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M. Kim "gadget freak and man-toy expert" RSS Feed (Los Angeles)

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Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR - Black
Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR - Black
Price: $399.00
8 used & new from $399.00

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down the BEST value within the entire XF line. It's the new "must have" for any Fujifilm owner., November 14, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Can i say how awesome SAME DAY SHIPPING is. Now to the lens. I've always wanted the 35mm F1.4R. Seems like a no brainer to most. It's relatively inexpensive, amazing image quality, and F1.4.

Well, a few months ago I purchased the venerable 56mm f1.2. While this lens produces amazing images, I'm not a big fan of it's AF performance. My primary subjects are my family (i.e. kids), and the 56mm's AF leaves room for improvement. Based on many of the reviews I've read of the 35mm F1.4, the primary shortcoming is it's AF performance, which sounds very similar to the 56mm. I.E., sometimes it hunts, and even when it's working right, it doesn't lock particularly fast in comparison to some of the newer XF lenses. This seems to be indicative of many of the early XF glass.

My current primary lens is the 23mm XF f1.4. The focal length is absolutely perfect (35mm full frame equivalent) for most of the shooting I do. However, I've always yearned for something a little longer to get some more intimate shots. That's why I had initially bought the 56mm, but quickly found out that A. 56mm is a little too long for indoor use, and B. the 56mm AF can be difficult to work with indoors due to low lighting.

In comes this little beauty. It was never on my radar until I recently stumbled across an updated XF roadmap chart.

First impressions upon getting it out of the box.

1. IT'S FREAKING TINY! in the best possible way. My body is an X-T1, and the body absolutely dwarfs the lens. I never thought my 23mm was all that hefty, but the 35mm F2 is easily half the overall mass. It's actually quite adorable. The smallest non-pancake lens I've ever owned was Canon's nifty-fifty (50mm f1.8). This is noticeably smaller ( but of course, much more substantial since it's metal)

2. Build is typical Fujinon excellence. Solid metal body with typical fuji aperture markings.

3. Aperture ring feels absolutely spot on. A lot of the early lenses (like the 56mm) have aperture rings that feel way too loose. 23mm is an improvement, but the 35mm F2 feels even better. Right amount of resistance with very clear incremental clicks for every f stop. I owned the 16-55mm F2.8 for a brief time, and it feels similar to that. Seems like this is the new standard for the newer lenses, which is a great thing because it feels so much better than the earlier ones.

4.The hood is barely a hood. It's so small that I'm willing to bet it doesn't actually function as anything but a guard against drops. It's different from the other stock XF hoods because it attaches via screw thread, vs the usual half-turn-and-click method. For what it's worth, it still looks like it has the half-turn-and-click style hood mounts on the outer ring.

5. The focus ring feels good too. Just the right amount of resistance, which is especially important on this lens due to its tiny size (if it spun too loosely, it would be way to easy to miss your MF target). It is a little thin obviously, since the lens is so small, but I noticed the "stepped" design of the lens actually helps you feel the position of the focus ring better. IE, it's extremely easy to locate and grab by feel.

Other then that, there's nothing else that's worth noting about it's physical appearance and handling. It's obviously weather sealed, so it has the rubber gasket around the lens mount. Took forever, but I finally have a weather sealed lens on my weather sealed body.

******************** Performance ************************

I've only had this for several hours, so I'll be sure to take out during the day and take some shots, but I will say this. I already know this lens is a keeper. Just playing with it indoors shooting handheld at f2 1/20 - 1/170 shutter speeds and ISO 800-2000, it's so obvious that the images it produces are at the very least, the same level as the 23mm and the 56mm, both of which cost more than double. It is absolutely tack sharp wide open.

AF, even indoors at night, feels similar to my 23mm (which generally has fast AF within the XF line). Considering the tiny size of the lens, I'd be surprised if the 35mm F2 ISN'T one of the fastest focusing XF lenses available.

