Win a flight over Vancouver… WITH ME!

I’ve teamed up with Alive2Thrive, a wellness retreat for young adults who have faced cancer, to raise awareness and funds for their upcoming retreat.

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They are having a raffle with some great prizes but they have one that involves me, a camera, and an airplane! $20 gets you a raffle ticket, or 5 for $85, which puts you in a draw to fly over Vancouver with me. There are 2 chances to win (2 seats) so buy lots of tickets and dust off your cameras.

The prize is valued at $250, not to mention the invaluable time you’ll get to spend with me.

To enter click the donate button below and donate though Alive2Thrive’s PayPal account. $20 per entry, 5 entries for $85.

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The draw will be Sunday, September 18th at 8pm. The flight will take us over Downtown Vancouver as well as the North Shore Mountains and possibly the Gulf Islands. 

Please share on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #alive2thrive

More about Alive2Thrive;

“Alive2Thrive is a wellness retreat for young adults who have faced cancer. It takes place September 22 – 25 on the Sunshine Coast, BC. My co-hosts Ciera, Ashley and I are young cancer thrivers that feel called to make a difference in the lives of others who have been affected by cancer.
All three of us were diagnosed with cancer in our 20s. It was – and still is – tough at times to adjust to life post-cancer. It is astonishing (but not surprising) how common post-traumatic stress disorders are among young cancer survivors. They often surface as chronic depression, anxiety, panic attacks, survivor guilt and a paralyzing fear of reoccurrence. Not to mention the physical toll cancer and the various forms of treatments take on the body.
Sadly, we also know that there is simply not enough support for young adults with cancer. Ciera, Ashley and I met while searching for a community that supported our healing process. Like so many young adults with cancer, we wanted to connect with others who had made similar life experiences. People who understand what we have gone through and can empathize with the struggles of stitching one’s life back together. That’s how Alive2Thrive came to be.
The Alive2Thrive mission is to create a safe environment for young adults who have faced cancer to heal emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
We facilitate this peer-to-peer healing through Yoga, Guided Meditations, Cooking Classes, Art Therapy, Journaling, Walks in Nature, and Campfires.
Because we can empathize with the financial implications that cancer can bring about, we are covering 60% of all expenses, which include daily organic meals and accommodation. 100% of all funds raised will go directly towards the retreat expenses.”
Scott.

Review – Fujifilm X-Pro2

The X-Pro2 is the first X series camera to feature Fujifilm’s new 24.3 megapixel X Trans sensor. That’s a decent jump from the 16.1 megapixels of previous X series bodies. Coming 4 years after the original and revolutionary X-Pro1, the X-Pro2 is every bit the flagship camera Fuji X shooters have been waiting for.

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Fujifilm let me borrow an X-Pro2 and the super telephoto XF100-400mm lens to review on a mid summer 3500km road trip through British Colombia and Alberta. I brought along a few other Fujifilm lenses as well as a Rokinon X mount 8mm fisheye to see what the X-Pro2 could do in various situations.

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X-Pro2 – XF100-400mm

This camera is gorgeous. It has a classic rangefinder look reminiscent of 1960’s Leica’s. As with all other X Series cameras that beauty is more than skin deep. The X Trans sensor is superb, offering outstanding detail and rich colours. The increased resolution gives you the ability to crop a bit more than you could with the old sensor.

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X-Pro2 – XF27mm f/2.8

Low light performance is good up to ISO 6400 and very usable up to ISO 12800. The mechanical shutter is good for 1/8000th of a second, up from 1/4000th on the X-T1/X-T10. The electronic shutter remains unchanged at a top speed of 1/32000th. It’s great for stealthy street shooting.

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X-Pro2 – XC 16-50mm

Auto focus points are WAY up, to 273, all of which are accessible. Wide tracking autofocus is significantly improved and the burst rate of 8 frames per second makes the X-Pro2 a real option for things like motorsports. My X-T10 handled a Formula 1 race with ease but the X-Pro2 would’ve been that much better. Time to plan for next year.

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X-Pro2 – XF100-400mm

The hybrid viewfinder is as cool as it gets. If you long for the days of film but need the information of a modern camera you will love the optical viewfinder (OVF). If you need to see exactly what you’re shooting you will love the electronic viewfinder (EVF). I shoot mostly with the EVF, its ultra fast refresh rate and high resolution work better for me but the OVF saw some duty with the XF27mm f/2.8 during some street shooting sessions. Of note for people who wear glasses while shooting, if they’re polarized sunglasses all you’ll see is a black EVF or rear screen when shooting landscape. I don’t get this with my X-T10 and it’s a bit frustrating.

