Top Ten Tech 2012
Last year, I put together a list for my top ten tech. As with last year, my list will consist of some things that have been around longer than this year, but I have now paid enough attention to buy it or to add it to my wishlist.
Canon 5D Mark III - This was my favorite new device in 2012. While there were cameras that came to market with many more megapixels. This camera has better low light performance, faster frames per second, and is just a better all around camera, in my opinion and for my needs. Popular Photography also named it their camera of the year.
Big Green Egg - I have wanted one of these forever and finally got one in 2012. Whether I am making a steak, pizza, smoked turkey, pork butt, etc... The Egg never lets me down.
Black Rapid RS7 (with Carry Speed Mounting Plate) - When I found out that I had a pinched nerve in my neck, I knew I needed to find a way to carry my camera without adding more stress. The black rapid hangs over the shoulder and makes it a lot easier to carry a camera. I also bought the Carry Speed Mounting Plate since it allows a tripod to be attached without removing the strap.
iPad with Retina screen - I bought an iPad 3 earlier this year. The main reason I updated from my Original iPad was the retina screen and LTE. Apple has already updated the iPad to the 4th version and it would be my pick if I did not already own the 3. The retina screen makes text, video and photos much better than the original iPad.
Eye-Fi Pro X2 - Since my camera now has a CF and SD card, I send a RAW file to the CF card and a medium jpeg to the Eye-fi. This allows me to send photos from the Eye-fi to an iPhone/iPad without a computer. I really like this for updating Flickr or other websites when I am on vacation. Since buying it, I usually leave my laptop at home and travel with an iPad only.
Maverick ET732 - These are for remotely watching the temperature on your grill. There are two probes..one for the grill and the other for the food. I used mine all summer and it was nice to be able to keep an eye on things while sitting on the couch.
Geotag Photo Pro app - This is an app that works with an iPhone or Android device that can be used to Geotag photos when you shoot with a camera without a Geotagging feature.
Google Nexus7- While I have never owned a Google device, this had to be on my top ten list this year. It costs $130 less than the iPad mini and has a better screen. While I have no need for this size of a device, it is hard to ignore a tablet that costs less than $200 with the ability to run so many apps. As I mentioned before, if you have a ton of money tied up in Apple apps already, it may make the difference in price more acceptable. Personally, I would get this or wait for Apple to put a better screen on the mini.
Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth® audio devices - While I prefer Airplay when I am on a wifi network, sometimes you get outside a network and still want to wirelessly handle audio streaming. I bought one of these for our sunroom and it works great. I simply hooked it up to an amp (t-amp) that feeds a pair of outdoor speakers. Then I paired my iPhone or iPad to it and it worked like a charm.
Weebly web hosting - While I don't know that I have ever mentioned my web host, I thought this would be a good time to do it. It makes setting up a website extremely easy and their customer service is simply fantastic. Before I was on Weebly, I was using a competitor and getting them to help with anything was a waste of time. However, I had an issue this year that I needed help with and Weebly told me the steps I needed to do and they did the rest. (I pay Weebly the same as everyone else with a pro account, so I am not saying this because they pay me).
Of course, there are some things I didn't mention...Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4, Flipboard app, Splashtop Win8, VM Ware Fusion 5, Phillips Fidelio Airplay speaker, iPhone5, etc.. but there are always cuts that need to be made.
Geotag Photos Pro App
As I have mentioned, I got a new camera, and unfortunately, it does not include GPS data with the photos. Of course, Canon has a nice solution for you....however, it costs over $250 and attaches to the flash hot shoe. From what I can tell, you can't use a flash while using the GPS (GP-E2).
I was preparing for a trip to the Smoky Mountains and decided to try out a cheaper solution. The iPhone has several apps for GPS tracking, but I went with Geotag Photos Pro ($3.99) after reading some reviews online. They do have a free version, but I did not try it.
When I arrived in the mountains, I opened the app, synchronized the time with my camera and started a "new trip" and began recording. Since I was not getting a signal from AT&T at the location, I was wondering if the app would actually work. To my surprise, it had no problems.
