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Michael McKee "mystic cowboy" RSS Feed (Port Townsend, WA United States)

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Fujifilm X-T10 Body Black Mirrorless Digital Camera
Fujifilm X-T10 Body Black Mirrorless Digital Camera
Offered by RitzCamera
Price: Click here to see our price
9 used & new from $798.95

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent small camera, June 22, 2015
I got to try a pre-production model for a few days and immediately put my order in to B&H. This is a great camera with a couple of exceptions.

Bottom line:
If you want an excellent stills camera that compact, light weight and reasonably priced. This is a great choice. It has very good autofocus, excellent color and a distinctive look. The camera is very customizable but can be beginner friendly. Fuji also makes superb lenses, which, in the end, may be more important than bodies. Cameras are improved every year. Those are the plusses. If you have big hands, want to do sport or wildlife photography or do high-end video, look elsewhere.

Extended Review:
Fujifilm photos look subtly different from those from other camera makers. That makes sense as they use a different sensor. I like the difference, especially when converting to B&W, which I think is one of Fuji's strong points. This camera uses the same sensor as other Fuji cameras so you won't find any revelations if you're looking for something different.

Basically, it's a mini-sized X-T1. The shape is the same just smaller. The sensor is the same as are most of the controls. There are four main differences. The ISO dial is gone, but it's not a big deal. The front dial can be set to have two different functions, one normal and one if it's pressed in. I have the ISO set to change on press to ISO, so I don't miss the ISO dial at all. Having a kinda secondary mode dial in its place not only makes sense but is something I prefer.

The other difference is more substantial. The buffer size is pretty small, only 7 or so frames. That is a big deal to some. Since I don't spray and pray for my shots I haven't noticed. I was a newspaper photog for a few years way back in the stone age, before autofocus and when motor drives gave an amazing three frames a second. We also walked uphill both ways to school, 5 miles in the snow barefoot and powered our cars with coal. So I'm not representative of people getting into the field now. Anyway, that's a long and silly way of saying that I time my shots and don't count on a fast frame rate and big buffer. Your mileage will vary.

The camera has great customizability and a lot of external controls, which should appeal to experienced photographers. It also has a switch that will put the camera in total program mode with just a flick, so this is a camera that I'd recommend to just about any person starting out. Image quality is excellent, easily the equal of any APSc sensor camera and honestly so close to my old Nikon D610 full frame camera that I don't miss the bigger Nikon at all. The Fuji has fewer megapixels but we've more that passed the point where any modern interchangeable lens camera is more than good enough for most purposes. Oh, the price is very reasonable for what you get, too. And Fuji kit lenses are better than other's.

The only reason I'd point someone away from Fujifilm cameras is if they wanted to get serious about video. Fujis are good enough for most purposes but fall way short of broadcast quality. Look at Sony or Panasonic if you want video.

This is a small camera. That's both good and bad. It's bad if you have big hands. You'll find that the controls are cramped. It's also bad if you want to use bigger lenses, like the 50-140mm. The camera doesn't have enough weight or bulk to counterbalance the lens. That brings me to the third difference. The X-T1 has a battery pack/grip available that makes bigger lenses much more comfortable to manage. I've shot the X-T1 with the 56mm and it balances well. With the X-T10 the lens is a bit front heavy.

The fourth difference is that the X-T10 lacks weatherproofing. I suppose that if you shoot in the rain a lot or in dust storms that would make a difference. I've only had two weather sealed cameras in over 45 years of shooting and never had a problem, either professionally or backpacking in some pretty wild places. A little care will protect your camera and lenses.

That's the negative. Personally, I'm not missing any of the X-T1's features, though I'll still use that for studio work. I won't miss the weight. It's funny that I complain about the weight of the X-T1 when it's so much lighter than the Nikon gear I used to use.

An aging back makes weight a big deal to me, and I'm in love with the light X-T10. I used to carry two cameras, one with a 35mm lens and one with an 85mm. That worked for the newspaper and for landscape. You can probably guess where I'm headed. I use the 27mm Fuji pancake and the 60mm closeup lenses for most of my work. That's a hugely versatile pair, very light and compact. They both have the superb Fuji optics and cover 90% of my needs. I do have the 10-24, the 18-85, the 55-200 and the 56mm lenses, which I do use. They all work fine with the X-T10.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2015 4:10 PM PDT


KitchenAid KCG0702ER Burr Coffee Grinder, Empire Red
KitchenAid KCG0702ER Burr Coffee Grinder, Empire Red

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but not perfect., June 11, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife and I are serious coffee drinkers. We have just about every kind of coffee maker available. She has settled on espresso drinks and needs a good quality grinder to be able to pull good shots. I mostly use an Aeropress, so my requirements are not as precise. We have an ancient Breville grinder that just doesn't give the consistency of grind that we need, so when Amazon offered the KitchenAid for review I jumped on it. As you can see, I'm a bit particular about my coffee. Part of that is living near Seattle, but I go so far as to roast my own beans.

