Many of us are eagerly waiting for Tynan’s next gear post. I thought it might be interesting what other readers can recommend. I will make a start here:
Suunto Ambit Watch
The Suunto Ambit is a watch with GPS, Digital Compass, Barometer, optional Heart Rate monitor and many other functions.
I had the Suunto X9 and X10 models before and this is not a successor of the two models but developed from scratch (both hardware and software). There are many improvements over the X10 like a casing that does not fall apart (finally), better GPS reception, map display (since the new firmware that came out a week ago) and many others. There are some disadvantages over the X10 too: Suunto tries to force you into using their “Movescount” online service by synchronizing directly with it. Some more advanced functions on how exactly the GPS is used were removed to provide an easier interface.
I read Tynan’s comment about not really needing GPS functionality in a watch anymore, as every mobile has those capabilities nowadays. That’s true, but I value the battery life (I am in the mobile app business and often have apps installed crashing my mobile or unexpectedly draining the battery), the stability and having everything in a waterproof casing (I use it for windsurfing).
I am currently still using my 3 year old Panasonic GF1 camera with a 20mm (40mm equiv.) f1.7 pancake prime lens. I am still quite happy with my setup but the low light / high ISO performance is not as good as I like it to be. My next camera will be – as soon as it gets released in November/December: Sony RX1.
It is the only compact Full Frame Camera on the market (well, ok there is the Leica M series). Full Frame sensor + fast Carl Zeiss 35mm f2.0 prime make it a low light wonder. I do not need an interchangeable lens system because I stick to one prime lens anyway. The cool thing about the RX1 is that the lens goes so deep into the body making it much smaller as a similar interchangeable lens setup could ever be.
Some people complain about the lack of an internal EVF in the RX1. Though I would have preferred one too – rather than a flash – it is not a big issue for me. I am a bit concerned about the comparatively slow shutter speed wide open (1/2000 s). That might force you to stop down the lens in bright sunlight. But overall this seems to be the perfect camera for me. Some great low light shots:
Lenovo Thinkpad X230
After owning two Sony Vaio Z models (the two models before the media-dock came out), I decided to switch back to a Thinkpad. I missed the build quality, reliability (I had overheating issues with both Vaio Z’s) and of course the TrackPoint J Though the Tinkpad is not the lightest high-end setup you can get, it comes close to it. The only drawback was downgrading the screen resolution from full HD on the Sony to a lower one.
It has a nice 12.5” IPS display, i7 CPU and weights 1.3kg. To get the lowest price, get a model with the best CPU but smallest memory and smallest hard drive. Then buy 2 *8GB memory modules, a mSATA SSD (Mushkin Enhanced Atlas Series mSATA 240GB) and a 1TB 2.5” 9mm hard disc somewhere else. Thinkpads are very easy to upgrade yourself – they even come with a manual on how to do it. Just one small mod is required to fit a 9mm hard disc (max size 1TB) rather than a 7mm hard disc (max size 500GB): two small plastic stopper in need to be removed to make it fit.
I use my ThinkPad system exclusively but connect it to a dual 27” display setup + keyboard and mouse when I am at the office. The best display currently available: Samsung S27A850D. It is a 27” monitor with a 2560x1440 PLS panel that is neither glossy nor has the grainy anti-glare coating of many IPS panels.
Mosquito Jungle Hammock
I use this hammock for quite a long time already but was thinking about it when I read about Tynan’s camping experience in “Tynan vs. the Peruvian Andes”. A hammock is lightweight, has no metal parts and provides you with an incredibly comfortable sleeping experience. You do not have to worry about finding a flat ground anymore, you won’t find yourself in a lake after heavy rain and you do not need a mattress pad.
The hammock comes with two parts: the hammock itself incl. mosquito net and a rain sheet. If you are trapped in heavy rain during a hike it is nice being able to quickly set up the sheet to have a rain shelter.
It is surprisingly easy to find suitable trees almost anywhere. And even if you are at some place without trees (happened to me on the Penghu islands in Taiwan), you can easily improvise holding the net up with sticks and use it on the ground.
