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Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12.1 MP Rugged/Waterproof Digital Camera with 4.6x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD - Red
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 12.1 MP Rugged/Waterproof Digital Camera with 4.6x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD - Red
Offered by DavisMAX
2 used & new from $184.99

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Travel Camera and Good Compromises, May 24, 2011
I have a lot to say about this camera and did a video review a month a back on it which can be found here:

[...]

They're two parts, each about 15 minutes.

For those that can't view the video here's a quick summary:

1. Camera takes very good photos in GOOD to DECENT lighting. In low-light or indoor photos the quality degrades very quickly. Don't use an ISO setting higher then 400 or use ISO 800 but plan on fixing the noise levels in software.

2. The 1080p video is beautiful and excellent in again GOOD to DECENT lighting. It far exceeds my Pentax K-x in daylight and only loses in low-light conditions.

3. There are two video modes, AVCHD must be used to get 1080p video and to use the optical image stabilization. These videos can be open on a PC or a MAC by downloading the free open source VLC Player. Many people use this to play any kind of video you may have. iPhoto and Aperture 3 don't recognize AVCHD video format yet.

4. I've used the camera underwater and the pictures are good and haven't had any issues with malfunctions. It also contains a LED light that can be turned on in low-light areas just like a Move Camera might have which is very useful underwater or again, when indoors.

5. The build of the camera is sturdy and feels solid.

6. It has many features, all which may or may not be useful to you but are nice to have.

7. The GPS data can be set to store your Latitude and Longitude as well as CITY, TOWN, Etc...

8. You can set the GPS to airplane mode which will only turn it on when the camera is on, thus saving battery life.

9. The battery lasts a good while and you can easily get 300-400 photos off a charge. With GPS on all the time expect closer to 300.

10. The iAuto mode is ok. You can get better pictures by shooting in Normal mode and controlling the ISO and other settings.

Overall this is a great camera and based on the restrictions it has it does a very good job and can produced excellent video and very good photos.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2011 3:55 AM PDT


Logitech HD Webcam C310
Logitech HD Webcam C310
Price: $26.99
78 used & new from $17.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works on Mac Great, February 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I just received this camera and so far have been impressed. It's been a while since I used a webcam and the technology has progressed pretty well. I took a few photos using PhotoBooth on my mac and even in dim light it took a very respectable and good quality shot. The video was also very smooth and at a good framerate.

For those that would like to use this on a mac, here are the steps to do so.

1. Plug in the camera to your mac through the USB port
2. Find using Spotlight Search or going to Applicaitons -> Utilities click on Audio Midi Setup
3. You should see the Logitech webcam show up in the list. Right Click on it and say use as Direct Input
4. Now make sure on the right side panel the Sampling is set to 48Khz or you can leave at default.
5. Open PhotoBooth and test taking photos or video.

Alternatively, you can go to System Preferences -> Sound -> Input and scroll down and click on the Logitech Webcam as input.

NOTE!!!!! If you OPEN PhotoBooth or ANY other application BEFORE setting the webcam as your Sound input, the audio WILL NOT WORK. Just quite the application and restart it after you've set it correctly and it will be fine. Wasted 5 minutes wondering why it wasn't working after being set correctly and remembered I have had this problem before with headsets.

That's it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2011 4:33 PM PDT


Pentax 62212 UCF-X II 10x25 Binoculars
Pentax 62212 UCF-X II 10x25 Binoculars
Offered by TheCameraBox
Price: $64.95
50 used & new from $45.96

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good binoculars, February 14, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is my first high quality binoculars and I've very impressed with Pentax in the quality of the product. I have other Pentax products and they all seem to be of very high quality and good performance.

The binoculars come in a very nice case that is slightly padded. It also comes with a very nice method of attaching and detaching the neck strap. Instead of having to loop through a small hole like most binoculars, these come with little snap in clips that clip right into the body instantly. You can also detach them quickly as well. Although not necessary, it is a very nice touch and it is the little things in this binocular that I find stand out.

Another nice touch is that the diopter setting for the right eye is in the center of the binocular that stays hidden until you need to adjust. You just push on the "button" and it pops out to let you adjust to your eye. Then you simply push it back in , which has a nice quality snap, and it will stay protected against accidental changes.

