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Nikon’s Z9 is a camera like no other

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Figure 1 (Featured Image): Nikon’s new flagship camera, The Z9. Source: Nikon

Nikon recently announced its first real “pro” mirrorless camera, priced at $5,500, the Z9 camera has one key distinguishing feature that sets it apart from all its competitors, the mechanical shutter-less design of its super-fast sensor. No other professional camera has this right now and it shares this trait with smartphone cameras.

It’s Nikon’s first camera that uses a 45.7-megapixel full-frame backside-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor that allows a flash sync of up to 1/200th of a second which might be the fastest sync speed ever for an electronic shutter. The sensor uses a very similar construction to a smartphone camera as it has a sandwiched architecture of sensor, logic board and RAM. The new image processing Expeed 7 processor and dual CFExpress or XQD card slots give the Z9 a high-speed continuous shooting at 20fps for more than 1,000 frames in both JPEG and RAW file formats. The Z9 does this while offering blackout-free shooting with the electronic viewfinder continuing to display the actual movement of the subject within the scene so that every single moment can be captured with no skipped frame or loss of view. Mirrorless cameras have always had a few advantages that DSLRs cannot offer namely the electronic view-finder that allows the user to see the scene exactly as it would appear in the final image instead of the optical view-finders offered in DSLRs and Z9 enhances that advantage even further.

Figure 2: Z9 Features a 4-axis tilting monitor facilitating shooting from high or low angles. Source: Nikon

This is why it should surpass the high performance that previously only digital SLRs could offer from Nikon like the D6. It is clearly aimed at professional sports and wildlife photographers, a market Nikon hadn’t appeased so far with its mirrorless offerings, where high frame rates and black-out free viewfinder would play a crucial role in allowing the photographer to capture the best image. 

Nikon had been previously criticised for its first mirrorless offerings when the Z6 and Z7 were released back in late 2018, but with the updated versions of those two cameras in the shape of Z6II and Z7II and now the Z9, Nikon have made a big statement and have finally caught up with Canon; whose offerings had a different target audience from the get-go with high performance lenses and cameras in the mirrorless space. For Canon, that proved to be a successful strategy earning them a lot of praise thus far as early adopters tend to be enthusiasts or professionals who demand high performance and specifications for their gear. However, both Nikon and Canon have some way to catch up with Sony when it comes to mirrorless cameras as they have the biggest share of the mirrorless market.

Figure 3: Images are displayed on EVF and LCD monitor and image date can be processed simultaneously to offer blackout-free shooting. Source: Nikon

Z9 with its shutter-free design now puts Nikon at the forefront of the mirrorless market, not even Sony can compete in this regard. Z9 sports a claimed world’s fastest CMOS sensor scanning speed and world’s most minimal rolling-shutter distortion. By getting rid of the mechanical shutter, pros who use this camera don’t have to worry about any shutter wear or breakdown. Nikon has also added a VR safety lock on the sensor that protects it from any risk of damage caused by unintentional movement when the power is off, for example by swaying during bumpy off-road travel. 

The Z 9 provides the 3D-tracking feature as an AF-area mode option for the first time in a Nikon mirrorless camera. It can continue tracking a subject even in a scene where subjects move drastically. The Z9 also brings new advances by offering three dynamic-area AF modes with different focus-area sizes (Small/Medium/Large) which is useful when shooting with a fixed composition. It also employs a deep-learning algorithm to detect the nine different subject types. All this means that the Z9 like many other newer mirrorless professional cameras is less of a camera with a computer in it and more like a computer with a lens attached to it. 

This shift towards computational photography has been happening for quite some time now in the professional cameras. For now, issues like processing power, memory and use of AI are holding the professional cameras back. It seems inevitable, however, that one day a lot of post-processing smarts of today will be built in features in these cameras that allow professionals and amateurs alike to spend a lot less time editing on their computer and more time shooting out in the field, doing what they love!

