data

Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Length that is timed.

L (cm)

Δ(L)=±0.01cm

Time take of the wavefront.

t (sec).

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Velocity of the wavefront.

V (m/s).

Δ(V)=±0.06m/s

Water temp = 20.9 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Air temp = 22.3 oC

a (oC)

Δ(a)=±0.05oC

3.40cm 100 1.35 0.741  
3.40cm 100 1.34 0.746  
3.40cm 100 1.29 0.775  
3.40cm 100 1.29 0.775  
3.40cm 100 1.31 0.763  
Average   1.32 0.758  

Table of results for trial seven

Table 7: raw data

Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Length that is timed.

L (cm)

Δ(L)=±0.01cm

Time take of the wavefront.

t (sec).

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Velocity of the wavefront.

V (m/s).

Δ(V)=±0.04m/s

Water temp = 22.0 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Air temp = 23.8 oC

a (oC)

Δ(a)=±0.05oC

3.90cm 100 1.25 0.800  
3.90cm 100 1.21 0.826  
3.90cm 100 1.25 0.800  
3.90cm 100 1.25 0.800  
3.90cm 100 1.22 0.820  
Average   1.24 0.806  

Uncertainties

Calculation of uncertainty regarding the measurements

To get my length uncertainties on my ruler, which is an analogue instrument, I would use half the least measurable unit (cm).  This was ΔL = Δ± 0.05 cm, however I chose Δ± 0.1 cm instead, as I was looking as an awkward angle to find the water level, the larger uncertainty would be more suitable in this occasion as the surface tension of the water on the ruler was also another difficulty. I based all my measurements off the centre of the ruler which ended up being around the average of the water level.

Similar to the ruler, a thermometer is another analogue instrument. Therefore I deduced the uncertainty value of the thermometer to be Δtemperature = Δ±0.05oC.

For the stopwatch, the uncertainty would be Δt = Δ±0.01s, as the uncertainty for digital systems would be the last value that is recorded.

Calculation of uncertainty from maximum residual

The maximum residual was determined by finding the greatest difference between the mean of the data and the data itself. This value becomes the stated uncertainty.

To calculate the mean, I needed to add the five trials together, then I divided the sum of the trials by five.

I will use trial number one as an example:

Trial one

After I got my mean value for all the different heights, I then set out to find the maximum residual.

Going from trial one down to trial seven.

Our residuals are a great way of giving a numerical estimation of the variation due to random errors where our measurement errors are systematic.

Graph

From this graph taken from Excel, we can see a strong linear relationship however, we cannot say it’s directly proportional as it does not go through the origin. We get an equation of V=0.1522D + 0.2476, however the x axis is in cm whereas the y axis is in m. Once we change the x axis into m, we get the equation of V=15.22D +24.76.  As not all the error bars are touching the line of best fit, we can only assume that this is due to random errors that have not been added into the calculations. The error bars become too small to see on the graph towards the end. The systematic errors can only provide so much and the rest is due to the random errors. In this case, it would be mostly random errors. Despite having this problem, the relationship is still pretty clear and we can successfully deduce that the depth of a body of water has a relation to the speed of the wave.

Maximum Residual and Minimum residual lines

 

Table 8

Maximum slope D Maximum slope V Minimum slope D Minimum slope V
0.688 0.308 0.612 0.384
1.141 0.337 1.059 0.419
1.961 0.530 1.939 0.552
2.312 0.637 2.288 0.661
2.860 0.704 2.840 0.724
3.406 0.752 3.394 0.764
3.904 0.802 3.896 0.810

fsfgsdfg

The normal slope is in blue with the equation of V=0.1522D + 0.2476.

The maximum slope is in orange with the equation of V=0.1658D + 0.196.

The minimum slope is in grey with the equation of V=0.1389D + 0.2982.

Discussion of results:

From my graphed results, I can deduce that the deeper the water, the faster the surface wave will travel.

The equation of V=15.22D +24.76 shows that the rate of change regarding the depth of water to be 15s, as the two units of measurement cancel each other out. This could mean that the wave travels 15 seconds faster each m it is lowered. The linear growth would remain true for an ideal environment, however other factors will influence this gradient. The data going from the first data point to the y-intercept are all extrapolated data, meaning that they may not follow the linear trend of the other data points. This is further highlighted as I only a limited range to work with due to the height of the guttering’s walls.

What was important in doing my experiment was to keep everything consistent. Every time before I did a trial, I had to make sure that the water in the guttering was as calm as it could get. The easiest way to figure this out was to see if the dust particles in the water were moving or not, as the slightest wave movement can move the particles forwards and backwards. Not only this, reflection of light reflecting off the water surface allowed me to see whether or not the water was calm.

I also had to bear in mind that every time I created a wave, I had to make sure that this wave was consistent and moved the same percentage of volume regarding the volume and depth. I decided to set a distance to create the wave, it ended up being 15.0cm before I removed the card and let the wavefront go wild along the guttering. I had to do many trials to find the optimal length to build up the wave, which then I timed a 1m portion of the guttering.

What I noticed through observation was that the amplitude seemed to be lower when the depth was increased as well as the waves crashed back onto other wavefronts after they had collided with the edges of the guttering, which could slow down the waves due to drag and extra turbulence in the system.

I conducted the entire experiment with normal tap water, however there would a density difference when compared to a chlorinated pool. A chlorinated pool will be denser compared to tap water as there are more salts and other products in the pool water compared to your conventional tap water. Therefore there will an increase in buoyancy for the swimmer which helps the swimmer as floating easier in the pool means there is less energy required to stay afloat.