The binoculars also allow two eye relief settings. The eye cups pop out to two different heights or can stay flush if needed. Finally, to change the width of the eye distance both pieces bend TOGETHER evenly and smoothly which is nice. Everything feels very solid and seems to have been thought out well in design.

Now onto the quality of view. Excellent. Very impressed. Everything is very clear, sharp and also bright which is good considering this is a 10x25 binocular. Generally 25mm binoculars are dim and worse at higher magnifications. I was debating getting the 8x25 instead to get a brighter image but the optics are very well designed that it picks up light well. For example, compared to my cheap $35 Bushnell Falcon 10x50's, these outperform then in every way except the 50mm has a larger field of view of course. However the image is sharper and brighter in the Pentax. I pointed both at the moon one night to see how much detail I could pick up. The 10x50's did well and kept in focus. The Pentax however showed more detail and texture of the moon and was brighter.

Overall these are very good and well made binoculars and because of the higher quality optics I believe you can get away with the higher magnifications and still get a clear bright image.


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217 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful scope with options to grow into for beginner, February 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After much debate on purchasing this scope ( a Newtonian Reflector on a Equatorial Mount with 130mm aperture ) or a Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope, I went with this scope for a couple of reasons.

1. This scope is supposedly ( more on this later ) more portable then the 8" tube and base that I would have received. I have small two door car and would not have been able to fit the tub in the trunk and only in the passenger seat.

2. This scope is on a Equatorial Mount which would be needed if you wished to take long exposure AstroPhotography or wanted to have a the telescope track objects in the sky without having to continually adjust.

3. It provided a very bright telescope ( f/5 ) with a wide field of view which was recommend to me to be better for a beginner.

4. The mount could later be upgraded to attach a motor to automatically track objects. Again a plus for taking photos or if you have people over and would like it to stay centered on the object. I was amazed at how quickly objects will move out of view, even a few minutes and your object will disappear.

5. This scope does a little bit of everything well enough and can let me grow or dabble into different areas without having to purchase another scope or added features. At most, you would need two accessories. A Orion Shorty 1.25" 2x Barlow Lens to help with magnification ( The long tube version of this scope Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector has a longer focal point as well as the Dobsonian reflectors which gets your more magnification for the same eyepeice) and a camera mount/accessories for taking photos.

This is my very first telescope and I will give you my opinion in each area of the product as well as issues I ran into as a beginner.

PACKAGING:

The scope arrived very well packed with many empty boxes inside the package to serve as cushion for the telescope and parts. It is a single box that is about four feet long and about 50 lbs. Unpacking may take a bit to carefully set up the parts for assembly.

INCLUDED ITEMS:

It comes with a manual, Orion's starry night software which I found helpful as beginner ( also notifies you of any upcoming events that you may want to watch) , tools for assembly of the telescope ( no hex wrench for collimation i.e. adjusting the mirrors ), collmination cap, and two eye pieces. A 10mm for 65x and a 25mm for 26x magnification.

ASSEMBLY:

The instructions list that this should take 30 minutes. I agree if I had to do this a second time and I could probably do it in 15 by the second or third time. However, as a beginner with no prior experience, expect an hour to 1 1/2 hour to assemble. The instructions are good but a bit hazy and unclear during certain steps for a beginner. This is due to the large area of controls, gears, and levers on the mount itself that can seem a bit over bearing at first before you are familiarized with the controls. It would be helpful to have smaller diagrams between steps showing exact controls or parts to move. You may have to re-read the steps a few time and continue to consult the single diagram for reference.

Order of Assembly:
1. Mount tripods to Mount ( Mount is heavy! )
2. Add and assembly accessory tray
3. Thread and add counterweight to mount ( Be very careful )
4. Add ring mounts ( will hold the telescope tube or OTA ) to mount. Remember to add the correct one to the correct side
5. Carefully set tube in ring mounts and tighten.
6. Adjust balance of telescope in both axis
7. Add slow control knobs to worm gears

Notes about assembly:

I ran into issues at first after installing the counter weight. I was under the impression that the locking bolts to secure the mount at a particular angle would hold the mount in place with the counterweight. No matter how tight you press the weight will force the mount down. I assumed something was broken but luckily I figured out that the latitude adjustment bolt needed to be set first. This bolt limits how low the mount will go. In my case, with the bolt not set the counterweight would flop down and hit the tripod legs. Setting this bolt to 30-40 degrees stops it from BENDING lower and the counterweight stays still now.

