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G7 Power Tahoe LED 15 Watt (75W) 1100 Lumen BR30 Recessed Can Light Bulb, Dimmable 4000K Bright White
G7 Power Tahoe LED 15 Watt (75W) 1100 Lumen BR30 Recessed Can Light Bulb, Dimmable 4000K Bright White
Offered by G7 Power
Price: $20.95
4 used & new from $10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The bulb company that brightened my life..., September 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
...and inspired me to write a corny headline for my review! Yep, consider me another G7 / 4000K LED bulb fan!

Personally, I prefer a whiter light in my office/gym/sewing/craft room (less tiring on eyes and enthusiasm, and usually, better color rendering), so I went looking for a cooler/higher K bulb. I was happy to find this 4000K, as I thought it would be a nice "happy medium" between a yellow incandescent or LED around 2700K and the science lab blue-white of a 5500K+.

Fortunately, I was right! I bought this and the G7 Carlin bulb (LOVE that they have names!) which is also 4000K, standard socket-style, but considerably smaller and less bright (850 lumens vs 1200 for the Tahoe). I have them paired in a floor lamp that's 1/2 Torchiere (Tahoe) and 1/2 gooseneck (Carlin) and it works great! The torchiere part is a 3-way, but I'm fine with just using it as on-off-off, as I like full brightness and, 3-way LED's are costly and difficult to find in a 4000K / Hi-Lumen / "100W" style.

Of note, I replaced two "Reveal" bulbs (one had died and the other was too dull and yellow after I saw what these G7's could do). Both Reveal bulbs were of equal "wattage" rating to their respective G7 counterparts (I know that's different for LEDs, but I don't have a Lumens measurement for the Reveals). The light from these G7's is so much "cleaner" and really brightens up my office, without being "fluorescent-sterile", if that makes sense.

Also, this Tahoe is quite large and considerably heavier than it's non-LED counterpart (due to all those sexy electronics!). It's fine for my use, as up-light in a torchiere, but definitely weighed a bit on the gooseneck (just making sure it worked before I reached all up in the top). I also bought their Eureka bulb, which was massively heavy for a bulb and weighed down the gooseneck considerably more (not the purpose it was purchased for, but good to know).

Two things I have not tested on this bulb are: dimmability and longevity, as I do not have it in a dimmable socket, nor have I had it for the length of its stated "life" (22.8 years, at 3 hrs/day). I'm happy that it will (should) last so long and is also dimmable, as I might put it in a dimming fixture in the future.

Something that many of us overlook (or don't always have access to), is the Company behind the product. I have contacted them a few times for questions, etc., and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a friendly, knowledgeable HUMAN being EACH time. WOW!!

In addition, in their follow-up email to my order, they claim:

"A few G7 advantages:

Our highly efficient bulbs provide more quality light for your dollar.
We are a U.S. based, veteran owned and operated business.
Unlike other LED manufacturers, we do not accept Federal Tax Dollars to subsidize our business."

I also love that it's Mercury Free, no UV Rays, UL Listed, FCC and RoHS certified (no crazy toxics!), shatter resistant, lower heat output, and high lumen per watt (= efficient).

It seems they are a smaller, locally-owned (USA), eco-minded, self-sustaining company, with great products - and I'm happy to support that.

I rely on reviews to help me make informed buying decisions. I hope this review helped you, too. :)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2014 6:04 PM PDT

Cruiser Accessories 82050 Screw Covers, Black
Cruiser Accessories 82050 Screw Covers, Black
Offered by Everyday Low Prices Co.
Price: $4.29
7 used & new from $2.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Snappy snaps for your screwy screws, July 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Only had these on for 5 months, but they've been great so far. They hold on very tight, but allow for a bit of "spin" so as to not trap water underneath of them. We used them with these screws: "Cruiser Accessories 81330 Locking Fasteners, Import-Stainless" and this frame: "Cruiser Accessories 30650 Perimeter, Black" - both bought on Amazon. They were very easy to install.

I know not everyone notices these things, but I'm happy knowing my plate looks clean and neat on my shiny, new car.

I rely on reviews to help me make informed buying decisions. I hope this review helped you, too!

