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Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II (Black)
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II (Black)
Offered by Norman Camera & Video
Price: $699.99
7 used & new from $614.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased with this camera, June 21, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A better camera than its predecessor in just about all respects, the G7X Mark II is a pleasure to use.

Image quality is excellent once again, and slightly better than its predecessor, thanks in part to the new processor. Canon might have also worked on the lens a bit, even though it's the same as before, because optically it seems more consistently sharp across the range. Color and detail capture are excellent as well. ISO performance is about the same as last time. But overall, great performance.

One thing that should be mentioned is that level of customization in stills is a lot deeper than before. With individual adjustments for color, contrast, and sharpness. The new fine detail mode is nice, but doesn't make a dramatic difference like it does in the 80D. Also the RAW processing tool is nice too, allowing you to choose what type of picture style (and the corresponding micro adjustments) you want the JPEG processed as.

Video quality is also nice. Some back and forth with the AF during footage but overall it's very sharp and detailed. Audio is also excellent but the built-in wind filter is almost useless.

Autofocus performance is only slightly improved over its predecessor. While I don't think that AF on the original G7X was bad as people made it out to be, especially in single-shot, but I wouldn't call the G7X Mark II fast. It's perfectly fine though. Even though the burst rate has improved over the original, I wouldn't really rely on this camera for fast action shots. There still is room for improvement in this aspect.

The new, more flexible LCD is a most welcome change over its predecessor and allows for a better angle of viewing in bright sunlight. One curiosity I have though Canon putting a ridged surface on the top of the LCD which seems to collect dust and other particles very easily. The touch screen works great as it has on previous models.The new grip is nice and gives you a more secure hold on the camera. But as a result of that and the LCD, the Mark II is a bit larger than its predecessor (still jacket pocketable). The camera is still well-constructed.

One thing that I do find has improved is battery life. Obviously it comes nowhere near a DSLR, but Canon did a good job of looking for ways to improve battery life using the same battery and it is noticeable.

Though the AF system still could use a little bit of work, this is probably Canon's most impressive enthusiast compact to date, taking everything in account. It's a great choice if you want something with near-DSLR image quality (at least in good light) that fits in your pocket or a nice companion to your pro mirrorless or DSLR.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Digital Camera with 4.2x Optical Zoom, Built-in Wi-Fi and 3 inch LCD
Canon PowerShot G5 X Digital Camera with 4.2x Optical Zoom, Built-in Wi-Fi and 3 inch LCD
Price: $699.00
28 used & new from $599.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent enthusiast point and shoot with a few shortcomings, May 5, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Slap a Viewfinder and an articulated LCD on the G7X and you have the G5X. The two are identical in terms of overall performance and image quality. But overall, this is a sensible alternative to a DSLR if you want something that will give you better image quality than your cell phone, want something smaller, but still want a flexible LCD and viewfinder. Provided, however, you're not interested in action shots. You might still want to spring for a DSLR for those purposes.

Image quality is excellent overall. While the lens tends to be not as consistently sharp as the Sony's across the board (this is to be expected given its longer range and equally faster aperture) it still is pretty decent, and much sharper than the lousy lens found in the G9X. Color is also great too, with excellent reproduction of skin tones. ISO performance is equal to other cameras with the Sony 1" sensors. You can get larger prints up to ISO3200 if you're willing to take some time to process the RAW files (which, like all Sony sensors are excellent to work with). It doesn't quite rise to the level of APS-C or even Micro 4/3rds but it still is much better than your average smartphone camera or low-end point and shoot. The camera also tends of overexpose a bit in bright conditions but the great thing is you have a manual exposure comp dial. I don't shoot a lot of video but found the video on this camera of decent quality.

Autofocus performance is good, not great. Single point autofocus works well, even in low light. But for any kind of action shooting, forget about it with this camera. It's really a camera which is better suited for landscapes and stationary subjects. This is one are where Canon needs to do some work.

Another inexcusable aspect of this camera is battery life and its small battery. Why Canon felt that such a small battery should go in such a powerful camera is beyond me. It's especially sad if you were a G16 owner and enjoyed the relatively long battery life that the chunkier battery in that camera provided. That said it should still get you through a day of shooting but not much beyond that.

The articulating LCD is bright and clear and a pleasure to use. I actually find myself using it more than the viewfinder. The EVF is nice and clear but a little on the small side. However, it's still nice to have in bright sunlight. And unlike the Sony, you don't have to pop it up first to use it. The eye detector is well tuned so it can't be fooled to switching to the viewfinder by something else other than your eye. One thing that also must be mentioned is that both the LCD and viewfinder offer exposure preview. This is great because you can see almost exactly what the image will look like on screen (or in the viewfinder) before taking it. While this is not exclusive to Canon (the Sonys have it too), this is a nice feature to have.

Overall the camera is designed well but I am not particularly fond of the front dial next to the grip. Although you can't really complain about extra control dials, its place adjacent to the hand grip makes it feel a bit awkward at first, until you get used to it. Outside of that, the control layout is pretty typical of most canon G series cameras. One change from the G7X (owing to its larger size) is that the exposure comp dial is separate from the control dial, making it less awkward to turn than its linemate.