Second issue I had was mounting the tube rings on the wrong side. There is one right with a small metal wheel on top to be used for taking photos with a camera. That ring should be toward the FRONT of the telescope WHICH IS where the SLOW MOTION CONTROL for Declination is! This means the control knob ALSO points towards the front of the telescope.

COLLIMATION:

I used the included cap ( place over the focuser or eyepiece tube on the telescope ) to check if the mirrors were aligned. I looked through and it looked pretty close to me at first and I wanted to get out and test it. You should check it after receiving it as some of it may be off. Mine was as I realized later however it was close enough to still see brilliant images the first night. I corrected it today and after over an hour of the learning process I have mine aligned well and it did seem that the moon was sharper then the day before. This is a maintenance process that you have to do on these types of scopes. The first time, it's tough. If I had to do it again now I could do it in about 5-10 minutes or less.

Here are some of the mistakes a beginner like me made that caused confusion:

When you use the collimation cap, you are supposed to see all these "rings" and reflections of the mirrors. There are only two things you are going to adjust, the secondary mirror and the primary mirror ( the big one at the back of the tube). The secondary mirror is the tricky one. Basically, you look down the focuser and with the telescope parallel to the horizon ( in case you drop a screw or tool and don't' want it falling onto the mirror and breaking it! ) you look through and see if the dark black ring around the center is , well centered. If not you start by using a Philips screw to adjust on the front of the scope. There is a cross at the front and only one Phillips head screw in the center to modify. This Moves the mirror toward the back of the tube or toward the front. This just aligns it so that when you look through you are seeing the whole image of the secondary mirror through the focuser. You may rotate it if it's at an angle but only touch the stub, not the mirror itself. Then, you can use a 2mm Allen wrench to adjust the three screws to adjust the tilt to make that dark black ring in the center. There will be a ring shaped mark that you will see. don't worry about getting that centered yet, only the dark ring around it. Once that is done, you unscrew three screws at the back to take off a cover and then find 6 screws to adjust the back mirror. This is trial and error as well but you just have to move either of the screws a little bit and it will cause the ring mark to move and center with the dark dot directly in the center. This "dot" is the hole that you are looking through that you will see in the mirror reflection.

USING THE TELESCOPE

Finally, actually using the telescope is not so bad but you will have to get used to moving it around a equatorial mount. It does not move left to right and up and down. It moves in "arcs" that match the movement of the Earth. For the first night, I just moved the telescope around and moved it into position of the moon without polar aligning the mount. Since this was a quick test, I didn't care about that just yet. All the controls moved well and smoothly. I did have to tighten the RA and Dec knobs well to make sure no movement happened, though if you give it a hard nudge or rested your hand on the tube you could accidentally move it slightly. The scope is a bit sensitive to movement. The tripod base was sturdy but once you got to the tube you could tap it and it would bounce slightly and then stabilize. I feel this is normal for any mount in this price range of this type as I tested from tripod off tapping everywhere to see where I could make adjustments to make it more sturdy. All the pieces are heavy and solid, and I think once it gets to the tube itself there is some play in movement just because the telescope is a rolled metal tube.

Adding and taking off eyepieces is fairly easy. Simply loosen two screws pop into place. The focuser worked well. Some people complain that it is plastic, but it does not make it work poorly because of it. It was very smooth focusing and also held my DSLR camera with the Orion 1.25" Universal Camera Adapter in place fine.

IMAGE QUALITY

Fantastic. I had my neighbors over and we were all very impressed with shots of the moon. Pictures would not do it justice to how sharp and clear the images were. I also later that night pointed the telescope at Jupiter and with the 2x barlow lens and 10mm eyepiece could see Jupiter and all four moons. I was very impressed. The image was tiny in the eyepiece but you could see them clearly. I have purchased a 5mm eyepiece for higher magnification ( 130x base and 260x with a 2x barlow ).

OVERALL QUALITY

Everything is packaged well, seems of decent heft and weight, and is relatively good quality. I only found maybe a few parts that felt "cheap" but really, everything worked well and didn't degrade it from performing properly. I think for the price that this sells for I got good product.