Not only this, I also measured the water temperature as well as the air temperature, this is because water temperature can affect the density. Similar to air, the warmer temperature water will rise and the cold temperature water will flow to the bottom. The waves are generated on the surface of the water so any difference of the water temperature would have a small effect on the wave, this could be one of the reasons for error in the prac, however unlikely in this system. In order to combat this for next time, we must ensure that we do this experiment in a controlled environment on the same day, not only this, when I add water to the guttering, I need to make sure that this would be the same temperature to keep my results consistent.

From all the data I have collated, I can interpret the following from my data:

Deeper water vs shallower water

Table 9: found data

  Deep Water Shallow Water
Friction Lower Higher
Velocity Higher Lower
Frequency Same Same
Wave length (v/f) Larger Smaller

 

Now all of these still kept me wondering and whilst I was swimming through the pool and watching other swimmers swim, I started to thinking about the dissipation of the wave. The wave doesn’t just stop automatically after the volume of water has been pushed, and I set to find out whether or not depth can influence the time it takes for a wave to full dissipate in the water.

Wave dissipation results

Here are the results from my second experiment. (Method step 13)

Table 10: raw data

  Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Water temp = 22.0 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Time for the wave to dissipate t (s)

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Trial one 1.10cm 23.5 1.06.25s
Trial two 1.10cm 23.5 1.09.00s
Trial three 1.10cm 23.5 1.07.78s
Average 1.10cm 23.5 1.07.68s ±2.75s

 

Table 11: raw data

  Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Water temp = 22.0 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Time for the wave to dissipate t (s)

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Trial one 1.80cm 23.5 1.21.87s
Trial two 1.80cm 23.5 1.23.88s
Trial three 1.80cm 23.5 1.21.38s
Average 1.80cm 23.5 1.22.38s ±2.50s

 

Table 12: raw data

  Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Water temp = 22.0 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Time for the wave to dissipate t (s)

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Trial one 2.05cm 23.7 1.41.37s
Trial two 2.05cm 23.7 1.38.82s
Trial three 2.05cm 23.7 1.35.18s
Average 2.05cm 23.7 1.38.46s ±6.19s

 

Table 13: raw data

  Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Water temp = 22.0 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Time for the wave to dissipate t (s)

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Trial one 2.50cm 23.0 1.41.50s
Trial two 2.50cm 23.0 1.45.43s
Trial three 2.50cm 23.0 1.43.19s
Average 2.50cm 23.0 1.43.38s ±3.93

 

Table 14: raw data

  Height/Depth of the water in D (cm)

Δ(D)=±0.01cm

Water temp = 22.0 oC

w (oC)

Δ(w)=±0.05oC

Time for the wave to dissipate t (s)

Δ(t)=±0.01s

Trial one 3.25cm 23.0 1.58.97s
Trial two 3.25cm 23.0 2.02.63s
Trial three 3.25cm 23.0 2.00.78s
Average 3.25cm 23.0 2.02.79s ±3.66

 

 

 

 

 

Wave dissipation graph

Following out previous steps, I worked out the residuals and error bars for the graphs.

Captureewqrwer

 

We can see a very strong linear relationship of t=28.81D+39.70 on the Dissipation of a wave graph. We can deduce that a change in depth will result in a change in the life of the wave. However the line doesn’t go through the origin. When you create a wave, it will still take some time to dissipate so this is rather accurate. The error bars are too small to be seen on the graph, however it is only the third point that does not touch the line of best fit.

Discussion part two

Sources of error

My greatest source of error came from the creation of the wave. I did my best to maintain the consistency of each wave. To ensure this, I had to discount any waves that did not come off right. This ensured that I would achieve precision. I had set markings on the bottom of the guttering to avoid this problem, however from the graphs, it can be seen that random errors were prominent. The depth of the how I placed the gift card was another source of error in this experiment and I ensured to place it at the same depth before each experiment, appropriate to the depth of the water. The wave reflecting off the wall can also be seen as an error as it slowed down the wavefront, it would be better next time to allow it to overflow so that the wavefront will not be affected by the rebounding waves. To combat the wave creation problem, dropping an object the width and height of the guttering to create a wave would be a better way, only if it can produce a recordable wave. Having a device like paddles like those ones on old steam boats or turbines could also be another way to create a wave that would stay constant throughout the trials.

The second greatest source of error came from the timing of the wave. It was all about perception of when the wavefront crossed the start line and crossed the finish line. As this was a solo prac, I had to create the wave with my left hand whilst holding the stopwatch with my right hand waiting for the wavefront to cross the finish line. One the button was pressed, I had to move hastily along the bench to ensure that I was over the wavefront when it crossed the finish line. This would fall under the parallax error as I was looking at the wavefront from an angle which would have caused some degree of an error. Not only this, my reaction time also come into play. As a swimmer, I react to the sound of the buzzer and I learn not to react from other things happening in the environment such as waves from the pool. Therefore it was harder for me to get an accurate timing. In order to combat this as best as I could, I had a few warmup attempts to get my head focused on the wave. To combat the parallax error, I would have to have a helper to create the wave which then I can focus on the wavefront. If I was to repeat this experiment, having a helper will dramatically improve this experiment. Setting up a camera to record the entirety of the wave would also dramatically improve the timing accuracy. Even better, two cameras in sync would provide the best results.

