Camera gear of the World Cup 2018: what the pros are using in Russia

Watch any match at the World Cup and you’ll see a bank of photographers stretching along the entire length of the pitch, clutching huge white or black lenses as they capture the action unfold in front of them. 

But what exactly are the cameras and lenses these agency and press photographers using? Below we take a look at some of the key items of camera kit that’ll be the mainstay of most of theses photographers for the entire length of the World Cup. 

(Main image: Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images)

The camera

For jobbing sports photographers, resolution often plays second fiddle to durability and performance, which is why you’ll likely see large a bulky Canon EOS-1D series and Nikon Dx series cameras welded by pros pitch-side at the World Cup.

Heavily weather-sealed and constructed from tough magnesium alloy, cameras like the 20.2MP EOS-1D X Mark II or Nikon’s 20.8MP D5 can have a pretty tough life, getting knocked, drenched and dropped. 

While the resolution of their sensors might not even be able to match cameras costing a third of the price, the full-frame sensors in these two flagship cameras are capable of delivering stunning results at high sensitivities that just wouldn’t be possible with most other cameras. 

Essential if you’re going to be working in poor light and need to be able to freeze the action, while the highly sophisticated autofocus systems of both cameras means they can be capable of tracking even the most erratically moving footballer round the frame.  

While photographers are likely to have a couple of flagship bodies like this slung over their shoulders, they’ll also potentially have a higher resolution DSLR or two at their disposal as well, with cameras like the 30.4MP Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and 45.4MP Nikon D850 ideal for commercial assignments where a higher pixel count is required. 

Canon and Nikon don’t have things all to themselves, with the likes of Sony’s brilliant Alpha A9 starting to be used by pros thanks to its blend of fast shooting speeds, rapid AF and silent shutter. At the moment, it’s a little hampered by limited long lenses…

Main lens

The main lens for sports photographers is a 400mm f/2.8. These large pieces of glass allow photographers to fill the frame with their subject, while the large and fast maximum aperture affords them plenty of flexibility. 

Not only does it allow them to isolate their subject, but the fast maximum aperture also helps them keep shutter speeds high (when combined with the excellent high ISO performance of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Nikon D5), while it also means photographers can attach 1.4x and 2x teleconverters to them to extend the reach without restricting AF performance. 

The latest generations of 400mm telephoto primes are the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM II and Nikon AF-S 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR, while Sony’s also just announced the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS, its first dedicated telephoto prime lens for its full-frame range of mirrorless cameras.

Supplementary lenses

As well as a 400mm f/2.8, a second camera body is likely to have a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom on the front. This means that photographers can easily swap to this should the action come in close. 

It’s not all about telephoto lenses for shooting football. There’s likely to be a 16-35mm f/2.8 or 14-24mm f/2.8 likely to feature prominently in a sports photographer’s kit bag. 

This has a number of uses, from capturing those scene-setting shots of the entire stadium, to the end of the match when photographers will scramble to get the reaction of players. These lenses will also be used when cameras are positioned remotely behind the posts, allowing photographers to capture a goal, even if they’re positioned at the other end of the pitch.

The humble 24-70mm f/2.8 also has its place – it may not be quite as glamorous as some of the other lenses her, but it can get incredibly versatile for a range of shooting conditions, and can be really handy when the action is right in front of the photographer.

Essential accessories

Shooting with a large and heavy lens like a 400mm f/2.8 means that some form of support is essential, and a monopod is perfect for the job. 

While a flashgun is impractical for shooting action with a 400mm in a floodlit stadium, a speedlight can be really handy when shooting player reactions at the end of the match, allowing photographers to easily freeze their subject and add a nice bit of illumination. 

Another key accessory is some remote triggers like PocketWizard’s Plus IV system. This allows photographers to remotely trigger there cameras that they’ve positioned elsewhere round the pitch. Featuring built-in radio transmitters and receivers, they don’t require direct line-of-sight like infrared triggers do, while they can have an impressive range up to 500m.

Finally, one accessory that a sports photographer at a football match wouldn’t be without is a little fold away camping stall. Nobody wants to kneel for 90 minutes, so these allow photographers to shoot in relative comfort from a nice, low-down shooting position. 

