Kids nowadays are neck-deep into technology — smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, television, and other forms of tech in our day-to-day lives.
Being the legal guardian of my seven-year-old niece is tough, especially since my work involves the latest devices in the consumer technology industry. She has access to all the newest and coolest gadgets in the market more than her peers.
What worries me is that I’ll have a hard time encouraging her to be more present, disconnect, and have fun offline. So when Oaxis Singapore reached out for their Kickstarter campaign, I was ecstatic. An instant camera and printer in one could be the solution to my woes.
A bit of history
Before we dive in, let’s have a bit of a background about myFirst. It’s a kids technology brand under Oaxis, founded by a team of super dads who aim to bridge the gap between tech and the toys we used to love.
There are a lot of issues that almost every parent has when it comes to gadgets. These include security in using technology and against online risks, being a factor in a child’s learning process, possible addiction, and safety from hazardous materials. This is what myFirst has been trying to address ever since they launched the myFirst Camera. And it continues to do so with the newest Insta Wi.
So, what is this Insta Wi?
The Insta Wi is myFirst’s newest camera — an all-in-one device that lets you take photos and videos, and print pictures and labels.
It comes in an adorable, familiar shape with a yummy yellow colorway. Seems familiar? The color follows after the Pantone Color of the Year 2021.
It has little ears where you can hook some straps so you can bring the device wherever you go without worry.
On its front, you can find its 16-megapixel rear camera together with the printer.
Moving to its sides, the right part has a mouthpiece and a slot for the micro-USB port and memory card, covered by a yellow silicone flap.
The other side comes with its speaker grilles.
On the back, you can find its selfie camera above the 2.4-inch IPS LCD screen, surrounded by plenty of buttons for navigating the device and doing its function.
It also comes with a dock that doubles as its protective case and holder for kids to grip easily.
The case has two instant buttons on its back: a power button and a wireless print option.
So let’s dive in on what this all-in-one device can do for you or your kid. You can boot the device by pressing the power button on the left side of the screen. When it’s opened, it will automatically use the selfie shooter. If you aim to use the rear camera, flip it through the same button you used to boot the device. You just need to click it to switch, since pressing long will shut it down.
On the right side of the screen are buttons that let you capture photos and videos. It’s the same process as the power button; the icon on top requires a single click while the icon below requires a long press for it to work.
The button below the power toggle is for the back option and settings. You can change the printing density, or switch the photo resolution between 6M (3280×1848), 9M (4000×2248), and 12M (4032×2880). Just make sure to use the plus and minus sign as the up and down buttons, and the camera button as a replacement to the usual “enter” sign.
Other settings include video resolution options (VGA, 720P, and 1080P), language setting, sound, date and time, wireless connection, and format option. The other buttons below the screen let you access the gallery and print photos, assuming you have inserted a roll of paper.
Let’s go back to the front and figure out how to print and insert a roll of paper. First, you need to open the yellow cover by pulling it from the side.
Once opened, you’ll find a slot where you can insert the rolled thermal paper included in the box.
Of course, you have to insert the rolled thermal paper so we can get things rolling. Remember to remove the sticker and put the edge to the opening so the printer can detect the paper.
Once you’re set, you can check your gallery and click the print button. Printing doesn’t take long, ten seconds top. The results aren’t quite lovely, since we’ve covered thermal printers before that have clearer and firmer results.
Although, that’s only an inconvenience for adults. When my niece used the printer to make physical copies of her photos, she was astounded. The key here is making the kid indulge and have fun using technology.
To make things more adorable, the package comes with colorful stickers to adorn your prints and labels.
If you don’t have a label in your life, then that’s a problem. Kidding aside, the Insta Wi prints not just photos, but labels, too. You can download the myFirst Insta Wi app on the App Store and the Play Store.
To make it work, remember to turn off the camera (if you have it on), and place it on the dock. Then, turn it on again through the power button and press the wireless print option.
