Friday, October 21, 2011

Sony NEX-5N vs Panasonic Lumix GF3 vs Leica M9 vs Nikon 1 J1

These are some of my first thoughts (not a thorough review) on the small but high-quality cameras currently out.  The Sony NEX-5N vs Lumix GF2 or Lumix GF3 vs Leica M9 (grins!) vs Nikon 1 J1.  Let me know what YOU think!
I have been looking for a small, high quality, low noise camera.  I originally had the Panasonic Lumix GF-1 with the Pancake 17mm f/1.7 lens.  The GF1 is a really nice small package. I love the shutter with the nice solid -'click'.  Image quality for photos and videos were good... but not great.   There was quite a bit of noise even at low ISO.  I sold the GF1 via craigslist and have moved on to find the next best camera!  The Lumix GF2 was to improve that a little - mostly on the video side.  Image quality was only supposed to improve slightly.  The Lumix GF3 looks to be interesting but the sensor comparison to the NEX-5N still isn't there. I hope to get my hands on one to play with.  The Lumix series is a micro 4/3 meaning any of the Olympus or Panasonic Lumix lenses will work with it as well as take adaptors to manually use other lenses.   
I think the Sony NEX-5N looks great!  It uses an APS-C sensor, which is the same size as most Nikon, Canon and Sony DSLRs.   The NEX-5N adds the new 16 megapixel sensor that is found on the Nikon D7000 and new Sony Alpha DSLRs.  High ISO and low noise (up to ISO 12,800) images.  Video up to 1080p with 60fps or 24fps for cool cinematic quality.  The 16mm f/2.8 lens is a nice small combination.  This one looks great!   If you couple that with the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 lens, then that will be one HECK of a package!  The only down side to the Sony is the funky styling (I like it) together with a lack of lenses. Since this isn't true micro 4/3, there are only a limited amount of lenses available.  

The folks over at DPreview give it a really good review! I think I'll have to check it out - all the quality of the Nikon D7000 in a nice little package.  The fact that the sensor in the NEX-5N is the same as the awesome sensor in the Nikon D7000 (I believe Sony made it) and the reviews of that camera are fantastic - high iso/low noise - great image quality.  I can also use my Nikon lenses on the Sony if needed with an inexpensive adapter.

Note - The Sony NEX-7 looks REALLY nice, but currently it isn't available due to flooding at the plant in Thailand.  24 Megapixel sensor that is on the Alpha 77 looks fantastic!!  ISO and noise aren't quite as good as the NEX-5N since you are packing more pixels in the same sensor, but wow -- that will be an awesome camera!   Unfortunately, Amazon has taken the Sony NEX-7 off of the price list for now!
Ok, the Leica M9 is in a class of its own!  With a full-frame sensor in that small package, there is no comparison!  I just wish I had $7000 sitting around to purchase it! 
The new Nikon 1 V1 looks like an interesting idea, but I think Nikon really missed out here.  Rather than take the existing sensor in the D5100 or D7000, they created another smaller sensor and put it in the Nikon 1 V1. What does that mean?  Smaller, lower quality, higher noise images.  I am sure they are fine on their own, but considering the quality of images coming out of the wildly successful Sony NEX line of cameras, Nikon is starting poorly out of the gate.
So how do some of these sensors compare?  Here is the DXO mark comparison of the 3 cameras -Sony NEX-5N, Lumix GF-1 and Leica M9-P for grins!
So, which one am I going to purchase?!  I think I will got with the Sony NEX-5N for now and wait for the Sony NEX-7 to come out. 
Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted or let me know which one you have tried and prefer!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yosemite solo free climbing on 60 minutes - Incredible views!

I watched 60 Minutes in awe Sunday night as they featured solo free climber (ie. - no ropes!), Alex Honnold scaling El Cap and Sentinel around Yosemite Valley.  If you missed, it check it out here.

There is also the behind the scenes footage that is equally impressive.  Personally, I think free climbing is crazy and stupid as all it takes is one mistake to no longer have this incredible climber with.  I don't think anyone can be perfect all the time.  You can see the behind the scenes footage here.

No Big Deal for Alex!  The laid back dude.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Inflatable Kayaks and Canoes for outdoor Adventures

One of the best ways to see nature can be to get right in the middle of it with an inflatable Kayak or Canoe.  We ended up purchasing two inflatable Kayaks based on the awesome reviews from Allison over at Inflatable Kayak World.   She has a ton of great write-ups and info on the different models and helpful info on all the accessories like PFD Life-jackets and reviews on what to look for for women as well.  We purchased the Sea Eagle SE-330 as well as the Clear Blue Hawaii.   Both were really fantastic although we should have purchased the larger Sea Eagle 370 to fit 3 of us in there! 

Kudos to Allison and her great reviews!  Check them out over at Inflatable Kayak World and get an inflatable Kayak to get closer to nature.