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Customer Reviews: 5
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Helpful Votes: 29

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cal jazz RSS Feed (Encinitas, California USA)

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Fujifilm X10 12 MP EXR CMOS Digital Camera with f2.0-f2.8 4x Optical Zoom Lens and 2.8-Inch LCD
Fujifilm X10 12 MP EXR CMOS Digital Camera with f2.0-f2.8 4x Optical Zoom Lens and 2.8-Inch LCD
Offered by Electronics Basket
Price: $418.29
38 used & new from $225.00

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're aware of its issues, you'll not regret your purchase, July 16, 2012
I wasn't sure I should add to the hundreds of comprehensive reviews of this camera, both here and elsewhere, because I am not a professional photographer--but maybe I can help a few people decide.

I should first say that I did not buy this on Amazon, but paid what was at the time a lower price at a reputable dealer that I assume Amazon will soon match. (If I'm allowed to mention the price, in late June, 2012 it was in the mid $400s). This put the camera still at the higher end of compact cameras, though still well below the Canon G1x and the Sony Rx100, and definitely at the low end of the micro 4/3rds, especially when lenses are added in. This price comparison I think is important, because in my three weeks of use, I have found the image quality to be excellent, and though I am sure the other cameras I mention above might produce better, I'm not sure it would be better for the money.

In addition, I have enjoyed the flexibility of a variety of settings--especially the ability to save groups of settings--the substantial feel of the camera, the quality lens that still provides relative range without carrying around a bunch of different lenses, the low light abilities, the sharp macro picture possibilities, and the built in panorama feature. So this camera is really working for me, and if the price continues to drop, it could actually become a bargain.

But, of course, if you read all the reviews, you know there are issues with the camera. Here is my take on those issues as an amateur photographer, based on a several week experience:

1. I have not had the "orb" problem--the uneditable white spots that appear with glare. My camera's serial number begins with 21A so maybe it has one of the newer sensors produced to solve the problem. At the same time, I have not at all had the noise problem in low light that some people have complained about with the new sensors. In fact, I think low light performance is great in this camera, in part because the fast lens.

2. The viewfinder is partially blocked by the lens, but I still use it all the time. In fact, that is one of the reasons I got this camera, because I have never liked taking pictures by using an lcd screen. Am I sometimes surprised by what appears in the lower right corner of my composition? Yes. On the other hand, a little minor cropping eliminates the bad surprises, and sometimes the surprise is a good one.

3. As a number of reviews have said, I've found it really hard to produce adjusted pictures of high quality working from "raw." With other cameras, I always liked to shoot in raw--I use Lightroom for conversion and processing. But I'm not sure its worth it for this camera. Still, the jpegs are excellent, so it isn't as much a problem as you might think.

4. Because of the peculiarities of Fuji's sensor, for many of the settings you have to lower image resolution to "medium" that is, 6 megapixels. I have to admit, that kind of bugged me at first, because cropping is a bit limited at that resolution. Fortunately, picture quality is high even in medium.

5. In bright sunlight, if I am shooting aperture priority and trying to keep a shallow depth of field, I find the pictures to be slightly overexposed for my tastes, even at ISO 100. But that's where the handy exposure compensation dial comes in--its quickly turned and once you find the setting that works for bright light, it is easier than a menu driven adjustment to exposure that other cameras have. I'm sure I could find appropriate shutter speeds and get those set and saved in conjunction with aperture, but the dial does make it easy. In situations where I don't mind stopping down, there's no problem with exposure. And a lot of times, I just find it easy to let the camera do all the work and set it to what Fuji weirdly calls "EXR Auto" as opposed to "regular Auto" which is also available. My wife, who is scarcely interested in photography and therefore annoys me by often producing better pictures than I do,just sets it to EXR auto, treats the camera as a point and shoot and it works just fine.

6. The battery life is relatively short if you use the camera for movies. I haven't much, but noticed when I did some video it really drained the battery quickly. Even in still photographs, depending on what settings you use, you notice it from time to time. I had to change the battery once unexpectedly when taking a bunch of rapid continuous shots at a kid's baseball game (the shots came out great, by the way--got more than a few "moment of contact" pictures in batting.) On the other hand, I've never had it run out on me on a hike when I'm just taking single pictures, and it lasted several days during a camping trip. I would just count on carrying an extra battery just in case, but the battery is cheap, so it doesn't add much expense.

All in all, the issues are there, but, thanks to previous reviewers, I bought with my eyes wide open, and feel I got an excellent camera. I've produced some really sharp pictures--of the family, of landscapes, and of flowers. I've not felt the need for additional lenses, and the camera is really easy to carry around on hikes and walks. So I would definitely recommend you give this camera serious consideration!

Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black/Volt)
Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black/Volt)
8 used & new from $120.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good watch, uncertain reliability, fantastic customer service, June 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this watch from Amazon about 6 months ago to replace a Garmin 305 whose battery died. The Garmin had lasted a couple of years, but my main complaint from the beginning about the 305 was its short battery life. Even from the beginning, I only got about 6-7 hours, so if turned the watch on too early in the day, it would be dead before my run. After the 305 died for good, I considered upgrading to a Garmin 610, which apparently doesn't have the battery issue, but decided my daily jogging didn't merit the price and I really didn't require all of the 610's extra functions. I was attracted to Nike's design and its lower price, so I switched brands.

First, let me say that Nike's superior design extended to its operations. It has pretty much the same functions as the Garmin 305, but its menu system is far simpler to navigate. I like the watch tap to turn on the backlight and record laps. The Nike is less bulky on the wrist than the Garmin, its charge has lasted me as much as 3 days, so I don't have to worry so much about continually plugging it in. The built in USB connector is a nice feature--no special cradle required. The Nike website is also more user friendly, and it does a good job of charting and recording your runs. At the beginning the Nike was quicker to pick up the satellite readings than the Garmin was, and the addition of the optional shoe sensor (which my old Garmin didn't have) allowed me to track my treadmill runs. In terms of recording the distance of my outdoor runs both the Garmin 305 and the Nike seem to be accurate--exactly similar, in fact, on the routes I run regularly.

So far so good...but, about a month ago, the watch became much slower in picking up the satellites, then it no longer registered the shoe sensor. Finally, last week its screen went blank. It was dead after six months.

So why am I still giving the watch four stars? Because last week I emailed the Nike service center, got an immediate response, called the number they listed, received a prepaid label for sending in my old watch, and, exactly a week after I first contacted them, received a new watch and went for a run with it today. In my experience, this level of customer service from a large corporation is just amazing.

I don't know if this new watch will last longer than the first--I sure hope so, since I really like the watch, and would have rated it 5 stars if the first one had lasted. It didn't, but my 4 star rating reflects the hope that I just got a bad copy, and also my kudos to Nike for their customer service.

Holding on to What Counts
Holding on to What Counts
Price: $16.51
28 used & new from $4.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cookin!, June 5, 2007
The first cut alone here is worth the price of the album--its what led me to buy it when I heard it on the radio--because unfortunately, I had never heard of Mr. Stephens before. But he plays just the kind of virtuoso, hard-swinging piano that I like to listen to again and again. I knew "Cookin" from Phineas Newborn's version of it, but I think Stephens' version is even better--those opening breaks are amazing. The rest of the songs are good, too, with some nice, complex counterpoint rhythm work on Epistrophy, and some laid back, Benny Green/Oscar Peterson type block chords on "Beans and Weenies." If you are a fan of straight-ahead, in-the-pocket jazz piano played with incredible, but not over the top technique, check this album out.

Moon & Sand
Moon & Sand
Price: $14.21
57 used & new from $0.58

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars easy listening in the best sense, June 4, 2007
This review is from: Moon & Sand (Audio CD)
I'm a jazz purist, but I what like most about this album is that I can play it when I have all my non-jazz fan friends over and they really appreciate it--yet I also really enjoy it myself. The one reviewer below mentioned Chet Baker, but Mr. Proulx's slightly flat, high tenor vibrato-less voice is, to my ears, pretty common in a certain type of jazz-influenced "adult contemporary" pop, which is why my friends like it. The difference, though, is that Proulx has a great, no compromising jazz feel, and his piano playing is strong and straight ahead. My favorites are I Should Care, which contains some really nice harmonic and melodic alterations, and East of the Sun, with its laid-back voice in unison with the piano opening. The one song I really don't care for is "I Can't Make You Love Me," but it is nicely placed at the end of the CD, so I can cut it off while enjoying everything else that came before.

View So Tender: Wonder Revisited Volume 1
View So Tender: Wonder Revisited Volume 1
Price: $14.72
29 used & new from $5.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sophisticated jazz treatment of infectious pop, September 26, 2006
Joe Gilman is one of those many jazz artists deserving of wider recognition--a really swinging, creative pianist. I enjoyed his two album treatment of Brubeck compositions, but to be honest, I'm not that big a fan of Brubeck, whose songs (with the exception of In Your Own Sweet Way, which Gilman gives a driving solo rendition on Vol #1) always struck me as either clunky or uninteresting. This album is another matter. If you grew up in the seventies, as I did, these Wonder songs will seem so likeable and familiar that just the title will evoke the bar (or the grocery store) where you heard them last. Putting them in the context of a jazz trio might seem gimmicky, but Gilman's fantastic arrangements make them interesting without destroying the "hooks" which made them so appealing in the first place. Highlights include the shifting time signatures of Don't Worry Bout a Thing (7/4 (?) to 4/4) and the fluid solo in Send one your Love. I wouldn't rank Wonder's songs among the greats of Tin Pan Alley, but by giving them jazz respect, Gilman makes them good for serious listening.

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