I will update this review with some more real world shots, but I expect that the lens will perform admirably. Honestly, I can't get over how small the dang thing is. I ditched using zoom lenses when I traded my Canon gear for Fuiji 1.5 years ago. I absolutely fell in love with the 23mm XF, but the 35mm F2 offers a very usable focal length for various situations, and is fast enough to use indoors.

The fact that it's not as fast as the 23mm or 56mm doesn't bother me. I know this is personal preference to some, but as I mature in photography, the more I realize bokeh is overused. Not to say it doesn't produce the signature creamy Fuji bokeh, it does, plenty of it. I feel like F2 will keep me more honest in the sense that I won't be tempted to crank it down to f1.4-f1.2, and I'm pretty certain I'll have more keeper shots because of it.

For the street/journalistic style photographer (which I lean more towards), this lens is an absolute marriage for the X-T1. The whole package is so small. I'd actually argue that this is a far better choice than the 27mm pancake. It's a little faster, IQ is better, small and light, and weather sealed. The only reason I can think of to go with the 27mm is if you really really need the extra 9mm of view. Also, regarding the 35mm f1.4, my vote goes to this lens (obviously, I chose it over the f1.4). AF is spot on, same focal length, cheaper, and weather sealed. Granted, you lose a stop, but the benefits outweigh 1 stop of light for me.

I can't believe this thing is $399. Seems like Fuji would be shooting themselves in the foot by pricing such an excellent (and pro-level) lens at such a reasonable price point.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2016 4:56 PM PST


PigflyTech® Android TV Box PF-Streaming Player PF8I
PigflyTech® Android TV Box PF-Streaming Player PF8I
Offered by Pigflytech Inc.
Price: $69.99
3 used & new from $59.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect solution for my older in-laws looking to stream videos to their TV., November 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was looking for a solution for my in-laws who are korean and watch a lot of streaming flash video (korean shows) on their TV. The current solution has just been to hook up a laptop via HDMI and use browsers. While the solution worked, it wasn't as "frictionless" as it could be. I purchased this intending it to essentially act as an HTPC of sorts, since they also stream movies remotely from my Plex server.

The Pigfly fits the bill perfectly. The laptop it replaced had an AMD A8 APU, and surprisingly the Pigfly is noticeably FASTER, even when loading and playing flash videos within chrome for Android. Of course, it has all the amenities of Android, so Plex also works beautifully. My in-laws both have Samsung Galaxy's so they're more than familiar with the OS, and don't have to worry about all the caveats of a desktop OS. Android is just much easier to maintain.

The USB port is being used for a logitech HTPC keyboard/trackpad combo, and it works great. No issues with wifi either. Everything just works.

Couldn't be more pleased, especially for the money.


Actto Silver Multiple Angle Stand/Riser for Apple/HP/DELL/Acer/Toshiba/Lenovo/Sony/Asus Laptop Notebooks
Actto Silver Multiple Angle Stand/Riser for Apple/HP/DELL/Acer/Toshiba/Lenovo/Sony/Asus Laptop Notebooks
Offered by BestBookStand
Price: $16.98
3 used & new from $16.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Great stand, even for huge laptops, like my Alienware 17 R2., November 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great laptop stand for 2 primary reasons. 1. It's very stable in a relatively small foot print. 2. It's adjustable, which is immensely useful. I'm using this with a BEHEMOTH of a laptop, the Alienware 17 R2 (desktop replacement gaming laptop). It's as big as they come, and the Actto stand works well for it. It seems identical to the 3M model that sells for significantly more, but I don't see any loss of quality in the Acttto.