The third source of error came from the surrounding environment. This includes dust particles falling into the water overnight which could have some effect on the water. Not only this, the temperature of the water was greatly affected by the air temperature. Some days the air conditioner as on which led to the water being cooler meaning that it would be denser than the warmer water due to the kinetic energy of the molecules. When the water cools down, the molecules become more tightly packed and slow down, leaving them in a denser state. Since the guttering was placed on a table, any slight bumps or movement would create small waves or even whirlpools in the guttering. Someone walking past my experimental area also would create a wave on top of the calm water. One trial was being done during the end of school and people walking across the room or outside also had some effect. To combat this I would need to cover the guttering before leave for the day to ensure no particles would land in the water. It would best if this experiment was to be conducted in a controlled environment where the water temp and air temp remained constant to ensure that I can get the best possible results. Whilst in this controlled environment, walking and bumping into the table must be avoided to ensure that no waves are created prior to the trial.

Relation to a Swimmer

Olympic pools are designed to have a constant depth of 3m, this is because the swimming creates waves in all directions when they swim. The depth of 3m is required in order for the wave to dissipate in the water so it doesn’t reflect off the bottom back onto the swimmer. Not only this, the deeper the pool is, the less frictional drag the moving water will have against the bottom as not the entire body of water will move forward when a swimmer swims.

Costs also come into play when building a fast pool used for the Olympics, the deeper the pool, the higher the operating costs will be. Therefore they tend to cap the current Olympic pools to 3m, not only this, many of these pools have moveable floors to adjust the depth of the floor which is helpful when the pool is used for teaching and recreational swimming.

When I was doing my experiment I came across reflection of waves off the sides of the guttering and sometimes the amplitude of the wave was higher than the walls of the guttering which allowed it to overflow. This led me to ask question how to minimize the effects. After some research, I found that Olympic pools have specially designed lane ropes which are optimized to minimise the turbulent waves so Swimmers do not have to battle the waves coming from themselves, competitors or the walls.

The future of fast swimming pools will also be influenced by the future of walls, nowadays the touch pads do not absorb the waves and they get reflected back onto the swimmer when they turn, meaning that they need to escape this wavefront otherwise they will be pulled back by the wave. To combat this, some sort of wave absorbing material will need be implemented.

In 2014, controversy arose amongst the Glasgow commonwealth games as the competition swimming pool’s floor became stuck at a fixed height. It was supposed to be 2m in depth all the way, however during a certain length of the pool after 12m the pool arose to 1.88m. World championships and Olympic Games have a set ruling saying that the pool must be at least 2m in depth which caused a debate in the controversy of whether or not world records would be legitimate. However due to my prac results, a shallower depth pool would have made it harder for the swimmers to achieve world record times due to the increase in resistance. However, the governing body of swimming, FINA, approved any records that were set as the pool still exceeded their minimum requirements.

Conclusion

I must keep in mind of all possible errors for the next time I repeat this experiment. However, this time around, I managed to discover and answer my aim, which was to find and form a relationship and an equation to match the trend how the depth of the water affects the wave speed. V=15.22D +24.76 .This can all relate to how I swim, now I would much prefer to swim in the middle of the pool to avoid getting reflections off the side of the pool. Now in swimming I can pay attention to the effects on the swimmer from the changing depths. It is a common misconception that shallow pools are faster, my experiment has disproved this theory. Instead, it’s the deeper the pool, the faster the wave will travel at the surface. Hopefully soon there will be a solution to the wall problem where the wall will completely absorb the wave!

 

Referencing

Barret,C Luttion,P and Paxinos S. (2014). Officials insist records will stand despite defective pool floor. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 March 2016, from http://www.smh.com.au/commonwealth-games-glasgow-2014/commonwealth-games-news/officials-insist-records-will-stand-despite-defective-pool-floor-20140727-zxgyj.html

Sinclair, P. Why swimming records stand, even with a broken pool floor. (2014). The Conversation. Retrieved 10 March 2016, from http://theconversation.com/why-swimming-records-stand-even-with-a-broken-pool-floor-29834

 

[1]Based off findings on Quora. Why do waves in water slow down on entering shallower region? – Quora. (2016). [online] Quora.com. Available at: https://www.quora.com/Why-do-waves-in-water-slow-down-on-entering-shallower-region [Accessed 8 Mar. 2016].

Beginner Digital Photography: Kit lenses

The past two weeks we have been focussing on beginner cameras that will get you into the photography scene. When you purchase the camera, you may be asked to buy it with a kit lens or it comes bundled with the camera. Today I will take you through why I feel that Kit lenses are an important foundation for your photography journey and why they mustn’t be overlooked.

It is a major misconception of the kit lens being trash and a waste of money, kit lenses have improved so much over time. They were once plastic gimmicks that took below par shot, nowadays these kit lenses have evolved into lens that will last throughout your time as a beginner. These lenses now have silent autofocus, sharp image and impressive glass for its price. To put this into perspective, most kit lenses come with inbuilt vibration reduction making it easier for the user to shoot sharp images down at 1/20 and even 1/10. This brings out the camera’s potential in low light situation.

Most common kit lenses are 14-42mm for mirrorless cameras and 18-55mm for DSLRs. These are fantastic ranges as they are wide enough for landscape photography and zoom in enough for portraits and everything inbetween. What the kit lens does not do well is distance photography such as sports, animals and avian photography where you are at large distances away from the subjects. If you need, you can also get extension tubes to shoot macro photography. (I will cover this in the coming weeks) Often manufacturers offer a zoom kit lens that go from 55 – 200 or even 300mm. My first lens was a Tamron 18-200mm lens and it was perfect as a beginner lens where I could shoot landscapes, portraits and even macros. These lens are very underrated and extremely handy when travelling.