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X-Pro2 – Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye

The controls ore excellent and you have 6 programmable buttons to personalize. the shutter speed and ISO dials are stacked like on old 35mm film camera and I absolutely love it that way. So many reviewers/photographers have complained about this setup and some have questioned its longevity. My 1960’s era Pentax SP1000 35mm SLR has an almost identical setup and it works perfectly.

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X-Pro2 – XF 27mm f/2.8

There’s a new joystick for selecting autofocus points. It’s placed within reach of your right thumb and is a great addition that will hopefully make its way to other X Series cameras. My only beef, and it’s a very small one, is that when carrying the X-Pro2 with a shoulder strap and leaving the cameras powered on between shoots it can easily move you focus point by rubbing up against you while walking.

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X-Pro2 – XF 100-400mm

Shooting with the X-Pro2 is so rewarding. Every button, every click, every shutter actuation sounds beautiful. The images are sublime, as X shooters have come to expect, and Fujifilm’s legendary film simulations look better than ever and the new Acros simulation is downright mesmerizing.

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X-Pro2 – XF 35mm f/1.4 R – Acros film simulation 

 

The semi-matte finish and magnesium body ensure this thing will last and age nicely. With weather sealing to keep dust and water out you will be shooting with the X-Pro2 for years to come. The diopter is new and improved, with a bigger dial which is easier to handle and less likely to be adjusted in you camera bag.

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X-Pro2 – Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye

 

There are dual card slots under a weather sealed door that has moved from the battery compartment to the side of the body. Shoot raw and JPEG simultaneously, use one for video and one for stills, whatever makes you happy. I’m not a video guy but the 1080 60p is better than previous Fujifilm efforts. If you want 4K you’ll want to wait for the X-T2.

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X-Pro2 – XC50-230mm

Overall the X-Pro2 is an outstanding camera. Good looking, solid performer, great images, extensive Fuji glass to suit every photographer. But that can be said about lots of cameras from every manufacturer. The difference with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is something that isn’t technical, it’s a feeling. The X-Pro2 makes me want to use it. It makes me want to flex my creative muscles, it’s makes me feel like an artist as opposed to just some guy with a fancy camera.

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X-Pro2 – XF100-400mm

If you’re an X Series shooter, and want to upgrade your gear, the X-Pro2 will not disappoint.

Scott.

Review – Fujifilm XF100-400 F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

When I got my first Fujifilm X Series camera, an X-A1 I received as a birthday gift, a lot of my photography friends wondered why I wanted a Fujifilm camera. Why not a DSLR or a micro four thirds camera they asked. Surely the lens selection for those choices were far more extensive. At the time they were right, but there was something about the look of the all black X-A1 that made me ignore their advice and dive into a relatively new system. Looks are probably a shallow reason to buy a camera (hello Leica shooters!) but the X-A1 was more than just a retro toy, it produced stunning images.

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XF100-144mm and X-Pro2 at Two Jack Lake.

Fast forward a couple of years and the Fujifilm X Series has grown to be a formidable player in the world of photography. The lens lineup is outstanding and the recently released X-Pro 2 (review coming soon) and the upcoming X-T2 and X-A3 have pushed the apsc sensor mirrorless X Series to a whole new level. The biggest hole in the lens lineup was a super telephoto for sports and wildlife photography. The XF100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (that’s a long name) has addressed this need and Fujifilm Canada was kind enough to lend me one to take on a recent Alberta road trip.

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Dinosaur Provincial Park.

I paired it up with the X-Pro 2, also loaned to me by Fujifilm, and my trusty X-T10. I took it to some great destinations including Mount Robson, Drumheller, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Banff National Park, and Lake Louise. The full frame equivalent focal length works out to 152-609mm on the apsc sensor. It’s the longest lens in Fuji’s arsenal, the next closest being the XC50-230mm F/4.5-6.7 OIS II. The optical image stabilization (OIS) is said to provide 5 stops of stabilization meaning you can shoot handheld at longer shutter speeds. It works great, even at 400mm.

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Tourist action shot. I emailed them this picture.

