07Jul

My 2nd segment on The View From the Bay coming this July 14th


Next Tuesday I’ll be back on The View From the Bay, a great afternoon lifestyle show on ABC Channel 7 KGO-TV in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m looking forward to seeing Janelle Wang and Spencer Christian again, the two great hosts, as well as the whole production staff.


Continuing my goal to be the Photoguru, a commercial pro and photo expert with my own tv show, I’ll be going on to promote my book and talk about five cool compact cameras to check out for the summer season. No side-by-side comparison deal- just cameras that are different in the features they have, price points, and functionality.

The five point-and-shoots I’m testing out and reviewing are:

GoPro’s Helmet HERO Wide: I’ve had a blast with this 5 mega-pixel “point of view” camera, attaching it to my bicycle helmet, my bike, strapping it around my waist, and even on my car for great shots you couldn’t otherwise get in a system under $200.

If you looking for top quality and price isn’t an issue, this compact comes with the Leica name and quality (their lenses are known as the best in the biz-nas), full control of functions, and made for the serious amateur interested in creating high-quality shots in an easy-to-carry system.


Nikon’s Coolpix S60: A 10 mega-pixel p&s offers a great touch screen, – I went with Arctic White, the color of my old ’86 VW Golf (see it at the start of this blog)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX 150: A great compact has the highest mega-pixels in the group at 14.7 million, with manual functions and a Leica lens packed into a sleek body. I personally own this model.

FujiFilm Z33WP: A great 10 mega-pixel waterproof compact camera with a flash, LCD screen, and a cool strap that floats. I’ve enjoyed using it in the swimming pool with my daughters as well at in a river in the Sierras. Fuji sent me the bright pink model- that’s right, I’m Mr. Fancy Pants.

I’ll also show off Joby’s line of cool bendable tripods- fun, functional, and they come in cool colors like blue, green, and pink! Use it for self-portaits, attach it to a tree branch or a pole, and pack it anywhere in your suitcase.


Canon never sent me a camera to review and I was a bit disappointed since they own the point-and-shoot market and have a great line of small digital cameras. But the ones I have are top-notch and would rate high in any comparison so I’m good to go.

So tune in Tuesday, July 14th, from 3-4pm for my segment- it will be fun, informative, and entertaining! And if you’re not in the area, the segment will post on the web at KGO’s site (as did my February spot on Great Family Vacation Photos): http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

08May

The White Whale


Although I’ve never had the chance to own a German-made rangefinder Leica camera (always wanted to – one of my dream cameras), I just wanted to share this dope Special Edition All-White Leica M8.


Sure it’s around $8500 (ouch), the black and silver versions listing around $6500 (what a deal!) and the Safari camouflage version at ten grand, but at least you can tip your nose up as other peasant photographers capture images around you with their American and Japanese counterparts.


In all seriousness, Leica makes an amazing product, simple, clean, durable, and unassuming (I know, that’s a bit ironic with the price tag, but most who aren’t into photography don’t realize the price or quality of it).


Made famous by photographers such as Henri Cartier Bresson and Diane Arbus, their lenses have been top-notch for years, and past models dating back to the 50s are always in demand (just type in Leica on eBay and see for yourself).


If you just received your bail-out check or play shortstop for the Yankees, you can call Leica at 800-222-0118 in inquire about adding this cool 10.3 megapixel gem for your collection. Don’t forget to go back to Congress when you need to buy a few lenses for it.


And when Leica sends me a free one, I’ll test it out and add more info. 🙂


07Apr

Point-&-Shoots in the realm of 15 Megapixels


Recently, I wanted to upgrade my 8 megapixel point-&-shoot, a Sony Cybershot which I loved (it had a large touch screen and was very compact, especially amazing since it originally came out in 2005). But as the PhotoGuru, I needed to keep my street cred, so I began the search.


When I saw Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FX150, 14.7 megapixel compact camera about the same size of my Sony (possibly a tiny bit smaller at 2.12” x 3.8” x .98”) my mind said “dope!” and my late 90s lingo said “no you di-ent!”. It’s almost the size of a business card, just under an inch thick (non-chunky-style), and weighing in just over 5 ounces. Wow.


It wasn’t easy to find one in stock, but after searching the web, and making a few calls (with pain-in-the-rear reps tryin’ to fake the “in-stock” sales pitch), Amazon.com’s third party company provided me with one in stock (even Panasonic currently lists the camera as “backordered”).

I’m still getting to know my new little friend, just having it for less than a month, but I’m diggin’ the RAW capability (that’s right, RAW files, rarely seen in point & shoot cameras today), the massive 14.7 MPs (sure it’s packed into a small 1/1.72″ CCD image sensor, but what would anyone expect for the great price and compact size?), as well as all of the quick menu options (giving me the ability to change flash option, ISO, as well as other features on the fly).


For some reason, the auto rotate function isn’t working, so I have to rotate any vertical shots to review them larger, taking up the entire 2.7″ LCD screen (hope to fix that or figure out why), but in general I’m very pleased with this compact beauty – the sleek black body very stylish and functional (I like to roll GQ style).

I also feel the f/2.8 wide-angle Leica mass-produced lens (28mm to 100mm) is of quality, and I dig the new auto-focus tracking feature (focusing for you without touching the shutter button).

The 8 GB SDHC memory card (I picked up after the fact – made by SanDisk) gives me over 300 images on the highest file size (RAW + JPEG, which is what I use on my 35mm DSLR)- more than enough as long as I download every so often (which is best to do anyway since you never want to trust your memory card to store your memories for too long). Plus, with the Lithium-ion rechargeable battery draining down after 330 snaps, I simply recharge the battery while I download the shots (hoping to pick up an extra battery as a backup). The camera even has 50MB of built in memory if you jam up with an extra card- thanks for caring Panasonic.

The Lumix DMC-FX150 also has a nice ISO range from 100 to 6400, with many exposure functions = Manual, Program AE, Movie/ Motion Picutre, Intelligent Auto mode, along with many Scene modes. I always love the Manual exposure mode option, giving me full control of my camera when the meter is fooled. The metering mode options even include Spot metering. Sure, it doesn’t offer an HD movie mode as other Lumix compact cameras do, but I wasn’t looking for HD in a compact digital camera personally – what am I, movie-boy?

Here are a few shots I captured with the camera this past month:

For more on all the technical specs, click here: Lumix DMC-FX150 tech specs

For more on the camera in general, go here: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150

I highly recommend it to anyone- sure the digital noise increases with a higher ISO over 100 (mainly due to a small image sensor), but you can’t expect everything in such a beautiful small package. All this in a price range around $250. Well played
Panasonic, well played– nice idea for my photo life.