So despite a few shortcomings, this is a great enthusiast point and shoot. While not exactly pocketable, you'd have a much larger kit if you tried to find a DSLR with this camera's lens specs. The sensor in this camera doesn't quite match an APS-C in overall image quality but in daylight situation, you'd probably have a hard time telling the difference. I think the main gripe I have is with the battery. Canon really should be providing a larger battery with this model.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Black
New Nintendo 3DS XL Black
162 used & new from $170.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Despite the lack of a power adaptor, this is a great portable gaming system, January 4, 2016
I have to dock it one star for not including a power adaptor. I just don't get what Nintendo was thinking. Anyway, if ordering from this site and you don't already have another 3ds (it uses the same adaptor as the other 3DS systems), make sure you get the bundle with the power adaptor.

Aside from that, the "New" 3DS XL is not a radical departure from its predecessor but does have a few key upgrades that make it worthwhile. First off, the battery life has improved, I've been getting an extra hour of gameplay out of this console compared to its predecessor. The 3D function is better, though still not perfect, it's much more usable than its predecessor. And the screen is also a bit nicer than predecessor. They say it also has a faster processor but I haven't noticed much of a difference between it and the original 3ds xl.

Ergonomics and control layout are great. Nintendo has been making portable gaming consoles for some time now and they've got the layout and handling pretty nailed down. Build quality is about the same as its predecessor.

Honestly, if you have the existing 3DS XL, it's not a no-brainer upgrade. But if you're new to this system or having the original 3DS, it's worthwhile to get this latest version as it's a well-polished, refined portable gaming system. Just make sure to get an adaptor to go with it.

KitchenAid KCH112KLKD Hard Anodized Nonstick 12" Skillet with Glass Lid Cookware - Black Diamond
KitchenAid KCH112KLKD Hard Anodized Nonstick 12" Skillet with Glass Lid Cookware - Black Diamond
Price: Click here to see our price

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent pan overall, September 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had KitchenAid nonstick pans before and the last one I had lasted 4 years of use and abuse before the coating went on it. So I am hoping this one is as durable.

Anyway, I like this pan for the most part. No issues with the non-stick and it's very well made. When used on an electric range, it can be slow to heat up as compared to the previous T-Fal I had but it does cook evenly - heat distribution is excellent. And the lid is nice and makes a secure seal on the pan when cooking but because it's flat, it tends to squash the food down a bit if the pan is full.

Honestly, I don't know if I'd recommend this one over a similarly-priced Calphalon. I'd have to see how well it holds up and repeated use.

**Update 4/1/16 - Still going strong with this pan. Still a solid performer with no issues with the nonstick.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Digital Camera - Wi-Fi Enabled
Canon PowerShot G7 X Digital Camera - Wi-Fi Enabled
Price: $649.00
33 used & new from $455.49

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of a compelling alternative to the RX100 series than people give it credit for, July 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The G7X is an interesting camera. It uses the exact same Sony 1" sensor as in the RX100 series (the RX100 2 and 3 anyway - not the newer stacked sensor found in the Mark 4). While it has some glaring flaws and some areas where the RX100 clearly outshines it, it is competitive in a number of critical areas which may sway this camera in your favor depending on what your priorities are.

We'll start with image quality. No, lens is not perfect but it is fairly sharp throughout most of its range. A lot of people say that the RX100 provides sharper results right out of the camera in JPEG mode. I have found this not to be the case. It is actually the Canon that is sharper and fine detail better retained through low and mid ISOs. You may not notice the difference at small sizes but take an image from both cameras in similar shooting situations and make it as desktop background and in my observations the Canon is superior. The Sony only seems sharper because the JPEGs are more aggressively sharpened but don't stand up as well under close scrutiny because the noise reduction in JPEGs is applied more clumsily (ie more smearing of fine detail). When it comes to RAW files, both are about the same. Although the Sony's lens is a little sharper on the wide end.

There is also the issue of color reproduction. I also think the Canon is superior there as well. If you shoot RAW, you can tweak the colors to your liking. But if you don't feel like doing that, the Canon will give you better color reproduction right out of the box. The Canon is especially better for people pictures because it handles skin tones better than the Sony. I am a landscape photographer, so reproduction of greens and blues is very important to me. And I just feel that the Canon excels over the Sony in that regard.

Video is also sharp but I think the Sony is better at video and has a better feature set. So if you're equal parts into video and stills, the Sony might be a better choice.

The other big edge that Canon has over the Sony is overall usability of the camera. While it doesn't have the pop-up viewfinder like the Sonys, it does have a capacitive touch screen that Sonys lack. The Sonys however, have a more flexible LCD while the Canon just flips up. The Canon is more comfortable to shoot with than the Sony as well. There's more room up front for your hands and a very comfortable thumb rest on the back of the camera. While I wish it had some sort of textured surface on the front (like the S100 did), the metal surface isn't a slippery, ultimately leading to a more secure grip. Another plus for the Canon is the physical exposure compensation dial. Granted it can be hard to turn but it's nice not to have to go digging in the menus to access this function. Image stabilization is also rock solid.