Paired with the X-Pro 2 it’s a bit of an awkward match up. The hybrid viewfinder is pointless past 50mm but the electronic viewfinder is fantastic. It’s ultra fast refresh rate and high resolution make shooting with this super zoom a breeze. The X-T10 is a better match for this lens with its SLR style centre EVF. The upcoming X-T2 with its battery grip will be the best thing to pair with this lens. The OIS tends to eat up batteries and the X-T2’s extended battery life would make a day out in the woods a little more bearable.

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Moose on the loose in Sherwood Park.

Speaking of bears, I only saw one on my trip and it was running away from me. I suppose that’s not a bad thing. I managed to find a moose, magpies, ravens, chipmunks, mountain sheep, and lots of mosquitoes. Shooting wildlife with this lens is a delight. Autofocus is quick and accurate, colour and sharpness are great, and mechanically everything feels solid and well built.

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Just outside of Drumheller.

You can set focus from 5 meters to infinity to help with auto focus speed for far away subjects or set it for the the full range if need be. There’s a manual aperture ring and a switch on the lens to switch to auto aperture. The focus and zoom rings offer nice resistance and are covered in ridged rubber for extra grip. There’s a removable tripod mount which can be positioned at any angle and locked into place with a set screw.

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George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

 

The WR stands for Weather Resistant so you can shoot in the rain or snow as long as you’re paired up with a WR body (X-Pro2, X-T1, X-T2)

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Eagles above Two Jack Lake.

Tracking autofocus is decent when used with the X-Pro2 or the X-T10. I would’ve liked to try some sports photography with this lens but I simply ran out of time. I was able to get some action shots of a few Bald Eagles soaring above Two Jack Lake though.

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Fat Chipmunk in Banff.

There is one weird quirk I noticed during post processing. At 400mm the JPEG images come out a bit sharper/better than the raw files. Fujifilm is known for excellent JPEG files but I still would’ve expected the raw results to be the better of the 2, even if only marginally. In all honesty the majority of my workflow is still JPEG with Fujifilm, they’re that good.

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Nearly full moon over Vancouver.

Fujifilm has become a real option for professionals looking to move away from bulky DSLR gear and the ever growing lens lineup can only help that trend.

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Devonian Gardens in Edmonton.

This is a lens I will be adding to my camera bag in the very near future. It is a bit large and heavy for a mirrorless system but compared to an equivalent Canon or Nikon lens it’s quite compact.

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George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary.

Watch for my upcoming review of the X-Pro2, possibly the sexiest camera I’ve ever used.

Scott.

Review – Canon Powershot G5 X

I don’t like the word “Powershot.” When I hear that word I picture a $99 pocket sized point and shoot that can’t compete with your everyday smartphone camera. I mention this because the Canon Powershot G5 X is not a cheap, pointless point and shoot. It is a heavily featured camera with specs aimed at the semi-serious photography enthusiast. Just call it the “Canon G5 X” and ditch powershot for all but the bargain basement models. IMG_2658

The G5 X is smaller than it looks. I don’t have the biggest hands and it felt very small to me. Within that small frame the G5 X is feature packed. Large 1 inch sensor with 20.2 megapixels,  24-100mm equivalent f1.8-2.8 lens, 1080p 60fps video, image stabilization, multi angle LCD touchscreen with touch shutter. high resolution electronic viewfinder, wifi, and much more.

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The lens is fast and sharp at all focal lengths and manages decent shallow depth of field with good looking bokeh, something that other 1 inch sensor cameras struggle with. The G5 X offers a background defocus feature but it looks artificial at best and you don’t really need it.

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Built in image stabilization allows some fairly low shutter speeds in lower light without needing to crank up the ISO value. That being said ISO speeds up to 1600 were very usable despite the 1 inch sensor. I found the G5 X had better ISO performance than the Panasonic Lumix LX-100 and its larger micro 4/3″ sensor. It’s nowhere near APSC or Full Frame ISO performance but it was surprisingly good.

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Macro shooting with the G5 X was a delight. Canon lists the close focusing distance at 2 inches (5cm) but I managed to get a bit closer with manual focus.  Other than dedicated macro lenses I still think smartphones are hard to beat for shooting up close although you get shallower focus area with the lager sensor in the Canon.

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Metering in tough lighting conditions is a breeze with the G5 X. It handles backlit conditions very well. you can half press on your desired exposure, recompose, and shoot. Auto mode is decent too if you need to hand the camera off to someone to take a shot for you.

