Opteka Fisheye

I don’t think I’ve ever gone into lenses at all. I’ve spent so much time talking pictures and all sorts of random things, but I never go into lenses. Honestly though, I don’t really own a wide variety of them; none of which really warrant going into detail about. I have a t2i with the standard kit lens and I also have the 50mm 1.8, 55-250, and the 75-300 Ultrasonic. Aside from the kit lens, I use the 50 and the telephoto most often. I used to carry the 50 all the time, but for normal outings where I need some flexibility, I still use the kit and there aint nothin wrong with that.

I want to talk about the Opteka Fisheye with macro adapter. I bought it shortly after I got my camera, originally just to play with. Eventually, I started incorporating it into my camera bag, not for the fisheye, but for the macro. I picked up the whole thing over at Amazon and it shipped with adapter rings, carry pouch, and caps for both ends of the lens.

I have no complaints. Every once in a while I’ll really want to pull out the Opteka fisheye and put it on my kit lens, but it doesn’t do too much for me. I would look at the pictures taken with the fisheye and call it stylistic, but it doesn’t add much to the photo. The macro adapter unscrews from the fisheye portion and is used as a standalone on the kit lens.

Macro captures images that you can’t really see with your eyes. The textures are magnificent and the magnification really lets you see a whole new dimension. Still, I only play with it every so often. It’s a lot of work to use and time is of the essence when it comes to capturing that shot. A mighty fine investment.

Onehundred

TulsHere’s some coolness. Onehundred: they believe in community, crowdsourcing, and design. I’m all for multi-tools and the new thing recently is compact tools. Instead of a Leatherman or Gerber bogging you down, you have something small that goes on a keychain. In this case, it’s business card sized, so it fits in your wallet too. Just take a look at the Tuls family of multitools – 4 of them in all, all in either stainless steel or titanium. They’re affordably priced and look really cool. I need one so I’ll mull it over and see which one is right for me. If I’m going to invest in something, it better be useful to me.Roul Diagram

Roul: Standard and metric drill guide; not sure if I’ll need this one, but it could be useful for woodworking and crafts or when I’m in the shop.Stan Diagram

Stan: Geared toward electronics. This one could come in handy. Who likes tangled wires?Lucy Diagram

Lucy: Standard and metric wrenches. I think it’s safest to go for this one. Multifunctional and perfect for the car or bike.Opie Diagram

Opie: Bottle opener. Just plain epic.

I mean really. Just look at these things. They’re sleek and metallic. Not only do they look nice, they serve a purpose. For more info, visit them here.

iTunes Radio

I spent several hours updating apps on my Mac. In a matter of a few days, I’ve updated the OS and iTunes. I haven’t really gone in depth with iTunes radio, but I played with it a bit and it seems to be worth it. I like that it’s integrated and built into iTunes, so one media player handles it all. I can purchase, play, make playlists, stream, and organize.

I’ve been through Grooveshark, Pandora, and Spotify: a few contenders in the streaming music business. I’ve had a lot of good times with all of them because they’re all pretty simple to use, although some are more feature-rich than others.

All I had to do in iTunes was click on Radio and add stations. The music just started up without any hesitation. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of country music. I added a few different stations, including a bunch of Apple created playlists. That’s the easiest thing to do. Right clicking any station will bring up a menu for adding your favorite stations or playing it right on the spot.Adding Stations

If you navigate down to your added stations, you can customize them by clicking them. That brings up your playlist history, allows for changing of play mode, and the play more/never play options. That’s all you really need in a streaming service right? Clicking on the star when something is playing let’s you tweak everything from there so you don’t have to jump into the full editor (kinda like Pandora’s thumbs up and down).Play More

If you get bored of a station, just make another one, tweak the settings, and let iTunes do its job. Clicking the little plus in your stations lets you create stations based on genre, song, or artist. Simple. I look forward to seeing what iTunes radio has to offer and use it to discover new music, but I expect a few snags along the way, seeing as it is still pretty new, while Pandora has had time to perfect their service.Create Station

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Kula Deeper

More innovations in photography! I can’t really afford any of these cool new toys, but I still find them interesting. I always keep my eyes peeled for new gadgets that make photography more interesting. Most of the time they’re just unnecessary add-ons, but that doesn’t mean I can’t check it out right?

The Kula Deeper turns your DSLR into a 3D camera. It basically allows you to take 3D pictures and video. I think 3D is still a relatively new field. I don’t know too many average consumers who have gear capable of viewing 3D. Some people might be into it, but the average person doesn’t have a pair of 3D glasses and has no need toKúla Deeper

It’s pretty interesting how they’re building on the 3D nature of things. The Kula Deeper is a device that attaches to a camera lens and, through a series of mirrors, captures side-by-side images. It basically does the work for you. Then experience 3D right on the camera using a stereo viewer. After capture, they have special software, kúlacode, which will turn it into a 3D format. Pretty cool stuff right? By default it’ll fit on 77mm lenses, but you can get filters and
make it work on other sizes. I like the fact that you don’t really have to think about it. All you have to do is capture your image with the device attached and run it through the software.

