Profile for Steve Brandon > Reviews

Browse

Steve Brandon's Profile

Customer Reviews: 15
Top Reviewer Ranking: 440,108
Helpful Votes: 111




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Steve Brandon RSS Feed

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Radians Clay Pro Shooting and Safety Glasses (Silver Frame, Vermillion Lens)
Radians Clay Pro Shooting and Safety Glasses (Silver Frame, Vermillion Lens)
Offered by Full Source ®
Price: $16.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent shooting glasses, great value, June 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I regularly shoot with the much more expensive Pilla Sebring glasses. Honestly, the Sebrings are a much better pair of glasses ... but they ought to be, considering their price ($400 or thereabouts). These Radians, however, are great glasses and great values. They are comfortable and sturdy, the lenses provide high-quality, edge-to-edge definition, and the full coverage prevents light from entering from above or below. The soft nosepiece resists slippage when you're sweating, and the temples can be gently bent to hug your face more securely (like glasses with cable temples). Another customer has observed that these glasses, with their curved temple pieces, can cause some discomfort if you wear headphone-style ear protection while shooting, and I suspect that he or she is right about that -- but it's not a problem for me because I prefer to use ear plugs, even during cold weather. This shade of vermillion is slightly darker than I would prefer ... in full sunlight this color is fine, but yellow is better when the light dims or when you're shooting under grey skies. Still, these are well-made, lightweight glasses which probably could be fairly sold at more than 2x the price. It would be nice if Radians included a hard, protective case (even if they had to increase the price by a dollar or two), but that's not a deal-breaker for me.


Leica DLUX 6 10-megapixel Digital Camera
Leica DLUX 6 10-megapixel Digital Camera
Price: $799.00
13 used & new from $589.99

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An AWESOME enthusiast's compact camera!, April 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Notwithstanding the limitations discussed below (short zoom, fussy menus, frustrating user's manual, etc.), this is a SUPERIOR compact camera for the photography hobbyist. In terms of construction, versatility, features, responsiveness, and photo quality, this camera is a winner. (The fact that this camera ships with an Adobe Lightroom license underscores that it is a serious piece of photographic equipment that is intended to yield images that will satisfy demanding, recreational photographers.) I think that the typical purchaser will be proud to own and to use this camera for many years to come.

HOWEVER ...

(1) Your money will be wasted on this camera if you are "merely" looking to buy an outstanding point-and-shoot camera. This camera is designed to please the enthusiast who will spend the necessary amount of time required to learn how to master its controls and menus, and who will take advantage of the post-production processes that are available in Adobe Lightroom. For some people, this type of commitment will not be appealing. For others, it will be very rewarding -- particularly if you save your images as RAW files. But let me say this: If you're not interested in learning to use Lightroom (or another sophisticated image processing program), then you are not going to get the most out of this camera. (Nevertheless, this camera shines as an easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera, if that's how you want to use it.)

(2) The 222-page instruction manual is not exactly inscrutable ... nor is it a model of clarity. To use this camera to its fullest potential, you will need to refer to the instruction manual often ... and, when you do, you will need to put your thinking cap on to make sense of what you're reading.

(3) For this price, I believe that the camera should have been equipped with an automatic lens protector. Dealing with the lens cap is no big deal, but I'd prefer not to deal with it at all.

(4) The D-LUX 6's zoom lens has proven to be perfectly adequate for casual, daily photography, but I tote a Nikon D600 with a 28-300 zoom when I'm traveling/vacationing.

(5) The flash is anemic. It's OK, but it could be better.

(6) The relationships between the camera's menus and settings, and the reasons for the strange button assignments, are probably known only to Leica/Panasonic. They don't hinder your usage of the camera, but they don't help, either.

Bottom line: This is an extraordinary camera that isn't much larger than a pack of cigarettes. And -- when you consider that it ships with an Adobe Lightroom license -- I believe that it is a fair value. (If you already own a copy of Lightroom, then I would suggest that you purchase the Panasonic DMC-LX7 camera instead.) After spending a lot of time with this camera, and capturing a couple of thousand images, I am totally pleased with its performance -- but I would have given it only 4-1/2 stars, if Amazon's rating system had allowed it, for the reasons above.