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For all of my food photography pals out there the G5 X is a nice little alternative to your big gear or smartphone. It shoots RAW as well as lovely jpeg files that require little editing. Transfer the images to your smartphone via the Canon app and upload to your favourite social media site for everyone to see.

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The RAW files are as good as you’d expect from a company that’s been making cameras as long as Canon. Not much else to add really, they’re great.

The control layout of the G5 X will appeal to the control freak in all of you. There are customizable dials and buttons all over the place including a control ring around the lens, perfect for aperture or zoom control. The controls were my biggest source of frustration despite the excellent dials and front ring. The buttons on the rear, especially the menu button the the wheel around the D pad, were too easy to accidentally push with the base of my thumb while shooting.

Battery life was better than expected although the battery indicator is typical small camera terrible. It stays at a full 3 bars for quite some time then drops to 2 bars for what felt like 25 shots, then 1 bar for even fewer shots, then dead. Why is it so hard for camera makers, not just Canon, to use a percentage based battery indicator?

The G5 X seems like a good candidate for video bloggers. HD video, wide angle lens, hot shoe, a screen that can face forwards. bigheadtaco.com did some great vlogging tests with it. 

The Canon G5 X retails from $799 to $999 CAD depending on current promotions. If you can live without the EVF and hot shoe the Canon Powershot G7 X ($899) is slightly smaller with identical internals.

Don’t forget to to follow me on Instagram and Twitter and like WFLBC on Facebook.

Scott.

Retro Review – Minolta Hi-Matic 7s

My rangefinder obsession continues undiminished. My Minolta Hi-Matic 7s is one I’ve had for quite a while but I just got around to putting a roll through it. I chose Ilford Delta 400 Professional black and white negative film, my first time shooting with it. First time camera with first time film produced some interesting results.

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The Hi-Matic 7s was produced in 1966 as a replacement to the Hi-Matic 7. The only real difference was the addition of a hot shoe. It has a Rokkor 45mm f/1.8 lens that stops down to f/22. Shutter speeds go from bulb up to 1/500th of a second, not the fastest but that’s not really what this camera is about. The meter in my example doesn’t work so I shot everything using the “Sunny Sixteen” rule with varying success.

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The Rokkor glass is very sexy. Great contrast, sharp in the center only falling off a bit wide open. The viewfinder patch and frame lines are bright and the finders parallax correction is decent from 6 feet to infinity. Closer than 6 feet is a bit off, something that I’ll be able to anticipate on my next roll. The film advance lever has the longest throw I’ve ever come across which takes some time to master. it’s easy enough to operate but it’s hard to move though a single frame in one motion.

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It’s a bit of a brick. Heavy, not super portable, but still smaller than SLR’s of a similar vintage. I picked mine up on Ebay from a vintage camera seller in Japan. Other than the meter it’s perfect and I got it for $50 including shipping. I did manage to shoot some nice shots of the inside of my lens caps too as rangefinders don’t look though the lens like an SLR. I’m sure it won’t be the last time.

Film is not dead! Don’t let your old cameras collect dust in the attic. Go get them, clean them up, get some film, and create art!

Scott.

Montreal – 2016 F1 Canadian Grand Prix

The Canadian Grand Prix is a bucket list item that I have now checked off. The 7th race of the 21 race 2016 Formula 1 calendar took place from June 10th to 13th on Isle Notre Dame at the Circuit Gilles Villineuve. My dad and I took in all three days of racing in varying amounts with Sunday being our longest day at the track. In our off track time we tried to explore as much of Montreal as possible on foot.

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Turn 8 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

The race itself was as enjoyable as I’d hoped. Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes took the top spot after a race long battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. My favourite driver and team, Jenson Button and McLaren Honda, didn’t make it to the end suffering an engine failure bu the MP4-31 looks and sounds great.

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The Biosphere from Expo ’67

Getting to the track was a breeze on the Metro. We stayed a few blocks from Berri-UQAM, the central Metro station. From there it’s a short one stop trip under the river to Jean Drapeau Station and a short walk to the track. We bought 3 day Metro passes for $18 and had little trouble navigating the system.

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Mural Festival

There are free festivals that coincide with the GP weekend. Mural Festival, a massive street festival on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, and Francofolies, a 6 stage music festival centered around the Place Des Arts along Rue Sainte-Catherine. They’d be reason enough to visit Montreal on their own let alone the Grand Prix.