Showa Best 6105PFX GreeN-DEX Biodegradable Industrial Grade Nitrile Glove, Disposable, Powder Free, 4 mil Thickness, 9-1/2" Length, Medium, Green (Pack of 100)
Showa Best 6105PFX GreeN-DEX Biodegradable Industrial Grade Nitrile Glove, Disposable, Powder Free, 4 mil Thickness, 9-1/2" Length, Medium, Green (Pack of 100)
Price: $28.77
2 used & new from $25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Clean in Green!, July 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These are great gloves. We keep them around the house for those tasks that you just don't want your skin to be exposed to (cleaning, infections, bodily fluids, painting, crafts, first aid, car/house maintenance, gunky stuff, etc). They are very sturdy and durable enough for any task I've performed while wearing them.

Love that they're biodegradable, too!

I also like the green, as it differentiates from the tan, black, blue, and purple ones.

They also are a good fit for me, but that is a personal preference, unique to each person's anatomy. I like that they are not uncomfortably tight around my wrists or fingers.

There is a bit of a scent/"feeling" when you remove them, but that's pretty common with most gloves. It's not like a residue or anything and a quick rinse with water takes care of it. I'm picky about what goes on my skin and, I'm very "scent"sitive, and it doesn't bother me.

OttLite 2CYSVB  LED Cone Desk Lamp, Silver Finish
OttLite 2CYSVB LED Cone Desk Lamp, Silver Finish
Offered by Maxi-Aids
Price: $24.95
3 used & new from $24.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ott, you light up MY life!, July 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I own two of these lights.

I LOVE that:
- this light makes it easier to READ and DO (I have perfect eyesight, but this light still helps make things even easier to see!)
- the base has a fairly small footprint, while still being very stable.
- the neck is flexible, without being noisy (in fact, it's silent!)
- the light is just the right amount and color for a task (keyboarding, sewing, makeup, checking for ticks...)
- the bulb does not get hot (it does get warm, but you can touch it without any discomfort)
- the power cord is removable (I often move the lamp from A to B, and being able to pull out the plug during transport helps to reduce the possibility of it being damaged; also would make for easier replacement, if ever needed)
- the silver finish goes with everything and is unobtrusive

I have made one modification. The light coming from the "bulbs" area is quite bright and I don't like to look at that, directly. One night, I simply took a cheap white cocktail napkin and taped it into a cone shape, around the "bulbs" area. I have it "open" at the neck, so it can slide around, as needed. This provides a great "visor" to shied my eyes from the bright light, while also allowing full brightness to be shone down upon my work area. For my second, newer, lamp, I plan to try a piece of vellum, ya know, for that "classy" look ;P

I rely on reviews to help me make informed purchasing decisions. I hope this review helped you, too!

I know the "bulbs" are not user-replaceable, but they are marketed as: "(40,000 hours at 8 hours a day equates to an expected life of 5,000 days, or over 13 1/2 years)" (taken from majormusiclover's review). I use it fewer than 8 hrs per day, so it should last me much longer than 13.5 years. And, that's considerably longer than most light bulbs (and many lamps) I've had in the past.

OttLite - please keep making these and consider a bigger version, for floor lamps!

Rigoni Di Asiago Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread, Cocoa and Milk, 9.52 Ounce Jar (Pack of 6)
Rigoni Di Asiago Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut Spread, Cocoa and Milk, 9.52 Ounce Jar (Pack of 6)
Price: $31.14
13 used & new from $31.14

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING!!!, July 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This stuff is ADDICTIVE! In all the right ways! Initially, I bought one jar, then three jars, then six jars, and NOW, OMG Subscribe and Save!!! My prayers have been answered!!

It's not really a health food, per se, but it is a bit healthier than the other addictive hazelnut spread! I initially found this in Italy and I carried the jar with me everywhere I went (just in case, ya know...)

We like it: on toast, on waffles, added to other stuff to make it taste better, with fruit, and even straight off the spoon! Yummmmm...

It's "velvety" smooth, decadently tasty, and not too sweet.

If you're watching/limiting your intake (calories, fat, sugar, dairy...) just make sure you knock something else that's a bit decadent off your shopping list, or otherwise account for the added yumminess (so worth it, tho!)