On another note: I often use the optional, external viewfinder, which is an excellent and very useful accessory. It was a worthwhile purchase for me, but its price-to-value ratio is questionable. For the price of the D-Lux 6 ($800) plus the optional viewfinder ($400), you could buy a very nice, used Nikon D7000 and a new, Nikon telephoto lens.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2013 4:50 AM PDT


Pilot Custom 823 Fountain Pen, Amber Barrel, Blue Ink, Fine Nib (60558)
Pilot Custom 823 Fountain Pen, Amber Barrel, Blue Ink, Fine Nib (60558)
Price: $288.00
3 used & new from $288.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Pilot!, January 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I own and write with several Pilot fountain pens, and I like all of them for different reasons ... but this one immediately became my favorite "all-'round" pen. The pen is classically shaped and well-balanced in the hand (with or without the cap); the gold appointments are conservatively attractive, and not too flashy; and the ink reservoir is huge. The gold nib is beautiful. Like other Pilot fountain pens, ink flows immediately when the nib is first pressed to paper. The nib is firm, but it does flex slightly ... just enough to provide appropriate feedback through the body of the pen. Filling the reservoir is a breeze. The transparent cap and pen are distinctive and unique and appealing, not gimmicky. The price for this pen is high, but this is a superior writing instrument that will be enjoyed by its owners for many years to come. If you can afford it, this pen would be a good purchase for first-time fountain pen buyers, because it will spare you from the hassles and frustrations of trying to learn to operate and write with lesser-quality fountain pens. (I.e., you won't need to buy any other fountain pens if you buy this one first.) But if you already own and enjoy writing with fountain pens, this pen will set a new standard for you as a daily writing instrument, and you won't regret buying it. The only pen which I enjoy writing with more is the Pilot Falcon, but the Pilot 823 is a much more practical pen (because of its large ink reservoir), and it is a much more aesthetically pleasing pen to the eye and to the hand than the Falcon.


Victorinox Swiss Army Men's 241131 Night Vision II Black Dial Watch
Victorinox Swiss Army Men's 241131 Night Vision II Black Dial Watch
Offered by shopemco
Price: $299.00
3 used & new from $299.00

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy watch that performs as advertised, but the price is too high, January 10, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I first saw the new, redesigned version of this watch in December 2012 at my neighborhood jewelry store, an AD for Victorinox wristwatches. The "new" version of this watch (introduced in 2012) sells for nearly $600 (albeit with a very nice clasp bracelet), whereas the "old" version of this watch sells for $259. And as far as I can tell, the only significant difference between the "new" Night Vision and this version of the Night Vision is the face. I preferred the bolder look of the "old" face, with its large, arabic numerals, so I purchased this watch to take advantage of Amazon's free, one-day shipping and the lower price.

From my point of view, the decision to redesign the watch face was misguided. On the one hand, the face of the "new," $600 watch is cleaner and more stylish. On the other hand, the redesigned face and elegant bracelet will not fool anyone into believing that this sports watch is a dress watch. The large, white numerals on the black face of the "old" watch make it easier to tell the time more quickly during active use than the silver numerals and hour markers on the black or silver face of the "new" watch, in my opinion. Moreover, I can't imagine that anyone will wear the "new" watch (or the "old" watch, for that matter) on a daily basis. As others have remarked, this watch appears to be solidly constructed and durable, but it is unusually heavy -- and the bracelet only adds to its weight.

Other observations: (1) The band is made of high-quality rubber that is very comfortable. However, for this price I believe that the band should have included a clasp lock instead of a pin buckle. (2) If you have a small wrist or are accustomed to wearing lighter quartz or mechanical wristwatches, take note: this is a big, heavy watch. (I don't know why this watch is so heavy. My Casio Super Illuminator diver's watch produces almost as much light as this watch, and it is much, much lighter than the Night Vision.) (3) Sometimes I merely want to turn my wrist to check the time in low-light situations (such as in a theater) -- I don't want to draw attention to myself by activating the watch's very bright, very conspicuous blue face light. But the quality of the luminescent material used for the hands and the numbers appears to be sub-par, because the luminescence fades very quickly after it is charged. For the price, luminescent materials of higher quality should have been used. And it would have been nice to have included a luminescent pointer on the seconds hand. (4) For such a large watch, the date window is bafflingly small. And I think that the hands should have been larger. The size of the hands does not seem to be proportional to the size of the watch. (5) To me, it would have made more sense to locate the light pusher at the 2 o'clock position instead of the 8:30 position. It would be easier to activate the light with the forefinger of your opposite hand, instead of your thumb.

Pros: Solid, robust, handsome watch with very bright face light and flashlight. Rubber strap is very comfortable. Will be a useful tool for hikers, campers, and travelers.

Cons: At $259, it's overpriced -- $179 would be more like it. Heavy. The design of the watch is good, but it's not great.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2014 8:27 AM PDT


Celebration Day (Deluxe Edition 2CD, 1 Blu-Ray, 1 DVD (CD sized digipak)
Celebration Day (Deluxe Edition 2CD, 1 Blu-Ray, 1 DVD (CD sized digipak)
Price: $33.88
85 used & new from $23.20

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Commanding performance, splendid audio!, December 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I agree with others who have noted that some of the aesthetic qualities of this movie are questionable. Notwithstanding, the performance is terrific, and it is a real pleasure to watch these men doing a fantastic job of doing what they do best: being Led Zeppelin. The music is superb, and the quality of the audio sets new standards for concert films. (If you don't have a Blu Ray player, I suggest that now would be a good time to buy one so that you can fully appreciate this film's sound.) For those of you who have casually enjoyed Led Zeppelin's recorded music but didn't understand what all the fuss was about over the band's live performances, this movie will be a revelation to you. These songs are played with authoritative skill and dominating talent by musicians who are at the top of their game. Not to be missed.


