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Canon PowerShot G7X Digital Camera
Canon PowerShot G7X Digital Camera
Price: $649.00
48 used & new from $454.59

4 of 4 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 Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR 55-200MM f/4-5.6G ED VR II Lens
Nikon Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR 55-200MM f/4-5.6G ED VR II Lens
Price: $346.95
46 used & new from $125.00

4 of 4 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.


Sony DSCHX90V/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Sony DSCHX90V/B Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
Price: $428.00
28 used & new from $374.50

17 of 18 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 (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2015 4:09 PM PDT


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
66 used & new from $7.13

0 of 1 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  -  Apple devices, Black - Wired
Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones - Apple devices, Black - Wired
Price: $299.00
15 used & new from $180.00

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: $108.79
53 used & new from $70.99

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.


Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes
Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes
by Melissa Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.67
163 used & new from $1.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cookbook I reach for the most, November 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Very useful and I consult it often when looking for ideas of what to cook. Make use of a lot of common ingredients you can find at any supermarket regardless of what part of the country you live in. It's not very sophisticated cooking, but this is a book to reach for if you're looking to make something down home and simple.


Olympus Stylus 1 12 MP Digital Camera with 10.7X f2.8 Zoom Lens
Olympus Stylus 1 12 MP Digital Camera with 10.7X f2.8 Zoom Lens
Offered by Murphy's Camera
Price: $599.00
15 used & new from $385.68

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a great camera overall, November 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Olympus Stylus 1 pros and cons

PROS:

-Extremely responsive autofocus in all conditions
-Great battery life
-Very good image quality (but noise performance is consistent with other cameras with the relatively small 1/1.7" sensor)
-Fairly decent lens optical quality given its range (though a little soft at telephoto - but this is not unusual for a lens of this type)
-Image stabilization works well
-Touch AF works well
-Nice EVF - even in low light
-Two zoom levers
-Very customizable
-Great ergonomics
-Nice tilting LCD

CONS:

-Menu system is a little convoluted and takes some getting used to.
-Still kind of expensive for being out in the market for a year now.
-Highest quality JPEG setting not available by default. You have to go digging into the custom menu settings in order to activate it.

As you can see the Pros outweigh the Cons by quite a large margin. Simply put, this is a very enjoyable camera to shoot with. Olympus's handling of colors and the lens sharpness throughout most of its range make for some nice photos at low ISOs. The Sony 1/1.7" chip is a good one and like other cameras that use this sensor, I've found the RAW files extremely malleable. However, it's still a relatively small sensor so noise starts to become noticeable after ISO400 but doesn't start looking sloppy until you get past ISO1600. The overall speed, responsiveness, battery life, and the touch screen add to the great experience using this camera.

I think this camera makes a lot more sense for folks shopping for an entry-level DSLR unless they are super-picky about low-light photos or plan on investing in additional lenses. With the only trade-off being the smaller sensor, you'd be hard pressed to find a comparitively priced DSLR that has a 28-300mm lens with a constant F2.8 Aperture. Highly recommended!


Fujifilm X30 12 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Black)
Fujifilm X30 12 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Black)
Price: $599.01
30 used & new from $404.95

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars X30 First impressions, October 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Just a few quick thoughts on this camera as I've had it a few days.

Overall the image quality is excellent. Noise performance seems to have improved by a stop over its predecessor and files are pretty clean through ISO 800. The lens is sharp and detail is excellent. I absolutely love the color performance using Classic Chrome and basically have kept it permanently set in that film simulation mode since day one. Camera does overexpose a bit but that is pretty typical behavior for enthusiast compacts and is easily corrected.

I find the ergonomics better on the X30 than its two predecessors primarily because of the better grip up front. The controls (with one glaring exception) are sensibly placed and the menu system is fairly easy to navigate. Battery life is excellent thanks to the larger battery and the image stabilization works well.

However, I do have a few criticisms. First off, the autofocus system works reasonably quick most of the time but I have been finding the camera hesitant to lock on in low light. I'm also not impressed with the viewfinder in some aspects, mainly that it gets noisy in low light and the colors don't match that of the LCD. On the positive side, it is large and bright and pretty good to use in bright sunlight. The LCD is pretty good though. The other thing that is kind of annoying at first is the control ring up front. The problem is that you have a lens that you manually zoom in and out and a control ring for Aperture directly behind it. Until you get used to the camera, you might get the two mixed up.

Overall though, I think this is a pretty impressive camera. People were knocking at first for continuing to use the same 12MP 2/3" sensor as before but it's a very strong performer nonetheless when it comes to stills. It has a few performance quirks but I don't think they'll be deal breakers for anybody who buys the X30.


Fujifilm X-A1 Kit 16-50mm (Indigo Blue)
Fujifilm X-A1 Kit 16-50mm (Indigo Blue)
Offered by Focus Camera
Price: $499.00
6 used & new from $308.58

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly a great camera, August 31, 2014
Fuji X-A1 Pros and Cons:

Pros:

-Excellent image quality..uses the same Sony 16MP sensor as found in cameras like the Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5
-Kit lens is very impressive...sharp at every focal length
-You get a lens hood for the kit lens which is a rarity, especially at this price point
-Excellent color reproduction
-Excellent IS
-Great Battery Life
-Menu system fairly easy and intuitive
-Dual dials for adjusting settings
-Nice LCD screen
-Fairly well made despite being mostly plastic

CONS:

-Camera feels out of balance and front-heavy even with the 16-50 kit lens
-Grip up front is too shallow
-Autofocus system sometimes fails to lock on in low light (but is otherwise satisfactory)
-Slow shot to shot times

I have not tested video so I won't rate the camera either way. I have not shot with any of the X-Trans Fuji cameras so I can't make a direct comparison between this camera and it's more expensive siblings. But if they are using an AA filter, it's a very weak one. While it will not win any speed tests and really needs to be held with two hands, this camera has some of the best image quality I have seen in a sub-$1000 cameras. It also comes with the best kit lens I have ever used, bar none. If you can tolerate the marginal performance and some of the ergonomics issues, this is a great camera for the money. I would really like to give the camera 4.5 stars instead of 4, but I will leave it at 4 due to the fact that its imperfections might annoy some folks.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2015 12:06 PM PST


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