This enables Wi-Fi connectivity so you can connect both your smartphone and the Insta Wi. It took me a few minutes connecting both, but when I succeeded — everything was just seamless.
There are so many things you can do using the app. I even asked my niece to write something and use a layout so that the print looks cute.
If you have a Galaxy Note or a tablet with pen support, it would be perfect to draw on the app and have it printed to give a handwritten and personal touch to your labels and prints. Nonetheless, fingers do well on any smartphone if you’re creative enough.
There are options to make a label, layout a design, and even add filters to your existing photos through the app — and you can print it easily and continuously. I would advise cutting the rolls using a cutter or a pair of scissors since the thermal paper is tougher than it seems.
For those who want to make things a little bit personal, you can print old photos from your phone. The thermal prints need a higher contrast so consider editing your photos to appear clear and visible when printed.
I didn’t have any video samples with me but I took a stroll with the device while my cousins and I were out for a walk. And for the record, I was able to upload these photos because the device comes with a memory slot for a microSD card. And a microSD card reader in the box to ensure you can have a copy of your snaps!
Of course, the shots aren’t remarkable if you compare them to the latest cameras and smartphones we have today. However, it’s reminiscent of digital cameras of the past — grainy films, dates and tags, and colors that saturated our photo albums back in the 90s and early 2000s.
The Insta Wi has a 1,500mAh battery capacity which can last up to five hours. Charging time is capped at 2.5 hours. If you ask me, the capacity is more than enough since we’re not going to spend the whole day using the device. When I went out, I turned it on and off in between chats and walks.
Just because you have cool and cute technology at your hands doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the present. Remember: variety is key when it comes to recreational activities with our kids.
Price and availability
The myFirst Insta Wi retails for US$ 129. However, you can snag it for EUR 59/US$ 69 through its Kickstarter campaign which started last September 14, 2021, and will end on October 14, 2021.
After the Kickstarter campaign, production will begin in October 2021 and will start shipping in November 2021 for early birds. Regular Kickstarters will have their Insta Wi shipped by December 2021.
Is this your Kid’s GadgetMatch?
I’d give a resounding yes — whether you snag the Insta Wi at an affordable rate through its Kickstarter campaign or if you have spare cash to buy it at retail price.
Most gadgets aren’t designed for kids. There’s a handful that does so, but it’s rare to see a product that considers the kids’ user experience, safety, and security, as well as addressing a parent/guardian’s concerns.
And myFirst’s Insta Wi ticks all the boxes to make it a kid’s GadgetMatch. And possibly, a gift that parents and guardians can consider for birthdays and holidays.
After all, it has an adorable design made of kid-friendly materials and an experience that helps kids unleash their creativity through prints, photographs, and a bit of video recording. More importantly, it encourages a balanced use of technology to help be more present.
My niece surely had a good time, and even I, as an adult, had a fun time playing around with the Insta Wi. Incidentally, it became a bonding moment for us, too. My high-end cameras, printers, and novelty devices are too difficult to grasp for kids under 12. At least with the Insta Wi, my love for prints and photographs lives on to a whole new generation.
Sony A7R V combines hi-res sensor with AI
Hardware and software in tandem
It’s been three years since the launch of the Sony A7R IV. So, it’s about time that Sony released its successor — the Sony A7R V (Sony Alpha 7R V).
The Sony A7R V is hardware and software working in tandem to provide the best images possible. It has Sony’s highest resolution image sensor with a new AI processing unit. One that’s dedicated to AI-based image recognition. It’s the first of its kind on any Sony Alpha camera. It also has the BIONZ XR image processing engine which is a first in the “R” full-frame lineup.
The new A7R V offers 61 MP still images plus the an 8-step image stabilization system. That bodes well for shooting video which you can shoot in refined 8K movie output.
The AF (Autofocus) has also been improved with advanced accuracy and broader subject recognition. Real-time Recognition AF, using AI subject recognition, has been developed to include several subject types, including animals, vehicles, and insects. The Alpha 7R V also includes continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with AF/AE tracking.