Nikon Z9 key specifications:

  • 20% smaller body than the D6 camera
  • 45.7MP Stacked CMOS sensor
  • 30 fps JPEG shooting
  • 20 fps Raw shooting (for over 1000 compressed RAWs)
  • 120 fps JPEG shooting at 11MP resolution
  • 8K/30fps capture and 4K-from-8K, with ProRes 422 HQ option
  • 8K/60fps, 12-bit 8K N-Raw and 4K ProRes RAW 
  • Native ISO range of 64 – 25600 (expandable to 32 – 102400)
  • Internal 10-bit N-Log and HLG capture
  • 3.69M dot OLED electronic viewfinder with reduced lag and greater brightness
  • Four-axis 3.2 touchscreen LCD tilts horizontally and vertically
  • Built-in GPS, GLONASS and QZSS
  • Dual CFexpress Type B / XQD card slots

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Politics

Digital Authoritarianism – A Growing Challenge to The World Press Freedom

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Press and electronic media have been an active source of propagation of the discourse be it political, social, or religious. They make it easier for a piece of information to reach the common masses and thus it is crucial for the governments to control them to keep insuring the creation of “us” and “them” division in the society.  But this control has become a challenge for a free and independent press. Digital authoritarianism, cyber surveillance, and monitoring of political and social activities of people through media have made it difficult for the people of the present age and time to have freely expressed their opinion and easier for the governments to control the information.

While China has been controlling the influx of information and the regulation of ideologies in the country through a great fire, Other countries are joining in too with their measure to increase cyber-surveillance. Internet shutdowns are one of the tools for asserting digital authoritarianism and according to a survey conducted by a non-profit digital rights organization Access now, the year 2021 experienced 182 events of Internet shutdowns around the world.

The shutdowns measures were taken to contribute to the growing political tensions in the respective regions for example, during the coup in Maynmar, and to influence the geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe, specifically Russia. Similarly, while Africa experienced an epidemic of coups in the year 2021, the number of internet shutdowns reached 19.

 India which claims to be the “world’s largest democracy” imposed an internet shutdown more than a hundred times in the year 2021 and more than half of them were on the already repressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.

While Russia became the only country in Europe to impose an internet shutdown in 2021, in the year 2022, the Russia and Ukraine war has forced other EU countries to ban the access to Russia Today, Sputnik other information sites regulated by Russia calling it a measure against “the war propaganda.” Similarly, since the beginning of the conflict, Russia has imposed new internet laws in the country to monitor the spread of news restricting the use of global applications like Instagram and Facebook.  

The more recent rerouting of the internet traffic of occupied Ukrainian regions to be redirected through Russian cyber routes. Netblocks, an internet observatory, noted that: “Connectivity on the network has been routed via Russia’s internet instead of Ukrainian telecoms infrastructure and is hence likely now subject to Russian internet regulations, surveillance, and censorship.”

However, while countries around the world are being exposed to exerting digital dominance, and being accused to collect user data for their own benefit, it is becoming a challenge for them to create “democracy-affirming technologies” to combat the digital authoritarianism that has been challenging the world’s press freedom around the world.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Society

Sexualized Child Images “Meet Community Guidelines” on Instagram

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Instagram has come under a lot of heat, and rightly so, for not removing accounts that showed pictures of children in swimwear or partial clothing attracting loads of sexualized comments even after such accounts were reported via the in-app reporting tool. 

The above-mentioned tool allows users to flag accounts that have suspicious activity which is then reviewed by the system’s automated moderation technology, which in this case ruled such concerning accounts as “acceptable” and conforming to “community guidelines” resulting in such accounts remaining live.

An independent researcher challenged this and reported one such concerning account to Instagram using the in-app reporting tool, only to be met with a response tagged with a phrase many of us a too familiar with i.e., “due to the high volume of reports” submitted it can not view the report but the “(automated) technology has found that this account probably doesn’t go against our community guidelines”. The said account, with more than 33,000 followers remained live the whole day.