Another aspect where Kit lenses excel at is the weight, which again makes it ideal for travelling. Most are well under 200 grams due to their plastic build, which is okay as these lenses aren’t made to last for a very long time. Having a very light lens makes it easier to carry the camera around and helps when taking photos. I currently use a Sigma 17-50mm and it is very very heavy compared to the kit lenses. I miss having a light lens as when i’m walking from location to location, the camera would be a pain dangling around with all the momentum of the lens. The Kit lens is versatile in that regards, however does lack in durability. Since kit lenses are made out of cheaper materials, they do tend to not last a long time and can break in falls. Fortunately, they are very cheap to buy new and are dirt cheap to buy used.

The downfall (spec wise) of the kit lens is the sharpness, autofocus and aperture. The sharpness is decent enough for most photography, however it isn’t as sharp as prime lenses (which I will cover next week). The Autofocus is a bit slow and noisy, however has gotten better which each new generation and I know the new Nikon kit lenses have a very decent focus speed. The maximum aperture is f/3.5-5.6 (it increases as the lens zooms), meaning it is not a fixed aperture lens. This would be more than adequate for portrait photography but don’t expect to get very creamy bokeh from this lens. However this is perfect for landscape photography and just everyday photography.

Now that the specs are out of the way, I want to emphasise the important the kit lens has on your photography development. When you use the kit lens, you tend to get similar shots and the distance may not be adequate. The kit lens will start to make you think about how you are shooting your subject, how you could change your positioning. Remember, you can zoom with your legs, thus leaving you with a lower maximum aperture. Not only this, you soon start to learn about the limitations of the lens and you being to adapt. This creates creativity in your shots and thus you begin to find your style of photography. Currently I am still deciding on what to shoot, seen from my instagram @bokehgon. It doesn’t matter if the photo isn’t the sharpest, it is your photo and you tell the story through your lens. Be creative with how you use your kit lens, how you angle your shots, whether it be from low or high and be creative on how you use your lighting to help you take that perfect shot. There is nothing special about the kit lens, it is something that is very generic and it is up to you to create something special out of nothing. Once you master the kit lens, read my next article that will talk about your first lens (after the kit lens).

The only way to improve is to keep practising, photograph anything and try to see where the improvements can come from. Could this be your framing? Could this be your angle from which you are shooting your subject at? Could it be the lighting? Dimly light shorts create a darker mood whereas shots with plenty of light create a happy and vibrant mood. I would recommend photography anything at the start, don’t be afraid to walk around the neighbourhood with your camera and take photos of plants, people, cars and houses, (as long as you are not doing this in a creepy stalker type way). Happy shooting for this coming week and I will be back next week to talk all about your next lens you should invest in for your photography. Make sure to comment your instagram photography account below and we as a community will follow you and help see your photography grow!

Explore: The Great Ocean Road

Ask any Melbournian and they will recommend a visit to the Great Ocean Road, it’s a simple masterpiece. With a length of 243 km, the Great Ocean Road contains something new and exciting every turn of the corner, whether it be a different landscape, another vibrant coastal town or a forest. Starting in Torquay and ending in Allansford, the Great Ocean road covers hundreds and thousands of landmarks, towns and events. I will cover the major attractions that are along the Great Ocean Road and some advice for those who want to have a fun driving experience.

The most famous attractions lay beyond the Otways national park, but we will start our coverage of the top ten places to visit along the Great Ocean Road from the start (east end).

12 apostles

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Probably one of the most well known attractions along the great ocean road and would definitely need a visit. The 12 apostles, well actually only 8 now are giant limestone stacks that are just off the shore. They are an incredible site to see with their giant tall structures being crushed by the white waves, making it a fantastic piece to photograph and view. There is a dedicated discovery centre with lookouts and I would definitely recommend walking all the way down to the beach to view the 12 apostles. The stacks currently erode at 2cm per year due to the harsh nature of the southern ocean, hence I believe you must visit these mammoths before they all collapse and erode away.

Otways national park

The Otways national park is a fantastic national park along the Great Ocean Road and has some of the best roads to drive along. The national park itself contains 3 waterfalls which are a must visit and contain a huge range of different plant life, animal life and fungi. It is a perfect place for a picnic, mountain bike ride and camping. The Otways have a lot to offer which treetop adventures, hundreds of walking tracks and a seaside view at the edge of the national park. There are an abundance of lakes and rivers, making the Otways a photographers dream. Close to the Otways, there is a fantastic windy road which I would highly recommend any driver to visit, Turtons track. Make sure to have tyres with plenty of grip and are comfortable to drive on these windy roads. It is a fantastic drive with wonderful scenery and greenery that surrounds you, it truly is a magical experience.

London bridge

Remember the childhood nursery rhyme of London bridge is falling down? Well the London Bridge along the Great Ocean Road has in fact fallen down and has now taken on the name of London Arch. It is a natural arch caused by erosion and used to be connected to the mainland, however in 1990 the arch connecting the bridge to the mainland collapsed and thus now is called London Arch. It is still a fantastic natural arch to look at with and provides fantastic photography opportunities.

Loch Ard Gorge

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Just situated 3 minutes away from the 12 apostles, the Loch Ard Gorge is gorgeous. Visitors are allowed to walk down the beach and see in beautiful beach in all its glory. It is fantastic on a warm day and also provides moody photos on a cloudy day. It was named after a ship with ran around on a nearby island, leaving on 2 survivors out of the 54 on board. The Loch Ard Gorge has served many purposes in film and media and will continue to be one of the most beautiful attractions along the Great Ocean Road. Make sure to bring your towel and bathers if you would want a dip! The water is crystal clear and I couldn’t resist dipping my toes in the water.

