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J. Whiteside RSS Feed (Missoula, MT)
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Canon PowerShot SX700 HS Digital Camera (Black)
Canon PowerShot SX700 HS Digital Camera (Black)
Price: $299.00
35 used & new from $275.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK...But I'd Look Elsewhere If I Did It Again, September 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been a long time photographer, advanced amateur or semi-pro depending on what time you catch me. I've become a huge fan of these relatively inexpensive zoom cameras. I take them into the field, get great shots and do things with them that I'd never even think about doing with an expensive DSLR! Hang them off a boat, trudge through a river or stream, deal with a bit of rain...whatever...I call them adventure cameras and I generally replace them every couple few years when the technology gets better.

This jump, however, didn't turn out as expected.

I've owned quite a few cameras in my days and honestly, I have to say, this thing isn't even quite as good as my older SX130IS series it replaced that I paid 2/3rds as much for. One might think that more megapixels and current processing/focusing technology is better, but the image quality in this camera just hasn't quite lived up to my expectations. That really disappoints me because I've been a long time fan of Canon's optics and camera gear and this is the very first camera I've been less than impressed by.

I can pretty confidently say that I've run this camera through it's paces in multiple environments, lighting and types of photography. It excels really well at portrait styles, producing high quality, colorful images that practice both color fidelity and clarity. In my opinion, however, this model falls flat on it's face when it comes to both detailed scenic situations as well as high-contrast environments. The problems I've experienced are related to both clarity/sharpness as well as it's ability to deal with a relatively high dynamic range, producing images that are somewhat flat and commonly poorly exposed for the situation. Examples of the clarity issues are easily found in mountain vistas, deciduous tree lines or other areas where you expect both good contrast and sharpness to define the characteristics of what you're trying to shoot. Even at high resolution, the output is somewhat more grainy (even at low ISO) and fuzzy that I'd expect...and I'm not expecting SLR quality here, just what a camera made five years ago could produce with less resolution! The high dynamic range issue is always a challenge for any camera, but this one will almost force me to get my exposure against the sky and then shoot my subject, resulting in a very easy out-of-focus scenario. Pretty much any picture with a mostly-cloudy sky will result in a white sky with virtually no detail. Also, many shots experience what I'd most relate to noise even at low ISO...but it's probably best described as micro-artifacts in the final output...enough that a noise filter can't really do anything about them.

I did settle on this model after doing a fair bit of research, but since I was interested in purchasing the "latest and greatest" in hopes that it would perform as well, or better, than it's predecessors...the information was somewhat limited at the time of my purchase. What reviews I did find didn't really mention any issues with capture quality...or at least anything out-of-the-norm for a typical highly portable zoom lens.

Overall, it has all the features that one could expect out of a camera. It of course features your auto modes (both with manual or auto ISO control), aperture mode, shutter speed mode and even a full manual. There's a number of scene options that I don't typically use, but might be useful to a less experienced photographer. The video functions are highly improved over my previous SX130IS...no longer is there a video time limit and it also features 1080P captures in video mode. The optical zoom featured on this camera is rather astounding, the 30X can really reach and you only get a little bit of clarity loss at the fullest extents. As with all cameras of this nature, the additional digital zoom is a virtually worthless feature as the quality drops extremely quickly. (It's really odd though since the displayed image looks good...the output, however, does not.) It does feature some nice automatic image processing features where you can get different results in one shooting...kind of fun to play with a bit, but something more easily done with better results after the fact outside of the camera.

Physically, this is one of the best small zooms I've ever had. It's a very nice size, easy to shoot with one hand, plenty lightweight and hardly noticeable in a front pocket. The reduction in size from my previous SX series was much appreciated. The buttons are all well laid out and operation is fairly easy to figure out if you've used a digital camera previously. I haven't had any issues to note with navigating the camera's features and adjustments to speak of. The manual does detail these things out fairly clearly if you need assistance.