> > UPDATE: our S&S order has been withheld for 2 weeks, due to some shipping error, we've been out of our "nectar of the goddddsss" for as long, and my hubby and I are going a little (hazel)"nuts". He's like "where's my drone"? Hahaha! Amazon, we need our Nocci!! Fellow customers, you have been warned! :D


glo Organic Spa Slippers-L/XL
glo Organic Spa Slippers-L/XL
Price: $16.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfy + Roomy + Organic = Just Right!, July 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I normally wear a size 10 women's, so I bought the L-XL. They fit fine and are just roomy enough to be able to slip on easily right out of the shower (well, after I safely step on a towel). Cleanliness is important to me, so I prefer to go right from these to clean socks after a shower. I only use them for that purpose, and never wear them unless I have just showered. It used to bother me a bit to walk around on the carpet with damp feet before putting my feet in shoes. Solved!

#1, I LOVE that they are ORGANIC and Fair-trade certified. I LOVE that they pack so flat and are easy to travel with. They also dry fairly quickly (by the next day's shower). Recently, I used them in an RV where space is at a premium. I'd leave them and the floor towel outside of the bathroom and after the shower, step onto the towel and then right into my cozy slippers. Win!

I've worn these every day or so for the past six months and they are still holding up quite well.

The bottoms/soles are not rubbery, but a softer, diamond-patterned material (cotton?). The top part that covers your toes is really soft and fluffy.

The color of the binding is not as dark tan as the photo. On my pair, the binding and the rest all blend together nicely. They are actually much better-looking in person.

Note: these aren't like "cloud-fluffy", where each step is super-cushioned and bouncy. Rather, they are slim and made for fast-drying with minimal materials (who knows what is off-gassing from all that foam in those other styles??)

The tags are all very "official-looking" with appropriate certified organic notations. There are two main tags and both are made from a soft fabric. You could cut them out, but I've left mine in and I don't really feel them. Plus, it helps distinguish left and right when it's early and you are still a bit sleepy.

glo, PLEASE make MORE! Amazon has been out of stock for too long and I'd like to know I can find a second pair, when (if) these wear out!

I rely on reviews to help me make informed buying decisions. I hope this review has helped you!

Sony Alpha a6000 Interchangeable Lens Camera - Body only
Sony Alpha a6000 Interchangeable Lens Camera - Body only
Price: $448.00
37 used & new from $394.49

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Details not mentioned in other reviews... (& vs. NEX-6), June 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've owned the NEX-6 for about six months now and have been fairly happy. Of course, when the "upgrade" came out, I had to have it (after I did my research, of course!). So, now I have both (and intend to keep both, as I always like to have a 'back-up' camera handy).

For those of you looking for a review on image quality and other points of usability, well, I can tell you that there are dozens (or more) excellent reviews out there that already cover that (generally they give pretty high marks for IQ, DR, etc). I read and viewed many of them before making the decision to buy and here are a few things that those reviews omitted:


- the grip on the a6000 is not as nice (for me) as the NEX-6. Like a good woman, the NEX-6 was "curvy" in all the right places, offering superb grip when dancing or running around (as I often do, camera-in-hand; yes, I always use a wrist strap, just in case). The a6000, despite what I've seen in my research, seems to have a shallower grip (due to a thicker body/mid-section). If you have even moderately long nails, you will find the need to trim them so that you can get the same grip you may be used to on the NEX6.

- the bottom (where the hands' "moon" spot, in palmistry, sits) seems a bit "edgier/sharper" and doesn't nestle into that part of the hand as easily.

- the rear thumbgrip on the a6000 is more vertical than the more organic "diagonal" of the NEX6. Ergo, the thumb has to be in a tighter, more upright angle to the rest of the hand, in order to have a more fully supported shot. I prefer the more "C" shaped gripping style of the NEX6, again.

- the top rear edge of the a6000 is at a 90-degree angle, with two levels. On the NEX-6, this is a smooth, beveled edge (more like a 45-degree angle). Sometimes, I have to put my thumb in non-optimal places on the camera, to get just the right angle. On the NEX-6, there were quite a few places where this was comfortable. On the a6000, there's really only one (the default) and it's still not as comfortable as the NEX6. :(


- my main pet peeve in this category is the On-Off switch. I didn't like it on the NEX6 and what's worse, they switched the order of On and Off on the a6000, but used the same "push/pull in the opposite direction as what you read on the dial" format! Maybe my brain is odd, but if On is left and Off is written to the right of that, my brain would be happiest with a switch that MOVED left for On and right for off (or vice-versa, as long as it's logical.) The good news is that the text is now white on black, versus white on champagne/silver on the NEX6, so it's a little easier to read.