KitchenAid is not the first name that comest to mind when I think of coffee, but they do make top quality mixers and many of the basic components are similar, a motor and gears and a precision housing. That's exactly what this grinder offers. First off, it's beautiful, made of cast metal, probably aluminum and finished with a nice paint. It has that classic KitchenAid look, which we love. The grinder is a deep cherry red. That doesn't exactly fit in our kitchen but it's not bad. All the parts fit together smoothly and are nicely finished. the hopper and collector are both glass. The only obvious plastic part is the coarseness selector on the front. The grinder looks to hold about 8 oz. of coffee for grinding.

The grinder offers 15 levels of coarseness or fineness, depending on how you look at it. Actually, it will grind from super fine powder to very, very coarse grounds, depending on how the internal burr tension is adjusted. The coffee grind consistency is good, which is important in a quality grinder and this is of good quality

Out of the box the grind was unusably coarse. The solution is simple: remove the coarseness adjustment knob on the front and twist a large nylon set screw to adjust the fineness. The external adjustment knob should be turned all the way to 8 before doing this. To make the grind as fine as possible, turn the grinder on (I put some old coffee in the hopper to see how the grind went.) and twist the adjustment screw knob to the right. Don't turn to hard as the part is not metal. The grind becomes a very, very fine powder. That's fine. There are 14 coarser settings. Then re-attach the external adjustment knob with the selector mark over 8 and screw the single set screw back in. I'm assuming that most people who use a quality burr grinder will want a fine grind as that's what's required for an espresso machine. Keurig needs a less fine grind, drip a bit less coarse still. If you're using something like a french press, the a coarse grind is fine. The grinder when set fine for espresso will grind a regular drip coarseness of coffee but not the very coarse grind I like for a french press (close enough though). That's pretty normal.

That brings me to my first minor quibble. The screw requires a 4mm allen (hex) wrench which KitchenAid should have provided. They are dirt cheap and even a discount store self-assembly table comes with one. You will most probably need to adjust the burr tension at least once, and probably periodically. It's just silly not too include the necessary tool.

My second quibble is that the grinder only has an off/on toggle switch. There is no way to grind a pre-measured amount, which I do. The freshest coffee is ground just before brewing. I grind my coffee after the water boils, using the time to let the water cool to the appropriate Aeropress temperature. I will learn how to time the grind eventually to get just one cup worth. If you are using a drip machine a little bit more or less coffee is much less critical than my one-cup-at-a-time method.

If you are going to grind for espresso, you will need to experiment with grind. Your setting will not be some factory standard, nor should it be. Each espresso machine will have a slightly different optimal grind coarseness, which you will have to find by trial and error. This is not a shortcoming of the grinder. That's just how the process works. I'd suggest buying some cheap espresso roast beans to practice. Different coffee roasts create beans of different hardness, which will also affect the grind, so get close to the coffee you want but don't waste expensive beans until you get real close with the grind coarseness.


Revolutionary, Patented SLEEP MASTER Sleep Mask
Revolutionary, Patented SLEEP MASTER Sleep Mask
Offered by Sleep Master ®
Price: $25.90
13 used & new from $23.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Hot and too easy to move out of place, June 7, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The basic premise of this mask is that it doubles as sound insulation. If you want to keep sound out get some earplugs. Hearos makes some good ones. The mask covers the ears with a fair amount of insulation, which is quite hot.

The mask initially blocks light well, but the lack of elastic on the back makes it very easy to dislodge it. The mask actually wraps all the way around the head and fastens with Velcro. Nice idea but not as effective as an elastic back. Other than that, it's well made of nice and soft materials. It's comfortable.


Bedtime Bliss® Contoured & Comfortable Sleep Mask & Moldex® Ear Plugs. Includes Carry Pouch for Eye Mask and Ear Plugs - For Travel, Shift Work & Meditation.
Bedtime Bliss® Contoured & Comfortable Sleep Mask & Moldex® Ear Plugs. Includes Carry Pouch for Eye Mask and Ear Plugs - For Travel, Shift Work & Meditation.
Price: $12.97
2 used & new from $12.97

3.0 out of 5 stars Well made, comfortable, ineffective, June 7, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this mask because it was well reviewed on the Wirecutter. Doesn't work for me as it lets in a lot of light. If you only want a mask to somewhat darken ambient light this would be fine. It leaves about a 1/4 inch opening on the bottom and is basically worthless for me. Other than that the quality is good.


TheraBreath Dentist Recommended Soothing Oral Rinse- Natural Chamomile Flavor, 16 ounce
TheraBreath Dentist Recommended Soothing Oral Rinse- Natural Chamomile Flavor, 16 ounce
Price: $8.66
4 used & new from $8.66

4.0 out of 5 stars It is soothing. Odd aftertaste, May 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When this arrived, I had the perfect opportunity to test its soothing properties. I'd gouged my mouth eating a not fully shelled walnut. Good news, it does make my mouth feel better. It does, however, leave a salty aftertaste.
It has a lot of herbal ingredients, though there are a few chemicals that I can't pronounce at the end of the list, so it's not what I'd call a natural product, though better than the normal brands. It tastes like mouthwash, with a strong sorbitol flavor, Definitely not something natural, though no worse than the Scope I'd been using, and better than old fashioned LIsterine.