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay is a coastal town situated before the Otways national park and definitely deserves a visit for a lunch stop. There is a lot on offer in this town with fantastic eateries, sea-side views and even the chance to catch a few whales. Southern right whales are known to breed in the area and there have been many sightings of humpback whales in the vicinity. Other towns to visit include, Lorne and Torquay. In fact, I would recommend stopping at as many coastal towns as possible as each has a different vibe, atmosphere and culture.

The Razorback

The razorback is another rock formation that is situated very closely to the Loch Ard Gorge. The name is given to this rock formation with the way it looks due to the wind and water erosion the rock has experienced over the many years. The walking path is a loop and you have a fantastic view of the other rock formations surrounding the Great Ocean Road.

The Blowhole

No surprises here, the blowhole spurts out water on the viewing flatforms and surrounding rocks. It is a fantastic way to cool down on a hot summer’s day and also creates some very interesting long exposure photography. The blowhole is located near the Loch Ard Gorge, but mind you the sea-spray on a calm day can be little to none. The area is also heavily vegetated, so please be careful when making your way to view the blowhole.

The Arch

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The arch, different to London Arch, is a natural formation of an arch located not too far away from the 12 apostles. There is now parking and access to the arch and is a fantastic thing to view no matter what time of the day. It is a quieter attraction which is good to take a breather here and there. There are stairs and walkways to get close to the arch, however getting very close to the arch does require going off roading (with your legs).

Bay of Martyrs

Situated closer to the west end of the Great Ocean Road, the bay of martyrs is one of the most beautiful sites along the great ocean road with plentiful bird wildlife. There are guided walks here and is a prominent sunset destination with its large open views with the limestone cliff edges, reefs and the sparkling water. Some have said the bay has better views than the 12 apostles and are less crowded. I would place this as un underrated spot to visit along the great ocean road.

Bay of Islands

The bay of islands, close to Warrnambool, has spectacular sights and is definitely worth the trip . Many tourists often miss the parts beyond London Arch, however I strongly recommend to travel further to these locations due to their fantastic views and low crowds, making it feel like a private beach. It is quiet and relaxing, a great escape from everyday life. Yet again, the locals have rated this higher than the 12 Apostles and I don’t blame them.

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When travelling along the Great Ocean Road, ensure to travel early in the morning to avoid large tour groups and parking can be limited so be prepared to park far away and walk for the most part. Ensure to pack plenty of water and snacks and definitely bring a DSLR if you have one. If you are unsure as to which DSLR to buy, refer to this guide. Make sure to put the Great Ocean road on your bucket list, you will not regret it. Summer, Winter, rain or shine, there is never a bad day to visit the Great Ocean Road as each climate has a different mood and different perspective.

Explain it: ISO

You may have seen this term, ISO, on your camera before, but what exactly does it do? Essentially ISO is the level of sensitivity of the sensor in your camera to the available surrounding light. A lower ISO number means that it is less sensitive to light whilst a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your sensor.

How may you use this to your advantage?

Well when shooting in low light conditions, raise the ISO to compensate for the lower light, meaning that the sensor captures more light. Your camera sensor can see more light than your eyes, which is incredible when taking milky way photos. The trade off at higher ISO is that it adds noise to the photo, which is just grain and makes the image look less sharp and crisp. Like those old vintage cameras. Normally you would want to shoot at the lowest possible ISO to reduce this grain and noise, one way to bypass this is to use a flash. Most Cameras have a base ISO of 100 and top out at around 6400. However newer and more expensive cameras can go way higher and lower, which make them really good for low light photography.

What do the ISO numbers mean?

Well the numbers are actually a progression of the power of two. The progressions are 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 and 6400. Each step is twice as more sensitive as the previous number, so the sensor sensitivity grows exponentially. This also means that we can shoot at a faster shutter speed which is good for lower light indoor sports photography. ISO is very handy for many different reasons, such as keeping your aperture high to keep more things in focus and having a faster shutter speed.

What ISO to use?

It is optimal to use the lowest ISO as possible, this way you will get a sharp, crisp and clear image every time. I would play around with the camera in manual to see how everything affects the photo and remember, practise makes perfect!

Leave a comment below for suggestions on what I should cover next!

Solution to Stolen Game Codes

Have you ever bought a hard copy of a game at your local electronics retailer, gotten home and tried to use the authentication code in the casing and have been greeted to an error saying “this game code has already been redeemed”? Well, you’re not the only one, it happens far too often.

Over the weekend, I bought my mate a brand new copy of Overwatch from ebgames after the new character, Doomfist was released. Upon activation of the code, we were greeted with an error that the code has already been used. We literally were like WTF, a brand new game and the code doesn’t work. The packaging wasn’t opened and everything looked new. Having faith in ebgames, we have ruled out that a customer has returned their disc after activating it and resold the game as brand new. We quickly jumped onto Blizzards live chat, which runs fairly often and we had a response time of 1 minute, which is pretty decent compared to other companies these days. After talking with the representative, we learned that our code had been redeemed back in 2016! I repeat, 2016! The game was bought on the 29th of July and someone had a lucky day inputting random codes back in 2016. We were shell shocked and was linked to the account of Melanie. So if there is a Melanie out there who used our code in 2016, you have stolen from us. (well now ebgames after we return the game).