- I also really liked the smoothness and shininess of the NEX6 power switch/shutter release. It left no indent on my finger during extended shooting sessions and, gave me a soft spot for my index finger to make contact when not "pressing" buttons. And, when letting someone else take your photo, like when at a party or when travelling, it's easier for new/temporary users to see the shiny, champagne-colored button than the black, matchy-matchy button. Especially when you have to answer questions like "what do I push?" and it can be confused with other 'black buttons' in that area. Also, the a6000 power/shutter button flat surface is smaller and there's a "groove" around it which I fear will collect grime, over time (despite my very particular care-taking of my 'stuff')

- speaking of smooth and shiny colors, the MI (multi-interface) shoe and lens mount were both finished in a 'dull' silver on my otherwise black NEX-6. These are both black on my black a6000. The teeny ridges on the lens mount are also less pronounced on the a6000. I generally don't see it, though, as my elastic strap lens cap keeper sits there and covers some of it. I kinda liked having the silver accents, though, as some of my lenses are silver and it integrates them a bit better.

- the MI shoe on the NEX-6 came with a protective insert, which I thought was a very smart idea (protection & better-looking). In fact, I put them on all my "shoe'ed" cameras. The a6000 does NOT come with this. The NEX-6 one works in either camera. If you don't have one, I recommend it, as there are some sensitive contacts in that MI shoe. Options can be found for a few dollars on ebay (surely, they'd be cheap enough - especially in bulk - for Sony to include one with a ~$700 camera, but who knows...?) {NOTE: if this point is important to you, please see my 6/9 comment to this review for links and clarification.}

- the screen - ok, Sony, you only give us image capture ratios of 3:2 or 16:9 to choose from and the screen is 16:9 (altho, it'd be great to have the otherwise fairly standard 4:3 and 1:1, as well, just for fun). I get it, there's the black bars alongside the photo for settings icons (in that one display mode). Whatever. But, why do you not center the display part of the screen in the non-display part of the screen?? And, why move it to the opposite side in the a6000? Oh, so you have to make (and we have to buy) new screen protectors (if we're loyal enough to buy them from you in the first place, that is). Um, ok. I happen to have an extra one here and it looks like I'll be putting it on upside-down, to save the $10-15 from buying a new one (if I could even find one in stock, at this point, anywhere). {UPDATE: yep, I put it on, upside-down, and sharpie'd the logo so it wouldn't drive me nuts - it isn't super-pretty, but satisfies me good enough. Doesn't work great in 'portrait' when wearing polarized sunglasses. This is pretty typical, and the result is just barely passable, so just fyi.}. SONY: please center it next time. It's nice to have a centered point-of-reference when composing via the LCD screen.


- I currently have no use for NFC (still using my trusty old E72 nokia {RIP Symbian s60} & an ipod that won't upgrade to iOS7). I know that NFC isn't 'activated' until another NFC-enabled device 'bumps' it, but I'd like to turn it off completely. I've searched the in-camera menu and the manual and have not found a way to "deactivate" it. Selecting NFC in the the menu just keeps returning me back to the menu page, to select it again. I'd rather not have it using battery power (however minimal) while it's waiting to be bumped with another NFC device (nor, do I want yet more "waves" pulsating through my hand as I carry my camera all day.) If it serves a purpose in my life, I'm fine with that, but this currently does not.

- they've swapped the HDMI port/jack from a mini (NEX-6), to a mirco (a6000). Just fyi, in case you need to buy a new cable (like I do). This may confuse some users, as the ports now look very similar. USB still at the top, near the Charge light. And, I'm one of the people who love the in-camera USB charging. (I also bought an external wall/car charger, as I always carry a second battery - LOVE that I can charge two batteries at the same time OR, carry a 'stick charge box' thingie in my bag and recharge it during down time at an event, regardless of access to an outlet. So cool, sony!)

- the Wi-Fi has the WPS option, but I could not get it to work (I have, on other devices, tho; yet, I do have a somewhat old router, c.2011). YMMV. Entering the SSID & PWD isn't a huge problem, and you only need to do it once. Navigating the 'keyboard' isn't super-easy, but it works. Same as the NEX-6. It does ask two questions that aren't addressed in the manual (or via the internet, as far as I've found): IP setting and Priority.


- yes, the menu on the a6000 is much improved! It's not perfect, but it's got a better (or, existent!) hierarchy, so if you want, you can remember X > Y > Z > 1,2,3... vs. X > scroll, scroll, scroll, loop, scroll, scroll, scroll back > Z > 1,2,3... of course, smart planning of your several customizable buttons, as mentioned in other reviews, can significantly reduce 'searching', as well.

