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Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
Price: $549.00
42 used & new from $279.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great all purpose zoom lens, August 1, 2014
This lens is a distinct improvement optically over its predecessor and makes a nice step up from the kit lens. It's also relatively lightweight for an 18-135 lens and balances nicely on most of the Rebel bodies, with the exception of the Rebel SL1.

I've only used it in a limited fashion for video but it does to smooth out the AF like it's supposed to.

For stills, the lens is fairly sharp throughout most of its focal range except maybe for a little softness at the telephoto end. But having shot with the older 18-135 lens, I noticed the improvement in sharpness almost right away. The image stabilization is rock solid as well.

If you shop around, you can get this lens for $300-$350 instead of full retail. Regardless, I think most people who shoot Canon APS-C cameras will be very happy with this versatile and sharp lens if they buy it or get it as part of a kit.


Canon EOS Rebel T5 with 18-55mm + 55-250mm IS II Lenses
Canon EOS Rebel T5 with 18-55mm + 55-250mm IS II Lenses
Price: Click here to see our price
10 used & new from $598.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad camera, but there are better options out there., July 19, 2014
While the Rebel T5 is not a bad camera, I just don't think it's the best choice out there in this price class. And there are even a couple of areas where it's a step back from its predecessor.

The camera has good image quality with decent color reproduction and detail capture. However, it's image quality is not significantly better than the T3, which is 3 years old. As a matter of fact, the T3, I have found to shoot a cleaner ISO1600 photo than the T5 does. Still, you can get usable photos through ISO3200, especially if you shoot RAW. The 18-55 IS II lens is satisfactory as a starter lens and the 55-250 lens also performs nicely.

One area that has sorely disappointed me on this camera is the autofocus system. It appears to be slower and hunt a lot more, even in daylight conditions, than the AF system on the T3, despite being essentially the same. I've never really had an AF issue on a Canon Rebel up until now. Most times it works okay, it's just surprising to see it act so dysfunctionally on a Canon.

Handing has greatly improved on the T5 over the T3. The body is still plastic but the materials are higher end this time around and you actually get a proper textured grip. Control layout is largely unchanged and remains pretty straight-forward to operate. The viewfinder remains the same. And it's okay as viewfinders go. The LCD screen resolution doubled but is still relatively low resolution compared to its direct competitors, most of which offer 920k dot screens. It's also hard to view in direct sunlight.

I have not yet tested the video so I cannot vouch for the quality there.

I have to admit, I am rather disappointed by this camera. It seems like Canon didn't really try to make this competitive and it feels inferior even to its own Rebel SL1, which has a much better AF system, LCD, and a capacitive touch screen. You also have Nikon's offerings, and $100 more will get you the very excellent D3300, which trumps this camera in just about every way.


New Balance Men's M780v3 Running Shoe,White/Red,13 4E US
New Balance Men's M780v3 Running Shoe,White/Red,13 4E US

3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't provide enough support in my case, July 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I realize that rating shoes is sort of a subjective thing and one person may find a shoe great to run with and others may not. I am a bigger guy who started on my weight loss journey about a month and a half ago and run 3 miles 4x a week in these shoes, and since I have a heavier step and also pronate, these don't really provide the level of shock absorption and stability that a person in my situation needs.

They're not terrible shoes. They fit my feet well and are well-made. If you're lighter in weight and also lighter on your feet then they might work out better for you than they did for me. And these are perfectly fine if you're using them for going on walks or as a work shoe. These will probably just be used as regular shoes after the new pair I purchased today from my local running shop.


Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II Digital Camera
Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II Digital Camera
Price: $799.00
32 used & new from $650.00

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great camera, but whether its right for you depends on what you'll use it for, April 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have mixed feelings about the G1X Mark II. As a camera, it performs wonderfully with excellent image quality and much improved performance over its predecessor, especially with respect to autofocus performance. However, its size and heft and the fact that a competitor offers a camera that is much more compact and has about 90% of the imaging chops that this camera does leads me to say that I would recommend it with some reservations.

One thing that will most certainly not disappoint you is the great image quality. It makes a great alternative for folks considering a Canon Rebel but aren't necessarily ready to spend any additional money on lenses. It takes clean photos through ISO800 and handles noise respectably through ISO6400. Color and detail capture are first rate. However, if you mostly shoot at ISO1600 and below, the Sony RX100 II is right up there with it in terms of image quality and detail capture. And also, the Sony's exposure behavior is a little more accurate by default (the G1X Mark II overexposes).

Autofocus performance has improved greatly. While still somewhat hesitant in low light, it's much more accurate than the Sony RX100 II in those shooting conditions. Where as a lot of times, the Sony gives up and just throws up a big box over the whole scene, the G1X Mark II will at least try to lock on target.

The capacitive touch screen works great and the LCD is generally excellent to view, even in bright sunlight. The fact that you get three customizable control dials on the Canon also give it a leg up over the Sony which only has two. Overall its fairly comfortable to shoot with, even with the default grip that comes with the camera. Button layout is pretty typical for Canon and nothing is located in a place where you wouldn't expect it to be.

But as I mentioned before, it's a heavy camera. Now, I do understand that, given the lens range and aperture, you could never find a DSLR with as compact of a package as this one is. But that doesn't take away from the fact that it feels very similar in heft to similarly priced DSLRs. Now, here's where it gets tricky, in my mind at least...if you're considering this as an alternative to a Canon Rebel and have no plans to invest in additional lenses, then this is a fine alternative. But if you're looking at it as a lightweight backup to your DSLR, I think the Sony RX100 II is a better choice. Granted it has a slower lens and a smaller sensor but it pretty much matches APS-C DSLR imaging performance (and the G1X Mark II's) at low and moderate ISOs in a much smaller package. Not much mention it's in the neighborhood of $150 cheaper right now.