  • TechRadar’s World Cup coverage is brought to you in association with Honor

Sweden vs England live stream: how to watch today’s World Cup quarter-final online

Sweden and England are just one match away from a FIFA World Cup last four place, all that stands in front of them is each other in this huge quarter-final at Russia 2018. Sweden vs England wasn’t really in the script at the start of the World Cup, but now it’s here and we’ll tell you how to watch a free live stream from anywhere in the world.

So will be football coming home, or going to Stockholm? (And yes, we know we already used that joke, but we were really pleased with it!). Although both teams have clearly had a very good World Cup just to get to the quarter-finals, neither have been overwhelmingly impressive. Yes, there was England’s 6-1 drubbing of Panama complete with Harry Kane hat-trick. And Sweden had that convincing 3-0 win over much-fancied Mexico in the group stage. But it’s anybody’s guess as to who will come through this one.

The last time Sweden and England met was memorable for that ridiculous Zlatan Ibrahimović goal in a friendly four years ago. And those with a longer memory will recall a fantastic Euro 2012 group game in which England managed to prevail 3-2. But it’s anybody’s guess as to who will come through this one and face the winner of the Russia vs Croatia World Cup quarter-final.

Keep reading to discover how to live stream Sweden vs England – and, indeed, every World Cup 2018 match – no matter where in the world you are. Below we’ll tell you exactly how to watch on your TV, mobile device and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing.

Use a VPN to watch the World Cup 2018 from anywhere for FREE

You don’t have to miss a single minute of World Cup soccer – even if the country where you are isn’t broadcasting certain games. Because every second of action is being shown somewhere (the UK, for example, is televising every game for free – see below), you can simply use a VPN to login to a region that is broadcasting the game. And it’s really easy to do:

How to stream England vs Sweden live in the UK 

How to watch Sweden vs England: US live stream 

How to live stream Sweden vs England in Canada

How to watch England vs Sweden: live stream in Australia

How to watch England vs Sweden: New Zealand live stream 

Exclusive World Cup competition with VyprVPN

The doctor on your wrist: how wearables are revolutionizing healthcare

If it weren’t for her smartwatch, 18-year-old Deanna Recktenwald might not be alive today. Her watch pinged to warn her that her resting heart rate was rocketing, and she immediately went to get checked out; if she hadn’t, she might have died from kidney failure.

Sarah-Jayne McIntosh had a similarly narrow escape. Her Fitbit warned her that her heart rate was three times normal; as she told The Mirror: “The doctors said that if I hadn’t phoned for an ambulance when I did, and if I wasn’t wearing my Fitbit to track my heart rate, I could have suffered a heart attack/cardiac arrest and could have died.”

Another Fitbit solved a medical mystery: a 42-year-old man was rushed to a New Jersey ER after a seizure, but couldn’t tell staff how long his heart had been racing. The doctors interrogated his Fitbit HR to determine when his heart rate had spiked, information that enabled them to decide whether it was safe to give him appropriate treatment.

William Monzidelis, 32, is certain that his watch saved his life. It urged him to seek immediate medical help; by the time he arrived at hospital 30 minutes later, he’d lost 80% of his blood. He’d suffered an erupted ulcer, and received life-saving surgery just in time.

A doctor on your wrist

We’re just scratching the surface of what wearable devices can do. For example, the Apple Watch is enabling large-scale research into heart conditions and can even detect diabetes – but in the longer term the Watch, and devices like it, will be capable of much more. Wearables will help to change the way we live, and the way we die.

One of the biggest causes of premature death is an unhealthy lifestyle – not just obvious things such as smoking or drinking, but poor diet and lack of exercise. Wearable devices can help nudge us towards improving those things, and in some cases there can be a financial reward: some insurers offer discounted premiums to customers who wear wearable devices on the grounds that they’re more likely to take positive steps to improve their health.

The Apple Watch is enabling large-scale research into heart conditions

But wearables can do much more than track your steps or record the calories you’re consuming. Medical-grade health sensors are coming, and they can monitor all kinds of things. For example, Swiss firm Biovotion has a wearable that tracks heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, sleep patterns and so on. 

At the University of Waterloo in Canada, researchers are working on diabetes monitors that don’t require the wearer to prick their finger several times a day. The device uses radar and artificial intelligence and is being developed by Google and the German hardware firm Infineon. According to project head, Professor George Shaker, “I’m hoping we’ll see a wearable device on the market within the next five years.”

Even beauty firms are getting in on the wearable act: L’Oreal recently launched a wearable UV sensor to help protect against skin cancer.