All this while Instagram’s parent company, Meta, as do other social media companies claims an approach that has zero tolerance towards child exploitation – claims that remain unsubstantiated by their actions/policies.

Instagram is not alone in failing to effectively handle this issue. Twitter has many similar accounts often known as “tribute pages”. This is evident from the example of this one account which was ruled not to be breaking twitter’s rules after being reported through the in-app reporting tool despite posting pictures of a man performing sexual acts with images of a 14-year-old TikTok underage influencer. Other tweets from the same account reading “looking to trade some younger stuff” were also seemingly not concerning enough, until it was publicly called out by a campaign group ‘Collective Shout’ at which point the account was taken down.

Should such accounts suspicious of illegal activity and clearly harmful be allowed to remain live only because they do not meet a criminal threshold, yet?

Are “Zero tolerance” claims consistent with companies allowing the content that is a threat to children to remain live despite being reported, let alone proactively moderate content?

Should the social media companies be relying on automated detections for preventing the serious risk of sexualization, harassment and exploitation of our children when such technologies have been known to have failed miserably for even keeping up with simple hate speech?

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Health

Tired of Carrying a Wallet? Have Your Credit Card Microchipped Under Your Skin

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Walletmor, a British-Polish startup, claims to have created the first implantable microchip that can be used at any contactless payment machine around the world. Walletmor has sold over 500 microchips that are slightly bigger than a grain of rice and weigh less than one gram. Each microchip goes for £199 and can be sewn in by professionals at any aesthetics clinic. 

Walletmor claims that the microchip is entirely safe and has received regulatory approval. Once implanted, the microchip is ready to use and will not shift from its place. The microchip requires no batteries or an external power source to function. The implantable capsule is made of biocompatible material and consists of a microprocessor for storing encrypted payment data and a proximity antenna to connect to nearby payment terminals. 

The founder of Walletmor, Wojciech Paprota claims that the microchips are impossible to hack stating, “our payment implant cannot be forgotten or lost. This means that, unlike a standard payment card, it cannot end up in the wrong hands. It will not fall out of our wallet, and no one will take it from there. The implant cannot be scanned, photographed or hacked.” 

At the moment, the microchip connects to a mobile app called ICard, where a user can refill funds for contactless payments. 

Paprota believes that credit card implants will one day be as popular as regular payment cards and that Walletmor’s long-term goal is to provide more functionalities to their chip such as identification and key card access capabilities. 

But before microchip implants can be widely accepted, Paprota and other emerging microchip-based companies must first assure citizens of their safety. Though implanted microchips are convenient for day-to-day tasks, many fear that as technology continues to advance, a person’s data and specific location can potentially be hacked causing safety concerns. 

Nada Kakabadse, a Professor of Ethics at Reading University questioned the ethics behind getting microchips implanted. Kakabadse stated, “there is a dark side to the technology that has a potential for abuse…to those with no love of individual freedom, it opens up seductive new vistas for control, manipulation and oppression.. And who owns the data? Who has access to the data? And, is it ethical to chip people like we do pets?”

So the question arises, how much are we willing to risk for the sake of convenience?

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Faiza Shah
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Born and raised in the Bay Area, California, Faiza is a mother of two with a degree in Psychology and Paralegal Studies. She is passionate about lending her voice to those who are disadvantaged.

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Society

Elon Musk is now the largest shareholder in Twitter

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Heisenberg Media via Wikimedia Commons

Tesla founder Elon Musk has become the largest shareholder in Twitter. His shares are four times greater than that of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Elon Musk has purchased 9.2% shares equating 73.5 million shares in the social network. His shares are a passive stake but news that he has become the largest shareholder in the company caused a surge in Twitter share price. His stake is now worth more than $3bn.

Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter, tweeted on Tuesday “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board.”