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Old Montreal

Old Montreal was my favourite part of town. The Saint-Sulpice Seminary being the oldest building dating back to 1687 and the Notre-Dame Basilica (1829)… I have no words to describe how beautiful and grand it is. Narrow cobblestone streets lined by old buildings give a European charm to the area. One could be forgiven for thinking they were in Prague or Paris. Restaurants, shops, bars, the area has a great vibe and was in full swing over the race weekend. Make sure to check out the Old Port of Montreal while you’re in the area.

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The Old Port of Montreal

There are 2 places you simply have to go if you want an authentic, old school Montreal meal. First is Schwartz’s Deli, the quintessential spot for Montreal Smoked Meat and Poutine. It’s been serving the hits at 3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard since 1928. Be prepared to line up and wait, which is totally worth it.

The second place is Bar-B-Barn, a chicken and rib joint that has been frozen in time since 1967. Dark wood, dim lighting, amazing ribs and chicken, and all the nostalgia you can handle. Come hungry or be prepared to leave with a doggy bag.

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Bar B Barn

Street art, both visual and performance, are everywhere in Montreal. Epic murals, street performers, musicians. Buskers in Metro stations have dedicated spots and seemed to be doing quite well playing for the massive GP crowds that swept through the stations daily.

A few tips. Try to speak French, even if you’re terrible. Everyone we dealt with, minus our airport bus driver, spoke fluent English but we noticed a marked improvement in service if we attempted to speak French. A simple Bonjour or Merci will get you a long way. That being said, service in Montreal was disappointing on all fronts. It was a busy weekend but I was surprised that things took as long as they did in restaurants and bars, some not full at all.

Learn the Montreal Metro system before you go. It uses a tap system similar to a lot of major transit systems but only requires you to tap in, not out. Learn where the stations are, where you can get to, look up the 747 Airport Bus, a cheap and decent way to get from Trudeau Airport to Downtown Montreal.

Montreal is a wonderful place that I am anxious to return to. So much history, so much culture, so much potential. I’ve only scratched the surface and I can’t wait to return.

Thanks to my wife Lyndsey for arranging the Grand Prix tickets and my dad for arranging our flights. All photos in this post (minus the food photos) we taking using Fujifilm X series cameras and lenses. Thanks to Fujifilm for their continued support (they let me borrow stuff, it’s awesome).

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Like us on Facebook.

Scott.

 

Review – Fitbit Charge HR

Reviewing a fitness tracker seems like a stretch for me. I can honestly say that this little black band has quickly become one of my favourite things. I won it from Vancouver Is Awesome and Telus (thanks again!) about a month ago. Since then I have become obsessed with step counts, distances, staircases, caloric intake, and sleep patterns. More on that later.

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The Charge HR is a minimalist fitness band with a built in heart rate sensor. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts 5 days according to Fitbit but I’ve found that 3-4 days is more accurate. I charge it every day while I’m in the shower so I don’t ever worry about battery life. It tracks steps, heart rate, distance, calories burned, and stories climbed. It also shows the time and displays incoming calls from your smartphone via Bluetooth.

It’s comfortable to wear but the bump on the back of the watch face that contains the heart rate monitor takes some getting used to. There have been many reports of Fitbits causing skin irritation and I can verify that this has happened to me. The thing about fitness trackers is that you wear them 24/7 unlike a watch which you would most likely remove nightly. Keeping the Charge HR and other Fitbits clean is important and helps minimize irritation.

The step counter is pretty accurate based on random manual step counting. I’ve found a variation of +/- 2% based on daily checks over the first 2 weeks with the Charge HR.

The heart rate monitor is similarly accurate for moderate activity but high intensity exercise isn’t its strong suit. For those that need a heart rate monitor for serious workouts nothing beats a chest strap. I’ve found that my heart rate is much better than I thought it would be given my fairly sedentary lifestyle. 59-62 beats per minute resting and my recovery time after being active is faster than I would’ve guessed.

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So… the device itself is pretty good. Is it the best? I have no idea as I’ve never used a fitness tracker before. What I can tell you is that the social aspect of Fitbit is what won me over. The mobile app is outstanding. It syncs with your smartphone and gives you all the info on your Fitbit plus sleep tracking and meal tracking with an extensive database of food as well as bar code scanning. You can add friends from your favourite social networks or from your contact list. There are challenges like the Workweek Hustle and the Weekend Warrior which pit you against your friends to see who can get the most steps.