This has been the case for many different people with their overwatch codes and also other games who sell hard copies of games. I personally have experience this on the PS4 with a few Helldiver expansion packs, which makes me wonder, why aren’t companies using different methods to resolve these issue. This clearly is a major issue online with many different key-gens available to download and the large amounts of forum posts of people complaining ( and literally crying!!) over their games. It is pretty devastating for the end consumer and especially the business as they essentially have their stock stolen from them. This renders an 80 AUD game useless, meaning that is essentially isn’t worth anything.

I propose a solution to end this madness, but a stop to online keygens and people bootlegging game codes, it’s time introduce two factor authentication. This refers to using two methods or two different codes to activate the game, meaning that there is a decreased chance in people stealing game codes.

Here’s how it could theoretically work:

The user purchases the game from in store, the store owners do not leave the keys inside empty cases and mustn’t allow employees to use the keys, and the buyer receives the game unopened and untouched. After installing the game, instead of redeeming through one code, use two codes that need to be entered. These two codes would have the same complexity as the original, but must be redeemed in a certain order. So we would have code 1 and code 2, this is like paypal authenticating your bank account. Once these two codes are successfully activated, the user can start playing their game, easy fix! This method would make it so much harder for hackers to find correct keygens, making sure that electronic retailers do not loose stock and the user is happy rather than complaining on different forums about a certain game. It is a terrible situation and it shouldn’t happen to anyone who has actively gone out and paid for the game. There are many other ways to do the second code verification, such as sending text to a mobile device with a code to type in, or answering a phone call with a code or typing in a smaller strong of code instead of using the same. These are all different ways game companies should be looking at to avoid having codes being used. Perhaps even creating a system that once the game has been scanned, the code instead the box goes live, which means there is less of a chance the key gens will re-create that code as it cycles through its loops. This could be a possible solution and it would also help catch out companies who are reselling used games to the consumer. 

Something needs to be implemented to stop this from happening to more and more customers, it’s purely up to the game companies in how they want to approach this, but this isn’t fair on the businesses that sell these games and the consumer. Perhaps you have not experience this before, but trust me, it’s a terrible feeling that sparks rage within you, knowing that someone out there, by chance, has taken your code.

Beginner Digital Photography: Mirrorless 2017

Last week I covered the traditional DSLR cameras, today I will cover the mirrorless camera options that are available to you as a beginner entering the scene of photography. The biggest difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera is the size. They are a breeze to carry around and are very compact even with the lens on. Many entry-level mirrorless cameras will easily fit into your coat pockets, handbags and small bags. With the smaller size also comes the reduced weight, making it easy to lug around your neck or bag. Furthermore, since mirrorless cameras are an improving technology, many older but still good models are becoming cheaper and the capabilities are forever increasing.

To quickly understand how mirrorless cameras work, instead of having a mirror that reflects the light coming into the lens into the viewfinder, the light goes straight onto the image sensor which the user previews through the electronic viewfinder or screen. Therefore, there are fewer moving parts in the camera, meaning a greater shooting speed. There are many advantages of mirrorless cameras, such as a lot more autofocus points, better image stabilization (for price point) and a much better video quality. Referring to ISO levels in last weeks post, mirrorless cameras have a much higher ISO point, making them ideal for low light photography. Keep an eye out for a head to head comparison between mirrorless cameras and DSLRs.

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Today we will be looking at some of the mirrorless cameras that are on the current market which I consider to be the best for beginner photographers.

1. Sony A6000

The sony A6000 is a fantastic mirrorless camera that is pure bang for the buck. You can find these cameras constantly on sale and are fantastic little units. Inside they have an APS-C sensor, 11 frames per second shooting and some of the best low-light photography at the price point with its max ISO being 25600. The A6000 is essentially a striped back version of its older brother the A6300. The electronic eyepiece is definitely usable where a DSLR shooter would be able to use. The earlier you start with using the eyepiece, the more comfortable you will be with it.

It has a 24MP sensor, 3 inch tilting screen, 11FPS shooting, 1080p video and uses Sony’s E-mounts. I would highly recommend this camera for anyone entering the mirrorless scene.

2. Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80

The panasonic Lumix GX80, GX85 for the USA, is another bang for the buck mirrorless camera, however with more options over the A6000. This time the sensor is a micro four thirds sensor, which is similar to the APS-C sensor where it crops the image compared to full frame, however the cropper is more significant. This generation of camera incorporates 4K video, which is a huge positivity for crisp videos and can capture 8MP stills from recorded video. The Autofocus is very fast and has a 5 axis image stabilization, which is incredibly helpful to obtain sharp shots. The shutter shock is also reduced, which was a problem in the previous generations. Panasonic has stepped up its game with this camera, If you want the next step up, look into the Panasonic GX8, however it is pricier.

It has a 16MP sensor, 3.0 inch tilting touch screen display, 8FPS shooting and 4K video. I would highly recommend this camera if you also want 4K video.

3. Sony A6300

The Sony A6300 is a beast of a camera, though it is a lot pricier than its competition. It has a much improved sensor over previous generations and also offers 4K video. With a microphone jack, this camera becomes a viable option for those who also want to get into cinematography. The build quality of this camera is better than the A6000 and also contains weather sealing and a higher ISO range. Sony opted for a sharper OLED viewfinder, however the LCD panel is not touchscreen. The camera is dropping in price which makes it perfect for a beginner who wants to start off with an more advanced mirrorless camera.

It has a 24MP sensor, 3.0 inch tilting display, 11FPS shooting and 4K video. I would highly recommend this camera if you are interested in having some of the most advanced features.