Hey, great recommendations. The RX1 is an insane camera-- it focuses on what's most important for image quality, and does away with the bells and whistles. Really incredible, and an very gutsy move by Sony.
I didn't know about the Ambit map feature-- that's really cool. If I was going to have a "feature watch", it would be the Ambit.
I looked at those hammocks before, but ended up not getting one because I found out there were no trees on the trail I was doing in Peru. I never thought about trying to use it as a tent with sticks-- interesting idea.
thanks for the watch tip!
I don't travel much, but have loved doing single medium backpack travel for the past couple years. Just to keep the conversation going, I recently made the following gear changes:
Shorts: Oneill hybrid boardshorts. I can wear them every day and they look like regular shorts, but can easily hop into a pool and dry out quickly. My only gripe is that some of the stitching detail is starting to get loose.
Jeans: Versace wool jeans, found on ebay. This was really influenced by Tynan's gear post from last year, so far I've been happy
Jacket (insulation): Rei spruce run - I had a patagonia nano puff and recently switched. It's heavier, but this one has detachable sleeves / hood, and still packs into a pocket.
Backpack: it took a few iterations for me to find a backpack setup i love, but it boils down to it being small-looking, fit a laptop in a separate compartment (so I don't have to fumble through clothes to get it), not have too many colors, and use quality fabric (I had a couple backpacks look like they were about to tear when I loaded them up). Right now I'm using a 5.11 rush 12 (which'll fit a macbook pro 13". I love it, but it's a bit too military looking, so I plan to someday get a goruck gr1 in tan.
Bookreader: just got a nook touch with glowlight, I haven't used it much yet, but from what I've been reading it can be rooted to do smooth scrolling and multitouch zoom on eink. Overall I just wanted something to read outside with. It was a hard call between this and the kindle keyboard 3g.
I think the RX1 is sony's proof of concept of a full frame mirrorless. It's sony's fuji x100. They're ramping up for a proper e-mount full frame mirrorless in a few years, you can see it with their full frame vg900 handycam, which uses the e-mount. I'm guessing it will be around $1500-$2000 and it will have phase detect auto focus (big deal!) like the NEX-6. So if you can, wait a couple years.
I just swallow the weight and use a D600 & lenses.
I really would like to be able to afford the RX1... its an amazing camera. But cant really justify it. Maybe when they release a perfect camera I will drop that kind of money (50mm, EVF) but not yet :) Enjoy though, its really awesome.
Thanks for the post :) I like the idea of a community thread on gear. Im currently looking for a good jacket. If anyone has a recommendation, I would appreciate it. Looking for something warm, lightweight and fashionable. Unfortunately I dont like the look of down jackets so Im kind of stuck, as it will be the only jacket I will own.
I wasn't wearing a watch for a while. This seemed like a pretty big lost opportunity. I checked out the prime real estate on my right wrist (I'm a lefty) and decided I needed the best watch ever.
What I wanted was something reasonably good looking that packed the most function in it as possible. My friend Todd had a Casio Pathfinder which packed a lot of features. I ordered one of those and kept looking.
Then I spotted the Suunto X9i watch. It has a GPS, Stopwatch, Altimeter, Barometer, Thermometer, Compass, three alarms, dual time, and will even calculate the sunrise and sunset based on your location. WOW!
Want to see more photos I've taken? Visit my photo gallery.
UPDATE 12/13: The Lumix GX7 is the successor to the Lumix GX1 that I review (and love) below. It's pricey ($828 on Amazon or $998 with lens) because it's new, and you can now get a screaming deal on the GX1 (as low as $227). The two big advantages of the GX7 are 25% less noise in pics + wifi capabilities (including app remote control). I haven't made the switch yet, but I did do a more in-depth comparison on the two cameras here. If you do, let me know what you think in the comments below!
My wife and I are on a quest to learn how to take insanely great pictures. We are just starting this journey and I invite you to share it with us if photography is a passion of yours. The picture above is one of our first attempts at taking the kinds of photos that have a "wow" factor that transcends a regular photo. The photo was taken by my wife; that's my friend Keoni on the left and me on the right.