As for the video capture, I've played around with it a little and it's about on par for what I'd expect from these zoom cameras. Not great quality, but not inferior either. You won't get a National Geographic quality shot no matter how hard you try or light your scene, but it's watchable. It does improve on my older SX model in both image stability and overall quality. Surprisingly, though, compared to my previous SX130IS camera, indoor and low-light performance is incredibly noisy, almost approaching unusable..maybe just good enough to archive your family memories and so forth, but definitely not anything you'd want to produce professionally. It doesn't feature the death-blow video crash that it's predecessor experienced when it comes to switching to video, so that's a welcome change. But if quality video (especially indoors) is an important thing to you...you'll probably only be happy with a DSLR setup, really.

The supplied battery isn't very good, in my estimation. Without flash or even much in the way of LCD usage, you can maybe squeak out a hundred pictures or so. I purchased two higher capacity Vivitar batteries to accompany the new camera and these are improved, but also don't have very accurate scales when it comes to battery remaining...they go from two bars to death in a few pictures. I haven't even measured with a lot of LCD use or flash usage, but I'd anticipate even worse performance regardless of the power source.

A few features that I was really expecting from a camera that came out this year and didn't make it? Panoramics! I can do this on my cell phone...why can't my dedicated expensive camera do it? HDR captures? Something I really wanted to also see and isn't found on this camera. Lastly, and probably most importantly, I wanted to see RAW support. This lacking feature has found it's way into competitors platforms of similar make and model, so there's no good reason for it not to exist in this unit..it's just simply a superior capture method with the memory cards we have these days. I knew all of these limitations going in...but it's a little disappointing to me that Canon isn't keeping up on the feature sets. I've never not bought a Canon camera...but my next camera might not be one.

Don't get my review wrong. I'm a Canon fan and bought this camera even though I knew competitors were outpacing Canon in the feature sets. (If you doubt me, find my glowing and popular review of the SX130IS!) I did not want to throw them under the bus for a less than stellar product. Maybe some of these issues can be fixed in firmware...who knows. But, I think this camera will get scheduled for a relatively early replacement and find itself as a backup camera sometime next year.

If I could do it over again, I might have held out for the SX520HS, but more than likely, probably would have given a more serious look at competitors. Some of the cameras I looked at had all the features I wanted, with better optics, for not much more than this camera.


Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Viair 00088 88P Portable Air Compressor
Price: $69.24
17 used & new from $69.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Great For An Advanced Emergency Roadside Kit, September 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It was kind of funny. Not even two days after I got this compressor into my vehicle kit, I needed to put it into service. Got a call from the girlfriend that she had a flat, so I popped over to assist. Sure enough, when we got the spare on the vehicle, it was so obviously under-inflated that I was concerned about her even driving it far enough to top it off. Pulled out my Viair for the first time and within a few moments, I had her back up to good pressure and on the road.

I live in Montana, so sometimes you can be quite a distance from any services. Having gone through the whole "the spare is flat" thing before, it's never a good situation. Fortunately, the one time it happened to me...I was literally across the street from the gas station. But that definitely brought to mind the potential weaknesses of not maintaining your spare properly. Nonetheless, I feel a lot better about having air right on the rig...it just solves a lot of potential problems, even allowing you to "goop" your tires, refill and hopefully go full speed into a repair. Changing a spare in the rain, mud or snow is never fun...so just having the option to do a temporary repair is nice sometimes.

I reviewed the various models and felt that the extra performance from this unit was worth the slight extra price. It's not really about how long it takes typically...it's about when it's snowing or raining outside and you just want to be done...that extra few minutes a better performing compressor will provide is worth it to me. I made a stuff sack for this unit, wasn't too difficult and keeps all the hose, cable and pump together in a nice sized bag.


GSI Outdoors Cascadian 4 Person Table Set (Green)
GSI Outdoors Cascadian 4 Person Table Set (Green)
Price: $24.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Kit, Excellent Price!, September 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've put this set through a pretty good workout and have to say, it's been an excellent addition to the camp kit. For the longest time, I've been a proponent of paper plates because you can simply burn them when you're done...easy clean up! Well, an almost month long road camping trip necessitated another method since it's less than practical to take over 100 paper plates with you, not even to mention bowls.