L'Oreal UV sensor

L’Oreal’s device shows what future wearables might be like. It doesn’t need a battery, it’s only 9mm long and it fits almost imperceptibly on your thumbnail. It then transmits to your phone via NFC – the same tech used in contactless payment systems – where its companion app analyses the data and tells you if it’s time to get out of the sun.

And such sensors aren’t just useful for sun worshippers. People with Lupus can only be in the sun for so long before their symptoms flare up. Some sensors, such as Shade, are so sensitive that they can even they can even detect the UV rays from light bulbs.

Always on

What’s really interesting about wearables is that they can deliver continuous tracking. That means we can get a much better picture of our health than we could ever get from a ‘body MOT’ at the gym or doctor. By tracking multiple bits of data about your body all day every day, you can see the big picture of your health – and your doctor can use that data to spot patterns that might otherwise be missed. 

When that data is combined with other people’s, it can save lives.

Apple watch and phone with researchkit

That’s what Apple’s ResearchKit is all about. It enables researchers to gather massive amounts of data (provided voluntarily) from people’s devices, and to use that data to gain insight into conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, autism, chronic heart conditions, skin cancer and epilepsy. And with that data, developers can create apps with CareKit to help people manage their conditions.

As Apple puts it: “Rather than relying solely on doctor visits, you’ll be able to regularly track your symptoms and medications, and even share the information with your care team for a bigger – and better – picture of your health.”

Lost and found

Wearables aren’t just about monitoring your vital signs. They can be of more practical use too. In Ireland, researchers have created a group called Carelink to create wearable technology for patients with dementia – something that affects more than 55,000 people in Ireland alone, with numbers rising every year. Patients with dementia can be prone to wandering, and Carelink is developing low-cost, energy-efficient sensors that connect to the cloud and enable wanderers to be located and helped.

Wearable technology can also be very useful for people with disabilities. The Wavio platform uses real-time sound recognition to create an electronic ear for deaf people, while South Korean startup Dot is developing smartwatches that communicate in braille.

Wavio hearing aid

Another big benefit to wearable technology is that it enables healthcare providers to monitor patients without requiring them to visit the doctor or stay in hospital. Miniaturization, and the relentless pace of technological advances, means that hardware you’d previously need to visit a hospital to be treated with can now be worn on your body and its data transmitted via an app. In the US, for example, Vitalconnect brings hospital monitoring of vital signs to a small sensor that transmits whenever it can get a mobile data signal.

It feels very much like we’re reaching a tipping point: ever-smaller, ever-smarter devices are making the previously impossible possible, enabling us to learn more about our bodies and how to look after them. Plenty of technologies promise to change your life, but wearables genuinely will.

TechRadar’s Next Up series is brought to you in association with Honor

iPhone 8, not iPhone X, is beating Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus in total market share

Apple’s iPhone 8 has reclaimed the top of the sales chart, narrowly edging out the newer Galaxy S9 Plus, which fell to No. 2 and hasn’t exactly helped Samsung’s profits.

It also did better than the iPhone X by reaching a 2.4% market share and bouncing back from lower sales back in April, according to a data from Counterpoint Research. This boost in sales is attributed to smart advertising in Europe, namely Apple’s recent “How to shoot on iPhone” ads, which led up to the start of the World Cup last month. 

In fact, all three current iPhones are sitting in the top five, according to the numbers from May, the latest sales data available.  The iPhone X is in third place, with 2.3% of the market share, and the iPhone 8 Plus is in fifth place at 2.1%.  

Reading the numbers 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 sales figures have been seen as disappointing, even though both phones are still showing overall strong numbers. The S9 Plus only slipped to second place, essentially tied with the iPhone 8 at a 2.4% market share. The problem is the S9 phones are much newer, so it’s odd that they’re not performing better.

Samsung warned investors about slowing sales of flagship phones in April after its Q1 earnings call, so these results only reflect that truth.

However, we are expecting the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 later this year, and that should inject some sales into Samsung’s lineup – but thats when there will be a new line of iPhones on the market. 

One of the biggest takeaways from this report might be a bit subtle – Chinese manufacturers like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo are taking more of the market share than ever before, and that’s surely part of the reason behind the Galaxy S9’s slowed sales. The Xiaomi Redmi 5A sat right behind the iPhone X in May, enjoying 2.2% of the market share. 