SUMMARY

This telescope is wonderful and is versatile. It is a bright scope with a wide field of view. It is on a equatorial mount which if you plan on growing into the hobby will want to learn how to use. If you want to try AstroPhotography you have everything basically ready to start other than a mount for your camera. You can adjust the magnification to get very high power with a simple eyepiece upgrade to match other longer focal length scopes. It IS portable, if you take the tube and tripod/mount/counterweight apart before traveling. For me I will be able to fit each piece into my tight spaces and still have someone in the passenger seat. For those with larger vehicles, the Dobsonian telescopes might be more portable. Overall this is a well made scope with options to grow into and can give you some flexibility. My number one reason for buying this over a Orion xt8 is that I could learn and work with a little bit of everything in this new hobby.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2015 6:56 AM PDT


IR Wireless Remote Control for PENTAX Q, PENTAX DSLR (645D, K-5 II, K-5 II s, K-50, K-30, K-500, X-5, K-m, K-r, K-x, K-01, K-5, K-7, K10D, K20D, K100D, K110D, K200D, K2000) *ist (D, DL, DL2, DS, DS2) + Premium MagicFiber Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
IR Wireless Remote Control for PENTAX Q, PENTAX DSLR (645D, K-5 II, K-5 II s, K-50, K-30, K-500, X-5, K-m, K-r, K-x, K-01, K-5, K-7, K10D, K20D, K100D, K110D, K200D, K2000) *ist (D, DL, DL2, DS, DS2) + Premium MagicFiber Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
Price: $6.99
2 used & new from $6.99

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works as stated, despite off brand, January 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was very skeptical to order an off-brand Pentax item as well as from a unknown seller at the time. Due to the previous two reviews I took a chance and at worst case, I was out $10 or could get Amazon to give me credit.
Everything turned out great. It shipped the next day and I got in the mail pretty quick. It came in a a small box with a cleaning cloth, instructions, and a little pouch to put the remote. Remote was of better quality then I expected for the price. Put the included battery in, turned my Pentax K-x to wireless shooting mode, and worked perfectly. I used it last night for some astrophotography. Zero complaints, and I saved $10+ not having to buy the Pentax brand for what is essentially a button with set infrared signal for Pentax cameras. Also the remote has a w/t button for controlling zoom but says it only works on no SLR camera's.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2014 11:33 AM PDT


Pentax K100D Super 6.1MP Digital SLR Camera Shake Reduction and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Pentax K100D Super 6.1MP Digital SLR Camera Shake Reduction and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Offered by Get 'N' Go 1

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Camera, very happy with purchase, October 10, 2007
First off I'm an amateur photographer and just started getting back into photography. I started with a digital camera with manual controls, other lenes, etc... and then moved off to a simple point and shoot camera. This is the first SLR type camera that I have owned and the difference is huge between quality of photos and being able to take certain shots ( Arguable, but manual controls and different lenses on SLR do help )

Physical:

The body feels very solid and has a good weight. It doesn't feel like a plastic toy and feels like a very sold build quality. Even the flaps for batteries and SD Memory Card are very well made.

Button placement at first feels odd but once you've learned the menu system and how to use them it works well.

The kit lenses works very well in most situations. The only time you may want to use a different lens is in indoors with poor/dim lighting. It also feels as solid as the camera body and the manual focus/zoom wheels all turn smoothly and stay put when set.

Using the Camera:

At first like most things there is a learning curve but you can be up and taking photos as soon as the batteries are in and putting it on AUTO PICT mode. Before I purchased the camera I had read complaints on how the menu's wording of items was a bit strange, but honestly they are not hard to figure out and it is spelled out in the manual as to what they are. In fact it's easer just to go ahead and click it and see what it does. There are few of these in the menu but everything else is very clear.

Taking photos is easy and similar to any other digital camera. Depending on the mode you are in you can adjust Exposure/Shutter Speed/Aper/ISO/etc...

Another large complaint against the camera is the burst mode only allows you to take no more than 5 JPEGS ( Highest Quality ) or 3 RAW images before slowing down significantly. This is true, however, depending on your needs this may not matter. If you need to be able to take more than 5 shots at a time then you may want to look at another camera. I took a risk and found that it more than meets my needs.l I was able to take multiple shots of pets/bees/etc just fine with 5 high quality photos or 3 RAW images without any problems.