In the last month I have lost nearly 20 pounds, dropped one pant size and I’ve had to add new holes to a couple of belts. The Fitbit isn’t what made this happen, I am what made this happen. The Fitbit and their great little app have been my motivation. The daily and weekly challenges against my friends have motivated me. The banter between us when someone has a big daily step total pushes me to get off my ass and move.

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I’ve started walking the Stanley Park Seawall weekly plus another 4-5km in the downtown core in addition to my daily goal of 10000 steps and 8km. I’m mad when I don’t get to 10000 steps in a day and I’ll often go for walks in the evening if I feel like I’m not going to reach my target. Most days I’m over that target before the end of my workday.

Sleep tracking has shown me that I sleep better than most (if Facebook statuses about tired people are any indication). 6.5-7 hours a night during the week 7-8 on the weekends with minimal restlessness and awake time. Not bad for a guy with a 6 year old daughter who likes to wake up early.

The meal tracking within the app has transformed the way I eat. Some days I found I wasn’t eating enough and that can be almost as bad as eating too much if you’re trying to get fit.

The Fitbit Charge HR has been a wonderful addition to my daily routine. I can’t wait to see where it pushes me over the coming months. Is it perfect? No, but nothing is. It isn’t particularly attractive but it isn’t hideous either. Overall I’m very impressed with it, the app, and what it’s motivated me to try and become (a healthy person…).

Scott.

Review – Panasonic Lumix LX-100

When I want to review a camera but the manufacturer plays the “someone will contact you shortly” game… I buy the camera myself. The Panasonic Lumix LX-100 has been on my radar for some time. 4K video, 12.8mp micro four thirds sensor, fast Leica glass. All the ingredients for a great little camera. Do the specs add up? Let’s find out.

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This thing is a dust magnet…

Let’s start with 4K video. I’m not a video guy but this thing is seriously impressive given it’s small size. 30 frames per second might not be enough for the hardcore videographers out there but this camera isn’t aimed at them. Sadly my video skills are abysmal so I’ll post something dug up from YouTube in place of my kid playing indoor soccer.

Video = good, but how does the LX-100 fair as a still camera? It’s bigger than the Sony RX100 IV but it has a larger micro 4/3 sensor, larger than the Sony’s 1″ sensor. It fits in a coat pocket but it’s a bit big to tuck into your Levis. Full manual controls with dedicated dials for shutter speed, exposure compensation, and an aperture ring on the lens. The Lieca DC Vario-Summilux lens is fast and sharp. Its 10.9-34mm focal length (25-74mm full frame equivalent) and f/1.7-2.8 aperture are a good combo.

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Colour and contrast are are good in most light as long as you don’t push ISO above 1600. Higher ISO’s produce a strange yellow/orange hue. This is my first micro 4/3 experience and I was hoping for better ISO flexibility. That being said the built in image stabilization made hand holding longer shutter speeds a good option.

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Low light performance is just ok. Noise is controllable as long as you stay under ISO 1600, ISO 800 and under are strongly recommended. Auto-focus in low light is truly terrible (sorry Panasonic) and often results in complete failure. Manual focusing is a good alternative. It utilizes a zoomed in area and focus peaking in the center of the frame.

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The Leica glass is impressive. Edge to edge sharpness is good wide open and gets better as the lens is stopped down. At f/1.7 you can get acceptable shallow depth of field but the bokeh is kind of blah. It almost looks like smartphone bokeh.

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Macro shooting is good but again auto-focus drops the ball. To focus on close subjects you have to use manual focus. Pretty typical for close focusing though and not a bad thing.

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There are some creative filters you can shoot with but they’re mostly garbage. The only one I found useful was high contrast black and white. After shooting with Fujifilm’s film simulations other creative filters are always disappointing. Let this be a lesson, don’t shoot with filters because they suck.

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Long exposures look good aside from some weird lines in the starbursts around lights. Noise is well controlled and the menu and dials are easy to navigate to get the perfect long exposure.

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For all of you food instagrammers the LX-100 is a great choice. Small, discreet, good colour, rich detail, shallow depth of field wide open. Food photography is where this little camera shines.

The odd thing about the LX-100 is that it has a twin. The Leica D-Lux Type 109. It’s almost identical inside and out. The LX-100 has a nice grip and thumb rest where the D-Lux is smooth and minimalist but other than that? The LX-100 costs $800-$1000+ CAD where the Leica is $1599 CAD. I can’t imagine the Leica being worth the extra cash.