4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

This camera is sort of an underdog, it is fantastic value for money, looks great and has loads of features. This new generation includes a 5 axis image stabilization like the panasonic and the shooting speed has increased to 8.5FPS. The only major let back of this camera would have to be the micro four thirds sensor, which by the way is half a typical APS-C sensor. It has a max 1080P and has a really high shutter speed of 1/16000s. This camera excels in street photography as well as portraits. With the retro looks, the camera sure looks fantastic around your neck.

It has a 16MP sensor, 3.0 inch tilting display, 8.5FPS and 1080p video. Being one of the cheapest and powerful contenders on this list, I would definitely recommend this camera.

5. Fujifilm X-T20

The X-T20 takes the good bits from its older brother and places it in a smaller and much more affordable body. The design is superb and has the similar retro theme like the E-M10 II. The Fuji makes use of an APS-C sensor, being 24MP. It produces extremely rich and detailed images thanks to its sensor. Once again, this mirrorless camera is capable of shooting at 4K with an external microphone port and has a max ISO of 12800. Unfortunately there is no image stabilization which means the user needs to be extra stable when taking photos. This camera excels at landscape photography.

It has a 24MP sensor, 3.0 inch tilting display, 14FPS and 4K video recording. I would definitely recommend to try out this camera as the buttons have a really nice feel to them.

Overall thoughts?

I would recommend all of them, however my top recommendation would be the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II, it is a fantastic camera with excellent image quality, class leading features and is relatively cheap which is fantastic. Not only this, in my opinion the olympus looks the best with its retro theme and the lens selection is relatively large. However, if you were wanting to shoot 4K, I would recommend the Panasonic Lumix GX80/GX85 as the pricing for the camera is incredible, being slightly more expensive than the sony A6000. The kit lens that comes with the camera is more than capable and make sure to invest in spare batteries, mirrorless cameras chew through batteries twice as fast as DSLRs, however most can be powered and charged by external power banks (the ones use to charge phones). This feature makes mirrorless cameras seem like a better investment compared to DSLR cameras.

Still Alive? Google Chromecast

The Google Chromecast was a revolutionary device that turned any TV or monitor into a smart device. However, with TVs now including better and smarter software, is there still a market for the Chromecast?

 

The first thing to consider is, what exactly is a Chromecast. Well, the Chromecast was designed to revolutionise in home streaming by allowing the ability to wirelessly stream from your phone, desktop or laptop. The $35 dongle turned your TV into a media center with direct streaming from Youtube, Hulu, Netflix and many more region specific services. Four years since the initial release, 3 iterations have emerged, being the Chromecast 2, Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast Audio. Essentially, you would plug your Chromecast into your TV and connect it to power through the micro USB port. Many TVs have extra USB ports for external hard drives and they all provide enough power for this device. Once it’s turned on, it is very straightforward to connect to your phone and your home wifi.

 

The original Chromecast supported up to 1080p streaming and handled it reasonably well, however, streaming from a tab often ended up in audio lag with video sync issues. The newer versions have better wifi connectivity meaning lower lag spikes and a better all round experience of the device. However, many new smart TVs have greater software which has surpassed the capabilities of the Chromecast. Samsung TVs allow casting from Samsung devices and can even stream what’s on TV to the device, which you may find really handy when moving around the house. LG and other brands have incorporated similar technologies to allow users to have a better overall experience. Not only this, devices such as your PS4, XBOX ONE, Roku (Telstra TV) and now DVD players have included streaming capabilities to access Spotify, YouTube, Netflix and other video streaming services.

 

If all these devices can do what the Chromecast can, and do it BETTER, then why are they still around? Well, these devices were initially intended to bridge the gap between ordinary TVs and smart TVs, but now that most TVs have received upgrades in software in internal hardware, the Chromecast has branched off, expanding its capabilities to make it one of the most useful devices for its price.

 

With the Chromecast, you are able to stream from a VR headset to the TV, allowing other users to see what the VR user is viewing and doing. This can be problematic for those who enjoy a different kind of VR experience. The Chromecast can also support presentations, eliminating the need for any cables between the laptop or phone to the presentation device. Just plug in the Chromecast and start presenting! Not only this, the newer Chromecasts allow users to play certain games on the big screen, which is good for the family. Just don’t expect to play high graphic games on the device. Furthermore, though not available for every TV, the Chromecast allows your phone to function as a TV remote.

 

The Chromecast is a very capable device, but the rest of the competition are catching up. Google has been fighting hard to keep up the sales and usage of Chromecast with huge incentives and offers. These offers have been free subscriptions to their services, free movie streaming and Google credit to use on the Play Store. Thus, the Chromecast is very much alive despite being out of sight. For only around 30-40 bucks for the newer versions, it’s a good investment for its functionality. Though I must say, it may only be a matter of time before there is even better competition in the wireless casting market.

Explain it: IP addresses

IP addresses are how all our internet connected devices communicate with each other with great synergy, without these addresses your devices cannot communicate. IP addresses are important for both inside and beyond the firewall.

Each Internet connected device has an unique address on the Internet, which can be used to send things to it. This is what we refer to as the IP address. There are actually two IP versions in use on the Internet today, which coexist but vary in the form of the addresses:

  • Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the most common protocol used by Internet connected devices. IPv4 addresses consist of 4 bytes worth of information, i.e., four dot-separated numbers each in the range of 0–255. This makes a total of 232 = 4,294,967,296 unique addresses on the Internet. For example, Yahoo’s server IPv4 address is 206.190.36.45.