Don't get me wrong, the G1X Mark II is not a terrible camera at all. It's just not the RX100 killer everybody thought it would be. My best advice is to try both out at your local camera purveyor and find out which one works best for you.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2014 1:34 PM PDT


Messermeister San Moritz Elite 6-Inch Chefs Knife
Messermeister San Moritz Elite 6-Inch Chefs Knife
Price: $100.15
5 used & new from $99.95

5.0 out of 5 stars The workhorse in my kitchen, March 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you only want one knife that can do everything well, you should seriously consider this one. It's the knife I reach for most often in the kitchen and it maintains its sharpness well despite how often it gets used.


The Simpsons: Season 3
The Simpsons: Season 3
DVD ~ Simpsons
Price: $15.05
77 used & new from $9.24

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is where it starts getting really funny, February 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Simpsons: Season 3 (DVD)
If you're looking to concentrate on the period of The Simpsons where it was the funniest, this is the season where you would start. The second season did have some great moments as well, but this is year is really where the show hit its stride. Whereas the early episodes/seasons focused most of the attention on Bart, this season is when Homer and his legendary stupidity come to the forefront.


T-fal E9389774 Professional Total Nonstick Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Oven Safe Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Fry Pan / Saute Pan Cookware with Glass Lid, 10-Inch , Black
T-fal E9389774 Professional Total Nonstick Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Oven Safe Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Fry Pan / Saute Pan Cookware with Glass Lid, 10-Inch , Black
Price: $26.62
3 used & new from $26.62

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best pans you can buy for under $50, February 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Had this pan for 6 months now and works just as well as it did on day one. It heats and cooks food superbly and evenly, very easy to clean up, great non-stick finish, and feels durable. You can supposedly use metal utensils on it but I try not to. Very happy with my purchase and I highly recommend it.


Anolon Advanced Bronze Hard Anodized Nonstick 12-Inch Covered Deep Skillet
Anolon Advanced Bronze Hard Anodized Nonstick 12-Inch Covered Deep Skillet
Price: $43.19
12 used & new from $43.19

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best frying pans I have owned, January 31, 2014
I got this pan on sale at Macy's for $40 a couple of months ago. The non-stick interior works flawlessly (I try not to use metal utensils with it of course), it cooks quickly and evenly, and clean up of course is a breeze. It's light-weight but very well made. Highly recommended.


Sony NEX-3NL/B Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera Kit (Black)
Sony NEX-3NL/B Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera Kit (Black)
Price: $366.55
44 used & new from $199.97

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Despite some operational shortcomings, this is a good deal for the money, December 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
While the NEX-3N is not perfect and has a few annoying attributes, I think most people will be willing to forgive those shortcomings when they see that this camera produces DSLR-quality photos in a small body for not a lot of money.

The camera uses Sony's excellent 16MP sensor which is a proven performer not only in other Sony cameras, but also in cameras like the Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5. Image quality is excellent, every bit as good in all respects when compared to Canon Rebels and Nikon DX DSLRs. Color, detail capture, and dynamic range are excellent. The camera does a good job at handling noise through ISO 3200. And the exposure is usually right on the mark if a little prone to underexposing. Which I prefer because this helps retain detail. The 16-50mm power zoom kit lens is sharp through its focal range and makes for a nice compact package when to compared to the big metal 18-55mm kit lens that used to come with older NEX models.

Operationally the camera has a few really good things going for it. One unique feature on this camera that the other NEX models do not have (this of course might change in the future) is the zoom toggle which you can use with the power zoom E mount lenses. This is an especially nice feature for folks coming from a point and shoot. Being Sony's entry-level NEX, there aren't a lot of direct access controls. Even the mode dial is located inside the camera. Although this has been the case with all the low end NEX cameras up until now. If you're enthusiast who is interested in the NEX line but likes the typical physical controls that a DSLR would normally have, my suggestion is to look at the NEX 6. But accessing the shooting mode dial is just one extra button press, so it isn't overly annoying. Other shooting functions, such as changing the autofocus area, are located under the camera submenu in the main menu of the camera (you can't change the AF area in Auto mode, BTW).

Autofocus performance is a little sluggish in low light but still acceptable for most purposes and fine in all other shooting conditions. One annoying attribute, which has been an issue on prior Sony NEX's and the RX100/RX100 II is that the camera doesn't do a very good job of pinpointing the autofocus area in low light, instead it just throws up a big box on the screen. So, if shooting in manual mode, your best option is to manually select the AF area on your own.

The camera is constructed of high-grade plastic which gives it fairly solid feel overall. The grip on the front of the camera is a little less substantial than the one on the NEX-F3 but it's better than nothing at all and ultimately the camera still feels secure in your hand. Sony decreased the screen resolution on this camera to 460K which I think is a real punk thing to do but luckily the screen is still fairly usable in most shooting conditions. To be fair though, this camera started at a lower price point than the NEX F3 did. The screen flips up for self portraits like it did on its predecessor. The pop up flash isn't powerful but sufficient enough for most folks' needs. I do like how you can tilt it back to bounce the light.

Overall, the excellent image quality makes this camera one of the best you can buy in the sub-$500 category, and like I mentioned, it has some operational issues, but nothing that I think that would severely detract from the overall shooting experience. It makes a great step up camera for folks coming from a point and shoot.


Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cherry
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cherry
Price: Click here to see our price
33 used & new from $244.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The gold standard for dutch ovens., December 2, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is really the gold standard for dutch ovens. It cooks everything beautifully and evenly, cleans up nicely, and of course is durable and well made. You can buy cheaper dutch ovens, and there are some decent ones out there...but in my opinion it's still worth the investment to buy this pot.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2013 8:21 PM PST


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