JDM ASTAR 1200 Lumens Extremely Bright 144-EX Chipsets H16 5202 TYPE 2 (with 90 degree angle) LED Bulbs with Projector for DRL or Fog Lights, Xenon White
JDM ASTAR 1200 Lumens Extremely Bright 144-EX Chipsets H16 5202 TYPE 2 (with 90 degree angle) LED Bulbs with Projector for DRL or Fog Lights, Xenon White
Offered by JDM ASTAR
Price: $59.99
4 used & new from $21.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars H16 Bulb did NOT fit 2015 Toyota Highlander H16 fog light, November 2, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Tried to install on a 2015 Toyota Highlander fog light housing H16. Plain and simple, these do NOT fit properly in my application, even though the size is supposed to be the same. The problem seems to lie in the fact there is not enough space between the "twist" tabs and the rubber weather gasket on the bulb, so the bulb cannot be pushed in all the way to be installed.

I understand that sometimes these off-brand bulbs need a bit of heavy coaxing to go in, so I applied a fair amount of pressure right before the point of actually damaging my fog light housings. In the process, the bulb still managed to scrape the socket of my fog light housing and shear some small pieces of plastic off.

Build quality is also pretty cheap. The black plastic housing is extremely brittle.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2016 2:46 PM PST


Sabrent High Speed 10 Port USB 3.0 HUB + 5V 2.1A Smart Charging Port with 3 Power Switches LED Indicators and 5V 5A Power Adapter (HB-3U10)
Sabrent High Speed 10 Port USB 3.0 HUB + 5V 2.1A Smart Charging Port with 3 Power Switches LED Indicators and 5V 5A Power Adapter (HB-3U10)
Offered by Store4PC
Price: $35.00
4 used & new from $25.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Intermittent connectivity makes connected devices unusuable. Shows in Windows 8.1 as "Unidentified"., September 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Recently purchased this only to have it not work after 2 weeks. The problem manifests itself as intermittent USB connectivity. I'm running a windows 8.1 PC, and randomly one day, my mouse and keyboard would just stop working for a second or two, then work for 10 seconds, then not work, etc., etc. The pattern has repeated since it first appeared, making any device connected to the USB hub unusable.

To troubleshoot, I unhooked everything from the hub, disconnected the hub, and connected straight into the I/O ports on the back of my PC. Sure enough, everything works just fine. The second I connect the Sabrent hub back and put all my devices on it, everything craps out again.

I looked through the Device Manager on Windows, and whenever the hub is connected, it shows up as an unidentified USB hub that requires a driver. A little unusual that a USB device needs a driver, but not unheard of. So I went to Sabrent's website, but there is driver to be found.

Returning this and going to try something else.


KES LP105-2 Single-Function Water Saving Handheld Shower Heads With Hose Bracket, Brushed Nickel
KES LP105-2 Single-Function Water Saving Handheld Shower Heads With Hose Bracket, Brushed Nickel
Offered by KES Faucet & Shower
Price: $50.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Odd installation requirement, hose is not the exact finish as the head and bracket.., May 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this because I fell in love with the design. For whatever reason, handheld shower heads are always hideous and bulky.

I assumed even before ordering, that this would not improve the waterflow and/or water pattern at all. I actually assumed that it might inhibit the waterflow based on the design. I didn't mind this so much, because I purchased it for my 5 year old and 1 year old.

I never got as far as to actually install it. I've owned a lot of handheld shower heads over the years, and I have never seen one that required you to actually drill into your shower wall/tile to install the bracket. Almost always, the bracket that holds the showerhead is integrated into the hose and/or shower attachment.

This particular product requires you to install the bracket into the wall (comes with 2 drywall screws and anchors). For most of us (including me), that would require you to drill into tile, which I'm not too fond of the idea for a 20 dollar shower head.

This wasn't expicitly mentioned in the description, and I didn't bother to try and infer it from the pictures because the past 6 handheld shower heads I used never required you to drill holes in your tile.

Also, The hose is NOT the exact brushed nickel finish as the head and the bracket (contrary to the answer in the QA section ). The hose is more of a standard non-chrome steel-like finish. Not "brushed" at all, so it does come across as a bit shinier then the brushed nickel portions (shower head and bracket).