Whether it was camp chili or soup, a sandwich or a proper camp dinner, these didn't let me down. I commonly use the foil cooking in a campfire method and I was a little worried about the heat from the foil potentially melting the plastic, but glad to say this isn't a concern. I also liked that the cups also double as measuring cups...nice to have a "little" precision out there on the road. With continuous use, they've held up pretty well...maybe a few scratches here and there, but nothing to cry about. Cleaning them has been a snap, even an alcohol towel will do quite nicely when they're not too fouled. The included stuff sack was great for keeping everything together. The color is a pleasant green, not too gawdy and not forest green enough to get inadvertently camouflaged in the woods.

Overall, I'd buy this set again and think it will find a permanent home in the camp kitchen. I feel a little bit better about reusing these with as much camping as I do, easily stretching into 30-50 nights every year.


Bushnell Bear Grylls 10 x 42mm Roof Prism Waterproof/Fogproof Binoculars
Bushnell Bear Grylls 10 x 42mm Roof Prism Waterproof/Fogproof Binoculars
Price: $85.00
40 used & new from $75.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Pair Of Binoculars!, September 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Bought these binoculars in anticipation of a road trip up to Alaska to replace an older pair of Bushnell's that didn't quite have the build quality or optical capabilities of this unit. I debated between this model and the (slightly) more expensive non-Bear Grylls model that Bushnell makes. Overall, I decided that BG isn't a bad guy and I cared more about saving money than a style thing. If you don't like the BG bling, be aware that there's an identical version in all-black that you can purchase as well.

Overall, these performed exactly as they needed to. We experienced a pretty hefty share of both rain and fog...never did I have a problem with these binoculars. While I was de-fogging my camera lenses, I could pull out these and get a view on exactly what I wanted to see without trouble. Through more than one torrential downpour, I pulled these out and didn't have any troubles...my supposedly "waterproof" rain gear failed before these did! I really appreciated being able to take these into virtual any condition...it allowed some viewing opportunities that might not have been present otherwise.

Optically, these were pretty good and got me up on the action. These were able to give me the right amount of both clarity and zoom capability for my needs. Whether it was a caribou or a bear off in the distance or something up close and personal that I really wanted to get a look at, the focus range was quite suitable for my needs. I haven't had any issues with fitting in the case, but it is better if you put the larger end in the case first. The protective covers are only so-so...I end up removing them during use...but it's nice to keep them around for protection.

Overall, I was quite pleased with both the price and the quality...I'd buy them again.


Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start (CARB Compliant)
Husqvarna 450 18-Inch 50.2cc X-Torq 2-Cycle Gas Powered Chain Saw With Smart Start (CARB Compliant)
Price: $356.25
9 used & new from $334.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Was Good, Now Getting Sold, August 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I probably know better than to write a review when I'm ticked off, but right now...I'm ticked off at this saw. I've used the 450 for probably close to 16 hours, been a fine saw. I've had a couple minor issues with it, but nothing like I am now. I've been able to fell good size trees, recover quite a bit of firewood and generally keep my forested property well maintained. The saw was plenty powerful for what I needed and felt comfortable for a day's hard work. I was excited to finally have a Husqvarna...all seemed well.

Previously, my biggest issue has been undocumented procedures when it comes to replacing the chain. It's possible to get the thing where you can't put it back together because there's a critical step missing in the manual. Before changing the chain, you have to set the brake (missing in the manual, only marginal common sense), otherwise, when you put the thing back together, the clutch won't engage right and you'll spend two or three hours wondering what you did wrong. No where in the manual is the procedure to fix this...I had to look online for my symptom and only then did I find some forum post about how to resolve this frustrating event. It's not an intuitive procedure and you'll feel like you're going to break the saw...but it does work and does finally go back together.

The other issue I have is that this particular model, the 450, is that it's combined with other models in the manual. This type of thing normally doesn't present major difficulties, but in this saw's case, the dissimilarities between models could present some challenges. There are physical differences as well as location differences for major systems, such as the chain adjustment, than what's documented in the manual...more of a pet peeve, but I want my manual to explain the product that I bought, not just a representation of what I bought.

