World Photo Day: The Evolution of the Camera

Olympus film camera

Photography wouldn’t be possible without the incredible invention of the camera. According to Kodak, “the use of photographic film was pioneered by George Eastman, who started manufacturing paper film in 1885 before switching to celluloid in 1889. His first camera, which he called the ‘Kodak,’ was first offered for sale in 1888.”

It truly is amazing how much the camera has evolved since then. In came the digital camera, and the debate between film vs. digital began. Today, people appreciate the merits of both, and choose based on their preferred aesthetic.

If you love the nostalgia of film, you’re not alone. Film offers a creative challenge for photographers. Shooting analog photographs is an art form that truly embraces the candid nature of photography. The excitement of having your film photos developed, anxiously awaiting the final images, is a feeling many people love. There is something to be said about the simplicity of shooting with film too; without a Photoshop program to edit with, the result is a much rawer, visceral image. There is also a great deal more thoughtfulness involved in film photography, as you are limited by the amount of film you have. This is one of the reasons why many people recommend starting out on a film camera, even if you want to shoot digital. Being forced to be more selective with your shots will ultimately make you a better photographer, whether you shoot on film or digital.

Meanwhile, if you prefer to shoot digital, there are plenty of benefits that come with the ever-evolving technology of digital cameras. They are more convenient than ever, and are constantly being upgraded with more advanced features. Photographers can choose from point and shoots, DSLRs, and even compact mirrorless cameras, depending on what the situation requires. Today, many digital cameras also come with added features such as WiFi and Bluetooth. This allows you to directly transfer images to your smartphone or tablet, making it super easy to share all of your great moments.

Nikon camera and Nikon lenses

As digital technology has progressed, mobile phones have become the camera of choice for many people who wish to snap and share moments instantaneously. Some of you may remember seeing the #shotoniphone7 campaign, which inspired iPhone users to take incredible photographic shots simply using their phones’ camera. Today, millions of photos are uploaded every minute, allowing us to share our snapshots with the world in seconds, and find inspiration in the talent of other passionate photographers worldwide.

Whichever you prefer, London Drugs proudly offers a large selection of both digital cameras as well as film, and still offers film developing.

If you’re looking to upgrade your current gear, whether it’s a phone, film camera or DSLR, World Photo Day is a great time to see what’s out there and try something new. Our LDExperts can help you choose the right camera for your interests and needs. London Drugs’ selection of photography gear doesn’t end with cameras, either. We also have an extensive collection of lenses, camera accessories, photo printers and photo editing software to help you achieve the best images possible.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay tuned for our World Photo Day deals (including a very special drone offer, available exclusively on August 19th)!

Instant Pot Review (and a Recipe!)

With the introduction of the Instant Pot to my kitchen, making meals for my family has gotten so much quicker and more efficient! I’d been hearing about the Instant Pot and its miraculous time-saving ways, and there is no better time to try one of these fantastic tools out than the summer. Not only does this amazing cooker save time and energy, but it also helps keep your kitchen cool with its super-efficient insulated cooking system – no more sweating over a steaming pot on the stovetop or turning your kitchen into a sauna by roasting dinner in the oven on a hot day! As an added bonus, less heat lost into the air in your kitchen means less energy needed to cook your meal perfectly, helping to minimize your energy footprint for a greener kitchen.

The Instant Pot’s myriad functions make this multifunctional cooker more than worthy of its counterspace footprint – with pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sautéing, and warming functions, this handy package can replace multiple old, worn-out appliances in your kitchen – even down to your yogurt maker, with pre-calculated programs for cooking soups, meats and stews, beans and chilis, poultry, white rice, multigrain, and porridges, to take the guesswork out of preparing these staple dishes.

While I was skeptical at first that the Instant Pot, with its wide range of uses, would measure up to appliances that focused only on a single utility, I was blown away by how well it performs all its functions. In a head-to-head with my rice cooker, the Instant Pot managed to cook rice perfectly in half the time! I was equally impressed by the ease with which it cooked lentils (only 30 minutes from dry!), soup (tasted like it had been simmering all day after only 45 minutes!), and beef (falling-apart-tender in under an hour!) – all-in-all, this multifunction miracle won me over quickly and completely.