Guess I'll be going back to one of those ugly bulky hand helds with 82 settings , with 81 of them seemingly designed to water plants, not clean people.


LG Electronics 55LB7200 55-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Smart LED TV (2014 Model)
LG Electronics 55LB7200 55-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Smart LED TV (2014 Model)
3 used & new from $899.99

174 of 204 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WORST back light uniformity I've ever seen in any display EVER. *** Updates with 2nd set****, April 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Length:: 6:09 Mins

Consider the title of my review. I've literally had hundreds of TV's and monitors in my life (work in tech). So to say that I've never seen such terrible back light uniformity is a crazy (but true) statement.

I had high hopes for this TV due to the gorgeous physical design of it. It was to live in my main family room on a limestone fireplace, so the design had heavy weighting in why I chose it (among other things).

Well, opened it up, turned it on, and IMMEDIATELY noticed 2 large black shadows on both sides, shadows in ALL 4 corners, and literally an entire GRID of shadows on the entire panel.

To clarify, when you first set up this TV, you're guided through a wizard, which actually is very well done and a great user experience (web OS based). The kicker, is that all these setup screens, use large blocks of solid color for a background, making this issue clearly evident up front. The worst was during one of the settings screens, and the entire screen was white.

I did a double take because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

So I packed it back up, took it back to Frys(also have one on order from Amazon, but will cancel obviously). Giving the TV the benefit of the doubt, I walked over to the floor demo unit and asked an employee to reset the TV so the wizard would appear again (they were only playing "Dark Knight", so this was the only way to get it to a solid screen).

Lo and behold, it had the EXACT SAME PROBLEM. The sales guy was pretty dumbfounded when he saw how horrible it looked.

It seems like this could be a running defect for the entire model line.

Just to be clear, this problem isn't so evident when there's a lot of colors and motion on the TV, which is why I believe why some people don't see it.

However, if you're watching any scene that has a light solid color at any time, then it looks downright horrible. For instance, there was a PGA tournament on TV today. Everytime the camera panned to the ball in the air, the entire blue sky looked like a grid of shadows.

Same with an NHL game where you have a large white ice background. Shadows everywhere. I played around with the settings in expert mode, but nothing helped.

I'm pretty speechless. I've owned insanely awesome TVS (Panasonic ST series plasmas) and cheap budget tvs, and I've never.. ever... seen a backlight this bad.

I took a brief video of it. My advice is to stay away. LG seems to be having QC issues. Wouldn't be the first time.

******* UPDATE 5/2/2014 *******

Amazon seems to have received a handful of these in stock, so I just bought the last one. I've been looking and looking for a TV that looks good on a wall and have good picture quality. Judging from some of the replies to this review, I bit the bullet and ordered another one in hopes that it won't have as prominent an issue.

You can expect another video and update after I receive my Amazon LG LB7200. Should be here next Friday (May 9th).\

******** UPDATE 5/13/2014 ( Received 2nd TV) **************

Received my 2nd LG LB7200 from Amazon yesterday. Had a chance to set it up, and actually watch some shows/movies on it last night. Here's some additional thoughts....

Pros:-----------
- Overall black levels are quite good for the price point (low 1000's).
- viewing angles are pretty god
- semi-matte screen seems to hold up well vs a lot of light. There ARE still reflections however...
- The design still looks quite beautiful, despite backlight issues
- sound is better then the average set, still not quite as awesome as LG says it is

Cons----------
- I am 100% sure that there is a running issue with this model regarding backlight uniformity. I have now personally owned 2, and have seen an additional 2 in the store (demo models), and EVERY single one has the same uniformity issues. Specifically, 2 vertical bands on either side, shadows in all 4 corners, and LED array shadows gridded across the entire panel. I find it too coincidental that 4 out of 4 sets that I have personally seen all have the same problem.