So any downsides to the G7X? Yes. There are two major ones. The first is battery life. It is inexcusable for Canon to put such a puny battery in a powerful camera such as this one. I am hoping that the new model supposed to be released later this year will fix that. Battery life is not great and that is something that Sony is also better at.

The other issue is the autofocus system. I would not call it slow but I think they could have done a better job in speeding things up in this camera than they did. It sometimes has issues locking on in low light where as the Sony has no issues like that most of the time.

So my final verdict is that if you're primarily a still shooter and don't feel you need the pop-up viewfinder, the G7X is the way to go. If speed is a priority as well as video, the RX100 III is a better choice. I am hoping that Canon can fix some of the issues with the AF and battery life with the next model. It almost is inexcusable to release a camera with glaring flaws in those areas 2 years after the RX100. But it is otherwise a fine camera and a great alternative to a Rebel if you want about 80% of the image quality that a DSLR can give you from something that fits in your pocket.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 28, 2015 3:24 PM PDT

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200MM f/4-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction II Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200MM f/4-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction II Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Price: $346.95
97 used & new from $89.94

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great light-weight telephoto lens, July 22, 2015
This lens is sharp, lightweight. Though I think its MSRP ($350) is a tad expensive for its pedestrian aperture and plastic build. But as part of a kit with a DSLR like the D3300, it's worth paying the extra $150 to get it.

Like the 18-55 VR II, it employs a retractable design, where you have to push a button on the lens to extend it out before use. Newer DSLRs like the D3300 will give you an error message that the lens is not extended so you have to make sure to extend it out before you turn the camera on.

Despite being a "low-end" Nikon lens, it's nice and sharp throughout. And resolves detail nicely even on the 24MP APS-C sensors.

It balances quite nicely on the D3300 (which I have) and doesn't overwhelm the lightweight body. Overall, this is a great lens to add to your Nikon DX collection, especially if its part of a kit. Just shop around a little and see if you can find a better deal than the $350 MSRP it's sold for as part of a kit.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2016 12:10 PM PDT

Sony DSCHX90V/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Sony DSCHX90V/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Price: $428.00
36 used & new from $300.00

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great usability but mediocre image quality, July 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Sony HX90V offers great functionality and a nice shooting experience but ultimately, even considering its sensor size, image quality falls short with detail smearing down at the lowest ISOs when blown up to anything larger than web size photos.

While I realize that they have decreased the MP slightly on this model, I still think 18MP is way too much for a camera with a 1/2.3" sensor. I kind of feel, for an enthusiast-oriented megazoom, they should've gone with something like 12MP like Panasonic did for its Lumix ZS50. Detail smearing due to noise reduction is visible at reduced sizes at base ISO. Most pedestrian point and shoot cameras these days should at least be able to give you the ability to blow up your prints at ISO100. RAW capture is also not available on this model, which is unfortunate, because you can customize the level of noise reduction applied and potentially get better photos than what they out of camera JPEGs display.To balance this out, color and exposure are pretty good. The camera doesn't blow out highlights as badly as some of its peers.

It's unfortunate that image quality falls short because, otherwise, this is a nice camera to use. The autofocus is fast and mostly on target. The image stabilization works well. And the viewfinder is actually very nice, despite being a lower resolution than the ones found in the RX100 series cameras. Battery life is also pretty good. The LCD screen on back is pretty good as well.

I have not shot with the Panasonic ZS50 so I can't really comment on overall image quality compared to this camera, but, the fact that you can shoot RAW gives it a leg up over the Sony. If you never really blow up your photos at all, then this might be an alright choice. But if you at least want to make larger prints from images at base ISO in good light, I would look elsewhere.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2015 5:59 AM PST

ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats, X-Large (Men's 13), Black
ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats, X-Large (Men's 13), Black
Price: Click here to see our price
57 used & new from $18.67

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not suitable for hiking, March 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The rubber on these cleats snapped during my first outing with them on the trail. I'm sure they are probably fine for instances where not so much stress is put on them but I suggest buying something a little more durable if you're looking for cleats to use in hikes where there is snow and ice.

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices - Black
Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices - Black
Price: $299.00
21 used & new from $215.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great set of headphones, December 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Mostly happy with these. The sound is excellent, fit is great, and the noise canceling is extremely good. However, in terms of audio quality, the Audio Technica ANC-7Bs did just as well on audio and noise canceling capabilities but cost half the price. The caveat there is if you have a large head, the Audio Technicas will not fit right. But if that isn't an issue for you, I would seek those out first before considering these. Also, my coworker has the QC-15s and to me those feels a little more solid build-quality wise than these. But overall, I'm pretty happy with these headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones - Wired
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones - Wired
Price: $101.95
142 used & new from $64.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Improper fit was the deal-breaker for what are otherwise great headphones, December 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These headphones have great sound and the noise canceling works very, very well. Only one little problem. If you have a larger head, these things will not fit right at all and are downright uncomfortable to wear. That ultimately led me to return them. If you have a way of trying them on in the store, I suggest you do so. If they provide a better fit for you than they did for me, then these will be great headphones. Otherwise, if you have a larger noggin, I would stay away from these.

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