London Drugs carries two models of the Instant Pot – the IP-DUO60 V2 and the IP-DUO80, and I’ve tested them both to help you choose which model is the best fit for your kitchen. The two models are almost identical except for their size, boasting the same great rundown of features – multicooker capability, easy steam-release valve, automatic stay-warm function, heavy-duty stainless steel inner pot, included steam/roasting rack and utensils, detachable power cord for easy storage, and more.

The primary difference is in the size, with the DUO60 having a 6-quart (roughly 5.7-litre) maximum capacity, and the DUO80 holding up to 8 quarts (approximately 7.6 litres). This difference adds up to roughly two inches of difference in diameter and another two inches in height, which sounds minimal, but when seen side-by-side, the DUO80 is a very clearly a much larger appliance (it consequently also takes slightly longer to come to temp or full pressure). If you’re cooking for a large family or like to make large batches of meals to freeze, I would definitely recommend the DUO80 for its extra capacity, but if your kitchen space is limited and you don’t need to feed crowds, the DUO60 is the way to go. If you’re not sure which model will work best in your kitchen, I definitely recommend looking at the product at your local London Drugs – as the Instant Pots are packaged very efficiently, just looking at the box gives you a fairly accurate idea of how much space it will take up in your kitchen.

All in all, using the Instant Pot has been an absolute pleasure, and I expect I’ll be using it many times a week long into the future. If you’re looking to invest in a new cooking appliance or replacing an old one that’s seen better days, I can’t recommend this product highly enough!

Korean-Fusion Style Burritos, makes 6-10 servings. Recipe time: 1 hour (not including burrito assembly)

Ingredients for kalbi-inspired shredded beef:

  • 1-2 kg large chunks of braising or stewing beef (2 kg will fit in the DUO80, but may not fit in the DUO60)
  • ½ cup rice wine
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 Asian pear, grated
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ large white or sweet onion, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped

Ingredients for burritos:

  • 6-10 large burrito-sized tortillas
  • 3-5 cups prepared white or brown rice (approx. ½ cup or more prepared rice per burrito)
  • 1-2 cups seasoned rice vinegar (or plain rice vinegar with 2 tablespoons each of sugar and salt whisked in, per ½ cup vinegar)
  • Chopped kimchi (approx. ½ cup or more per burrito, to taste)
  • Chopped raw cabbage or other greens
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onions
  • Sriracha (optional)

Mix all ingredients so that the meat is well-coated (this may be done inside the Instant Pot to minimize dirty dishes).

Place the beef in the Instant Pot, and pour in remaining mixture on top. Close Instant Pot lid firmly, and select the Meat/Stew function with the High Pressure option for 50 minutes.

While the meat cooks, cook your rice in a second Instant Pot, rice cooker, or on the stove (you can also wait until the meat is done and cook it in the Instant Pot your beef is currently cooking in, though you’ll have to wash the pot in between – if you do this, recipe will take an additional 20 minutes, approximately). When rice is cooked, allow to cool slightly, and sprinkle with ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar per cup of prepared rice before mixing gently to distribute the vinegar evenly.

Chop kimchi, raw cabbage or other greens, cilantro, and green onions.

When the Instant Pot is finished cooking, remove the beef to a clean bowl. Meat should fall apart easily – shred it using two forks before serving.

Allow each diner to assemble their burrito to their own tastes.

(The liquid left in your Instant Pot will be highly flavourful, and can be used as a great beef soup base after straining out any remaining solids and skimming off the fat.)

E3 2017 – Accessories

E3 2017 seems like it’s all about the games, but there are just as many cool accessories to behold throughout the show floor. The biggest names in video game accessories bring their top wares to E3 every year, and 2017 was certainly no exceptions. From headsets to controllers, charging stations to wireless tech, there’s plenty to behold for the accessory aficionado.