That being said, my 2nd set is noticeably better then my first one. Both the vertical bands and the LED array shadows are not nearly as pronounced, but to my eye, they are still noticeable in certain scenes. I did notice on this 2nd set however, that when viewing the TV as normal, the issue can be forgotten about pretty easily. You mostly see the problem anytime there is a large block of solid light color on the TV. I mentioned some examples in my earlier review, but another one would be when I was watching House Hunters on HGTV. There's a lot of scenes where they just kind of stand in front of a blank wall. I can clearly see the LED array shadows making the wall actually seem like 3 shades of paint rather then 1.

In a real world scenario, I have found that this is the exception, not the norm, since there aren't too many scenarios where you'd be required to put up with that kind of scene for prolonged times.

- Web OS is quite beautiful with LG's implementation... but it can really laaaaagg at times. Like switching from Netflix back to your TV input, or making picture adjustments. The remote is quick to navigate through the menu, but the problem is if you go to fast, the menu can lag.

Conclusions----------

I'm really torn about this TV. I just moved into a house with a dedicated home theater, so I don't have a need to have THE best picture quality HDTV in the living room. The LG LB7200, by far for the price point, is the PRETTIEST looking TV available. It's just damn sexy. Super thin, edge to edge glass, almost no bezel, metal frame, brushed speaker grill.... it really does almost look like a piece of art.

That being said, there is no denying that LG put out a sub-par backlight panel on this product, and I'm not surprised. I've had LG monitors in the past with issues as well, and overall, LG TV's are somewhat known to have backlight uniformity issues. The only problem is, on edgelit LED's, uniformity problems never manifested as grids, since there is no grid of LEDS. On this direct LED panel, the shadows appear as a grid across the entire TV.

I also know, that while this problem exists, the severity of each TV definitely varies (as reported by other reviewers who don't notice it, and myself personally). I believe that other people claiming that their TV is "perfect", is in fact, not perfect, but just a combination of their high tolerance for the defect, as well as whatever conditions they're watching their TV in. To be fair, the issue isn't evident in 99% of viewing of normal TV programming.

Since the 2nd set is noticeably better then the first, I'll upgrade my rating to 2 star. Slightly better, but enough of a problem that I would still not recommend it (generally speaking).

And another thing, the image for this product is actually slightly inaccurate. If you zoom in to the bezel, it appears as though the picture goes literally from edge to edge. This is actually not the case at all. There is a small bezel hidden underneath the glass that creates a thicker black border then what the picture shows. Still very thin, but very much present. The product photo is obviously a misrepresented photoshop of the actual TV.

So that's why I'm torn. I'm all about real-world usage, not theorizing about specs and what not on paper. And in the real-world, the problem is a lot less of a problem. The question is (for me as well as for you)... are YOU comfortable spending 1200-1400 on a TV, KNOWING it has an issue, but not necessarily "consuming" the issue during use.

For many, the answer will be "no, it doesn't bother me because it looks just fine when I watch it", which is a completely viable option.

For others who have a little OCD in them, it will bother you to no end just based on the principal of spending this much money on something that may not perform at an expected level.

Personally, I'm kind of the latter, but it's being offset by how FREAKING GORGEOUS the TV is. I haven't fully made up my mind yet.

Good luck in your decision

***** UPDATE 8/6/2014 *****

Being Korean myself, I would like to think we're generally an intellectual people. Apparently not all of us. Presumably LG employees, or people hired by LG (who didn't even think to make a non-Korean alias) have been submitting fake 5 star reviews. Note all the 5 star reviews with little to no description. The few that have other purchases were all made on the same day.

The more I see the history of this TV, the more I'm convinced that LG knows they put out a defective product, and are working as hard as they can to unload inventory. I've never seen a premium TV like this drop in price so fast. I've seen it as low as 990 brand new.