Pilot Metal Falcon Collection Fountain Pen, Black Barrel, Extra Fine Nib (60461)
Pilot Metal Falcon Collection Fountain Pen, Black Barrel, Extra Fine Nib (60461)
Price: $240.00
3 used & new from $183.70

1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very nice pen, questionable value, December 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For the money, you get an understatedly attractive, well-balanced, and robustly-constructed fountain pen that writes smoothly and evenly ... and that's it. The pen has no distinctive features or character whatsoever. There is no engraving or filigree on the nib, and the shape and contours of the pen are quite ordinary. The Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen is a terrific pen that is a much better value. Pilot fountain pens are great for people who want to own and write with foolproof fountain pens. But if you want to own a reliable fountain pen that is satisfying to the eye and to the hand, you may want to look for a comparably-priced, vintage Parker or Mont Blanc.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2014 8:23 AM PST


Swimming With Tigers
Swimming With Tigers
Price: $16.26
16 used & new from $5.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great new release from an old master, October 17, 2012
This review is from: Swimming With Tigers (Audio CD)
Several years ago I had the opportunity to hear Fred perform in a live setting, and I was really smitten by his marvelous, self-contained, perfectly-executed songs. Since that time I have been hoping that Fred would release his music commercially, and "Swimming with Tigers" was definitely worth the wait. His wit and wisdom are richly abundant in this record. The songs are funny, poignant, sad, and regretful, and they deserve to be heard by anyone who appreciates the wry and wistful observational styles of John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Jesse Winchester, Jerry Jeff Walker, etc. Fred may not enjoy their celebrity, but he definitely shares their ability to write darn good tunes.


Live at the Jazz Cafe
Live at the Jazz Cafe
34 used & new from $18.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music, splendid recording, May 25, 2004
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Live at the Jazz Cafe (Audio CD)
Well, this isn't exactly the GREATEST LIVE POP RECORDING ever, as is suggested elsewhere - I suspect that the Who ("Live at Leeds") and Bob Dylan ("Before the Flood") might have something to say about that. But it IS a remarkably well-recorded live album. SOS songs are rich in texture and dynamics, and this live recording is full of sonic details and clarity. The soundstaging is marvelous, and the balance is perfect - one could almost imagine that Steely Dan lent its studio technicians to SOS for the evening to make this record, it's that good.
It's disappointing that SOS doesn't have a larger following in the U.S. They certainly are very, very accomplished at working successfully within the realm of the perfectly-composed and -polished pop tune. They're not Burt Bachrach or Jimmy Webb, but it's not going too far to say that they have shown themselves to be honorable and faithful spiritual successors.


The Complete Walker IV
The Complete Walker IV
by Colin Fletcher
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from $19.46

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still splendid after all these years!, May 30, 2002
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Complete Walker IV (Hardcover)
This book - in all of its previous editions - was always a delightful companion for the outdoors enthusiast, full of wit, cheekiness, and wry observational humor. It's also the single best source of information about camping & hiking gear (philosophically and materially). The text's new, "conversational" dialogue between Fletcher and Rawlins takes some getting used to, but the different perspectives of the two authors have really increased the book's usefulness and value - Rawlins seems perfectly suited to serve as Fletcher's authorial mate and foil. Again, the practical info. is priceless, but the real star of the book continues to be the writing. I don't know how many times I have (once again) found myself laughing aloud while reading passages from this book. This is the camping & hiking book against which all others are measured (and I've certainly read more than my share of them).


Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players
Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players
by Stefan Fatsis
Edition: Hardcover
178 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful book about charming idiosyncratics, January 22, 2002
Breezy, fun book about charming (and sometimes alarming) misfits, dysfunctionals, and idiosyncratics. I agree with others who have noted that Fatsis devotes a tad too much narrative to the minutiae of SCRABBLE play, but this doesn't diminish the book's overall likeability. Fatsis also does an amazing job of portraying the "human side" of the Deep Geeks (as he once refers to them) and the other obsessed goofballs in the SCRABBLE subculture with love, understanding, respect, and sympathy. God knows that they may be weirder (by several orders of magnitude) than you (or, I hope, me), but they are definitely genuinely insteresting people, and I'm glad Katsis wrote this book about them and his adventures in the SCRABBLE realm.


Page: 1 | 2