- if you liked the old "tiled" style - you can turn that option on (and it's better-looking now). But, once you choose one of 6 main categories, you're right back into the default a6000 menu. I do kinda like this option (it's pretty); however, with the other option, it seems to remember what setting you were on and returns to it, after you leave the menu. I did not see an option to customize this behavior, as I've seen in other cameras. I'm ok with it returning to last point, as navigating the tabs in order to change other settings is fairly easy.

- the 'descriptions' of the mode-dial modes all now have a background image, depicting an example of what each might be used for (waterfalls for shutter priority, fireworks for manual, etc). This makes it a bit easier to remember, and maybe even use, for beginning enthusiasts, but can also make the text a bit harder to read.

- the SCN modes are all the same, but the animated on-screen 'dial' is on the left now, (rather than on the right, as with the NEX-6). There are also navigation choices on the bottom, which the NEX-6 didn't have (self-explanatory, but still helpful to have). In addition, the selection of SCN modes rolls in the opposite direction as what you may be used to on the NEX6 ('right' now goes down the list, instead of selecting up the list). I somewhat prefer the new way, as, for the first 5 modes, the highlight is what moves and not the menu choices, (which got dizzying after a while on the NEX-6). They will eventually scroll on the a6000 as well, however, as you move further down/up the list. They are also in a slightly different order, now. And, while the font size is larger, it seems still hard to read. The background images are mostly the same, but have been "punched up" and cropped a bit. My old panasonic was great in this aspect, as it showed a chart of icons that could be quickly navigated via up/down/left/right. If I needed more info/description on a less-used mode, there was a button for that. Otherwise, I had a handy, easy chart that allowed me to find what I needed quickly (icons always in the same place), and i could discover new ones, along the way. Sony needs an update here, as there are many fewer icons and much more confusion. I'd welcome a fix to this in a Firmware update (with the option to keep it the old way, for those who've gotten used to it).

So, despite the nits I've picked above, I plan to keep this camera as the "important" specs far outweigh these little issues listed. If they'd kept some of the ergonomics from the NEX-6 (not all, but some) and thought out a few things a little better, it'd be a 5-star camera. But, if it takes excellent pics and checks all your boxes, then maybe it WILL be a 5-star camera for you!

I rely on reviews to help me make buying decisions. I hope this review helped you, too. :)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2014 12:39 PM PDT

Kora Bamboo Bath Tissue 12 Rolls, 430 2-Ply Sheets, 100% Treeless, Non-recycled Materials
Kora Bamboo Bath Tissue 12 Rolls, 430 2-Ply Sheets, 100% Treeless, Non-recycled Materials
Offered by Kora Brand
Price: $7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Convert, after 30+ years of 1-ply (details), June 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Bought this after learning about BPA in recycled TP (toilet paper). Took a leap of faith and I'm glad I did.

This TP is soft, fairly strong, doesn't fall apart (too much) when wet (we sometimes use it with a bidet), and the cores seem significantly stronger than other TPs I've tried (great for preventing floppy rolls and, when empty, for crafts; personally, I donate my cores to a friend's gerbils; feedback pending). Kora claims it to be elemental chlorine free, which is also important to me (note: as answered via Amazon Questions, but this is NOT listed on their packaging). I also like that it's not individually wrapped (the outer wrapper is a thicker plastic, which has a plain recycling symbol on it). And, they seem to be customer-service oriented. That's good, and certainly unusual for a TP company! They've sent me correspondence via email and post and I've read their answers to other Amazon users' questions on this TP.

This is not quite 5-star TP, just yet. Nits:

- the perforation isn't great, so if you're not focusing on what you're doing, you often get a shredded sheet or two in your hand and also left on the roll after you tug. I think the problem is that the blade-space-blade-space setting allows for a touch too much TP to be left in the non-cut areas, and, due to its strength, this prevents a clean tear. I think I'd prefer a dot-dot-dot... style of perforation for this strength of paper. Regardless, if you focus (or have a "grippy" or euro-flap holder, this might not be an issue for you).