Elon is running a poll on twitter about the edit button, which will be helpful for twitter users to edit mistakes but some, including Jack Dorsey, have rejected the idea because people can change the meaning of what they have said, after they have shared it. 

Dan Ives, from analyst firm Wedbush said that Elon will soon go for an active role in company management. 

He said, “We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter,”.

This is supported by the reports of the Wall Street Journal that his application to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which should have a line saying he doesn’t intend to influence the company, had a ‘Not Applicable’ mark.

There is an issue reported about his investment in twitter. He filed his investment on 14th of March and after filing and before it became public knowledge, he asked users whether they believed that free speech was essential to a functioning democracy and whether Twitter adheres to this principle.

Cornell University’s assistant professor Alexandra Cirone considers this as an evidence he may “try to influence Twitter practices” and have a “more active play in the social media eco-system”.

On the other hand, Howard Fischer, partner at law firm Moses & Singer, said that considering he had bought the share already, “I do suspect the SEC is going to look long and hard into whether they can bring manipulation charges”. 

Elon Musk is a regular user of twitter, whether he uses his influence to establish free speech or market manipulation, twitter users will find out soon. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Education

Is Technology Making Children Grow Up Faster?

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  • Research has found that children’s exposure to technology may allow for them to be more intellectually savvy at a younger age, however it is seen to also push ‘maturity’ milestones to an older age.
  • Despite this supposed maturity, the younger generations seem to delay many adult milestones such as dating, drinking, engaging in intimate relations, and driving unlike previous generations.
  • With all things kept in mind, studies find that children are not growing up faster in terms of society, culture, or biology. 

Research has found that children’s exposure to technology may allow for them to be more intellectually savvy at a younger age, however it is seen to also push ‘maturity’ milestones to an older age. The advent of smartphones, tablets, and other such electronics has put the world’s knowledge into the palms of children at a younger age than ever seen before. With most parents buying their child a smartphone at age 10, it is no question that the newer generation has practically unlimited access to news, social media, games, and the like.

Marketing geared towards kids is not new and the concept of “kids getting older younger” (KGOY) is one used by companies constantly to raise revenues. Games such as Roblox have capitalized on such ideas and the effects are clear. Speaking to strangers and having open access to the internet is pulling children towards emotional maturity. 

Despite this supposed maturity, the younger generation seems to delay in many adult milestones such as dating, drinking, engaging in intimate relations, and driving, unlike previous generations. any experts argue that this view is skewed, including senior Vice President and Director of the Center for Children and Technology, Shelley Pasnik. Pasnik stated “The basic stages of children’s development aren’t changing…what has changed is [kids’] exposure to information.” 

Experts in sociology also warn that technology alone is not shaping children and their maturity. Confounding variables found in much more intensive parenting styles will also reflect on the youth. With all things kept in mind studies find that children are not growing up faster in terms of society, culture, or biology. Rather a view of what constitutes a ‘grown-up’ may be skewed in society. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Okta Hack Hits Hundred of Companies Putting Them at Risk

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  • Okta, one of the world’s leading providers of digital identity verification, said that a January data breach revealed by hackers this week may have affected hundreds of customers, such as Fedex and Moody’s corp., that rely on its software. Shares have fallen 10.74%.
  • This has been the “worst case” affecting 366 of its clients. The breach is compared to “walking away from your computer at a coffee shop” leaving private information to strangers’ access according to Okta
  • Cyber-gang Lapsus$, a South American threat actor, is behind the attack. They have been linked to other cyberlink attacks on some high-profile targets according to Ekram Ahmed of a cybersecurity company called Checkpoint. Lapsus$ has said in online posts that it has not stolen any databases from OKTA and focused only on its customers.
  • Even though sources are confident that there is no longer a security risk, it would “continue to investigate and assess potential security threats.”
  • Many companies such as CloudFare, FedEx, and Thanet have been notified and do not believe that they have been compromised. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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