Razer unleashed a powerful new way to hear and communicate on the world with the Thresher Ultimate headset. This new ultra deluxe headset supplies Dolby 7.1 surround sound right to the player’s ears through a lag-free and wireless connection directly to the console in play. The built-in microphone retracts when not in use, allowing the player to switch between open communication and silent play at any time. The new Thresher Ultimate are available now for $250 USD.

Nyko focused primarily on the newest console to the party, the Nintendo Switch, with the most impressive new accessory being the Portable Docking Kit. This lightweight dock fits right into the palm of a player’s hand, yet has all of the basic abilities of the book-sized dock that comes in the Switch package. The kit does have less USB ports than the official Nintendo dock, but it does comes with its own AC adapter and USB-C and HDMI cords right out of the box, making it ready to use as soon as it’s purchased. Nyko plans to launch the Nintendo Switch Portable Docking Kit for $44.99 USD this fall.

Logitech made sure not to forget about the massive PC gaming crowd with two new mice, the G703 and G903, featuring the company’s brand new PowerPlay charging technology. Instead of needing new batteries or a wire from mouse to computer, the PowerPlay mat itself connects to the PC via USB and charges the new mice while they rest on it, meaning that a PC player could enjoy unlimited game time with these new wireless mice so long as the PowerPlay mat is in use. The PowerPlay mat will cost $99 USD standalone when it launches later this year, but it can be bundled with either mouse for $199 (G703) or $249 (G903).

Finally, Hyperkin sent Xbox players back to the glory days of the original Microsoft console with the brand new Duke controller. This heavyweight directly resembles the official controller of the original Xbox in both size and button placement, making it the perfect controller for the upcoming original Xbox backward compatibility announced during Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference. The Duke will be available in limited quantities this holiday season.

Gaming will be infinitely enhanced with the addition of these new accessories, with each one adding a certain necessary perk to the player’s overall experience. Let your shopping experience for these and other video game desires be enhanced by trusting London Drugs with your gaming needs today.

E3 2017 – Sony

Few companies have a better track record of stellar E3 performances than Sony. Recent years have been filled with crowd-pleasing surprises, most recently last year’s God of War and Spider-Man reveals. While E3 2017 was not as unexpected as before, Sony still delivered the goods with a ton of new information on plenty of high-impact titles.

Detroit: Become Human generates more intrigue each time it’s shown, as the storytellers responsible for Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls are weaving another engaging tale. Detroit takes place in a world where humans have developed human-like androids to be sold into servitude, and as one would expect a few of those androids are beginning to realize the situation and fight for freedom. With a few familiar faces like Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams playing top roles, even casual gamers can find reason to visit Detroit.

A much bleaker world awaits players in Days Gone, its post-apocalyptic universe being equally beautiful and dangerous. Magnificent natural vistas are filled with danger as a devastating malady takes over the world, affecting human and creature alike. The most recent trailer, for instance, ended with the hero Deacon encountering a giant zombie-like grizzly bear wrapped in barbed wire just minutes after fending off a horde of other monsters. If that’s the kind of danger lurking in Days Gone that Sony is willing show off, players can only imagine what else awaits them in this upside-down universe.

God of War may be changing from Greek to Norse mythology, but the brutal action players have come to expect from Kratos. The addition of his son Atreus adds an intriguing wrinkle, as Kratos must now balance his cold, untrusting ways with mentoring a child that he sees as his last chance to gain some humanity. The harsh, unforgiving world of the North is filled with dangerous creatures of myth, but some like the World Serpent Jormungandr look to aid the duo on their quest. There are many more secrets to uncover in this new God of War, and players won’t have to wait too much longer to find them as the game launches in Early 2018.

The most impressive showing from Sony’s library this year, however, belongs to Peter Parker. The new Spider-Man coming in 2018 dazzled with a ten-minute gameplay demo showing off all of the webslinger’s fantastic powers. Freeform combat gives Spider-Man an impressive amount of movement, deftly avoiding enemies while landing attacks of his own. His web powers were also on full display, saving the city from both a falling crane and a crashing helicopter by sticking them to surrounding buildings with his webs. Sony didn’t reveal exactly when players can take on the great power and responsibility, but the demo shown made the wait harder than ever.