- the roll is a tad longer (wider?) than other TP I've tried. And, most of my Kora rolls have been a bit too wide to fit in my preferred dispenser (so they sit kind of cock-eyed, and the sheets get a bit crinkled near the center). No other TP I've used in the 5 years I've had the holder has been too wide (even, bulk-packs/commercial-style papers),

- add those two together (imperfect perforation + too-wide roll) and you get a lot of fumbling with the roll and a lot of it falling off the holder. This happens 70-80% of the time, i.e. much more often than not. (I despise the spring-loaded holders, so I use a double-prong "open" style holder, which has never been a problem in all my other years of use). Making sure it doesn't do that requires too much thinking on my part, when I'm busy thinking about other, more important things (like checking AMZ GBD).

- they use a sticker on the beginning of the roll (and a bit of a fold/crimp), in place of the "typical" glue line on the first sheet. (I believe older rolls may have had both the sticker AND the glue). The sticker is cute, but leads to more shredded sheets. Not sure if the sticker is considered flushable, etc. I'd rather they use a paper/flushable/tearable/perforated sticker, that might have less of a destructive effect on the surrounding sheet. Not a huge problem, but an annoyance with each new roll, none-the-less. As an aside, I've gotten some rolls that do NOT have the glue on the last sheet, either. The paper is just kind of folded over itself and the core. I MUCH prefer this as it always bothered me to have shredded sheets at the end (and my donated cores are now also cleaner, for the gerbils). So, THANK YOU, Kora!

- the bunny is both cute and a little creepy (and, I generally like bunnies). Not sure what the purpose is, I guess to convey softness?

- this is personal preference, but i do prefer a "core-less" TP where the sheets just roll into their own small roll where the core would be. I'm glad I can make my friend's gerbils happy with the cardboard cores; however, I think it might be more eco-friendly for manufacturers to eschew the core altogether (at least, offering core-less or small-core as an alternative would be nice).

Despite these "nits", this is still our household's preferred TP (as of this review). Thanks, Kora, for making a "much better than average" tree-free TP! (and, if you're reading this, take note!)

Disclaimer: a few months ago, the company did send me an envelope with a nominal *$'s GC, and a letter welcoming a review. While I write reviews for my own personal pleasure, and to help "give back" to the review community, I thought it was a nice gesture that they'd sent me a letter and a thank you gift. I was planning on writing a review, anyway, and I don't go to *$'s. Plus, I lost the card (it's been a crazy few months). If I find it, I'll give it to a friend in need of a latte, along with a roll of this pretty great TP (I hear that coffee makes you poo).

Opteka .35x HD² Super Wide Angle Panoramic Macro Fisheye Lens for Canon EOS / EF
Opteka .35x HD² Super Wide Angle Panoramic Macro Fisheye Lens for Canon EOS / EF
Offered by 47th Street Photo
Price: $24.95
9 used & new from $18.99

3.0 out of 5 stars One-trick pony? (details & images), June 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Thinking of using this and switching from fish-eye effect to zoomed-in "straight" horizons? Learn from my mistake...

Ok, so I probably should have known better. Cheap equipment = cheap tricks. I was trying to take a shortcut and I'd read that if you zoom in a bit with this "converter", then the distortion (curve) decreases. Lots of reviews said it was sharp and clean, so I thought it would be perfect for my needs.

I went to New Zealand, yes, THE gorgeous New Zealand and had this converter on most of the time (fish-eye style). I figured big landscapes = fisheye, and I zoomed in when I needed a straighter horizon. I was in a rush before the trip and didn't test images on my hi-res monitor, nor did I do thorough testing during the trip. BIG MISTAKE!

This thing is fun; however, the images are often washed out, soft at best and more-often-than not... blurry (especially around the edges), and I usually got a halo effect, chromatic aberrations (very noticeable red and blue fringing on certain outlines in the image), and lots of lens flare (which was pretty cool, sometimes). I was using a size adapter for my Sony NEX-6 w/kit lens - yes, I know the kit lens is carp. ;) Sidenote: I originally purchased this for my Panasonic FZ-150 (& FZ-200, which I later returned). I then wanted an increase in image quality, so I bought a NEX6, instead and decided to keep the fisheye for fun and buy an adapter for the NEX6 kit lens.

80% (or more) of my images shot with this converter are unusable (as in, already deleted). 10% are passable. 10% are quite cool. (I'm even being generous with that last figure). I mostly used it with the fish-eye setup and not just the macro (which always seemed to be blurry; but I didn't really fuss with it a whole lot).