The viewfinder contains information that is listed on the top LCD and can also be viewed on the LCD on the back of the camera. All very easy to read and see once you understand where each item is placed.

Quality of Photos

Excellent. That's it. One exception though is in the AUTO PICT mode. It works well but I found that you get better photos in either the P ( Program Mode ) or by going to SCENE mode and picking out a scene type like pets, sunset, etc...

Other issues

Everything about the camera has far exceeded my expectations and all my photos have very crisp, sharp detail and color. To help shoot indoors I purchased the Pentax 50mm f1.4 lenses which is around $200 at the time of this writing. Excellent lens which makes indoor/low light photography/fast action shots a breeze. It will allow you to take more light in which will allow you to shoot at a faster shutter speed ( The faster the shutter speed -> less light into camera -> darker photo ). I highly recommend purchasing this lens if you plan on doing portraits or indoor photos with low lighting.

Summary:

Pros:

Excellent photos, build quality, easy to use controls, can be used by beginner to advanced. Remember, no matter how great the camera, the person still should know some photography basics like how to set exposure, this will help anyone get great shots from any camera.

Cons:

Burst mode only allows 5 Jpegs or 3 RAW, but may depend on person if this matters.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 15, 2008 3:22 PM PDT


Air Hogs Reflex Micro Helicopter Pro Yellow
Air Hogs Reflex Micro Helicopter Pro Yellow
Offered by red_rock_books
Price: $65.00

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest toy ever., July 14, 2007
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I just started playing with the helicopter today and can not put it down and am dying in-between charge times to the point I'm about to buy another one. Frist off some info about the helicopter:

Construction:

The rotors are made of plastic that are soft/bendable but hard enough to take plenty of hits against walls/trees/roof tops etc... The body is made of styrofoam material as is the case with all of these mini helicopters but it is pretty sturdy and contains a battery inside that is non-removeable/non-replaceable. The power supply plugs directly into the back of the copter and flashes a red light while charging. The light turns off once complete. There are also two mini-motors with fans on each side that allow direction control.

Functionality/Use:

Absolutely great ONCE you have properly tweaked the rotors/body a bit. The instructions are very detailed and you must adjust the rotors with a little screw wheel to correct the helicopter from spinning left or right. There will be some minor turning in one direction but I have found you can get pretty much dead straight with minor adjustments and some body tweaks.

The reason I mention body tweaks is the tail end of the copter may need to be adjusted or after a bad crash. It's very sturdy and you can moved/flex it around to adjust the tail fin to correct if the copter is moving left or right, NOT turning left or right. By adjusting the fin, you can get the copter very level straight flight, but even if you don't it's pretty easy to get it stable. I found this out after I had a crash into a rose bush and the helicopter kept going left and realized the tail end of the body was slightly bent.

To the poster who put a negative review, try adjusting the tail fin, it should correct your problem of it going left.

Once everything is stable you can being lift off and get this thing pretty high in the air and moving in all directions. Wind is bad for the copter so try with 0-2 mph winds or in a closed off location. You don't have to get it very high to have fun with it and you can control it pretty well with enough practice.

Battery:

I haven't been checking the length but with the crashing and all you can be anywhere form 10-30 mins with this thing. The battery can't be replaced and once it goes bad you'll need to purchase a new toy all together ( which could be 1 or 5 years time frame, who knows ) but still worth every penny. It charges in about 1-2 hours.

Durability:

I'm very impressed so far. I've heard of the smaller helicopters breaking almost immediately after hitting a wall or an object but this thing has been beaten bad the first day. Lots of wall hits, rose bushes, plants, cement, grass, brick, roof tops, 30ft drop , bouncing off of roof top then wall, then ground, rotors hitting granite counter top, glasses, cups, cabinets, etc... The helicopter is designed to have the rotors fold/break if it hits an object, and in some cases the rotor will just pop out if a bad hit. I've only had it happen twice and they just pop back in. They include another set ( four blades ) in case they break. The rotors are soft and very little damage can be seen on them after all the crashes.

Overall:

Very impressed and happy with the product. I chose Air Hogs brand helicopter ( there were some mini copters by another brand I hadn't heard of but looks like the cheap kind ) and am very glad I did. I owned another one of there planes which was also durable and flew very well.


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