Go ahead and check out their website. Then go and help them out on their funding page! I can’t wait to see one out in the wild and see what kind of photos people are taking with it.

Smartwatch Wars

Let the battle commence! Smartwatch wars! I mean the battle of the smartwatches, not to be confused with the dumbwatches that have served us so well so far. I wrote about the Pebble smartwatch before. I actually own one and I love it. There have also been rumors floating around that Apple is about to get in on this too and it would be interesting to see what they come up with.

My question: what’s up with the smartwatch revolution? I guess it’s not too much of a leap. We already have some high tech Google glasses out in the wild, so why not tech-loaded watches? We’ve pretty much reached the limits of improvements and additions for phones, so we have to move on and conquer other devices. How about adding some more interactivity in cameras? Oh yea, they’re already on that with the Samsung Galaxy Camera and the recently announced phone/camera combos, the Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra, which run on Android. I’m actually interested in the Xperia line because of the add-on lenses.Sony Xperia Z1

So, smartwatches are the way to go. In essence, it extends the capabilities of your cell phone via bluetooth, allowing basic app connectivity and general control of your phone’s features like email and text messaging. Good luck to all these companies who are jumping in. Within a few years, prices will drop, and new, more refined smartwatches will be affordable and ready to buy. Let’s run through a couple real fast. Again, don’t forget Pebble!

  • Qualcomm Toq: Mirasol color screen and 3-5 day battery life. $300. It’s compatible with Android phones and yes, it looks quite appealing. It’ll do all the smartwatchy-type things.Qualcomm Toq
  • Samsung Galaxy Gear: 1.63-inch screen, 1.9 MP camera, ~27 hr battery life, a speaker, and two mics. $300. Guess what? It has a color screen – something that the Pebble doesn’t have. You can actually take calls on the watch, which is pretty cool. Sadly, it only works with a few select few Samsung smartphones and tablets.Samsung Galaxy Gear
  • Sony Smartwatch 2: 1.6-inch screen, NFC and bluetooth, 3-4 day battery life. $263. Again, same kind of functionality compatible with most Android phones. It also has a color screen and allows you to answer calls and make calls. It looks beautiful.Sony Smartwatch 2

So, let it being. The great smartwatch wars will wage on from now until the next big thing. We’ll all have one at one point or another, but analog will always have a place. Always.

*9/9/13 It turns out that Nissan is jumping into the Smartwatch game too.

  • Nissan Nismo Watch: This one is a niche watch geared toward drivers of the Nissan Nismo. It’s not really about connecting to your smartphone, but more about connecting to your car. Alerts from your Nismo. Sweet.Nissan Nismo Watch
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DigiPod

Now this isn’t something you see everyday. I have an analog Minolta XG-9 SLR that I take for a spin every now and again, but the cost of film keeps me on my toes. Yes, I believe in starting out with film because it’s relatively unforgiving. You either have it down or you need to work on it. Not only is there a cost associated with buying film, but also developing it and getting prints.

My Minolta XG-9

My Minolta XG-9

I don’t have a problem with swapping film out; I could do it all day long. SLRs have a calming effect on me. DSLRs on the other hand, have all these options, numbers, and buttons that I hardly ever use. DSLRs are hectic and SLRs are relatively calm. My biggest blockade is the cost. It’s all about the cost of film and the hassle of doing any sort of post production on them, coupled with the hardships of sharing them digitally.

Introducing the DigiPod on Indiegogo. Their tagline: “A digital 35mm film cartridge, that once adjusted, will fit most SLR cameras”. Working off what I’ve read: It’s a digital film pod that replaces the film in a film camera, allowing everything to be saved to a micro SD. It also has a port for connecting to the computer and a built-in battery. Supposedly it can be adjusted from 24 to 3200 ASA, to be set before it is put into the camera and a battery save mode. Neat.

Yea, I’m intrigued and very interested in seeing how it turns out. I imagine it to be a simple plug and go type device that’s easy to use and hassle-free. If successful, the DigiPod would allow anyone to dust off their old 35mm cameras and go for an all day outing.

I read an update just now about an option for RAW file capture, which is plain awesome. That would help out, especially when it comes time for me to import it all into Lightroom.

Go ahead and check this project out at Indigogo and back it if you’re interested. Make sure you check on the updates section every once in a while.