 

When IPv4 was created, it was not known how many interconnected devices there would be. Despite the relatively large number of address, we have already exhausted our pool of IPv4 address, click here to learn about one solution.

 

  • Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the successor to IPv4. IPv6 uses longer addresses that support 7.9×1028 times as many addresses as IPv4! IPv6 addresses are made up of eight colon-separated groups of four hexadecimal digits per group, where leading zeroes in each group may be omitted for brevity. Yahoo’s server IPv6 address is 2001:4998:c:a06::2:4008

 

Beginner Digital Photography: DSLR 2017

Photography has to be one of the best and most rewarding hobbies. Each photo you capture tells a story. How you got there, what the photo is of, why the photo etc. You could take a photo then create an entire story based off the photo. With the current stresses of modern day life, I think it is important to take time out to relax and get behind a camera. To me, photography makes me relieved, walking in the fresh air and observing the world with an open mind. I will be honest, photography is one of the most expensive hobbies that are out there and also the most diverse. You may be wondering the same questions I was asking towards the end of 2015, how do I get into photography? What do I do? What do all these buttons do? Each week we will go through a specific part to ensure you get the most fullest and most engaging photography experience.

 

When I went to buy my first camera, I literally had no idea what I was doing. I went under the impression that the megapixel count was all that mattered. Despite watching so many youtube videos and reviews, nothing still made sense and salespeople will make you buy expensive equipment. It was only after a month of owning my camera did I know about all the other cameras in the market.

 

A few things you may hear when you buy a new DSLR is the term APS-C crop sensor and full frame. APS-C crop sensors are smaller and found in beginner DSLR’s and there is nothing wrong with them. Most lenses are made for APS-C cameras and they are cheaper than the full-framed version. I would recommend full-frame as your second camera after you are comfortable and enjoy photographing. The more megapixels on a crop sensor would mean a higher-resolution but please remember that this does not equate to a better shot. The shutter speed on Budget cameras normally go up to 1/4000, this is plenty fast to take photos of moving objects. Furthermore, ISO levels are not make or break, a lot of images can be edited through software and you can always adjust the brightness of the shot by changing other factors. If you are confused reading all of this, do not worry, I will be going through each term later. The bottom line is, specs aren’t extremely important.

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My first DSLR was the Nikon D5200, which is a fantastic beginner camera. The internals are nearly identical with the predecessors going up to the Nikon D5500. However, let’s go through the current day offerings and see which camera is the best to begin with. 

 

  1. Nikon D3400

You seriously cannot go wrong with this camera, the pricing and features/performance of this camera make it one of the best bang for buck camera. It is a very simple to use camera and has a lot of built in functionality with a guide mode. The image quality coming out of this camera is superb. If you do not believe me, insta the hashtag #3400.

 

It has a 24.2MP sensor with a 3 inch screen, 5 FPS shooting and 1080p video. I would recommend this camera to anyone. DX lens mount.

 

  1. Nikon D5600

The older brother of the D3400, this camera contains the same sensor internals as the D3400 however introduces a larger swivel touch screen, increased autofocus points, larger flash and a microphone jack. If you feel like you will videoing, I would spend the extra money to get the D5600, the swivel screen helps so much when you are getting trying to something down low or high above. The image quality is better than the D3400 with a few extra internals being included and is just as easy to use. If you have the money, definitely go for this camera.

 

It has a 24.2MP sensor with a 3.2 inch touch screen, 5 FPS shooting and 1080p video. I would recommend this camera to anyone. DX lens mount.

 

  1. Canon EOS Rebel T7i (EOS 800D)

Direct competitor to the D5600, the canon puts up a strong fight. This newly released camera comes with a 24MP sensor however has a lower ISO range compared to the two Nikon cameras. This camera is very capable with a 3 inch swivel touch screen. The specs are very similar to the D5600, however with the D5600 being newer, it contains more options. It is however pricier but you may be interested in Canon’s larger lens collection, which is a bonus later down the track when you need to upgrade your lens to suit your needs. I would recommend Canon over Nikon when it comes to videos.

 

It has a 24MP sensor with a 3 inch touch screen, 5 FPS shooting and 1080p video. I would recommend this camera to anyone. EF-S lens mount.

 

  1.   Canon EOS Rebel T6 (EOS 1300D)

This Canon is a competitor to the D3400, It is Canon’s cheaper budget option with good quality images. The megapixel count is however only 18MP, meaning a smaller maximum resolution. What separates the Nikon from the Canon is the continuous shutter speed with the Canon at a measly 3fps and the Nikon with 5ps. This could be a deal breaker when it comes to photographing sports and any moving object. As a beginner photographer you would want room to grow before you move up in the photography game.

 

It has a 18MP sensor with a 3 inch screen, 3 FPS shooting and 1080p video. I would recommend to stay away from this camera. EF-S lens mount.

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What about other brands?

I have excluded other brands from this list as these are DSLR cameras and I will create another list for mirrorless cameras. The problem with the current mirrorless cameras are battery life however they are extremely compact. Pentax also have a range of bang for buck DSLR’s, however they have a very limited lens range which also means the pricing of certain lens would be higher due to the rarity. As a beginner, it is best to start off the common cameras with all the forums and other users.

 

Overall thoughts?

Nikon D5600 would be the camera to buy as your first camera. It has everything you could possibly need as a beginner and will help you become an amateur photographer and help bridge the gap into full frame photography. For a beginner I would recommend the kit lenses as they provide a perfect range for most photography.