The iPhone battery does burn down faster than it would in sleep mode, but I got through a day of shooting with about half the battery left. We weren't in my vehicle, so I was unable charge the phone during the day (note to self: buy a car charger).
At some point, I gave the app my email address and then I uploaded the logged data. When I got back home, I setup a password on their website and downloaded their desktop app. Once I had the app installed, I opened it, chose the folder with the photos and had it attach the GPS data.
After several hours, it finished attaching the GPS data to my 1300 or so RAW files. I am not sure if it takes less time with smaller jpegs, but you may want to keep this in mind if you need to work with your folders quickly. Also, I made the mistake of importing my files into Lightroom before attaching the GPS information. The GPS data did not automatically attach, so I had to remove the photos from Lightroom and reimport them. The GPS data was now there and I was able to click on the map and see the location of the photos.
Since I have so many photo files, I can't say for sure that all of them have correct data, but with the several files I have checked, the location seems correct ( I was in the mountains, so it is a bit difficult to pinpoint the exact location of a photo. I would like to try it in the city before saying for sure).
After attaching the GPS, I still had issues uploading the information to Flickr from Lightroom. However, I exported the photo to Aperture and didn't have any issues with the GPS information being attached. Click the picture below to see the map (on the right of the photo):
As you can tell, I like this app. For $3.99, it is a bargain!
Canon 5D Mark III
To update or not to update, that is the question...
Over the past 8 years, I have been using a Canon 20D for all of my DSLR needs. The 20D was an amazing revelation at that time. I was using a 4 megapixel Canon point and shoot (still have it with a case for underwater photos) and I decided to step up to something better since I was committed to a "picture a day" on a website called Pbase.
Over the past couple of years, the 20D started to feel more and more out of date. However, I never really saw a new camera hit the market that didn't feel like I was making a compromise.
The Nikon D800 hit the market in recent days. It has a gaudy 36.3 megapixels!! Wow! The amount of detail you can get with that kind of sensor would be amazing.
At the same time Canon came out with the Canon 5D Mark III which is a more expensive 22.3 megapixel camera. At first blush, it sounds a bit ridiculous to charge more for a camera with 14 fewer megapixels. However, as with all things, purpose sometimes outweighs everything. For example, if you need to haul lumber, you might go with a pickup truck over a Toyota Prius even if the Prius gets much better gas milage.
Since I am a one camera kind of guy, I needed a camera that could do everything I needed without a lot of fuss. The main thing that has been holding me back is the fact that full frame cameras have had slow shutter speeds in the consumer market. I wanted something to shoot fast moving pups, bees, birds, horses, etc.
The 6 frames per second speed of the Mark III was a meaningful step forward. The D800 can also produce 6 frames per second if you use the $415 (Amazon's price today) Nikon Grip (which brings the price closer to the Mark III). Also, even with the grip you would need to have a lot of battery power left to get 6 frames per second. However, you can't produce full RAW photos. From what I understand, you have to use DX mode which is equivalent to 15.3 MP. Also, the buffer is said to be slower, which would slow you down after you took your initial shots. Personally, I don't want the extra weight of the grip all the time and the DX factor would kill the one main stat that makes the D800 so special.
That being said, if I had Nikon lenses, I would have gone that route. The fact that I have Canon lenses and did not want to sell everything was a major decision in my choice, as well. Also, my dad shoots Canon, so losing access to his lenses also made the choice easier.
As you can tell, I ended up buying the 5D Mark III. Since I only buy a new camera once every 8 years or so, I felt it was worth the money, even if I think it is a bit overpriced compared to the Nikon D800. Also, I can sell some of my APS-C (only work on smaller sensors) lenses to help pay for it. Personally, I think it is a better "all around" camera than the Nikon and that was my main consideration. However, if I was mainly shooting landscapes, I would have had a harder choice to make.
Dog loving, Big Green Egg worshiping, Tech enthusiast, residing in Memphis, TN. Home of the Tigers, Grizzlies, Elvis, Al Green, Stax, Hi Records, Ardent Studios, Beale Street, Peabody Ducks, etc.. I have also added the Jeep Wrangler to the list of things I am enthusiastic about.
Flickr pics below