Both the iPhone 8 and the Galaxy S9 are enjoying great sales in the West, but it’s becoming clear that phones from Chinese companies, ones with innovative designs that rival Apple and Samsung in many ways, are making a huge impact worldwide.

 Via PhoneArena 

  • Check out the best smartphones in the UK and the best phones US 

Best smart plugs and switches: the best plugs and switches for your smart home

The smart home is getting smarter, but two areas that are often overlooked are the humble power outlet and light switch.

There are plenty of energy savings to be had by investing in a smart plug and/or smart switch. By controlling your lights and other appliances with one of these babies, you’ll reap the savings of more efficient energy consumption. 

But what are the plugs and switches that are worth flipping out over? We’ve gathered up a guide to show you the light to the best smart plugs and switches on the market. 

All of the smart plugs and switches in this list have been tested by TechRadar, so you can rest assured that all have passed muster.  

The Belkin WeMo Insight is a neat little device. Well, it’s not exactly “little” considering it’s bigger than it looks in the pictures, so be prepared for a bulkier plug that covers the top outlet if you place it on the bottom one (the same isn’t true if you reverse the order).

That said, we consider the Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug to be the best light switch on the market. We like that it gives insights into your energy usage, and it gives you estimates on how much you’re spending on energy, too. This is great if you’re looking to cut down on your monthly power bill and be a little greener at the same time. 

The one big drawback is that you do most of your work with the WeMo Insight in the app, and the app leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, you can turn off and on devices from the app home screen, but once you start going deeper, you run into trouble. It’s difficult to remove devices from the app, which is annoying. 

One redeeming quality of the app is that you can use it to integrate your plug with other services, such as IFTTT, Alexa, Google Assistant, Works with Nest and (unofficially) Samsung SmartThings. 

The only one missing from this smart plug house party is Apple’s HomeKit, though you can connect using a HomeKit Bridge, which Belkin sells. 

Read our Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug review

  • iDevices Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug is $29.45 on Amazon

There’s a reason this smart plug leads with an “i”; it’s built to work predominately with devices in the Apple ecosystem and with HomeKit. You can still use it with Android via an app, just know that HomeKit is clearly the favorite here.

The iDevices Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug does converse with Alexa, so your Amazon Echo devices are compatible with this plug, too.

All-in-all, this smart plug is well designed, easy to use (especially within Apple’s walls, naturally) and generally works like a charm. It’s super easy to set up with your iPhone, and the app is great; you can use it to monitor your energy usage, broken down by day, week, month and year. You’ll get an estimate of your energy costs as well. 

Oh, and did we mention this plug has as nightlight? The colored strip around the front serves as one, perfect if you don’t want to blind yourself when you get up to use the loo in the middle of the night. 

Read our iDevices Switch Wi-Fi Smart Plug review

Sure, you’ve decked out your home in smart led bulbs, like the Philips Hue, but if these aren’t connected to a smart switch, you lose connectivity if the lights aren’t controlled with a smartphone. 

That’s where smart switches like the TP-Link HS200 come in. This well-designed switch may be connected, but it also gives a satisfying click, just like old-fashioned models. 

But the similarities with old-school switches end there. This switch taps into an app called Kasa, which is equally well-designed. From the app, you can create different scenes that turn on or off certain lights, or set lights to turn on when your home’s motions sensors detect movement, for example. 

The switch does work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can ask both to flight the TP-Link switches in your home on or off. 

It may not be quite as good as the Belkin WeMo Smart Plug, but the TP-Link will make your home a more connected creature, which is great if you’re looking to take your home into the 21st century.

Read our TP-Link HS200 Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch review

It’s all about ease with the Elagto Eve Energy Smart Switch. Installing and updating the switch is a snap; all you have to do is plug it into an existing outlet, then plug your appliance in.

The switch is compatible with Apple HomeKit, and, uniquely, it connects over Bluetooth, not your home’s Wi-Fi. Despite this unconventional (in the smart plug/switch space) connection method, Bluetooth works perfectly well here.

Like most smart plugs and switches, Elgato’s design is on the bigger side, though you can still access the top switch if you plug it into the bottom one. The app is easy to use as well and keeps tabs on your energy consumption, plus estimated cost of the energy your appliance is sucking up.

This isn’t the most enthralling – or least expensive – smart switch on the market. However, it hits a number of the right boxes, and looks good in the home. 

Read our Elgato Eve Energy Smart Switch review