This brings us to now and why I'm going on an utter rage against this saw and only give it one star. The problem is, I just had a goodly little thunderstorm and I have a fairly large tree down right in my driveway and it's blocking access in and out of my house to the point of impassable. I leave tomorrow for a month long road trip with hardly any extra time, no big deal...I'll just fire up the saw and deal with the remains when I get back. I spent two hours trying to start the saw to no avail, finally had to say to heck with it and start hauling a ton of heavy gear 1/4 mile to the truck. Tried again and again. No dice, no matter the start up procedure I use. Now, I'm not unfamiliar with this saw...I've started it probably hundreds of times without difficulty, so this is decidedly abnormal. I've replaced the fuel, checked for spark, tried a carb spray start and yanked on it a hundred times...but I can't get the thing to turn over. Frankly, if a saw fails me when I need it the most (right NOW!), it's getting sold and I'll buy something else that isn't a Husqvarna. I've looked on the reviews here and found people requiring repairs due to no-start after only a short amount of use...probably the case here as well. I won't even bother, I'll just let someone else deal with this expensive letdown and get something that won't let me down when I need it the most.

My opinion is probably biased 'cause I'm really really mad right now. It's a good saw when it works, but if your life and livelihood depend on it like I do, then it's a serious flaw when it's not working as expected.


Cable Matters 2 Pack, HDMI to DVI-D Dual Link Male to Female Adapter
Cable Matters 2 Pack, HDMI to DVI-D Dual Link Male to Female Adapter
Offered by Cable Matters
Price: $7.99
3 used & new from $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Works To Convert DVI To HDMI, August 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Can't complain here. I had to do a little hunting for this item, mainly because it's the single adapters that come up commonly for DVI to HDMI searches here on Amazon. The single priced units are slightly overpriced, but this two pack got things right around where I wanted the price to be. (Much more value than buying two separately.) Overall, this does what I expected it to...convert a DVI signal from a video card into an HDMI input for my two monitors. I love that I've been able to postpone upgrading my somewhat long DVI extension cables to HDMI with the use of these adapters. I do wish that these had a way to secure the HDMI side to what you're connecting it to, but I've never seen this as part of the HDMI specifications, so I'd consider that normal I suppose. If you need one of these adapters, this 2 pack is a much better value than they are individually...might as well have a spare!


Oster CKSTRCMS65 3-Cup (Uncooked), 6-Cup (Cooked) Rice Cooker with Steam Tray, Black
Oster CKSTRCMS65 3-Cup (Uncooked), 6-Cup (Cooked) Rice Cooker with Steam Tray, Black
Price: $26.13
14 used & new from $18.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Budget Rice Cooker, August 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've wanted a rice cooker for quite awhile, but always had trouble justifying what I "thought" I needed...an expensive, name brand rice cooker. Well, I found this unit on Amazon and decided to take a risk with a budget unit. I couldn't be happier with that decision! I've used this thing quite a bit and every time, I get excellent results. You simply load up the rice, load up the water to the recommended fill level..set it to on and a bit later you have perfect rice. I love having this unit because it lets me focus on other cooking efforts entirely...rice is no longer a process which I have to keep a watchful eye over. I find myself cooking rice a lot more frequently now, just because it's not an effort to do so anymore. I've used it for small quantities and it's max quantity, both come to completion without any troubles, extra water or incomplete cooking. I can heartily recommend this product and it's well worth what you'll pay for it! Look no further unless you want to!


