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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Goodbye Canon S95, Hello Sony RX100

You might be surprised to read that title if you've read my Canon S95 post. The fact is that I even surprised myself by switching camera vendors after having bought nothing but Canon for the past eight years. About a month or so ago, I sold my beloved Canon S95 and purchased the highly praised Sony RX100. This was not a decision I made lightly, and I spent months deciding what camera I could buy that would give me as close to the DSLR performance of my T2i as possible, without sacrificing the extreme portability of a point-and-shoot. At least for the time being, the RX100 is the best camera I could find in my price range that met that goal.

In addition to being surprised, you might recall how wowed I was by the Sony RX1. In that same post, I referenced the also impressive Sony NEX-6, and lamented the RX100’s high megapixel count (relative to its sensor size). Ultimately, it was budget that won out over all other considerations. If I wasn't spending the equivalent monthly salary of 37 Thai rice farmers each and every month on daycare, this post might have been all about the RX1 instead. The thought of putting my kids through college pushed me to reconsider my aversion to the RX100’s megapixel count, and I’m glad I did.

The RX100 is a VERY impressive camera. That said, at $648 it’s still FAR from cheap. However it's cheaper than the alternatives I considered. There may come a day when a mirrorless NEX-style camera might come back into consideration, but for now that style of camera isn't quite ready to replace my DSLR (with its arsenal of lens options), and not quite small enough to function as a point-and-shoot alternative.

Okay, enough background. If you're reading this, you probably have some interest in photography and/or gadgets. So why the RX100? Is it really worth the equivalent of THREE garden-variety point-and-shoots (or 11 months as a Thai rice farmer)? Read on to find out what’s so cool about this camera and why I was drawn to it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Windows 8, Love or Hate?

I started my Windows 8 experience with a great deal of trepidation last weekend. We’ll come back to the experience part of that sentence in a minute, but for now let’s focus on the trepidation. My reason for concern was that I had installed both of the early versions of Windows 8 that were made available to customers this past year. Each time I came away afraid and wondering what in the world the people at Microsoft were smoking when then came up with this new OS. 

The new Start menu looked like something I’d expect to see on a child’s LeapFrog tablet, and the new swipe from the left and right gestures gave me the impression that Microsoft had focused so squarely on combating the iPad that they had forgotten about the hundreds of millions of keyboard and mouse users out there. The technology blogs were raving about it, but I was sure that consumers would reject it. At that time I could confidently say that I hated it.

Hello my name is Emmanuel Canaan and I am a former Windows 8 hater. The first step to recovery is admitting that I was wrong. I can now say that while I am not madly in love with it just yet, I like it well enough that for the first time since the release of the iPad, I’m actually open to the idea that my next tablet might not be an iPad. That’s a significant accomplishment for Microsoft considering that I love my iPad.

So what changed? What was so different between the consumer preview version of Windows 8 and the final release?