Sony once again delivered on a strong lineup of games, and this blog didn’t even cover titles like Uncharted: Lost Legacy and the newly announced Shadow of the Colossus. The PlayStation faithful will have plenty to look for in the coming months, and London Drugs is the place to pre-order all of these new adventures as soon as possible.

E3 2017 – Nintendo

Nintendo found itself in a prime position before E3 2017. Its newest home console the Nintendo Switch has been selling over all over the world, and players were clamoring to find out what was next for them after The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The House of Mario did not disappoint, delivering an impressive lineup of games all coming out by the end of the year.

After finding success on the Switch’s predecessor Wii U¸ Pokken Tournament DX will bring the hard-hitting action of the Pokemon fighting game wherever players want to take it via the new console. This deluxe version will add a more robust online offering as well as a handful of new Pokemon to play, including the owl archer Decidueye from Pokemon Sun and Moon and the legendary Darkrai. It may not completely “new,” but the addition of Pokken Tournament to the Nintendo Switch will open it up to a whole new world of players come September 22.

Fire Emblem Warriors adapts yet another familiar Nintendo franchise to the Koei Tecmo Warriors formula, preceded by Hyrule Warriors’ take on Zelda. Marth, Chrom, Corrin, and other fan favorites will feature in this action-packed 3D adventure taking place across multiple entries in the Fire Emblem series. Some familiar Fire Emblem features will carry over as well, including the ability to pair characters together for devastating combos that can take out a screen filled with enemies. Fire Emblem Warriors looks to continue the successful ways of the Warrior name when it launches this fall.

The Nintendo 3DS was not completely forgotten however, as it will host perhaps the most surprising game of E3 2017 in Metroid: Samus Returns. This new Metroid adventure is a complete re-imagining of the classic Game Boy title Metroid II: Samus Returns, bringing us back to Samus’s adventure to the Metroid home planet of SR388. The classic side-scrolling format of previous Metroid games is making a triumphant return here, and pairing this with the announcement that Metroid Prime 4 is coming to Nintendo Switch makes fans of Samus Aran quite happy. Look for Metroid: Return of Samus on September 15.

Super Mario Odyssey served as Nintendo’s main focus this year though, and with good reason. The plucky plumber returns in a brand new 3D adventure with some interesting tricks up his sleeve. His hat has been possessed by a Boo ghost called Cappy, and their combined power allows Mario to possess objects and other living things throughout the game’s many worlds. Possessing a flagpole allows him to fling himself into the air, possessing a light bulb on a wire lets him zip down the wire like a zipline, and possessing enemies gives him their powers temporarily. It’s a delightfully silly game, one that will make Mario fans very happy when it launches October 27.

The Nintendo Switch is clearly flying high with plenty of games coming in the next few months, so there’s no better time to jump on board. Let London Drugs be your one-stop shop for all things Switch, both now and in the future.

E3 2017 – Bandai Namco

Despite the recent release and success of Tekken 7, Bandai Namco is not going to rest on its laurels. The publisher brought a strong lineup to E3 2017, including one complete surprise title that blew away the gaming community both in attendance and at home. Bandai Namco’s upcoming game library puts the company in prime position to be a beast from the East in 2017.

Ace Combat 7 marks the return of Project Aces’ high-flying jet combat series. A renewed focus on fighter jets is highlighted by a new stealth mechanic using clouds in the sky as cover, giving players a new way to strategize during a dogfight. PlayStation 4 owners can also play Ace Combat 7 like no other Ace Combat game before it, thanks to virtual reality missions playable only on PlayStation VR. The aerial action of Ace Combat will be returning in early 2018.