Upon my return home, I excitedly began to review my 2,000 "kept" photos. So many were terrible that I initially thought my camera had broken, or that I'd suddenly become an awful photographer (I'm no expert, but I've gotten some pretty good images before!), or that I was hallucinating all the beauteous grandeur that is NZ. Seriously, it's enough to make me a bit teary-eyed.

Fortunately, I did take a few "with & without" shots (just in case) and whoa! the "without" shots are FAR superior. Examples posted in image gallery (as of right now, they start at image 36 - four NZ landscapes showing difference with/without, and two showing better use of fisheye, its intended purpose). For some reason, not all are showing, despite my attempt to upload them a few times; but, there are enough for you to get the idea. And, yes, I kept the converter clean throughout the trip (other than just after the waterfall).

If I had it to do all over again: 1. I'd test my equipment before I leave - duh! and, 2. I'd rely on the "without" setup 90% of the time and only use the "with" setup for a few select shots where the full benefit of a fisheye is needed. (and, sharpness is not as high of a priority).

New shooters, learn from my mistake. This thing can be pretty cool, but despite the "HD2" branding and claims of sharpness, you will risk the integrity of your images if you rely on this too much. Have fun with it, but take it off for anything really needing sharp edges, or a clean and balanced profile. I realize the responsibility for many of my unusable NZ pics mostly lies in my lack of pre-trip testing, and that this is not "pro" glass, but, my images with it were so awfully soft/blurry, fringed, etc, that I do believe it's a 3-star item, regardless.

I rely on reviews to help me make informed buying decisions. I hope this review helped you :)
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Kroo Compact System Camera - Green
Kroo Compact System Camera - Green
Price: $25.73
3 used & new from $13.04

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fits my Sony APS-C ILCEs, with room to spare, April 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've got a Sony Nex-6 (and, now an a6000) and they both fit great in this case, with the kit zoom lens (or the sony 50mm/SEL50F18). With the Kit lens attached, I can also tuck an extra battery in the front, (wrapped in a plastic baggie, sitting in front of the lens); and there's room to spare in the back, if I wanna put my driv lic or credit cards or some cash behind the flap that covers the LCD screen. The sonys will NOT fit in this Kroo case if you have the Opteka HD2 fisheye attachment on the front of the kit lens - the one I have is bit too wide to fit in the "lens section". (see my review of that accessory, as well as my a6000 review, on their respective product pages).

- The inside flap is especially soft on the side that sits against your camera. It is also padded and features slots for cards.
- The inside of the case is also velvety-soft and seems to be pretty lint-free.
- The "shell" is hard enough to withstand most bumps and potential low-to-medium-impact crushes.
- I use it both alone, as well as stored, lens down, in my bags (Pacsafe Metrosafe 200 & 250), where I sometimes leave it unzipped for quick access.
- The zipper works great: smooth action along the trail, and the grippie pulls are a nice touch.
- I like the green strip (kind of a deep jade-color?) The blue's also very nice. Both are pretty true to my computer screen.
- Although it had two D-rings for a strap, I don't have a strap on it, because I just let my camera wrist strap (polaroid cushioned strap), peek out in-between the two zippers for easy access. The zipper holds tight against it, but I don't go swinging it around, either.
- There's a tightly-attached, thick belt loop thingie on the back, so you can somewhat secure it to various items, if you'd like. My Nokia e72 and also iPod Touch and Samsung Galaxy MP3 device fit in there, snugly (not all at the same time, of course), if I need a quick spot to stash them.
- There's a loop-fabric-covered foam 'block' that can be affixed in a few places, via velcro/hook & loop, to stabilize the camera in the case. I have it on the side of the camera, opposite the hand grip, to balance the structure on that side. Works great with the NEX-6 or a6000.

I do wish they made a somewhat smaller case that fit the NEX-6 / a6000 more snugly, but then they might have to make it much more expensive, as it would be a specialty item and not a generic "system camera" item, that fits several brands/models. (I'd own two sizes, depending on which bag I had that day). For what it claims to be, it earns 5 stars. It seems to be well-made, with properly aligned seams, and materials and workmanship of reasonably high quality. I thank the person who returned theirs, so I could buy one used.

Cameras are big investments (of money and time to research the best for your needs), protect them as best you can.

This Kroo case works great for my needs!

I rely on reviews to help me make informed buying decisions. I hope this review helped you, too! :)
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