So who’s the Lumix LX-100 for? It’s perfect for the hobby/enthusiast photographer looking to take their images and video to the next level. It combines great video with good image quality and packs it into a small, well built camera with a premium feel and look that will appeal to the fashion conscious. It doesn’t quite hold up if you’re a serios shooter looking for a pocket/travel camera. It’s close but it’s not quite there.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Scott.

 

Retro Review – Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

Retro Reviews are something new for WFLBC.com. I love film, I love old cameras, this is something I’m very excited about. First up, the Minolta Hi-Matic AF2. A 35mm fixed lens point and shoot from 1981.

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Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

This camera is very much a film equivalent to the modern Fujifilm X100 series of rangefinder styled premium point and shoots. 39mm fixed f/2.8 lens, auto focus, auto exposure, the only thing manual on this camera is film loading and advance. It has a large, bright, parallax corrected viewfinder with bright frame lines. There are 2 LED’s. one that indicates the need for the built in flash (which beeps like crazy) and one that tells you if you’re focused on something near or far. It also beeps if you’re out of focus which is kind of cool/kind of annoying.

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Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400

Auto focus is very accurate and quite fast for a camera of this vintage. The lens gives fantastic contrast making it perfect for street photography and black and white film.

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Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400 – with flash.

The shutter is very quiet, another good feature for a street camera. The leaf shutter makes a weird sound best described as a tiny robot sneezing.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400 – with flash

The little pop-up flash is impressive. It does its job well even in bright sunlight. Ilford HP5 loves this camera and the camera loves it back. Dark blacks and bright whites that border on overexposed when the flash is used. I like that look.

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Fujicolor Superia X-tra 400 – with flash

Color reproduction is great, even with Fujifilm drugstore film loaded up. I’m blown away by the sharpness of the lens. This camera will probably see some travel miles logged this summer. Montreal, a road trip to Alberta, and a weekend in BC’s Cariboo region.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Unlike a lot of cameras from this era the AF2 takes AAA batteries. Anyone who’s tried to resurrect an old film camera knows the pain of finding extinct batteries or using a modern equivalent that isn’t quite right.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

The Hi-Matic line reaches back to the 60’s with some great manual rangefinders. I have a 7s I’ll be reviewing soon. The AF2 is kind of stuck between 2 eras. Rangefinders were all but gone in the late 70’s aside from Leica and a few others. The AF2 isn’t a rangefinder but it looks and feels like one. It adds some 80’s electronics but sticks to manual film advance. It’s a bit of an odd duck but that’s typical Minolta.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400
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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Prices for the AF2 are all over the place right now. As more street photographers rediscover this little gem the price will certainly go up. Right now they’re anywhere from $10 to $100+. There are wide and tele lens attachments, just like the X100. It’s like Fujifilm used this thing as a template.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

You may wonder why I bother with film. My digital Fuji X Series cameras offer exceptional image quality, the ease of automatic and digital everything along with great manual controls, and all the cool retro looks of film cameras. Megapixels, instant gratification, and the ability to shoot thousands of images just to pick a few good ones have dumbed down photography to the point where it is losing its artistic appeal. Film is magic to me. Film is the unknown in an age where Google makes you think you’re a genius. 24 or 36 chances to create art and you can’t be sure you’ve done anything until the roll is done.

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Stay tuned for more retro reviews!

Scott.

Nine O’Clock Gun Co. Pop Up Shop

 

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My pals at The Nine O’Clock Gun Company are having a one day pop up shop on May 7th (10am – 6pm) at 4368 Main St in Vancouver. There will be a limited number of Dugout VIP passes for sale that include a limited edition beer from Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks.

From their website –

On May 7 – we will be launching The Fielder’s Caps Collection in 4 styles including kids and performance mesh.

The Dugout VIP Pass entitles you see and reserve one of our Fielder’s Caps before anyone else even sees the new designs. You choose any hat and it will be packaged especially for you to pick up at the event.

Each VIP Pass comes with a limited edition bottle of Cannon IPA by Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks….

Plus one ticket to our annual night out at the Vancouver Canadians game on August 17th!

Available: 16.

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VIP passes go one sale today (April 2nd). Prebuys for pickup at the event go on sale May 1st. I’ll be on site snapping pictures and maybe drinking beer… Passes and prebuys can be found on the Nine O’clock Gun website.

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Me and my favourite N.O.G. bucket

I hope to see you at the event on May 7th!

Scott.