Looking to separate itself from titles like Forza Motorsport 7 and Gran Turismo Sport, Project Cars II looks to bring its own brand realism to the racing scene. The game sports the largest roster of tracks in racing game history, each one meticulously crafted using pictures taken from drones. Iconic car brands like Ferrari fill the game’s lineup of cars. Most impressive are the dynamic race conditions like weather, time of day, and season, which could change the end of a race completely from how it began. Project Cars II will look to be a worthy contender in the racing scene when it releases September 22.

An epic role-playing series returns in Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, featuring a new cast and world to explore all animated once again by the magnificent Studio Ghibli. Players will follow the story of Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, a child king forced onto the throne after the death of his father, as he fights to regain the kingdom after it’s stolen from him by a fearsome usurper. The real-time battle system of the previous game returns with a few new tweaks, including colored helper sprites called Higgledies that offer assistance throughout the battlefield. Fans of epic stories should keep an eye on Ni No Kuni II, as it launches only a few months from now on November 10.

Bandai’s Namco biggest surprise came from Dragon Ball Fighter Z, a brand new 2D fighters from the studio behind Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. Supercharged fast-paced gameplay is highlighted by incredible animations ripped straight from the popular anime, and the 3-on-3 format keeps the action going. So far Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Cell, Frieza, and Majin Buu are confirmed, but we can expect plenty more of the most famous Dragon Ball Z fighters to be included as time goes on. Fighting fans should keep this game on their Dragon Radars from now until it launches in early 2018.

Bandai Namco came to E3 2017 ready to play, with a stout lineup of quality games that players can enjoy in the coming months. London Drugs is the place to go for more information on all of these titles, including how to lock them down for purchase on day one.

Best of E3 2017

E3 2017 packed the Los Angeles Convention Center with tons of games to see and play. While it’s impossible to check out everything offered throughout the three days of the conference, a few games stuck out from the crowd as must plays at their respective booths. These are five examples of titles that should be on every player’s radar for the next few months.

Mario and Rabbids: Kingdom Battle brings to the table one of the more unlikely collaborations in gaming, Nintendo’s Super Mario and Ubisoft’s Rabbids, but the game immediately impressed during its debut. What sounds on paper like it should be a game focused on kids instead sports a surprisingly deep combat system, where Mario and his team must use cover to traverse large arenas and attack in a turn-based XCOM like system. The pairing seems weird, but the product could end up being the surprise hit of the year when it drops on Nintendo Switch August 29.

Deep Silver and Volition Studios brought another strong showing of Agents of Mayhem, once again highlight the game’s team-based combat system. The playable mission gave E3-goers three new agents to try: the hip-hop mogul Kingpin, the soccer fanatic Redcard, and Daisy the 50s’ pinup on roller skates wielding a chaingun. The boss fight in the demo requires players to try all three teamamtes, as each one has a perk that’s needed to take down the boss at various stages, and the ease of switching teammates on the fly made defeating the devious boss super simple. Agents of Mayhem’s demo proved that these agents are worth enlisting for on launch day August 15.

The fighters of Marvel Comics and Capcom are coming together again in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, and battles are just as fast and frenetic as ever. The new 2-on-2 format and Active Switch system takes some adjustment, but the Infinity Stone system adds a new wrinkle that makes the adjustment of one less teammate worth the challenge. The ever growing cast of characters is a who’s who for both sides of the battle, including Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, and Captain America from Marvel and Street Fighter’s Ryu, Mega Man X, and Devil Mary Cry’s Dante for Capcom. The battle commences on September 19, and the game looks like it’ll be worth the wait.

Arguably the most universally anticipated games of E3 2017, however, is Destiny 2, and the game’s showing at this E3 did not disappoint. The new 4-on-4 multiplayer setup makes for longer matches, while the new strikes and raids teased throughout will have Destiny fans talking for weeks at a time. Luckily those fans won’t have to wait long, as Destiny 2 will be made available to all of them on September 5.

These are but a few of the interesting titles shown off during E3 2017, meaning that there’s a lot to like for game enthusiasts for a long time coming. London Drugs is the perfect place to learn more about these and every title from E3 2017, so come in now and see for yourself.

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