Ivation IVUC96W Digital Ultrasonic Cleaner with Adjustable Power, Removable 17-ounce Stainless Steel Wide Tank, Jewelry Basket, Watch & Earring Holder, CD DVD Stand, 5 Individual Cleaning Cycles & Auto-Shut-off - Generates 42,000 Ultra Sonic Energy Waves Per Second - White
Ivation IVUC96W Digital Ultrasonic Cleaner with Adjustable Power, Removable 17-ounce Stainless Steel Wide Tank, Jewelry Basket, Watch & Earring Holder, CD DVD Stand, 5 Individual Cleaning Cycles & Auto-Shut-off - Generates 42,000 Ultra Sonic Energy Waves Per Second - White
Offered by DBROTH
Price: $36.95
2 used & new from $28.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works Well, No Problems, August 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been using this ultrasonic for the better part of six months and have been pleased with it...I've used it probably a hundred times on various items and the results are perfectly acceptable to me. I originally thought about purchasing a slightly lower end model, but then ultimately decided on this unit. I'm glad I did. What I liked about this model over it's less expensive competitors is the ability to run a decently long cycle (480 seconds) and adjust the power levels for what you're trying to clean. Sensitive items might require a more gentle cleaning, so it's nice to be able to step the power down if needed. I've found many uses for the unit, much more than I originally anticipated. The size of the unit is acceptable for my purposes, might be nice to have a little more room (or even a lot more), but it's not likely to find a larger size with an associated budget price. The included watch/CD holders are a nice little bonus...but I definitely like the included plastic tub thing, makes it nice to remove the washed items for rinsing and such. Overall, I can recommend this unit as a basic home ultrasonic cleaner and think the additional features this unit provides are well worth a bit of extra money compared to the truly budget cleaners.


Nikwax Tech Wash, 10-Ounce
Nikwax Tech Wash, 10-Ounce
Price: Click here to see our price
32 used & new from $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Wash For Technical Gear, August 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nikwax Tech Wash (Sports)
I've been using this stuff for quite a few years for washing technical garments, but mostly use it to keep my tent in clean and working order at least once every year or two. I know that some people say never to wash a tent in a machine, but I've been doing it ever since I bought my front loader quite awhile ago with excellent results. What I do is clean out the machine really well with a clean cycle and bleach, run a pure-water load (to clean any residual bleach) and then load up garments or tent with two cap's worth of Nikwax on a delicate cycle. After it's done and clean to my satisfaction, I then re-waterproof the garment/tent with Nikwax waterproofing that's appropriate, and maybe seam seal again if necessary. I run my gear all year long, in rain/sun/snow, and don't really have any performance problems with restoring a good deal of water protection to my gear with the above method. One of the smaller bottles will give you three or so washes, but if you have hard water, you might only be able to pull off two loads.

My most recent experience was restoring a tent's rain fly that I inadvertently failed to dry properly after I got home. There were a few spots that were starting to take hold upon a subsequent inspection...but once I realized my error, I took to the above method and all is back to good condition. My best testimony, though, is that I was able to take an older Cascade Design tent into hundreds of uses over the course of almost 15 years...thanks to a high quality, delicate technical wash like this. I highly recommend Nikwax and think it's well worth it's purchase price to maintain your technical gear.


Energizer Trail Finder Pro 7 LED Headlamp, Blue/Black, 3AAA Batteries Included
Energizer Trail Finder Pro 7 LED Headlamp, Blue/Black, 3AAA Batteries Included
Price: $15.05
81 used & new from $8.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find Your Way With This Headlamp, August 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was seeking a relatively inexpensive backup headlamp to bring with on the trail and camping. This certainly fit the bill price-wise as I was able to find it on a pretty good sale at the time of purchase. The lamp is fairly powerful, definitely providing adequate light for most things I do in the dark. I did like the various settings, particularly one that provides a good vertical (up/down) spread of light as this helps when you're doing something that requires a bit of lighting above and below your head at the same time. The battery life is OK, maybe not the best I've seen, but so far has proven to be adequate powering through multiple nights without replacement. Comfort wise, no problems there...just like most headlamps, it's a fairly comfortable fit and can be adjusted for a larger head like mine. I did notice that there's a bit more light bleed that has a tendency to get in your eyes than other headlamps I own, but it hasn't been too problematic for me at all. Overall, for a budget headlamp who's primary purpose is to backup my primary lamp, I have few if any real complaints to speak of. I wouldn't have any issues if I had to rely on this as a primary lamp, either.


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