These beloved Sony Alpha features have also been improved:
- Tenacious Real-time Tracking
- Faster and more precise wide-area, high-density AF system
- Silent, vibration-free shooting at up to 7 fps
- Continuously shoot up to 583 compressed RAW images at high speed
Cinematic video capabilities
The A7R V isn’t just for taking breathtaking stills. It also ffers advanced video capabilities. Sony’s newest camera delivers 8K1 24/25p video, 4K video oversampled from 6.2K without binning, a high-efficiency MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 codec, intra recording, 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, and more for high image quality and flexible editing. It also includes evolved subject recognition for unprecedented real-time tracking reliability, breathing compensation and the ability to use camera metadata for post-processing and advanced in-body image stabilization.
Price and availability
The Sony A7R V will be available for pre-order starting October 28, 2022, until November 27, 2022. The camera can be pre-ordered with just the camera body or preferred accessories and through different payment options. Suggested pre-order net cash price starts at PhP 239,999.
Fujifilm X-T5 camera now available for pre-order
New macro lens also revealed
As the year winds down, it’s ideal for freelancers to invest in the right equipment should they pursue a career in the creative industry.
At X Summit Tokyo 2022, Fujifilm unveiled the Fujifilm X-T5, the latest iteration in its line of compact mirrorless cameras under the prestigious X Series.
It has a high-resolution 40.2MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HR sensor which has an enhanced image-processing algorithm to boost resolution without compromising quality.
And with X-Processor 5, the camera delivers twice the processing speed of its predecessor.
Among the X-T5’s features are:
- Three top-plate dials – for ISO, shutter speed, and exposure
- Five-axis IBIS system for up to 7.0 stops of compensation
- Three-way tilting LCD
- 19 film simulation modes to recreate classic colors and tones
- Al technology-driven Auto White Balance
- Subject-detection autofocus
- Pixel Shift multi-shot for ultra-high-resolution 160MP image
- 1/180,000 maximum shutter speed
And while the X-T5 focuses more on photography, it is also capable of shooting 6.2K videos in standard 30fps.
For pre-orders, the Fujifilm X-T5 body is priced at PhP 109,990. Customers can avail of the 18-55mm Kit for PhP 134,990 or the 16-80mm Kit for PhP 141,990.
Pre-orders come with a free Manfrotto backpack and one (1) year extended service warranty.
As an option, Fujifilm has also revealed the XF30mmF2.8 R LM WR macro lens to pair with the camera.
This lens is capable of 1:1 macro, features advanced auto-focus, and is weather-resistant for users to be able to shoot in virtually any condition. For sample images, click here.
Sony vlogging camera ZV-1F to be available in the Philippines
Pricing details to follow
With the year about to conclude, Sony has released another go-to vlogging camera option in the compact ZV-1F, to be available in the Philippines soon.
The pocket-sized camera is optimized for creators, carrying easy-to-use vlogging functions and advanced connectivity features.
The ZV-1F has a fixed ultra-wide angle 20mm F2.0 prime lens, making it ideal especially for selfie shooting while still capturing a wide field of view.
Capable of shooting up to 4K in 30fps and full HD in 120p, among the device’s standout features are:
- Background bokeh and face priority AE
- Skin tone optimization and Soft Skin Effect
- High-precision focusing and Eye AF
- Slow motion (up to 5x slower) and quick motion (up to 60x faster) options
With Active Mode image stabilization, users can be guaranteed of steady and smooth footage even when filming while walking or on the move.
The camera can even be used as a live-streaming tool if one pairs it with the right software. The ZV-1F is also compatible with Sony’s shooting grip with wireless remote commander (GP-VPT2BT).
Thanks to its 3-capsule mic, the device also has crystal clear audio pickup, while connectivity is also seamless with Sony’s new Image Edge Mobile Plus smartphone app.
Captured content can easily be transferred to phones and then uploaded to social media.
Pricing and availability for the ZV-1F will be announced soon.
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