-Noah
Comment Comments (51) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 20, 2015 1:00 AM PDT


No Title Available

139 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Deal, customer service was very helpful, August 6, 2013
I've been tracking this painting for quite awhile now. At 3,000,000.00, I couldn't quite justify the purchase, but lo and behold... yesterday morning I wake up and the price dropped to 2,500,000. I jumped on it immediately, and was not disappointed. Nothing like coming home to see a brown box with a smiley face on it! The colors did not seem like what was advertised on the site, and I called up Amazon customer service. They were very helpful. When I faced them with my concern, the customer service rep told me it's not unusual for that situation to happen with art pieces, and assured me that I could return it within 30 days if I'm not satisfied.

What really sold me was the "in room" picture on this site, where it's next to a chair and side table. I couldn't quite picture it in my house, but after that imagery it was a no brainer.

The best part is that since I'm a prime member, I saved about 20 bucks on shipping. I also purchased with my Amazon Visa rewards card (3% cash back on all Amazon purchases), so I got 75,000.00 back in rewards. Thinking about getting a BMW M3 or perhaps go to college with my cash back.

Very satisifed customer.

**** Update after few days of ownership *****

Overall, still very pleased with this piece. Here's a helpful tip however. If you rent an apartment like me, and your landlord prohibits you from putting holes in the wall to mount things, I highly reccomend these

Command Picture Hanging 4 Small 8 Medium

They do a fairly good job holding things to the wall, and they come off very easily without leaving residue. Not sure what the difference is, but these were a few bucks cheaper, and worked great for this painting.

Command Medium Mounting Refill 9 Strip


Boconi Camel Leather Leon Slimster Billfold Wallet W/ Green Plaid
Boconi Camel Leather Leon Slimster Billfold Wallet W/ Green Plaid

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have owned 2 of these, slimmest bi-fold you will find anywhere.... trust me I've looked, January 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I hate wallets. I hate the way they feel in my pocket, I hate to have to carry them around everywhere. Unfortunately it's a necessity, so I always try to find the slimmest usable (emphasis on usable) wallet at all times. I've tried many "slim" wallets. There's basically 2 types. There's the ones that are actually bi-folds, but are essentially made of napkins (neoprene,polyester, crap like that). Unless you're in 5th grade or a hipster with a mustache, most men do not prefer to carry around nylon wallets.

The other type of "slim" wallet are the ones that are basically 2 cards sewn together. Not sure how these even classify as wallets. There's nothing I hate more, then having to take out a wad of cash every time I have to pay for something with cash. It's inconvenient to me, and it's also obnoxious. I'm not a millionaire rapper who loves taking out his fat roll of Benjamins.I just want to discretely sift through the cash I have to take out the exact right amount. No money clips, no silly pockets, just a regular bi-fold where you can hold all your cash at full size.

Of all the wallets I have owned, both slim and utilitarian, this one by far marries both worlds the best. If you have a license, a check card, and a credit card or two, a few bills, and even a work RFID card, this thing stores all of that comfortably, and remains incredibly thin. The great part is, it's thing without feeling cheap. Even completely empty, it actually feels like a great leather wallet. Fill it up, and it barely feels any thicker.

I know when day, when I'm 60 and on my 10th Boconi wallet, I'm going to log in to Amazon to get another one, and find out they've been discontinued. I'll end up crying my little old-man heart to sleep that night, sad that I can't get these wallets anymore.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2013 6:02 AM PST


GGS LCD Screen Protector optical glass for Canon 5D Mark III Main LCD , Info LCD
GGS LCD Screen Protector optical glass for Canon 5D Mark III Main LCD , Info LCD
Offered by PWEPT
Price: $19.90
2 used & new from $19.90

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like, it's clear, it's plastic, it protects, January 25, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pretty much does what it says it does. I haven't noticed any sort of color variance on the LCD display on my 5d mk3. I did notice on the top LCD display, it formed 2 little bubbles right after application, but thats expected for appliances like this. Guess I should have been more careful. Doesn't bother me though. If it was on the main color LCD, then yeah.. I would have reapplied it.

Good fit, no complaints. I had one of these on my T2i for 4 years. Did it's job just fine.


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