Bitter Creek (The Montana Mysteries Featuring Gabriel Du Pré)
Bitter Creek (The Montana Mysteries Featuring Gabriel Du Pré)
by Peter Bowen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.28
45 used & new from $7.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for Du Pre fans, others can pass., May 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wondered if Peter Bowen would put out another Gabriel Du Pre novel. I've been a fan since the first book came out, though the novels tend to be uneven in quality. I don't think this is one of the better ones. If you like Du Pre, you'll probably want this book. The usual suspects are mostly there, though they seem to be there just to have them show up than to push the plot forward. Bowen includes his normal humorous moments, which are as good as always. The supernatural elements hang around the edges of the story, as always.

OTH, there doesn't seem to be much of a plot. Du Pre's son has an old Marine buddy visit and he and the buddy go into a sweat lodge, coming out with a place name that needs spiritual healing, Bitter Creek. The story revolves around solving this historical mystery, which happened in 1910. Du Pre and his cast go through the steps to find out what happened. Along the way there are a couple of senseless murders that don't do much to further the plot, what there is of it. When the story ended there was no sense of resolution, just a sad ending to a sad history.


Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio
Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio
by Jessica Abel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.60

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, May 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love this book. I'm not a radio person, though I am doing some video stories about local non-profits. There is enough information to help me with that and even my still photo essays. Go figure. I guess the elements of storytelling are universal. The book is engagingly written and has interesting stories of its own.


Perky-Pet 400 All-in-One Finch Bird Feeder
Perky-Pet 400 All-in-One Finch Bird Feeder
Offered by SJS Commercial
Price: $10.69
4 used & new from $10.69

2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and too large, May 1, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I looked forward to this feeder, that is until I got it. The feeder is made of very flimsy plastic and is too large for a finch feeder. The product description says that different kinds of finches will use this. Our experience is that only goldfinches eat the thistle/niger seed that this is made for. Even then, when also give a choice of black oil sunflower seeds the goldfinches will prefer the sunflower seeds. We put this out for a couple of days, about half full. The goldfinches have arrived in our area and there are at least 6 pairs that visit our other feeders. In that time, not a one of the goldfinches went to this more than once and they understand feeders. We've had a couple of goldfinches try to find seed in our hummingbird feeders.
Goldfinches will eat the thistle seeds just before migrating south in the late summer. We'll use the much more substantial wire feeder then. This will probably get tossed as Amazon Vine policy forbids giving it to anyone.


ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional grade cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses, Eyeglasses, ... (extra large Microfiber cloth + 8.4 floz spray) - Made in Germany
ROGGE DUO-Clean Screen Cleaner - Professional grade cleaning kit for all LED, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor, Laptop, Phone Screens, Lenses, Eyeglasses, ... (extra large Microfiber cloth + 8.4 floz spray) - Made in Germany
Offered by Slucon
Price: $16.95
2 used & new from $16.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the cleaner I've been using, May 1, 2015
A Rogge rep contacted me asking if I wanted a sample of the screen cleaner in exchange for a review here on Amazon. The first thing I did was clean our TV then computers. It worked fine, taking all the dust off, even the thin film of grease that all houses will leave on screens. That didn't seem too difficult a test, though most glass cleaners are not appropriate for the nylon surface of a LCD screen. So far so good.
The next test came with our phones and iPads. Again, they came clean, though with a bit more work. The instructions say to spray the cleaner on the included microfiber cloth the wipe the screen. Then use a dry section of the cloth to polish the screen. The wet application seems to smear the finger grease around on the screens, but the polishing left the screens nice and clean.
The hardest test was with our eyeglasses. We've been using Costco glasses cleaner, which honestly doesn't do a super job. The Rogge cleaner did a great job. Finally, after a few days the computer and TV screens seem to attract less dust. I'm happy with the product and will buy more when this bottle goes empty, though with the large size that may be a year or two.


Cutter 95917 Natural Insect Repellent, 6-Ounce Pump Spray
Cutter 95917 Natural Insect Repellent, 6-Ounce Pump Spray
Offered by Pharmapacks
Price: $7.75
13 used & new from $3.73

4.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable subitute for DEET, April 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Truth be told, I'm already using this bug repellent. When Amazon offered to send me a review copy I grabbed it out of greed, though I probably would not have reviewed it otherwise.

It works pretty well. Living at the edge of the woods in the Pacific Northwest, mosquitoes are a fact of life. Cutter Natural does a decent job of repelling them without having to absorb DEET into my system. Is it as effective as DEET, not quite. 100% DEET is pretty much 100% effective. This seems about 95%, which keeps me bug free about 19 out of 20 times I use it. Does it last as long as DEET? No. I get about 2 hours of good protection from this as oppose to 4-5 hours from DEET. For most times I need it, 2 hours is plenty. It's only on all day hikes that I find the need to reapply often to be a chore. My solution is to wear a long sleeved, insect repelling Ex-Officio shirt, a hat and jeans. That way I only have reapply to my face and hands. The smell is herbal and not unpleasant. I don't know how it works for biting flies. We don't have any.


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